Mail Call | New ‘Avatar,’ ‘Abbott’ and a ‘Batgirl’ debut

Check out recent news and announcements from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse 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.

Following the end of the Joker War storyline, DC’s current Batgirl series will wrap up with its extra-sized 50th issue this Tuesday. DC has revealed that this issue will also see the debut of Ryan Wilder, the character taking over the Batwoman mantle on The CW’s Batwoman TV show.

Will this new character also take over as Batwoman in the comics? I guess we’ll find out. You can see a preview of that issue here.

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‘Walking Dead: The Alien’ gets the hardcover treatment

Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s digital one-shot will arrive in print for the second time in July.

Skybound will release a hardcover edition of Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s “The Alien,” a story set in the world of The Walking Dead, in July.

The story was released on the Panel Syndicate website about four years ago now, where it is still available for whatever price you’d like to pay. It was part of a deal Vaughan and Martin made with Walking Dead writer Robert Kirkman and Image Comics, which in exchange received the print rights to their digital comic The Private Eye. It was printed and made available to retailers as a part of Local Comic Shop Day last year as a single issue.

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What Are You Reading? ‘Friday,’ Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and more

See what the Smash Pages crew has checked off their “to read” list lately.

If you’re looking for something to read while sheltering in place, you’ve come to the right blog, as the Smash Pages crew has a whole mess of comics to talk about this week. So without further ado …

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Panel Syndicate announces ‘Friday’ by Brubaker + Martin + Vicente

The first installment of the digital series is available now.

Criminal writer Ed Brubaker is teaming up with Barrier artists Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente for a new Panel Syndicate title called Friday. It’s about a former girl detective/occult expert who returns home from college for the holidays and gets wrapped up in a new mystery.

“One of the first things I said to Marcos was that this book feels like Lovecraft’s New England is colliding with Edward Gorey’s,” said Brubaker. “And I like to describe Friday as post-YA, which is a genre that doesn’t really exist. It’s an idea I’ve been circling for a long time, that lets me tap into my own nostalgia for my youth and the YA books I loved back in the 70s and 80s – stuff like The Great Brain, or John Belliars books, or Harriet the Spy, or Encyclopedia Brown. I want to take that concept of the teen detective and those supernatural mysteries aimed at kids, but then let the protagonists grow up, so they have all the same problems we all do… and they encounter a much more dangerous world.”

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Smash Pages’ favorite comics of 2018

See what the Smash Pages’ staff enjoyed reading this past year.

With 2018 winding down, Smash Pages’ contributors take a look back at some of their favorite comics of the year, from Hey Kiddo and Spectacular Spider-Man #310 to Wet Moon and The Secret Voice.

Brigid Alverson

Silver Spoon, by Hiromu Arakawa (Yen Press)
Arakawa is best known as the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, but you couldn’t get any farther from that series than Silver Spoon, a comedy about a city boy who goes to agricultural school in rural Hokkaido. Yuugo Hachiken worked hard and did everything he was told, but he still didn’t get into an elite high school, so he takes what he thinks is the easy way out by going to a school that’s not academically focused—or so he thinks. In fact, the students at Ooezo Agricultural High School are very knowledgeable in their fields, but those fields are things like genetics and animal husbandry. The rubber really hits the road in the practical lessons, though, and Hachiken quickly realizes he is out of his depth when it comes to herding chickens, riding a horse, or fetching a stray calf. There’s a lot of city mouse-country mouse comedy in this series, but it’s also a fascinating look at where our food comes from (at least in Japan), and the different agricultural models espoused by different farmers. In fact, like Hachiken’s classmates, this book is very smart and sophisticated in addition to being endlessly entertaining.

Meal, by Blue Delliquanti and Soleil Ho (Iron Circus)
The idea of eating bugs may elicit an “Eeeww” from most people, but Delliquanti and Ho go beyond the ick factor in this romance about an insect cuisine enthusiast and a chef who wants to start a new restaurant based on the dishes of her youth—dishes that include ants, grasshoppers, and tarantulas. There’s a love story woven in there as well. Yarrow has just moved to a new city in hopes of getting a job in the kitchen of Chandra Flores, insect chef extraordinaire, who is about to launch a new restaurant. Milani, her neighbor, is friendly and helpful but the two have a little trouble making it click. At the same time, Chandra suspects that Yarrow is only into insect cuisine because it’s sensational, while to her, it’s part of her heritage. There’s a lot in this slim volume: Love, food, bugs, and bugs that are food, and the creators even include a couple of recipes at the end of the book.

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‘Monstress,’ ‘Barrier’ and more win at the 2018 Harvey Awards

Streamlined awards featuring six categories presented during the New York Comic Con Friday night; Dave Gibbons and Roz Chast inducted into Hall of Fame.

The Harvey Awards returned last night in a new venue in conjunction with the New York Comic Con. The streamlined awards presented winners in six categories, as well as four other related awards and Hall of Fame inductions.

Joining the Hall of Fame this year were Roz Chast and Dave Gibbons. Harold Sakuishi received the 2018 International Spotlight Award, while Jackie Estrada (who runs the Eisner Awards) received the Comics Industry Pioneer award.

You can find the complete list of winners below.

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Chelsea Cain to write new ‘Vision’ series for Marvel

The novelist teams up with her husband for a series about Vision and his family.

Chelsea Cain will team up with her husband and fellow writer Marc Mohan for a new series at Marvel starring the Vision and his family. Ultimates 2 artist Aud Koch joins the duo, while Marcos Martin (The Private Eye) will provide covers. And Jordie Bellaire, who colored the previous Vision series, is here for this one as well.

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‘Barrier’ jumps to print on Free Comic Book Day 2018

Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente’s pay-what-you-want digital comic lands at Image as a five-issue, weekly miniseries coming next May.

Diamond Comics Distributors has announced the 12 Gold Sponsor comic book titles for 2018’s Free Comic Book Day, which includes titles from DC, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW and more. While many publishers use the opportunity to kick off events or new series, Image is doing something interesting this year — their FCBD title is Barrier #1, bringing to print Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente’s pay-what-you-want digital comic.

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Final issue of ‘Barrier’ arrives at Panel Syndicate

Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente’s digital comic about immigration and aliens wraps up.

Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente wrap up their second “pay what you want” digital comic today, as the fifth issue of Barrier arrives on the Panel Syndicate site.

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