Smash Pages Q&A: Johnnie Christmas on ‘Crema,’ coffee, romance and ghosts

The creator of ‘Firebug,’ ‘Sheltered,’ ‘Tartarus’ and other comics discusses ‘Crema,’ his collaboration with artist Dante Luiz for comiXology Originals.

Johnnie Christmas is best known for his recent work like Catbird Angel, a collaboration with Margaret Atwood, and William Gibson’s Alien3, which he drew and adapted from Gibson’s original film script. Christmas has also made comics like Firebug and Sheltered, and is currently writing the comic Tartarus, which comes out from Image Comics.

Crema came out recently from comiXology Originals, and the romance comic involves coffee – no surprise, given the title. A romantic ghost story, it involves Esme, a New York barista who can see ghosts, and Yara, a Brazilian model who is the heiress to a coffee plantation. It is a love story set in New York and Brazil involving Yara’s family and legacy. The collaboration with artist Dante Luiz is charming and sweet and strange and beautiful, and as we talked about, there’s a lot happening that’s unsaid and under the surface of events.

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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: 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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May the 4th Be With You: ‘Star Wars: Doctor Aphra’ arrives digitally today

The first issue of the new series by Alyssa Wong and Marika Cresta can be found on comiXology now.

Everyone is celebrating Star Wars today, from Disney+to that purse company my wife likes. Marvel is getting in on the action by releasing the first issue of their new Star Wars: Doctor Aphra series on digital today.

Physical copies won’t arrive in comic shops until May 27, in the first wave of Marvel titles scheduled to hit comic shops since the coronavirus shut down Diamond Comics Distributors.

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Can Wait for Wednesday: DC, Marvel delay many of this week’s digital comics

Just a handful of digital releases will arrive on comiXology this week.

Although it seemed to take them longer to make a decision than most of the other publishers, both DC and Marvel have indicated that many of the single-issue comics they had planned to release this week digitally have been pushed out.

The news comes after Diamond Comic Distributors announced they would halt physical comics distribution to comic shops due to the coronavirus, starting with the comics originally scheduled for this Wednesday, April 1.

Many comics publishers announced fairly quickly after the news broke that they planned to hold off on releasing their comics digitally until their print releases were rescheduled.

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Check out holiday shopping deals from comiXology, Fantagraphics and more

Get Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on comics, merchandise and more.

Black Friday is here, bringing opportunities for comic fans to find that perfect gift or just a good deal. Here’s a rundown of some comic-related things to check out today, over the weekend and on Cyber Monday. I’ll add others as I see them, so be sure to check back.

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‘Dracula: Son of the Dragon’ arrives on comiXology

Long-brewing graphic novel by Mark Sable and Salgood Sam materializes just in time for Halloween.

It’s been six years since Mark Sable and Salgood Sam ran their Kickstarter campaign for Dracula: Son of the Dragon, a historical horror fantasy graphic novel that shows the transformation of the real-life Vlad the Impaler into Dracula. It’s a long time to wait, especially for a book originally targeted to arrive in 2014, but to their credit they’ve actually finished the project and it’s now scheduled to arrive on comiXology this week.

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Space Jam: de Campi + Neogi launch Josie and the Pussycats into space

The comiXology Originals series will debut this Wednesday.

Josie and the Pussycats are going where no … pussycat has gone before — outer space. ComiXology and Archie Comics have teamed up for a new digital series by writer Alex de Campi with art by Devaki Neogi.

Josie and the Pussycats in Space debuts this Wednesday as part of the comiXology Originals line.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Alex Segura

The author and co-president of Archie Comics talks about his latest project, ‘The Black Ghost’ from comiXology.

Alex Segura has had a busy year. During the day he’s busy as the co-president of Archie Comics, where he’s editing books, including the company’s flagship title, Archie. This year he also published a new novel, Miami Midnight, which he claims will be the last book in his Pete Fernandez series for the time being.

This week comiXology starts to serialize The Black Ghost, a creator-owned miniseries that Segura co-wrote with Monica Gallagher. The comic tells the story of Lara Dominguez, a reporter trying to uncover a masked vigilante in the city, and plays with the intersections of crime fiction, pulp fiction and superheroes in interesting ways.

The first issue is out this week, and I asked Segura a few questions about the comic, crime fiction and collaboration.

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