Slugfest | A round-up of Comic-Con news

Check out news and announcements about Godzilla, Joker, Sonic the Hedgehog, ShadowHawk, A.X.E.: Judgment Day, Star Trek and more.

Slugfest is a roundup of cool announcements about projects coming to a shelf near you from comics creators, publishers and more. Today’s edition includes some San Diego news we didn’t get to this past weekend, plus a few other items to note. Hit the links for more information.

Let’s start with a huge blast of Gotham City news that DC revealed last week in San Diego, as they revealed several new Batman-related projects by the likes of Narcisse, Ram V., Tini Howard, Matthew Rosenberg and more. Most of these announcements came right before the release of the DC solicitations for October, when many of them will kick off.

So, the rundown …

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Starfox slides into your DMs — and ‘Judgment Day’ — in October

A.X.E.: Starfox puts the spotlight on Thanos’ creepy brother.

Starfox, the former Avenger with the creepy powers who is also Thanos’ brother, will get a one-shot this fall as part of Marvel’s big AXE: Judgement Day event.

Kieron Gillen, writer of both the Eternals series and Judgement Day, will write the one-shot, with Daniele Di Nicuolo on art.

“A new Eternals-related special has been announced, with me working with the kinetic powerhouse that is Daniele Di Nicuolo,” Gillen said in his newsletter. “While it’s part of Judgment Day, this is effectively the fourth of my deep dive Eternals specials.”

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Quick Hits | 2021 comic sales topped $2 billion

Last year was the best year ever for comic sales, according to a new report. Plus: News on Oni/Lion Forge, Substack, Zestworld, Henry Barajas, Kieron Gillen and more.

Comics sales | Milton Griepp of ICV2.com and John Jackson Miller of Comichron.com have released their annual assessment of the comics and graphic novel market for last year, noting that sales grew 62% in 2021 over the prior year in the U.S. and Canada to approximately $2.075 billion. They were also up 70% when compared to pre-pandemic 2019.

“Publishers made more selling comics content than in any year in the history of the business, even when adjusted for inflation,” Miller said of the 2021 estimates. “The biggest year in the modern era, 1993, saw sales of around $1.6 billion in 2021 dollars — and the pricier product mix puts 2021 ahead of what the colossal circulations of the early 1950s brought in, also adjusted for inflation.”

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Quick Hits | AWA, GlobalComix partner on ‘Lesser Evils’

Plus: news on United Workers of Seven Seas, censorship attempts in Michigan, FurnaceCon and more.

Brooklyn’s local BKReader spotlights Lesser Evils, a new comic series from AWA Studios that is set in the NY borough. The comic debuted digitally earlier this week on GlobalComix, as part of a “Global First” localization partnership between the online comics platform and AWA. GlobalComix plans to release it in multiple languages, including English, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian and Hindi.

“It’s not just going digital first, it’s going Global First,” said Christopher Carter, founder and CEO of GlobalComix, in a press release. “We believe that when companies go digital first, they are no longer constrained to the same up-front investment costs of physical market validation, distribution, supply chain, required for localization and global audiences.”

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Have a nice summer, X-Men

Marvel announces an ‘X-Men: Hellfire Gala’ one-shot and a prelude issue for the upcoming Judgment Day crossover — keeping the X-Men plenty busy this summer.

Although they left their school in Westchester behind for the sunny shores of Krakoa, the gifted youngsters who make up the X-Men are really going to be longing for a summer break this year. In addition to a starring role in Marvel’s upcoming crossover event “A.X.E. Judgment Day” — with the A.X.E. standing for Avengers, X-Men and Eternals — they’ll also be hosting another Hellfire Gala in June.

Unlike last year’s gala, this year’s won’t run through the full line of X-Men comics. Instead, it’ll be a standalone special by Gerry Duggan, Russell Dauterman, Matteo Lolli, C.F. Villa and Kris Anka that Marvel promises will be “loaded with high-stakes drama, shocking character developments, and of course, showstopping Super Hero fashion.” Also: a new team of X-Men, including the winner of the latest fan vote.

“Last summer your host Emma Frost invited you to celebrate Krakoa with some fireworks. This year, it’s about celebrating mutantdom’s friendship with humanity,” Duggan said. “Once again, we have a murderer’s row of talent crafting a one-shot with revelations that will chart the biggest stories in the Marvel Universe. All that, and meet a new team of X-Men.” 

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Judgment Day, Hellfire Gala + Bloodline headline Marvel’s ‘Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men’

Kieron Gillen, Dustin Weaver, Danny Lore, Gerry Duggan and more contribute to the title, which arrives for free on May 7.

Marvel has released more details on their third Free Comic Book Day title for 2022, Avengers/X-Men, which will feature three stories.

As announced earlier today, the first one will preview the Judgment Day event, in a prelude story by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Dustin Weaver (who drew the preview artwork accompanying the announcement.) The event will feature the Avengers trying to avert a war between the Eternals and the X-Men.

The second story, by Gerry Duggan and artist Matteo Lolli, will serve as the lead-in to this year’s Hellfire Gala. a storyline that’ll take place this summer. Last year’s gala brought a new team of X-Men, the mutant takeover of Mars and the death of the Scarlet Witch — so who knows what will happen this year. Quicksilver, watch your back …

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Marvel officially announces the event series ‘Judgment Day’

Kieron Gillen and Valerio Schiti will bring together the X-Men, Avengers and Eternals for a symphony of destruction.

Marvel will bring together the X-Men, the Eternals and the Avengers for Judgment Day, a crossover series coming this summer from Kieron Gillen and Valerio Schiti.

The story will revolve around conflict between the Eternals and the X-Men, as the latter target Krakoa and the Avengers try to play peacekeeper. With Gillen already writing Eternals and Immortal X-Men on deck, it makes sense that he’d bring them together — and write his first event series for Marvel.

“There’s a classic metaphor to describe the Marvel Universe – a toybox, which creators take toys out of, play with and put back. I get it, but it’s never quite how I’ve seen it – I think ‘play’ in another way. I think of a music shop, with all these instruments with their different qualities suggesting different songs, different stories,” Gillen said. “For all the Marvel instruments I’ve played, I’ve never written an event. Writing an event is something different. It’s not like playing an instrument. It’s having all the instruments in the Marvel music shop. That’s not like writing a song. That’s like writing a symphony.”

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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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Kieron Gillen + Lucas Werneck convene for ‘Immortal X-Men’

The new title will focus on Krakoa’s Quiet Council ‘with all its muffled screams.’

The Quiet Council is about to get a whole lot louder, as the rulers of Krakoa will take the spotlight in Immortal X-Men, a new series coming from Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck next year. It’s part of Marvel’s Destiny of X line of titles, the fancy moniker they’re giving to the next era of X-Men titles.

Gillen returns to the X-Men titles after several years of playing in the Star Wars and creator-owned sandboxes, co-creating titles like Once and Future, Die and The Ludocrats in recent years. Werneck, meanwhile, is fresh off of the Trial of Magneto miniseries.

Gillen talked about the new title (and poked fun at departing Krakoan architect Jonathan Hickman) in a recent newsletter:

“Obviously, I was delighted when I heard that Jon was leaving the X-office, due to our ancient rivalry,” Gillen said in his newsletter. “It’s a complicated story, and involves several duels, all of which I lost. Suffice to say, I have sworn to never enter any office where he is present. When news reached me he was leaving, I realised it was time to sneak in the back door. For a good month or two, I was lurking around pretending to be Jonathan. I donned a disguise (a wig, a different accent, a series of gnomic diagrams as my zoom background) and sort of hung around, making pronouncements. I have since learned everyone realised it was me immediately, but felt so bad for me they decided I could stay.”

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Two Eternals will meet the prehistoric Avengers in ‘Eternals: Celestia’

The one-shot by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Kei Zama arrives in October.

Ajak and Makkari of the Eternals will break out into their own one-shot this October, courtesy of Eternals writer Kieron Gillen and artist Kei Zama. The story will find the duo coming into contact with the Avengers of 1,000,000 BCE, who have played a big part in Jason Aaron’s run on Avengers.

“When developing Eternals, Ajak and Makkari were two of the characters I was most excited about,” Gillen told Marvel.com. “I had so many ideas. The problem was trying to find a place to introduce them in a way which gives enough space to show what a fascinating, funny and genuinely heartbreaking odd-couple they are. Suffice to say, this is the space, and I can’t wait to show what Kei, Esad and I have cooked up with them. Also, taking the Avengers of 1,000,000 BCE out for a spin. I’ll be honest – the first time I saw Ghost Rider on the back of a Mammoth, I did think ‘I’ll be having some of that, thank you very much.’”

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Mail Call | The Avengers brace for ‘World War She-Hulk’

Plus: More news and announcements from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, AfterShock, Top Cow, Skybound 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 is dusting off a classic event title for an upcoming Avengers storyline — “World War She-Hulk,” which references the popular “World War Hulk” story from 2007.

The new storyline will find She-Hulk declared a global menace, so the Winter Guard decides to bring her in.

“When the Russian Winter Guard invade Avengers Mountain to arrest She-Hulk, it sets off a global espionage adventure that takes us from the notorious assassin training academy of the Red Room to an undersea kingdom on the verge of violent revolution,” said writer Jason Aaron. “Along the way, traitors will fall, regimes will crumble and the dark evolution of Jennifer Walters will reach its bloody red crescendo, all as we build toward the epic events of Avengers #50.”

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Marvel announces ‘Marvel’s Voices: Pride’ #1

The anthology will feature new stories by Kieron Gillen, Olivier Coipel, Steve Orlando, Anthony Oliveira, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Kris Anka, Javier Garrón and more.

Marvel has announced their plans for Pride Month, which include a new issue of their Marvel Voices featuring their “first-ever queer-centered special spotlighting Marvel’s growing tapestry of LGBTQ+ characters.” They also plan to have a series of variant covers drawn by Phil Jimenez.

Contributors to the anthology issue include Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, Kieron Gillen, Olivier Coipel, Steve Orlando, Anthony Oliveira, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Kris Anka, Javier Garrón and Luciano Vecchio, who provides the issue’s cover.

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