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Comics: Scott Snyder returns to American Vampire; Power Rangers enter new era; more

By Matthew Jackson
American Vampire 76 cover

A decade ago, before they were the superstars they are now, writer Scott Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque launched a new horror series at Vertigo Comics with a little help from Stephen King. Now 10 years and a lot of successful comics later, they're back to finish the job. DC Comics announced Thursday that the Eisner Award-winning series American Vampire returns this fall for its final chapter set in one of the most paranoid and tumultuous eras in American history. And no, it's not the present day. It's American Vampire 1976, a new DC Black Label miniseries. 

Here's the official synopsis:

"Skinner Sweet has exhausted all efforts to regain his lost immortality. With his powers and purpose gone, he is now determined to go out with a bang. At a seedy motorcycle rally in the desert where Skinner’s closer than ever to his death wish, Pearl Jones and a shocking partner track him down for one last, desperate mission: the force known as the Gray Trader and its minions are tunneling through the bowels of the world to unleash hell on Earth—just in time for America’s bicentennial. With catastrophe looming, it’s up to Skinner and Pearl to reconcile and change the course of history—or die trying."

For Snyder and Albuquerque, setting the final chapter of their history-hopping series at the moment of America's 200th birthday presented a lot of intriguing narrative opportunities, from the parallels into political climate to the chance to simply have some fun with pop culture references. 

“The characters in ‘76 are in a really dark place in terms of the fight against evil,” Snyder said in a press release. “The '70s mirror our current era in many ways: the anxiety, the fear, and the re-examination of American identity. The book opens on Skinner Sweet working outside of Vegas doing death-defying Evel Knievel-style stunts, trying to die. There’s a kind of Son of Sam plot in New York City with Cal and Travis, a political thriller plot with Felicia, and all sorts of '70s iconography. It’s my favorite arc so far.”

Check out the cover and four preview pages from the series below. The nine-issue finale begins when American Vampire 1976 #1 arrives October 6. 

The Power Rangers franchise has delivered plenty of TV adventures to fans over the years, but these days their comic book adventures are arguably just as compelling. Thanks to BOOM! Studios and some very ambitious creators, Power Rangers comics continue to grow the franchise into something bigger and more epic. Now, the publisher has announced the dawn of a new era: Get ready for Power Rangers: Unlimited Power

Earlier this week BOOM! revealed that it was launch not one, but two new series in the Power Rangers franchise this fall under the guidance of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/TMNT writer Ryan Parrott. In Mighty Morphin #1, Parrott teams with artist Marco Renna to tell the story of a new Mighty Morphin who have to face a revitalized and even more powerful version of Lord Zedd with the help of a mysterious new Green Ranger. In Power Rangers #1, Parrott and artist Francesco Mortarino are set to explore a new story following the Omega Rangers — aka original Power Rangers Jason, Trini, and Zack — who go rogue, and even team up with Lord Drakkon, to battle a powerful new cosmic threat. 

“We've spent several years building out the Power Rangers comic book universe and continuing the adventures of the Omega Rangers gives us a chance to fully explore it beyond the confines of the show. Not only can we add more heroes and villains but we can also bring in elements from future seasons viewed through the lens of familiar characters,” said Parrott in a press release. “It's very exciting to explore new corners of the Power Rangers universe that fans have always imagined - and also never expected!” 

Mighty Morphin #1 and Power Rangers #1 arrive in November to kick off the Unlimited Power era. Check out covers for both series below.

Halloween may be a few months away, but comics publishers are already letting us know what they'll be offering to help get us in the mood for the Spookiest Time of the Year. This week, IDW revealed that their offerings will include a new horror miniseries from writer and artist Chris Roche (Transformers: The Wreckers Saga) about the dual terrors of parenting and ancient evils hidden in your town. 

Scarenthood (which is already in the running for best title of 2020) will follow a group of parents whose kids have all gone away on a field trip. While the children are gone, the adults accidentally awaken "an ancient evil buried beneath the old Church Hall, unearthing a decades-old mystery about a missing child, and inviting something… hungry into their lives. Suddenly, their mornings go from playdates and peanut allergies to a battle for the souls of one broken family⁠ — and one child in particular."

Scarenthood cover

For Roche, it was an opportunity to revisit a certain atmosphere from his childhood, mixed with some very real-world, grown-up fears.

“My generation grew up in what seemed like a haunted Ireland: superstition still abounded, and everyone had seen moving holy statues, or lived near a stately home that had been burnt to the ground in a Satanic visitation, or knew someone who chopped down a Faerie bush and lived to regret it,” Roche said in a press release. “Scarenthood is about realizing that some of those horrors from childhood are real, but nothing is more terrifying than ruining your own kid’s life. Also: there are funny bits.”

The four-issue miniseries, written and drawn by Roche and colored by Chris O'Halloran, debuts this October. For a closer look at the art, head over to IDW's website.