Slugfest | Harley Quinn, San Starros and more from NYCC

Check out a round-up of recent announcements about ‘Batman,’ Jonathan Hickman, ‘West of Sundown’ and more.

Slugfest is a roundup of cool announcements about projects coming to a shelf near you from comics creators, publishers and more. Some of these are from this weekend’s New York Comic Con, while some are from before. Hit the links for more information.

DC held a panel focused on the Batman titles yesterday during New York Comic Con, revealing some new artwork and one new project — Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU. It’s by Frank Tieri and Logan Faerber, both of whom have worked on the character before.

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‘Amazing Fantasy’ #1000 celebrates 60 years of Spidey

Neil Gaiman, Kurt Busiek, Dan Slott, Ho Che Anderson, Rainbow Rowell and more contribute stories to the anthology one-shot.

For the 60th anniversary of Spider-Man, Marvel will return him to his roots with a new issue of Amazing Fantasy featuring stories by Neil Gaiman, Kurt Busiek, Dan Slott, Jim Cheung, Olivier Coipel and more.

Amazing Fantasy #1000, which takes its name from the comic where Spider-Man first debuted, Amazing Fantasy #15, will be a giant-sized anthology one-shot. The stories will “explores the past and future of Amazing Spider-Man storytelling in tales that leave a profound impact on the Spider-Man mythos and showcase why Spidey is one of the most beloved heroes in history,” according to Marvel.com.

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Mail Call | End of year free-for-all

Check out some recently released free comics from Cullen Bunn, Chip Zdarsky, Molly Knox Ostertag and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of cool things we’ve received in our mailboxes recently from comics creators, publishers and more. For this end of the year edition, we’re putting the spotlight on free comics that various creators have released over the last few weeks. Hit the links for more information, and check out our Comics Newsletter Directory for more newsletter goodness.

In the 100th issue of his Vicious Shivers newsletter, Cullen Bunn shared a new horror story he made with Federico de Luca and Micah Myers called “The Feast.”

“As we move toward the end of the year, I thought it might be fun to share an all-new 8-page horror comic with the world,” Bunn wrote. “Consider it a gift. Amazing artist Federico de Luca messaged me a few weeks back asking if I had a short script he could work from to try a new art style. I have had the script for ‘The Feast’ in my scripts folder for well over 12 years. It was originally written to be part of a small horror anthology, but that never happened. So, I’m so glad to see Federico’s take on the story. I love the way it turned out! Hmm. There was another story written for that anthology. Maybe I should have that one drawn, too.”

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Rest in peace, Ryan ‘Bode’ Bodenheim

The artist of ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Secret,’ ‘A Red Mass for Mars,’ ‘Bloodshot’ and more passed away Dec. 20 at the age of 44.

Artist Ryan Bodenheim, who sometimes went by the nickname Bode, passed away Dec. 20 at the age of 44. A cause of death has not been released.

Over the course of his career, Bondeheim worked on projects at Marvel and Valiant, on titles like Black Panther, Bloodshot and Ninjak. But fans might best know him from his work with Jonathan Hickman; together they co-created several Image series, including The Dying and the Dead, Secret and A Red Mass for Mars.

“Ryan made the work better,” Hickman wrote in his newsletter. “It’s why I loved working with him. I think that’s the highest compliment you can pay a creative partner, and over the past decade it was such a joy to watch him also grow as an artist.”

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Mail Call | Sina Grace returns to write and draw ‘Rockstar and Softboy’

Today’s round-up includes news and announcements from Skottie Young, Ben Templesmith, Molly Knox Ostertag and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of cool things we’ve received in our mailboxes recently from comics publishers, creators and more. Hit the links for more information.

Sina Grace (Ghosted) is writing and drawing a new one-shot, Rockstar and Softboy, that Image Comics will publish next February.

Set in “Hollyweird, CA,” the story involves two roommates, a house party and the “dreaded party animal” who shows up to make a mess of things.

“As a fan of buddy movies like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, it only just occurred to me that I can create a story of my very own where two gay besties throw a party that includes werewolves, vampires, zombies, witches and the reviled Party Animal,” said Grace. “Rockstar and Softboy is pure, frenzied, loving, ratchet friendship in a comic book.”

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‘X-Men,’ ‘The Magicians: New Class’ win at the 2021 Dragon Awards

Congratulations to this year’s winners.

The 2021 Dragon Awards were announced this past weekend during Dragon Con, recognizing science fiction and fantasy books, movies, video games and comics.

The awards, which have been presented annually since 2016, recognize comics in two categories — “Best Comic Book” and “Best Graphic Novel.” After a jury selected the nominees, the winners were selected in an open vote from the general public.

The winners are:

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Hickman plans to leave X-Men after ‘Inferno’

The architect of the Krakoa era of the X-titles will move on to something new for Marvel after ‘Inferno.’

After relaunching the X-Men titles back in 2019 and writing some of the books over the course of the last two years, Jonathan Hickman told Entertainment Weekly that the upcoming Inferno will be his last X-book for now.

Hickman said that wasn’t his plan initially, but came about because of how well the current storyline has been received by the creators he’s been working with .

“Oh, plans have changed entirely,” Hickman told EW. “When I pitched the X-Men story I wanted to do, I pitched a very big, very broad, three-act, three-event narrative, the first of which was House of X. And while this loosely worked as a three-year plan, I told Marvel upfront that I honestly had no idea how long the first part would last because there were a lot of interesting ideas that I had seeded that other creators would want to play with, and so, we left this rather open-ended. I was also pretty clear with all the writers that came into the office what the initial, three-act plan was so no one would be surprised when it was time for the line to pivot.”

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Substack moves into comics with Tynion IV, Hickman, Ahmed + more

The email newsletter platform makes a big leap into digital comics this week with a deal that could ‘redefine the next few decades of our industry,’ according to James Tynion IV.

News broke today that several comics creators will begin publishing comics via Substack, the email newsletter platform that’s been making a concentrated push to recruit content creators of all sorts to its subscription-model service.

According to the New York Times, Jonathan Hickman, James Tynion IV, Saladin Ahmed, Molly Ostertag and Scott Snyder will publish new comic book stories, essays and how-to guides on the platform. Several of these creators already have existing newsletters on Substack, but starting today they’ll offer a paid option that will give you access to future creator-owned comics. Others, like Ostertag, launched their newsletter today.

As The Beat reported a couple of months ago, former Amazing Spider-Man writer Nick Spencer is involved, serving as a liaison between the creators and Substack. The creators will be paid by Substack, who will keep any revenue for the first year, and only 10 percent after that. According to Tynion, his deal is the kind “I was dreaming would fall out of the sky and into my lap,” he said in his Tiny Onion newsletter today.

“I think this is the best deal for creators the comics industry has ever seen, and with some ambition and some ingenuity, I think this deal, and deals like it, are going to redefine the next few decades of our industry,” Tynion said.

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Mail Call | ‘X-Men: Inferno’ teasers say ‘Trust No One’

Check out news, announcements and previews from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image 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.

Marvel has released three teasers for X-Men: Inferno, the upcoming X-Men crossover event that shares a name with a 1989 X-Men crossover event (not to be confused with The Trial of Magneto, another X-Men event that kicks off in August and also shares a name with a 1980s X-Men storyline.)

The teasers all build on the concept of trust, suggesting that you pretty much can’t trust anyone on Krakoa these days:

“An homage to the original house ads for 1989’s milestone X-Men crossover Inferno, Silva’s artwork presents all the major players of the upcoming saga and teases the day of reckoning that will soon be upon them,” Marvel.com says about the teasers. Inferno is written by Jonathan Hickman with artwork by Valerio Schiti, R.B. Silva and Stefano Caselli.

“I’m very excited that we’re finally getting to share with everyone the follow-up to House of X/Powers of X,” Hickman said. “The story is 160 pages over four issues drawn exquisitely by Valerio Schiti, R.B. Silva and Stefano Caselli. I cannot wait for people to read it.” 

Inferno #1 arrives Sept. 29.

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The next chapter of the X-Men begins in Hickman’s ‘Inferno’

The follow-up to ‘House of X’ and ‘Powers of X’ begins in September.

After building up a new island home for Marvel’s mutants, Jonathan Hickman plans to burn it all down in Inferno, a new miniseries coming in September.

The miniseries follows up on some of the plot elements introduced in House of X and Powers of X, the two miniseries that kicked off the Hickman era of the X-Men. While the story starts with Mystique and the broken promise by the powers that be on Krakoa to resurrect Destiny, the four-issue miniseries will also involve Moira MacTaggert, Nimrod and Hickman’s “game-changing plans” coming to a head.

“I’m very excited that we’re finally getting to share with everyone the follow-up to House of X/Powers of X,” Hickman said. “The story is 160 pages over four issues drawn exquisitely by Valerio Schiti, R.B. Silva and Stefano Caselli. I cannot wait for people to read it.”

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Marvel will launch three new X-Men titles following the ‘Hellfire Gala’

Jonathan Hickman, Leah Williams, Pepe Larraz and more will work on new X-titles following the event.

Since Jonathan Hickman’s “Krakoa” era of the X-Men kicked off a couple of years ago, the line-up has seen several X-titles come and go. With the Hellfire Gala set to kick off in June, revealing a new team of X-Men, Marvel is teasing a few new titles that will follow the event (in a handy infographic, one of the trademarks of the Hickman era).

In addition to Children of the Atom, Way of X and X-Corp, which were all previously announced, the graphic also teases three new titles:

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What Are You Reading? | ‘Pulp,’ ‘Amazing Spider-Man,’ ‘Hedra’ and more

See what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately.

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately — including comics from the past, present and future.

Let us know what you read this week in the comments or on social media.

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