DC adds two new Walmart titles, renames others

‘Flash” and ‘Swamp Thing’ join the line-up, with new material by Tim Seeley, Gail Simone and more.

DC Comics is adding two more titles to its slate of Walmart-exclusive comics, bringing the number from four to six. And they are renaming two existing ones.

The two new titles are Swamp Thing 100-Page Giant and Flash 100-Page Giant, and like the other titles in the line they will feature new stories packaged with reprints of previous stories. Justice League and Teen Titans, meanwhile, will get new names — the former becomes Wonder Woman, while the latter will shorten its name to Titans — no doubt to match the name of the show that can be found on DC’s streaming service.

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DC Comics titles now available via comiXology Unlimited

DC Comics joins up with comiXology and Amazon to offer select titles on their ‘all you can eat’ subscription plans.

ComiXology Unlimited just got a nice bump in content, as the digital comics company announced today via press release that select DC Comics will now be available via their “all you can eat” subscription model. They’ll also be available via Amazon’s Kindle Prime and Prime Reading services.

“We are thrilled to now include an incredible selection of DC’s vast library of Super Heroes and DC Vertigo titles as part of comiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited, and Prime Reading, bringing an even bigger benefit to all our subscription members” said comiXology CEO and Co-Founder David Steinberger in the release. “With the addition of DC and DC Vertigo titles we’re providing more convenience and a great opportunity for readers to discover and explore some of the best stories comics have to offer at no additional cost to their current Prime, Kindle Unlimited or comiXology Unlimited subscription.”

comiXology Unlimited launched in 2016 and offers unlimited reading of about 20,000 comic titles for $5.99 per month. It offers titles from Marvel, Image Comics, IDW Publishing, Dark Horse and many others, but DC Comics has been a holdout until now. DC’s own DC Universe service, which launched last year, also includes a buffet of comics in addition to streaming TV shows and movies.

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Comics Lowdown: Tom King’s CIA service

Plus: ‘The Arrival’ selected for Hong Kong’s first ‘One City, One Book’ campaign, the obituary Marie Severin should have received, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Phoebe Gloeckner, Diamond Gem awards and more best-of-2018 lists!

Happy New Year from the Smash Pages staff! Coming back from the holiday break, let’s ring out the old and ring in the new with today’s collection of comic book news links.

Let’s start with a weird one: Last week Abhay Khosla, comics critic and past Superman writer, posted about his attempts to confirm with the CIA that Batman and Heroes in Crisis writer Tom King used to work for them. The topic of King’s former employer frequently comes up in interviews related to his Batman work (not to mention King’s Vertigo series The Sheriff of Babylon), and Khosla questioned whether any reporters who interviewed King about it had ever confirmed it. So Khosla sent the CIA a letter back in 2016 asking for confirmation, and the response he received from the agency was inconclusive.

This exchange occurred in 2016, and why Khosla decided to go public with it now isn’t clear. The point of Khosla’s post doesn’t seem to be to call out King as a liar (he starts his post by saying, “I don’t think this is really a story about Tom King”) but is more of a statement about entertainment journalism and fact-checking. He points out similar situations where a past DC writer, Micah Wright, lied about being in the armed services, as well as current Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski pretending to be Japanese early in his career.

The problem isn’t in asking the question — it’s posting about it without an answer or actually asking King about it. Like verifying facts, that’s also journalism 101. After the post went live, King was quick to respond on Twitter, showing proof that he was, indeed, in the CIA. Bleeding Cool, The Comics Reporter and Nick Hanover have more commentary on this.

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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.

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Comics Lowdown: ‘Love Is Love’ brings in another $51,000 for The Trevor Project

Plus: Tumblr changes its guidelines, November comics sales drop, Olivia Stephens, Sophie Goldstein, Geoff Johns, Kieron Gillen, Todd Klein, more best-of-the-year lists and more!

The Love Is Love anthology published by IDW Publishing and DC Comics continues to raise money for LGBT organizations; earlier this week IDW announced a donation of $51,000 to The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. This follows a donation of $165,000 in 2017 to the OneOrlando Fund to assist the victims and families impacted by the deadly attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016.

“This has so exceeded any of my wildest hopes for the amount of money it could raise and the attention it got,” Marc Andreyko, who organized and curated the anthology, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We were able to give $51,000 to the Trevor Project two years out, when the news cycle is so fast people don’t remember what happened five minutes ago. I’m happy and sad that there is an evergreen quality to this.”

The anthology is currently in its sixth printing, available via online booksellers, comic book specialty retailers and through digital platforms.

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2018 Cyber Monday Comic Sales

It is not too late to score some last minute deals!

As the day winds down, it is not too late to score some last minute Cyber Monday sales. It is a good idea to check your own local comic store for deals closest to home. Here are some comic and comic related deals online

Fantagraphics 2018 Cyber Monday banner

Fantagraphics is offering 40% off almost everything!

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Comics Lowdown: Remembering Stan ‘The Man’ Lee

Plus: ‘The Brotherhood’ writer revealed! Transformers’ growing female fan base! Plus Art Spiegelman, Stan Webb and the scariest comic panel in ages!

Following the death of Marvel legend Stan Lee on Monday, many outlets covered not only his death, but turned the focus on his wide-reaching life and legacy. Some of the mainstream coverage included:

  • The New York Times not only wrote a thorough obituary of “The Man,” but also featured a comic by Brian Michael Bendis, Bill Walko and Howie Noel.
  • Peter David, freelance comics writer and a former Marvel employee, wrote a remembrance of Lee for Vulture. “Still, there was a time where Stan became the incarnation of that line from The Dark Knight: You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain. In the ’80s and ’90s, it became increasingly stylish to bash Stan, to accuse him of hogging attention for his creations from the artists. But the fact is that before Marvel Comics, comics writers and artists were anonymous. It was Stan who made the artists the centerpieces of the work, giving them snappy nicknames like ‘Stainless’ Steve Ditko, ‘Genial’ Gene Colan, ‘Larrupin’’ Larry Lieber (no, even his brother wasn’t immune), and many others. We would come to know the artists (and other writers) as well as, if not better than, members of our only families. DC editors were so disdainful of this practice that they referred to him as ‘Stan Brag,’ before eventually following suit and crediting people.”
  • Roy Thomas, a legendary comics writer in his own right, shares the memory of his last Saturday spent with Lee at the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Marvel dedicated a special section of their website to Lee, with a tribute video.

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Ridley’s ‘The Other History of the DC Universe’ starts with Black Lightning

The screenwriter/producer for ’12 Years a Slave’ will write a ‘largely prose-driven’ series featuring heroes from ‘from different disenfranchised groups.’

DC Comics has revealed more details about The Other History of the DC Universe, a five-issue “largely prose-driven” series written by John Ridley.

According to the press release, “The Other History of the DC Universe will look at notable events from DC Universe history through a different perspective, telling the equally vital stories of heroes who have been there throughout the DCU’s past, but come from different disenfranchised groups.” The first issue will spotlight Black Lightning and will feature illustrations by Alex Dos Diaz.

The series will run five issues, and subsequent issues will feature Karen and Mal Duncan, Katana and Renee Montoya. It’ll be published under DC’s Black Label imprint.

Here’s the first issue’s cover and solicitation information; it arrives in January:

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DC + Funko enter the Primal Age with retro-style action figure line

Marv Wolfman and Scott Koblish will create a comic based on the new line of toys.

If you’ve ever pitted your DC figures against your He-Man figures and thought, “Man, it would be great if these figures were the same size,” then you are in luck. DC and Funko have announced DC Primal Age, a line of figures featuring “retro-style barbarian fantasy themed Super Heroes and Super-Villains from the DC universe.”

The first wave includes Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Scarecrow, King Shark, Mister Freeze and the Joker, along with two “battle rides” — Ace the Bat Hound and “The Joker Beast.” There’s also a Castle Greyskull-like Batcave playset. All the toys are now available on Amazon.com, and the Mister Freeze figure can be bought at the New Yokr Comic Con this weekend.

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