Image has just taken their reputation for quality, creator-driven properties with their recent announcement for 2015 out of their own Image Expo. This shows a stream of titles from the biggest creators in comics, many of which are titles that would have been released on Vertigo a few years ago. With the smash releases in 2014 such as Outcast, Tooth and Claw, Sex Criminals and Wytches, and the continuations of Saga, The Walking Dead, Revival, Lazarus, and many others, it seemed that 2015 could only be a let down. With this announcement, the name-dropping is implicit and it looks like they are going to be using their success of the last couple years to create a business model where creators get all the control they need to put out the best comics in the industry.
According to the Image release, here are the new titles they are announcing. Note: This is from the Image release, so the praise and statements are promotional ones from them, not of us at Vertigology. The text and pictures have been taken from Comics Alliance
Featuring artwork by former Carnage and X-Force artist Clayton Crain and a story by Brian Holguin and Todd McFarlane, Savior is obviously some kind of messiah fable set in the modern world. If the vibe seems familiar, it may be because Crain is a veteran of McFarlane Productions, having worked on Curse of the Spawn, Kiss Psycho Circus, and Sam & Twitch previously. McFarlane told the Image Expo audience that eight issues are already completed.
Previously announced in July, Injection reunites the Moon Knight relaunch creative team of Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire for an ongoing sci-fi story about the chaotic future of the 21st century. The preview pages appear to look backwards, with cane-wielding investigator Maria Kilbride venturing into an archaeological discovery that isn’t at all what anyone would expect. Tonally, the book promises to be very different to Moon Knight, but the preview indicates ample opportunity to show off Shalvey and Bellaire at their very best.
Alex de Campi’s first major work since her Grindhouse project with Dark Horse, No Mercy seems to be a completely different comic book from what we’ve seen from the writer so far. The preview pages depict some vapid American overachievers on a mission to South America, ostensibly as part of a university service outreach program, but in reality because it makes their college applications that much better. These are definitely people who exist in real life.
The pages introduce the cast of young men and women as they arrive in South America and set out on a ten-hour bus trip to where they’re meant to build some schools, but the cover image by acclaimed Finder creator Carla Speed McNeil indicates something goes horribly wrong.
Yet another new Image project from Brandon Graham, the cartoonist who’s been serving as a kind of head writer and executive producer of Prophet and the forthcoming shared universe 8House line (not to mention his own Multiple Warheads books). Subtitled “Comics Magazine For Comics,” Island appears to be a largely science fiction anthology featuring new work by Graham as well as Emma Rios, Simon Roy, Michael DeForge, Farel Dalrymple, E.K. Weaver, and many more. An anthology seems like the natural progression for Graham, whose Prophet and 8House projects have him overseeing numerous other artists and writers to create aesthetically cohesive comics.
You can read more about Island at Comics&Cola.
Among the most surprising announcements from Image Expo is doubtlessly RUNLOVEKILL, a new book led by the esteemed Eric Canete, the artist of Iron Man: Enter The Mandarin, The End League, the extremely beautiful art book ENCOR[e], and the Kevin Church-written Ultra-Humanite strip you loved so much — plus he’s an animation artist known for his work on Tron: Uprising and Beware The Batman. Canete is a graphic visionary, with a sexy, electric style that lends itself to fantastic comic book storytelling, and it will be gratifying to see him pour it into a new book co-written by Jonathan Tsuei and featuring color art by Leonardo Olea and, we believe, with cover art by Manu Fernandez.
Danijel Zezelj is the star attraction in Starve, with colors by Dave Stewart and letters by Clayton Cowles. Zezelj has brought his stunning shadow-enriched style to everything from Captain America to Sandman’s Corinthian, and his recent work includes the DC Vertigo title Luna Park, with writer Kevin Baker. Judging from the preview of Starve, written by Brian Wood, the story centers on an enfant terrible celebrity chef in a world of crippling poverty. The book represents Brian Wood’s first new work away from Dark Horse in a while.
Marjorie Liu makes a welcome return to comics with Monstress, reuniting with Tokyo-based up-and-comer Sana Takeda, who illustrated four issues of Liu’s X-23 series for Marvel. Liu’s other comics works include Daken and Astonishing X-Men, but she’s better known for her popular paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels about “women warriors covered in demonic tattoos and men who can shape-shift into tigers” — to quote her website! We only have a cover image for Monstress at this time, but we’ll be delighted if it explores a similar world to her novels, especially with the very talented Takeda bringing that world to life. That the comic industry isn’t overflowing with awesome paranormal romance stories is one of life’s great baffling mysteries. Marjorie Liu is the right person to help change that.
Monstress is set in an alternate history 1920s, centering on a young refugee who discovers she has a psychic connection to the horrific monsters who’ve laid waste to the Earth.
A.D.: AFTER DEATH
Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder announced A.D. After Death, a graphic novel written by Snyder and drawn by Lemire. The book tells the story of mankind after a cure for death has been discovered, focusing on a man who lives ‘multiple lives.’ The graphic novel marks Lemire’s first time drawing a long-form story that he didn’t write himself.
From an interview at Vulture:
Scott Snyder: The story came from an idea I was discussing with Jeff a while ago that centers around this notion of a discovery of a genetic cure for death. I’ve always been fascinated with myths of the Fountain of Youth and immortality. It’s a theme that runs through a lot of stuff I write. So, I was talking to Jeff about doing a book that could potentially give a big, robust, heartfelt, science-fiction take on a world where death is actually curable.
Jeff Lemire: What’s really interesting about the project and what reached out to me the more we talked about it wasn’t just the idea of someone cheating death or whatever — it was more that that was the starting point for the story. It’s about what happens next. What kind of life or lives do you live after that?
SONS OF THE DEVIL
Described as a psychological thriller spanning 25 years of story time, Sons of the Devil comes courtesy of former Flash and current Detective Comics co-writer/colorist Brian Buccellato and Toni Infante. The book began as a Kickstarter project which reached its fundraising goal last year, and the completed work will be published by Image.
From an interview at ComicBook.com:
Brian Wood: Well, the setting is a version of historical Viking Age Norway. Its not as historically accurate as Northlanders, but its close. There is really only two major deviations from history: the first is the Black Road itself, which is a main road or path running the length of the land heading north. It’s a dangerous road, the site of many crimes and other nefarious goings-on. The second deviation is something of a spoiler so I won’t get into too much detail, but it involves the extent to which the Church was involved in the pagan lands at the time. That aside, its the cultural crossroads and the turning point in history that attracts me to this era and this place in the world, just as it did with Northlanders. I don’t ever seem to get tired of thinking about it, and writing about it.
Devised by Brandon Graham as a series of miniseries, the first of 8House’s fantasy stories will be drawn by Marian Churchland and Emma Rios. Rios’ story is called “Mirror” and takes place in a community of hybrid humans and animals. You can read more about 8House at ComicsAndCola.
PRETTY DEADLY VOLUME 2
Emitown creator Emi Lenox turns her autobio comix skills to the realm of travelogues with Tadaima, which depicts her journey to Japan to visit the grave of her grandmother. The original graphic novel will be painted in water color.
From an interview with AV Club:
“[Tadaima] is more centralized on a specific event, whereas my past comics were more about day-to-day life,” Lenox tells The A.V. Club via email. “I really wanted to capture all of the emotions that I had when I went to Japan. It felt like revisiting a dream but things were different. It’s hard for me to describe and I’m hoping I can get it across somehow in this comic.”
Emi Lenox will also keep busy with Plutona, a five-issue miniseries with Jeff Lemire about five children who find the dead body of the world’s most famous superhero. It’s like Stand By Me, except insaner.
From an interview at ComicBook.com:
Lemire: It’s part of a tradition of stories that Emi and I both really enjoy, like Mean Creek andStand By Me, where you have this group of kids who are confronted by something very dark and outside their experience. This thing it changes them and they aren’t equipped to deal with it because they’re children. It takes them them on a dark path and you get to follow them. The superhero stuff and more fantastic elements of the world are really background. The book itself is very focused on these five kids. It’s a very character-driven story
From an interview with Wired:
”Otto is approximately ten tonnes of aristo-meat whose hobbies included axes, space-balloons and performative rutting. Hades is a solidified sound-wave with several doctorates in Clever Stuff and Things, whose hobbies include trying to stop Otto going on a rampage at any given moment. They are both hoping that the Ludocracy doesn’t face a wave of normalisation where wonder is leeched out of existence and replaced with gruel, but their hopes are very much misplaced. You shouldn’t care as you’ve got enough things going on in your life without spending your emotional energies on fictional people, but we’ll make you care, because that’s how fiction works.”
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE VOLUME 3/PHONOGRAM VOLUME 3
The third volume of Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s hit urban fantasy series will be formatted as a series of one-shots featuring different artists (and gods) for every issue. Some of those include Tula Lotay, Kate Brown and Stephanie Hans, who also works on Gillen’s Angela: Agent of Asgard title for Marvel. It was said that this volume of The Wicked + The Divine will free up co-creator McKelvie to draw the long delayed third volume of Phonogram, subtitled The Immaterial Girl, now scheduled to debut in August.
It was reported that cartoonist Chip Zdarsky crashed the Image Expo stage, removed Gillen and McKelvie, and announced his new Howard the Duck series from Marvel — before then announcing Gary the Duck. Stephenson made it clear Image would have no part in it, prompting Zdarsky to announce Kaptara, his new science fiction comedy with Infinite Kung Fu creator Kagan McLeod. You can read more about Kaptara in ComicsAlliance’s exclusive interview with both creators.
One of North American comics’ most popular creators, DC: The New Fronter and Parker cartoonist Darwyn Cooke will make his Image Comics debut with Revengeance, his first original long form story. The book was described a three-part noir tale set in the 1980s, in Cooke’s hometown of Toronto. Fellow resident and ComicsAlliance editor Andrew Wheeler agrees, “It’s a seething viper’s nest, let me tell you.”
From an interview at Entertainment Weekly:
Darwyn Cooke: I’d say I’m fairly full of an equal measure of both nerves and excitement. Other than the odd short story, this will be the first longform work I’ve done that will all stem from me. Although I think the mainstream has offered me pretty broad areas to work in, Revengeance is a chance to look at many of the themes I enjoy through a more off kilter point of view. A few years back Jimmy Palmiotti loaned me a copy of David Lynch’s book, Catching the Big Fish. It is a short yet tremendous insight into his creative thinking, and I was completely taken with certain creative processes that he suggests are possible. I’m looking to find a more symbolic and non-linear way to tell what is, at its base, a simple murder mystery.
I HATE FAIRYLAND
The bestselling Rocket Raccoon team of Skottie Young and Jean Francois Beaulieu reunite for this series about an Alice-in-Wonderland archetype who becomes marooned in a fantasyland for thirty years. An auspicious creator-owned debut for the massively popular Young, the book was originally called F*ck Fairyland.
From an interview at Entertainment Weekly:
“I Hate Fairyland started from me reading countless children’s books to my son and wondering ‘how do these kids in these fantasy worlds NOT want to kill every character they come across?’ Or characters in kids shows that have to listen to talking maps sing songs consisting of only the word I’M THE MAP over and over and over,” Young explained in a press release. “And from that, Gertrude was born. I’ve been driving my friends nuts for years with the different versions of this tale. Jason Howard probably wants to kill me with a giant battle axe for the number of hours I’ve made him listen to me brainstorm.”
Yet another project from Brian K. Vaughan, this one illustrated by the mighty Cliff Chiang, recently of DC’s Wonder Woman. The ongoing series follows four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls on the night after Halloween, “when something very strange happens.”
A milestone anniversary issue of the series that creator McFarlane promises will never be renumbered. The issue comes with variant covers by Jock and Skottie Young, and will feature the return of the original hero of the title, Al Simmons.
WE STAND GUARD
Brian K. Vaughan writes and Steve Skroce draws a new miniseries set 100 years in the future, when Canadian freedom fighter resist an invasion by giant robots from the United States of America.
I am personally most excited for Brian K. Vaughan’s new books, as well as Brian Wood’s newest viking book, taking up on his run of Northlanders from Vertigo. With art by the brilliant Clayton Cowles, Starve. The collaboration between Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder is like a miracle comics duet, and so I am going to pre-order A.D. After Death. In reality, all of these books worth checking out. I already am set to subscribe to the newest volume of Pretty Deadly, and I will try to read any non-superhero(and most superheros as well) books by Warren Ellis. This is a list that really stands out, and makes a strong statement about what Image wants to be as a company.