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The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Announces New Board of Directors Members

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has announced three new individuals to its Board of Directors. Creator Amy Chu, editor Joseph Illidge, and fandom fixture Pam Noles were all announced by the organization, Illidge and Noles begin their tenure on the CBLDF Board of Directors immediately, while Chu will join in January 2022.

Chu, Illidge, and Noles will serve alongside President Christina Merkler; Vice President Chris Powell; Secretary Dale Cendali; and members Jen King, Bob Wayne, and Gene Luen Yang to defend the rights of the comics industry and its community of creators, publishers, retailers, librarians, educators, and readers.

Amy Chu brings years of experience as a comics and television writer, as well as years of nonprofit management experience, to the mission of the Fund. She was formerly Executive Director of the community-based organization Asian American Arts Alliance, Manager of the Management Assistance Program for the United Way of New York City, served on the board of the Nonprofit Management Association, and has a certificate in nonprofit management from Columbia University. The Harvard Business School graduate has written several popular series for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Dynamite Comics and authored the young readers titles Sea Sirens and Sky Island (both with Janet Lee) from Penguin Random House. Chu is also a writer on the popular Netflix anime series DOTA: Dragon’s Blood.

Joseph Illidge’s career in comic books as a groundbreaking editor, writer, mentor, and long-time industry advocate for inclusion and diversity spans almost 30 years. Starting at Milestone Media, Inc., the company behind the innovative superhero universe of the award-winning animated series Static Shock, Illidge worked as a Batman editor at DC Comics and shepherded stories with iconic diverse characters ranging from the wheelchair-user Oracle to Cassandra Cain, the first Batgirl of color. In recent years, Illidge was a Senior Editor at Lion Forge Comics, Executive Editor at Valiant Comics, and Editorial Director for independent publisher A Wave Blue World. He has worked with organizations ranging from the National Down Syndrome Society to the Harlem School of the Arts and received a citation from the New York State Assembly for exemplary community service through career achievement. Illidge is now the Executive Editor for Heavy Metal, working with creators from around the globe.

Many people will recognize Pam Noles as a long-time volunteer at Comic-Con International: San Diego. A fixture on one of the restricted entrances to Hall H, she has interacted with some of the biggest names in comics and media. Noles also worked in the ACLU of Southern California’s communication department for several years.

CBLDF has defended the First Amendment rights of the comics community through legal action and educational resources since 1986, and the Fund is expanding its mission to better meet the needs of creators, publishers, retailers, librarians, educators, and readers. We look forward to our new directors’  contributions to the future of the Fund!

Preview: MPLS Sound

MPLS Sound

(W) Joseph Illidge, Hannibal Tabu (A) Meredith Laxton (CA) Jen Bartel
In Shops: Apr 14, 2021
SRP: $19.99

Theresa Booker was hardly the first singer-songwriter to be inspired by His Royal Badness-but she was the most determined.

Minneapolis, 1982. Dozens of young bands, playing day and night in bars and clubs across the city, dream of being noticed by the musical genius Prince, revered as a guru and a powerbroker. But when Theresa and her band, Starchild, are offered the opportunity of a lifetime-to be taken in and mentored by their idol-they soon find that there’s a dark side to fame and fortune that could turn their dream into a nightmare.

MPLS Sound is the ultimate love letter to the legendary Minneapolis funk-rock sound of the 1980s.

MPLS Sound

Discover New Comics with the Access Guide to the Black Comic Book Community

The Access Guide to the Black Comic Book Community 2020-2021

Comic books have generated billions for dollars for video games and movies, but not for comic books themselves. A store owner, an editor, and a journalist have come together to release the first of a series of guidebooks that introduces people to the world of comics which is rich in storytelling, ideas, and creators of color.

The Access Guide to the Black Comic Book Community 2020-2021 is the book from Anyone Comics owner Dimitrios Fragiskatos, Heavy Metal’s Executive Editor Joseph Illidge, and Comics Beat/Black Sci-fi.com (and former GP contributor) journalist and contributor George Carmona 3rd. The purpose of the book is to showcase Black creators who have comics or graphic novels that have come out in 2020, as well as showcase publishers themselves and the ideas and goals they are setting in the new year. Additionally, the book will highlight stores and conventions that are Black owned or run. The book will be a vehicle for casual readers, who feel overwhelmed by the options the comic book industry provides, or from store regulars who may want to expand their horizons.

For those people in the global Black community who want to get into comics but are afraid they may not see themselves represented in their favorite genres, this book will open a door to show them a variety of comic books and graphic novels, along with the stores and conventions where they can be found.

Look for The Access Guide to the Black Comic Book Community in comic book stores on February 17th. Proceeds from the publisher will be donated to the Dwayne McDuffie fund. Pre-orders can be made now.

Heavy Metal Promotes Joseph Illidge to Executive Editor and adds Kris Longo as Chief Sales Officer

Following a series of announcements on new publishing initiatives, Heavy Metal is continuing to build up executive staff with the promotion of Joseph Illidge to Executive Editor and the addition of Kris Longo as Chief Sales Officer.

Illidge’s remarkable career in comics spans 27 years and a host of accomplishments with various publishers, including serving as Executive Editor for Valiant Entertainment, Senior Editor for Lion Forge Comics, Editor for the Batman line of titles for DC Comics, and editor for both Milestone Media and Archaia. His new Heavy Metal responsibilities will have him working in collaboration with CEO Matthew Medney and Publisher David Erwin, developing new content and creator relationships for Heavy Metal’s flagship magazine and intellectual properties, including the “Taarna” and “Cold Dead War” characters from the seminal 1981 Heavy Metal animated film.

Longo’s addition as Chief Sales Officer will bring new, revenue-generating projects to the Heavy Metal fold, with an eye on the development of a robust advertising, marketing and promotion strategy, custom publishing, co-publishing partnerships with similarly-spirited content providers, licensing programs, and more. Prior to joining Heavy Metal, Longo spent 13 years in DC Comics’ advertising and custom solutions group, served as VP of Business Development for Bonfire Agency and in 2014 founded the advertising and marketing firm Geek Riot Media, which he will continue to independently own and operate moving forward.

A Wave Blue World’s Dead Legends Gets a Sequel

After the success of the first volume of Dead Legends, publisher A Wave Blue World has signed the creative team, James Maddox and Gavin Smith, to develop a sequel for a 2021 release.

Debuting this January, Dead Legends Vol. 1 introduced the readers to Yan Nakamura, a widow who enters the world’s deadliest martial arts tournament to get revenge on her husband’s killer.

In this new arc, Yan is on the run with her newborn baby in tow. Aided by the friends she made at the tournament, Red Death and Barbosa, Yan soon realizes that the Tiger Clan’s quest for revenge will never end. She concludes that her daughter’s only chance to grow up in safety is to head back to the Dead Legends tournament.

Also making their return to the series will be letterer, Ryan Ferrier, and editor, Joseph Illidge.

As with Dead Legends Vol. 1, Vol. 2 will be released as part of AWBW’s Premier Program, where the first issue will be distributed in print, followed by a bi-weekly release of the remaining digital issues. Then the full trade paperback drops 2 months after the Premier Edition, allowing readers the choice of how they’d like to read the series without having to wait a prolonged period for the full story.

Heavy Metal Magazine names Joseph Illidge Co-Managing Editor

Joseph Illidge

Joseph Illidge, veteran editor from DC Comics’ Batman universe, is working with the publisher as Co-Managing Editor. Joseph will be working closely with Heavy Metal‘s upper management and creative team to develop new projects from the ground up, and bring his years of experience in editorial worldbuilding and globally-recognized intellectual properties to the Heavy Metal library, starting with the publisher’s upcoming 300th issue.

The news comes after the announcement of David Erwin as the magazine’s publisher. Illidge will continue his work with A Wave Blue World.

Illidge will work alongside Heavy Metal’s CEO Matt Medney as Heavy Metal announces new initiatives and partnerships leading up the publishing their 300th issue.

A Wave Blue World Shakes Up the Comic Business Model

A Wave Blue World Logo

The comic book industry is at a point where publishers and retailers are experimenting. They’re developing new models for a classic product. A Wave Blue World has announced some changes. Their hope is to disrupt to standard release schedule we’ve come to expect. The publisher has announced it will be releasing “premier” first issues. Premier issues will be followed by digital releases and a collected edition of a series. All of this in a compacted 2-month time frame.

The indie publisher recently expanded their brand by hiring industry veterans Joseph Illidge, Editorial Director, and Lisa Y. Wu, VP of Sales and Marketing, to help launch their “Premier #1 Program.”

The Premier #1 Program came from A Wave Blue World’s recognition that the comic book market is evolving. Many readers are choosing to “Sample, Collect, and/or Binge” on comics. Readers don’t want to wait 6 to 9 months for the full story. The program offers readers choice and the ability to get the entire story within a 2-month period.

Each new title will launch with a Premier Edition #1. This will be the only single issue in print and will contain the full first issue as well as a “behind the scenes” look at concept art not found anywhere else. The first issue will be wrapped inside an exclusive cover with high-end art on premium stock.

Then, the reader has two options: 1. Read the subsequent issues digitally released every two weeks, or 2. Buy the collected volume within two months after the release of the Premier #1.

This new business model gives the readers the freedom to choose and sample with a guarantee of delay-free enjoyment and reflects A Wave Blue World’s values of integrating sustainability practices into its business decisions.

In the announcement, President/Co-Publisher Tyler Chin-Tanner explained:

Two of the challenge that prevents fans from reading indie comics are the difficulty in finding all the issues and waiting long periods of time for them to come out.  We’ve addressed both of those problems by having the full series completed in advance and ready to deliver in whatever format the reader prefers.

Executive Director/Co-Publisher Wendy Chin-Tanner said in the announcement:

Our goal in conceiving AWBW’s Premier Program is to solve a sales problem by creating a win-win solution for readers and retailers alike.

To kick off the Premier #1 Program this October, A Wave Blue World is revealing Mezo and Dead Legends.

Editorial Director Joseph Illidge said in the release:

The Premier line of books is a celebration of A Wave Blue World’s promise: To bring daring authors and innovative artists together for compelling stories about amazing characters and personal journeys. We can’t wait for you to see these books, created with the true collaborative nature of our comics community in mind!

Lisa Y. Wu, VP Sales and Marketing concluded:

Influential, innovative and progressive, A Wave Blue World is reinventing a modern approach to enjoying comics. We are redefining comics for our retailer sand readers for the 21st century in that we are placing their values into the designs of how we publish the stories of today and tomorrow.


MEZO

Tyler Chin-Tanner, Josh Zingerman, Val Rodrigues, Doug Garbark, Thomas Mauer
Cover Artist: Claudia Ianniciello
$3.99 / 32 pages / Full Color
On Sale October

“The rise of the Tzalekuhl Empire threatens to disrupt the peace that has lasted for generations across the land of Mezo. When the conquest begins, a young girl named Kyma witnesses the death of her father, Hegol, a tribal leader who refused to yield.

As the solar eclipse nears, Kyma must unite the various tribes against an emperor determined to make them all kneel before his god or be sacrificed in his name.

MEZO is a daring Mesoamerican-inspired Game of Thrones-type epic that can only be found at A Wave Blue World.”

MEZO

DEAD LEGENDS

James Maddox, Gavin Smith, Ryan Ferrier
Cover Artist: Leo Colapietro
$3.99 / 32 pages / Full Color
On Sale October 9

“A widow seeking revenge. A champion hellbent on losing. A world-class assassin second-guessing her contract. The Dead Legends tournament contains a long history of pitting the best fighters in the world against one another, but this year, these combatants bend the rules and place the future of the tournament in jeopardy. This is the martial arts throwback series that hits harder than a kick to the skull, where alliances are made, bonds are broken, and fighters lose their lives.

DEAD LEGENDS is Kill Bill meets Enter the Dragon.”

DEAD LEGENDS
Almost American