Slugfest | ‘Radio Apocalypse’ goes on indefinite hiatus

Plus: A new Secret Stash title, Poison Ivy grows and Marvel Masterworks gets reprinted.

Vault Comics and writer Ram V have announced via press release that the comic series Radio Apocalypse will go on “an indefinite hiatus.” The series, which suffered delays before launch, only saw two issues published.

“We launched this book with much excitement and to celebration and acclaim,” Ram V said in the statement. “And for that I have readers, retailers and everyone who worked on this book to thank. Unfortunately, in the time since, Anand, Aditya and I have been through some rough times. I will allow everyone including myself some privacy but suffice to say health issues, bouts of COVID and some difficult family emergencies on my end have meant that we have been unable to work on this book with the care and attention it deserves.”

The series, which reunited Ram V with Anand RK, who he worked with on Grafity’s Wall, was about the last radio station on Earth.

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Three Things | UNBANNED, Humble Bundle, DC Pride

Here are three things to read, to support and to watch today. Happy Pride Month!

[Image above: Heathen cover by Natasha Alterici]

1. To read: Vault announces “UNBANNED” initiative for Pride Month

June is Pride Month, as you’ve probably noticed if you’ve visited any corporation’s website or social media account this week to see that they’ve updated their logo with a rainbow flag. Some companies are doing more than that, though, including three comics-related ones that I wanted to draw attention to today.

First is Vault Comics, who today announced UNBANNED — “a Pride month initiative to give away free queer books to everyone, everywhere.” If you’ve followed the news over the last few months, you know that there’s a very orchestrated campaign going on right now against books with LGBTQ+ themes (among others) as politicians attempt to win points with constituents. Vault is not only making some of their titles by LGBTQ+ creators available for free on their web store all month, but also shared a very heartfelt message with LGBTQ+ readers in doing so. I try to keep these Three Things posts “press release free” and just share things I’ve discovered organically, but hey, what are rules made for if not to be broken? Here’s the press email they sent out today in full:

Banning books is nothing new to the world of comics and literature, but in recent months we’ve seen an unprecedented uptick in new bans across the country. These bans have targeted many queer books and creators. And while politicians and extremist groups may be working hard to erase LGBTQIA+ voices, we at Vault Comics continue to maintain that this space, our space, has always and will always be safe — but more than safe, it will be loud, proud, and unapologetic.

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Comics Lowdown | Marvel editors participate in #DisneyWalkout

Plus: ‘Persepolis’ under fire in Pennsylvania school district! David Gallaher, real-life superhero! News on Behemoth, Zestworld, Julie Doucet and more!

Marvel employees joined their colleagues from Pixar, Lucasfilm and other Disney-owned divisions in a walk-out on Tuesday to protest the company’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education act, which has become to be known as the “Don’t Say Gay bill.”

The bill bans lessons about sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade and prohibits lessons in other grades unless they are “age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate.” Critics say the law could stigmatize LGBTQ+ students, and lead to bullying and attacks. The bill has yet to be signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but it’s just a matter of time, as the governor has expressed his support for it.

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Mind control goes viral in Kaplan + Pearson’s ‘Mindset’

The new Vault Comics series debuts in June.

Vault Comics will publish the “new psychedelic sci-fi thriller” Mindset, written by Zack Kaplan (Eclipse, Port of Earth), drawn and colored by Eisner-winning Blue In Green artist John J. Pearson, lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and designed by Tim Daniel. 

Mindset is a mind-bending sci-fi thriller about four wide-eyed grad students who discover mind control and put it in an app, and a dark journey that follows, twists and turns, murder and mystery, love and heartbreak through the absurd world of overnight technopreneurs and social media empires,” said Kaplan. “But the series is really about a dilemma I think we all feel today. How do we use devices, social media and apps to connect with each other and feel influential without allowing the technology to influence the very choices we make and thoughts we have? We believe the timing for the story couldn’t be more socially reverent, since we’ve increased our dependency more than ever on technology, but as Silicon Valley tightens its digital grip on our behavior, mind control exists right now.”

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Vault announces the comedy-fantasy series ‘Quests Aside’

Brian Schirmer and Elena Gogou tell the story of a retired adventurer and his tavern.

Pour a cold one and get ready for some stories, as Vault Comics has announced Quests Aside, a new fantasy-comedy series about the local tavern and the retired adventurer trying to keep it open.

The new series is written by Brian Schirmer, writer of the excellent fantasy comic Fairlady, and drawn by Greek comics artist Elena Gogou (Campfire Stories, My City). They’re joined by colorist Rebecca Nalty and designer Tim Daniel, who brings a creative consistency to everything Vault publishes.

“I’ve always loved stories about the thief who wants to take One Last Score, or the outlaw who needs to take One Last Ride,” said Schirmer. “Their eyes are frequently fixed on retiring thereafter. Usually, things don’t work out as they planned. We take this conceit to a fantasy realm, where a legendary adventurer has already actually succeeded in taking One Last Quest, opened a tavern, and got to retire. That’s where we begin.”

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Seeley + Campbell + Terry head ‘West of Sundown’

The new horror/western series from Vault Comics arrives in March.

Tim Seeley, Aaron Campbell and Jim Terry will team for a new comic next year “that mashes up Hammer Horror and Sergio Leone,” according to Seeley.

West of Sundown, announced today by Vault Comics, will feature Seeley and Campbell as co-writers. Terry will draw the comic, which will be colored by Triona Farrell, lettered by Crank! and designed by Tim Daniel.

West of Sundown is about the great mythologies of the old world slamming into the folklore of the new world…the legends of Europe, and the birth of the American beast,” Seeley said in the press release. “And, taking that theme as a skeleton, we’ve draped it with the sewed together skin of Sergio Leone Westerns and Hammer Horror films. Gritty sunsets meets foggy nights. The gothic graveyard meets Boot Hill. What horrors lie in our shared unconsciousness, and how do we stuff them all into a too-tight corset?”

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Mail Call | ‘TerrorWar’ debuts from Saladin Ahmed + Dave Acosta

Check out recent news and updates from Saladin Ahmed, Top Shelf, IDW, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins and more.

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

Saladin Ahmed posted the first pages of TerrorWar this week, the comic he first announced when he launched the paid version of his Substack newsletter. Drawn by Dave Acosta and Jay Leisten, the comic is about a city where people’s worst fears have come to life somehow, and the terrorfighters who face them with really big guns.

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Tsuei + Lee plan to reclaim cyberpunk in ‘Fox and Hare’

Vault Comics will launch the new series in November.

Vault Comics will publish Fox and Hare, a new cyberpunk comic by Jon Tsuei (Sera and the Royal Stars, Run Love Kill), and artist Stacey Lee (Silk, Gwenpool) starting in November.

In the press release, Tsuei explains not only what the new series is about, but also why telling a story in the cyberpunk genre is important to him.

“I’ve always been drawn to the cyberpunk genre, but I never saw myself represented in those stories, despite their heavy usage of Asian aesthetics,” Tsuei said. “I began to wonder, what if Asian people reclaimed the aesthetics of cyberpunk and centered ourselves in the narrative? As I spent time with that question, I realized that it wasn’t enough to just place Asian faces in the story. We also had to reframe the themes of new technology (cyber) and rebellion (punk) through an Asian lens. That’s exactly what you’ll get with Fox and Hare.”

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Lore + Sposito team for the unsubtle werewolf story ‘Lunar Room’

Vault Comics will launch the new series in November.

Danny Lore (Queen of Bad Dreams) and Gio Sposito (Betty Page) will blend elements of science fiction, fantasy and horror in a new series, Lunar Room, coming from Vault Comics in November.

The two creators are joined by colorist DJ Chavis, letterer Andworld Design and designer Tim Daniel for the story of Cynthia “Sin” Breaker, whose resume includes former mob enforcer for a mage AND being a werewolf.

Lunar Room started as a conversation with Tim Daniel about why I hadn’t done a werewolf comic,” Lore said. “That conversation created the seed of an idea—how would I get what I love about werewolves into a script that an artist could have fun with, rather than a more internal-sensation based tale. That, paired with the best advice I’ve ever been given (‘Be less subtle,’ as Adrian Wassel often reminds me!), gave way to Lunar Room. From the genre-mash up to the story structure (chapter-based but not reliant on the issue number) to the very names of our characters (Sin Breaker and Zac Zero!), this is me pushing myself to be wonderfully unsubtle in my style.”

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Don’t feel so loud: Milligan, Cantirino + Kelly scare up ‘Human Remains’

The horror/sci-fi series debuts in September

How good are you at hiding your emotions? In the world created by writer Peter Milligan, artist Sally Cantirino and colorist Dearbhla Kelly for Human Remains, you better be good at it or you’ll wind up dead. The aliens will find you if you feel too strongly.

Inspired by the isolation Milligan felt during quarantine from the COVID-19 pandemic, the series stars Dax and Bisa who must hide their love for each other if they want to live. Alien monsters roaming the earth hunt humans by sensing strong emotions.

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Vault Comics’ Wonderbound imprint reveals its 2022 titles

Vault Comics’ young adult line announces new graphic novels by Colleen Coover, Paul Tobin, Michael Moreci and more.

Wonderbound, the middle grade/young adult-focused imprint of Vault Comics, has announced their 2022 line-up of graphic novels.

The slate of nine graphic novels includes new work by Agnes Garbowska, Shea Fontana, Colleen Coover, Paul Tobin, Galaad, Sam Beck, Michael Moreci, Brian Middleton and more. It also includes several sequels to works Wonderbound will publish later this year, when their first graphic novels debut in the fall, like Verse and Wrassle Castle.

“One of our goals with Wonderbound Year 2 was to present a wide range of genre graphic novels for young readers, but what blew me away was how each of these books also showed the depth of what genre stories can be for this age group,” said Wonderbound Managing Editor Rebecca Taylor. “I have laughed loudly and cried openly while watching pages come in on every single one of our 2022 titles. The sincerity and imagination at work in this slate–whether in a story about time traveling knights, orphaned detectives, or maniacal snowmen–is truly stunning, and I cannot wait for young readers to dive in!”

Here’s the complete list:

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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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