Quick Hits | Rest in peace, Jeffrey Veregge

Plus: news on Robert Beerbohm, layoffs at Marvel, Source Point Press, Scott Dunbier, Joshua Cotter, Earth-2 Comics and more.

Jeffrey Veregge, the award-winning Native American artist and writer whose work appeared in Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices, on comics covers and at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, has passed away at the age of 50. Zack Davisson shared the news on social media late last week, while Jeffrey’s wife Christina confirmed it and said he died of a heart attack after a long battle with lupus.

“For 1025 days he fought lupus like the superhero we knew him to be,” her post reads. “The strength, faith, determination and courage he showed while being in the hospital for a total of 925 days was an inspiration to us all. He fought so hard for his family and his 3 children who were his absolute pride and joy. He will be missed more than words can express. This world was a better place because of him.”

A GoFundMe had been set up by his mother-in-law to pay for his medical bills, and it is still active. Veregge’s work, which combines Native American aesthetics with pop culture inspirations, regularly appeared on covers for Marvel, IDW, Dynamite, Dark Horse and more. His art also appeared in The Huffington Post,  Fast Company Magazine, Wired Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and other magazines, as well as in exhibits, gallery shows and murals at places like the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.

Passings | The New York Times offers an obituary for Robert Beerbohm, a comics retailer and historian who opened one of the first comic retail chains, Comics and Comix, in California.

“At the time, comics were still kind of viewed as the bastard stepchild of any other medium that you could think of,” said Bill Sienkiewicz, who shopped at Beerbohm’s stores. “He really sort of foretold the acceptance, and really pushed for the level of acceptance, that comics currently have.”

Beerbohm passed away in March at the age of 71.

Tributes | At the Beat, Will J. Watkins offers a very touching remembrance of Mark D. Bright, who passed away last month.

Publishing | Deadline reports that Marvel has made layoffs at the Marvel Entertainment offices in New York and Marvel Studios in Burbank. Deadline attributes to the layoffs to the reduction in Marvel Studios’ production slate and “efficiencies gained by Marvel when they integrated the Marvel Entertainment team into Marvel Studios and other Disney departments following the March 2023 exit of former Marvel exec Ike Perlmutter.”

Publishing | Several comic companies have announced new additions and changes within their ranks this month, so let’s start with IDW’s Scott Dunbier. Dunbier has announced he’s left IDW Publishing to start his own publishing company.

“I will not yet speak directly about my publishing plans, or even divulge the name of my company,” Dunbier said on Facebook. “In the weeks to come I will be filing paperwork to create it and I will periodically update via social media.”

Dunbier has been with IDW for 16 years as special projects editor, following tenures at Wildstorm as editor in chief and then DC when they acquired Wildstorm. He conceived the Absolute Edition format while there, as well as the Artist’s Edition format at IDW — both of which have proven successful and have been copied by other publishers.

Dunbier said the decision to leave was his, but the move does come as IDW experienced another round of layoffs, with The Beta reporting that five people were let go, including COO Amber Huerta.

Publishing | Skybound has announced three new staff members and a promotion:

  • Ben Abernathy, formerly with DC Comics, joins the publisher as executive editor.
  • Blake Kobashigawa, formerly with IDW Publishing, joins as senior director of business development.
  • Alex Hargett, also formerly with IDW Publishing, joins as director of brand, editorial.
  • Finally, Arune Singh, who held the position Hargett is moving into, has been promoted to vice president of brand, editorial.

Publishing | Image Comics has announced that Jim Viscardi, formerly with Marvel and ComicBook.com, has joined the publisher as vice president of business development.

Publishing | Oni Press has added two and promoted one to their staff. Daniel Crary joins Oni from Vault Comics as director of marketing and communications, filling the void left by Katie Sainz, who has been promoted to director sales for the book market. Matt Dryer also joined Oni as an editor; the former Dark Horse editor will focus on Oni’s EC Comics revival.

Publishing | Source Point Press, publisher of Copycat, Dead End Kids, the Winchester Mystery House and other titles, seem to disappear in 2023, has announced their plans to start publishing again.

Interviews | At SOLRAD, Matthew Makman talks with Joshua Cotter about his plans for Nod Away, a planned seven-volume graphic novel series that’s currently without a publisher. Fantagraphics published the first two volumes, but Cotter says he has left them.

“My main purpose in going with a publisher is that I need someone to take care of distribution and promotion.  I’d rather focus on the art side of things.  I have left Fantagraphics,” Cotter said. “It’s such a difficult thing to talk about because people want a reason behind it.  How do I say this? I don’t feel that publishing today is something I understand.  I considered publishing it myself, but after looking into publishing, printing and distribution costs – it’s not realistic for me.  I was considering releasing pieces of it as I went along.”

Retailers | Earth-2 Comics in Sherman Oaks, California plans to close down in June, but will continue to operate a warehouse and sell comics online and via mail order. Owner Carr D’Angelo noted the increased costs of running a retail store caused by the fractured comics distribution system and other cost increases.

“Our lease is up. Moving is not an option. Wholesale discounts are smaller. Shipping is higher. The distribution system has fractured and because each vendor processes data differently, it takes longer to order and restock product. We’re making less on each comic sold than we did ten years ago. Further, publishers are also feeling the pinch. They have cut back incentive programs that helped us grow readership, and tightened print runs to the point they can’t meet demand when a title is a hit.”

They plan to celebrate Free Comic Book Day next month with a big parking lot sale, and will close their doors on June 30. Earth-2 Comics’ second shop, which was co-owned by Geoff Johns, closed down in 2022.

Awards | The Beat has announced the nominees for the Cartoonist Studio Prize, which they present alongside The Center for Cartoon Studies. The program offers a $1,000 prize to the winners in a “long form” and “short form” category.

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