Comics Lowdown: ‘Astro Hustle’ canceled after sexual misconduct allegations against Jai Nitz

Plus: Mark Alessi passes away; DiNKy award nominees and more.

Dark Horse Comics has canceled the final two issues of Astro Hustle after writer Jai Nitz was accused of sexual misconduct.

The allegations were first published on the Her Campus website by Hannah Strader, a University of Kansas student who met Nitz when he was a guest lecturer in one of her classes. Nitz, whose recent work also includes a Suicide Squad story for DC Comics, briefly deleted his Twitter account (which is now set to private) and bailed on his appearance at 2019 Planet Comicon last weekend.

“Dark Horse takes all allegations seriously. We have cancelled future issues of Astro Hustle,” the publisher said in a statement to CBR.com. “While we were unable to prevent our distributor’s shipping of Astro Hustle #2, we are also suspending our professional ties with Jai Nitz.”

Astro Hustle artist Tom Reilly addressed the cancellation on Twitter, saying it was “for the best” and showing support for the victim. And Nitz released a statement to Bleeding Cool, saying “I am stepping away from comics and public life. I am seeking counseling and trying to live a better life for my loved ones.”

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: ‘Astro Hustle’ canceled after sexual misconduct allegations against Jai Nitz”

Matt Wagner’s Grendel prepares for launch in October

Grendel heads into a space in a new miniseries.

With the Mage saga wrapped up, it only makes sense that Matt Wagner would return to his other most famous creation, Grendel. First appearing in 1982 from publisher Comico, the character has gone on to star in various series and miniseries over the years at Dark Horse Comics.

This fall, colorist Brennan Wagner and letterer Dave Lanphear join Wagner on Grendel: Devil’s Odyssey, which sees the titular character head into space.

Continue reading “Matt Wagner’s Grendel prepares for launch in October”

Lemire + Deodato Jr. unleash ‘Berserker Unbound’

Dark Horse Comics will kick off the urban fantasy miniseries in August.

Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato Jr. are teaming up for a new urban fantasy series that brings a barbarian into the modern age — and of course, chaos ensues. Berserker Unbound will debut in August.

“As soon as I had a chance to work with Mike Deodato on Thanos at Marvel I knew it would be the start of a beautiful partnership,” Lemire said. “We immediately started talking about the potential of teaming up for a creator-owned series. Mike is an incredible artist and, with Berserker Unbound, I tried to model a story to all of his many strengths. Berserker Unbound is many things. It has magic, action, and blood, but it also has heart. And it’s not at all what it first appears to be. We’re both very excited to be working together at Dark Horse, with Frank Martin and Steve Wands, to build the worlds of both Berserker and the world of Cobb, his unexpected companion.”

Continue reading “Lemire + Deodato Jr. unleash ‘Berserker Unbound’”

‘Usagi Yojimbo’ moves to IDW

Stan Sakai’s most famous creation leaves Dark Horse Comics for a full-color series that starts in June.

After more than 20 years at Dark Horse Comics, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo will migrate to a new publisher in June. The New York Times revealed today that everyone’s favorite samurai rabbit is making the jump to IDW Publishing.

And while Usagi has been published in black and white for most of its life, the IDW series will be in full color. Sakai will work with colorist and frequent collaborator Tom Luth on the new series. In addition, IDW will release color editions of previous Usagi volumes.

Continue reading “‘Usagi Yojimbo’ moves to IDW”

Second ‘Stranger Things’ miniseries coming in May

Jody Houser returns to write a prequel to the popular Netflix show.

Dark Horse Comics has announced a second Stranger Things comic, following up on last year’s miniseries. Writer Jody Houser returns to the property to tell the story of one of Eleven’s “siblings” in Stranger Things: SIX.

The new miniseries will serve as a prequel to the hit Netflix TV show, introducing a girl named Francine with precognitive abilities. “She’s struggled through a lifetime of exploitation: first by her parents, then by Dr. Brenner of Hawkins Laboratory,” the press release reads. “Dr. Brenner wants to harness her powers as well as those of the other gifted children that they hold captive at the lab. Wracked by increasingly disturbing visions, she sees an opportunity to change her life.”

Continue reading “Second ‘Stranger Things’ miniseries coming in May”

Maybury + Lotfi expose the terror that lives at the ‘Last Stop on the Red Line’

The four-issue miniseries begins in May.

Writer Paul Maybury and artist Sam Lotfi will expose the horror that lives on Boston’s subway line in a new miniseries for Dark Horse Comics, Last Stop on the Red Line. Colorist John Rauch and letterer Adam Pruett will help bring this horror to light.

“Subterranean shivery beneath the cold streets of Boston awaits,” Maybury said in the press release. “As a native son, I’ve yearned to tell a story of the other side of the city, seldom portrayed. Real people contending with dissonant visions that convey a reality worse than their darkest nightmares.”

Continue reading “Maybury + Lotfi expose the terror that lives at the ‘Last Stop on the Red Line’”

Exclusive: Mack + Fegredo cover ‘Fight Club 3’ #5

David Mack and Duncan Fegredo set the stage for the latest chapter of Tyler Durden’s descent into fatherhood.

Chuck Palahniuk’s classic novel Fight Club has found new life in comics, and the mayhem caused by Tyler Durden continues to grow in its latest sequel, Fight Club 3. The first bonkers issue arrived in January, as the lead characters prepare for the arrival of Durden’s heir.

Issue #5 arrives in May from Dark Horse Comics, and we’re pleased to share your exclusive first look at the comics’ two covers, by the wonderful David Mack and Duncan Fegredo. Check them out below.

Continue reading “Exclusive: Mack + Fegredo cover ‘Fight Club 3’ #5”

Comics Lowdown: Eric M. Esquivel fired from ‘Nightwing,’ ‘Border Town’ cancelled

Plus: Free Comics Book Day, George Freeman, Marie Javins and more!

Although it wasn’t yet announced, DC Comics has said Eric M. Esquivel will no longer co-write Nightwing. The news that Esquivel was writing the book was to be revealed today in DC’s January solicitations.

The news follows the cancellation of Border Town, a well-reviewed series Esquivel wrote with artists Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain. Both Villalobos and Bonvillain announced on social media they had quit the title after allegations of sexual abuse against Esquivel became public. In a piece titled “X, my experience with my abuser,” toy designer Cynthia Naugle detailed a history of abuse by a co-worker at a comic shop, who has since been identified as Esquivel.

Neither DC Comics nor Vertigo have commented directly on the abuse allegations. Esquivel, who had changed his Twitter account to private following the allegations, has now made it public again and posted several tweets in response. At Book Riot, writer S.W. Sondheimer says she will no longer cover Vertigo titles as a result of their silence on the matter.

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Eric M. Esquivel fired from ‘Nightwing,’ ‘Border Town’ cancelled”

‘Calamity Kate’ hunts monsters in March

New miniseries by Magdalene Visaggio, Corin Howell, Valentina Pinto and Zakk Saam debuts from Dark Horse Comics next year.

Magdalene Visaggio, Corin Howell, Valentina Pinto and Zakk Saam are headed for calamity — Calamity Kate, that is, a new miniseries from Dark Horse Comics.

Continue reading “‘Calamity Kate’ hunts monsters in March”