Smash Pages Q&A: Sebastian Girner

The editor-in-chief of TKO Studios discusses their approach to making comics, their second year of publishing and the ‘relentless hopelessness’ of his own writing.

Sebastian Girner is the editor-in-chief of TKO Studios, where he’s overseen the publisher’s launch, its approach to publishing, and its diverse lineup of talents and approaches that we’ve seen over the past few years.

Previously Girner worked at Marvel Comics and has edited various creator-owned comics. He’s also written comics, including two projects that came out this year. The Devil’s Red Bride is a miniseries coming out from Vault Comics, and The Father Of All Things is one of the books in TKO’s inaugural line of TKO Shorts.

We spoke recently about his eventful year, about the tone that unites these two different projects, and how he uses the supernatural.

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Vault’s Wonderbound imprint to publish Sam Beck’s ‘Verse’

The Young Adult fantasy webcomic will arrive in print in Fall 2021.

Sam Beck‘s excellent webcomic Verse is coming to print, as part of Vault Comics’ Wonderbound imprint. The book is due out in Fall of 2021.

“The story of a shared journey is one that feels timeless,” Beck said in the press release. “It isn’t the promise of adventure or the fantastical things you unearth that draw us back to them. It’s getting to see how each character grows and develops along it, testing the bonds they form over and over again. And even when paths diverge, as they often do, seeing how they manage to find a way back to each other.”

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Can’t Wait for Comics | ‘X of Swords’ begins

New comics arrive this week from Fabian Nicieza, Ron Garney, Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Dan Panosian, Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter and more.

We are back with a look at what’s arriving in comic shops, bookstores and on digital this week. There are several first issues coming out, including new titles from Dan Panosian, Daniel Kraus, Fabian Nicieza, Ron Garney and of course the big X of Swords crossover event featuring Marvel’s merry mutants (with swords!)

If you’re wondering what to get this week, check out a few recommendations below. You can check out Comic List to see what’s arriving in your local comic shop, and the comiXology new releases page for what’s available digitally.

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Comics Lowdown | Dog Man once again rules the best-seller charts

Plus: News on ‘Fun Home,’ Vault Comics, IDW, DC’s new GM and more.

Not surprisingly, Dog Man has once again claimed the top spot on best-seller charts for USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, Indie Bound, Toronto Star, and The Globe and Mail, among others. It’s the ninth book in Dav Pilkey’s popular kids graphic novel series to land at No. 1 on the best-seller chart.

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Cornell + Cantirino team up for ‘I Walk With Monsters’

The horror series from Vault Comics will launch in November.

Comics writer and author Paul Cornell will make his “comeback” to comics with a new series from Vault Comics, I Walk With Monsters. Cornell will work with artist Sally Cantirino, and colorist Dearbhla Kelly on the title.

“This is a hugely important project for me, both in terms of how personal it is, and how much of a comeback to comics it is,” Cornell said on his blog. “It’s the story of a young woman and her friend who can be a monster, going hunting. I think it’s my best work in the medium, my attempt to create horror that comes from a real place, with lots of heart and character. To see the pages come alive with such glorious artwork has been an absolute joy.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Lonnie Nadler and Jenna Cha

The writer and artist of ‘Black Stars Above’ discuss the Lovecraftian horror tale, the tone and texture of the tale, and more.

Black Stars Above is a comic by Lonnie Nadler and Jenna Cha, which was just collected by Vault Comics. Set in 1887, this Lovecraftian horror tale is set in the Canadian frontier, and the story itself is this eerie, atmospheric horror story. You can read the complete first issue right here on Smash Pages.

But what fascinated me most was the small details in how both Nadler and Cha told the story — from the artist’s details that went into capturing the feel of the period to the language and the journal entries to the landscapes.

It’s a stunning book, and the two were kind enough to answer a few questions about the project, what they took from Lovecraft and more.

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Read the entire first issue of ‘Black Stars Above’

Check out the entirety of the first chapter of the Vault Comics title by Lonnie Nadler, Jenna Cha, Brad Simpson and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.

Courtesy of Vault Comics, we’re pleased to present the entire first issue of Black Stars Above by Lonnie Nadler, Jenna Cha, Brad Simpson and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Described as a “chilling historical cosmic horror tale of survival,” the story features a desperate young fur trapper in 1887 Northern Canada who is hired to deliver a package:

The year is 1887 and a storm brews. A young fur trapper flees her overbearing family only to get lost in a dreamlike winter wilderness that harbours a cosmic threat. The fur trade is dead and the nation is changing. Yet, Eulalie Dubois has spent her entire life tending to her family’s trapline, isolated from the world. A chance at freedom comes in the form of a parcel that needs delivering to a nameless town north of the wilderness. Little does Eulalie know, something sinister hides in those woods and it yearns for what she has.

It’s a series that Shane Bailey said is “a masterclass in building tension and dread,” and is “the equivalent of a Shepard Tone, the illusion of the ever-rising note. Eventually the musician ends the song, ending that tension. In this case, though, I really don’t want it to end.”

You can check out the first issue below, and look for the just-released trade paperback at a comic shop near you.

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Can Wait for Wednesday: DC, Marvel delay many of this week’s digital comics

Just a handful of digital releases will arrive on comiXology this week.

Although it seemed to take them longer to make a decision than most of the other publishers, both DC and Marvel have indicated that many of the single-issue comics they had planned to release this week digitally have been pushed out.

The news comes after Diamond Comic Distributors announced they would halt physical comics distribution to comic shops due to the coronavirus, starting with the comics originally scheduled for this Wednesday, April 1.

Many comics publishers announced fairly quickly after the news broke that they planned to hold off on releasing their comics digitally until their print releases were rescheduled.

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Comics Lockdown: Publishers react to COVID-19

With news from Marvel, Dark Horse, Humanoids, Vault Comics and more.

Marvel offers some suggestions on how to support local comic shops, along with a list of stores that are still open and what services they provide.

Christina Merkler of Discount Comic Book Service discusses the effect of the Diamond shutdown on the Collected Comics Podcast.

UK comics blogger John Freeman rounds up resources and links, including free comics sites, information on UK stores that sell by mail order, and stuff to keep homebound kids amused, at Down the Tubes.

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