Image Keynote Full Of Announcements at Image Expo

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Image Comics has created a ton of buzz already with the announcements from Image Expo. Publisher Eric Stephenson kicked off the event before the announcement of a ton of titles by heavyweight creators from across the industry.

“For the second year running, we were the #2 supplier of trade paperbacks and graphic novels to the comic book store market. Image Comics had 7 of the top 10 trades in ’12, 14 of the top 20, & 22 of the top 50. Our market share went up by 80% since ’09.Image sold 38% more comics 2011 to 2012, again up 38% in last 6 months.” said Stephenson.

Then, came the announcements, including some previously announced and brand new titles:

Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos; Three by Kieron Gillen/Ryan Kelly; Rocket Girl by Amy Reeder/Brandon Montclare; Zero by Ales Kot/Michael Walsh; Umbral by Antony Johnston/Christopher Mitten; and Sex Criminals by Fraction/Chip Zdarsky were discussed before moving on to specific creators.  *Details extracted from Image Comics’ twitter feed.

ROBERT KIRKMAN

The Walking Dead: Are you ready for ALL OUT WAR? This twelve-issue arc is shipping bi-weekly over the course of seven months, starting 10-9-13 with #115.

velvet1_2x3_72ED BRUBAKER

Velvet by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Steve Epting. Brubaker has been working on the spy story for the last eight years. When he told Epting about it he told Brubaker he wanted to be the one to draw it.

J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI

Special preview of Sidekicks #1: The Red Cowl is a hero and Flyboy is his sidekick. What does Flyboy do when Red Cowl is assassinated? Straczynski is going to bring all of his previously creator-owned content under the Image umbrella. Dream Police – Who polices our dreams? Dream Police holds the secret.  Book of Lost Souls with Colleen Doran – 12 issue arc of done in ones. Straczynski and Bill Sienkiewicz are debuting Alone, a six-issue series that’s going to deconstruct comic book storytelling.

KURTIS J. WIEBE

Peter Panzerfaust motion comic is coming, with Elijah Wood, Summer Glau, and Ron Perlman doing the voice overs. The BBC is developing it as a live-action series, too. Wiebe’s new series is Rat Queens, with John Upchurch, artist of Vescell. This series is their homage to loving the fantasy drama, like Lord of the Rings. Rat Queens is “like a rated R LotR starring about four mercenary women who kill monsters & then use that money to throw parties. Rat Queens comes out in September and will feature an amazing cover by Fiona Staples.

MATT FRACTION

Sex Criminals: Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s story about… sex criminals, is coming this year. Stephenson rates it alongside Casanova. A girl finds out that time stops when she “makes whoopee.” She meets a boy with the same power. They start robbing banks. “It’s a relationship book, & it’s a sex comedy, & it’s like Superbad, American Pie, 40 Year Old Virgin, and all that kinda stuff.” Fraction said Chip Zdarsky is doing the design work for Sex Criminals from front to back. Keep an eye out for the jokes and hidden surprises in the book. Sex Criminals #2 is subtitled “Come, World.”

Satellite Sam is Fraction/Chaykin’s take on sex, death, & live television. One man’s father dies and leaves behind a stash of naughty photos. Out this week!

ODY-C is Fraction’s new book with Christian Ward, the “second adaptation of the Odyssey at Image Comics!” Previously, Image published Gerry Duggan/Phil Noto’s Infinite Horizon, a post-Gulf War take on the tale. ODY-C is Fraction’s attempt to give his daughter a good hero, and what better hero than Ulysses? But, in ODY-C, the male characters are women and the female characters are male, a gender-swapped super-cosmic take on Greek myth, hits in 2014

RICK REMENDER

Black Science is written by Remender, drawn by Matteo Scalera, colored by Dean White, and is inspired in part by Frank Frazetta. “If you enjoyed Fear Agent, I think this’ll be right up your alley. It’s about a member of the Anarchist League of Sciences…” Dean White, superstar colorist, is doing digital paints over Scalera’s work on Black Science. Andrew Robinson (Fifth Beatle) is doing covers. Black Science hits in November, but Remender has more!

Deadly Class is about a high school for assassins AND about the things Remender has seen while growing up hardcore. Deadly Class is drawn by Wesley Craig, who Remender found by surfing the net and digging through blogs and portfolios. Craig was a scenester in the mid-’80s and he know exactly what Remender was getting at in Deadly Class, like a kindred spirit. Remender and Craig want to avoid the cliches of the era and instead approach the truth of the time. Lee Loughridge is coloring the book.

Black Science and Deadly Class are very, very different from each other. Remender thinks that diversification is important in creator-owned. Remender spent the ’80s reading Marvel comics and the ’90s reading Fantagraphics, and his sensibility falls in the middle. He is very grateful for Image, and says he wouldn’t have a career if not for Image.

JASON AARON

“There’s been a big cursing sized hole in my heart,” Aaron says, before introducing Southern Bastards. “It’s a family book.” “People say write what you know–this is what I know.” Aaron grew up in Alabama. Jason Latour is drawing the title. What’s Southern Bastards about, you ask? Pretty much the title and BBQ. Like Scalped, “This is me getting to create my own little world.” The elevator pitch is Dukes of Hazzard x Coen Brothers or The Untouchables vs Boss Hogg. The main bad guy is the local high school football coach, a character Aaron came up with during Scapled but saved for this series. “He won a lot of trophies and also buried a lot of bodies under the bleachers.” Latour describes working with Aaron as terrible, like Sisyphus, only Aaron is the rock. But no, they’ve worked together, co-written, & more. “We’re both southern bastards ourselves, so it’s right up our alley.” Aaron’s from Alabama. Latour’s from North Carolina. Latour describes North Carolina like the wall from Game of Thrones.

MARK MILLAR (pre-recorded video from Scotland):

Millar thanks his readers for the great response to Jupiter’s Legacy, his new book with Frank Quitely.  Jupiter’s Legacy ships bi-monthly and Quitely is working hard on it. It’s the most ambitious project Millar’s ever planned.

“If JL is my Watchmen, one of these big superhero epics, I wanted to do something that was the Marvel Universe for the 21st century.”  Mark Millar is writing. It’s MPH, an attempt to create a superhero universe in the Marvel sense. Duncan Fegredo is drawing. Look for MPH in January, courtesy of Millar and Fegredo.

Noah is drawn by Niko Henrichon and written by Darren Arronofsky, an OGN that is unbelievably pretty and very Biblical. Noah will be available in 2014.

The keynote address was capped with the announcement of an Image Comics DRM-free digital store. The details of that announcement can be found here: http://www.comicosity.com/image-throws-down-the-drm-gauntlet/

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