In the final few hours before San Diego Comic-Con opened its doors to the public for Preview Night on Wednesday, Image Comics Expo took place in an upstairs ballroom at the nearby San Diego Bayfront Hilton, where the publisher welcomed a group of press, creators, and fans to watch as the company announced, discussed and otherwise promote a great variety of upcoming Image titles.
Universal Cable Productions, the cable and digital arm of NBCUniversal, announced three new projects rooted in the comic book realm, including what will be Planetary and Transmetropolitan writer Warren Ellis' first original series developed especially for television. Additionally, UCP optioned Night Mary, a 2005 IDW drama by Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer about a young woman trained to enter the dreams of serial killers; and Five Ghosts, the recent critical hit from Image Comics/Black Mask Studios and creators Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, who tell the story of Fabian Gray, a 1930s adventurer possessed by the spirits of five literary ghosts — Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Miyamoto Musashi, and Dracula. Five Ghosts began as a miniseries but its success resulted in an upgrade to ongoing, and now, it seems, an "upgrade" (because comics are the best, obviously) to television.
Here's some crazy news: Writer Warren Ellis (Moon Knight) and artist Michael Allred (Silver Surfer) are teaming up for a comic about a rich industrialist who wanted to change the world and is often associated with the symbol of a bat. No, not that one!
Their graphic novel The Spirit of Bacardi, about Emilio Bacardi, the son of Bacardi Rum founder Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, will debut on the company's website August 6.
Alien invasion stories have always been fertile ground for allegory. Throughout the history of the sub-genre, spaceships filled with arachnid creatures, little green men, shape-shifting Skrulls, omnipotent super-beings, and brain-eating slugs have come to represent oppressive and militaristic governments, Communism, the disenfranchised, and several more variations of the great and unknowable Other, usually influenced by politics or social issues. Yet with all the metaphoric territory the alien invasions have covered, in Image Comics' Trees, Warren Ellis and Jason Howard prove there's still plenty left unsaid.
This week, Chris and Matt are talking at length about Futures End #1 by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire and Patrick Zircher, which continues the killing trend set off by the Free Comic Book Day #0 issue. Then they talk about Rat Queens #6 by Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch and Moon Knight #3 by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire!
Supreme, the Extreme Studios/Image Comics/Awesome Comics character created by Rob Liefeld and for whom Alan Moore wrote a highly regarded run in the mid-1990s, is coming back, though it's a little hard to say whether the character will look all that familiar to fans.
Image Comics released a rather cryptic press release for Supreme: Blue Rose, a new series by Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay, in which it promises to re-introduce Supreme in a whole new way. The new series premieres July 23.
Warren Ellis will be doing his first work for Dynamite Entertainment by the end of 2014, just in time for the publisher's 10th anniversary. The gig? Ellis will be taking over Dynamite's entire Project Superpowers universe, which includes The American Spirit, The Black Terror, Daredevil (the Golden Age non-Marvel guy with the spikes on his belt), Green Lama and many other Fox Comics/Crestwood Publications/Nedor Comics and other public domain heroes and villains with origins in the 1930s and '40s.
Moon Knight is an oddball in a comics universe peppered with oddballs. A former mercenary brought back from the dead by an Egyptian god to serve as his "fist" of retribution, MK's origin offers a peculiar mix of brutality, insanity, and fantasy.
Those elements have been fundamental to Moon Knight since he first appeared in Werewolf by Night in 1975, created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. Yet in the hands of successive creative teams these elements have come together in ways that muddy the character, leaving both him and the readers confused about who he is. Now it falls to the new creative team of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey to make it all make sense in Moon Knight #1, on sale this week from Marvel.
Created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin, Moon Knight is essentially Marvel's answer to the question "What if Batman were somehow even more psychologically damaged?" That's not a bad premise, frankly, and the character has had some highly regarded writers and artists telling his stories over the years: Moench, Perlin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Chuck Dixon, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Nowlan, Brian Michael Bendis, and Mark Farmer, just to name a few.
Yet despite a history of talented creators, Moon Knight has never quite stuck; of the five attempts at a Moon Knight solo series, none have surpassed 60 issues, and the two most recent, launched in 2006 and 2011, only reached 30 and 12 issues, respectively.
But Marvel believes in the character. As such, this morning the publisher announced Moon Knight #1, from acclaimed writer Warren Ellis and artists Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, to launch next year.