‘Saga’ returns from hiatus in January

The award-winning series from Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples will return with a double-sized issue.

Saga will continue in January with issue #55, the first new issue from creators Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples since 2018.

“Other than my own family, collaborating with Fiona Staples on Saga is the most important thing in my life, so I can’t thank readers and retailers enough for their patience,” Vaughan said in a press release. “I think our next 54 issues will be even more shocking, strange and spectacular than the first 54, so we can’t wait to be back on the shelves at your local comic shop soon.”

The double-length issue of the award-winning series will clock in at 44 pages for $2.99, promising no “variant covers or gimmicky renumbering.”

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‘The Magic Fish,’ ‘Lore Olympus’ and more win 2021 Harvey Awards

The awards were given out this year in conjunction with the New York Comic Con.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Harvey Awards, which were announced tonight in conjunction with the New York Comic Con.

The Harvey Awards were given out in the six categories they reintroduced in 2018, as chosen by a nominating committee of “diverse industry voices including creators, publishing professionals, retailers, educators and librarians.” The winners were chosen by creators and other industry professionals.

Check out all the winners below:

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Image announces new ‘Astro City,’ ‘Arrowsmith’ + more from Kurt Busiek

The publisher will reprint several older Busiek comics, as well as new series like ‘Free Agents.’ Plus, more ‘Autumnlands’!

Image Comics today has announced enough new Kurt Busiek projects to fill that empty space you’ve been saving on your bookshelf. In fact, you may need a bigger bookshelf …

Next year the publisher will launch new volumes of Astro City and Arrowsmith, as well as a new comic called Free Agents. Autumnlands, Busiek’s Image Comics series with artist Benjamin Dewey and Jordie Bellaire, will also return, and the publisher plans to release new editions of Shockrockets, The Wizard’s Tale and Superstar: As Seen on TV.

“I’m thrilled to be back at Image and glad to be working with Eric Stephenson and the whole crew here,” said Busiek. “Image is the best comics publisher for creator-owned work, so it’s very nice to be bringing my books together here, where they can be available as a group, supported by the team here—and sitting alongside such great series as Saga, The Walking Dead, Criminal, Savage Dragon and so many more. And not just because Image is only about 20 minutes from where I live, so I can actually drop by the place, once the pandemic is in the rearview. My creative partners and I are looking forward to a having a home for the work we’re doing now and lots of new ideas to come.”

Here’s a look at what to expect:

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Comics Lowdown | Harvey Awards announce 2021 Hall of Fame inductees

Plus: Three new members join the CBLDF board, Noelle Stevenson’s Substack and more!

Harvey Awards logo

The Harvey Awards Committee have announced the five creators who will be inducted into the Harvey Awards Hall of Fame this year:  Manga creator Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma 1/2, Inu Yasha); horror comics artist Bernie Wrightson, the co-creator of Swamp Thing; cover artist and painter Jeffrey Catherine Jones; artist Barry Windsor-Smith (Conan the Barbarian); and Michael Kaluta (The Shadow, Starstruck). The latter four formed an artists’ commune called The Studio in 1975; in his 2011 obituary of Jones, Tom Spurgeon explained its significance:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Brian Michael Bendis on ‘Joy Operations’

The Jinxworld creator discusses his newest comic, ‘Joy Operations’ with Stephen Byrne; the move to Dark Horse; and more.

Brian Michael Bendis has made so many comics over the years. For some people, he will always be the writer of Ultimate Spider-Man, one of the great Daredevil writers, the co-creator of Jessica Jones and Miles Morales, and one of a handful of creators who helped shape the Marvel Universe in innumerable ways. Others know him for his more recent work at DC Comics as the writer of the Superman titles, Justice League and other books, co-creating and co-writing Naomi in addition to curating the Wonder Comics imprint at the company. For others, he’s the writer behind Powers, Takio, Pearl and Cover. And for some of us, he will always be the man behind Jinx and AKA Goldfish

It was announced this summer that Bendis’s Jinxworld imprint is moving to Dark Horse Comics, which will include new editions of older comics, continuations of series, and brand new projects. The first to launch is Joy Operations, a five-issue miniseries drawn by Stephen Byrne (Wonder Twins) that launches in November. I spoke with Bendis recently about the science fiction saga, and how (and why) he’s returning to the drawing board with a new series.

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‘The Legend of Auntie Po’ nominated for a National Book Award

Shing Yin Khor’s story of a girl who tells stories in a 19th century logging camp about ‘Auntie Po’ was nominated in the Young People’s Literature category.

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor has been nominated for a 2021 National Book Award in the Young People’s Literature category.

The graphic novel, which was published by Penguin’s Kokila imprint in June, is about a girl who works at a logging camp in the late 19th century, where she tells stories about “Auntie Po,” a mythical lumberjack similar to Paul Bunyan. So the story combines historical fiction with magical realism.

“Khor ties this all together with some really solid cartooning, playing with panels and negative space, and sometimes adding a decorative touch that’s also part of the story,” our own Brigid Alverson said in a review of the graphic novel. “At the top of the page, we see tiny silhouettes of a character, say, running and slowing down as she approaches her house. The story is straightforward enough for middle-graders to enjoy but sophisticated enough to intrigue older readers as well.”

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Comics Lowdown | Graphic Novels challenged in TX, VA, WY

Plus: The latest on the supply chain woes!

It’s almost TOO on the nose that three book challenges involving graphic novels came up during Banned Books Week, but that’s exactly what has happened.

Cover of Jerry Craft's New Kid, showing a boy looking at a school notebook

Katy, Texas: The Katy school board has canceled a virtual appearance by Jerry Craft, after an online petition claimed that his middle-grade graphic novels New Kid and Class Act promote Critical Race Theory. TV news station Click2Houston has a good overview of what happened: After a parent complained, the school district put the Zoom visit on hold and pulled the books from the library for review, per their policy; they will review the books within 15 days and are trying to reschedule the visit outside of the instructional day. Kara Yorio at School Library Journal has more details on the backstory: The petition (since removed) urged the school board to cancel Craft’s appearance, claiming that “these books … are wrought with critical race theory in the form of teaching children that their white privilege inherently comes with microaggressions which must be kept in check.” New Kid has won numerous awards and was the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal; both books are best-sellers.

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Can’t Wait for Comics | Things get spooky in this week’s new releases

New comics arrive this week from Steve Orlando, Cian Tormey, John McCrea, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Christopher Sebela and more.

Welcome to Can’t Wait for Comics, your guide to what comics are arriving in comic book stores, bookstores and on digital this week. And this week things get spookier than normal as your favorite comic companies start releasing all sorts of horror and Halloween-themed comics. I’ve even got previews of a couple of them.

Check out a few highlights below, or visit Diamond’s website for this week’s almost complete list of new comics arriving in stores. You can visit Lunar Distribution’s home page to see DC’s releases, and the comiXology new releases page for what’s available digitally.

I should also add that the list of what is actually arriving at your local shop can vary from what’s on anyone’s official website for a myriad of reasons — so always check with your comics retailer for the final word on availability.

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The ShortBox Comics Fair is in full swing

During October, you can purchase digital comics from Emily Carroll, Kiku Hughes, Joe Sparrow, Ben Sears and more.

ShortBox, the UK-based independent comics imprint run by Zainab Akhtar, is holding an online comics fair all this month and has added more than 40 comics to their online store.

ShortBox Comics Fair features new digital comics by the likes of Ben Sears, Sas Milledge, Becca Tobin, Joe Sparrow, Kiku Hughes and Emily Carroll, among many others. There is likely a comic here for everyone, from a sequel to the Little Mermaid fairytale to the story of a ghost looking for a job. There are several horror stories available — it is October, after all — as well as science fiction romances, slice-of-life comics and clowns.

Many of them have a set price, but some are using the “pay what you want” model that lets you decide what you’ll pay.

Here are a few of them that jumped out at me, if you’re looking for recommendations:

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Steve Orlando takes the helm of ‘Marauders’ in January

Marauders Annual #1 will reveal a new team of mutants and the debut of a new threat, 2099 villain Brimstone Love.

A new team of Marauders will take to the seas in January courtesy of a new creative team. Steve Orlando and Creees Lee will introduce a new team and new threats in Marauders Annual #1 this Janaury.

“Taking the helm of Marauders is easily the most exciting moment of my career, especially when it’s my first-ever ongoing not just on Krakoa, but at Marvel in general,” Orlando told Marvel.com. “Exploding out of the team’s already-amazing adventures as part of Hellfire Trading, Captain Pryde’s new crew of Marauders will stop at nothing to bring endangered mutants to safety — to always go where they’re needed, not where they’re wanted. To mutant rescue, wherever it calls them!”

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Comics Lowdown | ‘Prophet Muhammed’ cartoonist dies in accident

Plus: Adrian Tomine named writer in residence at Substack, Justin Wong Ciu-tat apologizes to Hong Kong police, and more.

Photo of cartoonist Lars Vilks
Lars Vilks (OlofE, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Breaking: The BBC reports that the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks has died in a car accident. Vilks, 75, has been under police protection since his cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed’s head on a dog’s body garnered him both international attention and death threats. He was riding in a police car that collided with a truck in southern Sweden. The two police officers in the car with Vilks were also killed, and the truck driver was injured. The local police say that while they aren’t sure yet exactly what happened, there wasn’t any immediate evidence that anyone else was involved in the accident besides the occupants of the two vehicles.

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Sunday Comics | 24-Hour Comic Day, Inktober and more

Check out recent comics by Melanie Gillman, Derek Laufman, Elsa Charretier and more.

Here’s a round up of some of the best comics we’ve seen online recently. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below.

I mentioned Swordtember in a post earlier today, and it’s far from the only online challenge aimed at creators going on on social media right now. Yesterday, in fact, was 24-Hour Comic Day, the “annual celebration of comics creation” where artists attempt to create an entire comic in 24 hours.

As the Crow Flies creator Melanie Gillman once again took up the challenge, creating a comic called The Night-Mother. It’s a horror story, and Gillman includes several content warnings at the beginning, including violence and miscarriage. But it’s a very well-done comic, especially for one they created in just 24 hours — or almost, anyway. Gillman still has a few pages left that they were hoping to finish today. Here’s the first page:

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