Tom Spurgeon, RIP

Comics has lost its greatest champion and best friend.

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to say of a person that they left the world a better place than they found it. 

Tom Spurgeon did that. He did it with journalism, and he did it with humanity. He left us this week at the untimely age of 50, but he has indeed left us, the readers and lovers of comics, better off than we were when he first arrived.

His site, The Comics Reporter, has been an essential read for anyone interested in comics since he launched it in 2004. It covers the world of comics with incredible breadth, from  corporate superheroes to tiny indy comics, corporations to creators, manga to BD to what-have-you. For the past 15 years, it has been the essential portal to the comics internet. Much of it was simply links, but Tom published original content as well, including lengthy, Rolling Stone-style interviews and Bart Beaty’s annual reports from the Angouleme Comics Festival.

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By Crom, Zub + Antônio take over ‘Conan’ with issue #13

The new team takes over in February, with E.M. Gist on covers.

Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian is getting a new, yet familiar, creative team in February, as Jim Zub and Rogê Antônio will take over the title with issue #13. E.M. Gist will provide covers.

Both Zub and Antônio have worked on the character in recent months; Zub wrote him in Avengers: No Road Home and Savage Sword of Conan, while Antônio drew the upcoming Conan 2099. They follow Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar on the title.

“Rogê’s line art is going to knock people out,” Zub said in an email. “It has a strong visual tie to the incredible work Masmud Asrar has been doing on the core title this year, but also manages to carve out its own distinct look. E.M. Gist‘s covers are classic pulp fantasy fare with all the grit and earthiness I could hope for. It’s a heck of a creative line up and I’m doing everything I can to live up to their top notch storytelling skills. Deep thanks to editors Mark Basso and C.B. Cebulski for this incredible opportunity and Jason Aaron for setting a high bar on the issues preceding mine.”

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Jennika, the fifth Turtle, gets a miniseries next year

‘Guerillas’ creator Brahm Revel will write and draw the miniseries.

The newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is getting her own miniseries, courtesy of Guerillas creator Brahm Revel. IDW announced a three-issue miniseries starring Jennika will kick off next year.

“Jennika has always been a fascinating character, and her story is now moving in directions none of us could have ever anticipated,” Revel said in a press release. “I’m very excited about the opportunity to revisit Jenn’s past and explore how she’s been handling the recent changes in her life, all while being tested by a world that’s changing just as rapidly as she is.”

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Comics Lowdown: Outhungering ‘Hunger Games’

Brian Fies reflects on going through the California fires a second time, Jamal Igle shows how he draws a cover, J. Caleb Mozzocco explains War Bears.

Passings: Coila Davis, longtime editorial cartoonist for the Rockford (Illinois) Register Star, has died at the age of 72.

Freedom of Expression: The nonfiction comics blog Cartoon Movement notes that they are currently blocked in China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Matt Huynh

The artist, painter and animator discusses ‘Cabramatta,’ his latest contribution to The Believer magazine.

Matt Huynh has been one of the creators making comics without working in the comics industry. Huynh has been making comics, illustrations, animations and paintings for years. His work has been exhibited at MoMA, The Smithsonian and elsewhere. He is known for his collaborations with the writers Nam Le (The Boat) and Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Ark and On True War Stories) and the comic Magpie Magpie.

In 2017-2018, The New York Historical Society opened The Vietnam War, 1945-1975, featuring two 24’ by 6’ murals drawn by Huynh depicting the homefront and the warfront. The exhibition was on display in Pittsburgh until recently and will be on display at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City starting on Veterans Day.

In the current issue of The Believer (The Borders Issue: October/November) Huynh wrote and drew Cabramatta, an eight-page comic about the neighborhood where he grew up as a refugee in Sydney, the way that his relationship to the place has changed, and how the neighborhood and its relationship to the majority white community has changed over time. The Believer also debuted an interactive version of the comic on the website that Huynh helped to make.

Huynh just returned from Australia, and we had a chance to speak about the project.

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Dark Horse to publish Fiffe’s ‘Panorama’

An early project by the creator of ‘Copra” arrives in stores next May.

With his flagship series back on shelves, Michel Fiffe already had a great October, but Dark Horse added some icing to the cake yesterday by revealing a horror graphic novel by the creator called Panorama.

“I’m beyond excited to have Panorama finally back out in the world,” Fiffe said. “It was the first sizable story that I ever created, crackling with the enthusiasm of a cartoonist who wants to do it all. It mixes genres and bends the form and is quite possibly my most personal project yet.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Paul Maybury

The writer of ‘Last Stop in the Red Line’ discusses the Boston-based mystery/horror series and more.

Most comic fans probably know Paul Maybury from his work as an artist. Now living in Austin, Texas, the Boston native made a name for himself on books like Sovereign, Valhalla Mad, Catalyst Comix and D.O.G.S. of Mars, among other titles. While in the past he’s either worked with other writers or drew his own stories, his most recent work, Last Stop on the Red Line, has seen him move into the role of writing for another artist.

Drawn by Sam Lofti, the supernatural mystery brings Detective Migdalia Torres into contact with a very interesting and fun ensemble of characters, as she tries to solve a vicious strangling on the Boston subway.

With the final issue arriving this week from Dark Horse, I spoke to Maybury about the story’s conclusion, stepping into the writer role and what he’s working on next. If you missed the series, it’s a perfect reading for Halloween. You can find all four issues on comiXology, and a trade paperback should be out in February.

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Inktober Spotlight: Bruce McCorkindale

The artist shares daily drawings of various Muppets mashed up with arthouse films.

October is also Inktober, where artists from all over the world create a different ink drawing every day of the month — or whatever schedule works for them. While the official Inktober site provides a list of “prompts” to help inspire artists, many of them choose their own themes.

And some of those themes can get really fun and creative. Today we feature The Falling Man co-creator Bruce McCorkindale and his series of arthouse films/Muppets mash-ups. Yes, that’s right — he’s combining the Fraggles with Wes Anderson, Bert and Ernie with The Seventh Seal, and Rowlf with Ghost Dog, among many others. It’s an inspired, fun series of drawings.

To see what other artists are doing, search Twitter or Tumblr using the #inktober hashtag, or visit our own Tumblr where we’ve been posting them all month. And check out some of McCorkindale’s drawings below:

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‘X-Men/Fantastic Four’ mini coming in February

Chip Zdarsky, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson and Laura Martin bring the two teams together.

Marvel has announced a new X-Men/Fantastic Four miniseries by Chip Zdarsky, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson and Laura Martin. The story will revolve around Franklin Richards and whether he chooses to go live with all the mutants on Krakoa, their new island nation.

That question stems directly from House of X #1, where Cyclops invited the young hero to come join them.

“I loved that scene in House of X #1 and I knew it needed to be expanded upon, so when I saw the opportunity to pitch this mini, the Franklin question was the heart of it,” Zdarsky, who wrote members of the Fantastic Four in the pages of Marvel Two-In-One, told Newsarama. “Both Jonathan Hickman and Dan Slott have been very encouraging and gracious in allowing me to do what I’ve pitched. Which is surprising. I feel like I’m being punked on some level. You’d tell me if I was, yeah?”

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