Last month AHOY Comics released Steel Cage #1, a one-shot with a unique premise. The issue featured three stories introducing potential concepts for ongoing series. The stories included Bright Boy by Stuart Moore and Peter Gross; True Identity by Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson; and Noah Zark by Mark Waid and Lanna Souvanny. Readers were given the opportunity to vote via AHOY’s website on which of the three stories should become its own ongoing series. Voting for the winner ran up until a few days ago, with the winner slated to be announced at the publisher’s panel today at SDCC. The votes have been tabulated, and the winner is…
…everybody! In a recorded message played at the panel, AHOY editor-in-chief Peyer announced evidence of serious voting irregularities in the contest, and said that he could not in good conscience certify the votes for the Steel Cage election results. As consolation to the hard-working creators who contributed to the issue, Peyer said that they would all receive their own ongoing series, and that Bright Boy #1, Noah Zark #1, and True Identity #1 would all debut in early 2020. Peyer also vowed that they would get to the bottom of the suspected voter fraud, which saw voting numbers that did not coincide with the sales numbers for Steel Cage, as well as dark horse candidate Bright Boy take a huge lead in the voting almost overnight.
When I initially wrote about the issue and the election, I mused as to whether or not this was just a stunt from AHOY to get some attention for their books. Based on Peyer’s video statement, though, it’s clear that he takes this situation deadly serious, and that I should never have doubted his commitment to fair and honest elections. I publicly apologize to Peyer and the rest of the AHOY crew for my egregious error, and I hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
We’ll have a full write-up of the AHOY SDCC panel later on. Congratulations to all of the winners of the first of hopefully many Steel Cage matches.
UPDATE: AHOY has released the full text of Tom Peyer’s video statement:
“Statement From AHOY Comics’ Editor-In-Chief Tom Peyer Regarding the STEEL CAGE Vote”
AHOY Comics’ election to determine which STEEL CAGE feature is to be awarded its own series has ended. The deadline for online voting has passed. The ballots have been counted.
Three deserving candidates vied for this important honor: Noah Zark by Mark Waid & Lanna Souvanny; Bright Boy by Stuart Moore and Peter Gross; and True Identity by artist Alan Robinson and myself.
As editor-in-chief of AHOY Comics I must now inform you, with deep regret, that evidence exists of serious voting irregularities. The total number of ballots cast bears no discernible relation to STEEL CAGE’s circulation figures. One feature, which trailed significantly over the first week, gained a huge majority in one day, perhaps in minutes–an insurmountable lead it maintained to the end.
Our technicians inform me that this could have been the work of a few quick keystrokes, perpetrated by almost anyone–from the despicable agent of a rogue government to a lonely, misguided teenager.
Make no mistake. No one at AHOY is accusing any STEEL CAGE creators of wrongdoing. Every one of our writers, artists, colorists, letterers, designers, and production staff comported themselves honorably and with dignity throughout this process. We respectfully salute one and all.
Nevertheless, due to the alarming evidence of tampering–I do not, I will not, I cannot certify this election.
Instead, in fairness to the creators and to the readers who voted for them, all three candidates will be awarded their own series. Beginning next year, watch for the announcements of NOAH ZARK #1, BRIGHT BOY #1, and TRUE IDENTITY #1, worthy comics all.
We launched this effort with every intention of carrying out the will of the majority. It is the precious right of all comic book fans to go about their work, pursue their studies, and tuck their children in at night secure in the knowledge that their votes have been counted. AHOY’s commitment to the democratic system of comics remains unshakable. With the support of our publisher, Hart Seely, and our entire staff, I call upon all relevant authorities to investigate this unspeakable outrage and bring the offenders to justice.
Thank you, and God bless comics.
–Tom Peyer, AHOY Comics Editor-in-Chief