Ice Cream Man is one of the comic books I most look forward to every month. Written by W. Maxwell Prince with art by Martín Morazzo and Chris O'Halloran, it's basically a horror anthology that mines the existential depths of suburban ennui. And all of it, or some of it, may tie back to the Ice Cream Man, who might be a demon, or a God, or maybe it's all in your head. Each issue is a done-in-one, focusing on a new and different character (although there are some subtle connections between them), and many of them take hyper-stylized approaches to graphic storytelling — an entire issue written and drawn as a palindrome, for example; and another one where an incident with Neapolitan ice cream bar creates 3 splintering timelines, shaded in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry (A Vulture review compared this issue to "Sliding Doors, but terrifying," which is accurate).
Unfortunately, the comic book industry is now indefinitely on hold thanks to the coronavirus pandemic (an invisible existential horror which would actually be right home in an issue of Ice Cream Man).
But now the creators of Ice Cream Man have launched Quarantine Comix, a digital-only collection of short comics in Ice Cream Man continuity that they'll release online once or twice a week. There's more:
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Half of profits go to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC), which supports struggling booksellers. This includes local Comic Book Shops, who are facing unprecedented financial hardship after the closure of many of their stores, the temporary shuttering of their distribution system, and the non-operation of pretty much every paper printer in the country.
From Nosy Crow Publishing:
Axel Scheffler has illustrated a digital book for primary school age children, free for anyone to read on screen or print out, about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it. Published by Nosy Crow, and written by staff within the company, the book has had expert input: Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine acted as a consultant, and the company also had advice from two head teachers and a child psychologist.
The book answers key questions in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds:
• What is the coronavirus?
• How do you catch the coronavirus?
• What happens if you catch the coronavirus?
• Why are people worried about catching the coronavirus?
• Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
• Why are some places we normally go to closed?
• What can I do to help?
• What’s going to happen next?
You can download a PDF of the book, or read it via the Issuu embed below (provided by the publisher). While the book itself is free, Nosy Crow encourages people to make a donation to NHS Charities Together in lieu of payment.
Released today: a free information book explaining the coronavirus to children [Axel Scheffler / Nosy Crow Publishing] Read the rest
In the early 2010s, I wrote a play called True Believers that was kind of a send-up and a love letter to comic-con culture. The play had a full production in Boston in 2012 (closing on the weekend of San Diego Comic-Con, when they first announced the Guardians of the Galaxy, which totally ruined the meta-level "I Am Groot" gag in the script), as well as staged readings at fringe festivals across the country, from New York to Chicago to Valdez, Alaska.
I later tried to turn that script into a novel. It was an interesting writing experience — trying to adapt your own work across mediums, from one that's explicitly external to one that's largely internal is a weird challenge, to say the least — and ultimately, nothing really came of the manuscript.
But now that we're all quarantine, and now that comic books themselves have also been quarantined for the foreseeable future, I've decided to serialize it on Medium, broken down into digestible chunks. The first 10 chapters are out now, and they each take (by Medium's calculations) about 4-9 minutes to read. I'll be adding new chapters every day through the end of the month. If you're looking for some nerdy laughs and nostalgia, it could be a delightful way to pass the time right now.
Here's a fuller synopsis of the story, in case you're not convinced:
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It's the weekend of the big annual comic book convention, and Chad Mailer is a young professional comic book writer who hit his career peak five years ago with a series that he never actually finished, and he now wishes to re-ignite his career.