Marvel’s 2024 Pride Month plans received internal criticism

An article in the Advocate quotes a Marvel employee who thought Marvel’s ‘ally’ covers were a ‘prank.’

Marvel’s approach to Pride Month this year received not only external criticism but also concern from their own employees, as an Advocate article revealed last week. An anonymous Marvel employee spoke to the publication about their reaction to an internal email about Marvel’s “ally” variant covers, which many have said put the spotlight on non-LGBTQ+ characters during a month aimed to spotlight and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. “I thought, ‘they’re really erasing us,’” the employee told the publication.

What was different about Marvel’s approach this year? First, they opted not to call this year’s Pride special a Pride special. The Marvel’s Voices: Pride anthology, as they’ve called it in years past, was replaced with X-Men: The Wedding Special — which featured the wedding of Mystique and Destiny, the first time a wedding between two women was shown in a Marvel comic. The comic also featured additional stories that tied into the main story, by creators like Yoon Ha Lee, a trans science fiction author, and M. Louis, creator of the webcomic Agents of the Realm. While it served a similar function, showcasing stories about LGBTQ+ characters, it did so without the word “Pride” in the title (although it did sport an emblem on the cover that noted it was “A Very Special Edition of Marvel Voices: Pride.”)

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Mad Cave Studios launches their 2024 Talent Search

Entries are due by the end of August.

Mad Cave Studios has announced their 2024 Talent Search, which they’ve conducted for the past seven years. Previous winners have gone on to work with Mad Cave and other publishers, including Anthony Cleveland, Jay Sandlin, David Hazan, Shane Connery Volk and many more.

The type of talent they’re looking for changes every year; up until 2022, they were looking for writers and artists, but that year they expanded it to include colorists and letterers. This year they are doubling the number of winners in each category, as they are looking for two writers, two illustrators, two colorists and two letterers to work on upcoming projects.

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WBTN: Webtoon registers with the SEC to go public

The popular webcomics platform plans to list its stock on the NASDAQ.

Webtoon Entertainment, the parent company of the popular webcomics platform Webtoon, has filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission to begin the process of becoming a publicly traded company. According to the prospectus, Webtoon would list its stock on the NASDAQ market under the WBTN symbol.

The prospectus is a great read if you’re interested in the business aspects of Webtoon, how it operates and how it views creators, who are vital to its business model. It’s also very readable, compared to a lot of legal/government filings, as it tells the story of the company and its founder/CEO, Junkoo Kim.

 “The project was born out of my own love of comics, which I’ve been passionate about since I was young,” Kim writes in his opening message. “Comics are like a window into another world, capable of transporting readers to distant, fantastic places, and creating new perspectives. I’ve long admired the talented artists who create comics and have the incredible gift of building entire universes on a page. I truly love visual stories and storytelling, which is why I am so passionate about helping a diverse new generation of creators succeed.”

Kim was a search engineer at the Naver Corporation, the South Korean internet conglomerate that currently owns Webtoon Entertainment, when he came up with the idea for it. According to the paperwork, Naver would retain a controlling interest in Webtoon after the public offering. The exact percentage of ownership they plan to offer and the opening price have not been determined and aren’t included in the document. They also don’t plan to offer a dividend for the foreseeable future (which is something my dad will ask about if he sees this).

But what is included? Stat and data on Webtoon, as displayed in this handy infographic and the document itself:

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Coca-Cola + Marvel’s new campaign brings more than 30 comics characters to Coke cans

A new ad for the campaign features Colossus, Daredevil and more delivering a Coke to a comic shop employee.

Coca-Cola and Marvel has teamed up for a new marketing program that includes Marvel Comics characters appearing on cans, along with a TV commercial, prizes and an immersive augmented reality experience.

Titled Coca-Cola x Marvel: The Heroes, the campaign will bring a line of exclusive cans and bottles of Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar products that will feature more than 30 Marvel characters in red, white and black tones. Cans will feature Hulk, Iron Man, Black Panther, Deadpool, Juggernaut, Nick Fury, Super Skrull, Cable and more.

The real star here, though, has to be the fun new commercial. Not only is it set in a comic shop, but it also features the comic book versions of Colossus, Daredevil, Black Widow and more trying to deliver a bottle of Coke to an employee:

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Magma Comix + Ruptura Estudios partner on a new comics imprint

Their first title, ‘Hell’s Half Acre,’ arrives in June.

Magma Comix has announced a partnership with Ruptura Estudios, a Mexico-based comics studio, to create a line of comics “with Hispanic appeal” made by international creators.

The new imprint’s first title, Hell’s Half Acre by Magma founder Denton J. Tipton and artist Ramon Bunge, will kick off this summer.

“When Denton shared his plans for Magma Comix, I automatically thought that this was a train I wanted to travel on,” said R.G. Llarena, Ruptura Estudios’ managing partner, and a former editor for Heavy Metal Magazine, where Magma Comix got its start before spinning off as an independent entity. “Sometime later, here we are, embarking on our first journey together. To victory!”

Magma and Ruptura plan to release two other titles this year as well.

“R.G.’s commitment to creator rights has been evident throughout his long career, making Ruptura an ideal partner for Magma,” Tipton said. “Together, we will create captivating story worlds that transport our readers and lure them back time and time again.”

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An X-Men era ends, and a new one begins, this summer

Gerry Duggan, Kieron Gillen, Al Ewing, Lucas Werneck, Joshua Cassara, Chris Claremont, Gail Simone and more contribute to an oversized issue celebrating 700 issues of ‘Uncanny X-Men.’

If you’re looking for the comic that will put the period — or maybe exclamation point — on the X-Men’s Krakoa era, look no further than X-Men #35, which arrives in June.

According to Marvel, the issue will also mark 700 issues of Uncanny X-Men, the flagship “X” title for the past 60 years, so it’ll also be an oversized issue featuring stories by a variety of creators. Those include some from the Krakoa-era, including Gerry Duggan, Kieron Gillen, Al Ewing, Lucas Werneck and Joshua Cassara, as well as legendary Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont.

“Being a part of the Krakoan experiment has been a true thrill,” said X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White. “Honestly—in many ways—it echoed the experience of mutantkind itself in the era. We worked differently, we tried new things, we survived incredible new experiences. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have worked with such fantastically talented creators throughout the era, and working on the glorious ending is truly bittersweet. I will miss it with my whole heart, but I do know… Krakoa will live on within us forever.”

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EC Comics will return this summer

Oni Press has announced a publishing partnership that will bring new EC material to print for the first time since the 1950s.

EC Comics, the notorious and influential publishing house from the 1950s headed up by William Gaines that was at the forefront of Dr. Fredric Wertham’s campaign against comics, will return as an imprint of Oni Press this summer.

Oni Press has partnered with William M. Gaines Agent, Inc. to bring Entertaining Comics, or EC Comics, back from the dead. The publisher of Tales from the Crypt, Two-Fisted Tales, Weird Science and more has not published new comic books since the 1950s — with MAD Magazine, probably their most famous publication, being the exception.

“There are few things more sacred to the canon of comic book history – and global pop culture – than EC Comics. The company’s audaciously inspired sensibilities have continuously echoed through nearly all facets of entertainment – like pieces of shrapnel embedded in American imagination,” said Oni Press President and Publisher Hunter Gorinson. “It’s both a huge honor and immense responsibility to be entrusted to work alongside the Gaines family in inhabiting EC’s indomitable spirit for a new generation. At a moment when we find ourselves confronting the same reactionary forces – injustice, inequality, and of course, censorship – that EC challenged head-on, we intend to write a new and powerful chapter that honors and expands one of the most important legacies the comic book medium has ever produced.”

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Marvel + DC announce two omnibus editions collecting their crossovers, including the Amalgam titles

The forbidden door opens again.

There was a time in comics history when Marvel and DC’s characters would regularly meet on the printed page, bringing together the likes of Superman and Spider-Man, the Teen Titans and X-Men, and even Galactus and Darkseid. It’s been a minute since we’ve seen the two companies cooperate like that, but it looks like the forbidden door may be opening once again. Both companies today announced plans to release omnibus editions collecting a lot of that material from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

DC Versus Marvel Omnibus and DC/Marvel: The Amalgam Age Omnibus will both arrive on Aug. 6, collecting stories by Dennis O’Neil, George Pérez, Dan Jurgens, Chris Claremont, Walter Simonson, J.M. DeMatteis, Mark Bagley, Gerry Conway, John Romita Jr. and many more.

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DSTLRY + Kodansha announce cover artist exchange partnership

DSTLRY titles will feature variant covers by Kodansha artists, starting with a Shūzō Oshimi cover for ‘Somna’ #3.

DSTLRY has announced a new cover artist exchange program with manga publisher Kodansha, starting with a variant cover for Somna #3 by Shūzō Oshimi.

DSTLRY, the new comics company formed by former Comixology execs David Steinberger and Chip Mosher, began releasing comics last August with The Devil’s Cut, which was followed by print editions of Gone by Jock and Somna by Becky Cloonan and Tula Lotay. The company has gone all in on variant covers, offering them through retail channels, their own website and on the limited-edition digital comics they started releasing late last year.

“I was drawn to the story of Somna where dreams and reality intermingle, and the way it’s expressed through different artistic styles,” Oshimi said. “Drawing the variant cover was fun!”

According to the press release, this variant cover by Oshimi will be the first of many by Kodansha artists:

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Magma Comix has big plans for 2024

The former comics publishing arm of Heavy Metal magazine has spun off into its own company, with several new titles planned for this spring.

Magma Comix launched back in 2020 as the comics publishing arm of Heavy Metal, the legendary science fiction and fantasy comics magazine that came to an end last year. Instead of letting the endeavor die off, the Magma team decided to spin the operation off and become an independent comics publisher.

“We are fortunate to have secured funding that will ensure Magma will maintain its creative freedom and independence, while providing capital and support necessary to establish long-term stability in an unpredictable industry,” said Magma Comix Founder and CEO Denton J. Tipton back in July. “Magma will lower the barriers to entry by making our line easy to navigate and by reducing risk for our retail partners. But above all, our team’s unique combination of creator relationships, industry knowledge, and passion for storytelling will unleash a creative eruption that we hope sets a new standard for comics.”

Earlier this week Magma began announcing plans for their comics line, starting with an impressive list of creators they’re working with that includes Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Eamon Winkle, Jason Starr, Dalibor Talajić, Steve Orlando and Megan Huang. They’ve also started announcing their first titles, which will arrive in April.

“Surely one of the most potent drugs in the world is the thrill of creation and I can confidently say our creators must be off their heads at this point,” said Magma Comix Editor-in-Chief Bobby Curnow. “All of our teams are pouring everything they have into their books, creating some of the best comics I’ve read in my fifteen years of editing. It’s been a real pleasure to help bring these stories into the world.”

Here’s a look at the two that have been announced thus far:

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Marvel will release ‘unexpurgated’ Red Band editions of ‘Blood Hunt’

The polybagged version will come with a parental advisory label and extra pages featuring graphic art.

Marvel has announced plans to release two versions of each issue of its upcoming Blood Hunt series — the standard version, and a “Red Band” edition that will deliver more blood and guts.

The crossover series by Avengers writer Jed MacKay and X-Men artists Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia will feature the Avengers, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and more going head-to-head with the vampire nation under a sunless sky.

“Labeled with a Parental Advisory and polybagged to keep those weak of heart from experiencing its intensity, the Red Band Editions will contain additional pages and more graphic art too explicit for the regular edition,” reads. “Blood Hunt will mark the first time that a different edition of the same Marvel comic book is produced for more mature readers, fitting for this blood-soaked saga where vampires will viciously sink their teeth into your favorite heroes!”

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Oni’s NacelleVerse comics will launch in March

‘NacelleVerse’ #0 will kick things off, followed by ‘Roboforce,’ ‘Biker Mice from Mars’ and more.

One of the more interesting and perhaps surprising announcements at New York Comic Con came from Oni Press and the Nacelle Company, who own the rights to various toy lines from years past, including Biker Mice from Mars and Sectaurs. Now all those different characters will come together to form a shared universe.

Oni will publish a line of comics based on this new shared universe, starting in March with NacelleVerse #0 by writer Melissa Flores and artists Diogenes Neves and Francis Portela. That’ll be followed by three-issue miniseries for Roboforce, coming in April, and Biker Mice from Mars, coming in July. Sectaurs and Power Lords will follow sometime after that.

“I’m very excited that we’ll be launching the NacelleVerse with comic books that will set up all the characters, worlds and plot lines that will be unfolding over the next five years as our series come to life,” said Nacelle Founder and CEO Brian Volk-Weiss.

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