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Doran Announces DC Jobs
By Brian Jacks


Colleen Doran will pencil and ink, as well as produce the cover painting for the graphic novel Orbiter, written by Warren Ellis (Vertigo) and will pencil the new DC series Epoch of Zodiac for DC Comics. Zodiac will be written by Keith Giffen.

Colleen Doran has not worked for DC Comics on a series since her work on Valor in the early 1990's.

Orbiter is the story of the space shuttle which departs on a mission only to disappear and return after a ten-year absence. This science-fiction tale is both hard science and psychological drama as a small team of scientists try to solve the mystery of the shuttle's return and what happened to her crew.

"I have throughly enjoyed working with Warren on this project. He has outdone himself. It is absolutely gripping science fiction drama. A book like this is a dream project for me since I have always loved the space program and have been collecting astronaut memorabilia my whole life. I have loved every minute of this assignment," says Doran.

Doran's work on this 100-page graphic novel marks a major stylistic change and departure from her previous work to the extent that even long-time editors at DC were unable to identify the artist of the work. The art will be colored on computer, with the exception of Doran's cover painting. Orbiter will be released in April.

This will be the third project on which Doran and Ellis have collaborated. Their previous work, Super Idol, was a highly-touted web strip at the www.artbomb.net website. Another project, an animated film for which Doran was pegged as the conceptual designer, is in development.

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Epoch of Zodiac is a creator-owned project by Keith Giffen and Colleen Doran, their first work together in years. The story concerns the warring houses of the Zodiac and Keith Giffen calls it his "Life's work," a project he has been working toward for many years. The complex dramatic fantasy, rich in politics and intrigue as well as war and adventure is extremely complex and realized to the last detail. Doran is the penciler as well as principal designer for the series, working in an art nouvuea style that is a wide departure from her work on Orbiter. Zodiac is signed on for a one-year minimum at DC Comics.

"This is a marvelous project to draw, but incredibly difficult at the same time," says Doran. "We are trying to avoid using any visual cliches and we are attempting to design every item in this world from scratch. Everyday things should be recognizable, but not as they appear on Earth. And it is important to make sure that every house of the Zodiac has a unique design sense. So, I am having to make sure that I come up with things that are immediately recognizable as being associated with the individual houses. It is intense work, but it is the kind of thing I love to do. I am very happy that Keith chose me for this project."

Keith Giffen and Colleen Doran have known each other since Colleen was a high school student. He offered her her first chance to work in mainstream comics on the Legion of Superheros after Giffen saw her work in a fanzine.

Doran also continues her work on the epic fantasy/science fiction series A Distant Soil for Image Comics. The series was listed in the Years Best Fantasy and Horror, picked by Charles Vess as one of the best comics of the year and has also been touted by the Young American Library Association for its excellence and appeal to teen readers. Doran was chosen to speak at this year's American Library Association, a meeting of some 20,000 librarians, on graphic novels, along with Neil Gaiman, Jeff Smith and Art Speigleman.

A Distant Soil is the story of a young girl who is born the heir to an alien religious dynasty and who is the object of contention as various rival factions within and without the government fight for control of her and her power.

The graphic novel collections of A Distant Soil have enjoyed multiple printings and Doran hopes to complete a fourth volume in the coming year.

(Colleen Doran is a Slushfactory.com columnist)


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