Comics Lowdown: Halloween edition

Tricks and treats from Marvel, Todd Klein, Kerry Callen and more!

It’s the scariest day of the year, and to help celebrate we’re doing something a little different with Comics Lowdown today.

Let’s start with something better than candy — better than candy? — comics! Every year Diamond Comics Distributors celebrates Halloween ComicFest, an event for comic shops similar in spirit to Free Comic Book Day. You can check out the official website to see pictures from this year’s celebrations. Also of note: many comic shops are selling packs of comics that you can give out to Trick or Treaters. So check with your local retailer to see what they have on hand.

And if you’re looking for some scary comics to read today, publishers have unleashed a horde of Halloween-themed stories today. Polygon spotlights the return of Wytches, as Scott Snyder and Jock return to hex you with a one-shot today. Speaking of hexing, Hex Wives, the new title by Ben Blacker and Mirka Andolfo from Vertigo, debuts today, along with the last issue of Wayward, a new issue of Stranger Things and some more Ice Cream Man, if you’re looking for something both sweet and creepy. In addition, new publisher Ahoy Comics has Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror, featuring the work of Tom Peyer, Mark Russell, Shannon Wheeler and more, while Marvel has an Avengers Halloween Special and DC kicks off The Witching Hour crossover.

If you’re looking for a longer read, Doctor of Horror and Other Stories from Fantagraphics collects old EC horror stories, while Dark Horse has released H. P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories by manga creator Gou Tanabe.

Finally, if you’re looking for some deals, check out Dynamite’s Fall horror bundle on Groupees and ComixTribe’s Halloween flash sale.

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No laughing matter: Snyder + Jock bring back ‘The Batman Who Laughs’

The ‘Dark Knights: Metal’ villain gets his own miniseries starting in November.

One of the evil Batmen who plagued the DC Universe in the big crossover event series Dark Knights: Metal will return this fall, as The Batman Who Laughs gets his own six-issue series by Scott Snyder and Jock.

Metal, for those who aren’t familiar, pitted the DC heroes against evil amalgamations of Batman + another character. The Batman Who Laughs, you may have guessed, is a mash-up of Batman and the Joker. As this image by Jock will attest, he’s bad news:

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DC’s Black Label imprint to offer out-of-continuity comics from ‘top talent’

DC Comics has announced Black Label, a new imprint aimed at giving creators the freedom to create out-of-continuity stories and future “perennially best-selling, critically acclaimed books.”

“Many of our perennially best-selling, critically acclaimed books were produced when we unleashed our top talent on standalone, often out-of-continuity projects featuring our most iconic characters, a prime example being Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns,” DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee said in a statement about the new imprint. “Creating DC Black Label doubles down on our commitment to working with all-star talent and trusting them to tell epic, moving stories that only they can tell with the highest levels of creative freedom.”

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Superman puts his pants back on for ‘Action’ #1000

Milestone issue will include new stories by Brian Michael Bendis, Jim Lee, Curt Swan, Marv Wolfman, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, John Cassaday, Scott Snyder and more.

The world returns to sanity again in April with the landmark Action Comics #1000, which features a slew of creators telling tales about Superman and, more importantly, the return of his famous red trunks.

Debuting in Action Comics #1 way back in 1938, the red trunks helped Clark Kent’s alter-ego fight for truth, justice and the American way for almost a century — that is, until the launch of the New 52 in 2010. Dc co-publisher Jim Lee redesigned many DC characters at the time, including Superman — and the new, super-hip redesign had no room for outside undies or his classic red boots. The move was controversial, just like any change to the status quo in superhero comics, and eventually spawned petitions from fans to return to the classic look. Now it looks like those voices have finally been heard by DC.

Action Comics #1000 represents a watershed moment in the history of not just comic books, but entertainment, literature and pop culture,” said Lee. “There’s no better way to celebrate Superman’s enduring popularity than to give him a look that combines some new accents with the most iconic feature of his classic design.”

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Bad, bad Batmans: The Dark Knights rise at Comic-Con

Corrupt versions of Batman prepare to invade the DCU from the Dark Multiverse.

The Dark Multiverse is imminent in Dark Knights: Metal, as Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s big event series is set to kick off in August. At Comic-Con International, DC Comics revealed a look at some of the denizens of the Dark Multiverse who will plague the regular DCU during the event. Oh yeah — they’re all Batmans:

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‘Wytches’ returns in Image’s promotional magazine

Second volume of Image+ will also feature an autobiographical strip by Ed Piskor.

Image+, Image Comics’ supplemental magazine to Diamond’s monthly Previews catalog, has proven to be way more than just a means to share their monthly solicits. It regularly features editorial content, interviews with creators and even comics, as it ran Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s “Negan” strip, featuring the popular Walking Dead character’s back story, in its first volume. The fact that it is edited by former Comics Alliance contributor David Brothers probably explains why it’s not to be missed.

Starting in August, Image+ kicks off its second volume, and that issue will include an increased page count, an original autobiographical comic strip from Hip Hop Family Tree creator Ed Piskor, and the return of Scott Snyder and Jock’s Wytches.

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Lemire announces release dates for two projects

‘A.D.: After Death’ with Scott Snyder starts later this year, while ‘Roughnecks’ arrives in 2017.

Sweet Tooth and Trillium creator Jeff Lemire has revealed updated releases dates for projects he’s working on — A.D.: After Death with writer Scott Snyder from Image Comics and Roughneck, which he’s both writing and drawing himself, from Simon and Schuster’s new Gallery 13 imprint.

Announced back in January of 2015, A.D.: After Death tells the story of what happens when mankind cures death. A.D.: After Death will be serialized as three, oversized prestige format books written by Snyder and fully painted by Lemire. The first volume is due in November.

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Roughneck, meanwhile, is about a former hockey tough guy living in small-town Canada, like his Essex County trilogy. It’s now due in April 2017 from Gallery 13, a new graphic novel imprint which will launch next year. In addition to Lemire’s book, the imprint will also re-release Stephen King and Bernie Wrightson’s Creepshow and will publish Alone, a French graphic novel by Christophe Chaboute, according to ICv2.

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