Comics Lockdown: Publishers react to COVID-19

With news from Marvel, Dark Horse, Humanoids, Vault Comics and more.

Marvel offers some suggestions on how to support local comic shops, along with a list of stores that are still open and what services they provide.

Christina Merkler of Discount Comic Book Service discusses the effect of the Diamond shutdown on the Collected Comics Podcast.

UK comics blogger John Freeman rounds up resources and links, including free comics sites, information on UK stores that sell by mail order, and stuff to keep homebound kids amused, at Down the Tubes.

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Diamond halts new comics shipments for April 1 and beyond

IDW and others react to the news.

The COVID-19 epidemic that has shuttered comic shops and forced the postponement of conventions around the country has also affected Diamond Comics Distributors, the sole major distributor to comics retail shops, and today, Diamond co-founder Steve Geppi announced that they will be shutting down shipments of new product:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Tom Peyer on ‘Penultiman’

The prolific writer and editor discusses his upcoming title from Ahoy Press, the state of the company and more.

Tom Peyer has been writing and editing comics for years, but in the past two years since he helped to launch Ahoy Comics, Peyer has been writing up a storm. From the two very different titles that launched the publisher, The Wrong Earth and High Heaven, to subsequent books like Hashtag: Danger and Dragonfly and Dragonflyman, Peyer has shaped the sensibility and approach of the company.

Last year Ahoy released Steel Cage #1, which contained three short comics: Bright Boy by Stuart Moore and Peter Gross, Noah Zark by Mark Waid and Lanna Souvanny, and True Identity by Peyer and Alan Robinson. Readers were encouraged to vote for their favorite, but because of voting irregularities, the company declared that all three would get their own series. Now Peyer and Robinson have their series, renamed Penultiman, launching on May 6. People can read the short comic from Steel Cage for free on ComiXology right now, and Peyer stopped by to answer a few questions about superheroes and the Silver Age, and show off some of Robinson’s artwork.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mark Russell on ‘Billionaire Island’

The writer of ‘Second Coming’ discusses his new release from Ahoy Comics, which imagines an island where the rich escape from the end of the world.

Mark Russell has made a name for himself as one of the leading satirists in comics and a deeply subversive writer. I think it’s fair to say that no one envisioned The Flintstones or Snagglepuss the way that Russell wrote them, as these complex, thoughtful and tragic stories that addressed social issues in such pointed ways.

In addition to those books, there’s the two books where, with Shannon Wheeler, he reinterpreted The Bible (God is Disappointed in You, Apocrypha Now). He also wrote The Wonder Twins series for DC, which recently wrapped up, and Second Coming, which was originally going to be published by Vertigo, but the company dropped the series about Jesus becoming roommates with the world’s mightiest superhero. 

Russell is back with a new series from Ahoy Comics, Billionaire Island. Taking place in 2044, it concerns an artificial island where the wealthiest can take their money and avoid the problems that come from dealing with humanity – and all the problems that the wealthy created. It is funny and outrageous – and someone is probably working on how to build such an island as we speak. I spoke with Russell about the book, being outrageous and taking guidance from Winston Churchill.

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‘Penultiman’ miniseries debuts in May

Tom Peyer, Alan Robinson and Lee Loughridge bring a hero from the future and his issues to the present day.

From the pages of AHOY’s Steel Cage comes a new five-issue mini-series by writer Tom Peyer, artist Alan Robinson and colorist Lee Loughridge, with lettering by Rob Steen and covers by Robinson. Penultiman tells the story of a superhero from the future having an identity crisis of sorts.

“Penultiman, The Next-To-Last Stage in Human Evolution, is hailed as the godlike epitome of beauty, power, and compassion in the year 2020,” said Peyer. “In the far-future century he came from, however, his more advanced contemporaries saw him as a brutish evolutionary throwback and exiled him to our era. Paragon or primitive? His one chance for peace is to deny the haters and admirers alike, and discover who he really is–if he only knew how to begin.”

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Little old ladies vs. the apocalypse: AHOY announces ‘Ash & Thorn’

Mariah McCourt, Soo Lee and Pippa Bowland team up for a new miniseries from AHOY Comics.

The apocalypse is about to get … well, at least a stern talking to as AHOY Comics presents Ash & Thorn, a new miniseries from Mariah McCourt, Soo Lee and Pippa Bowland, with lettering by Rob Steen and covers by Jill Thompson. With the end of the world in sight, the only ones who can stop it are an elderly woman and her friend.

“Everyone knows Chosen Ones are supposed to be young and extremely expendable, but even the Universe makes mistakes sometimes,” McCourt said in a press release. “And sometimes the mistakes are big ones. Like when it taps an 80+ year old retired art teacher to be the Champion who fights the next Apocalypse. Can an octogenarian overcome age and arthritis to save the world from cosmic monsters, world eaters, and gross creepy crawlies?”

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Russell + Pugh reteam for new AHOY title

Find out what the filthy rich are up to in international waters, here on ‘Billionaire Island.’

The team behind DC’s Flintstones reboot are heading to sea for a new series from AHOY Comics (perfect, right?) called Billionaire Island.

Mark Russell and Steve Pugh brought a fresh take to the Hanna Barbera property for DC a few years back, racking up several award nominations and critical praise. The pair is joined by colorist Chris Chuckry and letterer Rob Steen for this new six-issue miniseries about the offshore antics of billionaires facing the end of the world.

Billionaire Island tells the story of Freedom Unlimited (FU Island), a private island created and populated by billionaires hoping to wait out the end of the world,” Russell said. “But because they are in international waters and not subject to any law, their haven is a nightmarish police state for anyone on the island who crosses them. In a broader sense, it’s a series that asks the question: how do we save the world when all its resources are partying offshore?”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mark Russell

The writer of ‘The Snagglepuss Chronicles,’ ‘The Flintstones’ and more discusses ‘Second Coming,’ his new series from AHOY Comics.

In the span of a few years, Mark Russell has written a series of comics that have rethought and re-envisioned a number of characters at DC Comics. From Snagglepuss to Prez to The Flinstones, Russell has rethought the characters and their worlds in new and novel ways, finding depths and concerns that are striking and thoughtful. Russell’s first books in comics were God is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now, with Shannon Wheeler, which were published by Top Shelf Comix. So religion has long been an interest of his.

His new book is Second Coming with artist Richard Pace. The first issue arrived last month from AHOY Comics, with the second issue scheduled to arrive tomorrow. The controversy around it has drowned out the actual book, which is a smart look at Sunstar, a Superman-like hero, and Jesus, the character from the Bible. It’s a shocking idea, but perhaps more startling is what Russell does with the idea, which is to explore the limits of superheroes, start a conversation around power, and consider what religion and change mean today.

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AHOY Comics announces ‘Steel Cage’ winner(s) [Updated]

Spoiler alert: It’s all of them.

I think maybe we got a “swerve” here … AHOY Comics announced the winner of its Steel Cage comics competition at Comic-Con International today. In a move that no one saw coming, all three of the titles that were previewed in the comic will receive their own series next year, instead of just one.

The Steel Cage comic arrived in June and featured comics by Mark Waid and Lanna Souvanny, Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson, and Stuart Moore and Peter Gross. Fans were asked to pick their favorite and vote for it on the AHOY Comics website, with the winner getting its own title.

Steel Cage just might be the greatest moment of fan participation since fans called a 1-900 number and voted for a teenage sidekick to die,” AHOY Publisher Hart Seely said.

But apparently AHOY is blaming “voting irregularities” for deciding to publish all three:

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