Author Archives: Brett

Update: DC Announces Returnability and Explores Alternate Distribution Options Due to COVID-19

DC Comics logo

The comics industry has been disrupted at every point from creation to sales due to COVID-19. Publishers have been scrambling to figure out what to do in these uncertain times.

DC has been relatively quiet as to their plans but has announced to retailers some of their changes.

The publisher is making all periodicals and books with in-store dates between March 18, 2020 and June 24, 2020 returnable. They’re even crediting for the return shipping.

The publisher is also working through what different regional disruption means. Currently, some shops are closed completely, others are open with limited business, and others are completely open. DC is now exploring a multi-distributor model to create flexibility during this time period. They are still working with Diamond Comic Distributors to get new product out through their distribution. More details are coming as far as this plan and what it might mean for retailers.

We’ll have more coming in this developing story.

Update: The publisher has said they will continue with digital comics but will revisit that plan depending on what happens with physical distribution down the road. DC’s releases are still listed in comiXology’s upcming page for what’s being released this coming week. DC’s release page shows a full release schedule on April 1. Their studies have determined it’s two different audiences so they feel the release of digital comics will not impact the eventual sale of their physical counterparts. This is compared to Marvel whos comics are also shown on comiXology’s release page but the calendar shows only two releases.

TV Review: Vagrant Queen S1E1 A Royal Ass-Kicking

Vagrant Queen

Vagrant Queen is the latest comic series to be adapted for television or film. The television series is based on the comic from writer Magdalene Visaggio and artist Jason Smith. The comic series is published by Vault Comics.

Starring Adriyan Rae in the lead role of Elida, Tim Rozon as Isaac, and Paul du Toit as the menacing Commander Lazaro, the series follows Elida. Elida is an orphaned queen turned scavenger who keeps one step ahead of the Republic government attempting to kill her.

The first notable thing of the series is the visuals which feel like a cross between The Fifth Element, Doctor Who, and Red Dwarf all in a slight dayglo coloring. The visuals are both high quality and low quality at the same time. While some characters like the Republic soldiers look great, some aliens look like bad cosplay.

The longer the show went on the more the visuals grew on me, even with flaws. There’s a vision for the show and it’s consistent and is cohesive. Still, it’s an interesting mix since some things are so good and others are so bad. For every one thing that works, there’s another that doesn’t. That aspect seems to pass that along to the cast too.

Rae, Rozon, and du Toit all seem to be having fun in their roles at times going over the top and overall just having fun. Rae as Elida has a charm about her that is inviting and brings the entertaining aspect to this entertainment. Du Toit especially chews up the scenery with an over the top performance which has a fun villainous wink to it, especially compared to Rae and Rozon’s delivery.

The show has the “Syfy aesthetic,” a certain quality and style that seems to be consistent of shows on the channel. Things are both good and bad, interesting and not so much. It’s fascinating how consistent show are. And that consistency brings with a certain amount of cheese but that cheese is also fun.

Vagrant Queen does a solid job of setting things up and by the halfway mark, you have a good idea of where it’s going. The show is excellent in jumping between the past and present introducing us to Elida. Even with its predictable twist, the first episode is enjoyable and characters have their charm.

Vagrant Queen knows what it is. It wears its style on its sleeve. There’s good and bad about it and the result is good popcorn television. Even when parts are bad, there’s still something fun about it. Think the Enterprise being hit and crew knocked around for quality. There’s a cheese factor but velvety goodness.

I have no idea how well the show sticks to the comic source material but the first episode makes me want to find out. It’s Friday fun television that delivers some sci-fi escape.

Overall Rating: 7.75

Purchase Vagrant Queen Vol. 1: PaperbackKindle

Dark Horse Direct Gets an Abe Sapien 1000toys Abe Sapien Exclusive Figure

Dark Horse Direct had an exclusive 1000toys Hellboy figure and now you can get an Abe Sapien figure.

This exclusive, limited edition version includes a separate Rasputin figure and is limited to 1000. The Rasputin figure is the exclusive item.

Also included is a removable vest, interchangeable hands, pistol, spear gun, and knife.

The exclusive version retails for $119.99. There’s also a non-exclusive version that retails for $79.99.

Archie Will Release Some April Titles But Delay Future Titles and Offers Returnability

Archie Comics

Comic publishers are scrambling as to what to do with releases with COVID-19 spreading. Some have stopped releases while others are offering returnability as well. Archie Comics has released the below statement to retailers.

In it, the publisher has three titles that are too far in release to stop and will be done so physically and digitally. Other titles will be delayed into the future. The publisher is also offering returnability for a limited time.

You can read the full statement to retailers below:

It is an understatement to say that these are challenging and uncertain times for everyone. We want to be as transparent and communicative as possible in regards to what we plan to do with our products over the coming weeks and months.

As noted in an earlier statement, we do not want to put an undue burden on retailers already facing shutdowns and limited-to-no distribution from Diamond. Some of the early steps we’ve taken to accomplish this include, but are not limited to, offering returnability on all of our products originally scheduled for release in March & April. We are now extending that to cover releases in the month of May.

We are also indefinitely delaying all of our planned releases for new direct-market focused comic book projects originally scheduled to launch in late-April through July. This includes our recently announced Betty Cooper: Superteen and Archie Meets Flash Gordon one-shots as well as future issues of Archie & Katy Keene, Sabrina: Something Wicked, Super Duck, and the Betty & Veronica: The Bond of Friendship OGN, as well as other, yet-to-be announced titles. The release schedules for these titles are fluid and will be re-evaluated at a later date.

With that said, we have three titles already in the pipeline that are too far down the path to pull back completely. This small selection of titles has already been printed, with copies mailed to our subscribers as well as select direct market retailers who have ordered custom variant covers. This includes Sabrina: Something Wicked #1 (on sale 4/1), Cosmo the Mighty Martian #5 (on sale 4/1, final issue) and Vampironica: New Blood #4 (on sale 4/15, also a final issue).

As such, we will be releasing our full slate of 4/1 titles via our direct sale channels and digitally. These books are returnable via Diamond and we are able to service your backlist needs as well as provide limited front-list ordering directly from our warehouse if you wish to offer them to your customers. Please reach out directly to us via the usual communication channels and we can coordinate any orders as time and stock allows. Vampironica: New Blood #4, the final issue in the series, will be the last of our direct market-focused titles available digitally when it releases on 4/15.

While we will have already hit pause on all new direct-market focused titles, we will continue to publish our newsstand & subscriber-focused Classic Archie titles such as Archie Jumbo Comics Digest, Archie Milestones Jumbo Comics Digest, Betty & Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest, B&V Friends Jumbo Comics Digest, and World of Archie Jumbo Comics Digest as long as this option remains available to us. Our graphic novels and book market releases such as Archie Comics Presents, our Giant Comics Series, and reprint titles such as Archie & Friends and Betty & Veronica: Friends Forever will continue as digital titles, with print releases depending on printer and distribution channel availability. These are titles that primarily serve channels outside of the direct market, which are currently still operating, just at a reduced capacity.

We are aiming to strike a delicate balance between meeting the needs of our subscriber and digital customers while also reducing the burden on our partners in the direct market. Our goal here is to make sure that the direct market is not left out of our core titles while also maintaining a steady stream of content and material for our other audiences – as well as keeping our own business needs and operational requirements in mind.

As many of you know, Archie is a unique publisher in that we serve a number of channels. We will update our comic shop partners each week with any new information and are taking a close look at what we can move into the later part of the year to lessen the stress on comic shops during the pandemic, and to ensure notable releases for when things return to some semblance of normal.

Please be safe and stay healthy. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or suggestions on how we can help you through these difficult times. This is a conversation and we want to remain in contact with you.

Review: New Mutants Vol. 1

Dawn of X has arrived and the original New Mutants, with some new members, head to space to bring back Cannonball!

Story: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Rod Reis
Letterer: Travis Lanham

Get your copy in comic shops now and in bookstores on March 31! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW
Zeus Comics

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Dark Horse Decreases Monthly Releases and Makes Comics Returnable Due to COVID-19

Comic publishers are scrambling to change their policies and release schedules in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Dark Horse has made their initial plans known. They include decreasing the number of comics being released as well as offering 90-day fully returnable terms. They are continuing to explore other options.

It’s unclear what Dark Horse will be releasing as Diamond Comic Distributors has ceased sending out new weekly releases for an unknown amount of time.

You can read Dark Horse’s full letter to retailers below.

Review: Transformers vs. Terminator #1

TRANSFORMERS VS. TERMINATOR #1

1984 was a pretty important year with so many of today’s beloved pop culture properties debuting during that year. Transformers and The Terminator were two of them and 36 years later, the two properties meet in this new miniseries. Transformers vs. Terminator #1 delivers an interesting debut that’s a twist on the classic story. Unfortunately, something falls a little short in the actual delivery.

David Mariotte, Tom Waltz, and John Barber all contribute to the story with Mariotte and Barber credited as writing it. It’s a familiar story with a warrior from the future sent back in time to prevent an apocalypse. In this case, a Terminator is sent back to protect Skynet from its enemies, Transformers. It’s a twist on the original story putting Skynet in the role of the resistance. Sarah Conner is involved still and the Terminator is the T-800 version, though the likeness to Arnold is… not close.

By trying to give us a twist on the original film, the first issue feels like a bad copy devoid of original and interesting ideas. Compare that to the recent crossover between Transformers and Ghostbusters which was packed with them. And that’s part of the problem with this debut. The entire comic feels “not close.”

There’s clunky dialogue. The sequence of events is a bit choppy. There’s just a lot there that feels off like an odd generic version of the classic. The story easily could have been the Resistance we knew taking on a Skynet/Transformers alliance but instead it delivers a “no matter who wins, we lose” storyline. There’s hints of something really cool here but as delivered it falls flat. The cool factor isn’t there, even if the concept is a childhood mash-up.

Part of the issue is the art by Alex Milne. While the Transformers look fantastic, the T-800 is bad. There’s attempts to make it look like the original film but it just doesn’t work. Add in the attempt to translate Arnold’s awkward delivery and it’s art that’s either exciting or feels like a comedic take.

Transformers vs. Terminator #1 should be an easy one to nail down. But, this debut stumbles from the beginning. From bad dialogue to at times iffy art, there’s just so many crossovers for both properties that’s better and more worth your time.

Story: David Mariotte, Tom Waltz, John Barber
Written: David Mariotte, John Barber
Art: Alex Milne Color: David Garcia Cruz: Letterer: Jake M. Wood
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Hellions #1

Hellions #1

Marvel’s new status-quo for the X-Universe has been interesting. It has brought both the heroic and the villainous, and all those in-between, together in one nation. They stand together despite crimes committed, even against each other. It’s a point that’s both intriguing and frustrating. The issues and past are at times mentioned, as well as a distrust and questioning of the decision, but truly addressing things hasn’t happened. Hellions #1 does some of that focusing on a new team, the X-Men’s Suicide Squad in many ways.

Hellions #1 takes us through each team member and their issues and outright crimes committed. These are individuals we are not supposed to like and in some cases hate. They’ve murdered people or are so far gone they make us uncomfortable. It’s a band of villains brought together to be guided by Mr. Sinister. And if they fail, get more villains for the team resurrect them.

The first issue does a solid job setting up the team. Written by Zeb Wells, it follows the usual pattern but does so in entertaining ways. We get our segment with each key character spotlighting why they’re despised. Much is explained, some is just left to “they’re crazy.” Despite the trope-ish introduction, there’s still some that break the usual mold so it’s not quite exactly as expected.

Wells also makes sure to focus on the details of the dialogue. The Quiet Council’s deliberation of what to do with the individuals is some amazing entertainment. It mixes laughter and seriousness. It also shows that this new nation is still making it up as they go and don’t have all of the answers. There’s also an emphasis that the council itself is a bit hypocritical and the line is thin between them and the new Hellions. Wells uses very theatrical and play-like banter to entertain and explore one of the darker sides of Krakoa.

Stephen Segovia‘s art is fantastic. Joined by David Curiel‘s colors, the art is able to deliver action but also dynamic verbal debates. Segovia has no problem breaking panels delivering spreads that are engaging and feel fresh. The lettering by Cory Petit is important as well. It delivers hints as to what might happening with at least one of the new Hellions.

Hellions #1 is a solid debut. It delivers action and a team you want to cheer against. It’s concept isn’t new and we’ve seen it many times before but it’s cast of characters creates such an x-factor it’s hard not to want to see it all go off the rails. It’s one of the better Dawn of X titles and a debut that’ll have you want to check out more.

Story: Zeb Wells Art: Stephen Segovia
Color: David Curiel Letterer: Cory Petit Design: Tim Muller
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Awesome Con 2020 Moves to December Due to COVID-19 Concerns. Awesome Con Jr. is Providing Activities at Home

Awesome Con

The spread of COVID-19 has thrown so many plans out the window. Conventions, concerts, and events are being postponed. Awesome Con has announced they’re moving their convention until December from the initial May. The new dates are December 11-13. The convention takes place in Washington, DC.

Awesome Con’s decision was to ensure the safety of the fans, exhibitors, and their own team. It also follows local guidelines about gatherings and the unknown length they may be implemented.

Attendees who have pre-purchased can transfer their tickets to the new date, transfer tickets to the 2021 convention, or ask for a refund minus servicing fees. Attendees have until July 1, 2020 to decide and if there’s no response, tickets will be transferred to the December date.

Attendees with Premium Passes will be refunded automatically and need to be repurchased.

Those who purchased merchandise, that will be transferred to December 2020 tickets if you go that route or you can request a refund.

Those who have made a hotel reservation through the convention block will get an email concerning that.

You can find all your options concerning ticketing here. Exhibitors can find information here.

In better news, Awesome Con Jr. is offering free, educational and interactive online resources to help you and kids at home stay entertained. Be sure to check out Awesome Con’s website, as new content will be pushed out regularly each week.

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