As the wheels of the direct market comics industry have begun to turn again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, publishers of all sizes have made adjustments to their schedules. The latest to release information on their return to comic shops is AHOY Comics. The publisher of titles like The Wrong Earth, Planet of the Nerds, and Second Coming has unveiled their revised schedule for the summer, including a format change for one of their titles, and a delayed launch for another.
The most notable change to AHOY’s schedule is for Stuart Moore, June Brigman, and Roy Richardson‘s Captain Ginger. The second season of one of AHOY’s inaugural series had two of its six issues released prior to the shutdown, with its second issue out on March 11th. Rather than return to print, though, the title will complete its run digitally, with the publisher citing the “long hiatus” as a reason for the change. Monthly issues of Captain Ginger will debut digitally on June 10th, and each issue will also include a bonus digital issue of another AHOY title to sample, from Dragonfly & Dragonflyman to Billionaire Island.
In addition to the digital Captain Ginger, AHOY will have two series in comic shops this summer as part of their updated schedule. Ash & Thorn, the new series by Mariah McCourt, Soo Lee, and Pippa Bowland will lead the charge on June 24th, with two issues following in July and the remaining two issues of the five-issue series out in August and September. Meanwhile, Mark Russell & Steve Pugh‘s Billionaire Island, which saw its first of six issues released on March 4th, will return with issues 2 and 3 in July, issues 4 and 5 in August, and the sixth and final issue in September.
A fourth AHOY title, Tom Peyer & Alan Robinson‘s Penultiman, was originally slated to begin in May. The series, which began as one of the three Steel Cage contestants, has now had its debut delayed indefinitely (no word on whether that delay is related to the ongoing investigation into the Steel Cage voter fraud scandal). In a statement, Peyer said the series, about a super-powerful hero sent back from the future due to his relative inferiority in his own time period, is being postponed “far enough into the future that we’ll have the technology to send it back into the past, so it won’t be as long a wait as it will be.” Peyer fans need not fret, though, as a collected edition of his and Peter Krause‘s excellent The Wrong Earth prequel, Dragonfly & Dragonflyman, will be released in June.
With Captain Ginger‘s format change, AHOY becomes the latest publisher to take a series formerly available in print and make it digital-only. Marvel has notably done the same with series like Ghost-Spider, Valkyrie: Jane Foster, and Hawkeye: Freefall, while DC has also chosen to release final issues of The Terrifics and Supergirl as digital exclusives. A quick glance at sales numbers for Captain Ginger Season 2 was AHOY’s lowest-selling title in February and March, so it makes sense that, if any book was going to go digital, that would be the one to do it. The inclusion of bonus issues along with each issue of Captain Ginger is also a nice way to reward loyal readers who follow the book from print to digital in a way that other publishers haven’t.
Regardless of the format, I for one am glad we’ll be getting new AHOY comics in the near future. The publisher that’s been described as “fun Vertigo” has consistently put out entertaining titles in a wide variety of genres, and they had a lot of buzz pre-shutdown. The rapid release schedules for Ash & Thorn and Billionaire Island should help them regain that momentum.
Check out the full press release from AHOY Comics on their updated release schedule for the summer below, and look for new releases from the publisher in shops and digitally beginning in June.
(June 1, 2020) AHOY Comics—the Syracuse-based, independent publisher that pledged for readers to “expect more” from its line of comic book magazines and graphic novels—will resume publishing new comic book magazines in June. “The world pandemic has caused some problems with serialized comics publishing, particularly for small publishers like us,” said AHOY Comics Publisher Hart Seely. “But if there was ever a year that demonstrated the need for laugh-out-loud funny books that are actually funny, it is the year that is 2020. And AHOY Comics will be there for readers and retailers alike.”
AHOY Comics’ updated summer publishing schedule includes:
- ASH & THORN, a 5-issue miniseries by bestselling writer Mariah McCourt (True Blood, Stitched), artist Soo Lee (Analog Sci-Fi Magazine, Charlie’s Angels vs. the Bionic Woman), and colorist Pippa Bowland (2000AD), with lettering by Rob Steen and covers by legendary artist Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother, Wonder Woman: True Amazon).
Originally scheduled to debut on April Fool’s Day, the highly-anticipated debut issue #1 of ASH & THORN will be published on June 24, 2020, followed by issue #2 on July 8, issue #3 on July 29, issue #4 on August 19, and issue #5 on September 9, 2020.
“ASH & THORN has an engaging, offbeat heroine, an amusing supporting cast, and a fun premise that suggests life experience counts, especially when demons are about to overrun the world. Come for the company, stay for the adventure. You’ll be glad you did!”
“How refreshing to see women of a Certain Age be heroines for a change, says this woman of a Certain Age! You don’t have to be a teenager to battle demons!”
“What if the Chosen One isn’t a nubile young girl, a hot young dude, but a mature woman with life experience, some attitude, and no f*#cks given. ASH & THORN answers that question. Very amusing, fun and highly recommended.”
- BILLIONAIRE ISLAND, a 6-issue miniseries by acclaimed writer Mark Russell (Second Coming) and artist Steve Pugh (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass), and colorist Chris Chuckry, with lettering by Rob Steen. Issue 1 features a cover by series artist and co-creator Steve Pugh and a variant cover by bestselling artist Pia Guerra (Y The Last Man).
The critically acclaimed series returns on July 1, 2020 with an all new second issue, followed by issue #3 on July 22, issue #4 on August 12, issue #5 on August 26, and issue #6 on September 16.
“Mark Russell and Steve Pugh reteam for another devastating satire…..Sick of seeing billionaires try to buy their way into elected office? Getting worried about global pandemics and accelerating climate change while you read articles about how the super-rich are planning their own private apocalyptic failsafes? Then BILLIONAIRE ISLAND is a comic for you.”
“The most intelligent, jaw-dropping, razor sharp, impeccably-timed comic you’ll read this week or possibly ever.”—COMICBOOK.COM
“A nasty piece of art that bares its teeth at the 1% with a level of bloodlust not seen nearly enough in the graphic medium.”—CBR
- CAPTAIN GINGER SEASON 2: DOGWORLD, a 6 issue mini-series by acclaimed writer Stuart Moore (Bronze Age Boogie) and artists June Brigman (Power Pack) and Roy Richardson, and colorist Veronica Ghandini, with lettering by Rob Steen.
CAPTAIN GINGER: DOGWORLD, which had two issues published at the time of lockdown, will complete its serialization in exclusive digital editions from Comixology. The first new issue of CAPTAIN GINGER SEASON 2: DOGWORLD, issue 3, will be released digitally on June 10, followed by issue 4 on July 8, issue 5 on August 5, and issue 6 on September 2.
“Readers can look forward to more space-cat drama, including a massive starship crash, a small tragedy, and Captain Ginger’s stranded crew will finally make first contact with the mysterious, intelligent dogs—who MAY or may NOT play poker in their spare time,” said co-creator and writer of CAPTAIN GINGER, Stuart Moore.
Each upcoming issue of CAPTAIN GINGER: DOGWORLD will contain a special Digital Bonus Book at no additional cost: issue #3 features DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN #1, issue #4 features BILLIONAIRE ISLAND # 1, issue #5 features BRONZE AGE BOOGIE #1, and issue #6 will feature will feature a selection from EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR, including Hunt Emerson’s Black Cat comics.
In June, AHOY will also be publishing the trade paperback of DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN, the prequel to the dazzling series THE WRONG EARTH—by writer Tom Peyer, artist Peter Krause, colorist Andy Troy, and letterer Rob Steen. The trade paperback will be released in comic book stores on June 3rd and in bookstores on June 16th.
“There was no one-size-fits-all solution for AHOY’s publishing schedule, so we took a creative approach,” said Kit Caoagas, AHOY Comics’ Marketing Associate. “There was a long anticipation for the debut of ASH & THORN and issue 1 was already printed and at Diamond, so we wanted to get that to market as soon as possible. BILLIONAIRE ISLAND had one issue published before the lockdown, so we’ve decided to resume publication as soon as possible on a slightly accelerated schedule, with an eye toward getting the trade paperback out in the fall, as originally planned. And, after a long hiatus, it just didn’t make sense to resume print publication of the second season of CAPTAIN GINGER. As with all AHOY books, we’ll release the trade paperback of CAPTAIN GINGER: DOGWORLD in print and digital on schedule, so that old-school sci fi fans and cat fanatics can read the whole story in their preferred format.”
Originally scheduled for release this summer, as part of the company’s fourth wave of releases, PENULTIMAN, the new super hero title by Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson, will be resolicited at a later date.
“The plan is to postpone PENULTIMAN far enough into the future that we’ll have the technology to send it back into the past, so it won’t be as long a wait as it will be,” said Peyer.