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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AHOY Comics announces more ‘Captain Ginger,’ ‘Wrong Earth’ prequel

The publisher will also bring back ‘Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter Of Terror’ in October.

AHOY Comics has announced follow-ups to three of their previous titles, including a prequel for The Wrong Earth, and sequels for Captain Ginger and Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter Of Terror.

“The third wave of AHOY Comic Magazines sees the return of some fan favorite faces,” Publisher Hart Seely said. “And what’s exciting to me, as both a reader and the publisher, is that each of these stories takes these characters to unexpected places. What happens when cats meet dogs in the far reaches of outer space? Is there something evil about being a superhero? Readers who wanted more of these stories can dive right in, but they also work as stand alone stories that provide a jumping-on point for readers who have only recently discovered AHOY.”

The three titles, with the publisher’s descriptions, are:

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Meet Sunstar in this preview of ‘Second Coming’

Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s controversial comic debuts tomorrow.

Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s Second Coming took the long way to get into comic shops, but the first issue will arrive tomorrow in comic shops and digital platforms.

The satirical, controversial and excellent first issue features the first meeting between Jesus and Sunstar, the world’s greatest superhero, and AHOY Comics has provided a few preview pages to whet your appetite before diving in tomorrow.

Check them out below.

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‘Second Coming’ finally makes it to comic shops this week

The first issue of Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s story about Jesus and superheroes arrives Wednesday from AHOY Comics.

It’s been a long, winding road for Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s Second Coming, but this week it finally makes its way into the hands of readers.

The quick version:

  • Second Coming was originally announced more than a year ago as a part of the latest (and, it would turn out, last) wave of Vertigo books, in celebration of their 25th anniversary. The story features a superhero named Sunstar (formerly Sun-Man) becoming roommates with Jesus Christ.
  • News about the comic’s premise caught the eyes of the religious right, who petitioned DC Comics to cancel the book. They called the unreleased comic “inappropriate and blasphemous.” DC canceled it a few weeks before it was slated to hit comic shops.
  • AHOY Comics picked it up in March, with the first issue scheduled to arrive this Wednesday.

So what’s this all about? Let’s break it down …

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Help pick AHOY’s next title in ‘Steel Cage’ throwdown

Buy the one-shot this week to get a taste of three potential titles, then crush the dreams of two hopefuls by picking your favorite.

AHOY Comics is ready to rumble, and they want you to help choose the winner of their Steel Cage comics competition.

This Wednesday, Steel Cage arrives in stores, featuring three stories by very un-jobberlike creative teams. But only one of these stories can go on to lose the Money in the Bank briefcase to Brock Lesnar, who wasn’t even in the match win their very own title. You can vote for your choice at https://comicsahoy.com/vote.

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.

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Smash Pages Q&A: June Brigman

The cat is out of the bag for the Mary Worth illustrator

June Brigman has had a long, varied career in comics. She started working in comic books where she co-created Power Pack with Louise Simonson at Marvel, and drew a wide variety of projects including Supergirl, Star Wars: River of Chaos, and adapting and illustrating Black Beauty into comics. She’s also been working in comic strips for decades. She drew Brenda Starr from 1995 to when the strip ended in 2011, and since 2016 she’s been drawing Mary Worth seven days a week.

Brigman returned to comic books last year with arguably her best work to date, the miniseries Captain Ginger. The science fiction series features cats who have outlived the human race, and it’s a funny and dark and inventive story. The trade collection of the miniseries is out from Ahoy Comics this month, which also announced that there’s a sequel in the works – though readers are unlikely to forget the comic’s final page that sets it up.

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Comics Lowdown: Stan Lee’s former manager’s legal troubles grow

Plus: Stolen comics, cease and desist letters, Ted Talks, Jesus and more.

Legal woes for Stan Lee’s former caretaker and manager, Keya Morgan, continue to grow. He has been arrested and appeared in court in Arizona to face the charge of being a fugitive of justice. And he is also being sued by Joan Celia Lee, Stan Lee’s daughter.

In May, Morgan was charged with felony counts of false imprisonment of an elder adult, theft, embezzlement, and forgery or fraud against an elder adult, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court. The LAPD has revealed some of the details on why they brought charges against him.

“Morgan removed Lee from his Hollywood Hills residence to a secured Beverly Hills condominium during the late night hours of June 8, 2018,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. “Morgan was using this tactic to further deceive Lee into believing he was in danger and needed to be moved from his home to a more secured condominium where Morgan had more control over Lee.”

The LAPD will eventually extradite Morgan to L.A. to face the charges.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Paul Constant

The journalist and critic discusses his newest project with AHOY Comics, ‘Planet of the Nerds.’

Paul Constant has a long career as a journalist and literary critic working for The Stranger and many other publications. He’s currently a writer at Civic Ventures, a public policy incubator in Seattle, where he writes about politics and economics, and is the co-founder of The Seattle Review of Books.

His new comic is Planet of the Nerds, with artwork by Alan Robinson and Randy Elliott. The first issue of the series is out this week from AHOY Comics. The comic opens in the 1980s when a science experiment goes wrong, and three jocks wake up in 2019 to find that comic conventions are massive, superhero movies rule the box office and everyone uses computers. They are horrified by this world. We spoke recently about how he ended up writing the comic, the way he uses backup stories in the series, and the different roles of editors in comics as opposed to journalism.

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