King to leave ‘Batman’ for new ‘Batman/Catwoman’ title

Tom King and Clay Mann will launch the 12-issue series in January.

Following rumors earlier this week that writer Tom King would leave Batman earlier than expected, DC Comics has made it official: King’s work on the title continues through December, when the “City of Bane” story will wrap up in Batman #85. A new, as-yet-unrevealed creative team will take over the title in January 2020, when DC will launch Batman/Catwoman by King and artist Clay Mann.

Batman, which currently comes out biweekly, will shift to a monthly schedule in January. Batman/Catwoman is being billed as a 12-issue maxi-series.

“We’re making changes to our comic book publishing line to set DC up for continued success,” said DC’s editor-in-chief Bob Harras. “We’re starting with the bestselling Batman comic after ‘City of Bane’ wraps up in December. ‘City of Bane’ is an incredible story and an integral part of our overall ‘Year of the Villain’ campaign, and a new Tom King and Clay Mann Bat/Cat series in 2020 fills the gap once BATMAN begins to ship monthly.”

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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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DC’s Walmart-exclusive stories headed to comic shops

DC Comics announced at WonderCon that stories by Brian Michael Bendis, Tom King and others will be released in the direct market.

DC Comics answered a question at WonderCon that’s been in the minds of readers and retailers — will the stories they’ve released exclusively to Walmart ever be collected and available in comic shops?

The answer is yes, as DC announced at their publisher’s panel today that stories like Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington’s Batman: Universe will be collected and released in the direct market.

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‘Detective’ #1000 to feature Dini, Lee, Bendis, Cloonan, Ellis and more

DC Comics has unveiled the line-up for Detective Comics #1000, the landmark issue that arrives in stores in March.

The comic will feature short stories by a variety of creative teams, from classic Batman creators like Denny O’Neil, Paul Dini and Kelley Jones, as well as more recent creators like Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Tom King.

“Following in the footsteps of the blockbuster Action Comics #1000, Detective Comics #1000 is going to be a must-have for every kind of Batman fan,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio. “Everyone we asked to be a part of this monumental issue immediately said yes and we can’t wait for fans to get their hands on the comic book.”

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Comics Lowdown: Batton Lash, Ron Smith pass away

Plus: News on Grant Morrison, Tintin, Stan Lee and more.

Batton Lash, the creator of the long-running comic-strip-turned-comic-book Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre (later re-titled Supernatural Law) passed away Jan. 12 at the age of 65 from brain cancer.

Lash’s comics career began in the late 1970s when Wolff and Byrd began running as a weekly comic strip in The Brooklyn Paper and then later in The National Law Journal. In the 1990s, he and his wife, Jackie Estrada, formed Exhibit A Press, which began publishing Wolff and Byrd comics under the title Supernatural Law. It later migrated to the web. His other works included writing the Archie Meets The Punisher crossover as well as Bongo Comics’ Radioactive Man book, which received an Eisner Award in 2002. He also collaborated with James Hudnall on Obama Nation, a conservative political comic strip that appeared on one of Andrew Breitbart’s websites.

Many of the creators and industry professionals who knew Lash have started to share their remembrances, including Heidi MacDonald and Rob Salkowitz. The Comics Reporter has a round-up of more of them.

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Comics Lowdown: Tom King’s CIA service

Plus: ‘The Arrival’ selected for Hong Kong’s first ‘One City, One Book’ campaign, the obituary Marie Severin should have received, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Phoebe Gloeckner, Diamond Gem awards and more best-of-2018 lists!

Happy New Year from the Smash Pages staff! Coming back from the holiday break, let’s ring out the old and ring in the new with today’s collection of comic book news links.

Let’s start with a weird one: Last week Abhay Khosla, comics critic and past Superman writer, posted about his attempts to confirm with the CIA that Batman and Heroes in Crisis writer Tom King used to work for them. The topic of King’s former employer frequently comes up in interviews related to his Batman work (not to mention King’s Vertigo series The Sheriff of Babylon), and Khosla questioned whether any reporters who interviewed King about it had ever confirmed it. So Khosla sent the CIA a letter back in 2016 asking for confirmation, and the response he received from the agency was inconclusive.

This exchange occurred in 2016, and why Khosla decided to go public with it now isn’t clear. The point of Khosla’s post doesn’t seem to be to call out King as a liar (he starts his post by saying, “I don’t think this is really a story about Tom King”) but is more of a statement about entertainment journalism and fact-checking. He points out similar situations where a past DC writer, Micah Wright, lied about being in the armed services, as well as current Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski pretending to be Japanese early in his career.

The problem isn’t in asking the question — it’s posting about it without an answer or actually asking King about it. Like verifying facts, that’s also journalism 101. After the post went live, King was quick to respond on Twitter, showing proof that he was, indeed, in the CIA. Bleeding Cool, The Comics Reporter and Nick Hanover have more commentary on this.

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Joelle Jones, Tom King, Lee Weeks and more win 2018 Ringo Awards

Marc Andreyko receives the Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Award, while Denny O’Neil receives the Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 2018 Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards were presented this weekend at the Baltimore Comic-Con, celebrating the “creativity, skill and fun of comics.” The awards program is named for artist Mike Wieringo, who passed away in 2007.

This is the second year the awards were presented, and they include both “fan favorites,” which were selected by open voting, and “jury and fan winners,” selected by a combination of open nominations and jury voting. You can see the breakdown of how the winners were selected on the Ringo Awards website.

Congratulations to all the winners:

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Walmart to offer exclusive ‘giant’ anthologies from DC — with new content

New material by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Dan Jurgens, Tim Seeley, Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis and Andy Kubert joins past stories in new monthly line.

DC Comics and Walmart have teamed up to offer an exclusive line of 100-page “giant” anthologies at the big-box retailer. The anthologies will feature a mix of previously published and new materiel, including new material by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Patrick “Patch” Zircher, Brian Michael Bendis, Dan Jurgens, Tim Seeley, Rick Leonardi, Steve Buccellato, Andy Kubert, Scott Eaton and Tom King.

“We are extraordinarily excited about working with Walmart to expand the reach of our books,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio in a statement. “These new monthly books combine new and accessible stories with reprints of classic comic series. It’s a great way for new readers to get into comics and follow the characters they’ve grown to love in TV and film.”

Each of the four titles – Superman Giant, Justice League Of America Giant, Batman Giant and Teen Titans Giant – will arrive in stores by July 1. Beginning in August, the Superman and Justice League titles will arrive in week one of each month, with Batman and Teen Titans arriving approximately two weeks later. They’ll cost $4.99.

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King + Mann’s ‘Heroes in Crisis’ focuses on the human side of DC’s heroes

The new miniseries debuts in September.

Fresh off an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, where he talked about Mr. Miracle and Batman’s upcoming nuptials to Catwoman, Tom King will next turn his attention to the human side of superheroes with a new miniseries — Heroes in Crisis. Teaming up with Clay Mann, the duo will tell the story of “a crisis center for superheroes who spend their lives fighting villainy and protecting others.” It’s also a murder mystery.

“I feel like I’m part of a rolling generation of people who spent their 20s overseas fighting terrorism,” explained King. “Millions of people cycle through that machine and come home to America. And I think that sort of experience of violence is shaping who we are as a culture, and as a country. And I want to talk about that. I want to talk about that experience, the experience of what violence can do to a person, to a community, to a nation, to a world.”

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