Plus: News on Terrific Production, Archie Comics, Rebellion, L.A. Comic-Con and more.
Distributors: UCS Comics Distributors, one of the two comics distributors that began working with DC Comics during the COVID-19 industry shutdown earlier this year, has told retailers they will no longer distribute DC’s books as of January 2021. Their accounts will be serviced by Lunar Distribution, the other distributor for DC that came into being during the pandemic. UCS was formed by retailer Midtown Comics, while Lunar was formed by Discount Comic Book Service.
So is UCS going away? Not according to the email they sent to retailers, which you can read over at The Beat. It says “UCS is not closing. We will be offering other exciting items that stores can use!” So it’ll be interesting to see what they offer in the future. John Jackson Miller has additional commentary.
Rounding up news from DC, IDW, Humble Bundle 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.
Trick or treat: DC Comics will release not one but two Halloween specials this October, the equivalent of getting a full-sized candy bar instead of those fun-sized ones.
The first one features Swamp Thing with stories by James Tynion IV, Tom King, Tradd Moore, Emma Rios and more. The second, titled DC: The Doomed and the Damned, will feature stories by Marv Wolfman, Ken Porter, John Arcudi, Saladin Ahmed, Riley Rossmo, Travis Moore and more. It’ll feature short stories starring Batman, Madame Xanadu, Man-Bat, Green Lantern, Etrigan and more.
Plus: ‘Snake Eyes: Deadgame,’ ‘Dead Body Road,’ ‘Adventureman!’ and more.
Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we received from publishers in our mailboxes recently. Hit the links for more information.
Congratulations to Mark Waid, who has been promoted to publisher of Humanoids. Waid has served as Director of Creative Development for the publisher since 2018, and in his new role, will be responsible for “overseeing editorial, sales and marketing; expanding Humanoids’ relationships within the creative community; and deepening its ties to retailers and librarians.”
The Deadpool creator’s new G.I. Joe series arrives in 2020.
After wrapping Major X for Marvel, Rob Liefeld will turn his attention next to a “bucket list” item of his, the G.I. Joe character Snake Eyes. IDW Publishing announced today that the Deadpool and Youngblood creator will tackle his first G.I. Joe story in 2020, titled Snake Eyes: Deadgame.
“Two words: ‘BUCKET LIST,’” Liefeld said in the press release. “One more word: ‘ICON.’ Snake Eyes is Wolverine, Deadpool and Spider Man rolled into one amazing character for an entire generation of fans that thrilled to his adventures in comics and cartoons and hung on his every toy release! My parents drove me all over the county to get me G.I. Joe action figures as a kid. These were my first and most favorite toys. Working with Hasbro and all my friends at IDW has been a blast so far. I can’t wait to get this work out into the public! If you enjoyed my recent Marvel work, this will match or exceed it!”
The mysterious character from another reality will make his debut in April.
Before moving on to help found Image Comics, Rob Liefeld and Whilce Portacio left their mark on Marvel’s X-Men titles in the early 1990s. They worked on X-Force and Uncanny X-Men, respectively, and between them created or co-created iconic characters like Deadpool, Cable, Bishop and more.
Now the two creators are returning to the X-corner of the Marvel Universe with the introduction of Major X, a mysterious new character who is getting his own six-issue miniseries. The series will run bi-weekly from April through June. It’s written by Liefeld, who will share art duties with Portacio and Brent Peeples (Titans, New Super-Man).
New projects announced from Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss, Rob Guillory, J.H. Williams and Haden Blackman, Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel, Annie Wu and more.
As they’ve done in previous years, Image Comics dropped a metric ton of announcements at their Image Expo event, held today in Portland, Oregon.
The line-up of announcements this year includes five new titles from Todd McFarlane’s camp, new titles from Chew creators John Layman and Rob Guillory, two comics from Christoper Sebela, the fact that they’ll publish the Netflix/Millarworld titles starting with The Magic Order and much more. No doubt there are interviews aplenty dropping around the internet on all these new projects, so I’ll start with the text of the press release, then add art and commentary as I find it.
So let’s get to it …
Blackbird by Sam Humphries & Jen Bartel
Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel team up to co-create Blackbird, a modern fantasy story best described as Harry Potter meets Riverdale. It follows a young woman named Nina who discovers a neon-lit world of magic masters in Los Angeles. Now they’ve kidnapped her sister, and Nina is the only one who can save her.
“Blackbird is a labor of love, a coming of age story and beautiful people doing insane things with magic,” said Humphries.
We don’t have a lot of information yet on Michel Fiffe’s revival of Bloodstrike, but a few details have started to emerge. In addition to new Bloodstrike material, the comic will also feature the return of Chapel, another character created by Rob Liefeld who debuted in the early days of Image Comics.
Paul Maybury announced he’s creating back-up stories starring the skull-faced character, handling writing, art, colors and lettering. He also shared a teaser image:
The comics market is growing, but monthly comics are not. Also: A week of great comics articles from NPR!
By the Numbers: The comics market increased by 5% to a total of $1.085 billion in 2016, according to an estimate by Milton Griepp of ICv2 and John Jackson Miller of Comichron. Graphic novels sold in bookstores accounted for almost all the growth, however; they were up 16%, while sales of monthly comics in comic shops, on newsstands, and in digital format remained flat. Griepp saw the graphic novel growth as evidence that the market is expanding, as more women and children find graphic novels, while Miller credited Marvel’s Star Wars comics and DC’s Rebirth event.
Whatever Happened to comiXology? Three years after the largest digital comics service was purchased by Amazon, they still have plenty going on, says comics-biz maven Rob Salkowitz, including using Amazon’s “affinity marketing” (if you liked this, you’ll like that) tools, expanding to foreign audiences, and bringing in new readers via the ComiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited, and Prime Reading programs.