Mail Call | ‘X-O Manowar’ returns, ‘Death Metal’ one-shots and more

A round-up of news from DC, Marvel, Image Comics, Valiant and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently. Hit the links for more information.

The Dark Nights: Death Metal event grew again this week, as DC announced two new anthology one-shots for November prior to releasing their full November solicitations.

The first one is focused on Lobo and is titled Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hours Exxxtreme! #1. It will feature “Uncle Lobo” telling “familiar yet freaky stories of the DC Universe, exactly as he remembers them: with blood and guts and exxxtreme gratuitous violence.” The creators involved include Frank Tieri, Becky Cloonan, Dale Eaglesham and more, with a cover by Kyle Hotz.

If that one isn’t ridiculous-sounding enough, the second one, Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs “offers the curious—and the brave—a glimpse into the nightmare realities that the Batman Who Laughs has created in tales by creators who know what it means to have a truly twisted sense of misfit humor.” As you can tell by the cover, one of those worlds features evil super pets. It includes stories by Amanda Conner, Patton Oswalt, Jimmy Palmiotti, Scott Snyder, Brandon Thomas, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Chad Hardin and more.

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Palmiotti, Conner working on a Black Label Harley Quinn miniseries

Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner put a mature readers spin on Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, the husband and wife team who chronicled the adventures of Harley Quinn for several years, will reunite on the character for a new four-issue ‘Black Label’ miniseries titled Harley Quinn and The Birds of Prey.

As the title would suggest, it will feature Quinn teaming up with Black Canary, Huntress, Cassandra Cain and Renee Montoya after the Joker puts a bounty on her head. And since it falls under their Black Label imprint, expect it to be aimed at more mature audiences than their last work on the character.

“Jimmy and I are so looking forward to this project,” said Conner. “I’m excited to be co-writing it, but it’s been some time since I’ve been able to draw interiors, so I’m doubly excited. Harley is a blast to write and draw; throw the Birds of Prey into the mix and it’s even more fun. And since this will be a mature readers title, we’ll do our best to get away with as many shenanigans as possible!”

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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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Comics Lowdown: Who owns Atlas Comics?

Plus: Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award recipients, Paige Braddock, Frank Santoro, Dr. Gene Luen Yang and more!

Who exactly owns Atlas Comics? That seems to be the question raised in two articles from The Hollywood Reporter. Earlier this month Steven Paul, producer of the Ghost Rider film, announced via a press conference that he had bought the rights to the Atlas Comics and planned to work with Paramount to turn the properties into movies. Not so fast, said Dynamite Entertainment, who followed up by telling THR that they own the name “Atlas Comics.”

Many of you may be wondering “What the heck was Atlas Comics?” while others might be thinking, “Wait, wasn’t Atlas the company that eventually evolved into Marvel Comics in the 1960s?” And still others are wondering, “Didn’t he learn his lesson after Ghost Rider?”

But getting back to Atlas, yes, there was an Atlas Comics in the 1950s that grew out of Timely Comics and eventually became Marvel Comics. It was owned by publisher Martin Goodman, and it put out comics in a variety of genres like horror, crime, espionage and even a few superhero titles featuring characters like Captain America and the Human Torch, who had previously been published under the Timely banner. However, this isn’t that Atlas Comics.

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DC’s Walmart-exclusive stories headed to comic shops

DC Comics announced at WonderCon that stories by Brian Michael Bendis, Tom King and others will be released in the direct market.

DC Comics answered a question at WonderCon that’s been in the minds of readers and retailers — will the stories they’ve released exclusively to Walmart ever be collected and available in comic shops?

The answer is yes, as DC announced at their publisher’s panel today that stories like Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington’s Batman: Universe will be collected and released in the direct market.

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‘Detective’ #1000 to feature Dini, Lee, Bendis, Cloonan, Ellis and more

DC Comics has unveiled the line-up for Detective Comics #1000, the landmark issue that arrives in stores in March.

The comic will feature short stories by a variety of creative teams, from classic Batman creators like Denny O’Neil, Paul Dini and Kelley Jones, as well as more recent creators like Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Tom King.

“Following in the footsteps of the blockbuster Action Comics #1000, Detective Comics #1000 is going to be a must-have for every kind of Batman fan,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio. “Everyone we asked to be a part of this monumental issue immediately said yes and we can’t wait for fans to get their hands on the comic book.”

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Thompson, Carnero blast off with ‘Captain Marvel’ this January

Carol Danvers returns to New York in a new series.

Marvel will kick off 2019 with the launch of a new Captain Marvel series, which lands just two months before the film of the same name debuts. Writer Kelly Thompson, who has been very prolific at the publisher in recent months, will work with artists Carmen Carnero and Tamra Bonvillain on the series.

This is Thompson’s second time to work on the character; she previously teamed with Kelly Sue DeConnick on Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps in 2015.

Amanda Conner provides the cover for the first issue:

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Walmart to offer exclusive ‘giant’ anthologies from DC — with new content

New material by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Dan Jurgens, Tim Seeley, Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis and Andy Kubert joins past stories in new monthly line.

DC Comics and Walmart have teamed up to offer an exclusive line of 100-page “giant” anthologies at the big-box retailer. The anthologies will feature a mix of previously published and new materiel, including new material by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Patrick “Patch” Zircher, Brian Michael Bendis, Dan Jurgens, Tim Seeley, Rick Leonardi, Steve Buccellato, Andy Kubert, Scott Eaton and Tom King.

“We are extraordinarily excited about working with Walmart to expand the reach of our books,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio in a statement. “These new monthly books combine new and accessible stories with reprints of classic comic series. It’s a great way for new readers to get into comics and follow the characters they’ve grown to love in TV and film.”

Each of the four titles – Superman Giant, Justice League Of America Giant, Batman Giant and Teen Titans Giant – will arrive in stores by July 1. Beginning in August, the Superman and Justice League titles will arrive in week one of each month, with Batman and Teen Titans arriving approximately two weeks later. They’ll cost $4.99.

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Comics Lowdown: ‘One Punch Man’ tops GN chart

Plus: Another view of Marvel’s Northrop Grumman Comic, Palmiotti and Conner say goodbye to Harley Quinn, and was New York Comic Con too big?

Top Graphic Novels: Viz takes half the slots in the September BookScan top 20 chart, which measures sales of graphic novels in the book channel: Vol. 12 of One Punch Man was the top seller, followed by the all-in-one edition of Death Note (a 12-volume omnibus—yes, it’s a brick). Perennial best-sellers Fun Home, March, and Watchmen all make the chart, as does Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race, vol. 3 of Tom King’s Batman: Rebirth, and Avatar’s limited edition of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s Providence: Act 3. Interestingly, there is not a single Image title on the list.

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