The end of the year is a time of reflection in many ways, and that often means thinking about and assessing what the very best releases in any particular medium were. As we prepare to cross the threshold into 2017, we've been collecting some of the best covers of the year by publisher for your perusal, and today we're looking at fifty of the best comic book covers released from Image Comics in 2016.
It's no secret that, before he came to comics, Paul Dini worked as a writer in animation on series including Batman: The Animated Series and, before that, Tiny Toon Adventures --- both from the then-resurgent Warner Bros Animation studio. Dark Night, his new graphic memoir detailing a traumatic event from that time in his life, is premised as the Dini of 2016 pitching the story as he might have pitched an animated episode, pinning sketched-out storyboards to a wall before an unseen audience that will have their say when his presentation is over.
The elaborate narrative set-up isn't the only unusual thing about Dini's Dark Night. Unlike the vast majority of comics memoirs, in which the memoirist is also a cartoonist and thus writes and draws the story, this one has the more traditional division of labor/creation of superhero comics, with Dini scripting and artist Eduardo Risso handling the art. And it's also got Batman in it. A lot.
Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s stylish noir revenge fantasy 100 Bullets first debuted on this day in 1999, and in many ways signaled the beginning of a new golden era at Vertigo that led to series such as Fables and The Losers. 100 Bullets' themes of corporate irresponsibility and empowerment of the common man are as relevant today as they were in the late '90s, and the series holds up in a way not many of its peers can claim.
At today's Image Expo, writer Brian Azzarello announced Moonshine, an upcoming series with his frequent collaborator, artist Eduardo Risso. Due out in October of this year, the comic feature mobsters, werewolves, and "a sprinkling of hillbillies."
At the turn of the millennium, Vertigo published the first handful of issues of 100 Bullets, the hard-boiled neo-noir from Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. The heavy-handed narrative would take a decade to unfold, with a conspiracy so complex, you basically had to re-read every old issue every time a new issue came out just so you could keep all the twists, turns, changing allegiances, and lies straight. The idea of a video game based on a Vertigo comic seemed completely improbable at the time, and that's not even considering the subject matter, tone and style of 100 Bullets being a better fit for the graphic medium than the virtual one.
Despite the odds being heavily stacked against a 100 Bullets video game, ten years ago it almost actually happened. Thanks in part to the successes of Max Payne and Hitman, both of which proved there was a market for a story like 100 Bullets, Acclaim reached a deal with the comic's creators to develop and publish a video game based on the moody, violent comic. Back in 2003 and 2004, you might remember even seeing advertisements and preview coverage of 100 Bullets in its early stages. But that's as far as 100 Bullets ever made it, and we've never really seen what could have been. That is until PtoPOnline uncovered some of these early prototypes and shared them with the world this week.
The second issue of the still mindblowingly titled Dark Knight III: The Master Race arrives in comic book stores on Wednesday, December 23rd, and DC Comics has just revealed five limited variant covers by Cliff Chiang, Klaus Janson, Eduardo Risso, Jim Lee, and Frank Miller himself.
Unsurprisingly, all five of the cover artists are male, but at least three of them are people of color. I don't know that that mitigates the stigma of the series title, but hey, it's something.
There are few creators in the history of Batman who have had a greater impact on the character than Paul Dini. As one of the showrunners of Batman: The Animated Series, he shaped not only how a generation of television viewers would view Batman, the Joker, and Gotham City's other heroes and villains, but also how the comics would be influenced for decades after the show's launch.
Behind the scenes, though, it seems as though 1993 was a rough year for Dini's relationship with Batman, owing to a violent mugging that left him with a broken skull and his faith in the ideas behind superheroes shattered. Now, as revealed at The Hollywood Reporter, Dini is revisiting that trauma alongside artist Eduardo Risso in a new graphic novel from Vertigo, Dark Night: A True Batman Story.
We are quickly approaching the November 25 release date for Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson's eight-issue miniseries chronicling the final adventure of an older Batman. And, as is the way of things, there are going to be plenty of variant covers for collectors to get their hands on.
In addition to the usual variants --- including the 1:5000 sketch variant by Jim Lee that was announced back in August --- there are also going to be retailer-specific covers.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.