‘Dawn of DC’ joins the 2023 Free Comic Book Day line-up

DC joins in on the FCBD fun for this year as other publishers reveal their final covers.

Slugfest is a roundup of cool announcements about projects coming to a shelf near you from comics creators, publishers and more. Hit the links for more information.

Through their solicitations for April, DC Comics has revealed at least part of their plans for this year’s Free Comic Book Day — Dawn of DC, which shares a title with their recent publishing initiative that follows Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths.

“After the near-Multiverse-ending events in Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths and DC Universe: Lazarus Planet, the DC Universe will be heading toward the light,” Jim Lee, DC publisher and chief creative officer, said last year when Dawn of DC was announced. “With brand-new series and story arcs from some of the top creative members in comics, Dawn of DC is one of our most ambitious initiatives ever and is a chance for us to tell bigger and bolder stories across our line.”

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Venom gets extreme — and an anthology series — in May

‘Extreme Venomverse’ arrives just in time for ‘Death of the Venomverse’ and ‘Summer of Symbiotes,’ as Venom celebrates his 35-year anniversary.

How easy would it be to apply the template of the Spider-Verse to Venom? We’ll find out later this year, as Marvel has announced Extreme Venomverse, an anthology series that will feature various versions of Venom from around the multiverse.

This year is the 35th anniversary of the character, who was created by Todd McFarlane and David Michelinie and had his first, full appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #300. But you have to tip your hat to the creators of Amazing Spider-Man #252 — Roger Stern, Todd DeFalco, Mike Zeck and Ron Frenz — for creating Spider-Man’s black alien costume. And are you familiar with Randy Schueller? He was a comics fan who came up with the idea for putting Spider-Man in a black costume.

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After a decade, ‘Saga’ will finally increase its price to $3.99 an issue

Due to ‘global economic factors,’ ‘Saga’ will no longer ‘hold the line at $2.99.’

It’s the end of an era for Saga and its fans. No, not the end of the series — that’s coming in about 40 or so issues, if I’m remembering correctly — but the end of its $2.99 price point.

Starting with issue #61, which is scheduled to arrive in shops next Wednesday, the hit series by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples will jump to $3.99.

In his Substack newsletter, Vaughn said that “you may have noticed on Fiona’s rocking cover that—after more than a decade of being one of the last comics anywhere still ‘holding the line at $2.99’—Saga has finally joined the ranks of books costing $3.99.

“As I say in next week’s To Be Continued, I’m sorry that various global economic factors that I know everybody’s feeling right now made this a move we couldn’t avoid any longer, but we still promise to always offer more new art and story (and more dopey letter columns) than any other similarly priced book on the stands.”

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Ewing + Allen will launch a new ‘Black Panther’ series in June

Eve L. Ewing and Chris Allen will pick up where John Ridley leaves off.

With John Ridley’s run on Black Panther set to expire with issue #15, Marvel has announced that writer Eve L. Ewing and artist Chris Allen will helm a new Black Panther series that kicks off in June.

“More than anything, I’m bowled over at the opportunity to write such a marquee character. I see it as a big responsibility,” Ewing told ComicBook.com. “Black Panther is a tremendously important legacy character for Marvel fans, but moreover the character has become one of the most important icons in pop culture for people of the African diaspora all over the world. And on a personal note, the title was so indelibly shaped by my friend and mentor, Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is a big part of why I’m even in comics. There are a lot of talented creators working right now and I feel very awed that the editorial team asked me to take this on. It makes me feel really seen as a comics writer, very humbled, and very grateful. It’s a big role for me and I take it extremely seriously.”

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‘The Expanse’ returns to comics in a new maxiseries from BOOM! Studios

Andy Diggle and Rubine tell a story set between ‘Babylon’s Ashes’ and ‘Persepolis Rising.’

The Expanse, the popular science fiction show that wrapped up last year after its sixth season, will return to comics this year with a new 12-issue series. BOOM! Studios has announced The Expanse: Dragon Tooth, by writer Andy Diggle and artist Rubine. Christian Ward will provide covers.

“It’s not often you get to work on something you already love with your whole heart, and everyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about The Expanse. Suit up and strap in — we’re gonna be pulling some high-g maneuvers!” Diggle exclaimed.  

Like they’ve done with titles like BRZRKR, BOOM! plans to run a Kickstarter campaign for the project, which will offer “exclusive premium variants of each issue and exclusive variant editions of each collection, along with highly limited edition collectibles.”

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April’s Marvel’s Voices anthology will focus on the Spider-Verse

The anthology returns in April.

Marvel has announced that their April Marvel’s Voices anthology will focus on a specific character family — Spider-Man and his, um, Amazing Friends. Marvel’s Voices: Spider-Verse will arrive in stores April 5.

Marvel has shifted their approach to their Marvel’s Voices anthology series, as they continue to expand the brand into different places. In addition to adding new digital stories under that banner to Marvel Unlimited, they’ve now announced two anthologies focused on specific character families. Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever will land in February, just in time for Black History Month.

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BOOM! Studios announces ‘Seasons Have Teeth’ for April

Dan Watters and Sebastián Cabrol present the seasons as god-like monsters.

It’s a good week for Dan Watters, writer of Home Sick Pilots, among other titles. Not only did Marvel announce a new Loki miniseries that he’s writing, but BOOM! Studios also revealed Seasons Have Teeth, a new miniseries he’s doing with artist Sebastián Cabrol.

The four-issue series features a retired photographer who tries to track down the physical embodiment of the seasons — each a powerful god-like monster. So yes, the seasons literally have teeth.

“I’m overjoyed to be writing this book for Sebastián,” Watters said. “From the dark depths of winter to the joys of summer, he brings such wonderful nuance to both human emotion and monsters—and in The Seasons Have Teeth we are bringing you both in abundance.”

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MacKay + Villa will launch a new ‘Avengers’ title in May

A team of familiar faces will battle Kang, Terminus and the Twilight Court in the new title.

With Jason Aaron’s time on Avengers wrapping up, Marvel has announced that Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa, who worked together recently on Marvel’s Black Cat, will headline a new Avengers title starting in May, joined by cover artist Stuart Immonen.

Their run will spin out of the recent Timeless one-shot, which featured the Avenger’s old villain Kang going up against a villain named Myrddin and his group of faux heroes, the Twilight Court. The Avengers will face a series of challenges called the Tribulation Events that bring them into conflict with Myrddin’s group.

Marvel also revealed the team line-up, which will be led by Captain Marvel. The team includes Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Captain America — aka the former Falcon, Sam Wilson.

It’s an iconic, fairly conservative line-up, using characters who have all been part of the team for decades at this point. Even Sam Wilson, who is filling the Captain America role on the team instead of Steve Rogers, has been an Avenger since the late 1970s.

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Smash Pages Q&A | Eric Nguyen + Scott Burman on ‘White Savior’

The co-creators of the new title from Dark Horse Comics discuss how they came to comics, their inspiration for the story and their approach to humor in the comic.

Any fan of Western pop culture over the last 100 years or so is probably familiar with the “white savior” trope — that’s when Tom Cruise or Matt Damon, for example, show up in Japan or China or anywhere else in the world to rescue non-white people.

The solicitation text for the new comic, White Savior, describes it pretty well: An ancient prophecy foretold of an outsider that would save the peaceful village of Inoki from an unstoppable army–a man who would confuse the people at first with his unconventional ways, but lead them to the light.

But what happens when the savior doesn’t live up to the hype, and is, instead, a drunken idiot? That’s the premise of the new comic by Eric Nguyen and Scott Burman. The duo co-wrote it, while Nguyen and colorist Iwan Joko Triyono provided the art. While Burman is new to comics, Nguyen is a veteran, having drawn everything from Batman to Old Man Logan to Halo. He’s also the co-creator of both Strange Girl and Gigantic, in addition to White Savior.

Both Nguyen and Burman were kind enough to answer a few questions about White Savior, their approach to the humor in it and why it is also a time travel story. The first issue is available now from Dark Horse Comics.

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Competitive baking goes horribly wrong in ‘The Great British Bump-Off’

John Allison and Max Sarin whip up a fancy murder mystery in April.

Now here’s a competition show I could get behind — Giant Days creators John Allison and Max Sarin will turn a British baking competition into an “Agatha Christie-style mystery” in The Great British Bump-Off. They’re joined by colorist Sammy Borras and letterer Jim Campbell.

The four-issue miniseries kicks off from Dark Horse Comics in April.

“I’ve made a lot of comics, I’ve read a lot of mysteries, and I’ve eaten a lot of cakes. You might say that I’ve been preparing for this series since I tasted my first fondant fancy,” Allison said. “And as I’m working with Max and Sammy again, readers can be assured that the confection will look as good as it tastes.”

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Throw up some devil horns for ‘The Rock Gods of Jackson, Tennessee’

Dark Horse will publish a new graphic novel by Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton later this year.

Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton are getting the band back together in the upcoming graphic novel The Rock Gods of Jackson, Tennessee, which Dark Horse will publish in June. They’ll be joined by colorist Allen Passalaqua and letterer Crank!

It’s about a group of high school friends who form a band and battle “a rampaging horde of mutated monsters.”

Rock Gods started with Mike throwing ideas at me,” Roberts said. “His idea about his high school friends starting a rock band (but having to fight monsters instead) seemed like it would be in my wheelhouse. And, like Mike, I was also in a terrible rock band back in high school and thought I might have something to say.”

“The idea of this book was originally to make a serious autobiographical story about my hometown,” Norton said, “but I soon realized that wasn’t as fun as working with Rafer and making stuff up that never happened!”

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Mr. Justice and Steel Sterling make return appearances in ‘World of Betty & Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest’ #126

Check out an exclusive preview of two new stories coming in next week’s digest.

Courtesy of our friends at Archie Comics, we’re pleased to kick off the new year with a preview of World of Betty & Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest #126.

This digest has three new stories in it in addition to a bunch of classic stories, and today we have previews from two of those stories. The first sees the return of Mr. Justice for what could be his biggest challenge ever — serving as a life coach for Cheryl Blossom. This is a guy who used to regularly fight Satan, but Cheryl may be more than he can handle. That one is by Ian Flynn, James Fry and Bob Smith.

The second preview features Steel Sterling battling the Blue Bison, a battle that would probably go more smoothly if Betty and Veronica weren’t competing to get an autograph from our hero to give to Archie. It’s by Tom DeFalco, the Brothers Kennedy and Jim Amash, while Glenn Whitmore and Jack Morelli provide coloring and lettering for both stories.

Check out the preview below, as well as a classic story featuring Betty battling technology.

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