Tom Peyer, Stuart Moore to Launch New Comic Book Magazine Format

Four veteran creators from comics and humor publishing are teaming up to launch Ahoy Comics, a new comics venture that will publish in a hybrid print format: a comic book magazine featuring prose articles and even poetry in addition to comics.

Ahoy Comics will make its debut in September with two titles (priced at $3.99), The Wrong Earth by Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle, a six issue superhero satire; and High Heaven by Tom Peyer and Greg Scott, a mini-series for mature readers about a chronic complainer who dies and goes to heaven, where he finds that everything is terrible. Ahoy will follow with two more titles in October.

Ahoy contributors feature some of the best known talent in comics and humor writing, among them, artists Jamal Igle, Hunt Emerson, Carol Lay, Shannon Wheeler, June Brigman, Fred Harper, Peter Snejbjerg, and Linda Medley; and writers Tom Peyer, Mariah McCourt, Stuart Moore, Mark Rahner, Mark Russell, and others.

The founding principals of Ahoy Comics are publisher Hart Seely, a reporter and humor writer for NPR, founding editors Tom Peyer and Stuart Moore, both comics writers and founding editors of DC’s Vertigo imprint, and Ahoy Comics chief creative officer Frank Cammuso, who is also an acclaimed children’s comics artist.

In a phone interview with Peyer and Moore, the two founding editors emphasized that each Ahoy publication will be a  “comic book magazine,” a hybrid combination of the traditional comic book and a magazine with prose stories. Ahoy comics, Peyer said, will feature a wide variety of contributors from superhero comics, indie comics and humor magazines.

“We’re publishing comic book magazines with full length stories, back up stories, one-off gags by a bestselling New Yorker cartoonist, political poetry by a regular Politico contributor, and prose stories by Grant Morrison,” Peyer said.

Peyer guaranteed Ahoy Comics will be “funny. We’ll stick out.”

Diamond Comics will distribute Ahoy Comics in the comics shop market. Moore said Ahoy comics will be collected into trade paperbacks (combining 4 to 6 issues) and focus on the comics rather than the prose works. Bookstore distribution, he said, was still being worked out. Ahoy comics will be available for sale in digital editions via Comixology.

The launch of Ahoy Comics comes at a time when the North American comics market is in a state of transition. The traditional comics shop market, a network of about 2,000 stores serviced by Diamond Comics Distributors, continues to focus on the superhero genre and traditional periodical comic books. But the sale of graphic novels—book format comics—via general bookstores continues to grow faster than periodical comics. Graphic novel sales in the book trade are driven by kids and YA graphic novels and an explosion of nonsuperhero genre comics and manga that appeal to a wider readership not focused strictly on superhero comics.

While Ahoy Comics offers an unusual format and a lineup of talented creators, the new venture also features two formats (comic books and magazines) and a retail venue (comic shops) facing some of the biggest challenges in the comics and general reading marketplace. Nevertheless, Peyer and Moore are optimistic.

“People want to read great comics and short stories and our stories will have life. They’re not going to be museum pieces,” Peyer said. Moore emphasized that “digital will be key. Digital sales aren’t big but they’re essential to bringing in new readers. Anyone can go online and buy one of these books.”

 

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