‘John Constantine, Hellblazer’ joins the Sandman Universe titles this fall

Simon Spurrier, Marcio Takara and Aaron Campbell take the character back to his roots.

After a move to the regular DC Universe, a movie, a TV show and even the announcement of a YA graphic novel, John Constantine will go back to basics in a new Hellblazer title this fall, as part of the Neil Gaiman-curated Sandman Universe line.

The day before Halloween will bring a one-shot by Simon Spurrier and artist Marcio Takara titled The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer. That’ll be followed by a new ongoing titled John Constantine, Hellblazer by Spurrier and artist Aaron Campbell.

“Year One was just the start. Now you get to inhabit the worlds, books and houses we built for you,” said Gaiman. “I was thrilled when I was told that John Constantine—the original, demon-haunted one who first showed up in Swamp Thing’s ‘American Gothic’ story—is coming back to his murky and dangerous roots. More magic and more darkness and not a few gods and dreams are here for you to explore.”

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‘Second Coming’ finally makes it to comic shops this week

The first issue of Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s story about Jesus and superheroes arrives Wednesday from AHOY Comics.

It’s been a long, winding road for Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s Second Coming, but this week it finally makes its way into the hands of readers.

The quick version:

  • Second Coming was originally announced more than a year ago as a part of the latest (and, it would turn out, last) wave of Vertigo books, in celebration of their 25th anniversary. The story features a superhero named Sunstar (formerly Sun-Man) becoming roommates with Jesus Christ.
  • News about the comic’s premise caught the eyes of the religious right, who petitioned DC Comics to cancel the book. They called the unreleased comic “inappropriate and blasphemous.” DC canceled it a few weeks before it was slated to hit comic shops.
  • AHOY Comics picked it up in March, with the first issue scheduled to arrive this Wednesday.

So what’s this all about? Let’s break it down …

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DC rebrands its publishing; Vertigo to go away at end of the year

Black Label will survive as Vertigo, DC Ink and DC Zoom all get the axe.

Rumors of Vertigo’s demise have proven to be true, as DC Comics has announced a rebranding of its content into three age-specific labels: DC Kids, DC and DC Black Label. The Vertigo imprint will be “sunset” at the end of the year, along with the DC Zoom and DC Ink labels.

“We’re returning to a singular presentation of the DC brand that was present throughout most of our history until 1993 when we launched Vertigo to provide an outlet for edgier material,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio in a press release. “That kind of material is now mainstream across all genres, so we thought it was the right time to bring greater clarity to the DC brand and reinforce our commitment to storytelling for all of our fans in every age group. This new system will replace the age ratings we currently use on our material.”

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Comics Lowdown: Stan Lee’s former manager’s legal troubles grow

Plus: Stolen comics, cease and desist letters, Ted Talks, Jesus and more.

Legal woes for Stan Lee’s former caretaker and manager, Keya Morgan, continue to grow. He has been arrested and appeared in court in Arizona to face the charge of being a fugitive of justice. And he is also being sued by Joan Celia Lee, Stan Lee’s daughter.

In May, Morgan was charged with 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. The LAPD has revealed some of the details on why they brought charges against him.

“Morgan removed Lee from his Hollywood Hills residence to a secured Beverly Hills condominium during the late night hours of June 8, 2018,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. “Morgan was using this tactic to further deceive Lee into believing he was in danger and needed to be moved from his home to a more secured condominium where Morgan had more control over Lee.”

The LAPD will eventually extradite Morgan to L.A. to face the charges.

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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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Vertigo unleashes a bunch of art from upcoming titles at NYCC

Check out artwork from ‘Lucifer,’ ‘Books of Magic,’ ‘Goddess Mode’ and more.

DC Comics brought a lot of news and even more art from upcoming titles to the New York Comic Con this past weekend. With Vertigo in the middle of a relaunch, they were front and center with new artwork from Goddess Mode, Hex Wives, High Level and the Sandman Universe titles Books of Magic and Lucifer.

Let’s take a look:

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Comics Lowdown: Judge Dredd co-creator Carlos Ezquerra passes away

Mark Waid sued, and gets a new job! Vertigo prepares for NYCC! Plus Ryan Ferrier, Jason Lutes, John McCrea and more!

Passings: Carlos Ezquerra, 2000 AD artist and co-creator of Judge Dredd, has passed away, the Guardian and the Hollywood Reporter both reported this week. The 70-year-old artist was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010, and the disease returned this year.

“It is difficult to put this into words, but we have lost someone who was the heart and soul of 2000AD. It is no exaggeration to call Carlos Ezquerra one of the greatest comic book artists of all time, and his name deserves to be uttered alongside Kirby, Ditko, Miller, Moebius and Eisner,” reads a statement issued by 2000AD. “Yet this doesn’t really do justice to someone whose work was loved by millions and has had an influence far beyond the comic book page. From Judge Dredd to Strontium Dog, from Rat Pack to Major Eazy, Carlos has left us with a legacy of stunning and distinctive work that was and always will be 2000 AD. He has been one of the pillars, producing the same dynamic, enthralling and arresting art we always loved him for. We thought we had many more adventures to come from the master, so we are devastated to discover we were wrong.”

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Vertigo shares a bunch of art from their upcoming relaunch

Check out artwork from ‘Border Town,’ ‘Safe Sex,’ ‘Goddess’ and more.

Earlier this summer DC’s Vertigo imprint announced seven new titles as part of their 25th anniversary relaunch. At Comic-Con International in San Diego this week, they shared a whole bunch of art from several of those titles.

Let’s take a look:

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Vertigo announces 7 new titles for their 25th anniversary relaunch

The DC Comics imprint will publish new series from Mark Russell, Ramon Villalobos, Ben Blacker, Bryan Hill, Robbi Rodriguez and many more.

DC Comics announced plans last October for a linewide relaunch, and this week they made it official by revealing seven new titles from the 25-year-old imprint.

New titles by Mark Russell, Ramon Villalobos, Ben Blacker, Bryan Hill, Robbi Rodriguez and many more will debut starting next September, joining the already announced Sandman Universe titles.

“It’s time to rebuild DC Vertigo,” said Mark Doyle, Executive Editor of Vertigo. “We’re returning to our roots by spotlighting the most exciting new voices in comics, as well as bringing new voices to comics. From the corners of television, games, music, activism, podcasting, comics and more, all of our creators are passionate and have something to say. These sophisticated stories have amazing new characters and vast worlds to explore. That’s what it has always been about for me—new stories, new voices, new possibilities. We’re creating a new generation of DC Vertigo classics for readers of all genres.”

Here are the new titles:

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