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At the recent Emerald City Comic Con, held in Seattle, Washington, Image Comics held their Image Expo, a sort of mini con-within-a-con. As a part of Image Expo, the publisher announced an impressive slate of new titles. However, there weren’t just a few new series. Image Comics announced 20 new titles! There is a lot to like in the announcements (which comes on top of Image’s already strong lineup of titles). Let’s run through five – in no particular order – that I think sound most exciting.
While it does happen occasionally (such as on Gotham Academy or Captain Marvel) have three creators on one titles is still pretty rare. Ivan Brandon (Vikings) is a writer so he will be on that side but Jason Latour has done both (art on Southern Bastards, writing on Spider-Gwen). Added to that mix is artist Greg Hinkle (Airboy, The Rattler) and it’s quite a potent group. The story is elusive at this point. The description is “In Black Cloud, we meet Zelda: exiled to Earth, her dreams of revolution are gone, but she still holds the key to the world she left behind. And it’s for sale.” So there definitely seem to be sci-fi elements with perhaps some political commentary. In any case, the group of creators and the teaser image is intriguing for me. Black Cloud starts Fall 2016.
Jonathan Hickman is fresh off exploding the Marvel Universe (in a matter of speaking) on Secret Wars. He has been working with Image for quite some time with his series East of West and The Manhattan Projects. In this latest one, The Black Monday Murders, he teams with Tomm Coker (Undying Love) to take the financial turmoil of recent times and apply it to a dark, sci-fi story. In the story, we see the secret cults where money and magic mix, one that includes “a hidden world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black Popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund” That is quite an imaginative premise. As with any Hickman series, there will also be weird, complex graphs and charts. The Black Monday Murders starts Fall 2016.
If you are the type of person who is jazzed about the trailers for The Neon Demon, the new Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) sorta-horror movie set in the L.A. modeling world, you may want to check out Glitterbomb, a series from Jim Zub (Skullkickers, Samurai Jack) and newcomer Djibril Morissette-Phan. A horror series, Glitterbomb is set in Hollywood, dealing with the revenge of those who have been exploited by the entertainment industry. Possibly involving zombies or some form of undead, the series promises to be bloody and fun at the same time. Although I know nothing about Morissette-Phan’s work, the teaser image is very striking. Glitterbomb starts Summer 2016.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have a long run of great projects, including Criminal, Fatale and the recently completed 12-issue miniseries The Fade Out. So their new collaboration, Kill Or Be Killed, was perhaps the biggest announcement to come out of the Image Expo new title release. Image is heralding Kill Or Be Killed (which is part of the five-year deal Brubaker and Phillips signed with Image in 2014) as the ultimate pulp crime comic, and that’s saying something considering what the duo has done. The series takes on the idea of a vigilante, as a young man is compelled to kill bad people but struggles with the things he has done and his secrets threaten to ruin his entire life. Kill Or Be Killed starts Summer 2016.
Although Brian Azzarello may be mostly known right now as the co-writer of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight III: The Master Race, he came to prominence with the Vertigo crime series 100 Bullets, a collaboration with Argentinian artist Eduardo Risso. So the fact that Azzarello and Risso are teaming up again is exciting news for many comic fans. In addition to the creators, Moonshine has a really interesting story idea: it takes place during Prohibition, when illegal Moonshine was at its height. With that comes a lot of money and potential for problems. Moonshine follows Lou Pirlo, a NYC crime hooligan sent to control Moonshine distribution, who must deal with Hiram Hold, the biggest moonshiner in West Virginia. Moonshine starts Fall 2016.
The other 15 new titles announced by Image Comics at Image Expo also sound pretty compelling. It was tough for me to leave off The Divided States of Hysteria by Howard Chaykin or Motor Crush by the creative team behind Batgirl – Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr. It is daring for Image to commit to so many new titles, so 2016 could turn out to be a pivotal year for the publisher. Will the array of new titles, along with their current series, make for a very strong year or will some of the new books fail to find an audience, forcing Image to be more reserved in the future? As for the titles revealed at Image Expo, which are you most excited to read?