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.”

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Gillen + Mora team for ‘Once and Future’ from BOOM! Studios

Family secrets and Arthurian legends collide in a new miniseries coming in August.

Writer Kieron Gillen has been on a roll lately, with the popular The Wicked + The Divine continuing to turn heads, and the newly minted Die and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt garnering attention and good reviews. Now he’s teaming up with Dan Mora (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) for a new miniseries from BOOM! Studios that sounds like it’s right in his wheelhouse: Once and Future, which will involve Arthurian legends, monster hunting and a kick-ass grandma.

“I’ve been chewing over how the classic explorer adventure serial could operate in the twenty-first century for a while. Doctor Aphra transplanting the genre to space was one conclusion. Once and Future is another, taking a genre whose core has barely changed since the 19th century, and updating it for the now,” Gillen said. “Adventure, romance, supernatural horror and too much bloody research, as always. When BOOM! Studios told me one of the most talented action artists of his generation was interested in collaborating, I knew that we had all the ingredients we needed to create gold. Gold which, inevitably, our heroes will steal.”

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Comics Lowdown: Chris Ryall rejoins IDW; Joe Illidge out at Valiant

Plus: top comics and graphic novels at comic shops in November! Next ‘Dog Man’ book gets a 5 million copy print run! Kieron Gillen plays ‘Die,’ for real! And much more!

Chris Ryall, who left IDW Publishing in March after serving as editor-in-chief for about 14 years, has rejoined the company as president, publisher and chief creative officer.

“IDW is where I’ve spent the majority of my career, and I consider the company and its employees like family, so I am grateful for this amazing opportunity to return,” Ryall said in a press statement. “I believe that IDW has very significant opportunities to become even more valuable and important, and I am excited to further expand on what I started with the company nearly 15 years ago. I am also eager to help the company celebrate its 20th year anniversary in 2019 in varied and creatively invigorating new ways.”

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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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Dynamite revives ‘Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt,’ ‘Turok’

Both comics set to launch in January.

Heading into this weekend’s New York Comic Con, Dynamite Entertainment announced two reboots of some old comic favorites.

First up is Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt, by Kieron Gillen and Caspar Wijngaard.

“I’ve been away from the genre for a few years. This is me refreshed, grinning and more than a little bit angry. I want to try things. I want to have fun. Hell, we’ve created a whole new supporting cast of heroes for this series because we wanted to. I wanted to do a state of the art, state of the superheroic nation, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt is it,” Gillen said in a press release. “High adventure, big ideals, epic destruction, heroism, despair and nine-panel grids.”

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Goth Jumanji: Gillen + Hans team for new series ‘Die’

Fantasy gets real this December from Image Comics.

Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, who previously worked together on Marvel’s Journey into Mystery, are rolling the dice on a new comic this December called “Die.” Clayton Clowes will letter the project.

“Stephanie and I have been wanting to work together forever – Journey Into Mystery 645 is one of my favourite things I’ve ever done, and this comes straight from there,” Gillen said in his weekly email newsletter. “The Earth needs a fantasy world created by Stephanie Hans, and I had to enable it.”

The story revolves around a group of teens who regularly play tabletop role-playing games. One night they mysteriously disappear, only to reappear two years later. Actually, forget my explanation — you can read this for yourself on this lovely, handy teaser the team put together:

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Nominees announced for the 2018 British Fantasy Awards

‘Bitch Planet,’ ‘Monstress,’ ‘The Wicked + The Divine’ among this year’s nominees for the comics category.

The British Fantasy Society has announced the nominees for the 2018 British Fantasy Awards, including the “Best Comic/Graphic Novel” category.

The entrants are selected after two rounds of nominations, and votes are tallied from the members of the British Fantasy Society and FantasyCon. Winners will be announced Oct. 21 at FantasyCon 2018. Monstress took home the award last year.

The nominees in the “Best Comic/Graphic Novel” category include:

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Gillen, Fuso enlisted for James Bond one-shot

Dynamite announces ‘James Bond: Service,’ a one-shot featuring an assassin’s plot to exterminate the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Great Britain.

Joining a list of writers that already includes Warren Ells, Andy Diggle, James Robinson and Benjamin Percy, Kieron Gillen has signed on to write Dynamite’s James Bond. He’ll team with artist Antonio Fuso to write James Bond: Service, a one-shot due out in May.

“The thing with the icons is that I’m not particularly interested in doing a one-size-fit-all story for them,” Gillen said in his email newsletter today. “You need to make them live, and that means finding something that really captures you. As such, this ends up digging into some of the interest in history and geopolitics which drives work like Uber, and merging it with the contemporary era. It is very much a Bond inspired by Brexit and realpolitik. If you can’t use a country’s icon to talk about the country, what’s the point, right?”

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