Smash Pages Q&A: Simon Roy, Daniel M. Bensen + Artyom Trakhanov

The creators of ‘Protector’ discuss the miniseries, how they collaborate and more.

Simon Roy first came to a lot of people’s attention with Prophet, or perhaps people know him for his projects like Habitat or Jan’s Atomic Heart and Other Stories. His new project, which has been coming out from Image Comics this year, is the miniseries Protector.

A collaboration with novelist Daniel M. Bensen (Junction) and artist Artyom Trakhanov (The 7 Deadly Sins), the book is a science fantasy adventure set in 3241 AD in the remote regions of North America (or what’s left of it) as Iron Age humans are dealing with demons and aliens and slavers and warring tribes. Issue #3 is out this week from Image, and I had a chance to speak with the team about the project.

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Diamond halts new comics shipments for April 1 and beyond

IDW and others react to the news.

The COVID-19 epidemic that has shuttered comic shops and forced the postponement of conventions around the country has also affected Diamond Comics Distributors, the sole major distributor to comics retail shops, and today, Diamond co-founder Steve Geppi announced that they will be shutting down shipments of new product:

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Comics Lowdown: Standing behind retailers during the coronavirus

Plus: TCAF canceled, BookExpo postponed and more coronavirus news.

As the threat of the coronavirus continues to spread, and federal, state and local governments take action to try and stop it, “shelter in place” and social distancing orders inevitably harm small businesses, like comics retailers. Many retailers around the country have either closed up for a time or have moved to a mail order/”curbside pickup” system. In his weekly newsletter today, writer Cullen Bunn shared some tips for supprtoing your favorite shop during this time:

…SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP as much as you’re able. 

Running a comic book store can be difficult, even in the best of times. Right now, shops are taking a hit. The absolute last thing I want to see—as a reader, a fan, and a creator—is for comic book stores to disappear. It is vital that we all work together to support comic book stores as much as possible and help them get through the coming weeks. When comic book stores suffer, so does the comic book industry. A lot of stores are offering new services during this time of isolation and social-distancing. Some things you can do to help…

  • Inquiring about curbside pickup.
  • Inquiring about mail order or delivery options. 
  • Purchasing any books that are in your pull box.
  • Purchasing gift cards/gift certificates for upcoming birthdays, events, and holidays. 
  • Following your local comic shop on social media for updates on: curtailed hours of operation, events, special accommodations, and cleaning policy. 
  • Tagging your local comic shop on social media & posting photos of the comics you’ve purchased to read during self-quarantine and social distancing.

You can find a comic shop offering “safe services” during the pandemic by using this map from BOOM! Studios.

Image Comics, who issued a letter asking other publishers to help comics retailers during this crisis, also had Alex Cox, Skottie Young and Nate Piekos create a short comic on how fans can support their local shop:

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de Campi + Henderson sink their fangs into ‘Dracula, Motherf**ker’

Do you bite your mother with that mouth?

Alex de Campi and Erica Henderson head to California and Austria for a “psychological horror story” called Dracula, Motherf**ker this fall.

The graphic novel with the naughty title will tell a story across two timelines — 1889 Vienna and L.A. circa 1974 — in an action-filled take on the popular Bram Stoker character.

“Most people who know my work are aware that I love pulp/exploitation cinema so me doing a book called Dracula, Motherf**ker shouldn’t really surprise anyone,” said de Campi. “Another thing I wanted to bring to this pulp fantasia was a sensibility from horror anime, with its love of transformation and of the noncorporeal, to push the element of man-as-monster in directions specifically suited to sequential art. Things like the abstract portrayal of Alucard (or Pride in FMA: Brotherhood), and the use of Superflat art in Madoka Magica were tremendously inspirational in this book, especially as that use of flatness dovetails nicely with the work of Gustav Klimt in with the book’s 1889 prologue, and with late-1960s pop art and the psychedelic liquid-light projections of the Joshua Light Show.”

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Layman returns to the world of ‘Chew’ in new series ‘Chu’

The new series, starring Tony Chu’s sister, begins in June.

John Layman will return to the world her created with artist Rob Guillory in Chu, a new series featuring the sister of Chew‘s lead Tony Chu. Dan Boultwood will draw the spinoff series.

“After more than 60 issues of Chew, it was never a matter of if I would return to the world Rob Guillory and I created, but when,” Layman said. “I needed a break after the book ended, but it wasn’t too long after that I started missing the characters and the world, and had the itch to return. It was something I approached cautiously because, while Chew was a complete story, I wanted to return to it in such a way it would be new and say something different, and it took a while to find the right angle. Outer Darkness/Chew was a step in that direction, as well a coda, a flower on the grave that was the story of Tony Chu. Chu is a different take on the Chu family and the Chew-universe, and in many ways it is a mirror, the flip side. I’m confident readers of Chew will enjoy it, but it’s also something totally new, the story of Saffron Chu, not Tony Chu. She was completely absent from Chew, and this first story arc will tell the story of why that is.”

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David Lopez’s ‘BlackHand & IronHead’ coming to print

The Panel Syndicate title arrives as a hardcover from Image Comics this fall.

BlackHand & IronHead, David Lopez’s 2017 digital comic published through Panel Syndicate, will make the jump to print later this year.

Image Comics announced via press release their intent to publish a hardcover collection of the comic in September.

“After many years working only as an artist in the big two, I’ve finally found the courage and I’ve written and drawn my own story, and I’m printing it in Image! Where the world’s best authors publish their works, this is a change of scale, suddenly my public is the whole world, can you believe it?!” said López. “BlackHand & IronHead is sincere, raw, unfiltered and personal, no obligations or compromises, exactly the story I imagined, that’s something I love as a reader and I hope people will love it from my book.”

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Mail Call | Mark Waid named publisher of Humanoids

Plus: ‘Snake Eyes: Deadgame,’ ‘Dead Body Road,’ ‘Adventureman!’ and more.

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

Congratulations to Mark Waid, who has been promoted to publisher of Humanoids. Waid has served as Director of Creative Development for the publisher since 2018, and in his new role, will be responsible for “overseeing editorial, sales and marketing; expanding Humanoids’ relationships within the creative community; and deepening its ties to retailers and librarians.”

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‘Dune meets Asterix & Obelix’ in ‘Ludocrats’

Kieron Gillen, Jim Rossignol, Jeff Stokely, Tamra Bonvillain and Clayton Cowles team for a ludicrous new series from Image.

It’s been a long and winding road for co-writers Kieron Gillen and Jim Rossignol’s Ludocrats, a comic first announced at the Image Expo in 2015 (that’s the same year Paper Girls and Monstress were announced). Since that time, original artist David Lafuente has been replaced by Jeff Stokely, and the book is now on schedule for an April 1 (no foolin’) release.

“It’s a fantasy adventure,” Gillen said in his email newsletter. “The ‘Dune meets Asterix & Obelix’ is the most accurate way of describing it, which is why we lobbed it in the previews. There’s others. Imagine Pratchett if instead of being a kind and brilliant humanist, he was a complete shithead. Imagine the Neverending Story for adults, if not grown-ups.  Imagine imagining. We can and will go on.”

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Mail Call | Archaia to adapt Roxane Gay story

Plus: a new Shonen Jump series, Skybound’s ‘Fire Power’ plans and a new ‘Clone Wars’ series at IDW.

BOOM! Studios announced a new graphic novel, The Sacrifice of Darkness, based on Gay’s short story “The Sacrifice of Darkness.” In addition to Gay, the creative team includes writer Tracy Lynne Oliver, artist Rebecca Kirby, and colorist James Fenner, and the pub date is October 2020.

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