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Marvel News: Spider-Girl Lives!

At least, that's what they're telling us. And nothing else beyond that for now.

I think it's not an April Fools' Joke from Marvel. That would have been The Scarlet Spider Lives!

But actually, we did get this piece of news from Marvel this afternoon, too, and some nifty artwork. So have at it:

Marvel Comics is pleased to announce that artist Joshua Middleton has agreed to an exclusive creator contract with the publisher through the year 2004. Middleton will be brining his unique brand of comic book art to Marvel as regular cover artist of the May-debuting NEW MUTANTS ongoing series, as well as interior artist for the enigmatic "NYX" series, debuting later in 2003.

Middleton's agreement gives him the opportunity to pursue all aspects of the artistic process for his Marvel work - from pencils to inks to colors ... a challenge the artist has enthusiastically accepted.

"What has pleased me so much is Marvel's willingness to embrace my process, allowing me to create good work the only way I feel I've been successful - on my own," said Middleton. "It has not been my experience that this is normally the case in the mainstream arena, so the notion that I could work for Marvel Comics and be able to handle every aspect of the art is just

Middleton described the "heart" of his relationship with Marvel as, "To produce something beautiful, and hopefully memorable."

"Marvel has made it possible for me to draw something I can believe in on the grand stage, provided all the support such an endeavor requires, and has rewarded me for choosing to give it everything I have," the artist said.

Middleton's agreement with Marvel also allows him to continue work on his much-anticipated creator-owned project, "Sky Between Branches".

"There was never a question of what to do with 'Sky between Branches,' as Marvel offered from the outset to allow me to continue on with the project should I desire to do so," said Middleton.

"I've been such a huge fan of Josh's work, but it wasn't until I saw the work he was doing in 'Sky Between Branches' that it became very evident that this guy was onto something completely different and stylistically unexplored in comics," said Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. "His impeccable draftsmanship coupled with great storytelling and a unique color sensibility makes Josh, in my mind, one of the hottest new talents to keep an eye on. I so firmly believe this that I... hmm, actually, that's an announcement for another day!

"We're thrilled that Josh has come on board and joined the Marvel family. So far he's thrilled Marvelites with his beautiful covers and a few pages here and there, just wait until he sinks his teeth into one of our ongoing books!"

NEW MUTANTS, an ongoing series by writers Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir, with pencils by Keron Grant and covers by Josh Middleton, debuts May 21st.

And may I say, as a fan of the original New Mutants run pretty much until Rob Liefeld (aka "He Who Should Not Be Named") got ahold of it, that I have really high hopes for this book.

Derek McCaw

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