In an interview with The New York Times, the details behind Artists, Writers & Artisans, the awfully-named publisher, from former Marvel Comics bigshots Bill Jemas and Axel Alonso were revealed. The company, who received $5 million in venture capital, is trying to be the best of both worlds, somewhere between Marvel Comics and Image Comics.
AWA is aiming for something between the two: It will have interconnected superhero comics like DC and Marvel as well as stand-alone series like Image. And all of its creators will have a financial stake.
It’s an approach reminiscent of old Hollywood. “The model here really is the old United Artists model, where people who are actually doing the creative have ownership, control and decision-making power over the work that they’re doing,” said Bill Jemas, a former vice president of Marvel who is the chief executive and publisher of AWA. Joining him at the helm are Axel Alonso, a former editor in chief at Marvel, as chief creative officer and Jonathan F. Miller as chairman. Miller helped broker a deal in 2017 between the comic book writer Mark Millar and Netflix, which bought his library of characters for development on the streaming service. Jemas and Alonso say the first of AWA’s titles will arrive some time this fall.
Their titles will include American Ronin, about highly trained corporate operatives, Fight Girls, about warriors vying to be queen of the galaxy, Bad Mother, about a parent searching for her missing daughter, and Archangel 8, about one of God’s angels who goes rogue.
Creators working with/at AWA include Frank Cho, Peter Milligan, Christa Faust, ACO, Reginald Hudlin, Margaret Stohl, Gregg Hurwitz, Garth Ennis, Michael Moreci, and J. Michael Straczynski.
AWA Chairman Jon Miller touched on his desire to copy the Marvel Comics method of being an IP farm for the movie industry.
“I think it’s fairly safe to say that Marvel is the most valuable entertainment franchise in the world,” Miller said. After the Netflix deal, he wondered if there were similar opportunities. He and Jemas got together, and Alonso soon joined them. “One of the great things about doing things this way is that you get to try a lot. Some things will hit, you never know when and where, but that’s part of the idea,” he said. “As long as you keep getting your turns at bat, then you’ll get some hits.”
Expect the first AWA titles to drop this fall.