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Aspen breaks ties with Joe Benitez and Lady Mechanika

Some relationships just aren’t meant to last forever.

That goes both for romances and, as it turns out, comics publishing, as Tuesday Aspen MLT announced that it was “amicably” and “mutually” separating itself from publishing Joe Benitez‘s work, namely the series Lady Mechanika. Launched in 2010, Lady Mechanika experienced major delays with its third issue unreleased even one year after its original announced release date.

“[Aspen] have greatly appreciated Joe’s time here with us and his involvement and promotion of Aspen Comics over the years. Joe and I have discussed his future plans and his desire to venture out on his own,” Aspen co-owner Peter Stiegwald said in a press release. ” We wish Joe well, and hope for a bright future for him and his creations, including Lady Mechanika.”

Benitez had been working regularly for the publisher since 2009 on a variety of books, including its flagship title Soulfire. Lady Mechanika, his creator-owned steamppunk series, garnered quite a bit of support from fans of both comics and the steampunk genre, but the production of the book has experiences significant delays. Lady Mechanika #4 was originally solicited for release in December 2011 but was delayed and ultimately canceled by the distributor.

Benitez is quoted in the press release, stating he is both “anxious and excited” to begin self-publishing Lady Mechanika. The writer/artist said he plans to finish the final three issues of the inaugural Lady Mechanika series in 2013, and launch an ongoing title in the near future.

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Boston Comic Con | Highlights of the Creator-Owned Comics Panel

From left: Brian LeTendre, Ben Templesmith, Becky Cloonan, Joe Benitez, Geof Darrow, Jeremy Bastian

The Creator-Owned Comics panel at Boston Comic-Con drew together five creators with a range of experiences to discuss the fine points of making and marketing their own comics. The panelists were Ben Templesmith (Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse), Becky Cloonan (Wolves), Joe Benitez (Lady Mechanika), Geof Darrow (Shaolin Cowboy), and Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl). The moderator was Brian LeTendre of the Secret Identity podcast.

The panel began with a discussion of how the comics landscape has changed over the years. “It’s changed completely,” said Ben Templesmith. “Every small publisher in the comics media, they have all now pretty much been swallowed up by bigger fish. Everyone in the main media is getting involved in comics and buying up small publishers.”

Cloonan, on the other hand, doesn’t see much difference in the way she sells her self-published comics. ” When I first started doing mini-comics, it was almost exactly the way I do them now,” she said. “I go to conventions and I bring my suitcase filled with comics; I just sell more. It’s funny how much social media and the industry has changed, but I still handle it and approach it much the same way I did in college.”

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SDCC Wishlist | Aspen variants, Rick Geary and more

The massive Comic-Con International runs July 21-24 in San Diego, but it’s never too early to start planning your shopping list. So we’ll be running a list of potential “wishlist” items you may want to check out at the show.

If you are a comics creator or publisher, and you’re planning to bring something new to the con — a sketchbook, a print, a graphic novel debut, etc. — then we want to hear from you. Drop me an email at and let me know if you’ll have something cool on hand that attendees should know about. Feel free to send any artwork as well.

Aspen Comics sends word of two variant covers they’ll have at the show, for Executive Assistant Iris and Charismagic

Executive Assistant Iris by Joe Benitez

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