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Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. This morning there’s just enough time to catch up on the announcements from the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo before making plans for Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day.
But before retailers hand out more than 4.6 million free comics, they have Wednesday’s offerings to contend with: Among them are the debuts of Sesame Street and The Movement, and archival editions featuring Jack Kirby and Korak, Son of Tarzan.
For comic-book news, all eyes this weekend were on the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, where most of the major publishers made announcements during their respective presentations. Here’s a selection of what you might have missed:
• During Sunday’s X-Men panel, Marvel confirmed X-Factor will end in September, a decision made by writer Peter David.
• Dark Horse has signed a deal with Wendy and Richard Pini to publish the cult-hit fantasy Elfquest, beginning in the fall with the prologue to Elfquest: The Final Quest, now being serialized online at BoingBoing. Dark Horse will then release The Final Quest alongside new editions of previously published books.
• Action Lab Entertainment, which publishes Princeless and the upcoming Molly Danger, announced it will reduce the cover price of all of its comics by $1.
• Dark Horse announced the return of Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy, a fall release date for the original graphic novel Hellboy: The Midnight Circus, by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo, and the launch of Itty Bitty Hellboy, a new all-ages series by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani.
• IDW Publishing has acquired the rights to Jay Ward’s classic animated characters, and plans to publish new comics featuring Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Rocky & Bullwinkle beginning in 2014. The company also confirmed the mash-up Mars Attacks Judge Dredd, by Al Ewing, John McCrea and Greg Staples, and announced a deluxe hardcover edition of The Red Star.
• DC Comics teased that there will be “an answer as to Renee Montoya’s status in the New 52,” and that “something might be happening with Static relatively soon.”
On Saturday, all across North America and around the world, it’s Free Comic Book Day, when retailers will give away more than 4.6 million free comics. Beyond the giveaways, many stores have planned creator signings and related events, such as the Arizona Comic Mini Expo at Samurai Comics in Mesa. Find a store near you that’s participating in Free Comic Book Day with FindAComicShop.com.
ROBOT 6 contributors name their top choices from among the comic books, and comics-related books, scheduled to arrive in stores this week. We welcome readers to highlight their picks in the comments below.
If writer Jeff Parker didn’t catch your interest by rebranding Mt. Rushmore with Dr. Doom, Loki, Red Skull and Ultron (as previewed at CBR last week (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=16301), I may have something to catch the attention of even the critics for this series. Some fans have refused to read this title because it doesn’t star Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk – and while she doesn’t star in this issue, she’s definitely part of the plot. More people should be buying this series, and I will say this until someone proves me wrong: Parker is one of the best writers that Marvel has. – Tim O’Shea
I have high hopes for Gail Simone and Freddie Williams’ The Movement for a few reasons. First, naturally, are the creators; I’ve been a Simone fan for a long time now, and I’ve enjoyed Williams’ work as well. Second is the book’s unconventional subject matter, in which a group of superhumans decides to use its powers to protect the masses from the excesses of the establishment. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, The Movement represents DC’s latest attempt to do something truly new in the New 52. This week we’ll start to see whether The Movement can expand DC’s horizons beyond its familiar set of icons. – Tom Bondurant
How did we get to 2013 without a Sesame Street comic? Joining IDW Publishing’s My Little Pony and BOOM! Studios’ Adventure Time, Ape Entertainment’s Sesame Street #1 adds to the kids’ comics resurgence. In the show’s tradition, the first issue is brought to you by the letter I. “I is for Imagination” features fantastic art by Amy Mebberson, and that’s why this current crop of kids comics is working. They’ve got solid talent on them, creators who fully embrace the shows they’re based on and the spirit in which these stories exist. As just one example, Mebberson is doing the entire comic in watercolors to evoke the feeling of familiar Sesame Street story books. And besides, Super Grover is in this issue! Do you not understand the happiness of Super Grover appearing in a comic? – Corey Blake
This book seems designed to round up as much straggling material from the King’s various post-Golden Age periods at DC as possible. As such, a lot of this material is not exactly essential, and a lot of it arguably is work by an artist in decline, but there are still plenty of gems inside. Kirby was always at his best when he was given free rein to just randomly generate concepts and move on, so I’ve always had a soft spot for the work he produced for First Issue Special, even the Dingbats of Danger Street, and the Atlas issue features a couple of splash pages that are worth the price of admission alone. Plus, I’m the kind of maniac who’d rather have the Kirby/Joe Simon Sandman from 1974 than either Wesley Dodds or Morpheus.
The success of this series hopefully has shown the Big Two that basing your reprints around a creator can be just as lucrative a way of monetizing their back catalog as their usual obsession with holding their copyrighted characters in a higher regard than the talent they employ to bring them to life. – Mark Kardwell
Although a concept like Korak, Son of Tarzan might seem like a cheap ploy to expand the comic-book franchise, it was actually a cheap ploy by Edgar Rice Burroughs to expand the prose franchise. I kid … mostly. Just as the title suggests, John “Jack” Clayton is the son of Tarzan and Jane (in the movies he was replaced by the adopted child Boy) who returns to Africa, takes the ape name “Korak” — it means “killer” — and rescues and later marries a girl named Meriem. This Dark Horse archive collects the first six issues of the Gold Key comics series by Gaylord DuBois and Russ Manning, and adds a foreword by Steve Rude. With a $49.99 cover price, it’s a bit on the expensive side, but seeing more jungle adventures illustrated by Manning may just be worth it. — Kevin Melrose