Dan Abnett pens a song about ‘Rai’

The Valiant title gets a theme song, courtesy of its writer and the band A Sound of Thunder.

Valiant Entertainment will revive Rai on Wednesday with a new title, by Dan Abnett and Juan José Ryp. But Abnett isn’t just writing the series; he also wrote a Rai theme song that’s been recorded by the metal band A Sound of Thunder.

You can hear a snippet of the song, titled “Break Free,” below:

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Comics Lowdown: Stan Lee’s former caretaker charged with elder abuse

Plus: Jonathan Hickman details his plans for the X-Men, comic sales in April and more.

Stan Lee’s former caretaker and manager, Keya Morgan, has been charged with felony elder abuse. The charges include felony counts of false imprisonment of an elder adult, theft, embezzlement, and forgery or fraud against an elder adult, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

A warrant for Morgan’s arrest had been issued. The 43-year-old memorabilia collector was served with a restraining order by Lee’s family last summer, when they accused him of elder abuse. Lee passed away in November.

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Slap a demonic groove on this Hellboy 5-string bass

Dingwall Guitars and Dark Horse team up for a hellish new instrument featuring Mike Mignola’s most famous creation.

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy can be found everywhere from comics to movies to whiskey to action figures — and now you can add “bass” to that list.

Dingwall Guitars has partnered with Dark Horse and Rob van der Loo from (of course!) the Dutch metal band Epica to release the New D-Roc Rob van der Loo “Hellboy” Limited Edition 5-string bass.

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Grateful Dead get an origin story thanks to Z2 Comics

Noah Van Sciver and Chris Miskiewicz will take you back to the beginning of the Dead’s long, strange trip.

Z2 Comics has teamed up with the Grateful Dead for Grateful Dead Origins, a graphic novel detailing the band’s early days. And they’ve recruited Chris Miskiewicz and Noah Van Sciver to tell the story.

“We’ve seen many archival releases that offer magnificent audio representations of the Grateful Dead’s history, and several filmed interpretations of the Dead’s story. To these, we’re thrilled to add to the Dead’s narrative canon this beautiful portrayal of the Dead’s origin story in the form of this wonderful new comic,” said Grateful Dead audiovisual archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux. “Chris and Noah have captured the Dead’s sensibility in their words and images that bring to life on the page the earliest days of the Grateful Dead, from the band’s founding in 1965 through to Woodstock. We couldn’t be happier to be partnering with such talented artists who have delved so deeply into the Dead’s history and origin.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Diana Chu

The award-winning cartoonist discusses her work on the latest Patti Smith-influenced issue of “Ley Lines.”

Diana Chu is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Milwaukee, who in recent years has made an impressive body of comics and zines including Where Everything is Music, Woolies, No Mames Guey, Cloud Houseand Sudden Death. She was awarded a Gold Medal by the Society of Illustrators at last year’s MoCCA Festival.

Her new project, which comes out next month, is the new issue of Ley Lines. The issue is about Patti Smith and music, but it’s also about Jimi Hendrix, Dante Alighieri and Henri Rousseau. Chu is an artist who is not especially interested in narrative, but she’s fascinated in mood and design in interesting ways. She was kind enough to open up and talk about her work in process.

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‘Farmhand’ gets a soundtrack from Skies Speak

Experimental album from Skies Speak will drop March 20.

Rob Guillory’s excellent new Image series Farmhand is getting a soundtrack, thanks to Guillory’s friend Skies Speak.

“The FarmhandOriginal Music Score started out as just a crazy idea between two buddies,” Guillory said in a press release. “Jordan (Skies Speak) and I have been friends for many years, and I’m beyond thrilled he was game to craft this special album for fans of the book. The initial idea was very simple: use my art to inspire his art. He devoured the first arc of the book, and from that he created a unique, immersive experience that adds a little something extra to the world of Farmhand.”

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‘Tales of the Music Makers’ to include two Harvey Pekar stories

New graphic novel from Z2 Comics will benefit the Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Z2 Comics, which has published a number of graphic novels with musical themes, has a new one queued up for February: Tales of the Music Makers, by Gary Dumm.

The graphic novel is a benefit project for the Music Maker Relief Foundation, which is a bit like a music version of the Hero Initiative: It “provides resources to elderly, southern musicians living in poverty and keeps southern, musical culture alive by recording albums, arranging concerts and museum exhibitions, and publishing books.”

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James Kochalka helps Santa ‘Pack the Sack’

The creator of ‘American Elf’ returns with a new holiday tune.

In addition to creating comics like Mechaboys, American Elf and Johnny Boo, James Kochalka is also a singer, regularly sharing songs on his YouTube channel. For the past few years, he’s released various singles for the holiday, adn this year he returns with a new tune, “Pack the Sack.”

Check it out below:

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Comics Lowdown: Alex Ross’ ‘DayGlo’ Fantastic Four pitch

Plus: Bill Jemas, Liza Donnelly and an IKEA comic!

Artist Alex Ross pitched Marvel on taking over the Fantastic Four last year, and you can find his pitch inside Marvelocity, a coffee-table book that highlights the artist’s Marvel work. The 13th Dimension reviews the book and shares several pages from the 2017 pitch. “It just goes to show you that even the biggest talents in comics don’t always get what they want – and what Ross wanted was an eye-popping comic that echoed the DayGlo ’60s while offering something fresh,” reviewer Dan Greenfield writes.

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