Writer Peter David is in the hospital recovering from a stroke last weekend. His wife has posted an update on his condition. Things are looking up, but rehab is going to take a lot of time and money, even with insurance. You can help most directly by buying his books from Crazy 8 Press. (Buying his stuff from other publishers will help in the long term, but these will help out sooner.) Kathleen David has a run-down of these books, some epic science fiction, others fantasy and humor.

I picked up the two Hidden Earth books, since I’m more in the mood for epic sci-fi than comedy right now.

Update (Jan 17): They’ve put together a donation button through the Hero Initiative if you’d like to contribute directly. Also, he’s able to keep writing (apparently the damage was mainly to parts of the brain that control movement), and he’s still on X-Factor.

[Cover for DC Fallen Angel TPB 2]All right! DC has announced that they will be releasing a second collection of Peter David and David Lopez’ Fallen Angel!

The creator-owned series lasted for 20 issues at DC before low sales finally did it in. After the cancellation, IDW approached Peter David and offered the series a new home at their company. With new artist J.K. Woodward, it’s gone on to sell quite well at IDW.

Previously, DC had only reprinted issues #1-6 in TPB form as Fallen Angel vol.1. Interestingly, they re-issued it last month to coincide with the first collection from IDW, Fallen Angel: To Serve in Heaven.

Presumably one or both books sold well enough that DC has decided it’s worth reprinting the rest of the series. According to DC’s website, volume two will go on sale in January, and will collect issues #7-12. That includes the 5-part “Down to Earth,” introducing Black Mariah, and the flashback of Lee and Juris’ first meeting in New Orleans.

Fallen Angel TPB #1 (DC) coverIt seems that there will be two Fallen Angel collections on the shelves this August. To coincide with IDW’s book collecting the first story arc of their series, DC is reprinting their TPB of the first few issues of the original series.

Fallen Angel started as a creator-owned book at DC and ran for 20 issues. DC published a TPB collection of the first 6 issues, but stopped there. As much as the cancellation rankled, DC gave it a lot of opportunities… it just wasn’t a good fit for the DC brand (it probably would have thrived at Vertigo) or the DC sales targets.

Fallen Angel TPB #1 (IDW) CoverAfter it was canceled, Peter David took the series to IDW, with J.K. Woodward taking over the art from David Lopez. The first arc set in place a new status quo, and finally answered two key questions: Was Lee really a fallen angel? And if so, how did she fall? Fallen Angel proved to be a better fit with IDW, who immediately extended it from a 5-issue mini to an ongoing series when sales figures started coming in.

I highly recommend reading DC’s trade, which Amazon still has in stock. If you like that, pick up the next issue of the monthly. (Keep in mind that the art style is vastly different, and twenty years have passed, story-wise, between the end of one series and beginning of the next.) I don’t know how easy it’ll be to pick up the back issues, but the IDW trade will be out soon.

And who knows? If capitalizing on IDW’s success works out for DC, maybe they’ll see the light and collect the remaining 14 issues!

Last week Peter David signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Comics. The contract has exceptions for stuff he’s already working on, like the Spike mini-series and Fallen Angel (both at IDW). The comments on that post linked to an interview at CBR, which had this interesting remark:

DC has been great and I’m very pleased and relieved, bizarrely enough, that they cancelled “Fallen Angel.” Had they not, I’d be in a very tough position because if they were still publishing it and Marvel wanted me to go exclusive, well they certainly wouldn’t have let me keep writing “Fallen Angel” for DC. So, I would have had to make a really tough choice—weigh a comic book I love against my family’s security and health. Fortunately enough I was spared having to make that decision.

It reminded me of the time I realized that VR.5‘s cancellation freed up Anthony Stewart Head to join the cast of Buffy. Or that the Sci Fi Channel turned down the B5 spinoff Crusade in part because they’d just launched Farscape.

I do wonder, though. JMS also had several books grandfathered in when he signed an exclusive with Marvel. Those included Rising Stars and Dream Police at Top Cow… and a Babylon 5 graphic novel for DC/Wildstorm (which has yet to be finished). I suspect the facts that it was a media license and a one-shot probably helped.

It’s also interesting to read Peter David’s comments about Fallen Angel and Icon. You’d think Marvel’s Icon label would be perfect—bigger circulation, lower price, still creator-owned—but IDW put so much effort into relaunching the book that he felt it would be wrong to just pack it in and take it to another publisher as long as they still wanted to publish it.

It would have been odd, though. I wonder how many books have, at different times, been published by both Marvel and DC? The only one that comes to mind right now is Elfquest. Marvel reprinted the original series through Epic in the 1980s, and DC is now handling the manga-sized reprints, the Archive editions, and new stories (still from Wendy and Richard Pini).

Fallen Angel artwork by J.K. WoodwardAfter months of waiting, I finally picked up the newly-relaunched Fallen Angel today. This was a bit of a challenge. My usual comic store hadn’t ordered it for some reason (despite the “Fallen Angel” note on my pull list. Maybe it was still listed under DC? They figured out when Angel moved from Dark Horse to IDW, and even picked the right cover for me.

So I stopped by my other regular comic store this afternoon—the one near home instead of near work—and picked up Fallen Angel and Night Mary. In the rain. And had to get them not only back to the car, but from the car up three flights of stairs, around the apartment building, and up to the landing without getting them wet. While carrying three bags of groceries and two umbrellas.

Anyway, the book is well worth it. Peter David launches a new story with all the major players 20 years later. Some of the dynamics have changed, some are the same… and some look about to be altered significantly. Lee still fights the good fight in Bete Noire, Juris is still Magistrate, even Dolf still runs his bar. But there are new players in town, including Juris’ wife and 18-year-old son (who he thinks is his firstborn)… and a figure from Lee’s past who comes to her with a tantalizing offer (an actual “Whoa!”-out-loud moment). It looks like we may be learning the Fallen Angel’s origin soon. We’ve only just learned her real name…

Yes, this comic is good. It’s pricy at $3.99, but the story’s great, and J.K. Woodward’s art is fantastic. (See the cover? The whole thing looks like that!)