Seventy-two children are conscripted to the Academy of Black Magic for seven years where they’ll study the dark arts in a setting devoid of the sun. Only seven will survive to see daylight again.
“After an initial meeting with CEX I knew that they were not only going to help me grow as a creator but that they in fact really love and understand the comic book medium,” said Schmalke. “It didn’t hurt that they were immediately taken with Seven Years In Darkness and I knew I found a home for my most ambitious project yet.”
Schmalke originally released the debut issue via a select few local comic book shops and his online store in June while searching for a home to publish the entire series. Around 10 stores jumped on board for store exclusive covers, including Galactic Comics and Collectibles with Capes and Tights, The One Stop Shop, and the Australian shop Dee’s Comics. CEX will now release the originally self-publish comic in March 2023 with four issues expected through the end of the year, released bi-monthly.
“When Joe pitched me on Seven Years in Darkness, as an evil version of Harry Potter meets Battle Royale, where 72 kids begin the program, but only 7 survive, I was in.” said Andy Schmidt, Publisher CEX Publishing. “This series kept me on my feet, with all the twists and turns, as the series progressed. I can’t wait for audiences to read it for themselves.”
Ashcans of the first CEX issue will be available at the New York Comic Con from October 6-9, 2022.
Schmalke is also the creator of titles Murder Hobo, We Don’t Kill Spiders, The Electric Black, and Cherry Blackbird. He has also contributed to Phantom Starkiller, Count Draco Knuckleduster and other titles. The Maine artist has illustrated a number of variant covers over the past few years which are available at his comic convention booths or during his monthly online store openings.
Keep an eye out for the first issue of Seven Years In Darkness from CEX coming in 2023 as part of Diamond and Lunar Distribution’s December catalogs. The story and artwork is well worth the purchase. To make sure you get your copy, be sure to inform your local comic book shop you are interested to make sure they order the book!
Want to be the first to know? Join Schmalke’s Patreon!
Who is CEX Publishing?
CEX is driven to support comics creators, retailers, and fans. We believe that comics are more than just a reading experience—they’re a community. They’re enthusiastic and original and they’re authentic. And we are, too.
Our sister company, Comics Experience, has been the industry’s leading comic school for more than a decade—churning out popular creators, both writers and artists, as well as talented editors, publishers, and comics marketers. This publishing company is no different.
The focus of CEX, is on you—the fan, the creator, the retailer. We want to be successful and we need to be in order to bring more great content to market, but our goal is promoting the importance of great storytelling, diverse content, and fostering an engaged and positive community.