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.
Diamond Comics is the exclusive shipping and distribution source for all weekly comic books. Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, Boom! — they all send their single-issues to comic book stores through Diamond.
Due to coronavirus concerns, however, the company has halted all shipments for the foreseeable future.
Comic book stores can still sell other merchandise, as well as some graphic novels, trade paperbacks, collected editions, and other bound book-style publications. Single-issues will also continue to be available digitally through Comixology, as most publishers have already announced their solicitations for new comics through at least June.
But what this means for the future of the comic book industry remains to be seen. While graphic novels and trade paperbacks of single issues have continued to increase in popularity, those single weekly issues remain the backbone of the industry, just as they've been for the last 50+ years. The entire serialized structure of the medium depends on it. Even if you prefer to pick up the collected editions of SAGA (also known as "waiting for the trade"), the comic still benefits from the 6 months of promotion that it gets every time a new single issue is released. Each single issue sells around 40,000 copies, compared to 1-2,000 copies per graphic novel (although the first trade paperback continues to sell more than 1,000 copies per month on average, based on a quick glance through Diamond's sales charts). Self-contained graphic novels — those that are created and released as a single, cohesive entity, instead of as a collection of single issues — rarely sell as well as collected trade paperbacks. Read the rest
Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg continue down the 1990s comic book speculation rabbit hole to discuss Wizard 17 from January 1993. In this issue:
• Brutes and Babes: Bart Sears on Cover design including Hip Hop Family Tree, Street Angel, and X-Men: Grand Design
• Valiant gets the spotlight
• Fabian Nicieza writing and editing a lot of books
• Tom Palmer's X-mas recommendations
• Dave Sim passes the halfway point of Cerebus and reflects on Image, Wizard, self-publishing, the direct market, and Jack Kirby's revolutionary work at the dawn of the Marvel Universe
• Roy Thomas adapts Francis Ford Copolla's Bram Stoker's Dracula for Topps and Mike Mignola
• Batman is sad
• Wizard puts out a call for homemade fanzines!!!
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Ed and Jim's investigation into the 1990's comic book speculation boom and bust continues! In this issue:
*The second wave of Image Comics creators is officially upon us with the release of Darker Image issue 1.
*Cartoonist Lea Hernandez drops some knowledge about the trials and tribulations of the comic book business.
*Palmer's Picks: Hepcats, and the first announcement of Peter Laird's monumental Xeric Grant for self publishers.
* Kevin Eastman creates the Words and Pictures museum!
*A Dale Keown interview talking about his soon to be published Image title, Pitt!
* Fan Favorite artist, Kelley Jones speaks to Wizard about his drawing career, from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics to an Alien series published by Dark Horse comics
* Speaking of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Wizard investigates the comic to see how it compares and contrasts with previous iterations of the DC Sandman character, dating back to the 1940s.
* All this and tons more.
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