The first meeting of ‘The Graveyard Club’ convenes in September

R.L. Stine and Carola Borelli bring fresh YA scares this fall.

Welcome to Graves End, a town with a curious trait — it’s surrounded by graveyards. That’s the perfect meeting place for The Graveyard Club, a new project coming from horror master R.L. Stine, artist Carola Borelli and BOOM! Studios.

“In The Graveyard Club graphic novels, the teens hang out in the graveyard–because it might be the safest place in town,” Stine said. “Their town is surrounded by graveyards. And swarms of red-eyed bats come swooping out every night. And that’s just the BEGINNING of the horror! I’m having a lot of fun with this series!”

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Slugfest | X-Men, Terminator, ‘Galaxy of Madness’ + more

Today’s round-up includes news and announcements on ‘Life of Wolverine,’ Gatchaman, the Energon Universe, ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ and more.

Slugfest is a roundup of cool announcements about projects coming to a shelf near you that we haven’t otherwise covered. Hit the links for more information.

Marvel has revealed the cover and more details on the highly anticipated new X-Men title by Jed MacKay and Ryan Stegman, which is part of the bigger X-Men: From the Ashes line that follows the end of the current Krakoa era.

The new title will feature Cyclops leading a team that handle “explosive mutant-specific issues without restrain,” with the first threat being “an existential new enemy that rises out of the remains of Orchis.”

Both MacKay and Stegman are happy to be here.

“Taking on the X-Men is always a daunting prospect, but I’m extremely psyched to take this team of mutants back into the world with Ryan,” MacKay said. 

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‘Gender Queer,’ ‘Flamer’ among the most banned books of 2023

For the third year in a row, a record number of books were challenged in libraries and schools.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe was once again the most challenged book in libraries in 2023, as reported today by the American Library Association. This makes the third year in a row that the graphic novel about gender identity has topped the list.

Gender Queer was one of seven books in the top 10 that was challenged based on LGBTQIA+ content, along with two other graphic novels — Flamer by Mike Curato, which was the fifth most challenged book, and Let’s Talk About It by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan, which was the ninth.

“In looking at the titles of the most challenged books from last year, it’s obvious that the pressure groups are targeting books about LGBTQIA+ people and people of color,” said ALA President Emily Drabinski. “At ALA, we are fighting for the freedom to choose what you want to read. Shining a light on the harmful workings of these pressure groups is one of the actions we must take to protect our right to read.”

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‘Joker: The World’ will feature creators from 13 countries

The anthology will arrive in September, just in time for Batman Day.

Back in 2021, DC’s Batman: The World anthology brought together Batman stories by creators from around the world. DC has announced a similar project for this September titled Joker: The World, which will again bring together international creators to tell stories about the Clown Prince of Crime.

The book will include stories by creative teams from 13 different countries, with contributions from Geoff Johns, Satoshi Miyagawa, David Rubin, German Peralta, Alvaro Fong Varela, Jason Fabok and more. In the press release, DC said the stories will be “tailored to the authentic style, tone and cultural sensibilities of different nations around the world.”

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‘Four-Color Heroes,’ ‘Doctor Aphra’ win at the GLAAD Media Awards

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation recognized comics from Marvel and Fanbase Press in their 35th annual Media Awards.

Four-Color Heroes and Doctor Aphra took home awards at the 35th annual GLAAD Media Awards, which recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ+ community and the issues that affect their lives.

GLAAD recognizes the comic arts in two categories — “Outstanding Comic Book” and “Outstanding Original Graphic Novel/Anthology.” The awards were given out Thursday night at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, across categories that recognized film, television, video games and more. Other winners included the TV show Yellowjackets and the video game Baldur’s Gate 3.

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Smash Pages Q&A | Lara Pickle on ‘I Feel Awful, Thanks’

With Pickle’s debut graphic novel arriving this week, we spoke about her inspiration, drawing from her own mental health experiences when creating the story and more.

I Feel Awful, Thanks is the debut graphic novel by Lara Pickle, a Spanish-Romanian artist and storyteller whose work thus far has been more in the video game and animation arenas, for places like Netflix and Nickelodeon. The graphic novel arrives in stores this week and is published by Oni Press.

From the outside, I Feel Awful, Thanks looks like what you might expect from a YA fantasy graphic novel, featuring witches, magic and dragons and. But the story addresses some serious issues around mental health, something Pickle experienced herself. It’s about a witch named Joana who has secured her dream job with a coven in London, so she relocates and discovers the reality of city life is not so idyllic.

I spoke with Pickle about the graphic novel, pulling in her own experiences into the story and some of the fun design choices she made while creating it.

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Top Shelf will release Alan Moore’s ‘The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic’ in October

The grimoire promises ‘endless necromantic fun for all the family.’

The long-delayed The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic by writer and author Alan Moore and his magical mentor Steve Moore will finally materialize in October from Top Shelf Comix and UK publisher Knockabout Ltd.

This “celebration of magic and the occult” will feature prose, illustration and sequential art, with contributions by several of Alan Moore’s previous colleagues, including John Coulthart, Steve Parkhouse, Rick Veitch, Ben Wickey and the late Kevin O’Neill.

“One of the great honors of my publishing career has been to work with Alan Moore on so many monumental projects, like From Hell and Lost Girls,” said Chris Staros, editor-in-chief of Top Shelf Productions. “The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic represents an amazing capstone, created by Alan and Steve, and brilliantly brought to life by five unforgettable artists. It’s been a privilege to watch those magical minds spend years building this grimoire, and I’m proud to join Knockabout in finally sharing it with the world.”

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Visit a town cast in eternal darkness in Lambert + Sharpe’s ‘The Night Mother’

Jeremy Lambert and Alexa Sharpe’s new graphic novel will arrive in October from Oni Press.

Oni Press will cozy up to The Night Mother, a new graphic novel by Jeremy Lambert, writer of Doom Patrol, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Goosebumps and more, and artist Alexa Sharpe, who has worked on Lumberjanes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more. They’re joined by letterer Becca Carey for the dark fantasy.

The story is set in a seaside town cast into perpetual night when the sun disappears, where Madeline Tock lives in the local graveyard and talks to the dead — and prepares to battle the Night Mother for the soul of her town.

The Night Mother is a supernatural snow globe world of the unknown where a frightened Madeline Tock must learn to trust herself in a place of warped expectations. A place where the dead can whisper and the woman from the moon gathers their souls in her lantern,” Lambert said. “We all have our own crucible when we are younger… a pressure cooker of fears, loves and discoveries… when we learn about who we are along with the many shadows that follow us. This is Maddy’s.”

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‘Holler’ tells the story of the ‘unkempt, final generation of analog teenagers’

Dark Horse Comics will collect Jeremy Massie’s comic into one volume later this year.

Dark Horse Comics will collect Holler, Jeremy Massie’s ode to the grunge era of the 1990s, into one volume this fall.

Originally self-published via crowdfunding and It’s Alive, the collection will include all eight issues Massie produced and eventually posted on his website. The comic tells the story of Magnesium Mama, the grunge band formed by four friends in an Appalachian town in Virginia.

“I’ve gotten to a certain time in my life where I’ve gotten introspective, maybe even sentimental, about the time and place I grew up,” said Massie. “Even if the times and place weren’t the greatest, I was dwelling on that period a lot. I was so hung up on it I started making comics about my band-playing teenage years. They’re the type of comics I’ve always wanted to make.”

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Nominees announced for this year’s L.A. Times Book Prize

Sammy Harkham, Derek M. Ballard, Emily Carroll and more were nominated this year.

The Los Angeles Times has announced the finalists for this year’s L.A. Times Book Prize, which includes a category for Graphic Novels/Comics. The prize recognizes books published in 2023.

The Los Angeles Times has given an award in the graphic novel category since 2009, when Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli won the award. Other previous winners include The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez, Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines, Beverly by Nick Drnaso, Tillie Walden’s On a SunbeamThe Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis and R. Kikuo Johnson’s No One Else. Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith’s Wash Day Diaries won the award last year.

The winners will be revealed on April 19. Check out the finalists below.

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Papercutz will publish several Disney + Pixar graphic novels later this year

The Mad Cave imprint will release graphic novels featuring ‘Turning Red,’ ‘Encanto’ and more.

Papercutz, the kid’s graphic novel imprint owned by Mad Cave Studios, has announced a publishing partnership with Disney that’ll bring Turning Red, Phineas & Ferb, Encanto, Frozen and more to comics — or back to comics, in some cases — later this year.

The partnership isn’t too much of a surprise, as Papercutz announced a Free Comic Book Day title featuring Encanto and Turning Red for this year’s event. But the bench goes deeper than those two titles, as their plans include several titles that look like they may be reprints. For instance, the listing for Phineas & Ferb notes that it’s collecting comics that originally appeared in the Disney Presents magazine.

Here’s a rundown on what they plan to publish:

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Brubaker + Phillips explore the ’80s ‘Satanic Panic’ in ‘Houses of the Unholy’

The graphic novel will arrive in stores in August.

Image Comics has announced the next graphic novel coming from the award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, arguably comics’ greatest creative team right now. Houses of the Unholy will explore the “Satanic Panic” craze of the 1980s, which involved conspiracy theories that grew from unsubstantiated cases of Satanic ritual abuse.

Houses of the Unholy is something I’ve been describing as Satanic Panic Noir. It’s somewhere in-between a creepy horror story and a fucked-up noir, and directly tied to the Satanic Panic craze of the ’80s,” said Brubaker. “The book really speaks to my obsessions with cult horror, and plays with the demonic tropes of classic horror from Hammer to Carpenter to Stephen King. The fear that was everywhere back then has clearly resurfaced, and that made me want to dive back into those dark waters and try to find a Brubaker-Phillips take on noir and horror at the same time.”

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