Slugfest | Dark Horse resurrects ‘Lester of the Lesser Gods’

Plus: The Winx saga continues, Usagi turns 40, the Dreadnoks return and more!

Slugfest is a roundup of cool announcements about projects coming to a shelf near you. Hit the links for more information.

Lester of the Lesser Gods, which was originally published by Albatross Funnybooks, is finding new life at Dark Horse this year.

Written by Eric Powell and Lucky Yates, and featuring artwork by Gideon Kendall, Lester began life as unproduced animated short before finding its way to comics.

Here’s the description from Dark Horse: Lester, the LARPing bastard son of Odin, wanders the post-apocalyptic wasteland after thwarting Satan’s attempt to bring about the end of days. But can this hero of the downtrodden survive the battle arena of Will Frye the Technomancer Guy?

Here’s the first issue’s variant cover by Powell:

Look for the first issue on May 22.

Fate: The Winx Saga may have been cancelled by Netflix, but the story started on the streamer will continue in a series of graphic novels by Mad Cave Studios’ Maverick imprint.

Fate: The Winx Saga vol. 1 Dark Destiny by Olivia Cuartero-Briggs and Christianne Godreau is described as: In a continuation of the hit Netflix series, Fate: The Winx Saga Vol. 1 Dark Destiny, follows a group of fairies enrolled at the magical school of Alfea in the wake of losing their close friend, Bloom. In this new school year, Aisha, Kat, Terra and the rest of our heroes must face a mysterious new enemy that threatens to destroy everything they love.

Here’s some concept artwork by Godreau:

Look for it to arrive in July.

This year marks the 40th (!!!) anniversary of Usagi Yojimbo, who is looking pretty good for his age. To celebrate, Dark Horse and Dogu Publishing have announced two projects. First, Usagi and his cousin Yukichi meet up with Gen and Stray Dog in Usagi Yojimbo: The Crow, a new miniseries starting in April. And second, Dark Horse has announced Usagi Yojimbo 40th Anniversary Reader:

This anthology will feature reprints of several short stories selected by Usagi creator Stan Sakai. Look for it to arrive in June.

Image Comics will publish a collection of Daniel Warren Johnson’s long-running webcomic Space Mullet. The webcomic is about an ex-space marine turned trucker named Jonah and his alien co-pilot Alphius as they “do their best (and usually fail) to do good throughout the galaxy.”

“When I started Space-Mullet, I had just quit my steady teaching job, had no money, and DEFINITELY no work in the comics industry,” said Johnson. “This book was me throwing everything I had at trying to prove to the comics world I could make something special. The pages are humble, but are a huge foundation for what made me the artist I am now. See proto-DWJ come to life in these pages!!!”

Look for the collection to arrive on store shelves on July 9.

Marvel has revealed more details on this year’s Women of Marvel special, which will feature stories by Gail Simone, Lydia Rasero, Erica Schultz, Sarah Rees Brennan, Arielle Jovellanos and more. As you can see in these preview pages, the anthology will feature stories starring the Invisible Woman, Madame Web, Black Widow and the Scarlet Witch:

It’ll also come with three variant covers by Jan Bazaldua, Elena Casagrande and Zu Orzu:

Look for it to arrive in stores Feb. 28.

Skybound has released a preview of Cobra Commander #2, which will introduce the Dreadnoks into the white-hot Energon Universe. The comic by Joshua Williamson, Andrea Milana and Annalisa Leoni will arrive in stores Feb. 21.

I have to admit that Marvel is making the new Ultimate Universe sound pretty cool. I liked the first issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, and the description of Ultimate Black Panther #3 by Bryan Hill and Stefano Caselli makes that title sound like fun, as it introduces the Ultimate versions of Killmonger and Storm (who are a couple?):

Debuting in ULTIMATE BLACK PANTHER #1, the couple defend their people as heroic freedom fighters throughout the continent of Africa, but when Moon Knight’s army launches a brutal invasion, they’ll help convince the powerful nation of Wakanda to finally step out of the shadows!

In ULTIMATE BLACK PANTHER #3, Black Panther takes matters into his own hands and embarks on a covert solo mission to deal with Ra and Khonshu directly! Wakanda’s conflict with Moon Knight has escalated. Even with spies all across the continent feeding information, Wakanda is overwhelmed. Everything changes, though, when a pair of freedom fighters enter the fray: Ultimate Killmonger and Ultimate Storm!

The first issue comes out next month, and the third issue comes out in April.

Titan Comics will roll out a second Conan comic next month — Savage Sword of Conan, which include black-and-white stories by a variety of creators. Here’s a preview of issue #1, which will feature stories by John Arcudi, Patch Zircher, Jim Zub, Max Von Fafner and more. Zircher is doing a Solomon Kane story:

And here’s a look at the first issue’s variant covers by Gerardo Zaffino, Von Fafner and a “virgin” version of Joe Jusko’s main cover:

Look for it in stores on Feb. 28.

Dark Horse will release a collection of short stories by Eisner-winning creator Chad Lambert. Kill Me and Other Curiosities features artwork by Kevin Czapiewski (Yesterday’s Muse), Apri Kusbriantoro (Dead Air), Christine Larsen (Kill Me), and Tom Williams (Now and Then), and it arrives in stores in July.

Image Comics will release a collection of Griz Grobus by Simon Roy, Jess Pollard and Sergey Nazarov, the webcomic-turned-hardcover on Kickstarter. Image will release a trade paperback collection.

“Part of what we wanted to make, in Griz Grobus, was a story that felt like a foreign film from a country you haven’t heard of,” said Roy. “Natural, familiar elements, sitting harmoniously alongside the new and unfamiliar. The proposition of getting to introduce a whole new audience to our little pocket universe, and the worlds within it, is very exciting!”

Look for it to arrive in June.

Writer J.M. DeMatteis will team with artist Michael Sta. Maria for a new miniseries set in the early days of Peter Parker’s tenure as Spider-Man. Spider-Man: Shadow of the Green Goblin will feature the Proto-Goblin, a lab assistant of Norman Osborn who tested the experimental formula before Norman took it.

“I’ve always been fascinated with Peter Parker’s early days as Spider-Man, a time before he fully understood what it meant to be a super hero,” DeMatteis said. “Shadow of the Goblin allows us to take a deep dive into Young Peter’s mind and emotions as he makes his way through this exhilarating, and sometimes terrifying, new world.”

Look for the first issue of four on April 3.

The final issue of Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong will arrive in April, and DC has shared more details and a look at the issue’s many variant covers by Jim Lee and Scott Williams, Dan Mora, Mikel Janín and Kendrick “Kunkka” Lim (Drew Johnson drew the main cover). They also plan to release a harcover collection in June.

Edge of Spider-Verse #3, which arrives from Marvel in April, will introduce a new Spider-sona created by Justina Ireland and artist Pete Woods: Star-Spider, who “slings through the stars in her Silk ship helping those in need, thwipping through alien cityscapes.” The designs on this one are really cool.

BOOM! Studios has announced a third prequel miniseries for Dune, titled Dune: House Corrino. The oversized eight-issue miniseries is written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, with art by Simone Ragazzoni, colorist Dan Jackson and letterer Ed Dukeshire.

Let’s end things with a look at some variant covers … Stanley “Artgerm” Lau provides this one for the first issue of Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow & Hawkeye #1, due out in March:

And then from Dark Horse, here’s a look at Greg Smallwood’s cover for Helen of Wyndhorn #1, which also arrives in March:

Derrick Chew covers Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #1, also out in March:

And then in April, Marvel prepares you for the big vampire vs. Avengers series Blood Hunt with a line of variant covers featuring Marvel characters paying homage to Tomb of Dracula and other vampiric comics:

When Dark Horse releases Dawnrunner by Ram V and Evan Cagle in March, select retailers will offer their own variant covers for the first issue. These are by John Giang, Inaki Miranda, Waveloop (who did two of them) and Ingrid Gala:

Finally, let’s wrap things up with three more covers in the Marvel/Disney “What If?” line, where Disney characters take over for Marvel characters on classic covers. This time around we have the West Coast Avengers, Donald Duck as Havok and Minnie Mouse as Dazzler:

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