It’s open season on dragons in Orlando + Huang’s ‘The Scale Trade’

Steve Orlando and Megan Huang hunt the dragon hunters in the new title coming from Magma Comix in May.

Now that we’re a couple weeks into the Year of the Dragon, Magma Comix has officially announced The Scale Trade, the new modern fantasy series by Steve Orlando and Megan Huang. Magma mentioned it last month when the publisher started unveiling their 2024 slate.

In any event, the new series sounds great — set in a modern world where dragons still exist but are high on the endangered species list, one man takes a stand against the poachers and corrupt governments that want their scales.

“The Scale Trade was absolutely influenced by the depravity of the illegal exotic meat trade, poaching, and specifically the street-level vigilance against the abuse of horses and sale of horse meat in a variety of parts of the country,” said Orlando. “We wanted to talk about these things, but also thrill and excite on an elevated scale (no pun intended). So we built a world where dragons were part of the animal kingdom, where THEY, these creatures that awe us, were also some of the most valuable commodities in the world. It’s a modern fantasy—not high fantasy or low sword and sorcery. At the end of the day it’s about the way we as a species interact with nature—concepts bigger and older than us—and how we tend to commodify life on this planet. At the core, The Scale Trade is about heroic animal rescue. A man and his dog… if his dog was a majestic flying lizard.”

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Tom Waltz makes his Marvel debut on ‘Wolverine: Blood Hunt’

The ‘Last Ronin’ writer joins artist Juan José Ryp on a tie-in miniseries for this summer’s ‘Blood Hunt’ event.

Wolverine’s recent troubles with the vampire nation will only get worse, as Tom Waltz and Juan José Ryp send him head first into Marvel’s Blood Hunt event this summer.

Wolverine: Blood Hunt will “conclude Logan’s private war against the vampire nation,” which has been a running plot thread in Benjamin Percy’s work on the ongoing Wolverine title.

The miniseries marks the Marvel debut for Waltz, the co-writer of the white-hot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin.

“I’ve spent much of my career writing about iconic mutants, so having my Marvel debut be a chance to put ‘the best there is’ through a vampiric bloodstorm in Wolverine: Blood Hunt is an absolute thrill of a lifetime,” Waltz said. “It’s made even better by getting to do it alongside the amazingly talented Juan José Ryp, top-notch colorist GURU-eFX, and stellar editors Mark Basso and Drew Baumgartner! Blood, bullets, claws, and fangs—nothing gets held back in our four-issue gauntlet of gore!”

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Spidey hunts for Morbius in ‘Amazing Spider-Man: Blood Hunt’

Spider-Man and his fanged frenemy star in a ‘Blood Hunt’ tie-in series by Justina Ireland and Marcelo Ferreira.

Morbius the Living Vampire, Spider-Man’s sometimes enemy, sometimes ally, may be the only hope Marvel’s heroes have in saving the world from the vampiric apocalypse in Blood Hunt.

We ‘ll find out for sure in Amazing Spider-Man: Blood Hunt, one of eight tie-in miniseries that will arrive in May. Justina Ireland and Marcelo Ferreira will send Spider-Man, Misty Knight and the Lizard on a quest to find Morbius.

“Getting to write Morbius, The Living Vampire, has been a lot of fun,” Ireland said. “He’s always been a delightful foil to Spider-Man and other heroes of the Marvel Universe, and I hope I can capture the determination to change one’s fate that I’ve always loved about the character. Well, that and the brooding.”

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Smash Pages Q&A | ‘The Omega Eleven’ creators James Aquilone + Zac Atkinson

The duo are crowdfunding their latest collaboration, a comic about history’s greatest thieves attempting to steal the Philosopher’s Stone from Merlin.

What do you do when you need to steal a powerful artifact from history’s greatest wizard? Assemble a team of history’s greatest thieves, of course. That’s the premise behind The Omega Eleven, a five-issue series by Bram Stoker Award-winning writer James Aquilone and Young Justice and Teen Titans artist Zac Atkinson.

The story follows time traveler Doctor Omega and his companion Jack Dawkins, aka The Artful Dodger, as they recruit a team to travel to Camelot to steal the Philosopher’s Stone from Merlin. 

The campaign to fund the first issue of The Omega Eleven is live on Kickstarter, where it has already met its funding goal. This isn’t Aquilone’s first crowdfunding rodeo — through his publishing company Monstrous Books, he’s funded projects like the Kolchak: The Night Stalker 50th anniversary graphic novel, the prose collection Dead Detectives Society and the first issue of the pulp/horror-themed Monstrous Magazine. A new, second issue of Monstrous is a reward in this current campaign.

Aquilone was kind enough to answer my questions, and even pulled in Atkinson on some of them as well.

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Thomas + Matthews team for the family crime drama ‘Mugshots’

The first issue of the miniseries arrives in May from Mad Cave Studios.

Writer Jordan Thomas and artist Chris Matthews will team up on Mugshots, a new miniseries coming from Mad Cave Studios in May. They’re joined by letterer by Lucas Gattoni on a crime series with a distinctly English flair.

Set in Brighton, the story starts with a kidnapping and soon devolves into “family trauma, betrayal, murder and revenge.”

Mugshots is an incredibly personal story for me. It’s set around where I grew up, contains experiences I’ve had and features characters based on people I’ve known, and it’s a collaboration with one of my best friends whom I’ve known since we were 11-years-old,” said Thomas. “Mainstream U.S. comics are full of crime stories set in the States but not many set in England by English creators, so I’m excited to see the reaction to this series we’ve poured our hearts and souls into and so happy that Mad Cave are the publisher putting the book out as they never put any restraints on what we wanted to do. It’s a tough, violent, complex, and sometimes funny 36-page per issue 4-parter – not many publishers out there would let you do that. It’s gonna be wild.”

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Rest in peace, Paul Neary

The former editor-in-chief of Marvel UK and veteran artist passed away on Feb. 10 after a long illness.

Paul Neary, the former Marvel UK editor-in-chief and artist of Captain America, Excalibur, The Ultimates and more, has passed away at the age of 74. Neary died of a long illness on Feb. 10, as reported by his longtime colleague Alan Davis and shared by Paul Levitz.

“In a career of more than 50 years Paul earned international respect and recognition in numerous roles within the comic book industry,” Davis shared. “Paul could write, pencil, ink, colour, letter and edit. Skills he learned from studying the medium with an academic zeal.”

Neary was born in Bournemouth, England in 1949, and would attend college at Leeds University. According to Davis, Neary traveled to New York over his first summer at university to try and break into the comics industry.

“Comics were an enthusiastic hobby for Paul when he moved to Leeds University to study for a degree in Metallurgy, but in his first summer break Paul travelled to New York, bluffed his way into Jim Warren’s office, and secured his first professional work on Eerie magazine,” Davis said.

Neary’s work would regularly appear in Eerie, where he drew the “Hunter” series, which was about a half-breed warrior who fights for survival on a weird, irradiated alternate Earth.

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Strange Academy enters the ‘Blood Hunt’ in May

School’s back in session, as Daniel José Older and Luigi Zagaria send the Strange Academy students on a scavenger hunt for the Darkhold.

The students from Strange Academy will return in May courtesy of writer Daniel José Older and artist Luigi Zagaria, as they engage with the bloodthirsty undead in this summer’s Blood Hunt.

“As a huge fan of the incredible work of Skottie Young and Humberto Ramos, I was beyond honored to be able to jump into the world of Strange Academy,” Older said. “And what better way to do it than in this epic crossover event? Truly a comic writer’s dream come true. I’ve spent the past couple weeks walking around my home city of New Orleans, dreaming up thrilling adventures for these kids, and I can’t wait to watch them come to life in Luigi Zagaria’s brilliant art.”

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The Midnight Sons reunite to battle the vampire horde during ‘Blood Hunt’

Blade, two Ghost Riders and more will come together in a new miniseries by Bryan Hill and Germán Peralta.

The Midnight Sons will rise once more as a part of Marvel’s vampire-infused summer crossover series, Blood Hunt.

Midnight Sons: Blood Hunt by writer Bryan Hill and artist Germán Peralta will bring together Blade, Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch and more to not only battle vampires, but also “tragically spill the blood of one of their own.”

“FINALLY, the world realizes I’m a ‘horror guy’ and I’m grateful,” Hill said. “Working with Blade has been a blast, and what I’m doing with Midnight Sons is maybe even more ferocious than that. This event is really exciting, the hype is real, and what I have planned for this will hopefully satisfy fans of action… and terror.” 

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Papercutz will publish several Disney + Pixar graphic novels later this year

The Mad Cave imprint will release graphic novels featuring ‘Turning Red,’ ‘Encanto’ and more.

Papercutz, the kid’s graphic novel imprint owned by Mad Cave Studios, has announced a publishing partnership with Disney that’ll bring Turning Red, Phineas & Ferb, Encanto, Frozen and more to comics — or back to comics, in some cases — later this year.

The partnership isn’t too much of a surprise, as Papercutz announced a Free Comic Book Day title featuring Encanto and Turning Red for this year’s event. But the bench goes deeper than those two titles, as their plans include several titles that look like they may be reprints. For instance, the listing for Phineas & Ferb notes that it’s collecting comics that originally appeared in the Disney Presents magazine.

Here’s a rundown on what they plan to publish:

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Dracula and Blade’s daughter team-up to save humanity in ‘Dracula: Blood Hunt’

Danny Lore and Vincenzo Carratù bring the vampire lord and Bloodline into the bigger ‘Blood Hunt’ fray this summer.

You can’t have a vampire crossover without Dracula, and today Marvel announced that everyone’s favorite vampire lord will appear in a three-issue miniseries that’ll accompany this summer’s Blood Hunt event.

Dracula: Blood Hunt by Danny Lore and Vincenzo Carratù will feature Marvel’s version of Dracula teaming up with an unlikely ally, Blade’s daughter Bloodline.

“One of the most interesting things about Dracula, for me, is that he doesn’t run on mortal time, and because of that, his reasoning tends toward shadowy and full of schemes,” Lore said. “Right now, his goal is to keep Brielle safe—but what does it mean to protect the kid of the No. 1 thorn in your side? And why?”

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A new team called ‘Blood Hunters’ will debut during Marvel’s ‘Blood Hunt’

Dagger, Hawkeye and Man-Wolf will star in anthology stories that tie into Marvel’s big summer event.

Marvel continued to roll out the Blood Hunt tie-in series today, announcing an anthology that will show what Hawkeye, Dagger, Man-Wolf and more are doing against the backdrop of the bigger vampire-themed event.

Blood Hunters is not only the title of the comic, but also the name of a new team that Dagger of Cloak & Dagger fame will assemble while her partner is missing in action. Writer Erica Schultz and artist Bernard Chang will assemble the new team across the anthology’s four issues.

“It’s really exciting to write Dagger and see her assemble a team of fantastic fang hunters,” Schultz said. “You’re going to love the dynamic between these characters, and see where the drama is!”

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Archie Andrews battles demons in ‘Archie Comics: Judgment Day’

The first Archie Premium Event debuts in May.

Archie Comics has announced what they’re calling their first “Archie Premium Event,” titled Archie Comics: Judgment Day. The Archie Horror title will feature a powered-up Archie Andrews battling in a Riverdale overrun by demons.

The story is written by Aubrey Sitterson, who penned Archie vs. The World and  No One Left to Fight. He’s joined by Rockstars artist Megan Hutchison, colorist Matt Herms and letterer Jack Morelli.

Judgment Day places Archie Andrews squarely at the center, acting as our hero—but with the power to choose who lives and who dies, can he truly remain a hero through and through?” said Archie Comics’ Jesse Goldwater. “This miniseries raises the stakes more than any title we’ve ever done before. The fate of the entire world is in Archie’s hands.”

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