Comics

Published on January 10th, 2015 | by Duke Of Havoc

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Image Expo 2015 Breakdown

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Yesterday saw Image Comics hold it’s Expo to unveil what they have in store for us in 2015. Image have grown massively in 2014 with some of the most original titles in the industry all coming from the publisher in San Francisco. Eric Stephenson kicked off Image Expo 2015 with some Bowie music (he is a well known Anglophile) and even gave the Image logo a bit of Ziggy Stardust treatment.

Courtesy of Image Comics Twitter Feed

It comes as no surprise to those who read comics regularly that Image has grown. Exponentially  it would seem. Double digit growth for any company is good. When you are competing against “The Big Two” of Marvel and DC, that is incredible. Eric Stephenson ran through some figures which, yes OK, we aren’t the FT but I think it is very important to show how far this publisher has come in 20 years. Just look at the market share that Image Comics had in the trades market with so few books compared to DC and Marvel. Astonishing.

First to the stage was one of the men who helped form Image Comics 20 years ago: Todd McFarlane. He spoke about how proud he is of the company and he kicked off the huge list of new titles announced. So let us get underway….

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Savior

“What if the most dangerous man on Earth was also trying to do the most good?”. McFarlane along with co-writer Brian Holguin and artist Clayton Crain will be releasing this as an 8 part mini series in April 2015. The pitch from McFarlane is certainly very interesting: “A man appears with no background, no memory, and no place to call home. But this much is clear—this individual possesses certain powers, abilities that harken from the Old Testament… Could he possibly be this corrupted world’s Savior in the flesh? Or will he be the world’s undoing?” The aim here I think, is very much to deconstruct the American superhero and remove the spandex, gimmicks and other cliches that appear in so many comics. Very much in line with certain characters with God-like powers, some will herald him as Earth’s champion whilst others will denounce him as being too powerful for his own good.

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Heaven

James Robinson took to the stage next to announce his new book: Heaven. Drawn by Phillip Tan of Uncanny X-Men fame,  Heaven could very well be a good companion for stable-mate SAGA. Described as a space opera where man and alien alike have used religion to conquer the known universe. Next stop: Heaven itself. Following “The Good War” it will see man pitted against angel in a conflict which crosses all of space and time itself. 

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Black Road

Ok, so this is now the third book in a row with some sort of religious/faith connection. Certainly seems to be on the minds of creators at the moment. Black Road was the first of two books to be announced from Brian Wood. With art by Garry Brown and colours by Lauren Affe, this will feature “Vikings, Pagans, the Church, and a secret that could change the world”. Set in Viking Norway, the book focuses on a Christian Fixer called Magnus The Black who manages to lose a Roman official on the infamous Black Road to a bandit. With him trying to fix his dilemma, Magnus The Black uncovers a secret which could change the face of Europe forever. Black Road hits the shelves in September of 2015.

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Starve

The second of Wood’s announcements sounds like it would be the perfect aperitif to fellow Image title: Chew. Set in the not too distance future, Chefs (yes, I said chefs), are treated like royalty and having access to one is seen as the ultimate status symbol. Reality television has taken a rather grim and chefs slice and dice up rare and exotic animals in a gonzo style arena. People really will watch anything. Working with Wood on this is Danijel Zezelj and Dave Stewart. Issue #1 is due this May.

8House

This is set to be a shared universe constructed by different teams working on independent miniseries. The first issue will feature two stories, Mirror by Emma Ríos and Hwei Lim and Arclight by Brandon Graham and Marian Churchland along with many others. Mirror is set in an isolated colony which is developing around a landed laboratory starship. Within this colony, magicians and scientists of the House of Healers experiment with the local fauna to create man/animal “hybrids,” obtaining insight to use in a cosmic war and gain political favour. However, with a blossoming (see what I did there?) community of hybrids, they start to question why they are involved in Man’s war and politics. Arclight is a four parter following a noble woman who believes she is permanently trapped in an alien body. Nothing terrifying about that at all. That is until she hears of the alien being living in her body has returned, taking over the noble woman’s old life. No date has been set as yet for 8House but will debut in 2015.

Island

Sticking with Emma Ríos and Brandon Graham, they announced something a bit different from Image Comics. Island will be a oversized magazine spread over 72 pages and featuring a slew of artists. Coming in June 2015, Island will feature ID by Ríos, the return of Graham’s Multiple Warheads, and Dagger Proof Mummy by Ludroe. Along side some awesome new anthology stories will be articles, fictional fashion, and mechanical designs that will never exist.

Pretty Deadly Gets A New Arc

Before Emma Ríos had a chance to leave the stage, she is joined by Bitch Planet writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick to announce the much anticipated second arc for Pretty Deadly.  In this second story arc of Pretty Deadly, the mantle of Death has fallen to Sissy, a young girl who, along with her tattered band of reapers, is tasked with gathering souls whose time has come, or come and passed. An old woman has a dying request. Her son has been missing for more than a year, gone east, and from there to fight in the trenches overseas. She wants to see the boy one last time before she passes. And so Deathface Ginny is dispatched through clouds of mustard gas to find the young man, but between her and her quarry, atop bitter black mount of twenty hands, sits the Reaper of War himself. Issue #6 is due in September of this year.

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Tadaima – A Travelogue Of Japan

Moving away from religion, chefs and death, comes a more relaxed title. Emi Lenox takes readers along on her personal journey back to Japan where she use to visit her Grandmother, in a touching and in-depth look at Japanese roots and cultural influences in this new graphic novel from Image Comics. Documenting a trip back to Japan with her mother for a memorial service to renew the Sobota, a wooden grave marker, at her grandparents’ tomb in Fukushima, this book is a touching story about Japanese spirituality and cultural differences. Tadaima is more than a book about landmarks and foreign cuisine. It’s about family.

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Plutona

Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, and Jordie Bellaire explore the nature of friendship and good and evil. Plutona follows the story of five suburban kids who make a shocking discovery while exploring the woods one day after school… the body of the world’s greatest super hero, Plutona, laying dead among the mud and grass. Led by the headstrong Mie and the troubled Teddy, the kids decide to keep their incredible discovery a secret, but it soon starts to tear their young lives apart, setting them against one another and pulling them into a darkness they may never be able to return from. No date has been set but will be out in 2015.

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AD – After Death

Very excited about this title. This features the work of two my favourite people in comics at the moment: Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire team up to ask “What if we found a cure for death?”. As if both of these guys are busy enough, they have decided to tackle the one thing which no human can escape; their own mortality.  Snyder explained that AD: After Death is a story he’d been thinking about for a long time and is infused with many of his personal fears and fantasies regarding mortality. “Getting older, watching your kids grow too fast, some nights it just feels terrifying, how quickly it all goes,” said Snyder. “So what if there were no death? What if it was curable? What if you could live many lives, take many paths, and never worry about running out of time? Never worry about saying goodbye to anyone, anything? These are the questions at the center of AD. They’re questions Jeff and I have talked about it as fathers and friends and creators, and it’s a book I feel we could only do together. Jeff is one of my favorite artists, and favorite people on the planet, and luckily, he’s also the perfect person for this book in every way. I’m honored and thrilled he agreed to do it. It’s going to be something special, and I can’t wait for you all to see it.” AD: After Death sadly won’t be out until November of this year.

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We Stand On Guard

Fancy a book with fuck off big robots in it? Yes? Awesome. We Stand On Guard is an action-packed, military thriller set in the next century. The book follows a heroic band of Canadian civilians-turned-freedom fighters who take up arms against a violent invasion of their country by a technologically superior nation: the good ole United States of America. Written by Need To Consume favourite Brian K Vaughan and art by the book’s co-creator Steve Skroce, this sounds like it could be a lot of fun! I couldn’t see a release date but I will definitely make sure that we put a review out for this. It’s BKV and giant fucking robots, Consumers!