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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Comics Lowdown | Action Lab accused of lack of payment and more by their creators

Plus: Joe Bennett, Ninja Turtles, Substack and more!

Action Lab Entertainment, the publisher of Spencer & Locke, Princeless, Jupiter Jet, Midnight Tiger and Molly Danger, among many other titles, has come under scrutiny on social media by a long list of creators for the terms of their contracts, soliciting comics that are never published, lack of payment to creators and poor communications.

At Women Write About Comics, Claire Napier rounds up a number of these allegations against the publisher, from creators like Jeremy Whitley, John J. Peréz, Tom Rogers and Nick Marino, among others. Napier focuses a good portion of her article on Gordon McLean, writer of Supermom: Expecting Trouble, who went missing in December of 2019 around the time that the first issue of his comic was supposed to come out — but according to sources, the comic was canceled and McLean was never told.

Action Lab President Bryan Seaton spoke with Bleeding Cool in a very brief interview on the subject. He talks about many of the speed bumps the company hit during the COVID crisis, but as folks pointed out on Twitter, many of these issues predate the pandemic. Seaton did note he has set up an email address, alecreator@actionlabent.com, that creators can use to contact them directly about any outstanding issues regarding a title.

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Substack will integrate their comics into the Panels app

The newsletter platform announces that comics available through their premium services ‘will soon be readable’ via the iOS app.

If you’ve been looking at some of the comics creators who are publishing comics on Substack and wondering, “Am I going to have to read these things in my email?” then wonder no more — Substack has announced plans to make their comics available through Panels, an iOS comics reader app.

The bummer for Android users is that Panels is only available via the Apple App Store, and I can’t find any indication that they’re working on anything for Android — yet, anyway.

“Readers can have their comics subscriptions appear directly in the Panels app simply by linking their Substack account to the app,” Substack’s post reads.  “Readers using Panels will also be able to easily download comics, save their progress, and enjoy a richly featured and customizable reading experience. Panels Premium users will have even more reading options, such as panel view and vertical scroll.”

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Jeff Lemire joins the Substack Revolution, will syndicate ‘Fishflies’ through the service

Subscribers will also receive access to new Black Hammer stories.

Jeff Lemire is the latest creator to announce he will move his online newsletter to the Substack premium model, with plans to post comics and more through the service.

As part of his premium service, he plans to begin posting his next big project. Fishflies, through Substack, along with short stories set in the world of Black Hammer.

“I don’t even know what to call it really, ‘newsletter’ seems much too limiting for what I hope to do on this platform,” Lemire wrote in his, er, newsletter. “My intention here is to create something akin to an online studio; a new platform to publish new comics and a meeting place to share all my work in progress with you and also offer lots of exclusive new material. I want to create a direct link between me and my readers. So, this will be a place that I can share each step of my creative process with you and a platform to actually create and publish new comics too.”

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Campbell will bring back ‘Shadoweyes’ on Substack

‘Shadoweyes for Good’ will find new life on Sophie Campbell’s just-launched email newsletter.

Sophie Campell, known for her work on Wet Moon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more, has announced she’s joined the Substack Revolution and will share her next Shadoweyes project, Shadoweyes for Good, through her new email newsletter.

“BIG NEWS: I’m doing my next book, Shadoweyes For Good, on Substack!!!” she posted to Twitter. “Yes I am aware of the discourse but they’re paying me a ton of money and I could really use it (for expensive kaiju figures).”

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Young reveals new artist, Substack plans for ‘I Hate Fairyland’

Brett Parson joins Young on the ongoing series from Image Comics, while Substack premium subscribers will receive short stories set in the ‘I Hate Fairyland’ universe.

I Hate Fairyland creator Skottie Young has detailed his future plans for the comic, which he wrote and drew from 2015 to 2018.

Those plans include a new artist, Brett Parson, for the ongoing series, plus a series of short stories by various artists that he plans to post for premium subscribers to his Substack mailing list.

“In 2015 I launched my first creator owned book at Image Comics called I Hate Fairyland,” Young wrote.  “I was nervous that something as wacky and over the top as IHF wasn’t going to find a place with readers but man, was I wrong! Over the next few years, the book sold really well, I received tons of fan art, photos of tattoos and a wild amount of IHF cosplay. I was blown away!”

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Hickman plans to leave X-Men after ‘Inferno’

The architect of the Krakoa era of the X-titles will move on to something new for Marvel after ‘Inferno.’

After relaunching the X-Men titles back in 2019 and writing some of the books over the course of the last two years, Jonathan Hickman told Entertainment Weekly that the upcoming Inferno will be his last X-book for now.

Hickman said that wasn’t his plan initially, but came about because of how well the current storyline has been received by the creators he’s been working with .

“Oh, plans have changed entirely,” Hickman told EW. “When I pitched the X-Men story I wanted to do, I pitched a very big, very broad, three-act, three-event narrative, the first of which was House of X. And while this loosely worked as a three-year plan, I told Marvel upfront that I honestly had no idea how long the first part would last because there were a lot of interesting ideas that I had seeded that other creators would want to play with, and so, we left this rather open-ended. I was also pretty clear with all the writers that came into the office what the initial, three-act plan was so no one would be surprised when it was time for the line to pivot.”

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Cates + Stegman plan to launch three comics on Substack

The two ‘King in Black’ creators launch Kids Love Chains Press on the email platform.

Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman are the latest creators to sign on for the Substack revolution, following James Tynion IV, Skottie Young, Chip Zdarsky, Molly Ostertag and others last week.

This morning the duo behind Venom and King in Black launched Kids Love Chains Press on the email newsletter platform and announced three comics they’ll share through Substack’s premium service. Cates and Stegman will work on the first title, Vanish, while Cates will write the other two with different artists attached.

Here’s the lowdown:

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Chip Zdarsky will write + draw ‘Public Doman’ for his Substack newsletter

His collaboration with Kagan McLeod, ‘Kaptara,’ will also return as a digital comic.

Chip Zdarsky is the latest creator to sign on as a premium content provider for Substack. In what has been an eventful week for the email newsletter platform, Zdarsky joins Skottie Young, James Tynion IV, Saladin Ahmed and others in posting comics through their newsletters for those willing to pay.

“So, last year I finished illustrating Sex Criminals. It was bittersweet. The bitter was that I loved creating it and was sad to see it go,” Zdarsky wrote. “The sweet was that my hand was a mashed mess of mincemeat from drawing and colouring 31 issues of a book and it was nice to kick back and relax and instead write 13 books for Marvel and DC. But then I had an idea. And now, like an absolute moron, I’m destroying my hand again.”

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Skottie Young will bring back ‘I Hate Fairyland’ in his Substack newsletter

The creator moves his newsletter to a premium model, offering new comics, behind-the-scenes information and more.

Although he wasn’t mentioned in the initial announcement, Skottie Young (Rocket Raccoon, Strange Academy, Middlewest) has announced he’ll move his Substack newsletter to a subscription model and will use it to share new comics content — including new I Hate Fairyland.

Young joins James Tynion IV, Jonathan Hickman, Molly Ostertag and others in using the Substack platform to share and sell new comics content.

“This is no longer just a ‘Newsletter.’ It’s a Creative Platform,” Young said in his newsletter today. “A place to explore new ideas, stories, products to share with you instantly.”

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Ahmed + Acosta team for ‘TerrorWar’ this fall through Substack

Following yesterday’s big Substack announcement, the writer reveals more details about his first comic through his Copper Bottle newsletter.

Following yesterday’s news that several comic creators would begin publishing their comics through their Substack newsletters, Saladin Ahmed has revealed more details about his first comic that’ll be available on the platform.

Note that there are still a lot of questions about how these new Substack comics will work — what’s the format? Are pages going to be embedded into an email, sent as a PDF or what? What am I getting for my (in Ahmed’s case) $6 a month? Ahmed promises to post an FAQ about the “nuts and bolts” of the subscription he’s offering, but in his latest email he talks specifically about TerrorWar, his newletter comic.

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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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