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.

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown | Action Lab accused of lack of payment and more by their creators”

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:

Continue reading “ComiXology Submit will stop accepting submissions Sept. 15”

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:

Continue reading “A new comiXology experience is coming this fall”

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.”

Continue reading “Several of Kurt Busiek’s creator-owned series are coming to digital”

‘Afterlift’ team reunites for ‘The All-Nighter’

Chip Zdarsky, Jason Loo and the rest of the award-winning team will work with comiXology Originals again on a new series about vampire superheroes.

The award-winning creative team behind comiXology Original’s Afterlift reunite next year for The All-Nighter, a new series about vampires who decide to become superheroes.

Writer Chip Zdarsky, artist Jason Loo, colorist Paris Alleyne, letterer Aditya Bidikar and editor Alison O’Toole will tackle this superhero/horror mash-up.

“Working on Afterlift was an amazing experience, especially getting to see the beautiful pages coming in from Jason, Paris and Aditya,” said Zdarsky. “I knew I wanted to work with them again immediately, and I’m super grateful that we have the chance with The All-Nighter! It’s a ton of fun and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do!”

Continue reading “‘Afterlift’ team reunites for ‘The All-Nighter’”

Smash Pages Q&A: Marc Bernardin on ‘Adora and The Distance’

The writer, filmmaker and journalist discusses his latest graphic novel, which comes out next week from comiXology Originals.

Marc Bernardin has had long, varied career, from his years as a writer and editor at Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times and The Hollywood Reporter, to co-hosting FatMan Beyond with Kevin Smith and the Battlestar Galacticast with Tricia Helfer. In recent years he’s established a reputation as a television writer on series including Alphas, Castle Rock, Treadstone and the upcoming Masters of the Universe: Revelation, which launches in July on Netflix. Some of us, though, know him as a comics writer, co-writing Monster Attack Network, The Highwaymen, Genius and other works for more than a decade.

Bernardin’s new project, which comes out next week from comiXology Originals, is the young-adult graphic novel Adora and The Distance, which he created with artist Ariela Kristantina. A fantasy adventure that has its own twists and surprises, it’s a book that is familiar and unexpected in startlingly beautiful ways. Next week Bernardin’s Kickstarter campaign for his short film Splinter ends, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his work.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Marc Bernardin on ‘Adora and The Distance’”

‘Bite-Sized Archie’ arrives on TinyView, comiXology

Archie Comics’ fun web series gets a syndication deal and a digital collection.

Bite Sized Archie, the fun webcomic that appears on Archie Comics’ website and social media channels, can now be found on TinyView and soon on comiXology as well.

The strip is the brainchild of two Archie employees — Ron Cacace, director of publicity & social media for Archie, and Vincent Lovallo, who serves as art director. They’ve done more than 20 strips featuring Archie characters, including the traditional Archie gang as well as some of their horror line characters, like Vampironica.

“We created Bite Sized Archie because we were looking for a new way to deliver funny and relevant comics content directly to our dedicated fans on social media,” said writer and Archie Comics Director of Publicity & Social Media Ron Cacace. “We’re continually amazed and humbled by the positive feedback from readers of all ages. And getting to add the series to a platform like Tinyview, where a whole new audience will be able to follow along weekly alongside our current readers on social media, it’s such a wonderful feeling and we’re so grateful for the opportunity.”

Continue reading “‘Bite-Sized Archie’ arrives on TinyView, comiXology”

comiXology Originals announces three projects with Curt Pires

The digital comics imprint announces ‘Youth Season Two,’ ‘Lost Falls’ and ‘Memoria.’

With Youth Season One set to arrive in print this week from Dark Horse Comics, comiXology Originals has announced three new series with writer Curt Pires, including a second season of Youth that will debut on Tuesday.

They also announced two additional series Pires is writing: Lost Falls and Memoria.

“I’m very excited to finally pull back the curtain and unveil these projects we’ve spent the last year in the trenches working on,” said Pires. “With Youth Season Two, Lost Falls and Memoria, I issued a challenge to myself and my teams to make the greatest comics we could—comics that rival the greatest comics published anywhere by anyone in any format—and I’m excited to unveil the results of our labor. These books represent what I believe to be the future of comics: bold innovative genre storytelling that’s representative of our diverse and expansive modern world. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.”

Continue reading “comiXology Originals announces three projects with Curt Pires”

ComiXology Originals’ ‘The Final Girls’ will drop March 30

Cara Ellison and Sally Cantirino explore the world of ex-work-for-hire superheroes in the five-issue miniseries.

ComiXology Originals has announced a new digital miniseries, The Final Girls, by writer Cara Ellison, artist Sally Cantirino, colorist Gab Contreras and letterer Joamette Gil. The new series is described as a “darkly comedic superhero drama,” where a group of former work-for-hire superheroes navigate through the fallout and harm caused by their superhero colleagues.

ComiXology will release all five issues of the miniseries on March 30.

“Inside every superhuman, there’s still a human,” said Ellison. “And the human needs to eat, pay the bills, have relationships and send invoices. But what happens when superhumans realize that all the fragile systems of society and economy and politics are going to kill them, just like everyone else? What use is smashing someone through a window when the system that created them still exists?”

Continue reading “ComiXology Originals’ ‘The Final Girls’ will drop March 30”

comiXology Originals announces ‘Snow Angels’ by Lemire + Jock

The project will arrive in 2021.

After teasing it last week, comiXology Originals has announced a new title, Snow Angels, by Jeff Lemire and Jock.

The announcement — which is really more of a second teaser — doesn’t reveal anything about the project beyond the title and the two creators involved, and the company didn’t share anything else. You can watch it here:

Continue reading “comiXology Originals announces ‘Snow Angels’ by Lemire + Jock”

Smash Pages Q&A: Johnnie Christmas on ‘Crema,’ coffee, romance and ghosts

The creator of ‘Firebug,’ ‘Sheltered,’ ‘Tartarus’ and other comics discusses ‘Crema,’ his collaboration with artist Dante Luiz for comiXology Originals.

Johnnie Christmas is best known for his recent work like Catbird Angel, a collaboration with Margaret Atwood, and William Gibson’s Alien3, which he drew and adapted from Gibson’s original film script. Christmas has also made comics like Firebug and Sheltered, and is currently writing the comic Tartarus, which comes out from Image Comics.

Crema came out recently from comiXology Originals, and the romance comic involves coffee – no surprise, given the title. A romantic ghost story, it involves Esme, a New York barista who can see ghosts, and Yara, a Brazilian model who is the heiress to a coffee plantation. It is a love story set in New York and Brazil involving Yara’s family and legacy. The collaboration with artist Dante Luiz is charming and sweet and strange and beautiful, and as we talked about, there’s a lot happening that’s unsaid and under the surface of events.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Johnnie Christmas on ‘Crema,’ coffee, romance and ghosts”

Smash Pages Q&A: Magdalene Visaggio

The writer of ‘Eternity Girl,’ ‘Vagrant Queen,’ ‘Kim & Kim,’ ‘Morning in America’ and more discusses ‘Lost on Planet Earth,’ her latest series from comiXology Originals.

In the span of just a few years, Magdalene Visaggio has shown herself to be one of the most original, dynamic and inventive writers in comics. 

She’s written books for different companies from Marvel (Dazzler: X-Song) and Valiant (Doctor Mirage) to IDW (Transformers vs. The Visionaries) and Humanoids (Strangelands). The Eternity Girl miniseries from her and Sonny Liew is simply one of the strongest (and strangest) books that DC has published in recent years and I think the best book to come out of the very impressive Young Animal imprint.

For the most part, though Visaggio has written creator-owned miniseries. That in and of itself is hard to do, but the wide variety of what she’s made is impressive. To name just a few, Visaggio has written three Kim & Kim series, Calamity Kate, Morning in America, Quantum Teens Are Go!, Sex Death Revolution, two Vagrant Queen miniseries. Yes, the same Vagrant Queen that was adapted into the current SyFy Channel TV show.

So much of her work is about change and about the emotional journey of transforming ourselves, growing up and finding a new path, rejecting what’s laid out for us when it would be easier to accept it. In a medium that specializes in stories of transformation and adventure, Visaggio has found a place for queer stories and misfit stories that break so many molds and expectations, crafting something that is different, sometimes startlingly so. Her stories reject grand narratives, hero journeys, chosen one sagas, for something messier, something harder. Something a little more realistic and relatable. They are stories about the lives that we build and shape ourselves, with the emotional and psychological stories far more important than the larger narratives.

Her current project is Lost on Planet Earth, the second issue of which comes out from Comixology today. A collaboration with Claudia Aguirre, the two have worked together often over the years. The book and its themes come out of a lifelong obsession with Star Trek (something we both share), but the story that she’s written is uniquely hers, something that one doesn’t need to be a Trek fan to understand or relate to, and something truly unique. 

Visaggio and I met last year at the Queers & Comics Conference, and we spoke recently about working with artists, the Federation and more, while comiXology provided a preview of the new issue. 

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Magdalene Visaggio”