By Russ Burlingame,

Michael Cotton, a former senior editor at DC whose comics career started as a journalist at Wizard magazine in 1999, has joined the staff at comics publisher Artists, Writers, and Artisans (AWA). Yesterday, AWA announced that Cotton has joined the company as an Executive Editor. Cotton will work alongside Co-Founders Axel Alonso, Chief Creative Officer and Bill Jemas, CEO & Publisher. The publishing company has served as a home for creator-driven series from a number of high-profile writers and artists, including J. Michael Straczynski, Frank Cho, Garth Ennis, and others.

AWA was founded by Jon Miller and former Marvel executives Bill Jemas and Axel Alonso. In addition to his Marvel work, Alonso previously worked at DC, developing series like 52. Cotton left DC earlier this month, although he didn’t make any announcement at the time regarding a future course at the time.

“I’ve followed AWA since its inception, and have been amazed by the quality of their stories and vision for working with creators in new and exciting ways,” said Cotton in a statement. “The opportunity to carve my own path among this incredibly talented editorial team by assembling an all-new group of diverse creators to deliver fresh original IP for the AWA portfolio is something that I couldn’t pass up. I can’t wait to begin developing content that will excite and resonate with both long-time fans, retailers and new audiences.”

“Axel is, in my opinion, the best there is at what he does,” said Jemas, “and Mike is, in my opinion, the best at what he does. At AWA, Axel has had, and Mike will have, the freedom to do what they each do best and the resources they’ll need to succeed.”

“Since my days at Marvel, Mike has been a mainstay and one of the leading voices in the comic book industry,” Alonso added. “From his time at Wizard, his whole purpose has been to advance the industry forward and to support the diverse voices that are so valuable to the medium. AWA continues to assemble an incredible team of executives, editors and creators and adding Mike to the team will be invaluable to our ability to continue to develop and diversify the content we produce.”

AWA has been one of the most aggressive new publishers to hit the comics market in years. In addition to the stacks of comics talent they have brought in for prestige projects, the company recently formed AWA Studios, dedicated to “building a distinct array of new cutting-edge film and TV projects anchored in its burgeoning library of groundbreaking stories.” Helmed by Hollywood veteran Zach Studin, AWA Studios recently announced its first project, Chariot, which is set for a Warner Bros. release. The project is based on the AWA graphic novel from writer Bryan Edward Hill and artist Priscilla Petraites.

[Disclaimer: the author of this piece worked briefly with Cotton at Wizard and Champion magazines.]

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