Murder. In space. On a giant space station, orbiting the earth. Just because it’s the future doesn’t mean things are better. People are still people, and they’re still petty and angry and jealous --- and sometimes they kill.
Last year brought us a whole lot of great new titles from Image, and Codename Baboushka was no exception. Launched in October by Antony Johnston, Shari Chankhamma and Simon Bowland, the series focuses on Contessa Annika Malikova, a former boss in the Russian Mafiya who defected to America --- and was blackmailed in to running missions for the CIA.
It's a bombastic take on espionage, and for more classified information, I spoke to Johnston about the development of the idea, his approach to high action, and the essays from writers like Leigh Alexander and Danielle Henderson included in each issue.
Image Comics held its now traditional pre-San Diego one-day show on Thursday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and unveiled an impressive roster of new titles for the coming year that includes new work by familiar names such as Warren Ellis, Jason Aaron and Gail Simone; plus an encouraging number of relative newcomers and unknowns. Check out our rundown of all the news and announcements.
Looks like Charlize Theron wants to get in on some of that John Wick action. The Mad Max: Fury Road star has lined up another thrilling action project, this time with Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, the directing duo that delivered one of the best action films (if not the best) of 2014 with John Wick. And now they’re teaming up with Theron for a new spy thriller based on the graphic novel The Coldest City.
If there's one problem that we as comics readers all share, it's that we just have too much money. Sure, we keep trying to give it to publishers and creators, but sometimes there just aren't enough comics to buy, and that's why we always need more great books out there to pick up. Fortunately, the good folks over at Comixology are doing their best to make that as easy as possible, and this week, those efforts are taking the form of the Image Comics "New Hits" Sale.
A ton of great new Image books like Southern Bastards, The Wicked + The Divine, Velvet, Burn the Orphanage and more have seen their first few issues dropped down to 99 cents each, and on top of that, there's a bundle of 20 first issues for just fifteen bucks.
On its own, the police procedural doesn't have that much traction within modern comics. In the early days of the medium -- especially in newspaper strips -- it was a different story, and straight-up police tales were among some of the most popular of the day. A little over a decade ago, though, everybody seemed to realize the potential to mix police procedurals with other genres, frequently to fantastic and award-winning results: Alan Moore and Gene Ha's Top Ten; Gotham Central, by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and others; and Powers by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Those books realized the natural fit that cop stories had within superhero stories, and thus a sub-genre was born.
But there's still plenty of room left for cop shows in comics, and over the last few years, the sci-fi procedural has definitely been in its ascendance. With Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood's The Fuse, we have a new standard by which to judge all others.
Rascal, the savvy young heroine of Antony Johnston and Christ Mitten’s Umbral, is a thief with both feet planted firmly in the muck. She lives by her dexterous fingers, her knowledge of the city’s side streets, and an arsenal of four-letter words for anyone who stands in her way. Whispers of myth and monsters at the fringes of her world fail to turn Rascal’s head—in fact, she fears and loathes magic and its practitioners. Too bad she’s the heroine of a fantasy story.
Over the course of its first volume from Image Comics, Umbral creates a world rich with ethnic conflict, class struggle, human emotion and totally wicked looking monsters. A cast of scholars, refugees, thieves, and magicians populates its pages, simmering with glimpsed backstories and murky intentions. At its heart is Rascal, staring down a grand destiny she never wanted. As the first volume hits the shelves, ComicsAlliance spoke with Johnston and Mitten about fantasy tropes, developing character voices, and the importance of The Dark Crystal.
Formally announced at Image Expo last month, Umbral is the new dark fantasy series by Antony Johnson (Coldest City, Dead Space, Daredevil) and Christopher Mitten (Criminal Macabre, Batman: Legends of The Dark Knight) launching in November. The pair previously worked together on a 30-issue stint of Wasteland, an post-apocalyptic epic for Oni Press (that continues long after Mitten's departure), and knowing something about the work of these two creators, it's likely that Umbral is similarly ambitious in scope, world-building and genre-tweaking.
What's known about Umbral is presently as shadowy as its name, but it definitely involves magic and murder. You can see Johnston and Mitten's specially prepared "trailer" strip below.
The comics medium attempts to answer a lot of big questions: Who would win in a fight between the Hulk and Superman? "What lurks behind the beehive?" What's up with the Joker's face? In that spirit, ComicsAlliance's Matt Wilson is asking comics creators, retailers and commentators some big questions of his own...
We've already filled you in on the fact that Marvel's retelling the origins of its most iconic heroes with the "Season One" original graphic novel line starting in 2012. Fantastic Four: Season One (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and David Marquez) will roll out in February, X-Men: Season One (Dennis Hopeless and Jamie McKelvie) in March, Daredevil: Season One (Antony Johnston and Wellinton Alves) in April and Spider-Man: Season One (Cullen Bunn and Neil Edwards) will drop in May...