Dragonmount has an update on the WOT comics. Basically, Dynamite’s acquisition of Dabel Brothers’ assets did not include Wheel of Time (which is odd, since Dynamite’s press releases said they’d picked up all of their current titles), and Dabel Brothers will continue publishing their adaptations of Eye of the World and New Spring. Or at least Eye of the World. It’s not clear whether they’ll ever release the final issue of New Spring on its own, but Tor will be publishing the complete New Spring graphic novel…sometime. Probably late 2010 or early 2011. To complete an eight-issue miniseries that started in 2005. Okay, it’s not Miracleman-level, but come on!

Eye of the World is supposed to start up again in spring. I’ll believe it when I see it.

It’s also supposed to pick up with a monthly schedule — which at this point would constitute a genuine miracle.

Update: Dragonmount has posted an update saying that Dynamite is involved, which makes more sense and actually gives me a little more confidence that we’ll actually see some of these books. Plus, “spring” fits with the April date that Dynamite gave when talking about when they expected to start releasing the titles they acquired from Dabel Brothers. With luck we’ll see something when April’s solicitations go up later this month.

[New Spring #1 Cover]If so, it would be appropriate timing for New Spring (in the northern hemisphere, anyway). The Beat reports that Dynamite Entertainment is taking over “creative development, production, printing, marketing and sales for all titles handled by Dabel Brothers Publishing.” The earliest books are supposed to ship in April 2010.

There’s no specific word on New Spring or the ongoing Wheel of Time adaptation, but since New Spring #8 is reportedly “complete and ready for printing,” it seems likely to be part of that initial April release.

If the book does come out in April, it will have taken nearly five years to complete the eight-issue miniseries (the first issue shipped in August 2005). Dynamite will also be the third company logo to appear on the cover, after five issues with Red Eagle Entertainment and two with Dabel Brothers’ own label.

At this point I don’t care much about the Eye of the World comics, since they only published one issue to start with (two if you count the prologue), but I’d really like to see New Spring finished!

Comic Book Resources has more on the deal.

[New Spring #1 Cover]The long-delayed comic-book adaptation of New Spring may finally be coming to a close.

Since reading The Gathering Storm (which was very good), I’ve been saying that the previous book, Knife of Dreams, was the point where Robert Jordan finally got The Wheel of Time back on track. Thinking back, though, it was actually the expanded version of New Spring that got me excited about the series again after the dull, plodding Crossroads of Twilight.

Dabel Brothers started an 8-issue comic-book adaptation of the prequel back in 2005, published by Red Eagle Entertainment. It got off to a great start…until the studio and publisher started to feud, and the comics ceased publication entirely after #5 came out in early 2006.

Two years later (summer 2008), Dabel Brothers announced that they would start adapting the main Wheel of Time series, but at the time had no plans to complete New Spring. Finally, in April 2009, they announced that they’d be finishing the miniseries. #6 came out in May, as did the Eye of the World prologue, but #7 didn’t come out until August. It’s November now, with no sign of #8…or of Wheel of Time #2. Meanwhile, Bleeding Cool has been reporting financial problems — like not paying artists — and the Dabel Bros. website has gone offline.

It doesn’t sound promising…but there is some hope. I posted about several stalled comic miniseries at Speed Force, and Dabel Brothers’ Derek Ruiz* stopped in to comment:

NS #8 News coming soon. It’s complete and ready for printing. Once I have more to tell you on release date I’ll make my way back here. [emphasis added]

He didn’t mention Eye of the World, and I didn’t follow up. One thing at a time, after all!

As I understand it, Tor has the rights to publish the collected editions — and I suspect that’s where the main audience for this is going to be. If Dabel Brothers can ship the final issue of New Spring soon, Tor can have a hardcover in bookstores next year to tide fans over while they wait for Brandon Sanderson to finish Towers of Midnight.

*I don’t really have a way to verify it was him, but the email address does match a previous comment.

Dabel Brothers Publishing is going to adapt The Wheel of Time to comics, with the first issue coming out in December. Del Rey will release the collected editions. This is the same studio that did the New Spring adaptation a few years ago, an 8-issue miniseries that broke down 5 issues in due to conflicts with the series’ publisher, Red Eagle Entertainment.

(As near as I can tell, Red Eagle existed for the sole purpose of buying the movie and comic rights to Wheel of Time, and managed to run both of them into the ground. Robert Jordan himself had some rather angry words on the subject of Red Eagle, and was looking forward to their contract expiring so that he’d never have to deal with them again. “Once they are completely out of the picture,” he added, “we’ll see what happens.”)

Since I was very impressed with the issues of New Spring that actually came out, I think this is great news. I’m a little apprehensive given the number of publishers Dabel has gone through in the last few years, especially since properly adapting Wheel of Time at one issue a month will probably take more than a decade (I’m thinking 12 issues per novel).

I hope they’ll finish New Spring first. There’s only 3 issues left, and that would give them material for an actual book early on to start building buzz.

Update (Nov 2009): This post seems to be getting extra traffic with the new book coming out. The current status of the comics seems to be stalled again at New Spring #7 and Eye of the World #1, though there should be news on New Spring “soon.”

[New Spring #1 Cover]Dabel Brothers Productions has been much in the news this past week, between parting ways with Marvel Comics and landing a deal to adapt Dean Koontz’ work to comics. I first encountered them in 2005 when they produced the comic book adaptation of New Spring, the prequel to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

That series was published through Red Eagle Entertainment, a company which appeared out of nowhere and seemed to have only two properties: comic book rights to New Spring and movie rights to Eye of the World. The comic started strongly, but delays led to the series ultimately getting canceled after only 5 issues of a projected 8. Red Eagle and Dabel Bros. each blamed each other.

There’s been very little information over the past year. Dabel has gone on to produce high-profile series like the Anita Blake comics, and Red Eagle has all but disappeared. (Even their website has removed everything but a logo and an email address.) I’ve just assumed it’s still been in arbitration or something.

Finally, yesterday, Robert Jordan posted some cryptic comments about his frustrations with Red Eagle:

For instance, I hear that word was floating about ComicsCon in San Diego that I am displeased with Red Eagle. Too true. Too very true. In a few more months that last contract they have with anyone on God’s green earth that so much as mentions my name will come to an end and we can see what happens after that. You see, among other things they forgot an old dictum of LBJ back when he was just a Congressman from Texas, when he famously, or infamously, said “Don’t spit in the soup. boys. We all have to eat.” Worse, Red Eagle though they could tell me they spit in the soup, or pee in it, if they wanted to and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop them. You can’t apologize your way out of that with me, not that they tried. There isn’t enough money in the world to buy your way out of it with me. Not that they tried that either. So they get no further help from me. Once they are completely out of the picture, we’ll see what happens.

So in a few months, all of Red Eagle’s WOT contracts are up. That’ll free up the movie rights, and while it may not resolve the contract dispute with DBPro over New Spring, there might not be much left of Red Eagle to block them from finishing the book. On the other hand, Dabel Bros. has plenty of other projects keeping them busy, so it might not be a high priority for them.

I am encouraged by the fact that DBPRo has gone through several site redesigns since the breakdown, and hasn’t dropped the New Spring section from their forum.