Comics Lowdown: Comic books sales up in 2018, Marvel top publisher; stalker sets cosplayer’s car on fire

Plus: ‘Drama’ drama with the Ottawa Catholic School Board! Faith Erin Hicks! Jed MacKay! And more!

The 2018 direct market numbers from Diamond are in and comic sales are ever so slightly up from 2017. Comics saw an increase to sales by 3.3%, but graphic novels were down by 6.6%. The combined sales of the two formats mean a wee increase of 0.6% for the direct market.

Marvel Comics increased their market share slightly to gain an extra 2% over DC Comics, who seemed to have flat lined and lost 0.3% of their market share. This indicates that Marvel’s market share gains mostly come from the expense of small publishers or independent comic sales, with the exception of Image Comics, who also saw a slight increase.

The best-selling graphic novel of the year was Infinity Gauntlet. The 1991 story is enjoying a revival because of the Avengers: Infinity War movie. The best-selling comics was Action #1000, a landmark issue featuring unpublished artwork by legendary Superman artist Curt Swan and the introduction of writer Brain Michael Bendis to the DC universe.

Complete lists and more insight are available on comichron.com.

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‘Sex’ returns as series of graphic novels

Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski’s salacious superhero story returns in April.

Two years may seem like a long time to wait for Sex, but no doubt creators Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski will make it worth the wait.

Image Comics announced today that the popular, provocative superhero series Sex will return in April in a graphic novel format. Originally Sex, which launched in 2013, was released as a monthly comic, but Casey announced in the series’ final issue two years ago plans to migrate away from the “grind of the monthly issue” and instead only release collected editions.

“It’s been a long time coming, but Kowalski and I are primed and pumped to return to the sordid world of Sex,” Casey said in a press release. “This volume definitely takes things to another level of salaciousness. And we’re just getting started taking this new format out for a spin.”

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‘Section Zero’ returns at Image Comics

Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett’s Gorilla Comics title will finally conclude in comic book form.

It’s been 20 years, but Image Comics is declassifying the adventures of Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel’s Section Zero. One of the original Gorilla Comics titles will return to comic book form thanks to Image Comics.

“Ever since 2000, Tom and I have constantly tried to bring Section Zero back,” Kesel said in a press release. “Almost two decades later, we finally found a way to finish what we’d begun. The cherry on top is seeing the book return to where it all started—Image Comics.”

The series will be published by Image/Shadowline Comics this April. Here’s Grummett’s cover for the first issue:

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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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Millar + Netflix unleash ‘Sharkey the Bounty Hunter’ next year

Millar says the new sci-fi series is “all the things ‘Star Wars’ or Marvel can’t get away with.”

For their third comic book collaboration, Mark Millar and Netflix are headed to space next February with Sharkey the Bounty Hunter. The new series will be drawn by former Wolverine and Astonishing X-Men artist Simone Bianchi and will be published by Image Comics.

Sharkey the Bounty Hunter follows The Magic Order and Prodigy, the first two comics from Millar following the acquisition of his Millarworld imprint last year.

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Comics Lowdown: Mark Waid’s attorney asks for dismissal of Richard C. Meyer’s lawsuit

BOOM! Studios cancels ‘Husband and Husband’ collection after plagiarism charges! Image stops selling DRM-free digital comics directly! Chicago Sun-Times drops two pages of comics! Plus: Chip Zdarsky, NaNoWriMo, best of 2018 lists and more!

Mark Waid’s legal representative has asked the U.S. District Court for the Western district of Texas to dismiss the lawsuit filed against him by Richard C. Meyer. The civil lawsuit was filed in September and claims “tortious interference with contract and defamation.” You can read the motion on Newsarama.

“[Meyer] asserts claims against Mr. Waid for tortious interference with contract and defamation. These claims are completely meritless. But the problem at the outset, and which is proper to address, is that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Mr. Waid,” reads the motion. “Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to identify any allegations or facts establishing any connection between Mr. Waid and Texas. Instead, Plaintiff merely alleges a single phone call between Mr. Waid, who was in California at the time, and a San Antonio publishing company. That is far short of the necessary substantial connection with Texas to justify personal jurisdiction.”

Mark Waid and Richard Meyer have GoFundMe campaigns going to pay for their legal fees, both of which have reached their goals.

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Monstress continues to maul the awards circuit with British Fantasy Award win

The Best Comic/Graphic Novel award is the 10th win for the epic fantasy series this year

For the second consecutive year in a row, Monstress has won the British Fantasy Award for Best Comic/Graphic Novel.

Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s epic fantasy story is about a teenaged girl who shares a mysterious link with a powerful monster. Monstress is one of the most decorated comics of 2018, sweeping the Eisners with a whopping five awards, taking home two Hugo Awards, as well as a Harvey Award and a National Cartoonist Society Divisional Award.

Winning was no small feat as the other nominees were Bitch Planet Vol 2: President Bitch (Kelly Sue DeConnick, Taki Soma & Valentine de Landro), Grim & Bold (Joshua Cornah), Tomorrow (Jack Lothian & Garry Mac), and  The Wicked + The Divine Vol 5: Imperial Phase Part 1 (Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie).

The awards were announced at the 2018 FantasyCon in Chester, UK.

‘Criminal’ returns as a monthly series

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ award-winning series continues in January.

Since debuting in 2006, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have created four separate volumes of Criminal through two publishers, multiple awards and countless glowing reviews. Now the duo returns in January with an ongoing Criminal title.

Criminal was where Sean and I really established our brand as a team, and while writing My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (which takes place in the Criminal world), it just suddenly felt like the perfect time to bring it back to the monthly comic shelves. But this time I wanted it to be different—not just serialized graphic novels, but also single-issue stories and even the odd two-issue story sometimes,” said Brubaker. “I love the elasticity that Criminal allows me—because this world we’ve created gives me a place to tell any kind of crime story and to focus on different characters, both old and new—and I want to really embrace the monthly comics format, and try to create a series where readers will never know what’s coming next from issue to issue.”

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Whitta, Robertson reinterpret a Charles Dickens classic in January

‘Oliver’ from Image Comics imagines Oliver Twist as a post-apocalyptic superhero.

Screenwriter Gary Whitta and The Boys artist Darick Robertson are putting a “twist” on Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist — by reimagining him as a post-apocalyptic superhero fighting to liberate a war-ravaged England.

Oliver has been more than 15 years in the making, so it’s a particular thrill to finally see it on its way to a comics store near you, and at a time when it feels more relevant than ever,” Whitta said in a press release. “I couldn’t be more excited to be working with my long-time friend Darick Robertson, whose artwork I’ve admired ever since his groundbreaking work on Transmetropolitan.”

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