Image Expo Roundup: New Titles From Brubaker, Morrison, Fraction, Burnham, DeConnick, Snyder And More
One of the most significant — and to many readers, one of the most exciting — developments in comics in the last few years has been the growth of Image Comics, with many of the most popular writers and artists in the industry currently producing much, if not all, of their creator owned work through the publisher. As such, Image Expo has become a highly anticipated event, as publisher Eric Stephenson uses the annual show to announce several upcoming books from both established and new talent.
Today’s Image Expo continued that tradition, as more than a dozen new titles were announced, from Ed Brubaker, Grant Morrison, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Chris Burnham, Matt Fraction, Rick Remender and more.
Stephenson kicked off the the event with his keynote speech, in which he reflected on Image’s recent success. Describing 2013 as Image’s “best year in a decade,” he noted the company’s increase in market share, as well the fact that, for the second year in a row, Image had the number one comic of the year — The Walking Dead.
“Image Comics has changed the marketplace forever,” said Stephenson. “And as you’ll see today, we’re not done yet. Our plans for 2014 are our most ambitious yet.” And with that, he began to welcome creators on stage to discuss their new work.
First up was Robert Kirkman. The writer discussed the upcoming Invincible #111, an issue he says will take the popular series in a new direction. He was then joined on stage by artist Paul Azaceta, previously announced as the artist and co-creator of Outcast with Kirkman, a horror book inspired by stories focusing on exorcism. Kirkman then announced the revival of TechJacket, his previous series that he now feels perhaps ended too soon. To that end, he brought writer Joe Keatinge on stage, revealing that Keatinge would be writing the new TechJacket miniseries, joined by artist Khary Randolph. Keatinge will also write Shutter, a new ongoing series about starring Kate Kristopher, a “contemporary Indiana Jones.” “We’re looking at the 21st Century, where it’s at and where it’s going, and considering what the Adventurer for its time might be like—what would Indiana Jones be like if created in 2014? What’s after Lara Croft?” Joining Keatinge on the project is artist Leila del Duca.
Brandon Graham was in attendance to discuss his latest Image project, 8House. Similar to the approach on Prophet, 8House will feature Graham collaborating with several other creators on “a shared universe, a magic fantasy thing about these eight magical houses that control everything.” Mariah Churchland and Emma Ríos will contribute to the series, among others.
Joshua Williamson came out to discuss Nailbiter, his new project with Mike Henderson, starring a serial killer who eats his victims nails. Williamson said the series was inspired by a real life story he was told by a woman who broke up with her boyfriend when she discovered his uncle was a serial killer.
Morning Glories writer Nick Spencer revealed three new projects he’ll be publishing through Image: The Great Beyond, illustrated by Morgan Jeske; Paradigms with Butch Guice; and Cerulean with Frazer Irving.
James Robinson, whose new series The Saviors just began, discussed plans for a “semiautobiographical” story, with artist Greg Hinkle. Titled Airboy and starring Robinson and Hinkle, the series chronicles their attempt attempt to revive a once immensely popular Golden Age comics character now in public domain.
Nightwing writer Kyle Higgins will have his first Image work published this year. Titled “C.O.W.L.,” “the Chicago Organized Workers League,” the series is co-written by Alec Siegel, and based on concepts from “The League,” a short film the two previously collaborated on.
Morrison and Burnham, the creative team behind Batman Incorporated, are taking their new project, Nameless, to Image. Burnham was in attendance, and he described the book as “the ultimate horror comic,” pointing out that this is a genre that Morrison has yet to really explore in comics. “I think it’s going to be awesome and terrible, and hopefully some 11-year-old kids will steal it, and it’ll ruin their lives forever.”
Remender was also in attendance, and he stepped on stage to discuss Low, his new series with artist Greg Tocchini. “When all hope is lost and there are only a few cities left, a probe crash lands on the surface, potentially with the solution they’re looking for — an inhabitable world,” says Remender about the sci fi title, which takes place in the distant future. Notably, Stephenson described the series to those in attendance as “your new favorite comic.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise at the event was Scott Snyder. An established and popular writer for his work on American Vampire and Batman, among others, Snyder announced Wytches, a title that will see him reunite with his Detective Comics collaborator Jock. Much like his Vertigo series The Wake with Sean Murphy explores the mythology of mermaids, this title will explore the legends of witches and, according to Snyder, “scare the living s**t out of you.”
Fresh off announcing the upcoming conclusion of Fables, Bill Willingham surprised those in attendance by coming on stage to announce Restoration, his new series with artist Barry Kitson which will feature “magic and gods and creatures” all released onto the world in one day.
Kelly Sue DeConnick introduced her new series, Bitch Planet, with artist Valentine De Landro.Bitch Planetis inspired by DeConnick’s love for exploitation and women in prison movies from the ’60s and ’70s, dealing with the things she loves about the genre as well as the things that make her uncomfortable, wondering out loud how she’ll do “the obligatory shower scene.”
Fraction announced Ody-C, a book that, as you may have guessed, is a retelling of The Odyssey. But this is a sci fi story, taking place in space, in which all the male characters are women and the women characters men. Joining Fraction on the series is artist Christian Ward. Further, Fraction announced that Casanova, his series with artists Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon, will be returning to Image. As previously revealed, Pulitzer prize-winning author Michael Chabon will provide back up stories, illustrated by Bá.
Last was Brubaker. He joined Stephenson on stage and revealed that he and his Fatale co-creator Sean Phillips had signed an unprecedented deal with the publisher, such that they will have total freedom to publish any projects they like, as well as total creative control, over the next five years through Image. Following the conclusion of Fatale with issue #24, the two will launch The Fade Out, a title he says is “loosely based on things that happened in Hollywood in the ’40s.”