Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by Anthologies! Being So Hot Right Now!

Well, that was a pretty wild month. There’s no way to cover all the news I missed, though, so instead of trying, I’m just going to focus on the past week or so because that’s giving me plenty to work with, as is. So let’s dig into ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics in the triumphant return of Comics Disassembled, with an unexpected format taking the lead.

1. Anthologies, In the News!

In a wildly unexpected turn, it’s been a big year for anthologies already! Oni Press led the way with its big EC Comics reveal from earlier this year, and this week brought a couple other publishers into the fray. Up first is BOOM! Studios with the rather appealing Hello Darkness, an ongoing horror anthology series with quite the cast of creators involved. Just the first covers alone sell me on the project, as each issue will feature main covers by Paolo Rivera and variants by Jenny Frison (as well as a rotating guest artist on a third) — which is about as elite of a duo as you can ask for — and these covers also reveal that the creative team featured within its pages is solid, to say the least. It’s Garth Ennis & Becky Cloonan, James Tynion IV & Werther Dell’Edera, and Brian Azzarello & Vanesa R. Del Rey, which is pretty insane!

That’s really just the tip of the iceberg too, as others participating in the series include *takes the world’s longest breath* John Arcudi, Ryan Sook, Cullen Bunn, Sas Milledge, Sarah Gailey, Liana Kangas, Marguerite Bennett, Michael Conrad, Martín Morazzo, Andy Lanning, Trevor Hairsine, Steve Orlando, Genevieve Valentine, Jude Ellison S. Doyle, Letizia Cadonici, Sarah Andersen, and more. It’s coincidentally timed, I’m sure, but it really feels like BOOM! is trying to out EC Oni…and doing a decent job of it! They have a compelling advantage beyond the creator list, of course, as Tynion and Dell’Edera will be telling a new Something is Killing the Children story here, so the publisher is using their most popular series as a carrot for potential readers here.

It seems like a reasonable deal too. $5.99 for 48 pages isn’t bad. That’s double sized for less than double the price. Is that enough to motivate retailers and readers who are typically resistant to the charms of an anthology? Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll find out when this launches in July, but if any anthology is going to pop in the direct market, it’s a horror one with that creator lineup, those cover artists, and BOOM! pulling the levers behind the scenes.

That other anthology I alluded to earlier is also quite appealing. It’s the return of another veteran of the anthology space. It’s Rebellion Publishing (of 2000 AD fame) — fresh off bringing the war anthology Battle Action back to life — relaunching its romance anthology Roxy some 50 or 60 years later with an upcoming Kickstarter. And they’re doing this with some pretty fantastic creators, as Alex De Campi and Erica Henderson are reteaming for a story in this project, Nadia Shammas is writing one of its tales, and Magdalene Visaggio will be writing another. That’s a promising setup. The only uncertain part from the announcement was how long it is for the world.

As it turns out, it’s just the one and done 80 page release they’re Kickstarting, per Rebellion. All four stories within are complete reads, so you’ll get a satisfying experience from each. But there are no current plans for more Roxy, with the caveat being that if this campaign lights the world on fire it’s within the realm of possibilities that this won’t be the last we’ll see of this title. So, if you’re into this sort of thing, definitely keep an eye out so you can vote with your dollar. I for one am into it, if only because it finds cool creators doing cool things on a cool sounding project. What’s not to like?

2. Dan Buckley, Talking Publicly?????

Marvel President Dan Buckley is…not what I’d call a public figure. He’s someone I hear others talk about, and talk about with respect. But he was so often in stories but so rarely in public that I used to occasionally joke that he wasn’t real. That is not true, as this week’s interview with Buckley at ICv2 proved. It’s a chat between Buckley and ICv2’s head Milton Griepp, and one that found the Marvel exec pulling back the curtain on some of the internal operations they have going there. Now, plenty of it is marketing speak, positioning Marvel publicly in ways they want to be seen more than they might actually be (i.e. his notes about their excitement about the book market).

But there are some interesting tidbits in there. One of the most actionable elements is Buckley’s answer to a question about Marvel’s extreme lean towards short runs and finite series, and how he’s approving longer runs as we speak to adjust to what retailers are seeing. Now, they’re hardly big leaps, as he said minis will continue to be a major focus and that he’s approving ten issue series (that could aspire to 15 or 20) instead of four or five issue runs, so hardly record-setters over there. But it’s good perspective, and does reflect that in theory Marvel is trying to adjust, even if it’s definitely in a very them sort of way.

There are plenty of other interesting elements in there, including Buckley’s emphasis he’s been reporting to Kevin Feige since 2019, his perspective on licensing out Marvel characters, the lack of good data out there, how much they’re publishing right now, and more. It’s a two part chat, and it’s well worth a read beyond my high level notes, because Buckley’s public comments are pretty rare, as are any semblance of definitive statements about Marvel’s direction overall.

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