BY William Pace
With another NYCC in the books comic publishers big and small offered fans some exciting news about upcoming projects to look out for in the next year. I’ve been talking with publishers, writers, artists, guests, fans, and cosplayers. They all had one sentiment in common: “this show was insane!” Here is a rundown of a few things to watch for from some of your favorite creators.
Let’s start with Marvel. As I’m sure most of you heard, there was some controversy before the convention even started at Diamond’s annual exclusive retailer panel. Some retailers attacked the publisher about their female characters and characters of color in their books, among other things. It got real ugly real fast. Only time will tell if these negative sentiments will cost them an even bigger share of the market in the year to come. This, I believe, had some negative effects, turnout-wise, to Marvel’s retailer-only summit.
For those retailers that hung in there, they got to hear special announcements from Marvel and were rewarded with a NYCC retailer-only exclusive “Legacy” virgin variant by Arthur Adams! The one announcement they made that was popular with everyone was their decision to pull the Punisher panel from the show in lieu of the recent tragedy in Las Vegas.
During the Marvel panels open to the fans, they talked about “Old Man Hawkeye.” This will be a 12-issue series taking place prior to the first series slated to start in January 2018. They teased the crowd with unseen versions of wasteland villains, the resurrection of Jean Grey, “Rogue & Gambit,” “X-Men Grand Design,” and the one I’m looking forward to–a Legion 5-issue miniseries! But of course, the biggest topic for them was “Legacy!” With all the variants and big stories in the works, it’ll be interesting to see if they pull out all the stops in the upcoming year!
Meanwhile, DC comics exploded at NYCC! Where do I begin? Let’s start with Earth M bringing back the Milestone line with character and costume redesigns. They will start with five titles, “Icon & Rocket,” “Love Army,” “Duo,” “Static Shock,” and “Milestone #1.” The fans got a look at concept art of the updated redesigns of characters like Static Shock, Icon, and Rocket (not the racoon). During the Dark Knights: Metal panel: They announced DC’s New Age of Heroes and also surprised fans with the announcement of “Flash Wars,” where, once and for all, we’ll find out who’s the better Flash: Barry Allen or Wally West (the original ginger speedster, not the Kid Flash aka Wally West running with the Teen Titans). In the picture we saw the original Wally West in his Rebirth costume holding his original Kid Flash costume in one hand and in the other his pre New-52 Flash costume. The prelude of this will kick off in the 2018 Flash Annual in January, but the actual Flash Wars will begin in “Flash Rebirth” issue 46.
DC’s biggest announcement was Geoff Johns’s panel about “The Doomsday Clock,” where we got to see the six-page ashcan with a huge surprise on the last page. Johns assured us that “The Doomsday Clock” 12-issue series will be self contained–no 1-shots or tie-ins. You need only read “The Doomsday Clock” so you don’t even have to know what’s been going on in “Rebirth.” I would, however, suggest you reread the “Watchman” original series.
Zenescope had some interesting news as well. “Grimm Fairy Tales” will now be an ongoing series starting with issue 13. “Van Helsing,” a fan favorite, will be getting a new series called “Van Helsing vs. Robyn Hood.”
The ones I’m looking forward to are “Belle: Beast Hunter” and “Robyn Hood: The Curse.” Zenescope has some of the most beautiful cover art in the business with the likes of Jamie Tyndall, J. Scott Campbell, Greg Horn, Billy Tucci, Jason Metcalf, and Dawn McTeigue to name a few! Definitely check out their offerings at your local comic shop.
Over in the Valiant camp, the focus was on ICONS! With the wild success of XO-Manowar in 2017–the best selling ongoing series from any independent publisher this year–ICONS will push the envelope even further with these three must-read titles: “Ninja-K,” “Quantum & Woody,” and “Bloodshot Salvation.” There was a wildly popular NYCC “Bloodshot Salvation” variant by Jason David Frank that looks sick. These series have top name creative teams attached to them. Another diamond in the rough is their title “Britannia: We Who Are About To Die” which is well worth your time. Valiant had some great swag for those quick enough to get there. First come first served as they say. It included an ICONS sneak peak, “Ninja-K #0,” “Ninja-K vs the Valiant Universe,” and “Shadowman/Rae Sremmurd,” all free books. They also had a Bloodshot Bear from Build-A-Bear limited to 250 pieces, blind-bagged enamel pins of a master set limited to 25 sets produced, and a NYCC exclusive first print of “Bloodshot Salvation #1.” All in all it was a weekend that’ll leave you “bloodshot” at the Valiant booth!
IDW offered some interesting exclusives at their booth. Some of the cool items for this show (all of these were Con editions): “Star Wars Adventures” issues 1 and 2, “Duck Tales #1,” “Samurai Jack #1,” “Kid Lobotomy #1” metallic ink version and blank sketch, and “My Little Pony: Legends of Magic #1.” Other Lmtd Ed items on hand were “Star Trek: New Visions (Photo Variant)” by John Byrne and a Tom Whalen variant of “T.M.N.T.” #72 that also came with a free lithograph.
The one that made my jaw drop was “The Bernie Wrightson Artifact Edition” (limited to 100 copies) with a cover by Bernie. He redrew that famous “House of Mystery” where we first saw Swamp Thing!
IDW’s big announcements were bringing on Ian Flynn, veteran “Sonic the Hedgehog” writer, with the launching of a new Sonic series in April of 2018, with a four-week event. New “Goosebumps” in February by writer Jen Vaughn (“Adventure Time”) and artist Michelle Wong (“TomBoy”). “Star Wars: Forces of Destiny” will be arriving in January 2018 as a weekly title focusing on Star Wars heroines like Leia, Rey, Padme, and Ahsoka plus a couple more from the upcoming movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi! This looks to be an all ages title with female stars as well as women writers, artists, and cover artists. There was talk of five interconnecting variant covers to make one epic Forces of Destiny image. Retailers will have animation cell variants available to them and a super rare variant by Annie WU!
And the one I’m excited for was “G.I. Joe vs. The Six Million Dollar Man”–sure to become an instant classic as IDW & Dynamite Entertainment bring both of these iconic franchises together for a four-part crossover starting in 2018!
Dynamite Entertainment on top of the aforementioned crossover with IDW also announced their recent collaboration with Playboy Magazine to provide an exclusive six-page issue of their Bettie Page series, which will appear in Playboy’s November/December 2017 issue! Written by David Avallone (Drawing Blood, Doc Savage: Ring of Fire), with art by industry legend Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn, Harley Quinn, Vampirella), this exciting issue hits stands October 31, 2017! Timed to coincide with the celebration of legendary heroine Barbarella’s 55th anniversary, Dynamite Entertainment is pleased to announce that the iconic character’s first-ever American comic series, and first new comic series in more than 35 years, is now set to feature the critically-acclaimed artistic stylings of Turkish artist Kenan Yarar (Hilal). Yarar joins writer Mike Carey (X-Men, Lucifer, The Girl with All the Gifts), and longtime Barbarella brand custodian and consulting editor Jean-Marc Lofficier, on the revolutionary new series slated for release this December! A new “BattleStar Galactica” series 35 years in the making with the classic ‘78 crew VS the reimagined 2003 crew looks incredible! Dynamite has signed a license deal for all Charlie’s Angels Adventures” plus locked down Meredith Finch to pen a new “Xena” series.
BOOM! Studios is inviting fans to join them for the year-long celebration of the Planet of the Apes starting in January with “Ursus” #1 featuring sick cover art! At NYCC they announced a new WWE story arc all about the women’s revolution starting in “WWE” issue 14 out in February 2018!
Of course Boom! had their big franchise title on spotlight. That’s right, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers!” With the MMPR 25th anniversary fast approaching there were some great items for the fans. First off were two NYCC covers for “Power Rangers” #19. They both had the rangers’ helmets arranged in a circle but one had a green background limited to 300 copies while the other had a gold background and was limited to 150 copies. Fans who bought these got a chance to get them signed by David Yost (Blue Ranger), Walter Jones (Black Ranger), and Kyle Higgins, the series writer. They also debuted the slipcase version of “Power Rangers: Year 1” with 496 pages of content and a signed tip-in sheet signed by Kyle Higgins. But wait, there’s more! Boom! gave 25 lucky fans that bought this a second signed sheet by MMPR creator, Haim Saban, Power Rangers content executive producer, Brian Casentini, director of Power Rangers content, Melissa Flores, and Power Rangers TV executive producer, Judd “Chip” Lynn. There’s also another cool collectors item “The Best of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Art” HC. The Psycho Rangers make their first appearance in the comic books in issue #20 on shelves now and don’t forget War Is Coming in M.M.P.R. issue #25!
As part of their NYCC announcements, Alterna Comics teased fans with 13 new titles that will debut in 2018. They are all part of their newsprint line with most of the titles set at a $1.50 cover price, with currently one exception at $1.99, a 56-page one-shot, the “Fear Diaries.” A list of titles to look for in 2018 are “Go West,” where Death Wish meets True Grit, “Sonitus,” a tale of supernatural horror, “The XII,” a survival thriller, ”Tinseltown,” a story set back in the early days of Hollywood that centers around one of the first female cops of the day embroiled in action, drama, and mystery. Others included “Zero Jumper,” “Cyko Ko,” and “Eden,” described as Star Wars meets Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as “Blood Realm” (if you like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones then this is a must read for you), “Binary Gray,” “Exilium,” “Midnight Mystery,” a 12-issue horror anthology, and “Feast or Famine.” This one I personally can’t wait for!
I’ve had a chance to speak with Peter Simeti, the founder of Alterna comics. I believe he is beyond excited that his series, “The Chair” has been made into a movie starring, in his last feature role, Roddy Piper along with a veteran cast. This is a psychological horror thriller and will be available in a Blu Ray combo pack on Halloween!
Alterna also teamed up with a few comic shops in the New England area to film a couple of commercials for their newsprint line, Stairway to Heaven Comics in Newington, NH and Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham, MA, where they gave fans a chance to appear in these commercials. Recently, their titles started being carried in nearly half of all Barnes & Noble stores, all Books-A-Million locations, and now the top 200 Toys R Us locations will be carrying their all ages line “Adam Wreck,” “Amazing Age,” and “Lilith Dark” for the holiday season. Peter was recently quoted as saying, “I’m thrilled for the creators at Alterna, obviously. They’ll be able to get their comics in more stores, in front of more people. That’s a great thing for comics in general. Comic shops are obviously still the best place to find comic books, but expanded distribution in today’s market is an absolute necessity. Comics should be everywhere and as a publisher, my entire job revolves around getting our comics in as many places as possible. I’m happy to report that we’ve been receiving dozens of messages from readers that are finding our titles on newsstands and then going to comic shops to add them to pull lists or pick up other titles that might have been sold out. This is exactly what we wanted to happen.”
It should be noted that Alterna has also expanded newsstand distribution to western Canada and to Germany. Between comic shops and newsstands, Alterna is reporting that over 1000 stores are currently carrying their comics.
I agree with Peter, the best place to find comics is in your local comic shops. Support your LCS!