Mail Call | ‘That Texas Blood’ returns with a new story arc in June

Today’s round-up includes announcements and previews from Marvel, DC, Skybound, Image, Dark Horse and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

That Texas Blood, the excellent small-town noir series by Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips, returns next month from Image Comics with a new story arc that delves into Ambrose County’s past, “blowing off some of that desert dust and seeing what lurks beneath,” Phillips said.

That Texas Blood #7 will arrive in comic shops on June 30.

“Returning to Ambrose County and these characters is like going home in many ways. They feel like old friends more than old creations and none more so than Sheriff Joe Bob Coates. I’m beyond excited to explore a bit of Joe’s past in this next story arc as we travel back in time to 1981. We’ll see new places, meet new people, and explore ideas we haven’t before. I’ve always believed that the beginning years of any decade are the hangover of the previous one, and I am absolutely thrilled that we are allowed to dissect this over the next six issues with our merry band of Ambrose Countians,” said Condon. “But don’t be fooled, we aren’t viewing the past through rose-colored glasses. I’ve said before that Texas is America’s mystical land, but every fantasy world has a minotaur lurking in the dark or a dragon breathing through smoking nostrils over armor-clad corpses. Our Texas is no different. The shadows there stretch to the horizon, devouring all light. But there are some who see the darkness and strike a match to light the way. I hope that you’ll join us on our trip down Highway 90, into the heart of Ambrose County and into the dark depths of the past. But don’t you fret, we’re not out of matches yet.”

Check out the first issue’s covers:

In That Texas Blood #7, Joe Bob reminisces about one of his first cases: a haunting and bizarre evening that left a boy dead, a girl missing, a cult on the loose and introduced a mysterious man called Harlan Eversaul.

Marvel + Dc celebrate Pride Month

Both Marvel and DC are going all in on Pride Month this year, with specials and variant covers to highlight LGBTQ+ creators and characters.

Marvel will release Marvel’s Voices: Pride on June 23, and this past week they released the introduction by Luciano Vecchio, which spotlights past moments in Marvel’s history featuring LGBTQ+ characters. Take a look:

Marvel will also release several variant covers with a Pride theme in June, which will appear on their Star Wars titles:

And, as we’ve noted before, Phil Jimenez has done covers for nine Marvel titles for Pride Month.

“I’m always blown away at how different things are now in comics when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation than when I started, and Marvel’s dedication to that inclusion,” Jimenez said. “As an (ahem!) older gay creator, I’m always thrilled by the opportunity to draw iconic LGBTQ+ characters from Marvel’s past and present, and grateful to contribute to Marvel’s future: one that truly represents the world — and the wonderful diversity of humanity — right outside your window.”

Here’s a look at them all with their trade dress:

DC also has a Pride Month special coming out, called simply DC Pride. They revealed the table of contents:

as well as snippets of art from some of the stories:

DC Pride comes out June 8.

Dark Horse has more Stranger Things coming this year

Dark Horse will continue its publishing relationship with Netflix’s Stranger Things, as they’ve announced a new graphic novel, two collections of previous miniseries and a box set of YA graphic novels.

Stranger Things: Erica the Great! is a new young adult graphic novel written by Greg Pak and Danny Lore, with art by Valeria Favoccia, colors by Dan Jackson and letters by Nate Piekos. It stars Erica, the precocious (and somewhat bossy) pre-teen who appeared in the most recent season of the show. It comes out in November at the same time a boxed set of Stranger Things graphic novels arrives. It’ll include Stranger Things: Zombie Boy, Stranger Things: Bully and the new graphic novel featuring Erica.

Before that, though, Dark Horse will collect the Stranger Things miniseries written by Jody Houser over the last few years into two “library edition” volumes, which come out in August and November.

AfterShock announces Campisi: The Dragon Incident

James Patrick, writer of the recent AfterShock title The Kaiju Score, will team up with Italian artist Marco Locati and letterer Rachel Deering for Campisi: The Dragon Incident. It’s the story of a mob fixer who has to deal with a dragon that’s decided to nest in his neighborhood. Here’s a preview and a look at the first issue’s variant cover, which is also by Locati:

“The book is about a dragon that flies into a Brooklyn-like neighborhood which is controlled by the mob and how it’s the job of the local fixer, Sonny Campisi, to get rid of it,” Patrick said. “Sonny prides himself in being a problem solver, but this is a situation he’s never faced. And as the story progresses, the situation with the dragon begins to uncover some things about the neighborhood that the people who live there don’t want to confront.”

The first issue arrives Aug. 11.

Kickapoo Tribe’s own Captain America debuts in August

Marvel will kick off The United States of Captain America next month, a new miniseries that will feature a bunch of Captain Americas you know and will introduce several new ones — basically normal folks who decide to take up the shield. One of those new characters is Joe Gomez, the Captain America of the Kickapoo Tribe. Created by geoscientist and Lipan Apache writer Darcie Little Badger and Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation artist David Cutler, the new character will appear in the miniseries’ third issue.

“Something I love about Joe is his day job. It represents everything he stands for as a hero,” Little Badger explains. “See, Joe Gomez is a construction worker, a builder in a world plagued by destruction. Every time a spaceship crashes into a bridge or a supervillain transforms a whole city block into rubble, people like Joe make things whole again. Work like that may seem thankless, but Joe genuinely enjoys helping his community survive and thrive. That’s why he won’t charge elders for home repair services (the Joe Gomez senior discount is 100%). That’s also why he’s willing to risk his life to save others. I know lots of people like Joe–many of them my Indigenous relatives–so it was wonderful to help develop a character with his values, strength, and extreme crane-operating skills.”

Here’s a look at Joe, as well as a variant cover by Carmen Carnero:

Dark Horse brings The Hellbound to the U.S.

Yeon Sang-Ho and cartoonist Choi Gyu-Seok’s critically acclaimed manhwa The Hellbound is coming to America, courtesy of Dark Horse and translator Danny Lim.

Here’s the description: One day, you will receive a message from an unknown sender. The message will only include your name, the fact that you are going to hell, and the time you have left to live. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide—no escape. When the time counts down to zero, supernatural beings manifest to condemn you to hell. As the nation falls into unrest, a new religious sect begins to interpret the bizarre occurrence as the will of the divine. Could this be a sign of something grander—a blessing in disguise, a holy reckoning, or an evil curse? Amid social chaos and increasing hysteria, the people must find a way to survive this inexplicable terror.

Look for the first volume on Oct. 26.

Comics Experience announces new line of comics

Comics Experience, the company founded by comics editor and writer Andy Schmidt that provides classes on creating comics, has announced they’ve launched Comics Experience Publishing. The new line of creator-owned comics will launch in July with Stud and the Bloodblade by Perry Crowe and Jed Dougherty.

“It really just came down to the industry needing a publisher like this. That’s not any knock against a lot of other great publishers, but we need something simple and straightforward that takes a long-term approach to the health of creators and the market overall,” said Schmidt. “We’re not in the IP business, we’re in the comics-making business. The simplicity of: ‘Treat people the way you’d want to be treated if you were in their shoes’ should be more common than it is. That’s the backbone of CEX.”

Shang-Chi kicks into stores with new variant covers

Marvel will release the first issue of a new Shang-Chi series this week, by the team of Gene Yang and Dike Ruan. And that first issue will have several variant covers — above you can check out the one by Benjamin Su, and below you can see covers by Superlog and Jung-Geun Yoon:

Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 preview

Also due out from Marvel this week is the first issue of Fantastic Four: Life Story. Just like Spider-Man: Life Story did, the miniseries will show the life of the Fantastic Four as if they aged in real time, with each issue set in a different decade, starting with the 1960s. It’s by the team of  writer Mark Russell, artist Sean Izaakse, colorist Nolan Woodard and letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna, and here’s a preview:

The first issue arrives this Wednesday.

Erica henderson covers Six Sidekicks

The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton is one of my most anticipated comics of this year, and the first issue by Kyle Starks and Chris Schweizer will be here before you know it. Image/Skybound has revealed a couple of variant covers for it, as well as some additional preview pages. The cover shown above is by Erica Henderson, and this one, a Pride Month variant, is by Ed Luce:

And here’s the preview:

More Hellfire Gala previews

It wouldn’t be a Mail Call if I didn’t feature the latest on Marvel’s upcoming Hellfire Gala — I’m not sure what I’m going to do when it’s over — and here are two more previews from the crossover. First up we have Excalibur:

And then we have X-Men:

A ruby of Nightwing covers

DC revealed several covers for upcoming issues and second printings of the red-hot Nightwing, a title that Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo have quickly turned into one of my favorite DC titles. Up above is the very clever second printing cover for Nightwing #79, which not only acts as a timeline for all of Dick Grayson’s identities but also references the 1960s Batman TV show.

There’s also the regular and variant covers for issue #80:

Plus a preview of that issue, which will feature a guest appearance by Tim Drake:

And we have two covers for Nightwing #81, which features our hero meeting up with the new villain Heartless:

And lastly, issue #82, which puts the spotlight on Bludhaven mayor/crime family legacy Melinda Zucco:

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