Comics Lowdown: The future of MAD Magazine

Plus: New superhero universe Catalyst Prime, comics to fight fake news, Jillian Tamaki, Rico Renzi’s color palette, and more!

What’s up with MAD Magazine? Mark Evanier lays out a brief history of MAD, which has been part of DC Comics for a long time (it’s complicated!), and updates us on its current status, which is… not good. Like pretty much all print magazines, MAD has been struggling for a while, although Evanier thinks editor John Ficarra has been doing a bang-up job. When the rest of DC packed up and moved to Burbank, California, a while ago, the MAD staff stayed, but they are moving out of their New York office at the end of this year, and DC has not been forthcoming with any news about what will happen next, beyond the fact that the magazine is moving to Burbank and only one staffer, a production artist, will be going with it. The February 2018 issue will be the last one produced by the Usual Gang of Idiots. DC has not made any announcements about what happens next, but Evanier suggests following the blog of artist Tom Richmond, one of the most frequent contributors to the magazine, for updates.

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Smash Pages End of Year Survey, Part 3

Comic folks answer the question, “What do you consider to be the top five important events of 2015?”

For this year’s inaugural version of the Smash Pages End of Year Survey I had people answer the question: “What do you consider to be the top five important events of 2015?” I encouraged people to not necessarily answer the question in that manner if it didn’t strike their fancy. I cannot thank everyone enough for the participation during a busy time of year. Part 1 is here, part 2 is here.

Corrina Bechko

Writer of Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen, Invisible Republic, Heathentown, Star Wars Legacy

HIGH CRIMES – Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa
A comic this good deserves a beautiful presentation, and this lovely hardcover looks amazing on a shelf. The real treat is found inside though, as the story remains engrossing until the very end. Just beautifully done all the way around.

TREES Vol. 1 – Warren Ellis and Jason Howard
I’m so glad I read this in trade, as the story is rich and tragic and bore a lot of flipping back through after I had finished so that I could revisit certain plot threads. Comics don’t get much better than this.

Copperhead
Copperhead

COPPERHEAD Vol. 1 – Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski
This book is just so much fun. A lot of people try to do scifi westerns, but hardly any get them right. At last, here’s one that does.

SHUTTER Vol 2 – Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca
Things here are just as crazy and inspired as in the first volume, but now that we know the characters better their plight is much more poignant. Big reveals happen, but it’s the relationships between the characters that carry the book.

MURDER BOOK – Ed Brisson (various artists, it’s an anthology)
I became a fan of Ed’s work when I first read a couple of his Murder Book stories several years back. I’m so happy they’re finally all collected here in such a nice package. There are some very brutal tales here, each one brought to vivid life by a wonderful artist.

Lorraine Cink

Host & Writer of Marvel’s The Watcher.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix
Star Wars Force Awakens
Squirrel Girl
CritJuice Podcast
Star Wars Shattered Empire

Rico Renzi

Colorist of Spider-Gwen and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, director of creative endeavors at http://heroesonline.com

Russian Olive to Red King
Russian Olive to Red King

Russian Olive To Red King is a BEAUTIFUL object and story.

Southern Bastards is amazing every month.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is the superhero action comedy I’ve always dreamed of. (full disclosure, I help make this comic)

The Divine/The Realist, anything made by Hanuka twins forever!

Cheating here, 2 collection that I read in the past but got collected beautifully for print in 2015: The Private Eye and The Complete Eightball

Marcelo Maiolo

Colorist of Batman Beyond, Old Man Logan, Pacific Rim, KING!

On Movies: Mad Max: Fury Road
On TV series: Justified Season Finale
On Brazilian comic book: A Vida de Jonas (The Life Of Jonas)
On comics: Saga
On My work: Old Man Logan #01 – With Lemire and Sorrentino

Patrick Zircher

Artist of Green Arrow

Island
Island

The Rise of the Woman Character: I didn’t add it all up but I think titles with female leads sold more copies this year than ever. And that’s fantastic.

Diversity: I don’t think we’ve reached a point that reflects the demographics of the lives we live but real improvements are being made.

DC You: The creativity embraced by DC You made for interesting new stories.

Island: This anthology showcasing a variety of cartoonists styles in a short story format is an essential venue for comics.

The Indies & Vertigo: Once again comic-makers offered a rich variety of well-craftedCchristianberanek

Christian Beranek

5. The Walking Dead has reached its peak. Have people finally had their fill of post apocalyptic zombie soap operas?

4. DC’s mad push for relevance has actually created some great television. They aren’t able to tie the movies into that continuity, however, and it might end up hurting their overall brand.

3. Marvel’s continued dominance. I imagine we’ll hear about Phase 4, 5 & 6 plans soon. Don’t see them slowing down for decades.

2. Webcomics continue to grow and have the most readership (some upwards of 500k) yet mainstream comics continues to discount their importance.

1. Star Wars. I was an active part of the 1999 excitement leading up to the prequels but more of an observer this time. There will be no one to stop Disney this time. They finally rule the audience they’ve always coveted and they’ve only just begun to exploit the property.

Mike Perkins

Star Wars in the Marvel Universe
Netflix and Marvel
BEST COMIC: Goddamned – Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera
BEST COMIC: Josephine (published by Delcourt) – Penelope Bagieu
PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT – Rowans Ruin with Mike Carey ( published by BOOM!)