If you've had your head up Joe Quesada's ass for the past five years, you're probably wondering what the hell I'm alluding to. What renaissance?
If you think "Image Comics" and the only things that come to mind are Spawn and The Walking Dead, you're missing out on some truly brilliant creator-owned content. Stick with us, and you'll get more than a few recommendations within the coming weeks which should broaden your understanding of Image and its profound effect in the industry.
In regard to that effect, a few weeks ago, I published my dissertation on innate prejudice as perpetuated by mainstream comics, in which I briefly discussed my enamored satisfaction with Image Comics and its editor Eric Stephenson. Well, that was before Image held its own convention, Image Expo, last week, celebrating its twentieth year in the comic book industry. I'm happy to report that "hitting it big" hasn't changed Stephenson's humble, yet incredibly ambitious Image Comics regime one bit, but it has illuminated a number of exciting additions to the publisher's lineup.
One of the biggest announcements made at the Expo was legendary writer Grant Morrison's involvement on a new Image series, Happy!, with art by comic book veteran Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan). The press release really gives very little details save that we've got a long time to wait--Happy! won't be released until late 2012--and features only a single blue feather against a white backdrop. In an interview with iFanboy, Morrison (The Invisibles) wasn't especially informative, but did say that Happy! would be a different genre than he's tackled before. The inclusion of Morrison to creative ranks that already include a number of high-profile writers and artists, like Ed Brubaker, Ron Marz, and Jonathan Hickman, should put Image in a very agreeable position, exposure- and subsequently sales-wise.
But, really, Morrison is just a drop in the bucket. Other big names are hopping on the Image bandwagon as well, including Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Grant Morrison's preferred artistic confidant, Frank Quitely (Batman and Robin), who will be collaborating on Jupiter's Children, a tale of spoiled rotten legacy characters. Brian Wood and Ming Doyle will be answering the feminist call to arms that many comic book pundits put forth, collaborating on Mara, a series that seeks to counteract the T&A garbage that was reintroduced to the forefront of mainstream comics via the New 52.Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) also has two Image series in the works. Both, Chin Music and Crime and Terror, tackle crime and the macabre, two themes close to Niles' cold, black heart.Industry legend Howard Chaykin (The Shadow) is providing a follow-up to the controversial and erotic 80s gem that was Black Kiss, and Image mainstays Nick Spencer (Morning Glories) and Riley Rossmo (Green Wake) are collaborating on new horror series Bedlam, hoping to make a successful Halloween debut cash-in like The Walking Dead several years ago. Perhaps one of the most exciting announcements, however, was the newest sequel to Kieron Gillen's exceptional Phonogram. Keep your eyes peeled as these titles come down the pipe over the course of 2012.
In more urgent Image Comics news, Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staple's sci-fi epic, will debut just next week! Also, Joe Keatinge's Hell Yeah and Hickman's Manhattan Projects premiere this Wednesday along with the long-awaited trade collection of Brandon Graham's phenomenal King City series.