Mail Call | Dark Horse to bring several comiXology Originals titles to print

A round-up of news from DC, Marvel, Titan Comics, IDW and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently. Hit the links for more information.

ComiXology announced this week that they’ve struck a deal with Dark Horse to bring several of their comiXology Originals digital titles to print, starting with four titles next spring: Afterlift, Breaklands, Youth and The Black Ghost.

“We were always hopeful comiXology Originals books would get into readers’ hands via comics retailers and book stores, and Dark Horse is a terrific collaborator to work with to do so, with an unmatched history of supporting creator-owned projects alongside unmatched distribution expertise. This deal fortifies the ability for these stories to reach customers like never before,” said David Steinberger, comiXology co-founder and CEO. “We’re thrilled to be working with Dark Horse.”

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Comics Lowdown | IDW ‘has parted ways’ with Publisher Jud Meyers

Plus: How the pandemic has impacted Scholastic and VIZ Media, the ‘Thundarr the Barbarian’ comic that almost was and more!

IDW Publishing has “parted ways” with Jud Meyers, who they had named as their new publisher on July 22.

“IDW Publishing has parted ways with Jud Meyers and would like to thank everyone for their discretion,” the company said in a short statement. Meyers was named publisher after longtime publisher Chris Ryall departed the company, but was then placed on administrative leave a few days after the announcement.

Publishing: Publisher’s Weekly looks at Scholastic’s fourth-quarter and full year results for fiscal year 2020, which ended May 31 for the company. Not surprisingly, given the COVID-19 pandemic, they were down significantly compared to last year. Revenue was down $187 million, or almost 40%, leading to a 10% drop in their full-year revenue for FY20.

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Two CBLDF board members resign; one retires

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund loses three board members following the resignation of Executive Director Charles Brownstein.

In the wake of Charles Brownstein’s resignation from his position with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, two members of the CBLDF board have resigned, while another has announced his retirement from the board.

Both Katherine Keller and Jeff Abraham have resigned from the board, and Paul Levitz will “retire,” according to a post on the CBLDF site.

“We respect the decisions that Paul, Katherine and Jeff have made to leave the Board. We realize it will be a long path to earning back the trust of our members, supporters and the industry. We recognize that it’s been our inability to react, or act at all, that’s been the cause of  pain in our community,” the CBLDF said in the post. “Even last week, when we took the necessary action in accepting Charles’s resignation, our communications were stilted and clumsy. To everyone who has come forward, we haven’t done justice to your bravery and we are truly sorry. We vow to be better.”

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What Are You Reading? | Red Goblins, celestial avatars, Klan smashers and Texas blood

See what the Smash Pages crew has checked off their ‘to read’ list lately.

Like I said last week, summertime is the right time for crossovers and comics. This week brought us a taste of Empyre, Marvel’s big crossover event featuring the Avengers, The Fantastic Four, the Kree, the Skrulls, the Blue Area of the Moon, the Swordsman and all that crazy cosmic space action Marvel fans have come to know and love. You can see Carla’s thoughts on it below, along with a list of comics Shane has been buying for his kids and Tom’s thoughts on two politically minded books from DC.

You can tell us what you’ve been reading in the comments below or on social media.

Shane Bailey

Lately my kids have started wanting to read more comics. My little one has always been into them, but now the older kids are as well. So I let them pick out their own comics to read on comiXology Unlimited.

My 9 yr old son picked Amazing Spider-Man: The Red Goblin by Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen, and he loves it. He wouldn’t stop commenting on how crazy scary Norman Osborn is, how it was gross when Carnage bit the head off a rat, and during one issue when the Goblin had a captive and was interrogating him, he wondered aloud over who it was, making guesses and gasping when he found out who it was and that Norman knew who Spider-Man was. It’s great seeing him get excited at things that are old hat for me. It made me appreciate those moments more.

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Yang + Ruan + Tan team for ‘Shang-Chi’ in June

The miniseries will feature Shang-Chi going up against his super villain father, Zheng Zhu.

Marvel has announced a new miniseries starring martial arts master, former Avenger and current Agents of Atlas member Shang-Chi, by the team of Gene Luen Yang, Dike Ruan and Phillip Tan.

“I mean, it’s Shang-Chi,” Yang told the New York Times. “He’s probably the most prominent Asian — I guess he’s Asian-American now since he’s moved over here — Asian-American superhero.”

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DC shares artwork from ‘Black Canary: Ignite,’ other middle grade projects

Check out previews of books by Art Baltazar and Franco, Gene Luen Yang and more.

During the “Raising Super Readers: Inside DC’s Middle Grade Graphic Novels” panel in San Diego today, DC Comics once again dropped a bunch of artwork from their upcoming “Middle Grade” titles — just like they did yesterday with their YA titles.

Check out previews below for Superman of SmallvilleDear Super-VillainsBlack Canary: IgniteDC Super Hero Girls: Powerless and Superman Smashes The Klan.

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‘Action 1000’ hardcover to include unpublished Siegel + Shuster story

Edited by Paul Levitz, ‘Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman’ will include essays and past ‘Action Comics’ stories, including one by Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster that was given to Marv Wolfman when he was a kid.

With plans for the 1,000th issue of Action Comics in place, DC Comics revealed more details about the hardcover collection they previously announced that will accompany the milestone issue.

Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman, edited by former DC Publisher Paul Levitz, will feature several past Superman stories along with essays. The collection will also a never-before-published 12-page story from original Superman writer Jerry Siegel with art by the Joe Shuster Studio titled “Too Many Heroes.”

“The found Siegel and Shuster story is a true treasure with a fascinating backstory,” Levitz said. “Back when DC did regular tours of the New York office, it was common for fans to get original art that would have been otherwise disposed of as a tour souvenir. As a young fan on a tour Marv Wolfman found this Superman story and kept it all these years. It’s incredible to think that Marv not only rescued this unpublished story, he then went on to become one of DC’s most prolific writers, and shared the story with DC to publish as part of this special new collection.”

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Comics Lowdown: ECCC volunteer suit settled

Plus: the ALA, Jillian Tamaki and more.

The former owners of Emerald City Comic Con will pay $493,227.84 to former volunteers and the attorneys who represented them under a settlement that will keep the matter from going to court. Jerry Michael Brooks, a former volunteer at the con, filed a class action suit on behalf of all volunteers who worked at ECCC in 2014 and 2015, claiming that they were treated like employees and therefore should have been paid for their work. (Seattlish posted the details of the suit when it was first filed.) Under the settlement, Eitane Emerald Corp. and the Demonakos family will pay almost $500,000 to the volunteers, with the lawyers scooping up $123,300 for their troubles, Brooks getting $5,000, and the 250 or so other “volunteers” will divvy up the rest according to how many hours they worked. Although the defendants admit to no wrongdoing, the payments to the volunteers are to be regarded as part wages, part settlement for nonpayment of wages. ReedPOP, which purchased the con in 2015 and ran the 2016 and 2017 events, does not use unpaid volunteers.

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