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Image Announces New Series From Rucka, Fraction, Casey, DeConnick, Chaykin and More [SDCC]

Comic-Con 2012 has featured a few big announcements from several publishers. Not to be outdone, Image dropped a few of their own. At their panel on Saturday, Editor-in-Chief EricStephenson was joined on stage by Matt Fraction, Joe Casey, Darick Robertson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Howard Chaykin, Chris Roberson, James Robinson and Greg Rucka, each of whom will be doing new projects for the publisher in the coming year.

Stephenson opened the panel by himself and announced a few upcoming books, including Whilce Portacio’s Non-Humans, followed by Nowhere Men, which Stephenson will be writing himself, and a new series from Brandon Graham called Multiple Warheads, debuting in October.

Next, Stephenson introduced guests to join him on stage one at a time, giving them each an opportunity to discuss their upcoming work with Image. Joe Casey was first, and he discussed two books he’ll be doing with Image. First was Sex, which the publisher previously dropped a teaser image in support of (that simply read “Image Comics wants you to buy Sex”). “Superhero comics have always sort of brushed against the concept of sexuality, said Casey. “It’s time we just embraced it.” Casey then announced The Bounce, which will be drawn by artist David Messina.

Darick Robertson came out next. He briefly discussed Happy, his previously announced miniseries with writer Grant Morrison, which he described as “A Wonderful Life meets Sin City.” He and Stephenson then announced Oliver, a new monthly book written by Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, Death Jr.), with art by Robertson. He called it a steampunk reinterpretation of Oliver Twist in a post apocalyptic future, and added that “It’s Oliver twist but it’s not Oliver Twist.”

Next up was Kelly Sue DeConnick, who’ll be writing Pretty Deadly, a western book starring a female assassin with a scarred face who’s in competition for a prize she doesn’t necessarily want. DeConnick said the story was inspired by the works of Sergio Leone. Pretty Deadly will be drawn by artist Emma Rios, who DeConnick previously collaborated with on Osborn.

DeConnick was followed by Chris Roberson, who’ll be writing a new series called Rain, featuring art by Paul Maybury (Dogs of Mars). Roberson described Rain as a giant, sprawling epic fantasy, which he originally intended to be a novel but decided to make it a comic instead, “and have an artist with more talent than me do all the hard work.”

After Roberson, writer James Robinson was brought up to the stage. He’ll be collaborating with artist J. Bone on The Savior. A dark, alien invasion horror comic, The Savior stars a young stoner in New Mexico who uncovers an alien invasion, but has difficulty finding people who believe him. Robinson called it “Invasion of the Body Snatchers with a good dose of The Thing,” and said that it starts in New Mexico but ends in Mexico, during the Day of the Dead. He confessed to being excited but nervous about working on a creator owned book again, saying “If this book isn’t good, I have no one to blame but myself.”

Next came Howard Chaykin and Matt Fraction, who’ll be working on a book called Satellite Sam, a Golden Age television murder story “steeped in sex and violence.” Satellite Sam is a children’s TV Host who is found dead in what Fraction described as “a somewhat compromising position,” with a box of photographs found next to him filled with pictures of every woman he’d ever been involved with. The book stars Satellite’s son, who has to figure out who killed his father. Chaykin also teased another project he’s working on for Image which isn’t quite ready be to announced yet.

Satellite Sam will be Fraction’s first work with Image since Casanova, which is now published under Marvel’s Icon imprint.

Ed Brubaker was introduced next, to loud applause. While he’s currently working on Fatale for Image, he didn’t have a new book to announce. Instead, he sat on the panel for a bit to chat with both the other panelists and audience members, and later went down to the microphone in the aisle to moderate the Q and A with fans, which prompted DeConnick to describe him as “the worst Vanna White ever.”

The last creator to be introduced was Greg Rucka, who’ll be working on a new series titled Lazarus, with long time collaborator Michael Lark (Gotham Central, Daredevil). Rucka sold it as The Godfather meets Children of Men, and told fans that description “should be confusing.” A hard science fiction story set in a dystopian future, Rucka called Lazarus a story he and Lark “have been planning for years.”

Stephenson stepped in at that point to announce one more new series, Point of Impact, which will be written by Jay Faerber. Stephenson called it “The best thing Jay has ever written.”

At this point the floor was opened to questions. When asked how he thought these new announcements would help Image compete with other publishers, Stephenson said Image “Isn’t competing with other companies. We just want to be the best Image Comics can be.”

Robinson was asked if he’d ever be willing to do more Leave it to Chance stories. Said Robinson: “I’d love to do more Leave it to Chance, but I have no idea how to find Paul Smith. If anyone does, please let me know.”

After another fan asked the panel how they feel about working on creator owned comics, Robertson told fans that Image is “A place where a writer and I can do the books we want to do for a publisher.” Stephenson stepped in to correct him, saying “You aren’t working for us, you’re working with us.” He described the relationship between Image and its creators as “The difference between waiting on a table and owning the restaurant. The creators own these characters.”

Added Casey: “Marvel and DC hire talented people to make their product look better for them. I don’t think any of us got into the business to just make product. Image Comics is the only place where it’s pure creative freedom, and we think fans want to see that.”


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