Comixology Originals will publish the debut graphic novel from Xavier Saxon

‘Night at the Belfry’ arrives on the platform Oct. 18.

Comixology Originals has announced plans to publish Night at the Belfry, the debut graphic novel by writer and artist Xavier Saxon.

The story is about a 73-year-old former postman who starts remembering his time as a recreational boxer in the 1980s and “hatches a life altering plan to regain the control he believes he’s lost.”

Night at the Belfry is my first book and I am super proud of it, but it is not where I would have expected myself to start off in the world of comics,” Saxon said. “I don’t have much of an interest in boxing, I’m not a seventy-plus year-old retiree (yet), and my preferences in terms of fiction have always skewed more towards the fantastical, genre-based stuff. “The idea came from a few places. It started purely visually, the idea of a boxing match in a church belltower. But as I developed the story I became fascinated with the idea of applying undue importance to an, in retrospect, insignificant period of one’s own life. Mostly, though, the book came from a place of frustration. I wanted to finish something. And now that I have, I hope what I’ve made will resonate with readers.”

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Chip Mosher leaves Comixology Originals

Bryce Gold will take over as head of the digital comics imprint.

Comixology’s Chip Mosher, who spearheaded their Comixology Originals line and grew it into what it is today, has announced he’s leaving Amazon at the end of this week.

“After 11 years, I’ve decided it’s time for a change and this will be my last week at Comixology,” he said on Twitter. “It’s been an amazing decade+ for me & I’m grateful to have been able to be part of the company’s growth. In particular, it’s been an honor pioneering the Comixology Originals program.”

Under Mosher’s leadership, Comixology Originals has brought original, digital-first comics to the platform by creators like Scott Snyder, Spike Trotman, Curt Pires, Chip Zdarsky, Alex Segura, Rachel Pollack and many more — and then later to print through an arrangement with Dark Horse. He also worked with the Harvey Kurtzman Estate bring Marley’s Ghost to fruition, a “lost” graphic novel by the creator that went on to win an Eisner Award.

Before Comixology Originals launched, Mosher served as their head of marketing and PR, and prior to that was at BOOM! Studios in a similar role. He’s a comics veteran with a lot of knowledge and a good reputation with creators, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does next.

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Quick Hits | Remembering Tim Sale

Plus: News on Comixology, Mark Russell, Michael Allred, Tillie Walden, TCAF, Jerry Craft and Ric Flair!

Passings | Via Tim Sale’s Twitter account comes word that the 66-year-old artist died of kidney failure.

“He was sick for years and was even in the hospital since May 24. He was a private person and never wanted to worry all of you, but his death was neither preventable or unexpected. Tim was a wonderful man and simply didn’t want to cause any unnecessary stress to his friends and fans,” the statement says.

Many have posted remembrances of the Long Halloween artist since his death last week. At The Comics Journal, Joseph McCabe posts an in-depth obituary. Augie De Blieck looks back at several of Sale’s comics, including Batman: The Long Halloween. And artist Elsa Charretier shares a post on Substack titled “I wouldn’t be drawing comics if not for Tim Sale.”

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Quick Hits | Comixology removes in-app purchases from Android app

Plus: People moves at AWA Studios and Image, Joshua Williamson, Al Madrigal and more.

Digital Comics | Similar to a move they made on iOS devices about eight years ago, Comixology has announced that they have removed the ability to purchase comics from their Android app. The email to users said that the change was made to “remain in compliance with updated Google Play Store policies,” which, as The Beat points out, are intended to close loopholes that allowed companies to sell items in their Android apps without paying fees to the Google Play Store. The move follows those made by two other Amazon entities, Audible and Kindle Books, earlier this year.

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Quick Hits | ‘Gender Queer’ remains at the center of Virginia controversy

The American Booksellers for Free Expression responds as politicians continue trying to ban ‘Gender Queer.’ Also: comiXology’s app is ‘annoying,’ the first graphic novel to win the Jhalak Prize and more.

Censorship | The American Booksellers for Free Expression “strongly condemns” a recent decision by a judge in Virginia that the graphic novel Gender Queer and the book A Court of Mist and Fury might be “obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors.” Two politicians in Virginia are attempting to restrict access to the book by minors not only in libraries, but also in bookstores like Barnes & Noble.

Activism | In Washington State, students at Walla Walla High School responded to attempts to ban certain books like Gender Queer from the school library by forming a Banned Book Club. There plan is to read one “banned” book per month, and a local bookstore is giving them a discount on the books they choose.

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‘What a time to be (un)alive’: Zdarsky + Loo’s ‘The All-Nighter’ returns for a second season

The vampires-as-superheroes series continues with issue #6 this Tuesday.

The vampires-cosplaying-as-superheroes story The All-Nighter by Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo will return later this week for a second season.

ComiXology Originals has announced The All-Nighter #6, which follows the first five-issue arc that debuted last fall.

“I’m thrilled to be continuing this story with Jason,” Zdarsky said. “He’s become quite popular these days and has more than once said, ‘Who are you again?’ when I email him, so the fact that he’s delivering the best work of his career on volume two of The All-Nighter is fantastic! I think every comic book reader in the world should be reading this book, that’s just my humble opinion!”

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Check out holiday shopping deals from comiXology, Scout, Z2 and more

Get Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on comics and more.

Black Friday is here, bringing opportunities for comic fans to find that perfect gift or just a good deal. Here’s a rundown of some comic-related things to check out today, over the weekend and on Cyber Monday. I’ll add others as I see them, so be sure to check back often.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Francis Manapul on ‘Clear’

The artist of ‘Flash,’ ‘Justice League’ and more discusses his new creator-owned title with writer Scott Snyder.

Francis Manapul has been drawing comics for more than 20 years now. He became an artist to watch while working on Top Cow comics like Witchblade before moving on to DC Comics. While there, he drew Legion of Super-Heroes, Detective Comics and Justice League, among other titles, but he might be best known for his work on The Flash, which he eventually wrote in addition to drawing it.

After years at DC, Manapul is collaborating with his former Justice League partner-in-crime, Scott Snyder, for a new creator-owned comic called Clear. It’s one of several titles written by Snyder as part of his deal with comiXology Originals, and the second issue became available on the digital comics platform yesterday. Snyder and Manapul are clearly having fun with the neo-noir science fiction environment they’ve created that’s a departure from the bright world of superheroes, as Snyder said in our interview with him that was posted yesterday.

“People think of [Manapul] as doing this bright vibrant exuberant superhero work with a lot of emotionality that has a light, painterly feel,” Snyder said. “With this he’s showing that he has this whole range that hasn’t been explored with darkness and nightmarish kinds of abilities that he didn’t get to do much in superheroes.”

I spoke with Manapul at length about the origins of Clear, the opportunities that working on a digital comic have given him and drawing on the styles of other artists to create the “skins” featured in the first issue.

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Comics Lowdown | Action Lab accused of lack of payment and more by their creators

Plus: Joe Bennett, Ninja Turtles, Substack and more!

Action Lab Entertainment, the publisher of Spencer & Locke, Princeless, Jupiter Jet, Midnight Tiger and Molly Danger, among many other titles, has come under scrutiny on social media by a long list of creators for the terms of their contracts, soliciting comics that are never published, lack of payment to creators and poor communications.

At Women Write About Comics, Claire Napier rounds up a number of these allegations against the publisher, from creators like Jeremy Whitley, John J. Peréz, Tom Rogers and Nick Marino, among others. Napier focuses a good portion of her article on Gordon McLean, writer of Supermom: Expecting Trouble, who went missing in December of 2019 around the time that the first issue of his comic was supposed to come out — but according to sources, the comic was canceled and McLean was never told.

Action Lab President Bryan Seaton spoke with Bleeding Cool in a very brief interview on the subject. He talks about many of the speed bumps the company hit during the COVID crisis, but as folks pointed out on Twitter, many of these issues predate the pandemic. Seaton did note he has set up an email address, alecreator@actionlabent.com, that creators can use to contact them directly about any outstanding issues regarding a title.

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ComiXology Submit will stop accepting submissions Sept. 15

As comiXology transitions to an Amazon storefront, Submit creators will need to transition to Kindle Direct Publishing.

Following the news earlier this week that comiXology would transition from their current website to Amazon.com, many creators have taken to Twitter to share that they’ve been informed that comiXology Submit will stop accepting submissions later this month.

According to the posted letter, comiXology Submit will stop taking submissions after Sept. 15. Readers who own copies of previous Submit titles will still be able to access them, but creators will need to begin using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, system instead — and re-upload their existing Submit titles through that system. There’s an FAQ about it up on comiXology’s site.

If you aren’t familiar with it, comiXology Submit allowed pretty much any comics creator to upload and sell their comic through the popular online digital comics platform. It launched back in 2013 with Submit titles featured prominently on the comiXology home page at the time.

The FAQ lists some of the benefits of the Kindle system over Submit:

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A new comiXology experience is coming this fall

The digital comics platform announces changes to its app and more integration with Amazon.

In a letter to customers, comiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger today announced several changes coming to the digital comics platform — changes that include a redesigned app and more integration with their parent company, Amazon.

According to the email, the changes you can expect include:

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Several of Kurt Busiek’s creator-owned series are coming to digital

‘Astro City,’ ‘Arrowsmith,’ ‘Shockrockets’ and more are coming to comiXology Aug. 4, courtesy of Image Comics.

Several comic series written by Kurt Busiek over the last few decades are coming to digital courtesy of Image Comics, including collaborations with Stuart Immonen, Brent Anderson, Carlos Pacheco and more.

The titles will be added to comiXology on Aug. 4, followed by Apple Books and Google Play at a later date.

“I’m thrilled to be consolidating my creator-owned books at Image,” said Busiek. “Readers have been asking us to make these stories available again, so we’re glad to have them all together at last, and in great company with the rest of the Image line. This is just the beginning, too—there’ll be new material coming as well, but that’ll be another announcement for another day.”

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