Dark Horse Comics has canceled publication of Astro Hustle after a woman accused writer/co-creator Jai Nitz of what she describes as "assault" and "predatory behavior."
"Dark Horse takes all allegations seriously," a Dark Horse spokesperson told CBR. "While we were unable to prevent our distributor's shipping of Astro Hustle #2, we are also suspending our professional ties with Jai Nitz."
In a HerCampus.com article publsihed on March 29, University of Kansas student Hannah Strader wrote of an encounter she described as "assault" and "predatory behavior" by Nitz in 2017 after he was a guest speaker at a campus event.
Nitz left Planet Comicon March 31, citing a "family emergency." In a statement provided to Bleeding Cool on April 2, the writer apologized for unspecific "past behavior".
“This is a very difficult time for me and my family. I apologize for my past behaviors and any pain they caused," Nitz said. "I am stepping away from comics and public life. I am seeking counseling and trying to live a better life for my loved ones.”
Strader responded to that, and applauded Nitz for saying he'd seek counseling.
“I am very happy to hear that Jai is recognizing his behaviors and taking steps to change them," Stader told Bleeding Cool. "That is a very difficult thing to admit to and seek treatment for. There’s a responsibility victims feel when they come forward with allegations against someone like this. He’s had a very accomplished career and I know he has kids. I didn’t want to taint that, but I also have a responsibility to any other girls he could do this to and they are my priority."
A Dark Horse spokesperson told CBR that April 10's Astro Hustle #2 has already been shipped to retailers, but that the final two issues of the series will not be published. Diamond Comic Distributors have already canceled orders for those two issues.
Astro Hustle artist/co-creator Tom Reilly agrees with the publisher's decision.
"Astro Hustle's cancellation is for the best. I commend and thank Hannah for finding the courage to come forward and share her story," Reilly tweeted. "Her bravery inspired other women to also come forward to share their own experiences, which shows just how powerful her actions truly where. I believe these women, and I admire the strength they all possess."