Comics Lowdown | Texas school reverses ‘New Kid’ ban

Plus: Penguin Classics to publish Marvel classics, Joe Ollmann’s ‘Fictional Father’ nominated for Governor General’s award, and more!

Cover of New Kid by Jerry Craft

School administrators in Katy, Texas, have returned Jerry Craft’s New Kid to library shelves and rescheduled a video visit from the creator, according to NBC News. The district pulled the book and canceled the visit after a parent started a petition claiming that New Kid espoused critical race theory. The district told NBC that it had “determined the appropriateness” of the book, which was the first graphic novel to be awarded the Newbery Medal. In a statement last week, Craft said his intention was simply to portray children of color in a realistic setting: “Books aimed at kids like me seemed to deal only with history or misery. That’s why it has always been important to me to show kids of color as just regular kids, and to create iconic African American characters like Jordan Banks from ‘New Kid.’ I hope that readers of all ages will see the kindness and understanding that my characters exhibit and emulate those feelings in their day-to-day lives.” However, parent Bonnie Anderson, who started the petition, disagreed, saying, “The books don’t come out and say we want white children to feel like oppressors, but that is absolutely what they will do.”

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Comics Lowdown | Seuss settlement scotches mash-up

Plus: Politician under fire for threatening cartoonist, Al Plastino’s house is for sale, and more!

Dr. Seuss Enterprises and the creators of a Star Trek-themed parody of the perennial graduation gift Oh, the Places You’ll Go have settled out of court, and the news is not good for mash-up makers.

Johanna Draper Carlson has a quick summary, with links, at The Beat: Former Star Trek writer David Gerrold and artist Ty Templeton mashed up the Seuss book with Star Trek characters and themes to create Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, which was supposed to be published by ComicMix. The famously litigious Seuss estate sued on grounds of both trademark and copyright infringement; the courts dismissed the trademark case in 2017, and in 2019 a judge found the book was sufficiently “transformative” and met the conditions for fair use. The Seuss folks appealed, and the parties settled out of court this week.

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Marz + Lim surf back to the past for ‘Silver Surfer: Rebirth’

Thanos, the original Captain Marvel and the Reality Gem will play a part in the new story set in the 1990s era.

Ron Marz and Ron Lim, who navigated the Silver Surfer through the spaceways in the early 1990s, will return to that era for Silver Surfer: Rebirth.

Much like X-Men: Legends and Symbiote Spider-Man, Marz and Lim will tell a story set in the past, one featuring the Reality Gem, Thanos and the original Captain Marvel.

“Turns out you can go home again,” Marz told Marvel.com. “Silver Surfer with Ron Lim was literally my first job in comics. The first comic page I ever wrote was drawn by Ron when we were both kids. And now three decades later we get to go back there and slip right back into that same groove. It’s so great to be wielding the power cosmic again.” 

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Steve Orlando takes the helm of ‘Marauders’ in January

Marauders Annual #1 will reveal a new team of mutants and the debut of a new threat, 2099 villain Brimstone Love.

A new team of Marauders will take to the seas in January courtesy of a new creative team. Steve Orlando and Creees Lee will introduce a new team and new threats in Marauders Annual #1 this Janaury.

“Taking the helm of Marauders is easily the most exciting moment of my career, especially when it’s my first-ever ongoing not just on Krakoa, but at Marvel in general,” Orlando told Marvel.com. “Exploding out of the team’s already-amazing adventures as part of Hellfire Trading, Captain Pryde’s new crew of Marauders will stop at nothing to bring endangered mutants to safety — to always go where they’re needed, not where they’re wanted. To mutant rescue, wherever it calls them!”

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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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Learn what Sabretooth’s been doing underneath Krakoa this January

“Whatever you think a Sabretooth story will be, this’ll be that plus *extra*.”

Author Victor LaValle, whose books include The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver and The Changeling, will write a new Sabretooth series for Marvel that kicks off in January.

LaValle will team with artists Leonard Kirk and Rain Beredo to show readers what the mutant psychopath has been doing since being exiled to the “pit” underneath the island of Krakoa.

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Marvel returns to the wastelands with five one-shots this December

Wolverine, Star-Lord, Black Widow and more get new tales set in the alternate future from ‘Old Man Logan.’

Marvel’s just-released solicitations reveal five new one-shots that spin out of the “Old Man” titles Marvel has made for the last several years. A variety of writers and artists are returning to the wasteland first introduced in the classic “Old Man Logan” storyline from Wolverine.

Previous “old man” versions of Wolverine, Hawkeye, Star-Lord and Doctor Doom will each get a one-shot, while Black Widow will make her debut in this alternate future world originally created by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.

Here’s the rundown:

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DeMatteis + Baldeon will tell stories from Ben Reilly’s past

‘Ben Reilly: Spider-Man’ launches in December.

As Ben Reilly prepares to retake the mantle of Spider-Man from Peter Parker, Marvel has announced that J.M. DeMatteis, David Baldeon and Israel Silva will tell a story from Reilly’s past, set during his first run at being Spider-Man.

Ben Reilly: Spider-Man is set in the 1990s era and will involve the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane. DeMatteis was one of the writers of the original clone saga, which he talked about extensively in this blog post.

“Peter and Mary Jane have headed off to Portland to have their baby and live happily ever after while, in New York, our titular hero is taking his first steps toward building a new life as both Ben Reilly and Spider-Man,” DeMatteis said on his blog. “But it’s not going to be easy!”

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Mail Call | Tynion offers first ‘Blue Book’ for free

Check out news and updates from Marvel, Dark Horse, Top Shelf, Image Comics 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.

James Tynion IV was one of the first creators out of the gate with his plans for his premium Substack newsletter subscription, announcing a new comic called Blue Book with artist Michael Avon Oeming that he planned to share with paid subscribers.

But even if you aren’t a paid subscriber, you can still check out the first one, which he posted for free a couple days ago.

Blue Book is a passion project for myself and Michael Avon Oeming,” Tynion wrote. “We share a lifelong fascination with UFOs and a lifelong frustration with how those stories have been adapted into other media. There is a strangeness in the original accounts of UFO sightings that usually gets swept aside, but Michael and I want to lean into the strangeness. These are human stories of ordinary people who brush against the unknown and must grapple with what they see there. There is a deeper truth, whether you believe in the accounts or not, that lies in the many ways people tell these stories.”

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Avengers of the Multiverse will assemble in ‘Avengers Forever’

Jason Aaron and Aaron Kuder send ‘shockwaves across all of reality’ this December.

Marvel is resurrecting the “Avengers Forever” name for a new series from Jason Aaron and Aaron Kuder. While the Kurt Busiek/Carlos Pacheco classic miniseries brought together Avengers from throughout time, this new series will bring together Avengers from throughout the multiverse.

Avengers Forever, one of the eight new tentpole titles coming this winter that Marvel announced last week, will arrive in December. But Aaron says the story actually begins in Avengers #50.

Avengers #50 lights the fire. Avengers Forever is the explosion that follows,” Jason Aaron told Marvel.com. “A slam bang supernova of a megabomb that sends shockwaves across all of reality, to earth after earth that’s been defaced by the new Multiversal Masters of Evil, to the ruins of Asgard at the end of time, to an Avengers Tower that sits atop a bedrock of fallen gods at Infinity’s End. Along the way, we meet some new versions of Avengers we know, as well as witness the return of some dear old friends, in a series that will swing for the fences with each and every issue, as the Mightiest Heroes of all the Earths in the heavens look to assemble as never before.”

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‘Timeless’ sets up Marvel’s future this December

The one-shot written by Jed MacKay has an artist change since it was announced last week.

Timeless, one of the eight new tentpole titles coming out this winter that Marvel announced last week, will arrive in December with a boom — but without Joe Bennett.

The Immortal Hulk artist was originally announced to be working on the one-shot, but as confirmed by Newsarama, the artist will not be working on any future Marvel projects. While Marvel did not give a reason, Bennett has been in the news lately both for the anti-semitic imagery being displayed in the background of a panel of Immortal Hulk and for a controversial drawing he did of Brazil President Jair Messias Bolsonaro.

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Marvel Unlimited rolls out new features, exclusive comics

Marvel announces new ‘vertical comics’ from Jonathan Hickman, Declan Shalvey, Skottie Young, Kelly Thompson, Kaare Andrews and more that debut today on Marvel Unlimited.

After some teasers this week for their Marvel Unlimited app, Marvel has announced several enhancements for the digital comics subscription service, including the addition of new, exclusive comics under the banner “Infinity Comics.”

Other changes they announced include:

  • A streamlined design.
  • “Enhanced curation” and personalization, which will help recommend comics to read based on your reading habits.
  • The ability to follow your favorite series, stories and characters.
  • Unlimited downloads, for on-the-go reading.
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