Comics Lockdown: The latest on comics and COVID

Featuring news from Valiant, Archie Comics, MICE and more.

As the news that Diamond Comics Distributors is putting shipments on hold as of April 1 reverberated throughout the comics industry, reactions came from many quarters. Here’s a roundup of as many as I could find, with more (I’m sure) tomorrow:

Let’s start with some perspective: At Comichron, John Jackson Miller looks at the history of the comics retail market and offers some hope for the future.

At ICv2, editor, comics market analyst, and former distributor Milton Griepp gives his perspective.

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‘Savage’ returns at Valiant from Bemis + Stockman

Kevin Sauvage returns in a new miniseries this June.

Valiant has tapped Max Bemis and Nathan Stockman to tell the next chapter in the story of Savage, a Kazar/Tarzan-esque boy who grew up on a remote island populated by dinosaurs and other terrifying things. The new miniseries will kick off in June.

Savage is the biggest story I’ve ever told. As in it’s my aesthetic turned up to eleven and crammed into the skin of a summer blockbuster film,” Bemis said in a press release. “If you dig the more fun and up-tempo stuff I’ve done like Worst X-Man Ever, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.”

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Valiant revives ‘Shadowman’

Cullen Bunn and Jon Davis-Hunt tapped to bring horror back to Valiant.

Valiant’s Shadowman will return in May with a new series by Cullen Bunn, Jon Davis-Hunt, Jodie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles.

“We’re taking Shadowman in some directions he’s never been taken before,” Bunn said in a press release. “He’s confronting a growing supernatural threat that is popping up all over the world. We are introducing the concept of the Blight, which is a weakening of the veil between our world and the Deadside. And these Blights occur in places of great sorrow and misery and evil.”

Bunn added, “We’re also introducing a new villain who will be changing the face of the supernatural in the Valiant Universe.”

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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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‘Quantum & Woody’ returns by Hastings and Browne

Valiant brings back the popular duo in January.

Valiant Entertainment has announced the return of one of their most popular titles, Quantum & Woody.

The duo — and the goat, of course — will return in January from Christopher Hastings, Ryan Browne, Ruth Redmond, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and editor Heather Antos.

“They hunt a serial kidnapper, they clash with a brain monster, they stop government assassinations, they go undercover at a haunted high school, they take on a new mentor, and perhaps most excitingly… they get some new powers,” Hastings said about the new title.

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It’s all about the hair in Valiant’s ‘Roku’ miniseries

Cullen Bunn and Ramón F. Bachs take the deadly assassin on a globe-trotting adventure.

Roku, the former-lover-turned-adversary of Valiant’s Ninjak, will star in her own four-issue miniseries, courtesy of Cullen Bunn, Ramón F. Bachs, Stéphane Paitreau and Dave Sharpe.

“Roku is perhaps the deadliest assassin in the Valiant Universe, and this is her first solo series,” Bunn said on his blog. “I’m sending her on a globe-trotting adventure where she will not get a chance to catch her breath. This is The Killer meets Hard-Boiled meets Replacement Killers meets John Wick… with psychic assassins.”

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Comics Lowdown: Eric M. Esquivel fired from ‘Nightwing,’ ‘Border Town’ cancelled

Plus: Free Comics Book Day, George Freeman, Marie Javins and more!

Although it wasn’t yet announced, DC Comics has said Eric M. Esquivel will no longer co-write Nightwing. The news that Esquivel was writing the book was to be revealed today in DC’s January solicitations.

The news follows the cancellation of Border Town, a well-reviewed series Esquivel wrote with artists Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain. Both Villalobos and Bonvillain announced on social media they had quit the title after allegations of sexual abuse against Esquivel became public. In a piece titled “X, my experience with my abuser,” toy designer Cynthia Naugle detailed a history of abuse by a co-worker at a comic shop, who has since been identified as Esquivel.

Neither DC Comics nor Vertigo have commented directly on the abuse allegations. Esquivel, who had changed his Twitter account to private following the allegations, has now made it public again and posted several tweets in response. At Book Riot, writer S.W. Sondheimer says she will no longer cover Vertigo titles as a result of their silence on the matter.

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Comics Lowdown: Chris Ryall rejoins IDW; Joe Illidge out at Valiant

Plus: top comics and graphic novels at comic shops in November! Next ‘Dog Man’ book gets a 5 million copy print run! Kieron Gillen plays ‘Die,’ for real! And much more!

Chris Ryall, who left IDW Publishing in March after serving as editor-in-chief for about 14 years, has rejoined the company as president, publisher and chief creative officer.

“IDW is where I’ve spent the majority of my career, and I consider the company and its employees like family, so I am grateful for this amazing opportunity to return,” Ryall said in a press statement. “I believe that IDW has very significant opportunities to become even more valuable and important, and I am excited to further expand on what I started with the company nearly 15 years ago. I am also eager to help the company celebrate its 20th year anniversary in 2019 in varied and creatively invigorating new ways.”

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Comics Lowdown: Mark Waid’s attorney asks for dismissal of Richard C. Meyer’s lawsuit

BOOM! Studios cancels ‘Husband and Husband’ collection after plagiarism charges! Image stops selling DRM-free digital comics directly! Chicago Sun-Times drops two pages of comics! Plus: Chip Zdarsky, NaNoWriMo, best of 2018 lists and more!

Mark Waid’s legal representative has asked the U.S. District Court for the Western district of Texas to dismiss the lawsuit filed against him by Richard C. Meyer. The civil lawsuit was filed in September and claims “tortious interference with contract and defamation.” You can read the motion on Newsarama.

“[Meyer] asserts claims against Mr. Waid for tortious interference with contract and defamation. These claims are completely meritless. But the problem at the outset, and which is proper to address, is that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Mr. Waid,” reads the motion. “Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to identify any allegations or facts establishing any connection between Mr. Waid and Texas. Instead, Plaintiff merely alleges a single phone call between Mr. Waid, who was in California at the time, and a San Antonio publishing company. That is far short of the necessary substantial connection with Texas to justify personal jurisdiction.”

Mark Waid and Richard Meyer have GoFundMe campaigns going to pay for their legal fees, both of which have reached their goals.

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