‘Star Wars: Inquisitors’ hunt the Jedi in July

The popular minions of Darth Vader serve the Dark Side this summer, courtesy of Rodney Barnes and Ramon Rosanas.

The Inquisitors — the force-wielding minions of the Empire who hunted the Jedi for Darth Vader — have appeared in comics, on TV and in video games, and are set to star in their own miniseries coming from Marvel this summer.

Writer Rodney Barnes and artist Ramon Rosanas will send the “Redblades” after Tensu Run, a Jedi who survived the purge caused by Order 66 and seeks to rebuild the Jedi Order in that harrowing time between Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope.

“It’s such an honor to be writing the very first Inquisitors solo story,” Barnes told StarWars.com. “I love this time period of Star Wars lore because it’s the one I grew up on — when Darth Vader and the Empire were imposing their will on the entire galaxy. Plus, I got to create an all-new legendary Jedi with Tensu Run! Truly the best of times!”

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It’s open season on dragons in Orlando + Huang’s ‘The Scale Trade’

Steve Orlando and Megan Huang hunt the dragon hunters in the new title coming from Magma Comix in May.

Now that we’re a couple weeks into the Year of the Dragon, Magma Comix has officially announced The Scale Trade, the new modern fantasy series by Steve Orlando and Megan Huang. Magma mentioned it last month when the publisher started unveiling their 2024 slate.

In any event, the new series sounds great — set in a modern world where dragons still exist but are high on the endangered species list, one man takes a stand against the poachers and corrupt governments that want their scales.

“The Scale Trade was absolutely influenced by the depravity of the illegal exotic meat trade, poaching, and specifically the street-level vigilance against the abuse of horses and sale of horse meat in a variety of parts of the country,” said Orlando. “We wanted to talk about these things, but also thrill and excite on an elevated scale (no pun intended). So we built a world where dragons were part of the animal kingdom, where THEY, these creatures that awe us, were also some of the most valuable commodities in the world. It’s a modern fantasy—not high fantasy or low sword and sorcery. At the end of the day it’s about the way we as a species interact with nature—concepts bigger and older than us—and how we tend to commodify life on this planet. At the core, The Scale Trade is about heroic animal rescue. A man and his dog… if his dog was a majestic flying lizard.”

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Kate Beaton, Rachel Smythe + more win at the 2023 Harvey Awards

The awards were presented last night in conjunction with the New York Comic Con.

Last night the Harvey Awards were given out at New York Comic Con, in the six categories the awards program reintroduced in 2018.

Kate Beaton’s critically acclaimed Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands added another accolade to its shelf, taking home the award for “Book of the Year.” And Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus defended the “Digital Book of the Year” category, taking home the Harvey for a second year. And somehow the big blockbuster film Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was able to squeak out a victory against The Stuff of Legend – The Board Game in the always odd “Best Adaptation” category.

Six creators were inducted into the Harvey Awards Hall of Fame: Chris Claremont, Walt Simonson, Louise Simonson, Marv Wolfman, George Pérez and Bill Griffith.

A committee of “diverse industry voices including creators, publishing professionals, retailers, educators and librarians” determined the nominees, and the winners were chosen by creators and other industry professionals. Check out the full list of winners below.

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Captain Ginger takes flight once more in ‘The Last Feeder’

Stuart Moore and June Brigman return to the stars for another tale of evolved cats in space.

Although its existence was revealed in May when Ahoy Comics announced Project: Cryptid, they made it official this week that writer Stuart Moore and artist June Brigman will reunite for Captain Ginger: The Last Feeder .

The two-issue miniseries is part of Ahoy’s celebration of their fifth anniversary, and follows the two previous Captain Ginger series. If you aren’t familiar with Captain Ginger, it’s kind of like Star Trek, but with cats. Evolved cats at that.

“I’d rather write Captain Ginger than anything else in the world, so I’m grateful to AHOY for giving us the chance to continue our story,” said Moore. “This time, we decided to tell a self-contained, Strange New Worlds-type adventure that, at the same time, tackles some of the biggest questions in the Captain’s universe. All his life, Ginger has wondered about his father, and all the evolved cats have wondered about the long-dead humans who created them. Now the answers are in their grasp—maybe.”

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Marvel’s ‘What If?’ returns this summer

Walt Simonson, Gerry Conway, Stephanie Phillips, Scott Eaton and more create new stories set in alternate universes.

Marvel has announced the return of What If?, their classic alternate history comic, for the summer, with four one-shots planned under the title What If? Dark.

I chuckled a bit when I saw that they added “Dark” to the title. If you ever read any of the original What If? run, you know that more times than not, the stories would take a dark turn. For instance, “What If Phoenix Had Lived?” ended with the death of pretty much everything else.

In any event, What If? helped introduce Marvel’s version of the multiverse, and this year will introduce four new universe where things took a different turn. The one-shots also mark the return of two classic Marvel creators, Walt Simonson and Gerry Conway, as they revisit stories they’ve become synonymous with.

Here’s the rundown:

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Slugfest | ‘Summer of Symbiotes’ leads to ‘Death of the Venomverse’

Plus: Marvel Artist’s Editions, Dark Horse graphic novels, Spider-Verse, variant covers and more!

Slugfest is a roundup of cool announcements about projects coming to a shelf near you. Hit the links for more information.

Marvel has revealed more details and a teaser image for Summer of Symbiotes, something they teased last October along with several other events for 2023. It’s less of a single-story crossover and more of a moniker they are using to describe a whole bunch of different symbiote-themed series, miniseries and events.

While many of the events teased on the image we’ve heard of before, like Carnage Reigns and Extreme Venomverse, there is one new one listed — Death of the Venomverse, which echoes the Death of the Spiderverse storyline we’re seeing in Spider-Man.

Here’s the description from Marvel:

It’s all leading to this! The epic adventures above are spiraling towards an explosive destination, and not all of your favorite symbiotes will survive the journey. The Carnage symbiote is more bloodthirsty than ever and heads to the multiverse for its greatest killing spree yet. But what is it after? Find out more when this upcoming limited series is announced at the Marvel Comics: Spider-Man & the Venomverse Panel at C2E2 2023!

C2E2 is coming up this weekend. Here’s the full teaser image:

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Walt Simonson, Jared Cullum win 2021 NCS Divisional Awards

French cartoonist Boulet received the Sergio Aragones International Award for Excellence in Comic Art.

This weekend is NCS Fest, the annual event hosted by the National Cartoonists Society that includes, among other activities, the NCS Divisional Awards and the annual presentation of the Reuben Award.

This year’s event is being streamed online, and the NCS has interspersed some of the awards presentations throughout the stream. Yesterday Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo presented the award for best comic book, which went to Walt Simonson’s Ragnarok: The Breaking of Helheim. The comic is published by IDW, which also publishes the other two nominees in the category, Usagi Yojimbo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika.

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Mail Call | DC reveals more details on April’s relaunch of ‘Green Lantern’

A round-up of recent news on ‘Aliens,’ DC Future State, IDW’s Canto and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

When Green Lantern returns later this year after the events of Future State, Geoffrey Thorne and Dexter Soy will chart a new path for John Stewart, Sojourner “Jo” Mullein from Far Sector and Teen Lantern, the hacker Green Lantern who appeared in Young Justice.

Here’s how DC describes the first issue: With the majority of Green Lanterns called back to Oa, John Stewart arrives alongside Teen Lantern Keli Quintela, whose homemade gauntlet could be one of the most powerful and unstable weapons in the universe. With the entire landscape of the universe in flux, is this the end of the Green Lantern Corps…or a new beginning?

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Mail Call | Clownhunter joins the ‘Joker Wars’

Plus: X of Swords, Star Wars manga, free Scooby comics and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we received from publishers in our mailboxes recently. Hit the links for more information.

Marvel is hyping up their next X-Men event with some new promo art for X-Men: X of Swords, which was announced right before the pandemic at C2E2. Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard and Pepe Larraz bring you X-Men: X of Swords: Creation #1 in September.

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‘Ragnarök’ returns in July

Walt Simonson presents a new six-issue storyline in his Norse mythology epic.

Walt Simonson’s Norse mythology epic Ragnarök will return in July for a six-issue storyline titled “The Breaking of Helheim.”

The story picks up after the end of the last series, as Thor hears a voice from the past.

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‘Section Zero’ returns at Image Comics

Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett’s Gorilla Comics title will finally conclude in comic book form.

It’s been 20 years, but Image Comics is declassifying the adventures of Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel’s Section Zero. One of the original Gorilla Comics titles will return to comic book form thanks to Image Comics.

“Ever since 2000, Tom and I have constantly tried to bring Section Zero back,” Kesel said in a press release. “Almost two decades later, we finally found a way to finish what we’d begun. The cherry on top is seeing the book return to where it all started—Image Comics.”

The series will be published by Image/Shadowline Comics this April. Here’s Grummett’s cover for the first issue:

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Comics Lowdown: Jack Kirby special edition

A roundup of some of the Jack Kirby 100th birthday news this week!

Not only is it “Kirby Week” here on Smash Pages, but the entire comic industry has come together to honor and remember one of the industry’s greatest and most influential creators, Jack Kirby, for what would have been his 100th birthday. Here’s a round-up of links related to “The King.”

The first place to check is Marvel.com, which has an entire section dedicated to Jack Kirby. The colorful articles have been posted throughout the month of August, with reading lists, character features and articles by Jim Zub, Carlos Pacheco, Mark Waid and Mike Allred. Plus there are several videos about the life of Jack Kirby.

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