Comics Lowdown: We’re all doomed! Or not!

A writer predicts the demise of Marvel comics, but the DC honchos are bullish on their medium. Plus: Sitting down with Los Bros Hernandez.

Let’s kick things off with some doom and gloom! At the Disney theme park fan site The Kingdom Insider, Thom Pratt asks “Will Disney Stop Publishing Marvel Comic Books?” Pratt makes some good points: The Marvel universe most people are familiar with comes from the movies, not the comics; the comics themselves are not really accessible to most people, both literally (because of the uneven distribution and quality of comic shops) and figuratively (because the storylines cross over and the continuity is complex); and the profits are low relative to what a large corporation like Disney expects. Of course, this is all unvarnished speculation, with no insider knowledge, but there’s food for thought here—and as Pratt points out, Marvel is already outsourcing its digests to Archie and its young-readers Star Wars comics to IDW.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kim Newman on ‘Anno Dracula 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem’

The prose author discusses his comic book sequel to Anno Dracula, his own comics reading history and much more.

Kim Newman is a beloved and acclaimed cult writer. Comics fans may only know him for his 2015 miniseries Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland, but prose fans know him for his dozens of books which include Professor Moriarty – The Hound of the D’Urbervilles, The Night Mayor, and the Diogenes Club series. Perhaps his best known works are the series Anno Dracula. The 1992 novel is something of a what if – what if Dracula defeated Van Helsing. The resulting novel – and the sequels – mixed real life figures and literary characters in a way that is much more common today than it was when the novel first came out.

The new miniseries from Titan Comics, Anno Dracula 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem, is written by Newman and illustrated by Paul McCaffrey. The comic, which wraps up this week, is a direct sequel to the novel Anno Dracula – and a prequel to the second book in the series Bloody Red Baron, which takes place in World War I. Like the novels this one mixes real and fictional worlds. Newman was kind enough to talk about the miniseries, his novels, and everything from Philip Jose Farmer to possible comics crossovers he’s eager to write.

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Alternative rockers Me Like Bees creating soundtrack for Image’s ‘The Realm’

Each issue of the apocalyptic fantasy series by Seth Peck and Jeremy Haun will coincide with a new single by the band.

When The Realm by writer Seth Peck and artist Jeremy Haun kicks off next month, the series will be accompanied by its own soundtrack, courtesy of the band Me Like Bees.

“Musicians are such natural storytellers,” Haun told Alternative Press. “I’ve always had an obsession with concept albums. You’d have Bowie or Nick Cave or Johnny Cash telling these stories across an album. They were brilliant. Always sparked my imagination. I was as inspired by that as any movie, book or comic story.”

Each issue will coincide with the release of a new single from Me Like Bees, eventually resulting in a new EP from the band. The first single, “The River Divides” is already out and serves as a theme song for the entire series. Check out the video below:

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Comics Lowdown: Artist OK with defacement of Zunar mural

Also: Moto Hagio returns to the Poe saga, Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez talk ‘Assassinistas,’ and Annie Koyama looks back at her first decade as a comics publisher

Someone has defaced a mural of the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar—but the artist who created the mural is OK with that. “I don’t see it as ruined but as a response, and it does not matter to me who is responding,” said Bibichun, the artist. “It’s in the public domain and it’s for members of the public to consume in their own way.” The mural depicted Zunar with his mouth covered by the flag of UMNO, the dominant political party of Malaysia (and therefore a frequent target of Zunar’s cartoon). Recently, an unknown man painted the flag black. “The piece was a response to the suppression of Zunar’s exhibition at the Penang Literary Festival last year,” said Bibichun. “I’m surprised it took Umno supporters such a long time to respond.” Zunar recently canceled a planned exhibit of his work out of concern that it, too, would be attacked.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Bernie Mireault on ‘XVI’

The creator of ‘The Jam’ talks about his career, current projects and new short story collection from About Comics.

The new book XVI from About Comics collects short comics from the acclaimed creator Bernie Mireault. He has never been the most well-known or best-selling comics creator, but over the past few decades he’s been a key figure in comics.

His miniseries Mackenzie Queen wears its influences on its sleeves, and those influences are Steve Ditko and Doctor Strange and Harvey Kurtzman, European comics and manga, back in the early 1980’s when that range of influences was not as common – or as easy to find – as it is today. Mireault went onto draw Grendel: The Devil Inside and colored many other stories in Matt Wagner’s Grendel series. Mireault then created The Jam, a different kind of superhero comic, which appeared before many other reinventions of the genre appeared.

Mireault spoke about the new collection of his black and white comics, what he’s working on now and more.

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Comics Lowdown: Mohammed Cartoons Conspirator Extradited

One more conspirator in the Lars Vilks case heads to court. Also: Comics about the news, Bruce Tinsley mollifies a fan, and the July BookScan numbers.

Ali Charaf Damache will be arraigned in Philadelphia on August 28 on conspiracy charges related to the attempt to kill a cartoonist who drew the Prophet Mohammed as a dog. Prosecutors allege that Damache conspired with two women (one of whom styled herself “Jihad Jane”) and a high school student to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Although the group never carried out their plans, the co-conspirators have already been sentenced to prison terms. Damache, who is 52, was indicted in 2011 but only recently extradited from Algeria to the U.S.

Monstress #7 (Image Comics)

Hot Books: ICv2 has the BookScan graphic novels chart for July, and it’s definitely eclectic. The number one book is Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book, and no, those aren’t typos; check out the @jomnysun Twitter account for more. The next four books are like a modern graphic novels bingo card: Monstress, vol. 2; March, Book One; The Ancient Magus’s Bride, vol. 7; and Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up. Viz has eight titles on the top 20; Marvel has one (a Star Wars title) and DC has the perennial best-sellers Watchmen and The Killing Joke.

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David Petersen opens his vault in ‘The Plotmasters Project’ podcast

Petersen and his high school friends revisit the comics they made back in the day, starting with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles homage called “Cats Trio.”

Here’s something fun — Mouse Guard creator David Petersen shares a “just for fun” project he developed with two friends in high school, Jesse Glenn and Mike Davis, called “Cats Trio,” Petersen and Glenn revisit the project on their podcast “The Plotmasters Project.”

“…it was a TMNT homage where three mutated/anthropomorphic cats befriend a similar raccoon as the group discover their shared origins, survive in abandoned places away from human eyes, and avoid being hunted by another of their kind,” Petersen wrote on his blog, adding, “I also want to state, that Jesse and I have no current plans to develop Cats Trio (or any of the subjects for our series) beyond these exercises.”

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Harvey Awards will return in 2018 at the New York Comic Con

Annual awards will skip 2017 as ReedPOP plans a reception honoring Harvey Kurtzman at this year’s show.

The Harvey Awards will find a new home next year at the New York Comic Con, the annual fall convention managed by ReedPop. According to Newsarama, NYCC will host a reception this year honoring the legacy of Harvey Kurtzman and the awards that were named after him, with a full awards ceremony planned for 2018.

“We are thrilled to host such an iconic award show during one of the biggest comic events of the year, New York Comic Con,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Head of ReedPOP. “We are even more excited to honor the life and work of the late great Harvey Kurtzman here in his hometown, while celebrating the industry’s best work.”

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Comics Lowdown: Wakanda fashion show, marketplace celebrates artisans and Black Panther

Plus: Roxane Gay thoughts on diversity, Jeff Smith, Cully Hamner, public-domain comics and more!

Excited for the increasing spotlight on Black Panther with the feature film coming out in 2018, retailer Fantom Comics in Washington, D.C. hosted a unique event known as Move or You Will Be Moved: A Black Panther Fashion Show over the weekend. The haute couture show included cosplay and Wakandan street fashion, and a marketplace of local black creators selling their jewelry, clothing and other Afrofuturist fashion accessories. Plus of course, Black Panther comics and paraphernalia.

“Where’s all the Black Panther merchandise? We’re less than a year out, and we don’t have any Happy Meal toys or anything we can just get on hand,” Sellars asked, introducing the concept to the crowd. “So with that came this idea of what about an Afro-futuristic showcase of what it means to be great? Of what it means to be in Wakanda.”

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