The Image Comics Expo took place over the weekend in Oakland, California, and is naturally the source of a variety of news about new creator owned releases. To wit:
– The keynote address for the expo revealed several high profile creator launched books at Image Comics (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/image-expo-keynote-address-120224.html). Grant Morrison, A-List writer currently entrenched at DC Comics (ACTION COMICS, BATMAN INCORPORATED, TRANSMETROPOLITAN ages ago at VERTIGO) but who also had major work with Marvel Comics (NEW X-MEN, MARVEL BOY) has announced launching a creator owned series alongside artist Darick Robertson, who worked alongside Morrison on TRANSMETROPOLITAN. The series is called HAPPY and little is known about it, besides a preview image involving a feather. Considering Morrison’s DC Comics are among the best selling in the industry right now, this looks to be quite a coup for Image Comics. Nick Spencer, whose work on Image books such as MORNING GLORIES and EXISTENCE 2.0 has led to work at Marvel Comics lately (SECRET AVENGERS and SPIDER-ISLAND: CLOAK & DAGGER) will team with artist Riley Rossmo (PROOF) to produce BEDLAM, which is a series about the world’s most notoriously insane super-villain being “cured” and attempting to live a second chance at life (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=37200). PLANETOID, written and drawn by Ken Garing which has started out as an exclusive digital comic from GRAPHICLY, will be published by Image Comics “in the near future”. Another huge announcement is the confirmation of the third volume of PHONOGRAM by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson titled “The Immaturial Girl”. Both Gillen and McKelvie have been busy with Marvel Comics work in recent years, but appear to be set to return to their creator owned series which they launched in 2006 and finished their second volume of back in 2010. Howard Chaykin is also releasing a sequel to BLACK KISS. The promotional teasers were all available at The Beat (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/02/27/more-art-from-image-expo-the-happy-crime-terror-bedlam-etc-etc/).
– Brian K. Vaughan (“LOST”, EX MACHINA, Y: THE LAST MAN, RUNAWAYS) and artist Fiona Staples promoted their Image Comics launch, SAGA (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/image-expo-vaughan-staples-saga-120227.html). This will be the first Image Comics series for Vaughan, who has spent most of his career outside of TV writing with Wildstorm Comics at DC or assorted work for Marvel. As a sign, perhaps, of how puritanical people are, the image of the first issue which shows the title heroine breast-feeding has “caused some amount of controversy” in their series about a “ROMEO AND JULIET” themed story woven around the “space opera” genre. Two members from two warring alien species have fallen in love and sired a child, and SAGA picks up the tale from there.
– Jim Valentino, head of the Image Comics imprint SHADOWLINE, announced several new releases at the Expo as well (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=37214). Jimmie Robinson’s BOMB QUEEN will naturally be returning for another volume, but there are five new titles coming, as well as two current series which were highlighted and promoted. One series is REBEL BLOOD, which is described as a romance/zombie series in which a park ranger must battle past zombie people and animals to save his beloved wife. Tim Daniel will write ENORMOUS, a series in which giant monsters literally rule the world. Kurtis J. Wiebe seems to be a one man writing factory for SHADOWLINE, as he helms three titles for the imprint. The one which has already begun is PETER PANZERFAUST, which features Peter Pan and the Lost Boys battling the Nazi in WWII era France, which is drawn by Tyler Jenkins. Wiebe’s second title is GRIM LEAPER, about two lovers who are destined to die and be reincarnated in different bodies, and thus have to seek each other out again. His third is DEBRIS, which was described as “Red Sonja versus the Transformers”. Joshua Williamson also promoted his series XENOHOLICS, a series about a support group for people who were abducted by aliens. Finally, HARVEST is about the black market business of rich elites buying organs from unsuspecting people around the world, only the twist is that this series features people seeking to get those organs back.
Non Image Expo News:
– Micah Baldwin, head of GRAPHICLY, spoke with The Beat recently about their new digital comic reader, which seeks to emphasize the comic’s own brand instead of the brand of the publisher, to make it more appealing to creators (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/02/24/how-many-pages-of-a-digital-comic-get-read-in-one-sitting/). It also is a good program for interfacing with Facebook, which ARCHIE COMICS has recently capitalized on. Baldwin states that their research indicates that the average digital comics reader reads roughly eight pages per session; thus, the 20-22 page comic model which exists for monthly printed comics may not be as successful in the digital comic market. Instead, GRAPHICLY is focusing on producing roughly 5 pages of content a week, or eight pages thrice a month, of their offerings. As The Beat notes, this is the format for which the British anthology series 2000 A.D. operates with, which has launched the careers of no end of comic book talents.
– Mike Carbo, who used to run the BIG APPLE COMIC CONVENTION but now runs his own separate convention, has announced this year’s NEW YORK COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE, which will be held on March 31st from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Penn Plaza Pavilion at the Hotel Pennsylvania (http://www.nycbm.com/) in Manhattan. The guest of honor is Stan Lee, and as usual Carbo’s con is a good place to find a lot of surviving Golden and Silver Age talents such as Carmine Infantino, Joe Sinnott and Dick Ayers, as well as an eclectic bunch of local comic talent as well as actors from film and TV. Some convention fans dislike the venue, which is sometimes considered “depressing”, but the price of admission is cheaper than the Big Apple Con or the New York Comic Con (roughly $12-$15 for general admission). If one likes a con full of retailers selling back issues and bootleg DVD’s of out of print TV series, this is the con for you. I’ve gone to a few Carbo con’s and they’re usually fine for an afternoon.
– VALIANT COMICS is about to get back into the superhero game with a relaunch of X-O MANOWAR, and it is either clever or predictable that they are utilizing a gimmick for a variant cover for the debut issue. It isn’t a hologram cover, or a foil cover, or even a fold out cover, it is a “talking cover” in which Smartphone users can scan a code and get a video of the titular character giving a speech (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/valiant-xo-manowar-voice-variant-120227.html). Thus, it is a cover that doesn’t actually talk in the shops – that would require a voice chip akin to greeting cards. Bigwigs at VALIANT stated that initiatives such as this could continue with subsequent launches (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=37203).
– CLiNT, the anthology comic book magazine launched mostly by Mark Millar, will be relaunched in May with a fresh #1 and a vow to provide 100 pages of comic pages a month for both U.S. and U.K. markets (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=37176). It says something for magazine sales that even they need renumbering stunts. Millar chose this magazine to debut KICK ASS 2 weeks before Icon issues saw print. Millar’s SUPERCROOKS is featured on the cover.
– Warner Brothers’ plans to make a live action film based on the manga/anime AKIRA have fallen by the wayside, but now WB is focusing their efforts on making a film version of BLEACH by Tite Kubo (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/02/23/wb-turns-to-bleach-to-get-the-akira-out/). It is a hit manga and anime series, distributed in the states by VIZ MEDIA. This despite the fact that “SPEED RACER” and “DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION” were expensive failures at the box office in recent years.
– ARCHIE COMICS continues to channel the cultural zeitgeist for new material; this time, writer Alex Segura and artist Gisele Lagace will helm a story in which the OCCUPY movement moves to Riverdale (http://www.archiecomics.com/Blogs/tabid/97/EntryId/475/The-Occupy-Movement-Comes-to-Riverdale.aspx). This is the same creative team behind the recent ARCHIE MEETS KISS story, which has sold quite well for ARCHIE lately. Love or hate these “stunts”, they have done a bit to boost awareness and sales for the line in recent years.
Last Week’s Indie Comics News – http://modenook.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comics-news-2-20-12-dynamite-comics-diamond-app-ny-giants-comic-more
Last Week’s DC Comics News – http://modenook.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-2-21-12-green-arrow-tv-cast-before-watchmen-peak-megacon
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://modenook.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-2-21-12-gr2-tanks-more-ghost-rider-lawsuit-hackers-more