‘Princeless’ creators speak out against Action Lab’s 2023 Free Comic Book Day issue

Jeremy Whitley and Emily C. Martin say they were just as surprised as fans to see Action Lab solicit new ‘Princeless’ material.

Princeless creators Jeremy Whitley and Emily C. Martin are speaking out against publisher Action Lab Entertainment, specifically about the solicitation for the publisher’s Free Comic Book Day issue for 2023.

In a statement, they said the release of “brand new” Princeless material was a surprise to them, especially considering they are engaged in “a protracted legal battle with Action Lab regarding a number of issues that we feel should have voided our publishing contract.” The statement goes on to say the creators have stopped working on new Princeless material and have not been asked to approve any pages for the FCBD release.

“This is the latest in Action Lab’s continued policy of putting their personal profits before creators and we strongly disapprove,” the statement says.

Whitley and Martin are both part of a class-action lawsuit filed against Action Lab earlier this year. The 46-page complaint “contends that although Action Lab promised to print, promote and market creators’ works, report quarterly sales and income numbers, properly maintain social media accounts, and generally make a reasonable effort to sell comics, the company has largely done none of these things and even failed to inform creators when its office shut down ‘without reason.’”

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Vault announces five titles for early 2023

‘Barbaric,’ ‘Songs for the Dead’ and ‘Money Shot’ will return next year.

Vault Comics has announced five titles they plan to launch next year, including the return of three old favorites and two brand-new comics.

Michael Moreci and Nathan Gooden will bring back Owen and his Axe for a new Barbaric series, while Andrea Fort, MC Heron and MJ Erickson sing more Songs for the Dead. And Tim Seeley, along with new artist Gisele Lagace, present new adventures of the XXXplorers in Money Shot Comes Again.

There’s also new projects from Christopher Sebela, Ben Hennessy, John Lees and George Kambadais.

Check out all the details below.

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DC reveals their 2023 Black History Month plans

With Milestone celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, DC will release several projects spanning both universes.

DC has announced their plans for next year’s Black History Month in February, which include not only a new anthology and variant covers, but also several projects coming out of Milestone as the imprint celebrates its 30th anniversary.

In addition, several creators coming out of the Milestone Initiative, a program launched last year “to identify, support and elevate emerging diverse writers and artists within the comic book industry,” will see their first work published during Black History Month.

Let’s take a look at the DCU projects first …

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AMC Networks Publishing will release comics next year by DeConnick, Sienkiewicz + more

Brenden Fletcher, Tula Lotay, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and more will help launch AMC’s new comics line.

Earlier this year AMC, who you probably know as the TV empire behind The Walking Dead shows, Better Call Saul and the excellent Tony Hillerman adaptation Dark Winds, among others, announced a new publishing arm called AMC Networks Publishing. They started out by publishing art books featuring The Walking Dead and Creepshow, but they also plan to publish original graphic novels and comics as well.

And their first three comics will feature some pretty heavy hitters, creator-wise. Oubliette will be written by Brenden Fletcher with art by Tula Lotay, while Nights of Lono comes from Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett and Marcel Feldmar, with artwork by Christine Norrie. Finally, announced today, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Bill Sienkiewicz will team up on Parisian White.

All three titles will debut in San Diego at Comic-Con International next year, followed by series launches later in the year.

Here’s more info on each series:

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Vault will publish music-inspired graphic novels through their Headshell imprint

Pete Wentz, Def Leppard, Metallica and more will rock their way into comics via the new imprint.

Vault Comics will team with several musicians for a new line of graphic novels called Headshell. Songwriter and producer Richard Rudolph, who has worked with everyone from Stevie Wonder to 2Pac, will “guide strategy and artist relations” for the new imprint.

According to the press release, Headshell will launch with Dying Inside from Fall Out Boy co-founder Pete Wentz, co-writer Hannah Klein and Witchblood artist Lisa Sterle. Alternative Press has a first look at the artwork.

“Creating a new graphic novel with Vault and one of my favorite writers, Hannah Klein, has been an insane experience–in the best possible way,” Wentz said. “Between her perspective, honesty, and super dark sense of humor and Vault’s creative support throughout the entire process, I’m excited to share it with the world soon.”

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Marvel’s 2023 Free Comic Book Day offerings will feature X-Men, Spider-Man, Venom and more

‘Summer of Symbiotes,’ ‘Fall of X’ and more will be previewed by Marvel next May.

Marvel has announced their plans for next year’s Free Comic Book Day event, as the publisher will release four free comics on that day.

Just like they did this year, Marvel will use FCBD to promote several of their upcoming events, like Summer of Symbiotes and Fall of X. They’ll also have another Marvel’s Voices issue, and will round things out with a title aimed at the younger set — Spidey & His Amazing Friends, which will adapt the Disney Junior TV show.

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Marvel gets in on Disney’s ‘100 Years of Wonder’ fun

Marvel will release a series of variant covers featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other characters as Marvel heroes.

For the past few years it’s felt like you’ve been more likely to find Mickey Mouse on the covers of comics published by other comics companies rather than the one Disney actually owns, but that will change next year.

As a part of Disney’s “100 Years of Wonder” event, Marvel will publish a series of variant covers featuring Mickey Mouse and company, starting with Amazing Spider-Man #17 in January. 100 Years of Wonder celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company.

The covers mash-up Mickey and his pals with classic Marvel covers, including classic issues of Avengers, Fantastic Four and Hulk, with a fun What If? twist on each of them:

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NYCC: ‘Sins of Sinister’ erupts early next year

The X-Men once again enter an alternate reality — this time one shaped by Mr. Sinister’s diabolical experiments.

The mutant denizens of Krakoa are in for a very Sinister 2023.

During their Next Big Thing panel at the New York Comic Con today, Marvel finally revealed Sins of Sinister, an event coming next year that they’ve been teasing for months now.

The story will start in Sins of Sinister #1, a one-shot by Kieron Gillen, Lucas Wernock and more, before taking over three of the X-books for three issues. Immortal X-Men, X-Men Red and Legion of X will all take a siesta, replaced by Immortal X-Men, Storm and the Brotherhood of Mutants, and Nightcrawlers. They’ll be set in an alternate reality that … well, here’s the description of the project from Marvel, which is a bit confusing, in true Sinister fashion:

IMMORTAL X-MEN, X-MEN RED, and LEGION OF X will be washed away, transformed into three limited series: IMMORAL X-MEN, STORM & THE BROTHERHOOD OF MUTANTS, and NIGHTCRAWLERS! Series writers Kieron Gillen, Al Ewing, and Si Spurrier will pen their respective new titles, joined by artists Paco Medina, Patch Zircher, and Alessandro Vitti. Tackling three separate time periods, each superstar artist will draw an issue of all three titles as consecutive issues propel the Marvel Universe further and further into a dark future, dramatically escalating the stakes with each startling time jump. 10 Years… 100 Years… 1000 Years… The Powers of Essex will seek to stretch beyond the limits of time and space! All three writers will continue their current story plans after the X-Universe shattering finale one-shot, SINS OF SINISTER: DOMINION #1!

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Brian Cunningham joins AfterShock Comics as editor in chief

AfterShock also hires Chris Ryall as a publishing consultant.

AfterShock Comics has announced that they’ve hired Brian Cunningham, a former editor at DC, as their new editor in chief. Cunningham replaces Mike Marts, who departed the company for a new position at Mad Cave Studios.

“AfterShock stands for quality comic books, and there’s a reason why they’ve grown to be a major player in the industry, as dedicated as they’ve been to working with creators to tell their best stories across a variety of genres. I’m thrilled and grateful to be called upon to carry on that tradition and build on that success,” Cunningham said in a statement.

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Mike Marts named editor in chief of Mad Cave Studios

Marts will oversee editorial for Mad Cave, Maverick and Papercutz.

Comics veteran Mike Marts has left his position at AfterShock Comics to become executive vice president and editor in chief of Mad Cave Studios.

Marts brings more than 30 years of experience in the comics industry to the company, including roles as an executive editor for Marvel Comics, group editor for DC Comics and editor in chief for AfterShock, where he has been for the last eight years.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike Marts to Mad Cave Studios. He’s a proven leader and gifted storyteller with a keen eye for talent and quality,” said Mark London, CEO + CCO of Mad Cave Studios. “Not only does Mike himself have 30 years worth of editorial experience, but also he has proven to be a valuable source of guidance for young creators along the way. As Mad Cave continues to establish itself in the growing comic book and graphic novel industry, we can’t think of a better person than Mike to take the role as executive vice president and editor in chief.” 

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It’s Alive publisher Drew Ford passes away

Ford died from COVID related pneumonia earlier this week.

Drew Ford, who published comics and graphic novels under the It’s Alive banner, passed away from COVID-related pneumonia, according to his wife, Aki Uesugi.

Uesugi has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for the funeral and other expenses, where she shares more details on what led to Ford’s death. While Ford has been declared brain dead, he is still on life support as his organs will be donated.

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Eric Powell brings Albatross Funnybooks to Dark Horse

The creator of ‘The Goon’ will once again work with Dark Horse, this time on a new line of comics.

Eric Powell, the award-winning creator of The Goon, will return to Dark Horse to head up his own imprint where he’ll publish his own comics and those made by others.

The imprint is called, naturally, Albatross Funnybooks, the name of Powell’s publishing company that he’s been operating since 2002. Over the years Powell has not only published his own work, but also comics by Fabian Rangel Jr., Logan Faerber, Brendon Small, Rebecca Sugar and others. Dark Horse published The Goon starting in 2003 for 42 issues before it went on hiatus, then popped up again at Albatross.

“I couldn’t be happier to be returning to Dark Horse and bringing Albatross over as an imprint,” said Powell. “This partnership will allow me to focus more on what I want to be doing, making books. I’m very excited for what the future holds and the new opportunities to be found.”

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