Comics Lowdown | Marvel creators suit, CEO’s legal wrangles

Catching up with the Marvel court case, plus the latest on Ike Perlmutter, Scott Adams and Ben Garrison.

Cover of Marvel-Verse Black Widow, showing the title character wielding a glowing sword.

Marvel: In case you haven’t had time to digest the news that Marvel has sued several creators who had taken legal action to get the rights to their characters back, here’s the scoop from The Hollywood Reporter. If you have access, the New York Times talks to the lawyers on both sides.

Meanwhile, Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter has had a busy week. On Monday, the Military Times reports, the House Oversight Committee stated that Perlmutter and two others had “violated the law and sought to exert improper influence over government officials to further their own personal interests.” At the time, the three were “unofficial advisors” to Trump on Veterans Administration Affairs. Things went better for Perlmutter on Tuesday, when he succeeded in fending off a lawsuit by a neighbor, with whom he had quarreled over tennis courts, and who subsequently accused him of sending poison-pen letters to their neighbors and 1,000 prison inmates. If you like true-crime stories where all the crimes are petty misdemeanors, get comfy and settle in with THR’s coverage, which has plenty of links to the various tentacles of this story.

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IDW jumps to Penguin Random House for direct market comics distribution

IDW joins Marvel in moving away from Diamond, who will still offer IDW comics as a wholesaler.

IDW Publishing and Penguin Random House Publisher Services have announced that Penguin will exclusively distribute IDW’s comics and graphic novels to the direct market, beginning June 1 of next year.

The news follows Marvel’s similar announcement from earlier this year. IDW joins both Marvel and DC in moving away from Diamond Comics Distributors as their single path into comic shops.

“IDW succeeds when the Direct Market succeeds,” said IDW Publisher Nachie Marsham. “No matter how amazing our comics and graphic novels may be, it’s the retailers that are connecting readers with our stories. Because of that, I couldn’t be more excited about our future with Penguin Random House and I have the utmost confidence that every store, no matter the size, will see the benefits of the high levels of care and service that PRHPS brings.”

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Sonic suffers from ‘Imposter Syndrome’ in November

Ian Flynn and Thomas Rothlisberger team up for a new miniseries that leads into Sonic’s 50th issue from IDW.

IDW has announced a new Sonic the Hedgehog spin-off miniseries that will pit the blue speedster against doppelgangers, titled appropriately Sonic The Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome.

Ian Flynn, who has written Sonic since 2006 and across two publishers, will work with artist Thomas Rothlisberger on the miniseries. It’ll feature Dr. Starline, the villain introduced three years ago, and will help build toward the upcoming 50th issue of IDW’s ongoing Sonic series. It’ll also introduce two new characters: Surge and Kit.

“I’m especially excited about this story since it’s building upon the core fundamentals that led to Dr. Starline’s creation as a character,” Flynn said. “Hardcore fans will pick up on the inspirations from across Sonic‘s gaming history immediately. New fans will get to experience some wild new villains in a story that accelerates us to the monumental Sonic the Hedgehog #50. It’s a win-win for everybody!”

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Mail Call | Jim Mahfood’s ‘Grrl Scouts’ returns in November

Check out news, previews and announcements from Marvel, Image, IDW, BOOM! Studios and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Image Comics has announced a new six-issue Grrl Scouts miniseries from creator Jim Mahfood, titled Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost. The first issue will arrive in November.

“I’m extremely excited about this new Grrl Scouts series and I think fans and new readers alike will be very entertained and definitely get a lot of bang for their buck with this one,” said Mahfood. “I’m introducing an entire new cast of characters, expanding on the mythology of the Grrl Scouts, and handling every aspect of the production of the book: writing, drawing, coloring, and lettering, to make this a very unique experience! This series is for fans and collectors alike who are looking for something different and off-beat when they’re staring at that wall of new releases in the comic shop.”

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‘Vader’s Castle’ strikes back: Cavan Scott revisits ‘Star Wars’ horror

The 5-issue mini-series will run weekly with art by Francesco Francavilla, Derek Charm, Robert Hack and more

Now an annual Halloween tradition reminiscent of the beloved Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror, IDW’s haunting look at Star Wars returns this September for the fourth year in a row. Get ready for zombie droids, giant Wookies and maybe Jedi ghosts that go bump in the night.

Writer Cavan Scott is back to helm the weekly mini-series Star Wars Adventures: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle with a murderer’s row of artists. Joining him will be artists Francesco Francavilla, Derek Charm, Megan Levens, Robert Hack, Chris Fenoglio and others, along with editor Heather Antos. Scott’s Star Wars bonafides run deep. He’s the author of the Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space novels and one of the architects of Lucasfilm’s The High Republic publishing initiative.

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Crisis on Infinite Ponies: ‘Friendship’ Ends and ‘Generations’ Begins

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #102 concludes Season 10

Since 2012, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has been everyone’s favorite fantasy filly comic. But after nine years, the long-galloping series will make its final jump this September with issue 102 by Jeremy Whitley and Andy Price. Then in October, My Little Pony: Generations by Casey Gilly and Michela Cacciatore will feature the Friendship ponies teaming up with the original Ponies of the 1980s.

The finale to Friendship is Magic will feature the Mane 6 calling on friends to stop the Knights of Order from stealing the Elements of Harmony. The regular creative team of Whitley and Price will be joined by variant cover artists JustaSuta and Roopsha Mandal.

Then the five-issue mini-series, My Little Pony: Generations, will star the original iterations of the Ponies and the modern Ponies facing a new witch threat from the Volcano of Doom. The first issue will get variant covers as well, seen here, but artists weren’t initially identified.

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Mail Call | ‘Spawn’s Universe’ #1 orders exceed 200,000

Check out all kinds of announcements and previews from Skybound, Marvel, Bad Idea, AfterShock and more!

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Never let it be said that kids don’t still love chains. Image Comics and Todd McFarlane Productions sent out a release this week touting that the upcoming Spawn’s Universe #1 has shattered the record for “Image Comics’ top selling, first issue comic book of the 21st century by selling well over 200K units.”

The release goes on to mention that the comic is only the beginning for this year’s Spawn-pocalypse; Spawn’s Universe #1 will arrive in June, followed by King Spawn #1 in August, Gunslinger #1 in October and The Scorched #1 in December.

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Mail Call | Green Lantern Tai Pham returns in a new graphic novel next year

A round-up of recent announcements from DC, Marvel, IDW, Image, Diamond and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Tai Pham, the Green Lantern that debuted in the pages of the Green Lantern: Legacy graphic novel, will return in 2022 in Green Lantern: Alliance.

Pham’s adventures will once again be told by Minh Lê and artist Andie Tong, as he once again comes face-to-face with his nemesis, Xander Griffin, but this time he’ll have some help from a new Kid Flash.

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Layman + Bradshaw’s ‘Bermuda’ starts in July

The series features a girl who lives on an island populated by dinosaurs, pirates and more.

IDW Publishing has announced that Bermuda, the new series by John Layman and Nick Bradshaw originally announced at the 2019 New York Comic Con, will kick off in July.

“Probably the single upside to the past year has been that Bermuda got some extra time, and it shows on every panel on every page. This is a gorgeous book, just staggeringly beautiful, and it’s been a thrill to see the pages roll in. It’s certainly one of the most stunning comics I’ve ever been a part of — and it’s a whole lot of fun, too,” Layman said.

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IDW celebrates Sonic’s 30th anniversary

IDW’s plans include an oversized special that will also come in a deluxe edition, as well as collections of previous Sonic comics.

IDW Publishing will celebrate the 30th anniversary of video game icon Sonic the Hedgehog with Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Special, a super-sized 80-page comic book featuring stories by Gale Galligan (The Babysitters Club) and the McElroy Brothers (The Adventure Zone), along with longtime Sonic contributors Ian Flynn, Mauro Fonseca, Reggie Graham and more. The also plan to release a deluxe edition with additional content.

“We’re celebrating a major milestone for the world’s coolest hedgehog, so we needed creators who could capture the vibrant comedy and action of Sonic in style,” said IDW editor David Mariotte. “The 30th Anniversary Special features possibly the greatest creative lineup ever assembled on a single issue of Sonic!”

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Star Wars, Blade Runner, InvestiGators among the 2021 Free Comic Book Day gold sponsor comics

This year’s Free Comic Book Day on Aug. 14 will include titles from Marvel, IDW, Dark Horse, Titan and more.

Diamond Comics Distributors has announced the 12 gold sponsor titles that retailers will offer on Free Comic Book Day this year. This year’s event will take place Aug. 14.

“This year’s lineup of titles has something for every kind of comic fan,” said Ashton Greenwood, Free Comic Book Day spokesperson. “We can’t wait to once again share the FCBD experience with fans, especially on our landmark 20th anniversary! We hope fans will safely visit their local comic shops to celebrate and to pick up a few of the great titles available this year.”

Missing from the list is DC Comics, who no longer use Diamond to distribute comics to U.S. retailers. DC has indicated their plans to participate, however.

The titles were curated by more than 20 comic shop retailers who make up the FCBD Selection Committee. The Gold Sponsor titles come from Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, Archie Comics, BOOM! Studios, Macmillan/First Second Books, Penguin Workshop, AfterShock Comics, Titan Comics, TOKYOPOP and VIZ Media.

This year’s gold sponsor books are:

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Mail Call | DC celebrates 80 years of Wonder Woman, Green Arrow this year

Check out recent news and announcements from DC, Marvel, IDW, Dark Horse and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

DC will celebrate milestone years for two characters in 2021, just like they’ve done for Batman, Superman and others over the last few years.

First up, on June 29, DC will release Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1, celebrating the 80th anniversary of Oliver Queen, who debuted in More Fun Comics back in 1941.

The anthology will feature stories by Mike Grell, Jeff Lemire, Phil Hester, Otto Schmidt, Ben Percy, Tom Taylor, Devin Grayson, Stephanie Phillips, Mariko Tamaki, Ram V, Vita Ayala, Nicola Scott, Chris Mitten, Laura Braga, Max Fiumara and Brandon Thomas, among others. Expect appearances not only by Green Arrow, but also by Black Canary, Speedy, Red Arrow, Connor Hawke, Arsenal and more.

Then in October, Wonder Woman will take the spotlight on, naturally, Wonder Woman Day. DC has announced their plans for Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary, which will include a 100-Page Super Spectacular of her own. They have not yet revealed details on the contents, but they did share the cover (above) by Yanick Paquette with colors by Nathan Fairbairn. Wonder Woman Day is Oct. 21.

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