Smash Pages Q&A: Melody Cooper

The filmmaker and playwright discusses her plans for Humanoids’ ‘Omni.’

Melody Cooper is a filmmaker, TV writer and playwright who was a resident at Yaddo and is currently in the HBO Access writing program. Her new project is the Humanoids series Omni.

Taking over writing the book from Devin Grayson, Cooper is continuing the politically charged stories of Dr. Cecelia Cobbina, who continues to try to uncover what’s behind the ignition of superpowers in the world. Cooper answered a few questions about how she works, politics and writing the smartest woman in the world.

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Comics Lockdown: Publishers react to COVID-19

With news from Marvel, Dark Horse, Humanoids, Vault Comics and more.

Marvel offers some suggestions on how to support local comic shops, along with a list of stores that are still open and what services they provide.

Christina Merkler of Discount Comic Book Service discusses the effect of the Diamond shutdown on the Collected Comics Podcast.

UK comics blogger John Freeman rounds up resources and links, including free comics sites, information on UK stores that sell by mail order, and stuff to keep homebound kids amused, at Down the Tubes.

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Comics Lockdown: The latest on comics and COVID

Featuring news from Valiant, Archie Comics, MICE and more.

As the news that Diamond Comics Distributors is putting shipments on hold as of April 1 reverberated throughout the comics industry, reactions came from many quarters. Here’s a roundup of as many as I could find, with more (I’m sure) tomorrow:

Let’s start with some perspective: At Comichron, John Jackson Miller looks at the history of the comics retail market and offers some hope for the future.

At ICv2, editor, comics market analyst, and former distributor Milton Griepp gives his perspective.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Simon Roy, Daniel M. Bensen + Artyom Trakhanov

The creators of ‘Protector’ discuss the miniseries, how they collaborate and more.

Simon Roy first came to a lot of people’s attention with Prophet, or perhaps people know him for his projects like Habitat or Jan’s Atomic Heart and Other Stories. His new project, which has been coming out from Image Comics this year, is the miniseries Protector.

A collaboration with novelist Daniel M. Bensen (Junction) and artist Artyom Trakhanov (The 7 Deadly Sins), the book is a science fantasy adventure set in 3241 AD in the remote regions of North America (or what’s left of it) as Iron Age humans are dealing with demons and aliens and slavers and warring tribes. Issue #3 is out this week from Image, and I had a chance to speak with the team about the project.

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Can’t Wait for Wednesday: This too shall pass

See what’s hitting stores this week from DC, Marvel, BOOM! and more.

Welcome to Can’t Wait for Wednesday, our look at this week’s new comics releases. And as we found out yesterday, this may be the last week of new comics we see for a while. That’s a hard sentence to type, but here we are.

Our hearts and best wishes go out to everyone in the comics industry — from retailers to creators to those working in publishing — who are going to be affected by this. We suggest contacting your retailer if you can, even if you’re in a “shelter in place” area, to see if they’re offering curbside pickup or mail order options right now. This is a good week to make sure you buy everything in your pull box, if you’re able to.

You can see the complete list of this week’s releases over at The Comic List, and I encourage you to share what you’re planning to get in the comments below. My thanks to Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman for sharing their picks this week.

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Diamond halts new comics shipments for April 1 and beyond

IDW and others react to the news.

The COVID-19 epidemic that has shuttered comic shops and forced the postponement of conventions around the country has also affected Diamond Comics Distributors, the sole major distributor to comics retail shops, and today, Diamond co-founder Steve Geppi announced that they will be shutting down shipments of new product:

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Comics Lowdown: Standing behind retailers during the coronavirus

Plus: TCAF canceled, BookExpo postponed and more coronavirus news.

As the threat of the coronavirus continues to spread, and federal, state and local governments take action to try and stop it, “shelter in place” and social distancing orders inevitably harm small businesses, like comics retailers. Many retailers around the country have either closed up for a time or have moved to a mail order/”curbside pickup” system. In his weekly newsletter today, writer Cullen Bunn shared some tips for supprtoing your favorite shop during this time:

…SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP as much as you’re able. 

Running a comic book store can be difficult, even in the best of times. Right now, shops are taking a hit. The absolute last thing I want to see—as a reader, a fan, and a creator—is for comic book stores to disappear. It is vital that we all work together to support comic book stores as much as possible and help them get through the coming weeks. When comic book stores suffer, so does the comic book industry. A lot of stores are offering new services during this time of isolation and social-distancing. Some things you can do to help…

  • Inquiring about curbside pickup.
  • Inquiring about mail order or delivery options. 
  • Purchasing any books that are in your pull box.
  • Purchasing gift cards/gift certificates for upcoming birthdays, events, and holidays. 
  • Following your local comic shop on social media for updates on: curtailed hours of operation, events, special accommodations, and cleaning policy. 
  • Tagging your local comic shop on social media & posting photos of the comics you’ve purchased to read during self-quarantine and social distancing.

You can find a comic shop offering “safe services” during the pandemic by using this map from BOOM! Studios.

Image Comics, who issued a letter asking other publishers to help comics retailers during this crisis, also had Alex Cox, Skottie Young and Nate Piekos create a short comic on how fans can support their local shop:

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Dark Horse announces ‘Lady Baltimore’ miniseries

Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden return to the world of ‘Baltimore’ this summer.

Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola are returning to the world of Baltimore in a new miniseries that puts the spotlight on Sofia Valk, a character from previous comics in the series.

They’re joined by artist Bridgit Connell, colorist Michelle Madsen and cover illustrator Abigail Larson.

Lady Baltimore is the start of something big and unexpected,” said Golden. “The series springs from the pages of the Baltimore comics and novel, but it has a different sensibility and a dynamic new lead protagonist. It’s perfect for new readers, who can start with issue 1 and not miss a beat, while longtime fans will be thrilled to see how the Baltimore mythos evolves, as some familiar faces encounter brand new characters and fresh terrors.”

Per the press release, the comic takes place 13 years after the events of the final Baltimore series in which the Red King amassed power on his way to the Vatican coronation while his armies swept across Europe in an unholy war.

“There are witches and Nazis and vampires, all kinds of crazy monster action—What more can you want from a comic?” said Mignola. “Oh, and there’s art by Bridgit Connell, who is great. I had the pleasure of going back and forth with her on some of the creature designs and it was a real pleasure. So happy to have her on board for this.”

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Betty gets super powers in ‘Betty Cooper: Superteen’ one-shot

Betty takes center stage, thanks to Danielle Paige and Brittney Williams.

Danielle Paige and Brittney Williams are giving Betty Cooper a superhero makeover, as they bring Betty Cooper: Superteen to the pages of her own one-shot this June.

“The best part about the Archie characters is how flexible and durable they are. They’re icons. So, you can bring in a zombie apocalypse or the B-52s, and if you’re true to the characters, it works. This is another genre-bending example of that, with a Spider-Gwen twist,” said Archie Comics Co-President Alex Segura.

Betty Cooper’s secret superhero identity isn’t new — in fact, it debuted back in the 1960s as part of “Archie’s Super Teens.” Paige and Williams are giving her an update, though, and her costume was redesigned by Spider-Gwen’s Robbi Rodriguez.

“I’ve gotten to write everything from soaps to Oz to fairytales to Mera and Aquaman,” Paige said. “Betty and Veronica’s friendship/rivalry is just as epic as those worlds with all its history and drama. And giving Betty and Veronica superpowers super-charges their conflict. I hope that readers enjoy turning the pages as much as loved writing them. And getting to partner with Brittney Williams, whose art just surges with girl power and creativity, was such a joy.”

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