Rafael Albuquerque puts down his pencil, grabs the keyboard for ‘Funny Creek’

Albuquerque co-wrote the new miniseries with Rafael Scavone for comiXology Originals.

Although probably best known for his award-winning work as an artist on American Vampire, Rafael Albuquerque will take a different role on Funny Creek, a new miniseries debuting from comiXology Originals this week.

Rafael Albuquerque co-wrote the miniseries with Rafael Scavone. Eduardo Medeiros drew it, with colors by Priscilla Tramontano and letters by Bernardo Brice. Bis Stringer Horne edited the project. Funny Creek is the first of four comic books coming out of the comiXology Originals multi-book deal with Stout Club Entertainment.

“We’ve wanted to collaborate in a new project for a long time and finally decided on a book aimed for young readers, which is not our comfort zone at all,” said Albuquerque. “While brainstorming ideas, heavy subjects kept coming to our minds, and we decided that we should not avoid, but embrace them—figuring out how an 8-year old kid would deal with things like loss, guilt and grief. That was the path where we found something unique and interesting for both young and mature audiences.”

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comiXology Originals, Kodansha to release ‘Shaman King’ digitally

The entire saga — including three volumes never released in English — will hit comiXology on July 28.

Kodansha and comiXology originals announced this week that Hiroyuki Takei’s shonen manga Shaman Kings will arrive on the platform in its entirety on July 28.

“It’s been over 10 years since I’ve completed Shaman King. But finally –– at last –– I can deliver the true ending to the story to the fans in America,” said Shaman King creator Hiroyuki Takei in the press release. “It’s a message from my heart, and I think it’s a particularly important one in this day and age. I hope that it’ll reach the hearts of many comrades.”

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Coffee, ghosts + romance: Christmas + Luiz team for ‘Crema’

The graphic novel by Johnnie Christmas, Dante Luiz and Ryan Ferrier arrives from comiXology Originals next week.

ComiXology Originals will drop another new graphic next week titled Crema. The digital release is by the creative team of Johnnie Christmas (Tartarus), Hugo-Award finalist Dante Luiz and letterer Ryan Ferrier.

“I wrote most of it in coffee shops around Vancouver, pounding copious amounts of caffeine and listening to hours of cafe talk,” Christmas said. “Dante’s art is beautiful. We were going for magical realism and fabulism in the modern context, utilizing color shifts in places to further heighten romance and ghostly terror.”

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‘Virtually Yours’ by Holt + Beals arrives July 14 from comiXology Originals

The new graphic novel is a “rom-com for the digital age.’

ComiXology Originals has announced another new graphic novel that they plan to release July 14 — Virtually Yours, a “rom-com for the digital age” by writer Jeremy Holt and artist Elizabeth Beals, with lettering by Adam Wollet.

“If the quarantine has been an indicator, access to high-speed internet has become society’s lifeline. As connective as this new virtual landscape has and can be, it cannot replace the absence of interacting in a three-dimensional space,” Holt said in the press release. “Particularly when it comes to all stages of a romantic relationship. Virtually Yours focuses on one particular aspect, which is the notion that a simulated online connection can be equally as genuine as a random face-to-face one. In this day and age, I’d argue that they’ve become interchangeable. With the advent of robust chat software, online dating has evolved from simply facilitating an eventual in-person meet up to hosting dates in their entirety. This has dynamically altered our ideas, notions and expectations of courtship because the physicality component has been removed. Creative problem solving is the name of the game, and I for one support the notion of pioneering new and sustainable ways to be human.”

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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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