Comics Lowdown: Bookscan charts, female readers and the Big Two

Comics gets a wake-up call, Wonder Woman gets a long-lost brother and Ted Rall gets SLAPPed.

It’s like comics is going through its half-year review, and manga and kids’ graphic novels get high marks but Marvel and DC get a low “needs improvement.” Heidi MacDonald has a long but very readable article at The Beat summarizing what’s going on: Comics are thriving, but not monthly comics and not in comic shops:

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Peck, Haun team for post-apocalyptic fantasy series ‘The Realm’

New series from Image Comics launches in September.

Former “X-Men” writer Seth Peck is teaming with “The Beauty” artist Jeremy Haun on “The Realm,” a story about a post-apocalyptic Earth invaded by orcs, dragons and other Dungeons and Dragons monsters.

“Creator-owned comics are the only place you can tell stories like ‘The Realm’ exactly as you want them to be told,” Peck said in a statement. “You can have an F-14 take on a dragon in the skies over Chicago, or have a horde of orcs lay siege to the White House without worrying about special effects or budgets. At the same time, you can tell very intimate, emotional, and human stories and develop complicated, meaningful characters over the course of time. With ‘The Realm,’ Jeremy and I wanted to blend all the genres we enjoy, mix in plenty of action, and give readers something unique and exciting to look forward to each month.”

The duo will work with colorist Nick Filardi and letterer Thomas Mauer on the project, which launches in September.

“’The Realm’ is the book I’ve wanted to do my entire life,” said Haun. “It’s the perfect mash of everything I love to draw. Post-apocalyptic landscapes, dark magical citadels, machine gun-toting barbarians, unnamable horrors, DRAGONS—it doesn’t get more fun than this.”

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Samurai Jack returns to comics

Genndy Tartakovsky’s popular animated samurai returns in a new comic by Fabian Rangel Jr. and Warwick Johnson Cadwell.

Samurai Jack returns to comics this fall for a new series by Fabian Rangel Jr. and Warwick Johnson Cadwell, the team behind IDW’s recent “Helena Crash” series.

Titled “Quantum Jack,” the new series will send Jack to alternate realities with “his memories erased, but his spirit intact,” as he becomes the leader of a biker gang and more. It sounds kind of like “Quantum Leap,” only with Genndy Tartakovsky’s popular animated character doing the leaping.

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‘Rocket Girl’ returns in August

Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder’s time-traveling teen returns this summer.

Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder’s Kickstarter-turned-Image Comics series “Rocket Girl” returns in August with issue #8.

“I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but everything we’ve done so far with ‘Rocket Girl’ has been leading up to these next few, completed issues,” said Reeder in a press release. “Major things are about to happen! And I for one wouldn’t want to hear the gossip second-hand at the water cooler.”

“Rocket Girl” debuted back in 2013, following a successful Kickstarter for the first issue. The book stars DaYoung Johansson, a teenaged cop from the future who goes back to 1986 to investigate “crimes against time.” The project followed the duo’s work on “Halloween Eve” and preceded their all-ages Marvel title, “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.”

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When monkeys fly: Image announces ‘Angelic’

Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard tell the story of teenage rebellion on a human-less Earth.

Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard are teaming up for a new “young adult” title called Angelic, which launches from Image Comics in September.

“Angelic’s about teenage flying monkeys having adventures in the far future, because that’s totally a genre now,” Spurrier said in a press release. “But in the best traditions of age-friendly fiction—think Pixar or Ghibli—there’s also a bunch of meaty themes beneath the fun: religion, parenthood, technology and responsibility, it’s all in the mix. Ultimately it’s a tale about the Earth—after us. And all rendered in the unmistakably vivid color and crackle of superstar-in-the-making Caspar Wijngaard.”

Featuring genetically modified winged monkeys, techno-dolphins and quantum alley cats, Angelic tells the story of Qora, a flying monkey who doesn’t want to lose her wings in a human-less future.

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Sean Galloway taking pre-orders for ‘Table Taffy’

New collection of comics available for $10.

Comic creator and animator Sean Galloway is working with Doug Wagner and Leonel Castellani on “Table Taffy Comic ‘Zine,” a self-published collection of several comics, games and more.

“‘TableTaffy Comic’Zine’ is a new line of books to showcase comics based on my creator owned projects,” he wrote on Instagram. “Issue #1 features Shadow Pirates oneshot #1 as well as comics for my Bastion’s 7, Gumshoes 4 Hire, Little Big Heads and introducing my new property, Mohnstur Watch! Games and activities are also included, so the whole family can enjoy!”

The book can be pre-ordered here for $10, with delivery expected in July. Check out some preview art below.

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‘Elsewhere’ transports Amelia Earhart to an alien world

Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin take the aviator on a fantastic journey in a new comic from Image.

Copperhead and Noble Causes writer Jay Faerber will team with artist Sumeyye Kesgin to reveal what really happened to famed aviator Amelia Earhart in a story involving alien worlds and flying beasts. Elsewhere debuts from Image Comics this August.

Elsewhere is the kind of series I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time, with exotic characters, fantastic creatures, and huge scope,” Faerber said in a press release. “But I needed a relatable character to hang everything on. I found that character in Amelia Earhart—she’s inspiring, courageous, and most of all, real. And I’ve found the perfect partner to help me navigate this thrilling adventure: artist Sumeyye Kesgin. She’s incredible, and absolutely vital to bringing this world to life.”

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Comics Lowdown: The woman behind Wonder Woman

Plus: ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ returns, Red Planet opens in Albuquerque, Melanie Gillman, Alex Segura, Harley Quinn and more.

The Wonder Woman movie has lots of people looking at the history of the character and how she has evolved over the years. The Fresh Toast has a great interview with Trina Robbins, the first woman to draw Wonder Woman and a pioneering underground comics artist and comics historian as well. She’s a delightful person who has had a fascinating life, and this interview is a great way to start off your week.

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AdHouse gets ‘Screwed Up’ in August

Konstantin Steshenko’s marriage-proposal-gone-wrong story comes to print this summer.

AdHouse Books will publish Konstantin Steshenko’s Screwed Up in August, a tale of a marriage proposal gone wrong.

How bad is it, exactly? Well, you can take a look at some preview pages below, and just know that it gets awfully worse from there.

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