Mail Call | ‘X-O Manowar’ returns, ‘Death Metal’ one-shots and more

A round-up of news from DC, Marvel, Image Comics, Valiant and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently. Hit the links for more information.

The Dark Nights: Death Metal event grew again this week, as DC announced two new anthology one-shots for November prior to releasing their full November solicitations.

The first one is focused on Lobo and is titled Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hours Exxxtreme! #1. It will feature “Uncle Lobo” telling “familiar yet freaky stories of the DC Universe, exactly as he remembers them: with blood and guts and exxxtreme gratuitous violence.” The creators involved include Frank Tieri, Becky Cloonan, Dale Eaglesham and more, with a cover by Kyle Hotz.

If that one isn’t ridiculous-sounding enough, the second one, Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs “offers the curious—and the brave—a glimpse into the nightmare realities that the Batman Who Laughs has created in tales by creators who know what it means to have a truly twisted sense of misfit humor.” As you can tell by the cover, one of those worlds features evil super pets. It includes stories by Amanda Conner, Patton Oswalt, Jimmy Palmiotti, Scott Snyder, Brandon Thomas, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Chad Hardin and more.

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Fund Me Monday: Madi, Orbital Knights and more

Support creators by crowdfunding efforts by The Nib, Alex de Campi, Duncan Jones, Giannis Milonogiannis and more.

Crowdfunding continues to serve as a viable method for creators to fund their creative endeavors, as comic-related projects flourish on sites like Kickstarter, Patreon and IndieGoGo. The internet also allows creators to sell their creations direct to fans, through sites like Gumroad, Etsy and of course their own websites. If you’re looking to buy something from or support a creator directly, you’ve come to the right place. And that is a good thing to do, now more than ever.

Send any suggestions of your own to jkparkin@yahoo.com.

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Grateful Dead get an origin story thanks to Z2 Comics

Noah Van Sciver and Chris Miskiewicz will take you back to the beginning of the Dead’s long, strange trip.

Z2 Comics has teamed up with the Grateful Dead for Grateful Dead Origins, a graphic novel detailing the band’s early days. And they’ve recruited Chris Miskiewicz and Noah Van Sciver to tell the story.

“We’ve seen many archival releases that offer magnificent audio representations of the Grateful Dead’s history, and several filmed interpretations of the Dead’s story. To these, we’re thrilled to add to the Dead’s narrative canon this beautiful portrayal of the Dead’s origin story in the form of this wonderful new comic,” said Grateful Dead audiovisual archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux. “Chris and Noah have captured the Dead’s sensibility in their words and images that bring to life on the page the earliest days of the Grateful Dead, from the band’s founding in 1965 through to Woodstock. We couldn’t be happier to be partnering with such talented artists who have delved so deeply into the Dead’s history and origin.”

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‘Tales of the Music Makers’ to include two Harvey Pekar stories

New graphic novel from Z2 Comics will benefit the Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Z2 Comics, which has published a number of graphic novels with musical themes, has a new one queued up for February: Tales of the Music Makers, by Gary Dumm.

The graphic novel is a benefit project for the Music Maker Relief Foundation, which is a bit like a music version of the Hero Initiative: It “provides resources to elderly, southern musicians living in poverty and keeps southern, musical culture alive by recording albums, arranging concerts and museum exhibitions, and publishing books.”

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Comics Lowdown: Chuck Wendig says Marvel fired him because of negative tweets

After posting a controversial interview, Bleeding Cool gets a new editor in chief! Plus Steve Ellis, Alex Ross, MAD Magazine and more!

Comics writer and novelist Chuck Wendig says he has been fired from Marvel “because of the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that’s what Mark [Paniccia], the editor said. It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.” Wendig had just been announced as the writer of Shadow of Vader, with artist Greg Smallwood, and said he had another as-yet-unannounced Star Wars comic in the works.

In addition to various Star Wars comics, Wendig also wrote Star Wars: Aftermath, a novel that included LGBT characters and was one of the first books published after Lucasfilm ended the “expanded universe” Star Wars books. After it was published, Wendig said he received “TONS” of harassment online — “harassment that has gone on for years, harassment that has required me to contact local police and warn them of SWATting attempts, harassment across all corners of the Internet, here, FB, Reddit, YouTube. Some of it was bot stuff, obviously, or sock puppets, but some of it was pretty creepy, and very personal.”

This story has been reported on widely, with stories from Deadline, io9, the Verge, Vulture and more. Update: Wendig has a post answering many of the questions he’s received since he went public with this news.

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Check out a preview of Z2’s ‘Grave Lilies’

Cullen Bunn, George Kambadais team up for super-powered, science fiction mystery saga.

A few weeks ago we learned that Cullen Bunn and George Kambadais are teaming up for a new title from Z2 Comics — Grave Lilies, which is about five super-powered women who emerge from coffin-like stasis tubes with no recollection of who they are.

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Bunn, Kambadais dig up ‘Grave Lilies’ at Z2 Comics

Artist George Kambadais (The Double Life Of Miranda Turner) and writer Cullen Bunn (pretty much everything) have teamed up for a new creator-owned, sci-fi, super-powered mystery titled Grave Lilies. Published by Z2 Comics, the first issue is due out in December.

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Jarrett Williams gets hyped with ‘Hyper Force Neo’

Check out a preview of the forthcoming comic from Z2 Comics.

For your previewing pleasure … here are a few pages from Jarrett Williams’ upcoming comic from Z2 Comics, Hyper Force Neo, one of four new titles the publisher announced a few weeks back. It’s the one I’m most excited for, based on Williams’ work on Super Pro K.O.

Here are the details from the publisher:

HYPER FORCE NEO by Jarrett Williams
April, 2016

HYPER FORCE NEO, from SUPER PRO K.O.! creator Jarrett Williams, takes readers along on the adventures of Dean Masters, a 9th grader tasked with leading a group of tech-savvy teens called Hyper Force Neo. Their Mission? Save New Sigma City and their high-school from the sinister, intergalactic vagabonds known as the Dark Edge. With the use of their Hype Suits, Neo Keys, High-tech weaponry, and over-sized Neo Mechs, Dean and his friends just may get the job done. The first issue of HYPER FORCE NEO will be a super-sized 48-pages.

Jarrett Williams recently completed the third volume in his pro-wrestling/adventure series Super Pro K.O.!: Gold for Glory at Oni Press, which will be released in Summer, 2016. He is also working on a Super Pro K.O.! Special and a monthly, action/beat-em-up comic called Knuckle Up! for Oni Press. Jarrett has contributed stories for Yo Gabba Gabba: Comic Book Time at Oni Press, and covers for Adventure Time and Regular Show at Boom Studios. Jarrett was born in New Orleans, LA in 1984. He lives in Savannah, GA.

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Z2 announces four new projects for 2016

Publisher announces new projects by Jarrett Williams, Miss Lasko-Gross and Kevin Colden, Sam Sattin and Chris Koehler, and Gabe Soria and Paul Reinwand.

Z2 Comics, the publisher of Ian McGinty’s Welcome to Showside, Chris Hunt’s Carver and Miss Lasko-Gross‘s Henni, among others, has announced four new titles for 2016 with some impressive creative line-ups.

Probably the name I was most excited to see on the list is Jarrett Williams, who wrote and drew two volumes of the fun wrestling graphic novel Super Pro K.O.! (a third one is due out in April). His new book is about high school students who team up to fight “sinister, intergalactic vagabonds” in what will surely be a fun, action-packed book. Also of note are the wonderful Lasko-Gross and her husband, Kevin Colden (Fishtown, The Crow, I Rule the Night), who will collaborate for the first time on a story about intergalactic smugglers. Author Sam Sattin (The Silent End) teams with illustrator Chris Koehler (Wired, The Atlantic) for a story about dogs and cats living together, while Gabe Soria (Life Sucks, Batman ’66) and Paul Reinwand (28 Warlords) create a “rock’n’roll noir story” that’ll feature a soundtrack by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and the Arcs, with tracks inspired by the comics.

Artwork, release dates and additional details provided by the publisher can be found below.

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Hyper Force Neo by Jarrett Williams
April 2016

Hyper Force Neo, from Super Pro K.O.! creator Jarrett Williams takes readers along on the adventures of Dean Masters, a 9th grader tasked with leading a group of tech-savvy teens called Hyper Force Neo. Their Mission? Save New Sigma City and their high school from the sinister, intergalactic vagabonds known as the Dark Edge. With the use of their Hype Suits, Neo Keys, high-tech weaponry and over-sized Neo Mechs, Dean and his friends just may get the job done. The first issue of Hyper Force Neo will be a super-sized 48 pages.

THE SWEETNESS promo art

The Sweetness by Miss Lasko-Gross and Kevin Colden
May 2016

Set in the future, the first collaboration from the husband and wife creative team of Miss Lasko-Gross (Henni) and Kevin Colden (Fishtown) follows two bad-ass female intergalactic smugglers of a mysterious controlled substance who cater to the unique tastes of alien drug addicts.

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Legend by Sam Sattin, Chris Koehler
June 2016

What if a biological terror agent wiped out most of humanity, and our domesticated animals were left in charge? How would our dogs and cats set about ruling and rebuilding the world? Legend is the story of animals uniting to fight mutant creatures and attempting to restore the world their masters destroyed.

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Murder Ballads by Gabe Soria, Paul Reinwand
2016

A meditation on music, obsession and how far someone will go to see their vision become real, Murder Ballads follows the fall and reinvention of Nate Theodore, the dead-broke and deadbeat owner of a failing record label who is on a cross-country drive in the dead of winter, fleeing the wreckage of his business and trying to save his crumbling marriage. Nate is given an unexpected chance to reverse his fortunes when, during a stop in a desolate rust belt town, he “discovers” Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, two African-American brothers who play a raucous brand of doom-laden country blues. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and the Arcs is creating a Murder Ballads soundtrack, which will be released by Nonesuch Records.