Today only: Back this Kickstarter comic about a dog and his magic towel

Shaun Manning and Esther Pimentel crowdfund ‘Baxter and the Magic Towel’ in a one-day campaign.

I’m planning to do another round-up of crowdfunding comics projects this weekend, but by the time I get to it, this one might be over. So here you go: Shaun Manning and Esther Pimentel have teamed up for a one-shot about a dog and his magic towel. It’s called Baxter and the Magic Towel.

“Written and (to the degree necessary) lettered by Shaun Manning and illustrated by Esther Pimentel, this is a light, fun story about a super-family chasing their dog around town while Baxter tries to evade them using his own ultra-canine abilities,” their Kickstarter page says.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Jeremy Holt

The comics writer discusses his latest project, ‘Before Houdini,’ which is about the early life of the magician and escape artist.

Though he came to comics late in life, Jeremy Holt has been making up for lost time. He’s written a number of comics in recent years including Pulp, Southern Dog, Skinned and Skip To The End.

His new book, which was just released by Insight Comics, is Before Houdini. A prequel to After Houdini, the 2018 graphic novel that Holt made with John Lucas and Adi Crossa, the new book looks at the early life of the aspiring magician and escape artist. In these books Holt and Lucas have established an entertaining supernatural universe, but his greatest gift is the sense of sprawl, both historical and fictional, that explodes from the pages, the panels offering but a glimpse into this larger world while also managing the story and plotting.

It’s a fine line to walk, and Holt and I spoke recently about the long path working on both of these books, his love of research and what comes next.

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‘Green Lantern: Blackstars’ debuts in November

Grant Morrison ‘rewrites reality’ in a new miniseries that spins out of his work on ‘The Green Lantern.’

DC has announced a new miniseries spinning out of Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s The Green Lantern series. If you’ve been reading that series and would rather not have it spoiled, it might be safer to stop reading now.

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2019 Harvey Award nominees announced

Winners will be announced in October.

The nominees for the 2019 Harvey Awards have been revealed, across the six streamlined categories that were unveiled last year.

“This year marks the 31st presentation of the Harvey Awards and the third year working with our hosting partners at ReedPOP. We congratulate this year’s nominees, who have produced some of the best projects in the industry over the past year, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results of the voting and honoring the winners at the Harveys at NYCC,” said John Lind, co-chair of the Harvey Awards Steering Committee, in a press release.

The winners will be announced on Oct. 4 at the Harvey Awards gala in conjunction with the New York Comic-Con.

Congrats to this year’s nominees:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Matt Kindt, Brian Hurtt + Marie Enger

The denizens of St. Louis-based HEK Studios team up on a new anthology, which is up for funding on Kickstarter.

The depth and breadth of what you can do in comics and with comics — and I’m talking story-wise, design-wise and format-wise here — is virtually limitless. Sometimes it takes a particular project and a particular set of creators to remind us of this, and The HEK Treasury serves as just such a reminder.

The HEK Treasury is a creative project by the members of HEK Studios — Matt Kindt, Brian Hurtt and Marie Enger. The three of them have a large assortment of credits within comics — Black Badge, The Sixth Gun, Dept. H, Super-Spy, Fhtagn and Loathing, Shadow Roads, Nosferatu! and many more. The Missouri-based creators formed HEK Studios in 2015 and have purchased a vintage Route 66 garage that they’re converting into “the first full-time exclusive comic book studio in St. Louis.”

In addition to their own projects with various publishers, they’ve decided to team up on a large prestige format hardcover (8 ¾  x 11 5/8 ). This deluxe collection will feature “all new epic, experimental science fiction, fantasy and genre short stories. The HEK Treasury will showcase each creator as they unleash new ideas, using experimental art and storytelling techniques.” The project went live on Kickstarter earlier this week, and the campaign runs for 30 days. If funded, the book will be delivered to backers in the fall.

I spoke with the three of them about The HEK Treasury, HEK Studios and what they hope to accomplish together with this project.

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‘Deadpool’ returns by Kelly Thompson and Chris Bachalo

New series pits Deadpool against monsters and debuts in November.

Marvel’s infamous “merc with a mouth” will return this fall with a brand new series. Kelly Thompson and Chris Bachalo will team for a new Deadpool series that pits the wisecracking mutant against “the king of the monsters.” Which, I presume, isn’t Godzilla (although that would be cool).

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Curt Pires teams with his dad for ‘the most personal and raw comics I’ve been a part of’

Curt Pires, Tony Pires and Alex Diotto present ‘Olympia,’ coming in November from Image Comics.

Wyrd writer Curt Pires‘ next project is not only a love letter to superhero comics, Jack Kirby and Spielberg movies — it’s also very personal. His co-writer, Tony Pires, is also his father, who passed away from cancer, and they conceived the comic while Tony was in the hospital.

“We started working on Olympia just about three years ago when my father was first hospitalized as a means of giving us something to look forward to, to hope for, in dark times. All these months later the book’s finally coming out, even after he’s left us,” said Curt Pires. “Beyond any Extratextual reasoning I can throw at you, though, this is just good comics. Plain and simple. It’s a love letter to the Spielberg movies we loved so much smashed against the cosmic epicness of the Jack Kirby joints that laid the foundation of our modern entertainment landscape. These are the most personal and raw comics I’ve been a part of, and I hope you’ll join us.”

The stories they imagined together are being brought to life by artist Alex Diotto, who previously worked on Brigands and Southern Dog for Action Lab.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mark Russell

The writer of ‘The Snagglepuss Chronicles,’ ‘The Flintstones’ and more discusses ‘Second Coming,’ his new series from AHOY Comics.

In the span of a few years, Mark Russell has written a series of comics that have rethought and re-envisioned a number of characters at DC Comics. From Snagglepuss to Prez to The Flinstones, Russell has rethought the characters and their worlds in new and novel ways, finding depths and concerns that are striking and thoughtful. Russell’s first books in comics were God is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now, with Shannon Wheeler, which were published by Top Shelf Comix. So religion has long been an interest of his.

His new book is Second Coming with artist Richard Pace. The first issue arrived last month from AHOY Comics, with the second issue scheduled to arrive tomorrow. The controversy around it has drowned out the actual book, which is a smart look at Sunstar, a Superman-like hero, and Jesus, the character from the Bible. It’s a shocking idea, but perhaps more startling is what Russell does with the idea, which is to explore the limits of superheroes, start a conversation around power, and consider what religion and change mean today.

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‘Crone’ fights one last time this November

Dennis Culver, Justin Greenwood, Brad Simpson and Pat Brosseau team up on a new comic from Dark Horse.

An old fighter fights again as Dennis Culver, Justin Greenwood, Brad Simpson and Pat Brosseau present Crone, coming this fall from Dark Horse Comics.

“This is a story I’ve long wanted to tell,” said Culver in a press release. “Crone is about facing death after a long life of regret and trying to rise to the challenge of making up for your mistakes when given one last chance.”

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