Opened with a keynote address by Publisher Eric Stephenson that emphasized personalities and relationships in the comic book scene, the first Image Comics Expo
in Oakland, California, came with more major publishing announcements
than we expected. Among the new creator-owned books Image will launch this year include original work from marquee names and fan-favorite talents like Grant Morrison, Howard Chaykin, Scott Morse, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Darick Robertson, Brian Wood and Tony Harris, among many others.
In the speech that you can read in full at iFanboy
, Stephenson once again positioned Image has a creator-driven alternative to Marvel and DC Comics, but focused this time on the theme of personal relationships and their role in developing comic book ideas. "Creativity is the fuel that powers the engine of comics, but it is through relationships that we mine that fuel," he said. "Ideas are important, but people even more so."
That sentiment jibes with Image's current "Experience Creativity" ad campaign
, featuring photographic portraits of creators at work but without any actual comic book content, as such, not even the titles of the projects those creators are working on.
But if it's comic book artwork and titles you wanted, Stephenson came to Oakland with an embarrassment of riches, as made plain by this breakdown of new Image books set to debut throughout the year, many of which were announced for the first time over the weekend:
Creators: Grant Morrison, Darick Robertson
Description: None, but you can read Morrison not talking about it in a little interview with iFanboy
Creators: Mark Millar, Frank Quitely
Format: 12-issue miniseries
Description: The privileged children of the world's superheroes are ill-equipped to confront modern issues such as "America losing power and influence to China" and "massive internal problems in China with social engineering being just one of them" and the "chaos of the Arab world." Millar said the work is to be a "huge, grand operatic piece" that "does super-heroics on a scale I've never even tried in something like The Ultimates." More at this link
Creators: Jordie Bellaire, Ming Doyle, Brian Wood
Format: Six-issue miniseries
Description: A gifted athlete and a popular celebrity, Mara Prince owns her world at age 19. But when she starts to manifest superhuman traits, this world of hers starts to crumble around her. MARA is a story of a lone superpowered woman in a world that's never seen anything like her, and is not sure she deserves to walk amongst them. More at this link
Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl
Creators: Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson
Format: Six-issue miniseries
Description: It's primarily about the war between coven queen witch Emily Aster and the half of her personality she sold to whatever lies on the other side of the screen. It's about identity, eighties music videos and further explorations of Phonogram's core "Music = Magic" thesis. There is horror. There are jokes. There are emotions. There may even be a fight sequence. It also takes A-ha's Take On Me with far too much seriousness – which, for us, is the correct amount of seriousness. More at this link
Creators: Ken Garing
Format: Five-issue miniseries
Description: Silas, an ex-soldier turned space pirate, finds himself stranded on a mysterious planet in alien territory. As he explores the long-abandoned industrial ruins of the planet's surface he will have to fend off rogue mechanical creatures, roving cyborg militias, and a hostile alien military with a bounty on his head. With a small survival kit, Richter (a computerized assistant built into his space suit), and one really powerful gun, Silas will have to rely on resourcefulness and bare-bones survival tactics in order to stay alive and ultimately unlock the secrets of a planet where survival is a luxury and escape an impossibility. More on this at iFanboy
Creators: Tony Harris, Steve Niles
Description: "It's a 1930s noir/gangster/horror story," Harris tweeted
. In his speech, Stephenson said Chin Music "is going to be in fine company alongside the likes of Fatale, Thief of Thieves
and Near Death."
Crime and Terror
Creators: Scott Morse, Steve Niles
Description: Morse wrote on his blog
, "It's filled with episodes detailing the events in the life of a detective named Mike Fallon who's going through some serious personal problems. On top of THAT, we'll be smacking you upside the head with a bunch of short, stand-alone stories: noir, horror, sci-fi, whatever we want. All drawn by me, some written by me, some by Steve. On top of THAT, we'll be throwing in new prose stories with spot-illos by me. Seriously, monthly is the plan, and every month, you'll cry with glee as you scream your face off." Niles discussed it more at Robot 6
Creators: Riley Rossmo, Nick Spencer
Description: Philip Press is the worst mass murderer in the history of America's hardest city. But no one he works with at the police department knows it. Much more on this at CBR
Black Kiss II
Creators: Howard Chaykin
Description: A sequel to Chaykin's cult classic erotic thriller from the 1980s. Stephenson said, "I've always loved that [Chaykin] pretty much says and does whatever he wants, no matter what anyone else thinks. I also love that he's willing to challenge his audience. Black Kiss II
goes to some pretty uncomfortable places, but that's exactly what makes me so excited to publish it."
Creators: Rahsan Ekedal, Matt Hawkins
Format: Four-issue miniseries
Description: Writer Matt Hawkins via iFanboy
: "Think Tank
is basically the story about who I might have been if I was a lot smarter and my life had taken a few different twists and turns. I always wanted to be a scientist. I love Physics and Geometry. Science is often maligned as boring, but is absolutely not. A pure researcher is one of the most creative people on the planet. Living in imagination and dreaming of how to change the world. They combine the best of right and left brain thinking and come up with things like Velcro, iPods, Reaper Drones and artificial sweeteners. The stuff these people play with on a day-to-day basis would both scare you senseless and endlessly fascinate you. I love it. I hope you love it. This story is a look inside the mind of one of these researchers who is a slacker genius. The best kind of oxymoron."
The Manhattan Projects
Creators: Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra
Description: From our interview
with writer Jonathan Hickman: "The Manhattan Projects
asks, what if the research and development department created to produce the first atomic bomb was a front for a series of other, more unusual, programs? It's about smart guys being bad. The comic book pitch is: 'The Thunderbolts of Science.'"
Creators: Ryan Bodenheim, Jonathan Hickman
Description: A man gets shot in London, a law firm gets broken into in Washington, an accountant gives away the password to his computer, and something put to sleep 20 years ago awakens. What is the unsavory relationship all these things share, and how could it bring down two of the largest governments in the history of the world?
America's Got Powers
Creators: Bryan Hitch, Jonathan Ross
Description: Super powered individuals compete on a reality/game show for a spot on the world's only superhero team. More at CBR
Creators: Fiona Staples, Brian K. Vaughan
Description: Y: THE LAST MAN writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN returns to comics with red-hot artist FIONA STAPLES for an all-new ONGOING SERIES! Star Wars-style action collides with Game of Thrones-esque drama in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers, as new parents Marko and Alana risk everything to raise their child amidst a never-ending galactic war. More at this link
Creators: Joe Keatinge, Andre Szymanowicz
Description: Writer Joe Keatinge via iFanboy
: "The story of Hell Yeah
starts off roughly now, twenty years after the first super-humans made their appearance and changed the world overnight. It's about the culture they inspired. It's about finding where you belong in a world where the greatest athletes are now obsolete because someone can run so fast she can bust the barrier of time. The cast will eventually be pretty massive, but to begin with it's about one guy, Ben Day, who finds out versions of himself are being murdered throughout the multiverse when the girlfriend of one of his other selves seeks him out. We find out he's the last Ben Day in all-existence, so they need to piece together where his life diverged from all his other selves to find out who is going after him."
Creators: Nathan Edmondson, Nic Klein
Format: Five-issue miniseries
Description: Alan Fisher lies about his past. He has to. But in DANCER, a new Image Comics series debuting in May, he must confront his past - in a form that has a very familiar face. Unwittingly pulled into the danger of Alan's life is Quinn, a ballerina. Quinn is used to the pain and discipline behind the graceful movement of her dancing, but how will she deal with a life on the run? And will Alan be able to keep them both safe from the most formidable opponent he has ever faced? More at USA Today