Category Archives: Spotlight

Dynamite Issues a Statement Regarding Their Stance Over Comicsgate

A little over a week ago, Dynamite Entertainment found itself in hot water after the publisher’s involvement with the harassment group Comicsgate was fully unraveled. What started as anger over covers turned into a revelation the involvement was much deeper. The comic publisher had been releasing variant covers with CG involved individuals for some time now and it was revealed after things had boiled over that Dynamite founder Nick Barrucci had been working with Comicsgate ringleader Ethan Van Sciver in various capacities.

Comicsgate is a harassment campaign presented as a consumer revolt. A conservative, regressive backlash to the world moving forward with equality and generally growing up. You can read more about it here.

Dynamite has officially released a statement regarding their involvement and the fallout from it.

Dynamite Entertainment is a partner in the fight for equality and inclusion. Our company was founded on these core values more than 15 years ago and they are essential to the creative process – the work of visionary artists and entrepreneurs – that we are passionate about. Intolerance has no place in our company or our industry. The impulse behind this brief association was that of helping a friend of many decades and his family, and not how that assistance could potentially affect our valued colleagues, partners, and friends. That association is behind us and this time has strengthened our resolve to continue working with the most diverse talent in creating the best comics possible.

It’s a statement…

What the statement glosses over is the publisher, and more importantly Barrucci’s, actual involvement with the movement that has been ongoing for years. Were they instrumental in getting EVS up and running? Did they connect and hire creators? What other services did they provide? These are all unanswered questions that will haunt the publisher until it comes clean. While being involved with Comicsgate the publisher at the same time was hiring rather progressive creators, some of whom have been targets of CG. It feels like a poor attempt to have their cake and eat it too.

The initial reaction to the statement has been one of skepticism and a general consensus that it’s a weak attempt at a response.

Dynamite and Barrucci need to sit down and answer hard questions to get behind the situation and come clean with their involvement and more importantly show through action their values. As a saying goes, deeds not words, and it’s a saying they should be focusing on as a publisher.

SDCC 2020: Heavy Metal and DIGA Studios Announce a New Immersive Podcast WonderWerk

Heavy Metal

Following a well-received Comic Con@Home panel titled, “Heavy Metal Presents: Forging the Future of Genre” on Thursday, Heavy Metal Entertainment exclusively premiered the trailer for their first ever narrative anthology podcast experience, WonderWerk. The production is in partnership with DIGA Studios.

Those attending Heavy Metal’s virtual SD Comic Con At Home panel–which included Heavy Metal CEO Matthew Medney, Heavy Metal Publisher & Chief Creative Overlord David Erwin, and Creators Dylan Sprouse, George C. Romero and Dan Fogler–were the first to watch and hear the trailer for WonderWerk.  The trailer teased a wide array of narratives with intense sound design, original music, and robust experiences. As Heavy Metal sees its historic #300 issue on the horizon, its priorities are clearly to expand beyond the page with its partner, DIGA Studios.

Heavy Metal and DIGA Studios’ WonderWerk will officially debut on August 4th, wherever podcasts can be found.

Comics Deserve Better is a New Podcast Focused on Indie Comics

Graphic Policy contributor Logan Dalton, Darci Meadville, and Brian Stafford have teamed up for the new podcast “Comics Deserve Better.”

The podcast focuses on indie comics (non-Big Two), non-licensed comics, and news.

The first episode is available now and discusses the memoir/road trip story American Dream? by Malaysian-American non-binary cartoonist Shing Yin Khor.

You can listen to it on Anchor, Spotify, or right here below!

Star Wars descends into the unknown for new YA horror anthology DARK LEGENDS, but it’s not without precedent

Horror and Star Wars isn’t something one often hears uttered in the same sentence, although the pairing of the two isn’t entirely novel for the franchise. Disney Lucasfilm Press has announced its intentions to look beyond the dark side for a new YA horror anthology titled Star Wars: Dark Legends. The book is set for a July 28 release and will feature six terrifying tales written by George Mann with illustrations by Grant Griffin.

In an interview given to SYFY WIRE, Mann states that the six tales will read like campfire/bedtime cautionary tales complete with hauntings, transformations, and eerie Sith lords. The book’s scope covers the myths and legends of the Star Wars universe with details and ideas taken from the new Galaxy’s Edge attractions at Disneyland and Disney World.

Star Wars: Dark Legends.
Star Wars: Dark Legends, Disney Lucasfilm

It’s refreshing to see some much needed experimentation and playfulness afforded to the Star Wars brand. It’s only logical to the consider the possibility of horror lurking within such a rich expanded universe, especially when we’ve already had horror books set in it way before Disney acquired the franchise.

In the late 1990’s, publisher Bantam Spectra released twelve Star Wars horror books for young readers as part of a series called “Galaxy of Fear.” The books were written by John Whitman and they followed in the tradition of R.L. Stein’s iconic Goosebumps stories. These were short and fast reads set after the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Cameos from Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Thrawn, and Boba Fett were not uncommon, but the stories had their own characters embarking on these dark adventures. Book 3, for instance, called “Planet Plague,” follows Tash, Zak, and Uncle Hoole as they visit the planet Gobindi to explore its ancient ruins. Tash is suddenly afflicted by a big and strange bump that’s threatening to come out of her arm. And then the bump grows bigger and bigger.

Galaxy of Fear series

Book 6, titled “Ghost of the Jedi,” finds the trio on the planet Nespis 8. A haunted library is said to be found on the planet, one haunted by the ghost of a Jedi. Whether it’s as simple as that is a question the book answers in the only way a Star Wars horror book can.

The most impressive thing these books achieve lies in how organically they weave horror and Star Wars together. No book feels like it’s being force-fed elements of the supernatural or of gothic-style hauntings for the sake of a gimmick. They treat the license’s vast universe as fertile ground for scary things that feel like they belong there.

The next horror book to come out of the expanded universe came in 2009 and was called Star Wars: Death Troopers. Written by Joe Schreiber, the book deals in zombies and is set in a broken-down prison barge containing two very important prisoners that are synonymous with the franchise. It takes place before the events of A New Hope and it manages to propose a kind of framework for how horror can be integrated into the grander narrative. The book was well-received and paved the way for a prequel novel, by the same author, called Red Harvest (2010). The two books later came to be known as the “Virus Duology.”

Book 1 of the Virus Duology

The prequel explains the origin of the virus that turns the dead into the undead and looks at a Jedi that is particularly skilled with plant life. The book also features a Sith Master called Darth Scabrous that wants to harness the power of a special flower that can act as an ingredient for the deadly virus.

While Star Wars is no stranger to horror, its time with it has been relatively limited. The new “Dark Legends” anthology could be the catalyst that brings about a more robust offering of horror stories set in that galaxy far, far away. If the same pattern emerges, maybe we can hope for a new fully-fledged horror novel ready to bring fear into the hearts of readers and Jedi alike.

Top Philippine Comic Talent Team to Raise Money to Purchase PPE

Working day and night, Filipino health workers tirelessly put their lives on the line in the fight against COVID-19. Throughout the global pandemic, they have proven themselves the real-life counterparts of our favorite comic book heroes. And, much like the superheroes who suit up to save the world, frontliners have their own kind of gear in the form of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Comic Odyssey, in association with Filbar’s and Planet X, and in partnership with Wunderman Thompson Philippines, has launched a fundraising campaign, “#SuitsForHeroes” to help purchase PPE’s for the frontliners. Accessible at SuitsForHeroes.com, Comic Odyssey has pledged to reward each donor’s contribution with store credit which can be used for back issues at Comic Odyssey’s BGC branch.

To promote the campaign, internationally-renowned Filipino comic book artists have graciously donated their time and talents to create artwork that paid tribute to the heroic frontliners. The list of contributors includes Leinil Yu, Stephen Segovia, Kajo Baldisimo, Whilce Portacio, Mico Suayan, and Harvey Tolibao with Levi Ramirez on colors. Towards the end of July, these exclusive pieces will be put up for auction to raise additional funds.

All #SuitsForHeroes proceeds will go to the following: Frontliner Feeders Philippines, Kaya Natin, and Philippine General Hospital Medical Foundation Incorporated.

Steve Geppi Resumes Role of President of Geppi Family Enterprises

Geppi Family Enterprises

Today, Geppi Family Enterprises announced organizational changes in hopes of leaning “further into the many opportunities to elevate (their) industry, (their) business and (their) brands in this fast-moving and evolving marketplace.”

Steve Geppi will reassume the role of President of Geppi Family Enterprises in addition to his position as Chairman and CEO. With that change, Stan Heidmann will depart the organization.

The announcement continued to say:

As you know, I have a strong history of growing and leading this organization for several decades and I am energized about our next phase. I am supported by an exceptionally talented executive leadership team with deep expertise and an unwavering commitment to our industry as well as by the incredible teams they have built. I am proud and privileged to work with such amazing people.

Under my guidance, the executive leadership team will support a comprehensive strategic review to position the enterprise for future growth. I feel a tremendous responsibility to our employees and the industry, and I fully intend to set all Geppi Family Enterprise brands on a path for robust growth. I am confident we have the right leadership with talented teams in place and I see enormous opportunities for GFE.

Scott Lobdell Departs Red Hood as New Allegations are Raised

Scott Lobdell is a comic writer who has largely escaped allegations of harassment. Today, he announced that he would be exiting Red Hood and the Outlaws after the 50th issue wraps. He began writing the character of Jason Todd, aka Red Hood, since DC’s New 52 initiative in 2011 and has one of the longer current runs of a single writer on a character.

I’m stepping away from only remaining freelance work on Red Hood and The Outlaws, effective immediately” Lobdell wrote. “Issue #50 out in October will be my final issue. While I’m profoundly grateful for the last ten years on a book telling the story of a tragically flawed man in search of redemption, I depart certain that my vacancy will be filled by a dynamic new voice.

His statement makes it sound like Lobdell is stepping away from comics as a whole. He still is writing for Dynamite and is launching their latest volume of The Green Hornet.

The writer has found success with films like Happy Death Day which was released in 2017 and a sequel in 2019. He also was a writer on Critters Attack! which was released in 2019 and an attempt to reboot the classic horror franchise. His creator-owned comic series Ball and Chain is currently being adapted into a film starring The Rock and Emily Blunt.

Lobdell admitted to having engaged in harassment in 2013 and was accused of it last year again when he was announced as the writer of Flash Forward.

I myself witnessed Lobdell drunkenly making a woman uncomfortable, something she told me had happened multiple times before, at San Diego Comic-Con. A DC staffer stood next to Lobdell as if to make sure he didn’t get completely out of hand but was ok with general creepiness. A source also has spoken privately of unwanted inappropriate messages Lobdell would send over instant message.

With Lobdell’s announcement, numerous individuals have spoken out further about the creator leaving many to wonder if he’s getting out of comics before more is revealed threatening his movie career.

Artist Tess Fowler came forward about inappropriate comments Lobdell made to her.

Alex de Campi too took to Twitter to speak up as well:

And more individuals have come forward as witnesses to his behavior.

Numerous other individuals are coming forward with their own stories and screenshots of inappropriate messages the writer has sent.

Lobdell is a shining example of a known problem within the industry seeing no repercussions due to their actions and being protected by senior staff. And, suffering no accountability, is able to walk away on his terms.

Aconyte Reveals its First Marvel Titles

Marvel

Aconyte Books is the book publishing imprint of Asmodee Entertainment, a game company that is leveraging its IP for a range of new prose novels.

The publisher had previously announced a partnership with Marvel for a series of prose novels and it has now revealed the initial lineup which launches in Fall 2020.

  • Legends of Asgard: Set in the legendary realm of Asgard and rich in Norse-inspired mythology, these fantastical stories celebrate heroism, adventure, fate, honor, and myth. Raise a flagon of ale and enjoy tales of the extraordinary exploits of heroes and heroines from the Ten Realms.
  • Marvel Heroines: These captivating stories feature some of Marvel’s best-loved female characters, some just coming to understand their powers for the first time and others firmly established among the ranks of legendary Super Heroes.
  • Xavier’s Institute: These novels follow the young members of the New Charles Xavier School for Mutants. Expect stories of adventure, defiance, and growth as these characters explore their abilities and their place in the world.
  • Marvel Untold: These tales round up the best villains, magic-wielding heroes, and more from the furthest corners of the Marvel Universe. Whether it’s seeing a famous confrontation from a different perspective or exploring a piece of a character’s backstory that we’ve never seen before, these novels will bring these stories out into the light of day.

FALL 2020 PUBLICATION SCHEDULE

MonthStrandTitleAuthor
OctoberMarvel HeroinesDomino: StraysTristan Palmgren
OctoberLegends of AsgardThe Head of MimirRichard Lee Byers
NovemberXavier’s InstituteLiberty & Justice for AllCarrie Harris
DecemberMarvel UntoldThe Harrowing of DoomDavid Annandale
DecemberLegends of AsgardThe Sword of SurturC L Werner

DOMINO: STRAYS by Tristan Palmgren

[Marvel Heroines] Sharp-witted, luck-wrangling mercenary Domino takes on both a dangerous cult and her own dark past, in this explosive introduction to the new series of Marvel prose novels.

The job: infiltrate a Chicago conman’s cult to liberate some brainwashed twins. For former X-Force operative Domino, that’s a “hell no”. Fanatics are bad news. She still has nightmares about Project Armageddon, the super-soldier program that wrecked her life and destroyed her family. If only she’d had someone to help her back then, someone… like her. It’s a total pain in the ass, but maybe it is time to finally face those demons. With her probability manipulating superpowers she can turn even the worst of situations to her advantage.

Pub Date: Oct 6th, 2020
Trade paperback • ISBN 978-1-83908-050-0 • US$16.95 • CAN$22.95 • UK£8.99
Ebook • ISBN 978-1-83908-051-7 • US$9.95 • CAN$13.95 • UK£7.99


THE HEAD OF MIMIR by Richard Lee Byers

[Legends of Asgard] The young Heimdall must undertake a mighty quest to save Odin – and all of Asgard – in the first heroic fantasy novel set in Marvel’s incredible Legends of Asgard.

It is a dark time for Asgard. The Allfather is trapped in a bewitched Odinsleep, inspiring an all-out assault from the Frost Giants. They evade the gods’ defenses with uncommon ease as if guided by augury. Heimdall, a quick-witted young warrior still finding his place amongst Asgard’s defenders, believes it no coincidence that Odin lies enchanted and that the Giants are so well-informed. Sneaking into Odin’s inner chambers, he discovers that the severed head of Mimir, a great source of wisdom, is missing. Accompanied by his sister, Lady Sif, Heimdall must quest across the Ten Realms to retrieve it, lest mighty Asgard fall.

Pub Date: Oct 6th, 2020
Trade paperback • ISBN 978-1-83908-054-8 • US$16.95 • CAN$22.95 • UK£8.99
Ebook • ISBN 978-1-83908-055-5 • US$9.95 • CAN$13.95 • UK£7.99


LIBERTY & JUSTICE FOR ALL by Carrie Harris

[Xavier’s Institute] Two exceptional students face their ultimate test when they answer a call for help, in the first thrilling Xavier’s Institute novel, focused on the daring exploits of Marvel’s mutant heroes.

As part of their training at the New Charles Xavier Institute, Triage and Tempus are allowed to attempt their first solo flying mission. Some way into their mission, they pick up an urgent SOS message – Sentinels are attacking a superpowered mutant, who is struggling to protect an injured politician. When they abandon their lesson and answer the call, however, the identity of both will cause the two young X-Men far more problems than they bargained for.

Pub Date: Nov 3rd, 2020
Trade paperback • ISBN 978-1-83908-058-6 • US$16.95 • CAN$22.95 • UK£8.99
Ebook • ISBN 978-1-83908-059-3 • US$9.95 • CAN$13.95 • UK£7.99


THE HARROWING OF DOOM by David Annandale

[Marvel Untold] Our thrilling new line bringing new tales of Marvel’s Super Heroes and villains begins with the infamous Doctor Doom risking all to steal his heart’s desire from the very depths of Hell.

Notorious villain Doctor Victor von Doom has finally found a solution for his oldest obsession: rescuing his mother’s soul from the clutches of Hell. An alliance with the reclusive sage, Maria von Helm, has provided the key to Doom’s latest invention. Fusing their super-science and sorcery, Doom has created the Harrower, a device that will open a rift and wrench his mother’s soul from the netherworld. Back in the human world, however, rebel forces threaten to overrun Latveria and topple its dark leader – and revolution couldn’t come at a more dangerous time than when the gates of Hell itself have been unlocked.

Pub Date: Dec 1st, 2020
Trade paperback • ISBN 978-1-83908-052-4 • US$16.95 • CAN$22.95 • UK£8.99
Ebook • ISBN 978-1-83908-053-1 • US$9.95 • CAN$13.95 • UK£7.99


THE SWORD OF SURTUR by C L Werner

[Legends of Asgard] The God of War must explore a terrifying realm of eternal fire to reclaim his glory, in this epic fantasy novel of one of Odin’s greatest heroes.

Tyr, God of War and elder brother of Thor, embarks on a quest to seal his place at Odin’s side. Spurred on by loyal young Bjorn Wolfbane and the bewitching Lorelai, the trio set out to steal a sliver of Twilight, the sword of the fire giant Surtur, who will one day bring about Ragnarok and destroy Asgard. But the fiery realm of Muspelheim is fraught with volcanic trolls, lava Kraken, and Surtur’s brood of murderous warriors. Tyr must overcome both his own feelings and the motives of his allies, or risk triggering the apocalypse and cursing his name forever.

Pub Date: Dec 1st, 2020
Trade paperback • ISBN 978-1-83908-037-1 • US$16.95 • CAN$22.95 • UK£8.99
Ebook • ISBN 978-1-83908-038-8 • US$9.95 • CAN$13.95 • UK£7.99

Brendan Wright Releases a Statement Regarding Harassment Accusations

Last week, editor Brendan Wright was accused of harassment and crossing boundaries with another professional within the comic industry. The revelation resulted in Wright being removed from numerous current comic projects as well as individuals distancing themselves and saying they wouldn’t work with him further.

Wright had remained silent and today released a statement regarding what happened.

You can read it in full below:

I am sorry to Bekah Caden for hurting her by disregarding her boundaries. My recollection of events isn’t different enough from hers to be worth arguing. What matters is that my behavior toward her was wrong, and I wouldn’t have acted the same way toward a male editor who had impressed me the way she did.

I first crossed a boundary when I told Bekah I was interested in her. She was clear to me about the nature of our relationship, and I convinced myself there was mutual attraction anyway. We later started working together, and I assured her I understood she didn’t share those feelings and that I could put them away. But it is clear I was lying to myself about how I felt and what was appropriate, and while I fooled myself, I didn’t fool Bekah. A few months into our editorial partnership, Bekah told me it would have to come to an end. Instead of hearing her when she talked about my disrespect of her boundaries, I reacted with disbelief.

I spent the rest of that year rethinking the time we’d known each other in light of the pain I caused Bekah. I started learning how not to lie to myself about my behavior so this couldn’t happen again with any woman. But one thing I never did was apologize. I always felt it would be another unwanted invasion of her space. Hopefully this setting is less invasive.

Bekah, I am truly sorry that when you set boundaries with me I broke them. I am sorry that I brought up my attraction to you a second time when you had been clear it was not reciprocated. I’m sorry I wasn’t honest with myself about my feelings after that or about the effect they’d had before deciding things could just go back to normal. I am sorry that my failure to respect your boundaries brought my belief in your talent into question. I’m sorry you were put in the position of therapist on top of friend. I’m sorry, years ago when you told me what I’d put you through, that I didn’t believe you. I’m sorry for any lasting effects this has had on your life and career. I’m sorry this apology didn’t come much sooner. If you want or need this apology extended to you directly, I will make that happen however you are comfortable with, and if not, I hope this one helps heal some of the pain I caused.

As time passes, I will reject any opportunities to turn to bitterness and aggrievement to minimize my culpability. Making amends requires me first to remember that this situation is a result of my actions and to remember the remorse I felt at the pain I caused even before those actions were public. To do my part in making everyone safer, it also means continuing to actively believe and validate people who have been hurt by anyone.

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