The comic book, animation, illustration, pinup, mashup, fan art and design communities are generating amazing artwork of myriad styles and tastes, all of which ends up on the Internet and filtered into ComicsAlliance’s Best Art Ever (This Week). These images convey senses of mood and character — not to mention artistic skill — but comic books are specifically a medium of sequential narratives, and great sequential art has to be both beautiful (totally subjective!) and clear in its storytelling (not so subjective!). The words and the pictures need to work together to tell the story and create whatever tone, emotion and indeed world the story requires. The contributions of every person on a creative team, from the writer to the artist(s) to the letterers, are necessary to achieving a great page of sequential storytelling.
It is the special nature of comic books that we’re celebrating in this all-new recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).
It’s a rare thrill and kind of a pain when you come across a comic that so stubbornly defies explanation it easily wriggles out from the grasp of any words that you hope to entangle it with. Such is the case with Pretty Deadly, the new Image series by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Ríos, and Jordie Bellaire. I’ve already written and undone four descriptions, wincing every time I found my fingers typing words like “mashup” or “genre-bending,” then leaning on the DEL key to undo my lame attempts to classify such a mercurial book. So let’s try this: Pretty Deadly is an Eastern myth incubated in a Western womb; a story within a story within a story; a dark fairytale about bad men, worse women, and Deadface Ginny, the reaper of vengeance, the daughter of Death. Commence head-banging now.
Last summer, Image Comics had what was perhaps the most significant moment in the recent history of the publisher. At a panel at San Diego Comic Con, Editor-in-Chief Eric Stephenson was joined on stage by a collection of some of the most acclaimed creators in comics, to announce the launch of several new series, including Lazarus, Multiple Warheads, Satellite Sam, Sex and more. With so many titles, from such a deep collection of talent, being announced at once, it's a challenge for any book to stand out.
But Pretty Deadly did. The first creator owned project from Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos, who were first introduced after collaborating on Osborn for Marvel, Pretty Deadly is a western/horror comic that chronicles the story of Death's daughter, as told from the point of view of a butterfly and a dead rabbit. If you follow either DeConnick or Ríos on social media, you're no doubt familiar with the book. And if you have any sort of presence on comics related social media in general, you're likely aware that this is one of the most anticipated titles of the fall, if not all of 2013. And after a year and change of anticipation, discussion, and promotion, Pretty Deadly #1 arrives in stores next Wednesday. Image Comics has provided ComicsAlliance with a six page preview of the debut issue, which you can view below.
Announced at last year's San Diego Comic-Con, Pretty Deadly -- the western/horror/fantasy pastiche from creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos about a butterfly, a dead bunny and the daughter of Death -- is next in line for Images' newest slate of creator driven original series, and one of the most anticipated new titles of the year. For months, DeConnick and Ríos have discussed the project, often at length, while promoting the book in creative ways that clearly illustrate how important it is to both of them, and how close they feel to it. The Pretty Deadly tumblr features a countdown to the release of issue #1, gives readers a peek behind the curtain at the creative process, shows fan art for the series (and there's plenty of it, despite the book having not yet been published), and more.
With Pretty Deadly due to arrive in stores October 23, and final orders due next week, ComicsAlliance joined a conference call with DeConnick to discuss the series. You can check out a few preview pages below, as well as highlights from the call, where the writer discussed what it's been like to work on her first creator owned book, how the title has changed since it was first announced, advice legendary comics writer Neil Gaiman gave her, and why Ríos gave her the nickname "Sister Kraken."
Although its first issue has yet to be released, the forthcoming Image Comics title Pretty Deadly has been near the top of many must-read lists since it was first announced last July. The book is a mythic revenge fantasy inspired by sources as diverse as the spaghetti western films of Sergio Leone and contemporary fashion design, starring an enigmatic heroine whose scarred face resembles a dia de los muertos mask and whose story is narrated by a dead rabbit.
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 f
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