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Welcome to The Pull List, SYFY WIRE's weekly comics column that gets at the pulse of what's going on in comics right now. Everything from huge crossovers to real-life issues facing the industry, a cool first look, the week's hot new comics, and everything in between. Basically, we're here to help you with your pull list.
Well, another week has passed amid a pandemic, and New Comic Book Day is still not what it once was. Diamond Comics Distributors is still on pause in terms of shipping new issues to store, stay at home orders are in effect around the country, and publishers have largely halted publication of new stories with no shops to sell them in. Despite this, there's a lot of good news in the comics community this week, and it starts with some of the biggest creators in the industry stepping up to help struggling stores in a major way.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that a massive creator-led effort founded by comics icons Brian Michael Bendis, Gwenda Bond, Kami Garcia, Sam Humphries, and Phil Jimenez is set to launch today under the name Creators 4 Comics. The initiative is a massive collaboration of more than 120 creators in the comics world and beyond to offer up signed books, original art, unique experiences and more for an auction that will benefit the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC), a fund that helps comic book shops and indie bookstores in times of crisis.
The auctions will kick off today under the #Creators4Comics hashtag on Twitter, and the plan is to keep them going through Noon EST on Monday, April 20. Fans can bid on the items by simply replying with a dollar amount to the tweet containing the item, then donating the winning amount directly to BINC at the end of the auction. For more on how it works, check out the Creators 4 Comics website.
So, what can you win? Well, as of Tuesday night numerous creators were still keeping their auction items at least semi-secret, but some of have already spilled some very cool prizes. Humphries, for example, is offering video chat sessions to guide aspiring comics writers, Jimenez floated the idea of virtual porfolio reviews, and Bendis offered a dinner via Zoom with himself and fellow comics writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. Plus, Bendis noted that there's still plenty of room for more creators from any medium to participate in the hashtag and raise funds for BINC.Creators 4 Comics is the latest in a string of big and small efforts launched by creators and fans to help out local stores. In recent weeks DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee has launched his own very successful auction effort over on his Instagram page, and he's drafted many more artists to help out in his quest to raise as much money for BINC as possible. Then there's Venom writer Donny Cates, who contacted Austin Books & Comics in Austin, Texas this week and paid for every outstanding pull list on their files.
The point is to help anyway you can, and these creators are stepping up to do their best to make sure comic book shops can thrive again when this is all over. If you've got some cash and you're ready to buy some cool stuff, check out the #Creators4Comics hashtag and see what looks good to you.
Graphic novel sales offer hope
We've talked repeatedly over the last few weeks about what a tricky time this is for the comics industry. With virtually no new comics arriving in stores right now, local shops are selling what they can from existing stock and whatever new product they can get into stores, and quite a few of those shops are doing almost all of it all remotely since stay home orders mean no foot traffic. It's hard for the whole industry right now, but apparently there's one place in the market that's providing some hope for the moment: Graphic novels.
A new report from ICv2 earlier this week compiled NPD BookScan numbers from March-April 4 of this year, and revealed something encouraging: The adult graphic novels listings are holding relatively steady compared to the same time last year, and the kids graphic novels sales are "up substantially" over those in March of 2019. These graphic novel listings include things like original graphic novels, of course, but also the various trade paperbacks and hardcovers collecting single issues of comics for readers who like a heftier experience.
While some comics publishers, including Image and Dynamite, release all of their graphic novels through Diamond, others have publishing agreements with book distributors like Simon & Schuster, which has not shut down distribution of its books amid the pandemic. That means those graphic novels can still get to stores, and apparently people haven't slowed down their purchasing of them, and in some cases they're buying even more. Is it enough to make up for all the revenue local stores are losing from a lack of new Diamond product right now? No, but it's an encouraging sign, and we can keep it going. If you've been meaning to pick up a trade, go look at the 28 Pages Later comics shop database and find a store that can get it to you.
New (and new to you) comics to watch for
Most of the new single issues we were expecting to enjoy this April are on hold for the time being, but that doesn't mean there aren't any new stories worth picking up. As we've already mentioned, many publishers are still releasing trade paperback collections, and there might even be a digital single issue or two worth checking out. Here are three things we're looking forward to this week:
Ghosted in L.A. Vol. 1: The first collection of this charming BOOM Studios! series from Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le arrives this week, and it's four issues of supernatural comedy goodness you won't want to miss. Ghosted in L.A. follows Daphne Walters, a Los Angeles newcomer who just can't seem to connect with anyone in her new home and feels abandoned...until she stumbles upon an old mansion and the odd crew of ghosts who are about to become her new roommates.
Archie vs. Predator II: Archie vs. Predator is one of the wildest and most unexpected crossover events in the history of comics...so you know it had to have a sequel. This collection gathers all five issues of the Archie vs. Predator miniseries from Alex de Campi, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Robert Hack, and Jack Morelli, and if you thought the first story was insane fun, wait until you see the alternate universe shenanigans the gang gets up to this time.
Batman: The Adventures Continue #2: Yes, despite the lack of new single issues from major publishers, DC Comics still has one digital-first series offering new stories right now, and thankfully for all of us it's this delightful return to the world of Batman: The Animated Series. Last issue found the Caped Crusader battling a giant robot that turned out to be part of a Lex Luthor plot. This issue, we hopefully get to see what Luthor's been up to.
And that's it for The Pull List this week. Until next time, remember what John Custer told his son Jesse in the pages of Preacher:
"You gotta be one of the good guys, son: 'Cause there's way too many of the bad."