SPX, TCJ, OMG: A Hot Take

Brigid Alverson responds to a recent opinion piece on TCJ.com and shares her thoughts on comiXology/Amazon’s presence at this weekend’s Small Press Expo.

I know that contentious commentary is part of the The Comics Journal brand, but maybe it’s time to drop it. Especially because the latest article isn’t just mean-spirited, it’s straight-up wrong.

I am referring, of course, to RJ Casey’s recent post, ominously titled “A Plague Comes to SPX,” in which he warns that Amazon is poised to ruin comics.

I’m at SPX, and I went to the exhibitors’ reception last night, where, like everyone else, I got a copy of Hit Reblog, the book he disparages:

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Oni Press launches voting information site — with comics, of course

‘Draw Out the Vote’ provides guidance and resources for registering to vote — along with a comic for each state.

Comics have always been a natural medium for political commentary and perspectives, whether its political cartoons or even comic books like Captain America and the X-Men. So this new site from Oni Press seems like a natural outgrowth of that decades-old relationship: Draw Out the Vote seeks to educate voters about their state’s voting laws through webcomics.

Each state is represented on the site, along with Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., and each gets it own comic from a different artist. Contributors include Arigon Starr, Jarrett Williams, Melanie Gillman, Rashad Doucet, Janet Lee and many more. In many cases, the cartoonist is from or currently lives in the state they drew a comic for. And in addition to a comic, the page for each state includes links to register to vote and other resources.

“Voting is the first step in civic engagement and something that should be relatively easy for every citizen, but that’s obviously not always the case,” said Oni Press Publisher James Lucas Jones. “With DrawOuttheVote.com, we want to give a platform for cartoonists to explore their passion for participating in the political process and to give voters a quick and easy starter guide on getting registered and making a plan to get their ballot in the box this November.”

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Drawn + Quarterly announces 2019 titles

At Comic-Con International, Drawn and Quarterly announced new titles by Lynda Barry, Vanessa Davis, Eleanor Davis, Yoshiharu Tsuge and more.

Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly announced many of their upcoming 2019 graphic novels in San Diego earlier this month, revealing new titles from Lynda Barry, Yoshiharu Tsuge, Kevin Huizenga, Vanessa Davis and more.

Take a look at what they have planned below, and note that none of the cover art is final …

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DC reveals more titles from their younger readers lines

The publisher dropped a whole bunch of new titles coming to their DC Ink and DC Zoom lines, aimed at middle-grade and young adult readers.

After revealing the creative teams for several upcoming books in their new younger readers line in June, DC Comics announced the next wave of titles coming from their new DC Ink and DC Zoom imprints.

The lines were first announced back in February — DC Zoom, aimed at middle grade readers (8-12 years) and DC Ink, aimed at young adult readers (13 and older). Publisher Jim Lee spoke about the initiative during DC’s Meet the Publisher panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego today.

“There are a lot of people who are hungry for our material and our characters but we’re not necessarily producing the things they want,” Lee said. “So we’re trying to reach those new audiences with different sizes and formats.”

There are a lot of interesting names on the list of creators, including several that comics fans should recognize, like Louise Simonson, Gene Luen Yang, Stuart Moore, and the awesome duo of Art Baltazar & Franco.

Here’s look at all the titles that have been announced thus far, taken from the official press release:

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The Comics Journal returns to print

Issue #303 will arrive in January, edited by RJ Casey and Kristy Valenti.

Fantagraphics has announced the return of The Comics Journal, the award-winning magazine founded in 1976 by Gary Groth that saw its last print edition in 2013. The magazine will return next year in a twice-yearly format, with new editors RJ Casey and Kristy Valenti.

“The Comics Journal had been a near-monolithic force in my life and I think its absence has been felt by more people than just me,” Casey said. “I’m beyond excited to bring new voices, new ideas, and a new enthusiasm to the Journal.”

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IDW to publish ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Avengers,’ ‘Black Panther’ series aimed at younger readers

Marvel and IDW team up to ‘develop middle-grade comic books designed for younger readers.’

I guess this shouldn’t come as a shock, given how Disney has licensed IDW to create Big Hero 6 and Star Wars comics aimed at younger readers, but still, that headline …

IDW and Marvel announced today that they “will develop middle-grade comic books designed for younger readers. Featuring some of Marvel’s most popular characters, the monthly issues and trade paperback collections, published by IDW, will be available for sale at local comic book shops and book retailers across the country, expanding opportunities for the next generation of Super Heroes to experience the Marvel Universe.”

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Vertigo announces 7 new titles for their 25th anniversary relaunch

The DC Comics imprint will publish new series from Mark Russell, Ramon Villalobos, Ben Blacker, Bryan Hill, Robbi Rodriguez and many more.

DC Comics announced plans last October for a linewide relaunch, and this week they made it official by revealing seven new titles from the 25-year-old imprint.

New titles by Mark Russell, Ramon Villalobos, Ben Blacker, Bryan Hill, Robbi Rodriguez and many more will debut starting next September, joining the already announced Sandman Universe titles.

“It’s time to rebuild DC Vertigo,” said Mark Doyle, Executive Editor of Vertigo. “We’re returning to our roots by spotlighting the most exciting new voices in comics, as well as bringing new voices to comics. From the corners of television, games, music, activism, podcasting, comics and more, all of our creators are passionate and have something to say. These sophisticated stories have amazing new characters and vast worlds to explore. That’s what it has always been about for me—new stories, new voices, new possibilities. We’re creating a new generation of DC Vertigo classics for readers of all genres.”

Here are the new titles:

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comiXology expands their ‘Originals’ line with creator-owned titles, print-on-demand

comiXology moves into print comics with an ‘experiment’ using Amazon’s print-on-demand capabilities.

comiXology Originals debuted in 2016 and have since published comics in conjunction with Marvel, BOOM! Studios, Valiant Entertainment and the estate of Harvey Kurtzman — and even earned an Eisner nomination. Now the Amazon-owned company is branching out to include creator-owned comics as part of the program.

The company announced four new titles that can be found on comiXology’s storefront, with the promise of more to come. Interestingly, comiXology is expanding beyond digital and will offer three of the four books through Amazon’s print-on-demand service — giving consumers the opportunity to buy comiXology material directly, rather than through a traditional comic book publisher.

The new comiXology Originals releases include: Savage Game created by NFL player Ryan Kalil, written by Shawn Kittelsen, and art by Chris B. Murray; Superfreaks from writers Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinet, with artist Margaux Saltel; Elephantmen 2261: The Death of Shorty from writer Richard Starkings, and artists Axel Medellin and Boo Cook; Ask For Mercy from writer Starkings and artist Abigail Jill Harding.

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Celebrating local comic creators is the best thing to do today

From Eisner winning heavyweight Fiona Staples to industry newbie H.C. Gislason, Panel One’s Comic Creator Festival spotlights local talent.

In the age of Hollywood-driven mega-cons, the Panel One Comic Creator Festival promises to bring the spotlight of comic conventions back to (gasp!) comics! Now in its third year, the Festival, which is held in Calgary, seems small and humble, but truly packs a punch for local creators, that feel lost and forgotten at the big shows. In its short life, the Panel One Comic Creator Festival has been renowned as “THE” place for creators to sell comics, some noting they have larger sales at this tiny festival as opposed to the 100,000 people attended monolith cons. This isn’t Artist Alley, so you won’t find fanart here, but this is the perfect market for the curious and the diehard comic fan to discover and buy new comic books.

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