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Todd McFarlane Announces Four New Titles Building His Own Shared Comic Universe

Image Comics‘ President Todd McFarlane has announced his attempt at creating his own multi-character, interconnected comic book universe. His stated goal is to establish a shared fictional universe over time in the vein of what the other comic industry giants, Marvel, and DC Comics, have accomplished with their comic book universes.

The announcement was given by McFarlane during a first look presentation at the Direct Market Retailers at the Annual ComicsPRO Conference.

The character Spawn, created by McFarlane, will be at the forefront of the initial launch of new titles, but the long-term goal is that Spawn will become but one of many characters that will succeed not only in the comics industry but in many mediums across the globe.

McFarlane will capitalize on the twenty-eight-year success story of Spawn, which has seen sales increase between 150 to 600% from pre-pandemic orders. The Spawn title currently is a top 5 monthly selling title on the Diamond Distributors Top 100 Chart. Recently, a new release of a Spawn figure on Kickstarter set a new Kickstarter record, in its category, for raising just under $3.5 million in 30 days. That figure was also recently awarded the prestigious People’s Choice 2021 Toy of The Year (TOTY) by The Toy Association, Inc.

As part of his announcement, McFarlane announced four new titles coming out in 2021, with three of them continuing as regular monthly titles, meaning that there will be an opportunity for fans of the Spawn character and his new expanding world to get their stories from it on a weekly basis instead of just twelve times a year.

In June, in what McFarlane is calling “2021 the year of Spawn,” comic retailers will be able to order Spawn’s Universe #1. This will be a book that will set the stage with a story that will then spill out into the other new monthly titles. The first title will release in August with a book called King Spawn #1. The character Spawn will now join the rare company of stalwart characters, like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, that will have multiple monthly books for the same title character. It will also mark the first time in twenty-eight years that anyone can buy a monthly issue #1 Spawn book. It gives McFarlane hope of reaching a new generation of readers that missed out on the initial launch of the Spawn back in 1992.

In October comes the second new monthly called Gunslinger Spawn. This title character has been a huge hit among the fanbase over the past year, and each of his appearances has garnered enthusiasm at the stores and online.

Finally, there will be a new #1 team book, which will band five characters together to fight against forces too big for any of them to take on alone. That book is titled The Scorched. Spawn, Redeemer, Gunslinger, Medieval Spawn, and She-Spawn begins the group’s adventures. However, McFarlane promises a rotating cast of heroes over the coming months to keep the roster of heroes fresh. He also said that he would be bringing in new major villains into the fold, too.

To lend a creative hand on some of this expanding list of titles, McFarlane has recruited an all-star list of comic book creators such as Art Adams, Jason Shawn Alexander, Carlo Barberi, Brett Booth, J. Scott Campbell, Greg Capullo, Donny Cates, Jim Cheung, Mike del Mundo, Javier Fernandez, David Finch, Jonathan Glapion, Kevin Keane, Aleš Kot, Puppeteer Lee, Sean Lewis, Sean Gordon Murphy, Ben Oliver, Stephen Segovia, Paulo Siqueira, Marc Silvestri, Marcio Takara, and Frank Quitely, as well as others he will be announcing in the coming months.

The Joker 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 Celebrates Eight Decades of Chaos, Mischief, and Mayhem with Sinister Decade Variant Covers!

On April 29, DC will celebrate The Joker’s 80th anniversary with a landmark one-shot, The Joker 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1. Since his first appearance in April 1940, The Joker has become one of the most iconic and compelling characters in comic books and all of popular culture. Time and time again, his drive to sow discord and chaos has made him more than a match for Batman and his mission to protect the citizens of Gotham City.

As The Joker marks eight decades of criminal madness, fans can celebrate with a one-of-a-kind collectible tribute comic book with stories by Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, Paul Dini, Denny O’Neil, Scott Snyder, Tom Taylor, Jock, José Luis García-López, Mikel Janín, James Tynion IV, Riley Rossmo, and more. The Joker 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1, with a chilling main cover by Greg Capullo, will feature decade variants by:

  • 1940s variant cover by Arthur Adams
  • 1950s variant cover by David Finch and Steve Firchow
  • 1960s variant cover by Francesco Mattina
  • 1970s variant cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
  • 1980s variant cover by Bill Sienkiewicz
  • 1990s variant cover by Gabriele Dell’Otto
  • 2000s variant cover by Lee Bermejo
  • 2010s variant cover by Jock

The Joker 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 is a 100-page, Prestige format one-shot comic book available at comic book retailers and participating digital retailers on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 for $9.99. Please consult your local comic book store for more information regarding the decade variant covers.

Review – Action Comics #900

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Action Comics #900Much has been said in the last few days of this monumental nine hundredth issue of one of the most pivotal comics in history, Action ComicsAction Comics #900 is a huge leap and massive comic, boasting 96 pages and a cover price of $5.99.  I won’t delve into the controversy for now, expect that in an hour, instead how is the comic?

Paul Cornell, Damon Lindelof, David Goyer, Geoff Johns, Paul Dini and Richard Donner are just some of the names that make this a pretty solid issue, if not a bit uneven.

Paul Cornell, Pete Woods and Jesus Merino (and a few others) continue the main story running through the series, The Black Ring.  Basically, Lex is now God and Superman confronts him.  It’s very much Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and the story is about as good as the movie.  As a whole, there’s a lot of plot points that either don’t make sense or belittles Lex Luthor as a villain and character.  It could also be the fact that I haven’t read the lead up.  I’m sure that didn’t help.

The short stories that followed are a mix bag.  Each has a point and attempts to analyze a different facet of the Superman character and mythos in a different way.

Damon Lindelof and Ryan Sook‘s entry gives us a few days before the end of Krypton.  It’s the highlight of the issue with just a touching simple story.  One that makes you think, and gives you a moment of pause.

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank is the weakest of stories featuring the Legion of Super Heroes.  If you don’t know these characters, like me, this will go over your head.

Paul Dini and RB Silva’s story is the one that gets you to think about an alien who’s the last of it’s kind and must keep what it’s scene going.  A nice reflection to Superman.

David Goyer and Miguel Speulveda bring us the news worthy story that has Superman heading to Tehran and partaking in a rally in Iran.  This causes controversy and an international incident as it looks like the US is interfering with their internal affairs.  It results in Superman making a bold statement about his citizenship.  The story is one of the two stand out as it features real world locations, unlike previous stories which usually feature an echo.

Finally Richard Donner, Derek Hoffman and Matt Camp present a Superman story in screenplay format, which is always neat to see.

Overall the issue is mixed.  The main story I could do without, but the rest, minus Johns’, are pretty solid stuff.  If nothing else, grab it to see what the controversy is about.

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