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SFX Issue 115

March 2004

SFX historical notes: We had to reprint this just because of the phrase, “the worst-kept secret” – which is pretty much what we were saying this year about the Avengers announcement.

News:

Joss Takes On The X-Men

Television genius becomes comic book hero as he signs to Marvel

In the worst-kept secret in comics land, it’s been leaked that Joss Whedon is to take over from Grant Morrison on one of Marvel’s most high-profile titles, New X-Men .

The news was broken by comics columnist Alan David Doane, who revealed that Marvel head Joe Quesada – who has been courting Whedon for years – had finally got his man. The Whedon office is currently remaining schtum over the revelations, and when asked Whedon said: “I can’t answer that question at all, because I’m really not officially doing it. It sort of leaked out that I wanted to do it. I’d say the same thing I say about Buffy : I really like the characters, so I want to put them in pain.”

Grant Morrison has been on New X-Men now for three years and is due to leave with issue 154. It’s reported that there will be a 12-month gap between Morrison’s exit and Whedon’s debut. Filling in, insiders say, will be Neil ( Sandman ) Gaiman for six months and Pete ( Animal Man ) Milligan, though Gaiman is currently denying the rumours, claiming he will instead be working on another title for Marvel after his acclaimed 1602 , as well as a new novel.

The artist that it’s rumoured will be teamed with Whedon is John Cassaday, a newcomer to the world of the X-Men but a big figure in the comics world thanks to his work on Planetary and Captain America .

The hiring of Whedon should generate a sales surge. When Babylon 5 ’s J Michael Straczynski took over Amazing Spider-Man he doubled sales from 50,000 to 100,000, while Kevin Smith achieved a similiar feat with Daredevil and Green Arrow . Given that New X-Men ’s sales are already 130,000, Marvel must be happy.

Whedon’s comics experience has so far been restricted to the Buffy world. He wrote the highly-praised Fray and worked on Tales Of The Slayer. New X-Men will, however, be his first monthly comic writing assignment, though he has had some experience with the X-Men before, doing an early script for Bryan Singer’s film.

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