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1. NYCC ’15: Valiant Debuts new Shadowman Design in Ninjak #10

Valiant is debuting a new Shadowman design in the upcoming comic Ninjak #10 (launching Dec. 9) within the new arc for the series entitled ‘Operation: Deadside.’ Artist Clayton Henry crafted the new design. Matt Kindt is writing the upcoming comic that has interior illustration work from artist Doug Braithwaite. The story was revealed by CBR this […]

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2. NYCC ’15: Aliens, Buffy and Korra from the Dark Horse: CLASSIFIED! panel

At the Dark Horse: CLASSIFIED! panel this afternoon at New York Comic-Con, a series of brand new licensed comics including new material from Aliens, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and The Legend of Korra was announced. The brand new Aliens comic is entitled Aliens: Defiance with writing from Brian Wood (Star Wars) and art from Tristan Jones (Mad […]

2 Comments on NYCC ’15: Aliens, Buffy and Korra from the Dark Horse: CLASSIFIED! panel, last added: 10/9/2015
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3. NYCC ’15: Valiant’s Archer and Armstrong are back in action in A&A #1

Two heroes are rejoining the Valiant Universe after a successful 25-issue ongoing series. Welcome Archer & Armstrong back to the Valiant Universe with A&A #1. The new title will debut in March 2016, and feature writing from Valiant newcomer Rafer Roberts (Plastic Farm) artist David Lafuente (Ultimate Spider-Man) is adding pencils to the brand new comic. […]

1 Comments on NYCC ’15: Valiant’s Archer and Armstrong are back in action in A&A #1, last added: 10/8/2015
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4. Rachel Pinnelas is named Dynamite’s Associate Editor

Dynamite named Rachel Pinnelas as a new addition to the company’s editorial team. Pinnelas is joining the publisher as an Associate Editor. She will oversee Dynamite-owned, licensed and creator-owned projects. Pinnelas will be editing Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, and Vampirella, and as of yet unannounced projects. She also edited the Swords of Sorrow crossover series. “I am very […]

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5. Bloodshot Reborn Debuts ‘The Analog Man’ and LaRosa Interior Work

Valiant Entertainment has decided to switch up their publishing slate with a brand new arc for Bloodshot Reborn containing a brand new status quota for the hero. The issue is shipping in 2016 with writing from traditional Bloodshot Reborn author Jeff Lemire and artist Lewis LaRosa. The new story entitled ‘The Analog Man’ debuting in issue #10 […]

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6. The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview: Leaky’s Q&A with Harry Potter Illustrator Jim Kay

Today, October 6, Bloomsbury is publishing the first illustrated edition of the Harry Potter books–Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is hitting shelves in stores near you. As a part of publication celebrations, illustrator Jim Kay agreed to participate in Q&A sessions with major Harry Potter news sites, calling it The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview. The Leaky Cauldron was honored with the opportunity to be apart of this event.

The Leaky staff came together to create and ask Kay four specific questions that we thought fans might like answered, and questions that Kay had not yet answered in previous interviews or Q&As. Jim Kay took the time, between drawing illustrations for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, to answer two of each site’s questions, and send never-before-seen images from Philosopher’s Stone. Please see the images and the interview below!


The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview


Were you influenced by previous Harry Potter illustrators/the films or did you veer away from both?(Alwaysjkrowling.com)

I’m a huge fan of both the books and the films. I thought the screen adaptations were a wonderful showcase of the best set design, product design, costume, casting, directing and acting their disciplines had to offer. I knew from the start that I’m competing to some degree with the hundreds of people involved in the visuals of the film. I remember watching the extras that come with the movie DVDs a few years back, and wondering how on earth you’d get to be lucky enough to work on the visuals for such a great project. To be offered the opportunity to design the whole world again from scratch was fantastic, but very daunting. I’d like to think that over the years lots of illustrators will have a crack at Potter, in the same way that Alice in Wonderland has seen generations of artists offer their own take on Lewis Carroll’s novel. I had to make it my version though, and so from the start I needed to set it apart from the films. I’ll be honest I’ve only seen a few illustrations from other Potter books, so that’s not been so much of a problem. I love Jonny Duddle’s covers, and everyone should see Andrew Davidson’s engravings – they are incredible!

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What was the most important detail for you to get right with your illustrations? (Magical Menagerie)

To try and stay faithful to the book. It’s very easy when you are scribbling away to start wandering off in different directions, so you must remind yourself to keep reading Jo’s text. Technically speaking though, I think composition is important –the way the movement and characters arrange themselves on the page – this dictates the feel of the book.

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What medium do you use to create your illustrations? (Snitchseeker)

I use anything that makes a mark –I am not fussy. So I don’t rely on expensive watercolour or paints, although I do occasionally use them – I like to mix them up with cheap house paint, or wax crayons. Sometimes in a local DIY store I’ll see those small tester pots of wall paint going cheap in a clear-out sale, and I’ll buy stacks of them, and experiment with painting in layers and sanding the paint back to get nice textures. The line is almost always pencil, 4B or darker, but the colour can be a mixture of any old paint, watercolour, acrylic, and oil. Diagon Alley was unusual in that I digitally coloured the whole illustration in order to preserve the pencil line drawing. I’d recommend experimenting; there is no right or wrong way to make an illustration, just do what works for you!

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Because each book is so rich in detail, what is your personal process when choosing specific images?(The Daily Snitcher)

I read the book, then read it again and again, making notes. You start off with lots of little ideas, and draw a tiny thumbnail illustration, about the size of a postage stamp, to remind you of the idea for an illustration you had while reading the book. I then start to draw them a little bigger, about postcard size, and show them to Bloomsbury. We then think about how many illustrations will appear in each chapter, and try to get the balance of the book right by moving pictures around, dropping or adding these rough drawings as we go. With Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury were great in that they let me try all sorts of things out, different styles, concepts. Some I didn’t think would get into the final book, but everyone was very open to new ideas. There was no definite plan with regards to how the book would look; we just experimented and let it evolve.


(McGonagall is from Telegraph’s photos)

Given the distinct split of younger vs. more mature readers of the series, how do you construct your illustrations so that they can appeal to both audiences at once? (Mugglenet)

The simple answer is I don’t try. I think only about the author and myself. You can’t please everyone, particularly when you know how many people have read the book. I don’t think good books are made by trying to appeal to a wide audience. You just try to do the best work you can in the time given, and respect the author’s work. Most illustrators are never happy with their own work. You always feel you want to try more combinations or alternative compositions. You are forever in search of that golden illustration that just ‘works’, but of course it’s impossible to achieve –there will always be another way of representing the text. Effectively you chase rainbows until you run out of time! You get a gut feeling if an image is working. I remember what I liked as a child (Richard Scarry books!). Detail and humour grabbed me as a nipper, and it’s the same now I’m in my forties.

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Did you base any characters or items in the book on real people or things? (Leaky Cauldron)

Lots of the book is based on real places, people and experiences. It helps to make the book personal to me, and therefore important. The main characters of the books are based on real people, partly for practical reasons, because I need to see how the pupils age over seven years. In Diagon Alley in particular, some of the shop names are personal to me. As a child we had a toad in the garden called Bufo (from the latin Bufo bufo), Noltie’s Botanical Novelties is named after a very clever friend of mine who works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. The shop called ‘Tut’s Nuts’ is a little joke from my days working at Kew Gardens; they had in their collections some seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamun, which were affectionately known as ‘Tut’s Nuts’. The imprisoned boy reaching for an apple in Brigg’s Brooms is from a drawing my friend did when we were about 9 years old –that’s thirty two years ago!

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Which character was the most difficult to draw? (Harry Potter’s Page)

Harry, without a doubt. Children are difficult to draw because you can’t use too many lines around the eyes and face, otherwise they look old. One misplaced pencil line can age a child by years, so you have to get it just right. Also Harry’s glasses are supposed to look repaired and bent out of shape, which I’ve found tricky to get right.

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What is your favourite scene you have illustrated? (Alwaysjkrowling.com)

That’s a difficult one. I’m fond of the ghosts. I paint them in reverse (almost like a photographic negative) and layer several paintings to make them translucent. I enjoyed Nearly Headless Nick. I really enjoyed illustrating the trolls too. Your favourite illustrations tend to be the ones that gave you the least amount of difficulties and I think Diagon Alley was nice for this reason. It was more like a brainstorming exercise, slowly working from left to right. My favourite character to illustrate is Hagrid – I love big things!

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Are there any hidden messages/items in your drawings for the Harry Potter series? (Magical Menagerie)

There are, but they are little things that relate to my life, so I’m not sure how much sense they’d make to other people. I like to include my dog in illustrations if I can (he’s in Diagon Alley). I also put a hare in my work, for good luck. There’s a hare in A Monster Calls, and in Harry Potter. My friends appear as models for the characters in book one, and some of their names too can be seen carved on a door, and on Diagon Alley. There are little references to later books too, such as on the wrought-iron sign of the Leaky Cauldron. I do it to keep things interesting for me while I’m drawing.

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How did you approach illustrating the Hogwarts Castle and grounds? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I really enjoyed doing this. You have to go through all seven books looking for mentions of the individual rooms, turrets, doors and walls of the castle, and make lots of notes. Then you check for mentions of its position, for example if you can see the sun set from a certain window, to find out which way the castle is facing. I then built a small model out of scrap card and Plasticine and tried lighting it from different directions. It was important to see how it would look in full light, or as a silhouette. Then it was a long process of designing the Great Hall, and individual towers. I have a huge number of drawings just experimenting with different doorways, roofs. Some early compositions were quite radical, then I hit upon the idea of trees growing under, through and over the whole castle, as if the castle had grown out of the landscape. This also gives me the opportunity to show trees growing through the inside of some rooms in future illustrations.

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What illustrations in the book are you most proud of? (Leaky Cauldron)

Usually it’s the ones that took the least amount of effort! It takes me so many attempts to get an illustration to work, that if one works on the second or third attempt, it’s a big relief. There is one illustration in the book that worked first time (a chapter opener of Hogwarts architecture, with birds nesting on the chimney pots). It kind of felt wrong that the illustration was done without agonising over it for days, it didn’t feel real somehow, so I’m proud of that one because it’s so rare that I get an image to work first time! The only other illustration that was relatively straightforward was the Sorting Hat. Illustrations that come a little easier tend to have a freshness about them, and I think those two feel a little bit looser than others in the book.


Which book do you think will be the most challenging one to illustrate? (Harry Potter’s Page)

At the minute it’s book two! I think book one I was full of adrenaline, driven by sheer terror! Book two I want to have a different feel, and that makes it challenging to start again and rethink the process.

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Is there a particular scene in the future Harry Potter books you’re excited to illustrate? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I’m really looking forward to painting Aragog in book two. I’m really fond of spiders – there are lots in my studio – so it’s great having reference close to hand! I’m hoping that by the Deathly Hallows we will be fully into a darker and more adult style of illustration, to reflect the perils facing Potter!

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How many illustrations did you initially do for the book, and how many of those appeared in the final edition? (Snitchseeker)

There are stacks of concept drawings that no one will ever see, such as the Hogwarts sketches, which I needed to do in order to get my head around the book. Then there are rough drawings, then rough drawings that are worked up a little more, and then it might take five or six attempts for each illustration to get it right.

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What house do you think you may have been placed in, aged 11, and would it be the same now? (Mugglenet)

I’d like to think it was Ravenclaw as a child. I was much more confident back then, and creative, plus they have an interesting house ghost in the form of the Grey Lady. These days I work hard and am loyal, so probably Hufflepuff.

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Illustrating aside, what is one thing that you love doing to express your creativity? (The Daily Snitcher)

It’s difficult to say because for the past 5 years I have worked on illustration seven days a week, every hour of the day. A few years back I started to write, and I really enjoyed that, it’s far more intimate than illustrating, and I love going over the same line and trying to hone it down to the core of what you are trying to express. My partner makes hats, and I’m very envious. It looks like wonderful fun. We have lots of designs for hats in sketchbooks. I really want to get some time to make some. I’ve always been slightly torn that I didn’t go into fashion, but my sewing is terrible. I used to play guitar a lot and write little bits of music, but that’s difficult now because my hand gets very stiff from drawing all day! The funny thing is, if I did ever get a day off, I’d just want to draw!

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This morning, J.K. Rowling invited all to check out the book and “see Harry Potter through Jim Kay’s extraordinary eyes,” and Pottermore also released their exclusive interview.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone–Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay, is now available from any book retailer near you (or online)! Happy reading and please let us know your impressions of the new version of the Harry Potter books–our favorite books!

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7. Marvel is “Whittling” Down the Publisher’s Next Event Post-“Secret Wars”

As great as Secret Wars has been over the past couple of issues, the story isn’t going to be the end of the Marvel Universe as we know it — the series will also not serve as the last event ever told by the publisher. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso confirmed the existence of a new […]

10 Comments on Marvel is “Whittling” Down the Publisher’s Next Event Post-“Secret Wars”, last added: 10/2/2015
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8. Trade Paperback Staff Picks for the week of 9/30/15

As much as we here at The Beat love single issues shipping each month, sometimes certain comics and stories tend to get the best of us as we try to keep up with new titles shipping each week. As a result, this week wanted to offer readers some of the best comics content available in […]

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9. X-Men ’92 is Promoted to an Ongoing Series Post-Secret Wars

Sitting atop Doom’s throne as the surprise hit of Secret Wars is an X-Men series loosely based off of the cartoon, X-Men ‘92. The mini-series is becoming an ongoing after the marquee crossover. The new title will begin in 2016 announced via Newsarama. The tale will be written by the same creative team on the […]

3 Comments on X-Men ’92 is Promoted to an Ongoing Series Post-Secret Wars, last added: 10/1/2015
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10. The Spirit of Marston is Alive in Wonder Woman: Earth One

Action Comics, Animal Man, Batman, The Doom Patrol, The Invisibles and The New X-Men. Nobody in comics has a resume quite like Grant Morrison. The author has written so many incredible comic books stemming all the way back to the ‘80s. That’s why when the writer sometimes takes a little bit of time producing his next masterpiece, fans […]

7 Comments on The Spirit of Marston is Alive in Wonder Woman: Earth One, last added: 9/26/2015
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11. Witness the Revenge of the Armor Hunters in the Pages of Valiant’s Unity

Valiant Entertainment has revealed one of the final story arcs for the publisher’s landmark team book Unity. A few weeks ago, the comics company announced that the series was coming to an end with issue #25. The new arc features the return of the Armor Hunters who were defeated at the end of a landmark […]

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12. Small Publishers

Bigger isn't always better when it comes to the size of your publisher.


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13. Deadpool and Cable go Existential for a Split Second with Brown and Nicieza

Deadpool and Cable might not be the best of friends, but that doesn’t stop Marvel from teaming up the unlikely duo again and again. This time instead of going with the classic idea of putting the pair into a book under the moniker Cable & Deadpool, Marvel placed Deadpool’s name first in Deadpool & Cable: Split Second. […]

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14. BBC Witness interview with Harry Potter’s publisher

The BBC’s radio programme Witness have released an episode interviewing Barry Cunningham, the man who decided to take on the Harry Potter book series, on the creation of a phenomenon that would spread the globe.

BBC News said:

‘The Harry Potter series has sold 450 million copies worldwide to date. But before the first book was published, numerous publishers had turned the first book down.

Barry Cunningham was the man who decided to take a gamble on J.K. Rowling after he and his daughter became enchanted by the story.’

Cunningham says in the episode that many people ask how long it is before a publisher knows that they like a story, and in regards to what caught his attention, he says:

 ‘I was gripped by Harry’s situation … The thing that I really liked about the story was the friendship … It was the friendship between the children that really moved me’.

His daughter, Alice, read Rowling’s manuscript the night he had received it, and it was her response that solidified the deal:

‘She couldn’t stop reading’

A deal with Rowling’s agent was then made at a ‘relatively low price’, ending ‘the most significant purchase made in publishing in the last fifty years’. Cunningham laughs, saying

‘I laugh about it now, but, you know, I never would have guessed’.

Jo apparently took some convincing before she believed she was being called by a publisher, and was ‘lost for words’ when the realisation finally hit, after so many rejections. Cunningham says he wasn’t aware of this ‘journey’ she’d been on to finally be published. We’re so glad she never gave up!

J.K. Rowling’s stories have reached millions, whether by page or screen, and we definitely recommend giving this a listen! Cunningham goes on to talk about Rowling’s past, her ‘revolutionary’ proposal of turning Harry Potter into a multi-part series, and the overwhelmingly positive response to the books a year after being published. The episode features readings from Stephen Fry, Rowling herself, and snippets from book releases and fan events. Cunningham said:

‘It was at this point that we realised something was changing in the world of children’s books’.

The age of the Potterheads had arrived.

You can listen to the episode here, and read more here.

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15. Disney’s Ambitious Star Wars Land is Revealed at D23

At D23 in the Anaheim Convention center this morning, Disney revealed a short clip and some concept art for the biggest single ‘land’ expansion of Disneyland yet: Star Wars Land. The new area based on the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens film and will be built in 2017 around the Big Thunder Ranch area and […]

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16. The Delcourt Roundup from Comixology: Biotech Nazi Fun

Comixology publishes a group of titles from Delcourt, a French publishing house. Each week, The Beat checks out these series and tells you about what you should be reading. This week features a pair of light military stories in the Delcourt roster that are concluding their first two-issues arcs. Without further ado, we welcome you to […]

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17. Asmus, Caselli and Soule launch the All-New Inhumans on a Secret Mission

Marvel has just announced another Inhumans title with Charles Soule (She-Hulk) and James Asmus (Quantum and Woody) on writing duties. The new series known as All-New Inhumans features interiors from Stefano Caselli (Secret Warriors) and will be lead by the royal family member Crystal, sister of Queen Medusa. The roster features an additional supporting team of […]

3 Comments on Asmus, Caselli and Soule launch the All-New Inhumans on a Secret Mission, last added: 8/20/2015
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18. Review: Book of Death #2: The Execution of all Things

Writer: Robert Venditti Artists: Robert Gill  Doug Braithwaite Colors: David Baron Allen Passalaqua Brian Reber Letters: Dave Lanphear Convinced the unnatural disasters tearing our world apart are a direct result of the new Geomancer’s arrival, the combined forces of the Valiant Universe are forced to confront the Eternal Warrior about his new charge. But to […]

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19. She Lives Again: Switch Press and Bond Double Down on Lois Lane

While the Lois Lane one-shot from Marguerite Bennett, Emanuela Lupacchino and DC in 2014 may have failed to inspire interest in DC from an ongoing series starring Lane, it hasn’t stopped Switch Press from publishing not one, but two novels featuring the character. The second, an upcoming novel story entitled Lois Lane: Double Down will launch […]

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20. Kangaroo Visits the Stately Beat Manor Staff Pull for 8/26/15

After restoring our collective brain patterns from last week’s insane Podcorn visitation, the men and women hand selected by the government to write the world’s premiere comic book news website, The Beat, sought a nap. A new member of the team known as Frank Oliver aligned himself amongst our ranks, and after some comic book […]

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21. The Guardians Family Welcomes an Infinite Amount of Heroes

Marvel is mixing up the publishing line with the surprise addition of another book in the Guardians of The Galaxy family: Guardians of Infinity. ComicBook.com broke the news. Previous Guardians author Dan Abnett is returning to the franchise with an art team including Marvel star Carlo Barberi on art. The roster includes new and old Guardians favorites: Drax, Rocket Raccoon, […]

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22. Starbrand and Nightmask Enroll in Empire State University after Secret Wars

Marvel has just decided to give a pair of newly reintroduced Avengers heroes their own title: Starbrand & Nightmask. The pair first appeared in the Marvel Universe in the ‘1980s in the alternate reality known as the New Universe. Starbrand was originally created by Jim Shooter, while Nightmask was created by Archie Goodwin. The new title is […]

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23. Vanesa R. Del Rey and Aja join Robinson on Scarlet Witch

Marvel recently announced that writer James Robinson would be tackling an upcoming solo series starring the Scarlet Witch spinning out of her on-screen debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Initially…the comic did not have an interior artist,  however, news came yesterday from Newsarama that Hit: 1957 artist Vanessa R. Del Rey will be pencilling the first […]

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24. Micky Moran Visits the Stately Beat Manor Staff Pull for 9/2/15

Team Comics Beat, the world’s most important comic book website ever to grace the internet, sought out adventure and fun after a hard work week.  However, we were graced with the appearance of Micky Moran. As soon as he entered the halls within the residence of the Stately Beat Manor we knew that he was none-other-than […]

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25. Weekend Wrap Up: “Omega Men” No Longer Cancelled, X-Men Facing a Slow Death, and More

This weekend turned out to be a very busy one for comics news.  As our chief steward, Heidi MacDonald, takes a well deserved rest this morning following the conclusion of Small Press Expo, let’s take a look at some of the big breaking stories from the last few days. Omega Men Lives When we broke […]

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