What Are You Reading? | Death Metal and more

See what the Smash Pages crew has checked off their ‘to read’ list lately.

Speaking of this week’s comics, the big release this week was probably Dark Knights: Death Metal #1, DC’s big crossover series. Although the pandemic slowed down its release, it’s appropriate that it came out right here at the beginning of summer, kicking off the season with something big and brash and, as Carla puts it, “Stupid.” Summertime is the right time for crossovers and comics.

Oh, hey, welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what we’ve been reading. You can play along in the comments or on social media if you’d like.

Let’s get to it …

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Zdarsky + Perez team for ‘Stillwater’ from Skybound

The horror series will explore a town where ‘nobody dies.’

Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck, Sex Criminals, Daredevil) and Ramon Perez (Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, Jane) are teaming up for a new horror series called Stillwater for Skybound/Image Comics.

“I’m thrilled people are finally going to see Stillwater! This idea’s been percolating in my for years now, and it’s been fun working with Ramon to build this tiny, strange world! I’ve always wanted to write a horror comic so I can show the world that I’m not JUST creepy, I can also write creepy!” said Zdarsky. “I love getting to explore immortality on a small stage, the idea that you can live forever but just within such a constrained space. It’s been a treat getting to write characters struggling with that terrifying deal.”

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Image announces ‘The Department of Truth’ by Tynion IV + Simmonds

New ongoing series will follow a conspiracy theorist and the organization dedicated to covering them up.

James Tynion IV seems to be competing for the title of comic’s busiest writer (if he hasn’t claimed it already). This week Image Comics announced a new title by the writer of Wynd and Batman, among many others, titled The Department of Truth.

Tynion will team with artist Martin Simmonds, whose work you may know from Friendo, Dying is Easy and Punk’s Not Dead. They’re joined by letterer Aditya Bidikar and designer Dylan Todd.

“It is the story of a young man named Cole Turner recruited into a shadowy organization within the United States government that makes sure that conspiracy theories stay conspiracy theories, a job that will push him to his own limits as he grapples with the nature of truth, history, the human condition and the American dream,” Tynion wrote in his email newsletter. “It is a conspiracy thriller, told with a horror edge.”

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Dorkin + Langridge team for a new ‘Bill & Ted’ comic

‘Bill & Ted Are Doomed’ will serve as a prequel to the upcoming movie ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music.’

With a third Bill & Ted movie headed to theaters this summer — Bill & Ted Face the Music — the duo are also making their triumphant return to comics. Dark Horse Comics now has the license to make Bill & Ted comics, and they’re launching a four-issue miniseries, Bill & Ted Are Doomed, this September.

The comic will be written by Evan Dorkin, who has a bit of history with the characters himself, as he wrote and drew the most execllent Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book, which was published by Marvel back in the 1990s — and received an Eisner nomination. He’ll be joined by Fred the Clown/The Muppets creator Roger Langridge on art. Langridge will draw, color and letter the book. Ed Solomon, who co-created Bill & Ted, is overseeing the project.

Here’s Dorkin’s cover for the first issue:

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Warren Ellis story pulled from upcoming ‘Dark Knights: Death Metal’ anthology title

‘Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1’ will instead include a story by Marguerite Bennett and Jamal Igle.

Following the sexual misconduct accusations by many, many women against Warren Ellis that came to light this past week, DC Comics sent an update to retailers yesterday on the contents of Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1, which was originally intended to include a story by Warren Ellis and Jim Cheung, focused on the T-Rex Batman we saw in the first issue of Dark Knights: Death Metal. I was pretty excited about it when it was announced, but now? No.

DC will replace that story with one by Marguerite Bennett and Jamal Igle, according to comics retailer Ryan Higgins:

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Return to the world of ‘The Walking Dead’ in ‘Negan Lives’ one-shot

Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard will reveal what happened to Negan in a new comic exclusive to comic shops.

Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard are returning to the world of The Walking Dead for a one-shot featuring everybody’s favorite bad guy, Negan.

Negan Lives #1 will only be available in comic shops this July, as Kirkman and Adlard wanted to do something for comics retailers to help them as they attempt to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown. It will not be available digitally.

“I’ve been inspired by Steve Geppi and Diamond’s efforts to shine a light on how essential the Direct Market is to our beloved industry with their #backthecomeback campaign,” said Kirkman. “While Charlie Adlard and I had laid the series to rest, this felt like something special we could do for the store owners who made our series a success to begin with. To that end, I’m happy to report that 100% of the revenue generated from this book will go to the stores selling it. The retailer community does backbreaking work to get comics into the hands of our loving fans, we should all be doing more in these trying times to show them how appreciated they are.”

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Warren Ellis accused of sexual misconduct; Ellis responds

The writer was accused of predatory behavior by many women on social media this week.

Following the accusations against Cameron Stewart that were posted by many women on Twitter this week, others began sharing stories about another creator, writer Warren Ellis, on social media, including musician Meredith Yayanos, writer and editor Katie West and photographer Jayne Holmes, among others.

Multiversity Comics has rounded up several of the accusations. West’s initial tweets were the first to mention Ellis, and she would later delete them. But after other women came forward, West posted:

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Natural 20: ‘Stranger Things’ to cross over with ‘Dungeons & Dragons’

Jim Zub, Jody Houser, Diego Galindo, Michele Assarasakorn and Nate Piekos will descend into the depths of licensed comics.

Writer Jim Zub shares the news that he’s working with Jody Houser on Stranger Things and Dungeons & Dragons, a new four-issue mini-series being co-published by Dark Horse Comics and IDW, who have the respective comics licenses for the two properties.

They’ll be working with the art team of Diego Galindo, Michele Assarasakorn and Nate Piekos. The announcement was made during Wizards of the Coast’s D&D Live 2020 online event.

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Comics Lowdown | Cameron Stewart dropped from projects after sexual misconduct allegations surface

Plus: News on the Eisner Awards, new dates for Free Comic Book Day and more.

Multiple women this week accused artist Cameron Stewart of sexually preying on them, including one who was 16 at the time.

Artist and model Aviva Maï said Stewart groomed her, which is when an adult befriends a child to lower the child’s inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. She said this started in 2009, when she was 16. Following Maï’s post on Twitter, many other women, including creator Kate Leth, made similar accusations against Stewart.

As a result of the allegations, Bleeding Cool reports, Stewart has been removed from an unannounced project from DC Comics. In addition, Martin Morazzo, artist of Ice Cream Man, said they will no longer use a planned cover by Stewart for the comic’s 20th issue. “We will be donating the commission cost of the cover to Safe Horizons,” Morazzo said on Twitter. He also revealed the replacement cover, which features a parody of The Cat in the Hat cover:

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