Last Thursday, Image Comics hosted their second annual Image Expo in San Francisco, allowing fans access to various creators as well as the first place to hear news about about upcoming releases.
Over twenty years ago, Image Comics changed the face of comic books and now, inspires creativity and foster innovation as one of the comic book industries most prominent leaders in creator owned work.
After the jump check out some of the major announcements presented at the Expo.
The book centers on a man named the Nameless, a protagonist who’s a hero only in the post-modern 21st-century sense of the word. And according to writer Grant Morrison, “We’re taking all the dark stuff that Western culture’s kind of obsessed with — the zombies and everything — beyond the limit and doing hopefully for now what H.P. Lovecraft did for the wartime generation.”
The six issue series launches later in 2014.
Starting with the new ongoing series THE FADE OUT, Brubaker and Phillips will have complete freedom, creative control, and ownership
Ed Brubaker (Batman, Captain America, FATALE, CRIMINAL) and Sean Phillips (FATALE, Sleeper) and Image Comics have signed an unprecedented deal in comics publishing, a five year deal to do anything they want with total freedom, total control, and total ownership over their projects.
“Everyone at Image loves working with Ed and Sean,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “They’re one of the best creative teams working in comics today, with an absolutely stunning catalog of work, and I personally consider bringing Fatale to Image one of the best things to happen to us over what has been a pretty amazing last couple years. One of the great things about this business is the opportunities we’re given to work with good people, and it’s really gratifying to see directly how talent like Ed and Sean respond to the unparalleled freedom and support we offer at Image.”
“This is amazing. It’s like having an overall deal with a studio, except we get to greenlight our own projects,” said Brubaker. “Sean and I have been making comics together for fifteen years, and in the early days before we built the passionate readership we have now, we struggled to survive, so a deal like this is exactly what I was looking for. I’ve already got more than enough ideas to fill those five years, and both Sean and I are looking forward to experimenting and really pushing the boundaries.”
The first project on this new deal for the award-winning creators is THE FADE OUT, debuting this summer, following the conclusion of FATALE with issue #24.
“The Fade Out is my ultimate noir story. It’s a brutal crime story set in late ’40s Hollywood, and all spinning around the mysterious death of an up-and-coming starlet,” said Brubaker. “For people who’ve been waiting for us to return to Criminal, this will be exactly what they’re looking for, but on a much more epic scale—going from studio backlots to the debauchery of the rich and famous, and even stretching back to the horrors of World War Two.”
Several of Brubaker and Phillips’ previous projects are currently in development as films, with Kim Jee-Woon (A Bittersweet Life, I Saw The Devil) recently signing on to direct COWARD, the inaugural story arc of their celebrated series Criminal, and Sleeper being produced by Ben Affleck (Argo) and Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity) at Warner Bros.
THE FADE OUT is a new, ongoing noir series coming to Image Comics in 2014.
James Robinson and Greg Hinkle decide to go on an adventure and bring back the now public domain AIRBOY series of 1940s fame. Created by Robinson (THE SAVIORS, Earth-2) and Hinkle and starring, well, Robinson and Hinkle, AIRBOY is the story of two comic book creators determined to breathe new life into a series that, while once wildly successful, had fallen into obscurity. This will be Hinkle’s debut at Image Comics.
Robinson and Hinkle’s story, although taking inspiration from real sources, is fictional. “Honestly, in reality Eric [Stephenson] didn’t come to me with Airboy, I conceived the whole thing with me in it and all the drinking, drugs, and sex and took the idea to him,” said Robinson. “There was never any intended Airboy relaunch. It was all made up by me.”
A humorous blend of fiction and reality (and a healthy dose of embellishment) AIRBOY begins the renewed journey of a character much beloved at one point, but forgotten today.
“Oh and our characters are quite like they’re depicted in the comic, including our weak wills, depravity, and cowardice,” added Robinson.
Image Comics Eric Stephenson himself even makes a cameo appearance in the story.
“As the writer of Starman, James is one of comics’ preeminent writers, and when he first started talking to us about doing more creator-owned work at Image, I was thrilled,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “Saviors has been fantastic, obviously, but that in no way prepared me for the absolute insanity of AIRBOY—and I mean that in the absolute best way possible. What James and Greg have come up with here is nothing short of inspired mayhem.”
AIRBOY is a new ongoing semi-autobiographical series, inspired by the original Airboy comic series, coming to Image Comics in 2014.
Marvel Knights: Hulk and Glory writer Joe Keatinge teams up with artist Leila del Duca for her Image Comics debut in an all-new ongoing series combining urban fantasy and globe-spanning adventure, SHUTTER.
Kate Kristopher, once the most famous explorer on Earth—an Earth that’s far more fantastical than the one we know, filled with demons, gorgons, phantom ninjas, and various other monsters of lore—is forced to return to the adventurous life she left behind when a family secret threatens to destroy everything she spent her life protecting.
Kate’s character can be described as a contemporary Indiana Jones. “We’re looking at the 21st Century, where it’s at and where it’s going, and considering what the Adventurer for its time might be like—what would Indiana Jones be like if created in 2014? What’s after Lara Croft?” said Keatinge. “We’re at a much different time than the pulps and serial Indiana Jones and, to an extent, Lara Croft, were rooted in—information from all remote corners of the world comes from great ease, where we’re more knowledgeable about other cultures, where technology enables us to access we could only dream about. Where do you go from there?”
Leila del Duca was brought on for SHUTTER’s art by Keatinge himself. “Joe Keatinge was the first industry name who showed real interest in my work and I really enjoyed his writing on Glory and Hell Yeah,” del Duca explained. “When he pitched Shutter to me, I was ecstatic about the concept. Joe’s imagination is incredible and he’s writing me a script perfect for my interests, with lush visuals and diverse subject matter.”
SHUTTER is a new, ongoing fantasy, adventure series coming to Image Comics on April 9, 2014, the first issue of which will feature variant covers by Dustin Weaver, Brandon Graham, and Emma Ríos.
Frequent collaborators Rick Remender (BLACK SCIENCE) and artist Greg Tocchini (Uncanny X-Force, Last Days of American Crime) will bring readers on another high-octane science fiction adventure, this time to the lowest depths of Earth after it has been ravaged by the sun’s radiation.
LOW is set in the distant future, after humanity has relocated to radiation-shielded cities below the sea and the surface of the planet has become a scorched uninhabitable wasteland. A probe has returned with information on a possible alternative planet for humans, but it has landed on the Earth’s surface. A few brave representatives from the warring human clans venture out to retrieve it and the hopeful news it bears.
More than just a science fiction story, LOW touches on the human condition, but in an unconventional way. “Low explores what happens to groups of humans who are holding out hope for a solution when one is quite unlikely. It’s an examination of how quickly our ideals shift when we’re forced to make pragmatic choices for survival,” explained Remender. “But at its core is an examination of how one person’s optimism in the face of all of this hopelessness can potentially change everything for the better.”
The concept for the art on LOW was born out of one image. “When Rick Remender asked me what I wanted to do for our new project, I made a drawing of an astronaut removing her space suit in a curved setting. And that was it,” said Tocchini. “Everything I wanted and the way I imagined it was in that drawing. And that was our first ‘Big Bang’. The look of the whole Low universe came from that drawing.”
“Welcoming Rick back to Image Comics was one of my favorite moments of 2013,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “Black Science was an incredible return, and everyone here is excited for Deady Class, but I think it’s a real testament to Rick’s boundless imagination that he still has more new creator-owned work on the way. What he and Greg have planned for Low is nothing short of phenomenal, and we couldn’t be more proud to help them bring their vision to life here at Image.”
LOW is a new, ongoing science-fiction action series coming to Image Comics in 2014.
In 2014, Nick Spencer (MORNING GLORIES, BEDLAM) will team up with three different artists and launch three new thriller series sure to capture readers’ imaginations.
A contemporary fantasy epic with a spy thriller aesthetic, PARADIGMS will showcase art by Butch Guice (Captain America, Superman) and explore a world that exists beyond, or more specifically behind, ours. In the shadows where magic is real, warring clans of sorcerers battle for power and the favor of their gods.
A sci-fi thriller of dead worlds, lost secrets, and hidden dangers, CERULEAN, with art by Frazer Irving (MORNING GLORIES, BEDLAM, Batman), follows the last survivors of the destruction of Earth as they struggle to rebuild civilization on a distant planet full of its own mysteries.
In the GREAT BEYOND, featuring art by Morgan Jeske (ZERO, SEX) a “post-life community” values the size of your bank account over morals and values—and your place in the hereafter is determined by it. But then polite society is rocked by the apparent suicide of one of its own.
“I knew I wanted 2014 to be a big year for my creator-owned work, but I never dreamed I’d get the opportunity to work with so many incredible artists! Collaborating with a legend like Butch, a visionary like Frazer, or an exciting new star like Morgan, it just makes you want to tell great stories with them and do the best work you possibly can. And it’s always great to be doing it at Image, which has been like home to me the entirety of my career. I really believe in what we’re doing here, and I can’t wait for people to see what’s next.”
PARADIGMS, CERULEAN, and GREAT BEYOND are all new, ongoing science-fiction/fantasy series coming to Image Comics in 2014.
This May, Kyle Higgins (Batman, Nightwing), Alec Siegel (Captain America, Avengers), and Rod Reis (Justice League) take readers back to 1960s Chicago, in a time when the once-celebrated superhero labor union C.O.W.L. struggles to maintain their public image and regain the confidence of the people.
A rise in “super powered” individuals dates back to the closing days of World War II after the deployment of the atomic bomb. In response, Geoffrey Warner (then known as The Grey Raven) spearheaded the campaign to bring heroes together in Chicago…and struck a contract with the city for the heroes’ services. But while C.O.W.L. once stood as a beacon of hope against an epidemic of organized crime and a loose “brotherhood” of villains, the organization is now in a position where it must prove its worth to an ever more disillusioned public…while overcoming great threats from both inside and outside its offices.
Although Geoffrey, aka The Grey Raven is the character responsible for first organizing the heroes under one banner, C.O.W.L., he’s not the only character readers will get to know. “While Geoffrey is definitely a major player, both within C.O.W.L and within the story, the book is very much an ensemble piece, allowing us to explore C.O.W.L. from a number of different viewpoints,” said Siegel. “These characters range from some of the “top tier” heroes, to members of the Investigations and Patrol Divisions. We’ve also got spouses, reporters, Chicago Police Detectives, jailers, and City Hall.”
The concept for C.O.W.L. has been marinating with Higgins for quite some time. Its first appearance was in his college film, THE LEAGUE. “As someone who loves history, comics, and crime fiction, 1960s Chicago was always the perfect era for C.O.W.L. In fact, it’s what got me to take the idea of organized superheroes seriously,” said Higgins. “Between the politics and labor unions in Chicago, and the rise of Marvel Comics, the early ’60s are one of my favorite periods in American History.”
“With this I project tried to play around a little with references for comics and illustration,” explained Reis. “Stuff like ’80s graphic novels, noir and ’60s illustration, to create a fun and exciting way to tell the story.”
Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis’s C.O.W.L. is projected to debut in May 2014 from Image Comics.
Scott Snyder (Batman, Superman Unchained, SEVERED) and Jock (Batman, Wolverine, SNAPSHOT) will team up for a new, ongoing horror series called WYTCHES. Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying.
WYTCHES takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. “I like taking classic monsters and reimagining them in a fresh, contemporary, and much scarier way,” said Snyder.
Snyder and Jock have worked together previously on the Batman story “The Black Mirror” in the pages of Detective Comics and Snyder knew from the get-go that he wanted Jock on board.
“It’s great to finally have Scott Snyder back at Image,” said Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson. “We loved working with Scott on SEVERED, and he has only gotten better since then, so it’s really wonderful that he’s teaming up with Jock on what is without a doubt one of the creepiest books we have ever published.”
WYTCHES is a new ongoing fantasy horror series coming to Image Comics in 2014. You’ve been warned.
What if every 90 years the gods were reincarnated? Coming this 2014, Kieron Gillen (THREE, PHONOGRAM, Young Avengers) and Jamie McKelvie (PHONOGRAM, SUBURBAN GLAMOUR, Young Avengers) team up to infuse new life into the old mythological characters in THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE. The new ongoing series will feature guest creators and surprise arcs with alternate endings that will bring the gods of mythology to life.
Twelve gods will be briefly reincarnated in order to perform miracles like superheroes and bask in celebrity fame. But for the first time, there may be a thirteenth god reincarnated, and lucky number thirteen is tipping the delicate balance.
“The idea of playing superheroes as celebrity isn’t exactly new,” explained Gillen. “However, it’s always played cynical. The celebrity characters are always the debased bad guys, or at least the cautionary tale and wandering from the road of truth. It’s always implicitly arguing that these people are worse than the heroes who came before them because they’re on the cover of a magazine and they do a bit of coke. We’re not interested in that. We’re anti-that. We’ve all had pop-stars save our life.”
As if superhero-like gods reincarnated isn’t enough to draw readers in, Gillen promises a hefty dose of drama and mystery as well. “There’ll be a lot of fights, drama, emotions, secrets, and kissing,” hinted Gillen. “Worth noting is the question of whether the lead ends up being a God is the story to begin with. As far as the world knows, there’s only twelve gods who appear. There may be a mystery going on.”
THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE is a new ongoing fantasy action series coming to Image Comics in 2014.
The fan-favorite series TECH JACKET, returns with an all-new three-issue digital miniseries. Written by Joe Keatinge (GLORY, HELL YEAH) and drawn by Khary Randolph (Spider-Man, Hellboy), this miniseries is the perfect introduction to Kirkman and EJ Su’s exciting superhero.
“Tech Jacket has always been near and dear to my heart and I’ve been dying to do more adventures with Zack Thompson and crew,” said Kirkman. “While EJ and I could never quite find the time, things work out because Joe Keatinge is a better writer than I am and Khary Randolph is amazing. This book is going to be great!”
The return of TECH JACKET picks up a bit later than the original run. “The original Tech Jacket run was largely about Zach having his role as our planet’s Galactic Guardian thrust upon him, fumbling with this new title, unsure of anything he encountered,” said Keatinge. “Here Zach’s firmly in his position—perhaps even getting a little too comfortable with it—and finding out that being Earth’s defender from what lies beyond is more dangerous than he could ever imagine.”
Ravaged by the Invincible War, Zach Thompson needs some time away from being Earth’s galactic guardian. But when his vacation doesn’t go as planned, Tech Jacket must return to face a brand new threat.
TECH JACKET, issues 1-3, will all be available exclusively for one week on www.imagecomics.com, before going live across all digital platforms. All three issues will be available simultaneously in 2014.
Did you know that more serial killers have been born in Buckaroo, Oregon than any other city in the world?
Joshua Williamson (GHOSTED, MASKS AND MOBSTERS, Captain Midnight) teams up with artist Mike Henderson (MASKS AND MOBSTERS, Venom, TMNT) to bring readers a serial killer mystery they won’t be able to tear their eyes away from this May.
Since 1969, Buckaroo, Oregon has been the birthplace for sixteen serial killers and FBI criminal profiler Charles Kohl aims to uncover why. But just as Kohl begins to close in on understanding the truth behind why this small town seems to breed some of the vilest human beings America has ever seen, he goes missing. Enter trusted friend and NSA agent Nicholas Finch who must race against the clock to find his friend and piece together the rest of the mystery…before anyone else gets hurt.
Williamson delved deep into research about serial killers, both real and fictional, pulling inspiration from the Zodiac killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the characters in films like Se7en, Silence of the Lambs, and Psycho. “We talk a lot of the families of the victims, but what about the families of the killers. That’s what Nailbiter is about,” explained Williamson. “The people who have to deal with finding out someone they love is a murderer. Like how Twin Peaks shines a spotlight on a small town after Laura Palmer’s death, Nailbiter does the same but shows a small town after finding out a bunch of horrible killers are from there.”
“Josh and I had been working on Masks & Mobsters together for over a year when he pitched the idea of Nailbiter to me and it was an easy sell,” said Henderson. “We both wanted to create something new and expansive and I was drawn in by the eccentric cast of characters, which took on a new life when I started designing them.”
The process for bringing NAILBITER to life is an ongoing collaborative correspondence. “With each issue Mike and I text and chat about the plot, the pacing, the horror beats, and really try to get the most out of every page,” Williamson revealed. “But at the same time, once we get past the layout stage, Mike cuts loose, and brings the energy and excitement the book needs.”
NAILBITER is a new, ongoing crime-thriller series from Image Comics, debuting this May.
In 2014, Kelly Sue DeConnick (PRETTY DEADLY, Captain Marvel, Avengers Assemble) and artist Valentine De Landro (X-Factor) are bringing the Women in Prison trope to outer space in BITCH PLANET. Sure to be a campy, kick-ass adventure, BITCH PLANET is the story of five leading ladies ready to bust out of their prison cells.
DeConnick admitted the tricky dilemma she set up for herself in wanting to work with the Women in Prison trope but still honor feminism. “I have a profound and abiding love for exploitation films, but as a feminist, I also find many (if not most) of them deeply problematic—for reasons that are both obvious and that I can’t expound on without sounding like an academic paper,” said DeConnick. “These are two WILDLY mixed feelings. And I love mixed feelings. It happens that mixed feelings are the perfect soil composition for fiction.”
“Kelly Sue pretty much sold me on this with the title. It’s called Bitch Planet—how can you not love that?” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “But seriously, it’s a true pleasure to have Kelly Sue working on a second title at Image, and even better that she’s doing it with Valentine De Landro. Mark my words, this is your new favorite comic.”
A science-fiction take on the Women in Prison exploitation feature, BITCH PLANET follows five prisoners on an all-female penal planet, ready to make their escape by way of a gladiatorial exhibition against a team of visiting male prisoners. DeConnick summed BITCH PLANET up with, “there are five women, all ridiculous and real, and all very different. One shouldn’t be there. The other four are unrepentant and guilty as Hell.”
BITCH PLANET is a new, ongoing science-fiction action series coming to Image Comics in 2014.
In 2014, Brandon Graham (PROPHET, ELEPHANTMEN) will team up with four different creators to bring a series of science-fiction/fantasy miniseries set in a world ruled by eight houses to life.
The first of the series will be 8HOUSE: KIEM, written by Graham and drawn by Xurxo Penalta and follows a soldier who must project her mind into the body of her dead twin in order to fight monsters on a distant comet.
The second of the series is titled 8HOUSE: ARCLIGHT, written by Graham and featuring art by Marian Churchland (BEAST). ARCLIGHT will bring readers the chilling story of a high-ranking lady of one of the houses who has her mind trapped in a monster’s body. She will soon learn that the monster trapped in her body has taken over her old life in her absence.
The last of the series will be 8HOUSE: MIRROR, and will be written by Emma Ríos (PRETTY DEADLY) and drawn by Hwei Lim. 8HOUSE: MIRROR will examine what it means to be “human” and promises to take readers on an ironic space opera battle between self-absorbed humans intent on their own survival and noble monsters striving to save their worlds.
“Brandon Graham possesses one of the most irreverent creative minds in comics, which is what led me to tap him for the Prophet relaunch a couple years back,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “Brandon’s work on Prophet also revealed he has a keen eye for talent, so in addition to being one of the most creatively adventurous project we publish all year, 8House is also one of the most gorgeous.”
8HOUSE is a new series of sci-fi/fantasy miniseries coming to Image Comics in 2014.
In 2014, Matt Fraction (SEX CRIMINALS, SATELLITE SAM), Fábio Moon (Daytripper, Serenity), and Gabriel Bá (Daytripper, The Umbrella Academy) team up with author Michael Chabon to bring the adventures of Casanova Quinn back with CASANOVA VOL. 4: ACEDIA.
Casanova escaped the complicated and stressful life of a dimension-hopping, identity-shifting, sexually voracious killing machine and we last saw him wandering out of the wreckage of a UFO that landed in the Hollywood Hills.
It’s our Los Angeles. It’s our Earth. And he remembers absolutely nothing of his past.
“There has literally never been a better jumping-on point for new readers,” said Fraction. “Our main character has no idea what’s happened in the other Casanova books either… If that weren’t enough, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon joins series co-creator Gabriel Bá to create a dazzling array of backup stories that explore the worlds—and the people—Casanova left behind.”
The CASANOVA series has roots with Image and the Publisher himself has been a long-time fan. “Casanova is one of my all-time favorite comics, and I think I’ve been pretty open about how gutted I was when Matt and the twins chose to take it elsewhere a few years back, so it should really go without saying that I am incredibly thrilled to have this book back at Image,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “Anyone who is as big a fan of Casanova as I am is going to be amazed by everything the guys have planned this time around.”
CASANOVA VOL. 4: ACEDIA picks up where CASANOVA V3: AVARITIA left readers hanging and will continue the science fiction series with Image Comics in 2014.
On Restoration Day, magic comes back into the world. This is not good news.
Bill Willingham (Fables, Elementals) and Barry Kitson (Batman, Fables) reveal that the magic and gods of legend and lore are not just oral history, but real…and now they’re back in the forthcoming series RESTORATION.
Millennia ago, a group of some of the more forward-seeing movers and shakers in the world got together and decided to remove magic from the world—our world. They called themselves The Brotherhood of the Cauldron, because, in the first stages of their massive project, they would feed captured magical items and beings into a large magic cauldron, which would render them down into their most basic magic essence, which could then be bottled and stored away, much like we store the unwanted residue of our nuclear programs.
The world settled down into manageable natural laws that were always the same for everyone. Magic was gone. Until one day something terrible went wrong and the gods and monsters broke loose. Suddenly, all at once, magic came rushing back into the world.
“Bill Willingham was in the early vanguard for creator-owned comics, as well as one of comics’ most unique and interesting voices, and it’s a huge thrill to be working with him here at Image,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “Likewise, it’s fantastic to welcome Barry Kitson back to Image for his first project here in over a decade. Restoration is going to be a fantastic ride, and different from everything else on the stands!”
Now the gods wish to keep their freedom—and magic—while the rest of the world seeks to imprison them. Will there be war? And who will win?
RESTORATION is a new ongoing fantasy action series coming to Image Comics in 2014.