Welcome back to the latest roundup of the hottest comic book news out there today! For this collection of updates, we've got a major Marvel departure, the return of Magic: The Gathering comic books, and a partnership between Image Comics and CBLDF that will combat censorship. With that intro out of the way, let's dig right in...
A little over a year after becoming the writer on Marvel's Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck, Jughead, Star-Lord: Grounded) is leaving the series, he revealed during a recent Reddit AMA.
"[It] was an incredibly hard decision to make, but the timing felt right," wrote the writer/author, who recently signed an exclusive deal with Marvel. "My biggest regret is that, talking with Nick Spencer, the stuff coming up in AMAZING is so great that I wished I could stick around to play in the world he's making."
While Zdarsky didn't give an exact reason for leaving the series, the first part of the two-part Sandman story to which he refers, hits shelves August 15.
Next up, Magic: The Gathering (owned by Wizards of the Coast) is getting another comic book miniseries from IDW Publishing in honor of the card game's 25th anniversary, IDW announced this week. The series, titled Magic: The Gathering — Chandra, will center around a a Planeswalker and pyromancer named Chandra Nalaar. Vita Ayala (Supergirl, The Wilds) is handling the writing with Harvey Tolibao (X-Men, Green Arrow) on art duties.
“Think of a character that you love. From any story, from any property. There is an excellent chance that you were introduced to that character by some kind of page, or some sort of screen. We are thrilled to have Vita and Harvey introduce you to Chandra, to her story, her quirks, and her incredible powers," said Magic: The Gathering Franchise Director Jeremy Jarvis. "Set in the near future of the Multiverse, these never-before-told stories will breathe life into Chandra, her cohorts, and her enemies in new and visually striking ways. Knowledge of cards is optional, love of characters required."
This will be the first M:TG comic in four years, since Magic: The Gathering – Theros, which stemmed from a collaboration with IDW as well.
“I can’t hold back my excitement about this new Magic: The Gathering comic book!” said IDW Editor-in-Chief John Barber. “With meteorically rising star Vita Ayala penning these tales, with the incredible art of Harvey Tolibao delineating the adventures, and with the introduction of the dynamic and powerful Chandra Nalaar, it’s clear we’ve entered a bold new era of storytelling. Everybody involved in this comic is dedicated to bringing you emotional and thrilling experiences that will satisfy fans of Magic: The Gathering — as well as fans of stories packed with action and drama told from a unique point of view.”
The first issue of Chandra drops in November.
Lastly, Image Comics has partnered with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in an effort to stand against censorship. The result will be a number of charity variant covers from Image, whose proceeds will benefit the CBLDF, which is a non-profit that advocates for free speech within America's comic book industry.
Led by HACK/SLASH creator Tim Seeley and Image Comics’ Publisher Eric Stephenson, the initiative includes art from Skottie Young, Mirka Andolfo, Howard Chaykin, Justin Greenwood, and more.
"Comics have been uniquely affected by censorship since the very beginning," said Seeley in an official release. "I wanted to do something with my fellow Image creators to call attention to the problem, and to raise money for CBLDF to help their efforts to fight back. They own the Comics Code Seal of Approval, the censorship stamp that used to govern almost all comics until that organization died in 2011. We thought we'd bring back the Code for one month, to show how ham-fisted those censorship attempts were while having some fun making money for the CBLDF's important work."
Stephenson added: "Freedom of expression is a core value at Image Comics. Image has been a proud corporate member of the Fund for more than a decade. Their work ensures that the comics we make can reach their audiences through retailers, libraries, and online without local authorities interfering. CBLDF is constantly fighting book bans, helping creators and librarians behind the scenes in big and small ways, as well as keeping an eye out to challenge unconstitutional laws that would affect free expression. We're grateful for their work and proud to support it."