Comics Lowdown | RIP Takao Saito

Plus: DC does NFTs, the Uffizi opens its doors to comics, and small publishers discuss distribution.

Cover of Golgo 13, vol. 8, showing a man holding a gun and smoking a cigarette.

Takao Saito, the creator of Golgo 13, died on September 24 at the age of 84. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer. Saito made his manga debut in 1955 and launched Golgo 13, which follows the exploits of a taciturn hitman, in 1968. Volume 202 of the series has just come out in Japan, making Golgo 13 not only the longest continuously running manga series but also the one with the most volumes. Saito has said he would like the manga to continue after his death, and his publisher, Shogakukan, says the series will continue.

Comics at an Exhibition: The Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, Italy, is adding comics to its collection. The museum, which started out in the 1600s as the Medici family’s portrait collection, has commissioned 52 self-portraits by prominent Italian comics artists. The self-portraits will be on display in a special exhibit in Lucca from October 8 to November, 1, then moved to the Uffizio to join its permanent collection.

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‘World of Krypton’ will feature Jor-El, catastrophe — and puppy Krypto

Robert Venditti and Michael Avon Oeming present stories about Krypton before the planet-wide cataclysm.

DC Comics has announced a new six-issue World of Krypton miniseries, focusing on Superman’s homeworld before the events that destroyed it and sent him rocketing into space.

Robert Venditti and Michael Avon Oeming will shine “new light on the famous characters of Krypton’s past—including Jor-El, General Dru-Zod and even a young Kara Zor-El,” aka Supergirl. They also promise an appearance by Krypto as a puppy.

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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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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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Smash Pages Q&A: Michael Avon Oeming

The award-winning writer and artist discusses his latest work, ‘After Realm,’ the influence of Norse mythology on the story and much more.

Michael Avon Oeming is the award-winning writer and artist of books like Powers and The Mice Templar, Takio and Hammer of the Gods, Bastard Samurai and The United States of Murder, Inc. In recent years he’s drawn Cave Carson for DC’s Young Animal imprint, and wrote and illustrated Dick Tracy Forever at IDW. His current ongoing project is After Realm, which comes out quarterly from Image Comics.

The story of an elf named Oona, After Realm takes place after Ragnarok. Oeming has been using Kickstarter to help fund the series, but other readers can pick up the third issue this week. It’s a story of battling trolls and other creatures, a tale of exploration and crafting maps, of rediscovering what has been lost. As Oeming and I discussed, Oona is very much a hero for this moment, in ways that he never could have anticipated. We spoke recently about epic fantasy, how the meaning of myth is in the telling and the personal nature of a story that might seem anything but.

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Mignola, CCI celebrate 25 years of Hellboy

Mike Mignola’s monster-fighting monster returns with three new projects from Dark Horse and a tribute cover on the CCI events guide.

This week’s Comic-Con International celebrates 25 years of Hellboy by placing Mike Mignola’s most famous creation on the cover of their annual events guide — while publisher Dark Horse Comics has taken the occasion to announce three new Hellboy-related titles.

“From the beginning I knew Hellboy was going to be a book about monsters fighting monsters,” Mignola said in a press release. “I started off with a 4-page teaser about a shabby dog at a gas station turning into the Egypian god Anubis, and since I got away with that I just kept going—the Baba Yaga, the Penanggalan, demonic Mexican wrestlers, Irish goblins, flying Japanese heads—there’s a whole world of monsters out there, so still plenty of work for Hellboy to do.”

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Oeming + Soma launch ‘The After Realm’ webcomic

Elves, rangers, Ragnarok and secret doors inhabit a new story from the co-creator of ‘Powers.’

Just in time for the holidays, Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma have kicked off a new webcomic about elves — okay, maybe not of the “ho ho ho” variety, but more of the Lord of the Rings/Norse mythology kind.

The After Realm is an all-ages comic about an elf named Oona Lightfoot, who wants to become a ranger so she can reunite with her best friend, who was trapped in the apocalyptic landscape of Ragnarok. So far three pages have been added, with more coming on a weekly basis. You cna help support it by bakcing Oeming on Patreon. Check out some pin-ups of the various characters below.

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Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye — and a theme song

Watch Michael Avon Oeming draw Cave Carson to the tune of Gerard Way and Ray Toro’s ‘Into the Cave We Wander.’

At this year’s New York Comic Con, Gerard Way and DC Comics gave away a cassette tape featuring a new, original song, “Into the Cave We Wander.” Recorded by Way and his former My Chemical Romance band mate Ray Toro, it serves as a theme song for the second Way-written Young Animal comic, Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye.

The first issue of Cave Carson arrives tomorrow, by Way, Jon Rivera and Michael Avon Oeming, and if it’s as good as Way’s first Young Animal title, Doom Patrol, has been, then I suspect we’re all in for a treat. In the meantime, if you weren’t one of the lucky few to get a copy of the song in New York, Oeming has released a YouTube video that features the song AND Oeming working on a Cave Carson sketch.

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Artists #WakeUpAndDraw for Jack Kirby’s birthday

To celebrate the 99th birthday of the King, artists are drawing his creation to benefit the Hero Initiative.

Today would have been comic book legend Jack Kirby’s 99th birthday, and to celebrate artists from all over the world are waking up to draw various Kirby creations — everyone from the Thing to OMAC to Fin Fang Foom. Many of the drawings are also being auctioned off to benefit the Hero Initiative.

Here are a few of them … you can find more by following the #WakeUpAndDraw hashtag on Twitter and other social media, or check out our Tumblr, where I’ll be posting others I see throughout the day.

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