company_name = WildStorm
company_type = Comic publisher
company_slogan = THIS IS WILDSTORM
foundation = 1992 (launched)
Jim Lee, Hank Kanalz, Ben Abernathy
La Jolla, CA
homepage = [http://wildstorm.com/ Official site]
WildStorm Productions, or simply WildStorm, (sometimes rendered Wildstorm) is a publishing
imprintand studio of American comic bookpublisher DC Comics.
WildStorm originated in 1992 as comics creator
Jim Lee's personal company, Aegis Entertainment, in the partnership making up Image Comics. After the sale to DC in 1999, Lee remained as WildStorm's Editorial Director, a position he continues to hold. The VP/General Manager is Hank Kanalzand the Senior Editor is Ben Abernathy. The WildStorm imprint is editorially separate from its DC parent, with its main studio located on the West Coast. Additional editorial staff includes Scott Peterson, Shannon Denton, Jim Chadwick, Kristy Quinn, and Sarah Farber. The imprint takes its name from the combining the titles of the Jim Lee comic series WildC.A.T.S.and Stormwatch.
Throughout most of its history the studio has published many comic book titles in continuity with each other (the
Wildstorm Universe) as well as a wide variety of unrelated, creator-driven titles such as "Ex Machina", Kurt Busiek's " Astro City" and Alan Moore's " America's Best Comics" line.
Following a few years as a mature-readers-only superhero imprint "Eye of the Storm", in September 2006 WildStorm rebooted its Universe in the
The Image years
WildStorm was one of the founding studios that joined together in 1992 to form
Image Comics. It grew out of Homage Studioswhich was founded by artists Scott Williams, Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee, and Joe Chiodoin San Diego, California. Lee, Williams, and Portacio had gained notoriety from their work on various X-Mentitles at Marvel Comics.
In late 1992 penciler
Marc Silvestrijoined the studio to work on the first issue of " Cyberforce". Although he worked at the studio, his projects were to debut as a new Image imprint named Top Cow. Silvestri continued to work out of WildStorm's studio for about two years, then moved his staff up to Santa Monica so that he could be closer to Hollywood. Although there was some thought of grabbing talent from the "Big Two", (Marvel and DC) such as John Romita Jr., Lee decided instead to find new talent.
Lee's talent search yielded Brett Booth in 1992, and then
J. Scott Campbellin 1993. Apart from McFarlane's "Spawn", WildStorm produced the most consistently commercially successful comics from Image, including Lee's own titles " WildC.A.T.s" and the teen hero title " Gen¹³", illustrated by J. Scott Campbell. Like many other Image titles, some of the WildStorm titles were plagued with inconsistent completion and shipping, resulting in "monthly" comics coming out every few months. This era, however, produced a number of titles of varying popularity including the afformentioned "Gen¹³" and "WildC.A.T.s", "Stormwatch", " Deathblow", " Cybernary", and Whilce Portacio's " Wetworks".
Attempts to get his studio's characters into other media were disappointing. A Saturday morning cartoon series of the WildC.A.T.s suffered from poor production values, and lasted only a single season, while a full-length animated version of "Gen¹³" was produced but never released. Disney, who had acquired the distribution rights, later released the film only in a few foreign markets, leaving Jim Lee frustrated. Toys from both titles were less successful than those made by Todd McFarlane, partly due to bad marketing and partly because the McFarlane toys were targeted for a more mature audience. However, they had a big success copying
Wizards of the Coast's "" with their introduction of the "Superhero" card game, "Wildstorms", which later spun off into a crossover set of cards with Marvel. The crossover was the swan song for the Wildstormsgame though, as Marvel's merchandising clout was able to push Wildstorms out of the spotlight. Although the timing was right with their card game, they were too early by a year with a Poggame which used the Wildcatscharacters that they released in 1993.
In 1995, WildStorm created an imprint named
Homage Comics, centered around more writer-driven books. The imprint was started with Kurt Busiek's " Astro City" and " The Wizard's Tale", James Robinson's " Leave It to Chance" (with Paul Smith) and Jeff Mariotte's " Desperadoes" (with John Cassaday). More recently, the imprint has featured works by Sam Kieth, including " The Maxx", " Zero Girl" and " Four Women", and three of Warren Ellis' pop-comics mini-series, "Mek", "Red" and "Reload".
In 1997, Cliffhanger debuted a line of creator-owned comic books which included such popular works as J. Scott Campbell's "
Danger Girl", Joe Madureira's " Battle Chasers", Humberto Ramos' "Crimson" and "Out There", Joe Kelly & Chris Bachalo's "Steampunk", Kurt Busiek& Carlos Pacheco's "Arrowsmith" and Warren Ellis's "Two-Step" and " Tokyo Storm Warning".
This year also saw a huge revamp of all the WildStorm Universe titles, including such prominent comic book names as
Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Adam Warren, Sean Phillipsand Joe Casey. After this revamp the new Wildcats series, "Stormwatch" and " DV8" took the places of the most popular and most commercially successful comics of the WildStorm Universe.
The DC years
As sales of comic books had been declining since 1993, Jim Lee started to look for a buyer in the late-1990s. The result was the 1998 acquisition of WildStorm by
DC Comics(effective January 1999). According to DC, this was meant to "strengthen both WildStorm's ability to expand its editorial goals and diversifying DC's output." [ [http://www.dccomics.com/about/?action=wildstorm About WildStorm] ] Jim Lee said that he was lucky that it was DC and not Marvel that bought him out, with consideration to Marvel Comics' bankruptcy during the same period.Fact|date=February 2007 DC's acquisition of WildStorm allowed the two universes to interact with each other, and the result was that characters from each universe would soon make appearances in each other's titles.
1999 would be a hallmark year for WildStorm. Several titles were launched, including "
The Authority", a dark, violent, superherocomic, whose heroes had total disregard about things such as honorable battle or not killing their opponents. Its goal was only in making the world a better place. Warren Elliscreated " The Authority" from the ashes of "Stormwatch". He would write its first 12 issues before handing the series over to Mark Millar. "The Authority" fused the hope and strivings of the Silver Age superheroes with a cynical look at humanity. The fight between the heroes and the corrupt parts of humanity would lead the series into the 2004 Wildstorm crossover, "Coup d'Etat", where the Authority would take control of the United States of America. Ellis and artist John Cassadaywould create "Planetary", a story about explorers of the strange. This would be an experiment in intermeshing a look at pop culture, comic book history and literature with Cassaday's unique artwork.
Around this time WildStorm would launch a new imprint titled, "
America's Best Comics". This was specifically to allow Alan Mooreto create a number of comics based on his own ideas. The line has been widely lauded and awarded, giving life to titles such as " Promethea", " The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", " Tomorrow Stories", " Tom Strong" and "Top 10".
2001 -- Eye of the Storm
"Eye of the Storm" was launched in 2001 as an experiment. Most of the WildStorm imprint was remade into "Mature Readers" superhero comics. Joe Casey kept writing Wildcats, although it became "Wildcats 3.0." The new version was penciled by Dustin Nguyen, with inks by Richard Friend. "Gen 13" was relaunched with a new first issue, written by X-Men's Chris Claremont, and remained an all-ages comic, though its spin-off "21 Down" was not. "21 Down" was written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey. After "Point Blank," a mini-series starring Grifter,
Ed Brubakercarried on with the same ideas and launched critically acclaimed "Sleeper" was set in the WildStorm universe. The year was also the start of Warren Ellis's " Global Frequency". The rights for "Global Frequency" were bought by Warner Bros.in 2004, and a pilot for a TV series for the WB network was made but the show was not picked up. The pilot, however, was later [http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/rage/111863094537167.htm leaked to the internet. ] "Stormwatch" was remade into "Stormwatch: Team Achilles", an anti-superhero book featuring Black Razors-leader Ben Santini and his group of soldiers marking humans stand in the Wildstorm Universe.
The Authority was given to writer Robbie Morrison. They starred in a one-shot called "Scorched Earth," and appeared in a back-up story that ran in all the "Eye of the Storm" titles. After this they finally received a new ongoing series. It was that series that featured a storyline that became the "Coup D'État" crossover, which ran through "Authority," "Sleeper," Stormwatch: Team Achilles," and "Wildcats 3.0."
Two anthology "Winter special" books were also published, but sales floundered despite critical acclaim. Some titles like "Gen 13" were canceled early on;"21 Down," was left without a promised second season. Thus, most of the line was canceled two years after its foundation, except for Sleeper, which got its Second Season published and had a definite ending. Wildcats 3.0 was the title fans most derided DC for canceling, considering writer Joe Casey stated that he planned an organic ending in #40. Even though canceled, "Stormwatch: Team Achilles" last issue never came out due to very low sales and writer Micah Wright lying to the publishers about his military history.Fact|date=June 2007
To this day, WildStorm has been varying its publishing with licensed properties, such as "A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "
World of Warcraft", and "The X-Files" and with original graphic novels from the pens of such famous writers as Kevin J. Anderson, John Ridley, and David Brin.
In 2004, WildStorm revamped its system of sub-imprints. The company properties fell under the "
Wildstorm Universe" imprint, the creator-owned properties fell under the "WildStorm Signature Series" imprint, and all the licensed properties fell under the "WildStorm" imprint.
In the post-Eye of the Storm state, WildStorm published less titles centered around its Wildstorm universe titles, including "Majestic", whose series grew out of his spotlight in Superman titles, and "Wildcats: Nemesis".
In August 2006, WildStorm consolidated all its output under a single "WildStorm" label to simplify the imprint for consumers and retailers.
In 2007 the Wildstorm universe became Earth-50 of the new multiverse in the DC universe.
In July 2008, a new WildCats #1 was published, by
Christos Gageand Neil Googe. This was followed in August 2008 by a new Authority #1, by Dan Abnettand Andy Lanning, with art by Simon Coleby.
List of Wildstorm titles
List of Wildstorm reprint collections
* [http://www.comics-db.com/Other_Publishers/W/Wildstorm_Productions/index.html Wildstorm] at the
Big Comic Book DataBase
* [http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=157434 Wild at Heart: Ben Abernathy] ,
Newsarama, May 19, 2008
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