Russell + Lieber serve up the ‘One-Star Squadron’ in December

The new title features DC characters trying to make a living as superheroes.

Red Tornado, Power Girl, Plastic Man and several other B-list DC heroes will team up to make a buck while saving the world in One-Star Squadron.

Mark Russell, Steve Lieber and Dave Stewart will bring together a “ragtag group of heroes,” led by Red Tornado, who use an app to answer the call for justice — or attend your kid’s birthday party, for a fee.

“One of the things I love about this project is that [Mark Russell] and I get to imagine what it would be like to live from gig to gig, entirely at the mercy of distant corporations and their mercurial customer base,” Lieber said on Instagram.

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‘Darkhold’ continues in November with Wasp + Black Bolt

Jordie Bellaire, Claire Roe, Mark Russell and David Cutler will bring the next chapters in the event series to life.

Marvel has announced two more of the one-shots from their upcoming Darkhold event series, which features the infamous mystical tome causing problems for the Marvel Universe. Following the “Alpha” issue in September will be a series of one-shots featuring different characters “recruited to combat the Darkhold’s horrifying effects,” starting with Blade and Iron Man in September and Black Bolt and Wasp in October.

Colorist and writer Jordie Bellaire and artist Claire Roe are the creative team for Darkhold: Wasp, while Mark Russell teams with artist David Cutler on Darkhold: Black Bolt.

“As a writer, it’s a joy to get to write a character who spends even more time inside their own head than you do,” Russell said. “So Black Bolt is a writer’s dream character and when I heard which other creators were involved with the series, I was totally on board, like someone who’d unwittingly bought a house in a really great neighborhood.”

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Russell + Tiesma + Popov bring ‘Deadbox’ to life in August

The new horror title will take readers to Lost Turkey, where a cursed DVD machine holds the town in its grip.

Vault Comics has announced a new horror series from the team of writer Mark Russell, artist Benjamin Tiesma, colorist Vladimir Popov and designer Tim Daniel. Deadbox is about a town caught in the grip of “a cursed DVD machine.”

From the cover it looks like it’s a cursed Redbox, but for trademark reasons I’m sure they couldn’t say that. But somebody call The Last Blockbuster, because this could be good news for them.

“I wrote Deadbox as a horror story, not just about a cursed DVD rental machine, but also about the feeling of being trapped, boxed if you will, in a town that doesn’t get you and a place you will never feel at home in no matter how long you live there,” Russell said.

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Russell + Izaakse team for ‘Fantastic Four: Life Story’

The six-issue miniseries will tell the story of the Fantastic Four across 60 years.

Following in the footsteps of Spider-Man: Life Story, Marvel has recruited Mark Russell and Sean Izaakse for Fantastic Four: Life Story. Each issue of the six-issue miniseries will be set in a subsequent decade, starting with the 1960s, and tell the story of the life of the Fantastic Four against the historical backdrop of each decade.

“What I’ve always loved about the Fantastic Four is how it reduces the cosmic struggle of human survival to the scale of a family squabble while treating personal relationships as a matter of truly galactic importance,” Russell said. “Weaving their story and their world into our story and what’s happened in our world over the last sixty years was an important reminder to me of how smart it is to approach life like that.”

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Comics Lowdown is back!

Your roundup of essential comics news is back, with an Angoulême update, cussin’ Stan Lee and more!

Big publishing news: Bertelsmann, the parent company of Penguin Random House, announced the day before Thanksgiving that it will buy Simon & Schuster. This will affect graphic novels and manga in a big way, because PRH and S&S distribute a LOT of graphic novels and manga.

In a series of Tweets, Ed Chavez sketches out what the manga landscape will look like, and why it matters. ICv2 lists all their comics/distribution clients; keep in mind that this is in addition to the graphic novels the companies themselves publish under a variety of imprints: Random House has RH Graphics and Pantheon (which publishes the works of Chris Ware and other literary graphic novels), and S&S has Gallery 13 and, just announced, two new lines of graphic novels for young readers.

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‘Second Coming’ returns in December with ‘Only Begotten Son’

Mark Russell, Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk return for more stories about Jesus and his superhero roommate.

Ahoy Comics has announced a sequel to Second Coming subtitled “Only Begotten Son,” which will debut at the end of this year. Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk and Andy Troy will return to tell the controversial — and also funny, touching and just plain awesome — story of Jesus and his roommate, the superhero Sunstar.

According to the solicitation text Ahoy shared, the new series will “turn back time to witness the interplanetary origin of Sunstar! Warning: portrays science denial, mass extinction and real estate sales!”

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What Are You Reading? | Red Goblins, celestial avatars, Klan smashers and Texas blood

See what the Smash Pages crew has checked off their ‘to read’ list lately.

Like I said last week, summertime is the right time for crossovers and comics. This week brought us a taste of Empyre, Marvel’s big crossover event featuring the Avengers, The Fantastic Four, the Kree, the Skrulls, the Blue Area of the Moon, the Swordsman and all that crazy cosmic space action Marvel fans have come to know and love. You can see Carla’s thoughts on it below, along with a list of comics Shane has been buying for his kids and Tom’s thoughts on two politically minded books from DC.

You can tell us what you’ve been reading in the comments below or on social media.

Shane Bailey

Lately my kids have started wanting to read more comics. My little one has always been into them, but now the older kids are as well. So I let them pick out their own comics to read on comiXology Unlimited.

My 9 yr old son picked Amazing Spider-Man: The Red Goblin by Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen, and he loves it. He wouldn’t stop commenting on how crazy scary Norman Osborn is, how it was gross when Carnage bit the head off a rat, and during one issue when the Goblin had a captive and was interrogating him, he wondered aloud over who it was, making guesses and gasping when he found out who it was and that Norman knew who Spider-Man was. It’s great seeing him get excited at things that are old hat for me. It made me appreciate those moments more.

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Can’t Wait for Comics | Building toward ‘Empyre’

New comics arrive this week from Terry Moore, Mark Russell, Steve Rude, Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and more.

The summer crossover season gets in full swing at your local comic shop this week; following the release of Dark Knights: Death Metal last week, Marvel delivers the start of their big cosmic event, Empyre. This week also brings several debuts from IDW, AHOY and Image, among others … it’s almost starting to feel like comics have returned to normal.

If you’re looking for something to get this week, check out a few recommendations below. You can check the Comic List page to see what’s arriving in your local shop, and the comiXology new releases page for what’s available digitally. As always, you should check with your local shop on their hours, curbside pick-up, mask requirements, etc. due to COVID-19. Stay safe out there.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mark Russell on ‘Billionaire Island’

The writer of ‘Second Coming’ discusses his new release from Ahoy Comics, which imagines an island where the rich escape from the end of the world.

Mark Russell has made a name for himself as one of the leading satirists in comics and a deeply subversive writer. I think it’s fair to say that no one envisioned The Flintstones or Snagglepuss the way that Russell wrote them, as these complex, thoughtful and tragic stories that addressed social issues in such pointed ways.

In addition to those books, there’s the two books where, with Shannon Wheeler, he reinterpreted The Bible (God is Disappointed in You, Apocrypha Now). He also wrote The Wonder Twins series for DC, which recently wrapped up, and Second Coming, which was originally going to be published by Vertigo, but the company dropped the series about Jesus becoming roommates with the world’s mightiest superhero. 

Russell is back with a new series from Ahoy Comics, Billionaire Island. Taking place in 2044, it concerns an artificial island where the wealthiest can take their money and avoid the problems that come from dealing with humanity – and all the problems that the wealthy created. It is funny and outrageous – and someone is probably working on how to build such an island as we speak. I spoke with Russell about the book, being outrageous and taking guidance from Winston Churchill.

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Russell + Pugh reteam for new AHOY title

Find out what the filthy rich are up to in international waters, here on ‘Billionaire Island.’

The team behind DC’s Flintstones reboot are heading to sea for a new series from AHOY Comics (perfect, right?) called Billionaire Island.

Mark Russell and Steve Pugh brought a fresh take to the Hanna Barbera property for DC a few years back, racking up several award nominations and critical praise. The pair is joined by colorist Chris Chuckry and letterer Rob Steen for this new six-issue miniseries about the offshore antics of billionaires facing the end of the world.

Billionaire Island tells the story of Freedom Unlimited (FU Island), a private island created and populated by billionaires hoping to wait out the end of the world,” Russell said. “But because they are in international waters and not subject to any law, their haven is a nightmarish police state for anyone on the island who crosses them. In a broader sense, it’s a series that asks the question: how do we save the world when all its resources are partying offshore?”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mark Russell

The writer of ‘The Snagglepuss Chronicles,’ ‘The Flintstones’ and more discusses ‘Second Coming,’ his new series from AHOY Comics.

In the span of a few years, Mark Russell has written a series of comics that have rethought and re-envisioned a number of characters at DC Comics. From Snagglepuss to Prez to The Flinstones, Russell has rethought the characters and their worlds in new and novel ways, finding depths and concerns that are striking and thoughtful. Russell’s first books in comics were God is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now, with Shannon Wheeler, which were published by Top Shelf Comix. So religion has long been an interest of his.

His new book is Second Coming with artist Richard Pace. The first issue arrived last month from AHOY Comics, with the second issue scheduled to arrive tomorrow. The controversy around it has drowned out the actual book, which is a smart look at Sunstar, a Superman-like hero, and Jesus, the character from the Bible. It’s a shocking idea, but perhaps more startling is what Russell does with the idea, which is to explore the limits of superheroes, start a conversation around power, and consider what religion and change mean today.

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Meet Sunstar in this preview of ‘Second Coming’

Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s controversial comic debuts tomorrow.

Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s Second Coming took the long way to get into comic shops, but the first issue will arrive tomorrow in comic shops and digital platforms.

The satirical, controversial and excellent first issue features the first meeting between Jesus and Sunstar, the world’s greatest superhero, and AHOY Comics has provided a few preview pages to whet your appetite before diving in tomorrow.

Check them out below.

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