Mail Call | Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day titles

Get ready for Free Comic Book Day, which is coming up this Saturday. Also check out news from DC, Image Comics, IDW, AfterShock Comics 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.

Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day offerings for this year have been somewhat confusing — at one point Chip Zdarsky was mentioned as contributing — but the company has put out a press release detailing what you specifically can from them this coming Saturday.

Marvel will have two books, as previously announced — Spider-Man/Venom and Hulk/Avengers, both of which will tease upcoming storylines for the four titles represented.

As previously reported, Amazing Spider-Man is getting a new creative team AND a new person under the mask, as infamous clone Ben Reilly returns to take on the mantle of Spider-Man. One of the new writers of Amazing, Zeb Wells, will team with artist Patrick Gleason for a story featuring Reilly as Spider-Man. It will be accompanied by a Venom story by the new creative team of Ram V., Al Ewing and Bryan Hitch “in a glimpse that will show you just how twisted their upcoming run will be.”

Then, in the second title, Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley will present a look at their upcoming run on Hulk. And Jason Aaron teams up with Iban Coello to “present the dangerous new threat that the Avengers will face in the next arc of his hit Avengers run.”

Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday at participating comics shops. Here’s a list of everything else being released for free on Saturday.

BOOM! will publish a second An Ember in the Ashes prequel graphic novel

BOOM! Studios has announced A Spark Within the Forge: An Ember in the Ashes, a second prequel graphic novel to Sabaa Tahir’s fantasy novel series. Writer Nicole Andelfinger and artist Sonia Liao will reveal the histories of characters from the novels, including Laia, Darin and Spiro Teluman.

Cat + Gamer comes to America

Dark Horse Comics has announced plans to bring Cat + Gamer to the United States. Published by Shogakukan in Japan, the manga series by creator Wataru Nadatani and translator Zack Davisson features a 29-year-old office worker/gamer who adopts a stray cat.

IDW announces Dungeons & Dragons: Mindbreaker

IDW Publishing has announced Dungeons & Dragons: Mindbreaker, a prequel to the upcoming Baldur’s Gate III video game. Writer Jim Zub and artist Eduardo Mello will tell a story featuring Krydle, Shandie, Delina, Nerys, Minsc and Boo, as they discover a threat to their home.

“Getting to write new Dungeons & Dragons stories with Minsc and company alongside the incredible surge in the tabletop game’s popularity has been an honor and a thrill,” says Zub. “Mindbreaker is D&D on a grand scale, jam-packed with action and adventure. It pays off a bunch of elements introduced in earlier D&D miniseries and foreshadows the dark forces that rise to prominence in Baldur’s Gate III. I can’t wait for readers to see how it all plays out!”

Image launches a Threadless store

Image Comics has launched a Threadless store, offering T-shirts and other items featuring various Image logos and designs. It also includes my favorite, the above “icon” shirt, for which I’m not sure I ever learned what all the logos represented.

Marvel reveals Fantastic Four #35 cover

Marvel has revealed John Romita Jr.’s wraparound cover for Fantastic Four #35, the giant-sized issue celebrating the team’s 60th anniversary. The issue arrives Sept. 1.

“I was lucky to begin my career with Marvel and now am extremely lucky to re-connect with Marvel. That’s an enormous amount of good fortune. I sincerely thank all the folks up at Marvel, and Disney, who worked for this fortunate re-connection to happen,” Romita Jr. said. “To add to all this, and I hate to add a third section to my good fortune, is the opportunity to start off with a huge project, which is the 60th anniversary of the Fantastic Four! It is an honor and extreme privilege to be asked to work on this along with a friend and former collaborator, Dan Slott! Along with ink artist JP Mayer, I am looking forward to this being up for viewing in August!”

You can check out some of Romita’s artwork from that issue below.

AfterShock announces ‘AfterDark

Just in time for Halloween, AfterShock Comics will publish AfterDark in October, a one-shot horror anthology featuring stories by Cullen Bunn, Jim Starlin, Joe Pruett, Frank Tieri, Cliff Richards, Nikkol Jelenic, Szymon Kudranski and Joe Eisma.

“A prestige format ‘One-Shock’ featuring top creative talent just in time for the most horrific month of the calendar year, AfterDark is a collection of tales you’ll want to read with the lights on!” AfterShock’s official press release reads. “A disparate tale from a possible future; a chance encounter with a mythical Black-Eyed Kid, a children’s fable gone awry; and a gut-wrenching last meal at the local diner.”

Check out some preview pages and a variant cover by Szymon Kudranski below.

DC raises the dead for Halloween

Speaking of Halloween, DC has two books launching in October with horror themes — and both written by Matthew Rosenberg.

Task Force Z, with art by Eddy Barrows and inks by Eber Ferreira, will feature zombie-fied villains, led by the Red Hood, earning a second chance at life … kind of an anti-Suicide Squad. And DC vs. Vampires, with co-writer James Tynion IV and artist Otto Schmidt, is a 12-issue maxi-series where — you guessed it — the Justice League fights vampires. Both arrive in stores Oct. 26.

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