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Image Announces New Hickman, Fraction, Chaykin And Gillen, Reprinted Pope And More [NYCC 2012]

Image Comics kicked out the jams last weekend at New York Comic Con, where publisher Eric Stephenson announced loads of new series that once again demonstrated his company’s ability to court big name mainstream talents away from Marvel and DC Comics. Image confirmed new work from creators including Howard Chaykin, Matt Fraction, Andy Diggle, Jock, and an archival project from Paul Pope. That’s not to mention new stuff from returning Image champions Jonathan Hickman and Kieron Gillen, as well as several original projects from newcomers and rising stars.

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East of West
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Drawn by Nick Dragotta
Format: Ongoing series
Release: Scheduled for April 2013

The former FF collaborators reunite for this sci-fi/western hybrid about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’s mission to kill the President of the United States.

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Feel Better Now
Written and drawn by Jonathan Hickman
Format: Original Graphic Novel
Release: March 2013

In Feel Better Now Hickman tells the story of a group of psychiatrists who begin to purposefully play with the lives of their patients, like a game, and the book depicts the consequences of those depraved actions. It’s a boldly bleak kind of funny, reminiscent perhaps of Hickman and artist JM Ringuet’s Transhuman, a Silicon Valley satire where superpowers and cybernetic enhancements take the place of mobile devices and dot-coms.

In a press release, Hickman said the time was right to return to the drawing board (or whatever it is he uses to create such distinctive imagery), and that Feel Better Now is his most visually interesting work so far. “My fingers have certainly been itching to draw again. So, here we go! A new book, Feel Better Now, a new format, and in both execution and design, a new style. I can’t wait for people to see it!”


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Midnight of the Soul
Written and drawn by Howard Chaykin
Format: Miniseries
Release: Sometime in 2013

This project would seem to combine Chaykin’s two great strengths, mid-century noir and science fiction. Midnight of the Soul follows a World War II veteran who returns home broken and resigned to oblivion, but an as-yet-unrevealed and apparently parallel universe-based twist affords our “hero” a chance at redemption. Chaykin told USA Today’s Brian Truitt that the book’s structure is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s film Saboteur, and that readers will see what wartime experiences brought Joel Breakstone so low.

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One-Trick Rip-Off
Written and drawn by Paul Pope
Format: Hardcover
Release: Sometime in 2013

Originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents in the mid 1990s, One-Trick Rip-Off is the story of Tubby and Vim, gang members in a fictionalized version of Los Angeles. The couple want to leave their affiliations behind, so to that end they hatch a dangerous plan to rob the One Tricks gang of enough money to start a new life.

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Snapshot

Written by Andy Diggle
Drawn by Jock
Format: Ongoing series
Release: Sometime in 2013

Snapshot finds an average geek happening upon the mobile phone of a hitman which contains pictures of people who’ve been assassinated. This event thrusts the protagonist into a violent world beyond anything he’s experienced, and one he has to master if he hopes to stay alive. This crime saga from the creators of Vertigo’s The Losers has already seen print in the UK’s Judge Dredd Megazine, but the forthcoming Image Comics edition will be in full color.

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Three
Written by Kieron Gillen
Drawn by Ryan Kelly
Format: Miniseries
Release: Sometime in 2013

With his first creator-owned work since Phonogram: The Singles Club, Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men writer Kieron Gillen flips the script on the Frank Miller epic 300, telling the story of three of the mighty Spartans’ slaves as they try to escape a grim fate in the decaying warrior state. In conversation with Sarah Jaffe for ComicsAlliance, Gillen elaborated on his and Kelly’s deliberately political overtones:

Three is an action story, but it’s also a book that will be explicitly political, possibly more than either creator has done before. It’s not just that it takes on a version of history that most people know and accept, but that it relates quite strongly to today’s politics, both in Gillen’s native England and here in the U.S. “What I find interesting about this story is the gap between when I conceived of it and the position we are in the world now. I think I conceived of this book before the economic collapse,” Gillen says. “And suddenly the question of who provides for society and who is provided for by it and the economics of that, suddenly become much more topical. This is one of the things I fully expect and indeed hope people will read into the book.”

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Lost Vegas

Written by Jim McCann
Drawn by Janet K. Lee
Format: Miniseries
Release: Sometime in 2013

Described by writer Jim McCann as “Ocean’s 11 meets Han Solo, the smuggling years,” this space gambling miniseries is drawn by Janet K. Lee. The two creators previously collaborated on the Archaia graphic novel The Return of the Dapper Men, which won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album.

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Zero
Written by Ales Kot
Drawn by Connor Willumsen, Mateus Santolouco, Michael Gaydos, Nick Dragotta, Christian Ward, Aaron Kuder, Morgan Jeske, Riley Rossmo, Tradd Moore.
Format: Ongoing series
Release: Sometime in 2013

This ambitious ongoing follows a super-spy called Zero from the year 2017 to the end of his life in 2036. Each issue of the planned 30-35-part series is to be written by Ales Kot as a stand-alone adventure with narrative rewards for the regular reader, and will be drawn by a different artist.

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The Surface
Written by Ales Kot
Drawn by Langdon Foss
Format: Four-issue miniseries
Release: Sometime in 2013

In this miniseries illustrated by Get Jiro! artist Langdon Foss, three young hackers decide to leave the US and set off on a journey to find a mythical, perpetually morphing place known as The Surface. What they find in the heart of Tanzania exceeds their deepest hopes — and some of their bleakest nightmares as well.

Writer Ales Kot described The Surface as “A fast-paced psychedelic science-fiction thriller, and a meditation on forgiveness, dreams and evolution.”

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Change
Written by Ales Kot
Drawn by Morgan Jeske
Format: Four-issue miniseries
Release: December 12

Change stars “A foul-mouthed struggling screenwriter who moonlights as a car thief,” “An obscenely wealthy rapper completely disconnected from the real world,” and “A dying cosmonaut on his way back to Earth” as they work to save a Los Angeles from mysterious forces that track the city through time itself.

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The End Times Of Bram And Ben
Written by James Asmus & Jim Festante
Drawn by Rem Broo
Format: Miniseries
Release: January 2013

Produced with funds raised on Kickstarter, this miniseries pokes fun at the concept of the Rapture, starring two “left behind” characters who experience the Christian apocalypse in distinctly different ways. The seemingly righteous Ben is despondent that he wasn’t taken to Heaven by God’s Angels and endeavors to prove himself worthy before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Bram embraces sin in the extreme, so as not to be taken to Paradise with people like Ben. The book features covers by Jim Mahfood.

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Sex Criminals
Written by Matt Fraction
Drawn by Chip Zdarsky
Format: Unknown
Release: Sometime in 2013

Prodigious tweeter, prolific newspaper cartoonist and failed political candidate Steve Murray aka Chip Zdarsky makes his biggest splash in comics since his fake but nonetheless hilarious Watchmen 2 pitch. Little is known about this project, but writer Matt Fraction described Sex Criminals as “a comedy about sex, crime, and the fragile nature of the spacetime continuum.”

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Satellite Sam
Written by Matt Fraction
Drawn by Howard Chaykin
Format: Unknown
Release: Sometime in 2013

Extremely little is known about this one, but it has something to do with a children’s television host being found dead and in the possession of a box of photographs of every woman he’d ever had sex with. According to Fraction’s NSFW workblog for this project, Satellite Sam was born in 1988, when the then-12-year-old writer attempted — whilst in the throes of insomnia — to parse this excerpt of The Comics Journal writer Kenneth Smith’s harsh review of Chaykin’s then-new supernatural porn comic Black Kiss:

As Kierkegaard perceived, the erotic-once potentiated by abstractive spirit, made into a subjective project-acquires a kind of dynamism, an escalatory imperative it would not have in the world of immediate nature. The erotic contaminated by reflective consciousness must meet the subject requirements of being interesting, which are that it should become variable, capable of always presenting a novel aspect, utterly subject to the unilateral and arbitrary whim of the eroticist.

In the same weekend he read that, Fraction watched A&E’s 96-hour replay of all of CBS’ coverage of the Kennedy assassination from 1963. The experiences somehow resulted in what he and Chaykin are calling Satellite Sam. In a way, Fraction wrote, he has been working on it for 25 years.

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