Have I mentioned I’m excited for Rafer Roberts’ run on Archer & Armstrong?

Introducing Davey the Mackerel …

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‘King-Cat Comics and Stories’ joins with Alternative Comics

John Porcellino’s long-running and well-regarded series, along with his Spit and a Half publishing imprint, joins with the publishing co-op.

John Porcellino’s long-running and well-regarded King-Cat Comics and Stories series will hopefully find its way into more comic shops, as Porcellino’s Spit and a Half imprint joins Alternative Comics’ publishing co-op.

From the press release:

Alternative Comics is very excited to announce that John Porcellino’s publishing imprint Spit and a Half, and its flagship title King-Cat Comics and Stories are joining our publishing co-op with the 25th anniversary 75th issue of King-Cat. The long-awaited All-Maisie issue features the life story of John’s beloved cat Maisie Kukoc, who lived with him for 15 years. The 48 page black and white digest will be the first solo King-Cat comic book to go out direct to comic shops through Diamond Comic Distributors bearing a barcode. King-Cat did previously appear in split standard comic book-sized editions paired with Joe Chiapetta’s Silly Daddy, some two decades ago; and, collections of King-Cat have long been available to the direct market through Drawn & Quarterly, and La Mano 21. King-Cat #75 will be in comic book shops in April, 2016.

Spit and a Half joins an impressive list of small-press publishers who partner with Alternative Press, including Study Group Comics, Hang Dai Editions and Floating World Comics.

And if you’re used to ordering directly from Porcellino, you can still do that; you can find information on ordering issue #75 on the King-Cat website.

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New ‘Beasts of Burden’ story due this year

The dogs and cat of Burden Hill return this year in a new story by Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer and Jill Thompson.

The dogs and cat of Burden Hill return this year in a new story by Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer and Jill Thompson. The “all-cat” issue will detail where Dymphna, the witch’s familiar who has allied herself with the protectors of Burden Hill, disappears to at night.

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“Dark Horse is mapping out the issue, and if all goes well we’re looking at a Spring release,” Dorkin said on his LiveJournal. “However, we have some blank pages to fill in the back of the comic, and we’re trying to see if anyone has any questions or comments for us to print in a letters page for the issue. Even if we only fill a page, that’s one less ad in the issue and a little something extra to read. Right now we only have one letter. Eep.”

The Eisner Award-winning comic from Dark Horse Comics stars a group of dogs and cats that investigates supernatural events in their town. Beasts of Burden began as a recurring feature in the Dark Horse Book of … anthologies before graduating into its own miniseries. The animal protectors have also teamed up with Hellboy and appeared in Dark Horse Presents.

Update, 2/11: Dark Horse issued a press release on the return of Beasts of Burden, which you can find below with art:

Dorkin, Dyer and Thompson Discover What the Cat Dragged In!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MILWAUKIE, OR—Evan Dorkin (Eltingville Club, Milk and Cheese), Sarah Dyer (The Dark Horse Book of Monsters) and Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother) return to the characters that won them the Eisner Awards for Best Short Story and Best Publication for Teens with a new one-shot comic: Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In!

This standalone adventure is a perfect entry point for readers new to the award-winning series. When curiosity gets the best of Burden Hill’s cats (and one reluctant raccoon), sleeping demons are awakened and black magic is unleashed on the town of Burden Hill.

Multiple award-winning comics creators Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson first introduced these very special investigators in The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings and the other Dark Horse Book of . . . anthologies, for which they won coveted Eisner Awards for Best Short Story and Best Painter.

In 2009, the beasts of Burden Hill received their own miniseries, Animal Rites, which garnered widespread critical acclaim. In 2010, they met up with Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, cementing these unlikely heroes in the pages of Dark Horse history.

The one-shot Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In (MAR160030) is in stores May 4, 2016. Preorder your copy today at your local comic shop!

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Rich, Dewey head ‘Back to the Gutters’ in comics creator interview series

Vertigo editor Jamie S. Rich and artist Benjamin Dewey interview Joelle Jones, Jeff Parker and more in the returning interview series.

Vertigo Editor and comics writer Jamie S. Rich is heading back to the studio for another round of in-depth interviews with comic industry folks. “Back to the Gutters,” a follow-up to the original “From the Gutters” series, will feature both Rich and Autumnlands artist Benjamin Dewey, interviewing creators like Jeff Parker, Joelle Jones and more. The series is produced by Ryan McCluskey.

“Our intent with ‘Back the Gutters’ is to peel back the page a bit and show you the creators behind your favorite comics — both as artists and as people,” Rich said in a press release. “We’re going to dig down to uncover the motivations behind choosing comics as a profession, and the personalities that bring these stories to life, so that we can start to see the art and the artist as a singular unit.”

Rich’s hire mid-shoot as an editor at Vertigo required the team to recruit a new host mid-stream. “We started out interviewing Ben, who is just a terrific talent,” McCluskey said, “and the last three shows are hosted by Ben — because we lost Jamie to Vertigo in the middle of shooting.”

Here’s a list of who you can expect to see:

• Joelle Jones

• Sierra Hahn

• Jeff Parker

• Ibrahim Moustafa

• Robbi Rodriguez

• Randy Bowen (Bowen Designs)

• Emi Lennox

• Steve Lieber

• and Jamie S Rich … interviewed by his frequent collaborator Joelle Jones.

Watch the trailer below.

‘Sharknife’ creator Corey Lewis returns with bimonthly anthology series

‘Sun Bakery’ marks the first ongoing series from Press Gang.

Press Gang, a new publishing initiative from Floating World Comics and Study Group Comics, has announced its first ongoing series: Sun Bakery, a bimonthly anthology series by Sharknife creator Corey Lewis.

Described as “a one-man Shonen Jump-esque comics anthology,” Sun Bakery will run 48 pages and include “robo space adventure, paranormal skateboarding, breakdancing, and social swordplay.” The first issue will feature three stories: “Dream Skills,” “Arem” and “Bat Rider.” The first issue ships in April. Check out some preview art below:

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Daisy Owl creator returns to webcomics with ‘Peep’

Ben Driscoll‘s new webcomic, Peep, is about a rabbit who plays guitar in outer space:

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You can start reading Peep here. Driscoll’s previous strip, Daisy Owl, ended in 2010, but is still in our hearts.

Horrocks offers new print, original art on his website

Get a print of the cover to ‘Incomplete Works,’ his next collection due out in April.

Following quickly on the heels of the January release of Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, Hicksville creator Dylan Horrocks’ next work will be Incomplete Works. In conjunction, Horrocks is offering a print of the cover for $70 over on his website. Here’s the volume’s cover:

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It’s due out in April from Alternative Press. In addition, Horrocks is offering original art from both Magic Pen and his classic graphic novel Hicksville on his website.

New graphic novel answers the question, ‘What if only Black people had superpowers?’

Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Sarah Litt and Khary Randolph launch a Kickstarter to bring ‘Black’ to life.

Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Sarah Litt and Khary Randolph have teamed up to create a new graphic novel called Black: “In a world that already fears and hates them – what if only Black people had superpowers?” They’re looking to raise a little under $30,000 via Kickstarter to bring it to life.

Here’s a description of the story:

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

“With Black, we’re looking to tell a great story, but we’re also purposefully challenging the pop culture status quo, which is dominated by a White male aesthetic,” Osajyefo said in a press release. “Black tackles the very real and palpable issue of race, which is at the forefront in America and around the world. We are trying to confront the issue of race head-on by creating a world in which only Black people are superheroes — and the Black superhero trope isn’t subtly cast under a label of mutant, inhuman, or meta-whatever. It is also both thrilling and liberating to create the superheroes we’ve always wanted to see — and, frankly, be — outside of the entrenched publishing system.”

If funded through the Kickstarter campaign, Black will be available digitally to backers as DRM-free PDFs in monthly installments, starting in mid-2016. The limited edition print run of the six-chapter Black graphic novel is due out late in 2016. The campaign runs through Feb. 29. For more information, check out the Kickstarter page, their web site or this Washington Post article.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Wade von Grawbadger

Over the years Wade von Grawbadger has made a name for himself by bringing out the best of whoever’s work he happens to be inking. The Eisner, Harvey and Inkwell award-winning artist/inker’s most recent work includes Batman/Superman with Robson Rocha and Astro City with Gary Chaloner. Always of note, though, is his work with Stuart Immonen. The duo have worked together on New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, All-New Captain America and Star Wars, just to name a few titles, and as von Grawbadger describes below, their tight collaboration has helped the inker become more versatile. The duo will work together again on the upcoming Empress, written by Mark Millar.

A year ago you were reintroduced to the awesomeness that is Matthew Clark. What makes his art so great?

There is a life and character to his art that is infectious to me. Many can draw a cool face, but Matthew’s have the depth of thought behind them. Subtle information about the personality is evoked that many can’t quite accomplish … and it’s cool! He also has a great graphic sense; his use of blacks really crank up the drama.

What do you most enjoy about inking the recent issue of Astro City?

Inking over Gary Chaloner was great fun, mostly because it was a challenge for me. He’s out of my usual wheelhouse, forcing me to stretch and use inking muscles I don’t often use. His characters have so much life to them. It was simply a lot of fun.

How gratifying is it to be inking Star Wars prior to the film’s release?

How do you quantify something like that? To be in the conversation when one of the more heralded films in a long time is about to hit the scene is an honor, to say the least. There are so many people getting attention for their work on Star Wars-related books right now, I can only say that I am extremely proud to be among them!

A few days ago you ran some of your work from 2009. How has your work evolved over the years?

Thanks in no small part to Stuart Immonen, I have become more versatile. He changes his approach often to fit how he sees a particular project. So if you look at Ultimate Spider-Man, Next Wave and Star Wars, you will see a strikingly different take on each. This forces me to keep up! We have long email conversations about ideas for the the take on a given project, and then it’s an evolution. I may think I know what he means but don’t, and make adjustments based on his suggestions, or I may do something slightly different that he feels fit the situation and he adjusts. Other changes have come as tools or inks change or are discontinued. It’s a never-ending battle to keep current!

Anything we should discuss that I neglected to ask?

I recently did part of issue 28 of Batman/Superman over Robson Rocha that’s due out in January that was a blast. Intense detail and fun figure work. I love that sort of style and don’t get to do it that often. Check it out!

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