Smash Pages Q&A: Magdalene Visaggio

The writer of ‘Eternity Girl,’ ‘Vagrant Queen,’ ‘Kim & Kim,’ ‘Morning in America’ and more discusses ‘Lost on Planet Earth,’ her latest series from comiXology Originals.

In the span of just a few years, Magdalene Visaggio has shown herself to be one of the most original, dynamic and inventive writers in comics. 

She’s written books for different companies from Marvel (Dazzler: X-Song) and Valiant (Doctor Mirage) to IDW (Transformers vs. The Visionaries) and Humanoids (Strangelands). The Eternity Girl miniseries from her and Sonny Liew is simply one of the strongest (and strangest) books that DC has published in recent years and I think the best book to come out of the very impressive Young Animal imprint.

For the most part, though Visaggio has written creator-owned miniseries. That in and of itself is hard to do, but the wide variety of what she’s made is impressive. To name just a few, Visaggio has written three Kim & Kim series, Calamity Kate, Morning in America, Quantum Teens Are Go!, Sex Death Revolution, two Vagrant Queen miniseries. Yes, the same Vagrant Queen that was adapted into the current SyFy Channel TV show.

So much of her work is about change and about the emotional journey of transforming ourselves, growing up and finding a new path, rejecting what’s laid out for us when it would be easier to accept it. In a medium that specializes in stories of transformation and adventure, Visaggio has found a place for queer stories and misfit stories that break so many molds and expectations, crafting something that is different, sometimes startlingly so. Her stories reject grand narratives, hero journeys, chosen one sagas, for something messier, something harder. Something a little more realistic and relatable. They are stories about the lives that we build and shape ourselves, with the emotional and psychological stories far more important than the larger narratives.

Her current project is Lost on Planet Earth, the second issue of which comes out from Comixology today. A collaboration with Claudia Aguirre, the two have worked together often over the years. The book and its themes come out of a lifelong obsession with Star Trek (something we both share), but the story that she’s written is uniquely hers, something that one doesn’t need to be a Trek fan to understand or relate to, and something truly unique. 

Visaggio and I met last year at the Queers & Comics Conference, and we spoke recently about working with artists, the Federation and more, while comiXology provided a preview of the new issue. 

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Smash Pages Q&A: Claudia Aguirre

The artist of ‘Lost on Planet Earth’ shares some early character designs for the comic and discusses her process for creating characters, working with Magdalene Visaggio and more.

Claudia Aguirre has been working in comics for years as an artist and colorist on books like Morning in America, Hotel Dare, Kim & Kim and Open Earth. She’s one half of Boudika Comics with Eva Cabrera. Her new project is the comiXology Originals series Lost on Planet Earth, which she made with her longtime collaborator Magdalene Visaggio.

The slice-of-life science fiction tale launched last month and with issue #2 coming out on May 19, I asked Aguirre a few questions about how she works, and she provided some character designs to show how she thinks – and give a first look at a character appearing in the new issue.

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Can’t Wait for Comics: Everything must change

Marvel makes its return (digitally) as DC makes Tuesday comics a permanent thing.

Welcome to our newly renamed Can’t Wait for Wednesday Comics, our weekly look at what’s arriving in shops, on digital and wherever else you can find comics.

So why the name change? Well, with comics and graphic novels arriving in different places and channels on different days — and even some publishers shifting weekly comics away from the traditional Wednesday — it seemed antiquated to assume that people are only buying new comics on one day during the week. When DC started releasing their comics again in April, they shifted from the traditional comic-shop Wednesday to Tuesday — which is consistent with when trades and graphic novels arrive in book stores. They plan for this to be a permanent change moving forward.

So yeah, it’s a crazy time in the comics world right now, just like it is in the larger world. But here are some comics and graphic novels you can find this week — in comic shops or bookstores if they’re open, through online shops or via digital channels.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Chip Mosher

The head of content for comiXology Originals discusses his role, what he looks for in a project, the launch of ‘Youth’ and more.

Chip Mosher got his start in comics as a creator, writing the miniseries Left on Mission that was published by BOOM! Studios back in 2008. From there he joined BOOM! in a public relations and marketing role, before eventually moving over to comiXology.

While serving in a marketing role for the digital comics provider, he added responsibilities as head of content back in 2016, when the company launched its comiXology Originals imprint. These are original, digital comics created in conjunction with either existing publishers or directly with creators, and are available to buy on comiXology or to read if you subscribe to comiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited or Prime Reading.

Since then, the imprint has published comics in conjunction with Archie, Kodansha, Marvel and other publishers, as well as creators like Chip Zdarsky, Kel McDonald, Tyler Crook, Ray Fawkes, Magdalene Visaggio, Claudia Aguirre and many more. Today sees the launch of their latest title, Youth by Curt Pires and Alex Diotto, which will run weekly for four issues. I spoke with Mosher about this latest project, the imprint’s evolution, his approach to finding new content and more.

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Pires + Diotto team for ‘Youth’ digital weekly series

‘Olympia’ creators Curt Pires and Alex Diotto team with Dee Cunniffe and Micah Myers for a new comiXology Originals series.

The co-creators of the excellent Image Comics series Olympia are reuniting for a weekly four-issue digital series that will debut from comiXology Originals May 12.

Youth tells the story of Franklin and River, who “struggle to navigate family, friends, high school, work, drugs and all the pressures of growing up. As a queer couple, they yearn to escape their lives in a small, bigoted Midwest town. They steal River’s stepfather’s Mustang and hit the road. Their destination? California. But along the way, the car breaks down. They meet some kids who are traveling the country, partying and attempting to find themselves. They party some more … and soon everything changes.”

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Can’t Wait for Wednesday: Slowly turning the faucet

DC Comics returned to (some) stores this week with a handful of comics, plus see what’s new in digital, OGNs and more.

And we are back, not with a bang, but with a whimper. We’re still several weeks away from Diamond and most of the comics industry returning to regular operations, but DC decided to break the model and bring back new comics in April, using two new distributors. Also, their new comics were available Tuesday, rather than Wednesday. Up is down, right is left … everything’s insane in this new world.

This feels more like a “beta” week for DC, too, who slowly dip their toes back in the water with their two new distribution partners. Thus, the new release list is very limited. But subsequent weeks should see more new comics from DC. And Diamond is targeting May 20 for their triumphant return, which should bring back even more comics from other publishers. The list of comics for that week is still being finalized, but you can see how it’s shaping up.

Anyway, let’s jump into what came out this week …

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What Are You Reading? Daredevil, Mister Miracle and more!

See what the Smash Pages crew has checked off their “to read” list lately.

We’re back this week with another look at what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately; we’ve been sheltering in place with several vigilantes, some sci fi characters and a girl that talks to squirrels. Now that’s a party …

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‘Lost on Planet Earth’ coming from comiXology Originals on Wednesday

The ‘Kim & Kim’ team of Magdalene Visaggio and Claudia Aguirre team up again for a five-issue miniseries.

There may not be much new stuff arriving on comiXology right now deu to the coronavirus, but here’s something to look forward to — this Wednesday they’ll release the latest in their comiXology Originals line, Lost on Planet Earth.

The Kim & Kim team of Magdalene Visaggio and Claudia Aguirre team up again for a five-issue miniseries set in the year 2381, featuring “a conflicted lesbian relationship in a socially reactionary future.”

“This is a series about the ones who stay behind, the ones who don’t like what they see. It is an examination of choice and self-determination and self-knowledge,” said Visaggio. “At its heart, Lost on Planet Earth is a sci-fi slice-of-life comic about a burgeoning group of friends making their own way in a world that has no place for them.” 

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ray Fawkes

The creator of ‘One Soul’ and ‘Possessions’ discusses the process of creating ‘In the Flood,’ his latest release from comiXology Originals.

Ray Fawkes is the writer of a long list of comics series including Constantine, Wolverines, Batman Eternal and Gotham by Midnight, but for many of us, no matter how many comics he writes, he will always be the cartoonist behind a long run of graphic novels and comics series including One Soul, Underwinter, Intersect, Possessions and The People Inside. He’s a creator who seems to effortlessly move between forms and approaches and genres

His new book is In the Flood. A digital comic that’s out now from comiXology Originals, Fawkes made the book with Lee Loughridge and Thomas Mauer, and though it’s hard to talk about the book involving a couple separated by a flood without giving some of the story away, it very much fits in with Fawkes’ other comics which he’s written and drawn. I spoke with Fawkes recently about how the book required a different way to work, how having a messy studio helps him to craft order on the page and his drawing practice.

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