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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Mail Call | Tynion, Brombal + Goodhart debut ‘Christopher Chaos’

Plus: News and updates on ‘Darkskulls,’ ‘The Bone Orchard Mythos,’ ‘The United States of Murder’ and more.

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

If you aren’t following James Tynion IV’s TinyOnion newsletter, then you likely missed the launch of his newest comic last week — The Oddly Pedestrian Life of Christopher Chaos. He’s released the first chapter for free via his Substack newsletter.

“This is a comic for folks who like teenage angst and horror monsters,” Tynion said. “I’ve always liked books that don’t fit neatly into one category or another. You’ll see some trappings of young adult storytelling here, but when the horror kicks in we don’t hold back. And we don’t hold back on the language either. Hell, it’s not like teens do, anyways. It’s not a superhero bit, but it doesn’t shy away from some of my favorite superhero tropes. It’s not a YA story, but it similarly doesn’t shy away from the best of those tropes. I think when I first started kicking it around in the back of my mind I thought of it as ‘A queer horror answer to Invincible.'”

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Mail Call | ‘Love Everlasting’ comes to print in August

Plus: more from Chris Eliopoulos on getting the rights back to ‘Cow Boy,’ plus free comics from Grant Morrison, Saladin Ahmed and more.

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

Love Everlasting, the Substack comic created by Tom King and Elsa Charretier, will make the jump to print, courtesy of Image Comics. The ongoing series kicks off in August.

The comic, which is up to issue #3 on Substack, plays with the tropes inherent to the romance genre:

In Love Everlasting, Joan Peterson discovers that she is trapped in an endless, terrifying cycle of “romance”—a problem to be solved, a man to marry—and every time she falls in love she’s torn from her world and thrust into another teary saga. Her bloody journey to freedom and revelation starts in this breathtaking, groundbreaking first issue.

Here’s a look at the variant cover to the first issue, along with two variants by Clay Mann and Tula Lotay:

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Jeff Lemire announces a new Black Hammer title on his Substack

The weekly series ‘Colonel Weird & Little Andromeda’ will feature the work of a variety of artists.

Black Hammer co-creator Jeff Lemire has announced another comic set in the universe he created with Dean Ormston — Colonel Weird & Little Andromeda, which will appear weekly in his Substack newsletter for paid subscribers.

The new comic is written by Lemire, Ray Fawkes and Tate Brombal, and will feature art by a variety of creators, including Ariela Kristantina, Andrea Sorrentino, Marguerite Sauvage, Yuko Shimizu, Dani, Tyler Bence and Nick Robles.

“We describe this new story as ‘Little Nemo’ Meets ‘The Little Prince’ Set in the World of the Eisner Award–winning Black Hammer Universe,” Lemire posted on Substack. “This new weekly original comic brings together a host of creators to tell self-contained stories of beloved Black Hammer characters Colonel Randall Weird and Dr. James Robinson in a series of dimension-hopping cross-world capers!”

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Image will release print editions of Tynion + Zdarsky’s Substack comics

Both comics arrive in comic shops in June.

Image Comics has announced plans to publish print versions of two Substack comics — Public Domain by Chip Zdarsky and The Closet by James Tynion IV and Gavin Fullerton.

Zdarsky has been publishing Public Domain via his Substack newsletter almost since the newsletter went live last year, while The Closet debuted just a few weeks ago on Tynion’s Tiny Onion newsletter.

“In June, issue one will hit shelves, and it’ll be an ongoing monthly series (as long as my hand/arm/brain hold out)!” Zdarsky said about Public Domain, which he both writes and draws. “So for those of you who are NOT paid subscribers, you can check it out then and come back here to sign up and find out what happens next!”

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Mail Call | Say hello to the New (Old) Fantastic Four

Check out news and announcements from Marvel, IDW, AfterShock, Drawn and Quarterly, and more.

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

Back in the early 1990s Wolverine, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider and Hulk had a brief team-up in the pages of Fantastic Four while the actual Fantastic Four were out of town. It was a fun story by Walt Simonson and Art Adams that only last a few issues. But now Marvel will revisit that team — and time period — in The New Fantastic Four, a limited series by Peter David and Alan Robinson.

“Although their original stint was extremely short-lived, the alternate version of the FF has had its fans for years, including myself,” David said. “I am fortunate Marvel has given me the opportunity to revisit with them and take their battles to new heights in a new location with new allies and new enemies.” 

Like Maestro and X-Men Legends, this story takes place in the past, shortly after the quartet’s first appearance.

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James Tynion IV announces several new Substack projects

The writer launches ‘The Closet’ with artist Gavin Fullerton, and announces more projects for 2022.

James Tynion IV has always had a full dance card when it comes to comics, so it’s no surprise that he’s ramping up to share even more new content this year via his Substack newsletter.

“The plan is set. All of the wheels are in motion,” he wrote today, which has been designated Comic Day on Substack. “There are no more months of strategizing in the dark. Now is when we’re going to unleash my evil plan onto the world and see whether or not it works. The Print Comic Book business is the core of my livelihood. I gamed it out, and there isn’t a month this year I have less than four comic issues with my name on them on the stands.”

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Jeff Lemire announces ‘The Last Days of Black Hammer’ graphic novel

The writer teams with artist Stefano Simeone for the 100-page story.

As a part of Comics Day on Substack, Jeff Lemire has announced and launched The Last Days of Black Hammer, a new graphic novel with artist Stefano Simeone.

Lemire was one of the first wave of creators last year who began offering a paid tier for his Substack newsletter, Tales from the Farm, with plans to post new comics content for premium subscribers. Those plans included new Black Hammer stories and a graphic novel written and drawn by Lemire called Fishflies (the second chapter of which Lemire recently began posting).

Unlike Fishflies, Lemire says that The Last Days of Black Hammer will be available for free for all subscribers, not just the paid ones.

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‘Comics Day on Substack’ brings a new wave of creators to the platform

Grant Morrison, Tom King, Brian K. Vaughan, Niko Henrichon, Jen Bartel and more join the email newsletter platform.

If you’ve seen the acronym “CDoS” pop up in your email or feeds, you’re not getting spammed about collateralized debt obligation — well, maybe some of you are; I don’t know what you’re into. But in the comics realm, today CDoS stands for “Comics Day on Substack,” as the email newsletter platform welcomes several new creators, and their existing creators announce new projects and share free stuff.

Jen Bartel, Grant Morrison, Brian K. Vaughan, Elsa Charretier, Niko Henrichon, Khary Randolph and more join the likes of James Tynion IV, Chip Zdarsky, Skottie Young and more on the platform, which launched its comics-focused push last summer.

We’ll get the new ones added to our Comics Newsletter Directory page later today, but for now here’s a rundown of what’s been launched today.

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Jeff Lemire signs an exclusive deal with Image Comics

The deal will not impact the Black Hammer comics published by Dark Horse or the content on his Substack newsletter.

Jeff Lemire has signed an exclusive deal with Image Comics, his publisher for projects like Ascender, Descender, Gideon Falls, Primordial and more, for an undisclosed amount of time.

“Having worked with Image on so many projects over the last decade, I’ve come to appreciate the complete creative freedom and support that they’ve provided me,” said Lemire. “I’m excited to make Image the exclusive home for all my projects in the years to come, both solo projects that I will draw myself, and my various collaborations. Bone Orchard and Little Monsters are just the start of what I have planned this year and beyond.”

The deal does come with a couple of asterisks, though — Lemire clarified in his Substack newsletter that it will not impact the Black Hammer line of books he co-created at Dark Horse. “I have an exemption in my Image deal to finish the last few Black Hammer series as planned,” he said.

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Mail Call | Doctor Strange journeys to the ‘Nexus of Nightmares’ in April

Check out news and updates from Marvel, DC, Image, Jeff Lemire, Brian Michael Bendis and more.

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

Although Doctor Strange might currently be dead in the Marvel Universe, Marvel still has stories to tell about Stephen Strange’s past. April brings not only rain this year, but also Doctor Strange: Nexus of Nightmares, by Marvel veteran Ralph Macchio and artist Ibrahim Mostafa.

The one-shot will feature the Sorcerer Supreme taking on Nightmare and Baron Mordo, as they attempt to use Strange’s own nightmares against him. The one-shot comes out April 20, with a cover by Todd Nauck.

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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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