Comics Lowdown: Eric M. Esquivel fired from ‘Nightwing,’ ‘Border Town’ cancelled

Plus: Free Comics Book Day, George Freeman, Marie Javins and more!

Although it wasn’t yet announced, DC Comics has said Eric M. Esquivel will no longer co-write Nightwing. The news that Esquivel was writing the book was to be revealed today in DC’s January solicitations.

The news follows the cancellation of Border Town, a well-reviewed series Esquivel wrote with artists Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain. Both Villalobos and Bonvillain announced on social media they had quit the title after allegations of sexual abuse against Esquivel became public. In a piece titled “X, my experience with my abuser,” toy designer Cynthia Naugle detailed a history of abuse by a co-worker at a comic shop, who has since been identified as Esquivel.

Neither DC Comics nor Vertigo have commented directly on the abuse allegations. Esquivel, who had changed his Twitter account to private following the allegations, has now made it public again and posted several tweets in response. At Book Riot, writer S.W. Sondheimer says she will no longer cover Vertigo titles as a result of their silence on the matter.

Free Comic Book Day: Diamond Comics Distributors has announced the first round of free comics for Free Comic Book Day 2019. The titles from “Gold”-level sponsors are mostly media tie-ins, and include:

  • a Stranger Things and Black Hammer comic from Dark Horse,
  • a Riverdale Season 3 comic from Archie Comics,
  • an Avengers title from Marvel,
  • a “Whedonverse” comic from BOOM! Studios featuring Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly,
  • a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic from IDW,
  • a Deadly Class one-shot from Image,
  • a Doctor Who comic from Titan Comics,
  • Disney Descendants from Tokyopop,
  • a Pokemon comic from Viz,
  • Bloodshot from Valiant Comics and
  • Interceptor, a new Donny Cates/Dylan Burnett comic from Vault Comics.

In addition, DC Comics will also have a gold-level title, but they’re keeping it a secret for now. FCBD Silver Sponsor titles will be announced later today. [Update: the list of the additional silver-level titles is now up.]

Distributors: Speaking of Diamond, they’ve announced a change to when they release their full Previews digital catalog in relation to the print date, and have asked publishers to move the date they release their own advance solicitations online.

Retailers: The CBC covers the closing of Vancouver’s Comicshop, which opened in 1974.

People: Refinery29 spotlights “29 women who took over the world in 2019,” a list that includes Marie Javins. Javins took over as group editor of the Justice League titles at DC Comics after the firing of Eddie Berganza. “At Marvel, women worked both in the office and as freelance writers, artists, colorists, and letterers, but maddeningly—like centuries of women in teaching, nursing, and childcare—history tends to ghost them, to overlook their contributions,” Javins said. “The younger generation doesn’t need me to show them how to be superheroes. They were already crashing into the glass ceiling of their own accord before I started pointing out the weak spots.”

Commentary: Michel Fiffe looks back at the work of former Captain Canuck artist George Freeman.

Best of the year

Best-of-the-year season continues; we’ll have our own picks sometime next week, but here are a few more rundowns of people’s picks for the year’s best comics:

Michael Kupperman’s All The Answers topped Publishers Weekly’s annual critics poll. It was followed by Chlorine Gardens by Keiler Roberts.

The Beat has an extensive list of best-of-the-year picks from their contributors, covering a wide range of comics and graphic novels released this year.

Wired’s list of favorite books of the year includes Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Gideon Falls, Vol. 1: The Black Barn.

Hyperallergic’s list of the best graphic novels includes Chlorine Gardens by Keiler Roberts, On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden and Why Art? by Eleanor Davis.

The CBC names the best Canadian comics of 2018, a list that includes work by Ho Che Anderson, Jessica Campbell and Fiona Smyth.

Monkeys Fighting Robots counts down their top five single issues of the year, with Fearscape #1 from Vault Comics taking the No. 1 position.

Your Chicken Enemy’s list for 2018 includes work by Victor Martins, A. Degen and Sophia Foster-Dimino, among others.

Tor.com also has a fairly extensive list, broken down into different categories. Blackbird, Martian Manhunter, Eternity Girl, The Seeds and many more get a mention.

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