Well, file this under “we knew you when!” The Beat’s former New Media Editor/Managing Editor Alexander Lu has just announced his first graphic novel! Goodbye to All of You will be drawn by Tara Kurtzhals with colors by Maarta Laiho and it’s coming from Abrams in 2022.
This middle grade graphic novel follows two Chinese American siblings who feel untethered by the death of their mother. The night of her funeral, they wake up in a place that looks like Chinatown but is actually a space between Earth and the afterlife, populated by animal spirits. Terrance and Delilah must adapt to a new world while learning to make peace with their mother’s passing—and with each other.
The deal was repped by Inkwell Management’s Charlie Olsen and Jessica Mileo.
This sounds totally awesome and we couldn’t be happier for Alex!
Since leaving the Beat last year, Alex has been very busy working on this and also editing graphic novels for First Second — including the multiple award winning Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang. In fact it’s definitely Alex Lu Week since you can also listen to him talk editing on the podcast Portrait of an Editor!
Feeling a little teary here — Alex was such a huge support for me and the rest of the team as an editor, contributor and friend during his time at the Beat — we’ve shared so many ideas, convention adventures, and spicy Chinese soups. I knew immediately on meeting him that he was a comics lifer, and seeing his career take off is no surprise — his talent and dedication guaranteed that.
I’ve said this many times in interviews and podcasts and panels, but seeing talented people forge their creative journey, and being a part of it, no matter how large or small, is the best thing about being in comics for me, and the main reason I keep doing this.
Congrats, Alex, Tara, and Maarta! I’m sure there will be much more to come from them all.
Tomorrow it’s Comic Arts Brooklyn from 11-7 at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and as is Beat tradition, we are here to presentn the 2019 CAB Debuts! These are by no means the only new books debuting at the show, but it’s a parade of fresh faces, fresh books and fresh looks, and perhaps something here will tickly your comics reading fancy.
An absurdist, art brut rumination on society’s structures presented in Patrick Kyle’s singular style.
After the sudden death of a beloved patriarch who promised eternal life to his followers, a topsy-turvy society attempts to reconcile the deluded teachings of their late leader with the harsh reality he left behind.
Hands Up, Herbie! follows the author’s father, Herb Perr, from a mob-linked Jewish family in Brighton Beach of the 40s and 50s, through the studios of Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko, Reagan-era art activism, and a reckoning with the responsibilities of raising a family.
This book is the product of Kriota’s artists residency at the New York Academy of Medicine Library, and it includes a graphic memoir and her images of embroidery based on historical medical illustrations.
16 year-old Justin wants to forget a humiliating robbery while his father is hell-bent on getting even, so they embark on an ill-conceived, all-night manhunt that exposes glaring differences in their attitudes toward conflict, violence, and masculinity.
VENOMYTHS 00 is an arts and culture mag from the underground intergalactic resistance at least three hundred years in the future. When every thought and even biological minutia are regulated via a vast digital network, a printed book is an act of rebellion in and of itself.
In five short stories Anna Haifisch blurs the boundaries between humans and animals in a subtle way: carnivores and herbivores meet at a nerve-wracking congress, we get to know a merciless, art-collecting lizard, meet dancing ostriches and a melancholy meditating octopus.
In the second installment of this quirky, heartfelt LGBTQ adventure comic, war is brewing across the thirteen planes, and as always, haunted house attraction (and portal to hell) Dead End is right at the center of it.
Boutique Mag #4 is a community newsletter written for these, our end-of-empire times. Steeped in a half-hearted nihilism, and geared towards a community that may or may not even exist, this mag is packed full of plenty for it’s hypothetical audience to pour over!
A book edition with work by over twenty artists from across the world. The theme centers around ambiguity in spiritual encounters, religious icons or worship imagery.
Ron Rege Jr.
Juli Majer & Cristian Hernandez
Enormous Face/Kalan Sherrard
Joel Skavdahl/Seagull Invasion
Hayley Dawn Miur
Oni Press has announced the upcoming publication of Lights, the third and final installment in cartoonist Brenna Thummler‘s best-selling Sheets series.
Lights will conclude the story of Marjorie Glatt, a thirteen year old girl, and her friendship with Wendell, a newly deceased ghost. Along with their human friend Eliza, the trio will dig into Wendell’s death and test the bonds of true friendship. Here’s Publisher’s Weekly’s full description of the new installment:
Lights focuses on Wendell, depicting his life before he became a ghost. As his memories begin to dim, he teams up with Marjorie and Eliza to find some answers, and they begin to wonder if his death was actually an accident. At the same time, Marjorie starts to befriend some of their classmates who bullied Eliza, putting their friendship to the test.
The announcement comes after a particularly difficult year for Oni, which culminated in the hiring of new publisher Hunter Gorinson this past December. However Thumler’s previous books have been huge critical and sales successes for the publishers, so the arrival of the third volume is good news for all.
The original installment (the appropriately titled Sheets) followed Marjorie and her discovery of Wendell, a ghost who lives in the basement of Marjorie’s family laundromat. By day, he exists as a simple sheet; but at night, he gains the ability to wreak havoc at the laundromat. The story is a poignant exploration of death and what happens to those we leave behind.
Well received, the middle grade title shot to the top of Oni’s bestsellers lists when it was released in 2018, and eventually spawned a successful sequel with Delicates in 2020. The follow-up explored the growing friendship between Marjorie and Wendell, along with Marjorie’s new friendship with Eliza Duncan, a photography loving classmate.
Lights will arrive in comics shops and bookstores everywhere on September 8th, 2023. Preorders for the title will begin soon.
After Disney acquired Fox and all its holdings, various comic licenses such as Alien and Predator moved from Dark Horse to Marvel. The publisher wasted no time launching an Alien ongoing series from writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and artists Salvador Larroca and Julius Ohta. Today the publisher announced that it would be relaunching the Alien series again with writer Declan Shalvey and artist Andrea Broccardo taking over the title. Artist Dike Ruan will provide covers for the series, with additional variant covers for the first issue drawn by Shalvey and Gabriele Dell’Otto . No additional members of the creative team were mentioned in the announcement.
Here’s how the publisher describes the new Alien series:
In 2021, Marvel Comics dared to venture into the terrifying, unrelenting world of the ALIEN and explore never-before-seen corners of the iconic horror/science-fiction franchise to the delight of longtime fans and newcomers! This bold age of ALIEN comics storytelling will continue this April with an all-new ongoing ALIEN series by superstar creators Declan Shalvey and Andrea Broccardo. The pair will continue the riveting work that Phillip Kennedy Johnson and artists Salvador Larroca and Julius Ohta began as they uncover dark new horrors of the Alien mythos. This exciting new chapter of the ALIEN legacy will introduce a new cast of characters on a remote world in search of a groundbreaking scientific breakthrough. They’ll have to quickly decide if their mission is worth it when night falls and they find themselves hunted by the legendary Xenomorph!
Scientist Batya Zahn will do just about anything to get her family off the icy moon where they’ve been conducting research on water conservation. But there’s more than glacial springs to find in this forgotten corner of the galaxy. When they discover an extraordinary organism buried in the ice, it won’t take
Shalvey voiced excitement at the prospect of taking over the book:
“It’s incredibly exciting to take on such a brilliant franchise …the potential for great stories is limitless. I feel like the themes from the films remain quite relevant to today, which makes me feel like we’re able to tell contemporary stories set in that iconic universe. I’m very much hoping to channel the mood and atmosphere of those films while doing something new and Andrea has done an incredible job of putting the reader in that recognizable world. With this new series, I think we have a really interesting addition to the lore of Alien.”
Alien #1 is due out in stores and digitally on Wednesday, April 26th.
A gang of video game makers, social media stars and comics stars are teaming up for…a project! Ashfall is the name of this transmedia IP property, and Liithosis the name of the new AAA gaming and entertainment studio behind it. The folks involved: Michael Mumbauer and John Garvin, both formerly of Playstation and such games as Day Gone and The Last of Us, (Days Gone) and choreographer and TikTok superstar Michael Le (52.2 million followers).
Ashfall is in development as a AAA video game, but it’s debuting as a comic book, naturally, written by Garvin with artwork by Paul Pelletier (Aquaman, Guardians of the Galaxy, et al), Brett Booth (Backlash, Gunslinger), Tony Harris (Starman, Ex Machina), and more. But it’s also showing up as a series of shorts on TikTok starring Le and influencer Slider Jesus (257k followers on Instagram).
Also involved the Web3 marketplace CoinZoom and platform Hedera, because there will be digital collectibles (the new name for NFTs.)
The Ashfall comic is due in March and will introduce the Ashfall universe, set in a world where Seattle has been underwater for hundreds of years, and danger lurks:
The Trace – deadly pockets of dark energy – has brought mutation, ruin, and chaos wherever they appeared. With civilization devolved into factions and enclaves and humanity fighting over resources and differing ideologies, Ash Naranjo, born without arms, is taken by the Order of Life Science, who give him TechGyn prosthetic arms and other nano implants – changing him forever. Now one of the Order’s Ghosts, Ash fights for the United Enclaves, vowing to destroy the oppressive Freelanders who have taken his family and destroyed his homeland.
The five-episode Ashfall TikTok series debuts this Sunday, January 29th, and subsequent episodes will roll out every Sunday. This will be accompanied by the release of free (except for a $1.50x processing fee) digital collectibles on CoinZoom, with art by animation and film artist Coran Stone (Young Justice, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1), Fico Ossio (artist and co-creator of “No One Left to Fight”, Spider-Man), Eisner Award Winner John Cassaday (Planetary, Astonishing X-Men), Dave Wilkins (Masters of the Universe: Revelation #3, Star Wars – Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison), Eisner Award winner Karl Kerschl (Adventures of Superman, Majestic), and Tom Raney(Annihilation: Conquest, Alpha Flight, Ultimate X-Men). Collect all five and you get a mystery sixth collectible.
Whew! This one has all the hot genres: TikTok, video games, NFTs and comics books. It’s all part of the plan, says Mumbauer. “We are looking to collaborate, integrate, and elevate multimedia experiences with these superstars like Michael Le for the next generation. The Liithos TikTok Creators series is the first of many experiences Liithos is looking to launch to create easily traversable pathways between medias and the evolving web space.”
But there is also a comic book, and here is some cover art:
Cartoonist: Paul B. Rainey Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly Published: January 2023
Why Don’t You Love Me? by Paul B. Rainey is perhaps the first must-read graphic novel of 2023, and the way you must read it, in my opinion, is by going into the book blind.
Don’t read any promo info about it. Don’t look for takes on Twitter, and, quite frankly, you should pause reading this very review (although, I’m going to dance around spoilers for a bit, so maybe read until the big bolded spoiler warning partway through).
Why Don’t You Love Me? is without question a special book, one that plays with expectations to great effect. Part of the experience of the book is presuming it to be about one thing, and then another, and then another, and having all your preconceived notions stomped and twisted and ultimately shined into something better and new. There’s a great way to sum this book up, but, unfortunately for me, a better writer did it and put it on the back of the book.
This perfect blurb is from Neil Gaiman: “When I began to read Why Don’t You Love Me? I thought it read like any number of slightly surrealistic slightly vapid early-2000s stories that were basically the cartoonist’s way of telling you they hated everyone and everything. And then it came into focus and it wasn’t that thing at all. And then it came into focus again, uplifting and heartbreaking and (a word that I use sparingly) relevant. The kind of story leading to a last panel that’s all pain and job and delivers the whole thing. What a masterwork. To understand all is to forgive all.”
That’s a perfect way to describe Why Don’t You Love Me?, a tragicomic chameleon of a comic and, as Gaiman notes, a masterwork from Rainey.
On the surface, the first act of Why Don’t You Love Me? reads as sort of an old school newspaper strip about a couple, a very bad couple. A couple bad at parenting and bad at being married. With the name of the book appearing on each page as if it’s a Sunday strip, this one opens like a familiar albeit darker riff on the family. It expertly builds that expectation and then uses it to engage the reader as it plunges toward something new. Here’s an example of a typical page…
As this story progresses, it becomes something much deeper (and at times darker), ultimately feeling experimental for a bit before rounding into a complete and successful coherent narrative predicated on the reader learning what’s really going on alongside the characters. The book is like a novel with a close third person perspective, with its audience locked on the two central characters, experiencing what’s really going on right alongside them. Newspaper-esque gags persist, but as a byproduct of the actual story. It makes you re-evaluate a certain type of comic, imagining what might be beneath them. It’s nothing short of brilliant, to be frank.
One recurring joke, for example, is that the father doesn’t remember the son’s name (Tommy? wait, no, Charlie? bah). But even this seemingly callous bit gets explored eventually, tied into something tragic and fantastic. It’s as if a cheap veneer falls away slowly in this book, in retrospect never having been there at all. Rainey baits comics readers, twists them, and delivers a story so engaging, those readers will be grateful to have been toyed with.
There are pivots that happen multiple times through this book, the sort of pivots that make sense yet are impossible to see coming. The result is a narrative that is compulsively readable, a wormhole puzzle box comic that you can’t stop thinking about until you have unraveled it all.
In the process, Why Don’t You Love Me? raises questions about who we are, who we might be in different circumstances, and how we respond to the grand or unknowable. Perhaps, Rainey posits, some of us are locked into bygone choices we no longer support, perhaps we need a new start, perhaps what we yearn for would be too much so as to break us, or perhaps we are just too small to truly grasp the nature of it all. Ultimately, what emerges from this story are grand questions about communication and understanding, delivered in a rewarding and powerful way.
With a comics resume that spans decades, Rainey is a seasoned cartoonist, and this book feels like — again, as Gaiman points out — a true masterwork, the carefully considered opus of someone who has spent years working within the medium and wants to push what it’s capable of. It’s January, of course, but unless recency bias works against it, Why Don’t You Love Me? should be on most every Best of 2023 list come December.
• Boom has announced three hires and a promotion (one of these hires has been filling on inbox with info for a few weeks now, so Anthony, you are on the job!)
Grecia Martinez has been promoted to Marketing Coordinator. Martinez began at BOOM! Studios in 2021 as a Marketing Assistant where she helped with the growth of various digital, administrative, and advertising initiatives including social media, video interviews, and content production.
Anthony Mauro has joined the company as the Marketing Lead, bringing with him four years of experience with the publicity team at Dark Horse Comics, writing in the trenches with Heroic Hollywood and Word of the Nerd, and contributing to, publishing, and funding a small anthology on Kickstarter–Hotdog Water: A Comics Anthology. In his time in the industry, he’s repped notable titles such as The Umbrella Academy, Black Hammer, and Brian Michael Bendis’ Jinxworld line, as well as exciting licenses such as Star Wars, Overwatch, and Critical Role.
Adrian Lopez has joined the company as the Social Media Producer. Working in social media since 2008, he’s spearheaded marketing efforts for Coheed and Cambria’s Evil Ink Comics, Food Network’s Ace of Cakes Duff Goldman, as well as Skybound Entertainment’s diverse portfolio of IP, including The Walking Dead and Invincible.
Austin Fraley has joined the company as the Sales Assistant. Fraley joins BOOM! Studios after years managing a comic shop and representing Packrat Comics and Crunchyroll at industry conventions. He also is credited with producing color flats for an independently published comic book, The Scarlet Huntress during his time interning with Sean Forney Inc. as well as supporting Social Media and Creative Development at his time with Eleven Arts Film Studio.
• Esther Kim, who previously filled out inbox with info from Boom, has left the company for new adventures.
• Mark Visnick has been promoted at Tokyopop toCOO and Publisher. He was previouslyVP of Publishing, having joined the company early last year, after a stint at TKO. Nitty Gritty from the PR:
In this new role, Visnick will manage all North American operations including print, digital, editorial, marketing/PR, sales, and distribution. As the comics, manga, and graphic novel markets continue to expand, Visnick will develop strategies to drive growth and efficiency for the brand. He will report to TOKYOPOP founder and CEO, Stu Levy.
During his time at TOKYOPOP, Visnick has doubled year over year company revenue, significantly expanded the brand’s presence in the North American marketplace via retail channel expansion and partnerships, increased market share, and implemented a new production process to efficiently scale content output.
Before TKO, Visnick was Senior Business Development Manager at Ingram Content Group, and at Callisto Media, Inc. and Lonely Planet / BBC Worldwide.
After unveiling the comics accurate Yondu action figure earlier this week, this morning Hasbro announced the latest additions to the Marvel Legends line with Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum from the Squadron Supreme! Inspired by the characters’ classic appearances in Marvel comics, these Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum figures features 7 accessories including Doctor Spectrum’s Power Prism gem and blast effects.
Marvel’s Squadron Supreme, derived from the previously created supervillain team Squadron Sinister, are pastiches of pastiches of prominent members of rival publisher DC Comics’ superhero team the Justice League. In the case of Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum, that would be Superman and Green Lantern respectively.
The Squadron Supreme have been playing a major role in Jason Aaron‘s current Avengers run including the Heroes Reborncomics event a few years back that imagined a reality where the Avengers were never formed and the Squadron Supreme were Earth’s premier superhero team instead.
Check out the images and details below:
MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES SQUADRON SUPREME MARVEL’S HYPERION AND MARVEL’S DOCTOR SPECTRUM
(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $49.99 / Available for Pre-Order Spring 2023)
Hyperion convinces Doctor Spectrum and the Squadron Supreme to use their vast superpowers to solve Other-Earth’s problems by remaking it into a utopia by any means necessary! Celebrate the MARVEL UNIVERSE with this MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES SQUADRON SUPREME MARVEL’S HYPERION AND MARVEL’S DOCTOR SPECTRUM figure set. These quality 6-inch scale Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum figures feature deco inspired by the characters’ appearances in Squadron Supreme comics! Includes 2 figures and 7 entertainment-inspired accessories including Doctor Spectrum’s Power Prism gem and blast effects.
With over 80 years of entertainment history, Marvel has become a cornerstone of fan collections around the world. With the Marvel Legends Series, fan favorite Marvel Comic Universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe characters are designed with premium detail and articulation for posing and display in collections.Available for pre-order this Springat Hasbro Pulse and additional fan channel retailers
Vault Comics announced today that Adam Cahoon will be the new series artist for The Nasty beginning with issue #3. Having already contributed art to the first two issues, Cahoon will be a seamless transition for the horror-comedy series written by John Lees and lettered by Jim Campbell.
Cahoon said in a statement, “I couldn’t be more excited about having been brought on board this team. This is the kind of book you dream of as an artist. It overflows with heart and humor, stirred up in a giant pot of gore and terror with absolute grace by John’s deft hand. The minute I was given his fictitious movie titles to illustrate, I knew this was a project I wanted to be a part of, and at every stage as my involvement in the book grew, I have felt absolutely at home creatively. The amount of freedom I’ve been given to stuff tiny jokes into every crevice of the background has been so rewarding. From the gate, it was apparent that John and I share a very similar sense of humor that can only spell trouble when we come together and with the addition of Kurt Michael Russel on colors things are going to get nasty.”
“It has been such a pleasure to have Adam join the team,” added Lees. “I immediately fell in love with his work when I saw the array of fictional movie poster designs he’d crafted for Monster-Dome Video, one of our story’s central locations. They showed me that he was well-attuned to the sensibilities of The Nasty. And I’ve only grown more impressed with Adam since his pages started coming in. It’s a challenge to step into a world with already-set character designs, to stay true to an established aesthetic while bringing your own touch, but Adam has pulled it off with panache. Already, he has made this world and these characters his own. And I’ve been so impressed with his work ethic and enthusiasm throughout. I couldn’t be happier to have Adam as my creative partner on this story that means so much to me!”
The publisher describes the series as:
Equal parts Friday The 13th, Giant Days, Empire Records, and The Ring, The Nasty is a story about the perception of evil, the power of genre, the love of fandom, the need to create art, oh, and crap-your-pants TERROR!
The Nasty follows eighteen-year-old Thumper Connell still has an imaginary friend: the masked killer from his favourite slasher film. Thumper is obsessed with horror and always has been. He fills his time with scary VHS rentals and hanging out with his fellow fans, The Murder Club. But everything changes when his local video shop acquires one of the notorious films known as “video nasties” – films so scary, they’re the target of the British Moral Decency League’s crusade to ban and burn. But it’s only a movie, right? It’s all just imaginary, isn’t it?
The Nasty #1 hits store shelves in March 2023 and will feature variant covers from top artists, including Killadelphia’sJason Shawn Alexander, Giant Days’Max Sarin, Nightfall: Double Feature’sMaan House, Door to Door Night by Night’sSally Cantirino, Barbaric’sRobert Wilson IV, and more.
Announced last month, superstar creators Ron Marz and Ron Lim are reuniting to produce the brand new Warlock: Rebirth limited series set to launch in April. Today Marvel revealed that the series will introduce a brand-new character, Eve Warlock. No additional members of the creative team were mentioned in the announcement.
Here’s what Marvel revealed:
Before he jetted off to space, Adam Warlock was artificially created by scientists on Earth to be the “perfect specimen.” What fans will shockingly discover is that as Adam went on to wield the Infinity Gems and play key roles in epics like Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity Watch, another specimen was created—someone stronger, faster and smarter than Adam himself! Meet EVE WARLOCK, the next evolution of Warlock! She’s come to strip Adam of all his power, starting with the Soul Gem!
It’s worth noting that Adam Warlock already has an established female counterpart in the Marvel Universe with Kismet a.k.a. Ayesha who was portrayed by actress Elizabeth Debicki in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 film and is set to return in the upcoming third film. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will also see the MCU debut of Adam Warlock played by Will Poulter, so this limited series spotlighting the character isn’t a complete surprise.
Check out the preview art below and look for Warlock: Rebirth #1 (of 5) to arrive in stores and digitally on Wednesday, April 19th and Warlock: Rebirth #2 (of 5) to arrive on Wednesday, May 24th.
The new Legion of Super-Heroesanimated film arrives next month. In anticipation, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has unveiled new images from the film spotlighting the diverse array of Legionnaires – including Bouncing Boy, Dawnstar, Invisible Kid and Arms Fall Off Boy.
Legion of Super-Heroes arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital starting February 7, 2023 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.
Bouncing Boy, voiced by Ely Henry (Players, Smallfoot), offers a little unsolicited insight to Supergirl, while Mon-El watches during an early scene in Legion of Super-Heroes. Supergirl is voiced by Meg Donnelly (American Housewife, The Winchesters), and Mon-El is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Spider-Man).
Dawnstar activates her other-worldly powers, much to the surprise of some of her Legion colleagues, in a key scene fromLegion of Super-Heroes. Voiced by Cynthia Hamidi (FBI).
Invisible Kid makes sure he’s very visible to Supergirl as they have their opening introduction in Legion of Super-Heroes. Zeno Robinson (Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons) voices the always entertaining Invisible Kid, while Supergirl is voiced by Meg Donnelly (American Housewife, The Winchesters).
The ever-popular Arms Fall Off Boy demonstrates his unique powers for Supergirl in a scene fromLegion of Super-Heroes. In the distance, (from left), Mon-El, Invisible Kid, Bouncing Boy and two-thirds of Triplicate Girl watch the young Legionnaire introduce himself. Arms Fall Off Boy is voiced by Ben Diskin (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Muppet Babies, Digimon Adventure), and Supergirl is voiced by Meg Donnelly (American Housewife, The Winchesters).
Welcome to the 31st century and the Legion Academy, where a new generation hones their powers with hopes of joining the Legion of Super-Heroes. Devastated by tragedy, Supergirl struggles to adjust to her new life on Earth. Taking her cousin Superman’s advice, Supergirl leaves their space-time to attend the Academy. There, she quickly makes new friends, as well as a new enemy with old ties: Brainiac 5. But a nefarious plot lurks in the shadows – the mysterious group known as the Dark Circle seeks a powerful weapon held in the Academy’s vault. Find out if the budding heroes can rise to the challenge in this all-new DC Universe Movie!
While Black Adam may have been a stellar success, hope still remains for Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the sequel to the 2019. Today an all-new Fury of the Gods trailer was released. Check it out below:
The plot of the film finds Billy Batson, backed up by his magically-endowed foster siblings as the Shazam Family, to take on the Daughters of Atlas.
As any Shazam worth their salt knows, the “Big Red Cheese” was created by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck for defunct comics publisher Fawcett Comics. The character debuted in late 1939’s Fawcett Comics’ Whiz Comics #2.
Returning cast from the previous film includes Zachary Levi as Shazam; Asher Angel as Billy Batson; Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman; Adam Brody as Super Hero Freddy; Ross Butler as Super Hero Eugene; Meagan Good as Super Hero Darla; D.J. Cotrona as Super Hero Pedro; Grace Caroline Currey as Mary Bromfield / Super Hero Mary; Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley; Ian Chen as Eugene Choi; Jovan Armand as Pedro Pena; Marta Milans (“White Lines”) as Rosa Vasquez; Cooper Andrews as Victor Vasquez; with Djimon Hounsou as Wizard.
Joining the cast are Rachel Zegler, with Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren as Anthea, Kalypso, and Hespera the respective daughters of Atlas.
The filmmaking team from the original Shazam returns for the sequel, which includes David F. Sandberg directing from a screenplay by Henry Gayden joined by Chris Morgan with Peter Safran producing.
Given the recent shakeup at DC Studios, whether or not this is this iteration of Shazam will return for another outing remains to be seen. It also doesn’t help that the child actors playing the Shazam Family are getting older themselves. Whatever the future holds, it’s safe not to expect Dwayne Johnson popping up for a Black Adam cameo.
Originally for release last December, the film was pushed back to avoid competing with Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water. Probably for the best given the James Cameron‘s film dominance at the box office.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods arrives in theaters March 17, 2023.
Music video director Jay Martin is making the leap from the screen to the page. Dark Horse Comics will publish Lost Boy, the first original graphic novel from Martin, later this year. The book is written and illustrated by Martin and lettered by Frank Cvetkovic, and follows a young boy surviving and finding his way home in the aftermath of a catastrophe.
After a deadly accident in the remote Wyoming wilderness, a young boy escapes alone. Stranded, freezing, and isolated, he struggles to stay alive as he attempts to find his way back to civilization. Along the way, through extreme tests of will, courage, and endurance, he discovers what it means to be tested, and learns the secret to survival isn’t always what you think.
In addition to directorial credits, Jay Martin has also served as the storyboard artist for a number of high-profile films, including Constantine, I Am Legend, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In a statement announcing the graphic novel, Martin described his intention in creating the book and its central character:
“In Lost Boy,” says Jay Martin, “I wanted to create a different kind of survival story. Here, the main character discovers that what has always been perceived as his greatest weakness — his compassion and sensitivity — become his salvation. He learns that, sometimes heading in the opposite direction of where we think we need to go, is what gets us home.”
The softcover Lost Boy graphic novel is due out in bookstores on Tuesday, July 25th, and in comic shops on Wednesday, July 26th.
Writers: Mike Mignola and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell
Art and Colors: Warwick Johnson-Cadwell
Letters: Clem Robins
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
I have learned not to think little of any one’s belief, no matter how strange it be. I have tried to keep an open mind; and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it, but the strange things, the extraordinary things, the things that make one doubt if they be mad or sane. –Dracula, Bram Stoker
A swaggering hunter of vampire-hunters lays out his intentions to set a lethal trap; an unexpected missive from an elusive adventurer sets in motion an investigation into the Black Docks Biter; mad Mr. Higgins waits forgotten in a cell, haunted by the events of a night many years past and an unmovable curse he has been unable to escape since; Professor Reinhardt and Mr. Knox are abreast of events and on hand to pursue any and all paranormal misadventures to their often violent end. Rollicking and swashbuckling, adventure ensues for the well-intentioned but dunderheaded duo who propel Mike Mignola and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell’s three tales of Victorian occult adventure in Our Encounters with Evil and Other Stories.
Fizzing with enthusiasm and stylistic nods to much vampire related media –- a subterranean crypt pays homage to Todd Browning’s 1931 Dracula, while certain character designs borrow from the gold-spilled decadence of Gustav Klimt –- Our Encounters with Evil will be familiar ground for any reader already acquainted with Mignola’s work. That the man, having seemingly populated an entire comics universe with monsters, aliens, homunculi, and bureaucracies for their investigation, has yet more of the macabre and supernatural to offer seems itself an almost preternatural event, but as someone who has always enjoyed Mignola’s knack for decisive and propulsive narratives, I am loathe to question the source of his imagination, be it from an infernal source or no. Our Encounters with Evil makes abundant use of the genre trappings one expects to see; European locals, aristocratic vampires, little soul searching in its morally certain protagonists. Mignola’s ability to draw out the humanity and humour in the infernal antagonists gives each tale a welcome and added flavour, particularly his propensity to expand vampire society past shadow haunting and bloodletting.
In one memorable instance Count Golga throws a lavish society ball to celebrate Walpurgis Night and the most esteemed of vampires attend the diabolic celebration. Due credit to Johnson-Cadwell whose imaginative and tongue-in-cheek designs and period costuming add humour, character, and imaginative flare to every gathering. Vampires in these tales are individuals, with their own preferred coiffeur, and while all have a taste for blood, some prefer a simpler and more discrete existence, then the entitled aristocracy. Indeed, class struggle against old money that refuses to die is a enjoyable motif run through stories, even if the source of Professor Reinhardt and Mr. Knox’s considerable comfort is never expanded upon. Mignola is a deft enough storyteller to know what is necessary to a story and these stories are all drum tight.
Johnson-Cadwell’s charismatic style jettisons the realistic and uniform rendering of space and perspective for an off-kilter and often mesmeric reading experience that brilliantly conveys motion and action. Elevating the already fast clip of Mignola’s story beats Johnson-Cadwell’s imagery pushes the storytelling full tilt as Reinhardt and Knox lean down spiralling castle corridors and vaulted ceilings list above them like the sails of windblown ships. Mignola and Johnson-Cadwell work brilliantly together, each seeming to understand the others strengths, and while others who have drawn Mignola’s scripts may have failed to convey the sense of impact and action Mignola himself creates when covering both writing and visuals, Johnson-Cadwell not only captures the essence of the stories –- the playful genre trappings, the sparsely and spaciously-paneled actions sequences –- but also manages to infuse the story with his own distinctive energies.
The style here is dynamic enough to effectively capture the impact of both a small domestic gesture, a group of friends hurriedly clearing a table of a tea pot, cups, and saucers, as well as the moment a flaming horse drawn carriage launches from the courtyard of a haunted castle with the propulsive force of a rocket ship. The point here is not the technical rendering of the contents of the imagery –- that the reader recognises the image representing the teapot and the carriage –- but rather that the tonal quality of the drawing is consistent enough for both moments to belong in the same world and yet elastic enough for each moment to feel fully expressed in its rendering. It seems clear both Mignola and Johnson-Cadwell are making hay and the stories possess an energy and fun that is infectious. Indeed, Johnson-Caldwell’s knack for comedic payoff gives the book a lot of its charm, in one memorable instance choosing to pull back as Reinhardt and Knox go hell for leather with the stakes and the violence conveyed in a little sfx beside them that reads STAB STAB STAB. A special mention here to Tuphold, who steals every panel he is contained within, and whose comedic presence is a boon.
If there is a fault to be found in the book it is perhaps in the trifling dimensions of the stories, but even the minor tales here are artfully-enough rendered to justify themselves, and one gets the sense that as time goes on Professor Reinhardt and Mr. Knox will hopefully get themselves into a variety of further scrapes and jams, and that each instalment will add to the mystique and prestige of their oeuvre, as is often the case with intrepid duos of the popular mediums. I’d personally hope that the charismatic and tragic James Falconspeare might also receive some further attention, given the gravitas and dignity of his character in the collections final tale.
Our Encounters with Evil and Other Stories is a charming and gleefully macabre collection of tales that retool familiar genre conventions to create memorable and idiosyncratic capers. There are thrills, spills, and laughs aplenty, and rest assured there is enough wonton evil in the world to spur Professor Reinhardt and Mr. Knox to ride out into the darker corners of Europe and perhaps beyond in search of the agents of Satan to bring to the damned their particular brand of Victorian justice.