June 15, 2018

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AHOY There! New Comics Publisher Sets Sail This Fall

Our friends at Newsarama and The Beat already had strong articles on this, but I wanted to talk a little bit about it as well. Yesterday, a new comics publisher was announced, called AHOY, and while I am disappointed this is not a Lucy Bellwood pop-up imprint, I am really excited to see how this publisher works out within the direct market. As you'll see (or as you may already know from the earlier articles), AHOY isn't just going for new comics with successful industry names--they're taking a more old-school, pulp magazine led by comics approach.




Founded by Hart Seely, who has New York Times and NPR credits, AHOY has strong foundations out of Vertigo, which is interesting because we've also seen that recently with Black Crown (Shelly Bond) for IDW and Berger Books (Karen Berger) for Dark House. This time, it's Tom Peyer and Stuart Moore heading up a new line of comics within an entirely new publisher.

The comics themselves will remain at a $3.99 prince point, the industry standard, but instead of being one story, there will be a main feature, a back-up, and prose and/or poetry, for a total of 40 pages per issue. It's an interesting approach, one that has them referring to these as "comic book magazines" due to the formatting.

Jamal Igle art

It's going to be interesting to see how the prose/comics mix works out. On the one hand, it's great to see additional material in a comic. On the other hand, speaking personally, sometimes seeing walls of text in my comic book leads me to skim. One of the keys will be how good the stories are. I notice that right out of the gate, they've lined up Grant Morrison to tell most of the prose. There are certainly others who can bridge that divide pretty well--Saladin Ahmed and Chris Roberson come to mind, just to name two off the top of my head--but I do wonder about how this is going to work in the direct market. I guess we'll have to see.

The comics themselves sound pretty interesting to me, and the creators involved are spectacular. From the press release:
THE WRONG EARTH 6 Issue mini-series by Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle
AHOY Comics launches with a biting superhero satire written by Tom Peyer (Captain KidHourman), penciled by Jamal Igle (BlackSupergirl), inked by Juan Castro (Transformers),and colored by Andy Troy. On one world, Dragonflyman and his sidekick Stinger enjoy a life of adventure. On another Earth, the Dragonfly hunts criminal parasites like a lethal exterminator. But what happens when these two heroes change places?

On sale on September 12, 2018, THE WRONG EARTH debut issue is a full color, 40 page comic book magazine retailing for $3.99, with extras including:
  • A  prose story by comics legend Grant Morrison: ‘HUD’ HORNET’S HOLIDAY IN HELL, illustrated by best-selling artist Rob Steen
  • A mock “Golden Age” Stinger solo story, by Paul Constant and Frank Cammuso
  • A cartoon by Shannon Wheeler
HIGH HEAVEN 5 Issue Mature Readers mini-series by Tom Peyer and Greg Scott
Chronic malcontent David Weathers dies and goes to Heaven—where everything is terrible, and everybody hates a complainer. HIGH HEAVEN is a savage satire by writer Tom Peyer (Hourman, Batman ’66) with art by Greg Scott (Black Hood, X-Files), colored by Andy Troy.  

On sale, September 26, 2018, HIGH HEAVEN’s debut issue is a full color, 40 page comic book magazine retailing for $3.99, with a cover by Mad Magazine’s Richard Williams and extras including:
  • A HASHTAG: DANGER backup story by Peyer, with art by Chris Giarrusso (G-Man, Mini-Marvels)
  • A cartoon by Shannon Wheeler
  • An all-new prose story by comics legend Grant Morrison: FESTIVE FUNTIMES AT THE NEW WORLD’S FAIR, illustrated by acclaimed artist Rick Geary

In October, AHOY Comics will launch a creator owned title:

CAPTAIN GINGER 4 issue mini series by Stuart Moore and June Brigman
When the human race died out, the cats inherited the Earth! Or at least one starship. Now the intrepid Captain Ginger struggles to keep his fellow felines united against a hostile universe. Thirty-five pages of comic adventure—with a bite—by writer Stuart Moore (Deadpool the Duck, Batman: Noir Alley) artist June Brigman (Power Pack), inker Roy Richardson and colorist Veronica Gandini.

On sale, October 17, 2018, CAPTAIN GINGER’s debut issue is a full color, 48 page comic book magazine retailing for $3.99, with extras including:
  • An all-new text story by comics legend Grant Morrison: THE ELECTRIC SKY BEAR THAT INSPIRED BEN FRANKLIN, illustrated by Phil Hester
  • A cartoon by Shannon Wheeler

October will also see the debut of an all star anthology series:

EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR 6 issue Mature Readers mini series
EDGAR ALLAN POE mangles classic tales and brand new stories in this cross between Drunk History and Tales from the Crypt! First, meet AHOY’s own alcohol-damaged version of Poe in The Facts in The Case of M. Valdemar, adapted by Tom Peyer (Batman ‘66) and drawn by Fred Harper. Then: Sugary cereal meets vampirism in Dark Chocolate, by writer Mark Russell (The Flintstones) and artist Peter Snejbjerg (Starman).

On sale, October 31, 2018, EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR’s debut issue is a full color, 40 page comic book magazine retailing for $3.99, with extras including:
  • Hunt Emerson’s take on The Black Cat
  • Unsettling verse by Cienna Madrid illustrated by Carly Wright
We certainly have no shortage of Poe-inspired comics, but I'm always in for more. I'm really excited to see Jamal on a new book, so the launch title definitely grabs me. And Stuart Moore is writing a book about space cats. So yeah, not exactly a hard sale for me here, now are these?
June Bringman art

Several of my favorite creators are on their way to the line as well: Ryan Kelly, Linda Medley, Roger Stern (!!), Ann Nocenti, and more. That's a good way to get my attention.

Only time will tell if this publisher can find a space on the crowded weekly book shelves. But I am definitely interested. I expect many of our readers will be, too.