Quick Hits | Rest in peace, Kim Jung Gi

Plus: Heavy Metal teams with Whatnot Publishing, Chuck D enters a ‘Rogue State’ and more news from New York Comic Con!

A lot of comics news came out this week in the buildup to the New York Comic Con, so here’s a round-up of some of the headlines. We start with some very tragic news about an artistic legend.

Artist Kim Jung Gi, who worked on manhwa like Tiger the Long Tail and drew covers for Marvel and DC, passed away from a heart attack this week as he prepared to travel to the New York Comic Con.

The 47-year-old artist was in Paris at the time, where his artwork was on display at the Daniel Maghen art gallery. One of his collaborators, Hyun Jin Kim, posted the news on social media:

His table in artist’s alley at NYCC has been left up, and fans and fellow artists have left flowers and messages in tribute to him on it:

In addition to Tiger the Long Tail, Kim Jung Gi also drew Funny Funny, Spy Games, Third Humanity and McCurry, NYC, 9/11, in addition to numerous published sketchbooks. In the U.S., he drew covers for Wonder Woman, Civil War II, Motherlands, Hit Girl, Fire Power and the Batman/Fortnite crossover, among many others.

Here’s a Batman-themed piece he drew in Paris shortly before he died:

Heavy Metal teams with Whatnot Publishing

Heavy Metal and Whatnot, an e-commerce/auction platform that also has a comics publishing arm, announced a partnership that will see Whatnot Publishing distribute Heavy Metal’s titles, including Heavy Metal magazine. Publishers Weekly has more.

“Heavy Metal is an institution with over 40 years of history in the comic marketplace, and we are excited to have the opportunity to become part of that storied tradition while finding new and exciting ways to reach potential readers,” said Michael Calero, publisher of Whatnot Publishing. “We envision a future where legacy readers and new fans come together to create a Heavy Metal community unlike any the brand has seen.”

Whatnot publishes Alpha Betas, a comics tie-in to the animated series of the same name, and is set to publish Exiled, a new comic written by Wesley Snipes. The first Heavy Metal release coming from Whatnot will be Crashdown, a graphic novel written by Tom Garcia and Ryan Sargeant with art by Ben Templesmith. It’s due out next year.

Chuck D enters a ‘Rogue State’

Rolling Stone spoke with Public Enemy frontman Chuck D about his cover art for Rogue State, a new comic from Black Mask Studios. The legendary rapper is actually drawing three connecting variant covers for the comic, which comes out in November.

Written by Matteo Pizzolo with art by Carlos Granda, Rogue State is about a, um, fictional version of the United States that collapsed into turmoil over a contested Presidential election, where the Supreme Court deputized all militias, transforming the entire country into a paramilitary police state. A group of “free thinkers” in San Francisco’s Mission District — hey, that’s where my brother lived; he’d be up for this — fight back.

“I thought the concept that there are good people out there but are surrounded by adversaries, even though they might look normal, was radical,” Chuck D told Rolling Stone. “Plus, it had a throwback to the last century kind of vibe mixed in.”

Monster Forge teams with Dark Horse for a new line of comics

As announced on Twitter, Dark Horse will publish a new line of comics curated by Monster Forge, the transmedia company/IP generator/monster makers formed by comic writers/editors Steve Niles and Shannon Eric Denton.

Niles and Denton announced the initiative back in 2020, and the “publishing” section of their website has been set to “coming soon” ever since. Expect to see that change after this weekend.

Changes at Scout Comics

The week started off with a pair of announcements about changes at Mad Cave Studios and AfterShock Comics, but a third publisher also experienced personnel changes this week. As noted at The Beat, Charlie Stickney has left his position of editor, while James Pruett has returned as publisher and Richard Rivera has been named editor in chief.

Distributors go head-to-head in … a conversation

As a part of New York Comic Con, ICv2 held an “Insider Talks” discussion between Chris Powell, Diamond Comic Distributors’ Chief Sales and Service Officer, and Lunar Distribution Co-Founder Christina Merkler. Yes, the old guard vs. the young upstarts! Diamond, of course, was the longtime sole distributor of all things comics to comic shops for many years, until the pandemic hit and Lunar Distribution rose to distribute DC’s titles (and others, as time went on).

Brigid Alverson has a thorough write-up of the session which was moderated by ICv2’s Milton Griepp.

CBLDF takes a well-deserved victory lap as Virginia Beach court ruling isn’t appealed

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is at NYCC this weekend, with a panel planned for Sunday simply titled “Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Defending Comics Today.” You can expect for that panel to include discussions about the recent victory in Virginia Beach and the fact that the deadline has now passed for any sort of appeal:

That’s good news indeed.

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