Comics Lowdown | All hail the king as ‘King Spawn’ #1 sells nearly 500,000 copies

Spawn continues its big comeback with big numbers. Plus: news on censorship in Texas, Tim Drake’s big revelation, Kim Dwinell, ‘Chickaloonies’ and more.

Todd McFarlane’s Spawn is coming back in a big way this year, as the creator launches a universe of titles built around the character. Spawn’s Universe #1 set a sales record for the 21st Century for Image Comics, and it looks like the first issue of King Spawn has already broken it, with a reported 497,000 pre-orders.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, that puts King Spawn #1 in the same neighborhood as DC’s Action Comics No. 1,000, which has pre-orders of an estimated 504,000 copies, and Detective Comics No. 1,000 with its 574,705 copies. So it’s a respectable neighborhood.

“The numbers that came in were much higher than what I had projected,” McFarlane said in a press release.,”with sales that now have a historical impact in our industry. It proves that the character Spawn and the world he lives in still resonates to fans almost 30 years after I first introduced him. But the biggest thing for me is having King Spawn becoming another example to the creative community that you can have creator-owned success outside of the two huge publishing giants, Marvel, and DC Comics. Every story that shows you can make a career on your own will hopefully inspire other talented people to try. As President of Image Comics, advocating for the creators has been our goal since its inception in 1992.”

King Spawn #1 arrives in September, followed by Gunslinger Spawn in October The Scorched in December.

Leander, Texas’ local school district is back in the news, and once again it’s related to censorship. After removing several graphic novels from shelves back in April, Leander Independent School District has added seven more titles to its banned books list — although no graphic novels made the list this time around. My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf is on a list of titles still under review; it was initially removed back in April, but was added back as long as students received counseling when reading it.

Tim Drake, Batman’s third Robin, made headlines this week after saying yes to a date with a boy. Polygon reports on the newest member of the BAt family to join the LGBTQ+ community, as Susanna Polo talks with Meghan Fitzmartin, writer of the story that appeared in last Wednesday’s Batman: Urban Legends:

“The greatest thing about working with an established IP,” Fitzmartin told Polygon, “is that there are so many story decisions for characters that have already been made for you (often by people much smarter than you). [“Sum of Our Parts”] happened because this is who Tim is. I love this character very much, and as I went back to reread as much as I could to do Robin justice, it became clear this is the story Tim needed to tell.”

Alex Jaffe has an excellent piece about these events up on DC’s website.

Writing for The Guardian, Sam Thielman spoke with Ed Brubaker, Jimmy Palmiotti, Ta-Nehisi Coates and other comics creators about their struggles with Marvel and DC in being compensated when their work is translated to the big screen.

“Long before I was writing Captain America, I read [Brubaker and Epting’s] Death of Captain America storyline, and Return of the Winter Soldier, and it was some of the most thrilling storytelling I’d ever read,” Coates tells the Guardian. “I’d rather read it than watch the movies – I love the movies too – but it doesn’t seem just for them to extract what Steve and Ed put into this and create a multi-billion dollar franchise.”

The San Diego Union Tribune spotlights Kim Dwinell and the Aug. 24 release of The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean. While her first two books in the Surfside Girls series were mysteries, this one is actually more of a science guide about the ocean, with chapters on biology, physics, strange ocean phenomenon, how to surf and how to be a good ocean steward.

“I thought I would be doing a third mystery, but I was really enjoying the research, so I asked my editor if I could do this first,” Dwinell said. “And that was my COVID experience, just sponging up all of this.”

The Anchorage Press has a feature up on Chickaloonies, a new graphic novel by Dimi Macheras and Casey Silver. It’s “the fantasy adventure of two Indigenous friends who begin a quest to find the sun during a time of perpetual darkness.”

You can find it on their Etsy site.

from Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies

Writing for The Conversation, Shannon Sandford rounds up several graphic novels that fall into the Graphic Medicine category, including titles by Allie Brosh, Brian Fies and Julia Wertz.

Letterer Todd Klein has dedicated several posts on his blog to looking back at the work and career of Ira Schnapp. In his latest post, he spotlights a fascinating find — a kid’s get-well card from the 1950s that included a comic story that appears to be lettered by Schnapp.

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