Image Expo news roundup with art

WHEW that was a wild hour or two, right? Since the Image Expo unfolded like a garden of delights, more art news and info has been released… so here’s some of it. BTW, very nice to see all the colorists credited on these books. Overall, it’s a strong batch of books. Image is the new Vertigo, but more on that later.

§ In PR, more Image sales stats were released; it’s been a very good year according to Eric Stephenson.

“We saw our dollars increase 40% over 2011’s numbers, with our units going up almost as much – 38%,” Stephenson said, noting that Image’s sales have been steadily increasing since 2009. “Better still,” he continued, “six months into 2013 we’re already up 33% in dollars and 38% in units over the same period in 2012.”

COMICS ARE NOT DYING.

§ CBR was the outlet of choice for more news so head over there for all the details, but here’s a digest version.
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Deadly Class by Rick Remender and Wesley Craig and Lee Loughridge.

At Image Expo in San Francisco, Rick Remender revealed his newest creator-owned endeavor with Image Comics, “Deadly Class.” Along with artistic duo Wesley Craig and Lee Loughridge, Remender’s return to Image centers around an unusual and clandestine high school hidden under the depths of San Francisco. Described by Remender as “a high school for assassins where the heads of all the major crime families and spook organizations around the world send their fledgeling up-and-comers, their kids and people they want to become the #1 assassins,” the school in “Deadly Class” is only a part of the story he has planned. The series is, in many ways, the creative team’s exploration of the late ’80s, including real experiences Remender had during that period in his life.

 

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Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour
(Okay I am really excited for this one.)

The pair took the stage earlier today, describing the series as a crime book set in a fictional Alabama county filled with lots of mean old bastards and the main bad guy — a high school football coach. This is a character Aaron came up with during “Scalped,” but he didn’t quite work into that series. “He’s a local celebrity, won a bunch of trophies and is burying bodies under the end zone and bleachers,” the writer said. “With this book, we have the chance to do everything together, and both being souther bastards ourselves, its right up our alley.”

 

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JMS talked about the return of Dream Police (Sid Kotian) and Book of Lost Souls (Colleen Doran) which were previously published by Marvel’s creator owned Icon imprint.

In truth, Marvel never had a really strong reason or desire to market these books. They were more of a sop to creators than an actual working line. After “Book of Lost Souls” finished its full run, Colleen and I had been told by bookstore owners that they were told at the books were unavailable and out of print. Well as it turned out, we bought two pallets full of boxes and boxes and boxes that were printed just never made available to distributors. People have been asking for these books to come back for years so we don’t need to create interest. It’s already there.

And as for Dream Police:

Silly as it may sound, it was one of those ideas that I literally just dreamed up. I had a dream one night, and in the course of the dream I met these police officers who said that their job was to keep things organized to keep you from being hurt in the course of dream. I woke up thinking that’s really kind of a cool idea for a series.

 

And MORE info and some great looking previews!

 

alone

ALONE by JMS and Bill Sienkiewicz

A new series which ‘promises to deconstruct comic book storytelling’.

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THE WALKING DEAD: ALL OUT WAR is a new event storyline which will start off in issue 115. Culminating the fight between the protagonists and the gang run by Negan, this will be a twelve-part storyline shipping fortnightly. To help Charlie Adlard keep to such a punishing schedule, inker Stefano Gaudiano will come onboard to help.

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BLACK SCIENCE by Remender, Matteo Scalera and Dean White.

Former member of the anarchistic order of scientists, Grant McKay has finally done the impossible; he has deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. But what lay beyond the veil was not epiphany but chaos. Now Grant and his team are lost, living ghosts shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds, barreling through the dark realms, long forgotten, ancient and unimaginable. The only way is forward. The only question is how far are they willing to go to get home again?

 

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VELVET by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and Bettie Breitweiser.

When the world’s best secret agent is killed, Velvet Templeton, the Personal Assistant to the Director of the Agency, is drawn off her desk and back into the field for the first time in nearly 20 years… and is immediately caught in a web of mystery, murder and high-octane action.

 

ODY-C by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward

A science-fiction spin on The Odyssey, featuring a gender swapped cast. Fraction created the book in order to give his daughter a Ulysses-esque role model. Also, it’s set in outer space.

rocket girl

§ Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder’s Kickstarter-funded comic Rocket Girl will be published by Image later on in the year.

§ Mark Millar videoed in to say he’ll be launching a new line at Image in the future, which will revolutionise the industry, save us all, feed the hungry, rebuild the ozone layer, etc. He’ll also be starting a new book with Duncan Fegredo called MPH.

§ FINALLY, Ron Richards with more on the digital bits:

Asked about the perception that Image will now be competing with partners such as comiXology and Amazon in the digital market, Richards said, “Yes and no. I think the tech savvy comics fan who cares about things like DRM will come to us, and there will be a loss of sales in other marketplaces. But I think there are people who are loyal comiXology users who have built up a collection there, and they can continue to do that. We’re not ceasing any agreements or partnerships with comiXology or iVerse or Apple or Amazon. All that stuff will still be there. So the Kindle Fire owner who buys stuff from Amazon can still do that. This is for the person concerned with ownership who wants to go direct to the source.”

 

Comments

  1. Johnny Memeonic says:

    I didn’t get how you were supposed to pronounce ODY-C until I read the plot description in the article.

    lol

  2. Earth-2 Chad says:

    “Image is the new Vertigo, but more on that later.”

    Yeah, Vertigo’s “we’re still alive” article in the New York Times from earlier this week just seems kinda small and lonely right now.

  3. I’m HIGHLY curious what this means for Marvel? A LOT of these titles are using current Marvel creators. Are they leaving their books (IF so, poor New Avengers! Steve Epting is great on that title!) or did they do these during “down time”? – Curious!

    With that said, a LOT of these look great! It’s amazing how much Image has changed (for the better) just within the last three years or so!

  4. When Brubaker/Phillips’ Fatale at Image outsold their Icon work it was a herald of things to come; is Bendis now the only Image-to-Icon fellow still at Icon?

  5. Kid Show Business says:

    Millar hasn’t said if he’s moving Kick-Ass or his other Icon books to Image. David Mack’s last Kabuki work was at Icon, although only he knows when we’re going to see more of that.

  6. johnrobiethecat says:

    “I’m HIGHLY curious what this means for Marvel? A LOT of these titles are using current Marvel creators. Are they leaving their books (IF so, poor New Avengers! Steve Epting is great on that title!) or did they do these during “down time”? – Curious!”

    I’ve made that point before. Marvel, DC, and Image essentially use the same creators with a few variables. It all has the same sensibilities, just different stories-mostly grim and you know, very, very violent. A very inbred industry with the guys who used to be into horror movies are now the prime writers of comics and fetishing heroes and characters to relive those movies, ugh… Maybe they were new or fresh voices 6-10-15 yrs ago but little circulation in getting more people in the door to help a struggling industry that regurgitates & ret-cons everything, The comic publishers just see it as pitching the right book to a public thats just mot enlightened, not their self-indulgent, overwrought sensibilities and bad taster that is working….Hopefully most of them move on to Netflix studios or something and comics can be fun again.

    Also Image is a bit of a con but always eclectic I suppose. But I like that Rocket -Girl cover. Hope thats good,

  7. Johnathan Black says:

    As a comic book publisher Image really seems to have its act together right now. So much so that Marvel and DC look poor in comparison. Whereas Marvel and DC appear mired in the management of decades old properties, Image looks to be sharply about the business of making, publishing and promoting fresh comic books for a contemporary audience. This is a big deal.

    Right now Image is riding the wave of The Walking Dead. Through savvy, skill and happenstance Image has followed up this success with — not spin-offs, but entirely different creative works. Saga, Fatale, The Manhattan Projects, Thief of Thieves, East of West, Jupiter’s Legacy and Ten Grand all have respectable to impressive sales (though the last 3 titles are quite new). Not coincidentally, they also all have high profile creators.

    Success breeds success. The public wants more from the group that gave them the last great thing. But also, skilled, disciplined, driven professionals want to work with and among their own. This combination seems to be happening with Image at the moment.

    The 2013 Image Expo serves to underscore this point. Image just told the industry’s top talent that their commitment to marketing and selling its books and the people behind them is among the best. This is aside from the fact that at Image you maintain ownership and control over your creations. The next couple of years will tell the tale, but Image seems to be gaining real, sustainable traction.

    Over the years there have been many attempts to expand the footprint of non-superhero, non-art house comic books in North America. From publishers like Eclipse, Dark Horse and CrossGen to initiatives like Marvel’s Epic, DC’s Vertigo and Dark Horse’s Legend there have been varying degrees of success. This particular iteration of Image just may have what it takes to make a lasting, sizable impact on the marketplace.

  8. Johnny Memeonic says:

    I’ve made that point before. Marvel, DC, and Image essentially use the same creators with a few variables

    Also Image is a bit of a con

    What? Image’s books have a wide variety of subject matter and writers and/or artists without previous mainstream exposure.

    Also how are they a “con”? Seems to me they have perhaps the most generous publishing terms this side of making your own webcomic on Tumblr.

    Explain yourself or admit you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  9. johnrobiethecat says:

    I try to seek journalism that helps explain these things to me and how Image is fairer & better than other publishers but all I find are free article promotions for 2 or 3 new Remender books at Image while he wrecks Captain America at Marvel with his convoluted plots. (something isn’t working there, no?)

    Arguing that its not the same , established names doing 90% of the books is a stretch. Its a closed little world that somehow keeps going and a test of market tolerance. Its a relief when new talent comes through, maybe you’re content but its a bit too inbred for me…Better to call it the Marvel/Image Teamup than an independent comic company. It’s like they have the same people there.

  10. Johnathan Black says:

    To johnrobiethe cat,

    Take some time and do a little research on Image and what they have published. Perhaps your view will change.

    What Jim Valentino, followed by Erik Larsen and now Eric Stephenson have done to create opportunities for a wide variety of creators is tremendous. During the Valentino era some of the work was seriously indie/alt minded—arguably too much so. It’s taken 3 publishers to find a good balance between diversity and marketability, but it looks like they’ve finally done it.

    This is very different from Marvel which prefers to mostly stick with superheros.

    DC with Piranha Press, Vertigo, Paradox Press, CMX, Minx and Zuda (did I miss anything) have tried but with the exception of Vertigo eventually gave up on greater diversity.

    The thing with Image’s approach over the last 20 years is that with all its faults and failings they have provided a place for a lot new and unestablished talent to get exposure. Far more I would argue than Marvel and DC who pick up this talent after they have matured a bit under Image and other smaller publishers.

    If you only look at the big names and what they produce, that’s all you’ll see. Look a bit closer and you’ll see a lot more.

  11. Why are so many Marvel creators on these books? Word is, Marvel slashed page rates for all but the top artists, and will replace the Epting level artists with low paid foreign talent. Surprised this isn’t better known in the industry, but since comic news is dominated by pro and wanna be writers, maybe they don’t care about artist rates. Watch for many Marvel guys to move to DC, Image, IDW or other places.

  12. Synsidar says:

    It would be nice, if unlikely, to know how much each series contributes to Image’s sales and profits. How important are THE WALKING DEAD and SAGA, compared to other series, and which collected editions sell the best?

    Image isn’t as dependent on licenses as, say, IDW is, but does Image advertise its comics in mainstream media outlets? If the company doesn’t, and relies on word of mouth and in-the-industry promotions for sales, then they’re not reaching the general book readers market.

    SRS

  13. johnrobiethecat says:

    @ Jonathan Black
    Real good insights. Maybe I’m reacting to recent trends in Image’s creators tastes as opposed to their full 20 yr output. Apologies to Image then. I can admit it when I’m off base. Perhaps I overlayed my hopes on what creator-owned comics could do on to them too much. That might be it. I guess its working on their end, even someone as hard-headed as me can’t deny Walking Dead’s (or for that matter Dark Knight or Lost’s) impact on the culture. Do I like it , no, but I suppose thats where things are now and they have their audience.

  14. Majorjoe23 says:

    “It would be nice, if unlikely, to know how much each series contributes to Image’s sales and profits. How important are THE WALKING DEAD and SAGA, compared to other series, and which collected editions sell the best?”

    The monthly sales charts include a graphic novel list, and Walking Dead and Saga regularly take a huge number of slots on the list. I’m curious if some month we might see a top ten tpbs made up of just those two titles.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] MacDonald has a great series of Expo articles over at The Beat (Image, not surprisingly, favored Press Release Regurgitators Extraordinaire™ [...]

  2. [...] Loads of quality, creator-owned Image comics announced new books by Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting, Bettie Breitweiser; Straczynski & Bill Sienkiewicz; Mark Millar … and more! IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PRE-ORDER! page45@page45.com or 0115 [...]

  3. [...] Loads of quality, creator-owned Image comics announced new books by Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting, Bettie Breitweiser; Straczynski & Bill Sienkiewicz; Mark Millar … and more! IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PRE-ORDER! [email protected] /* */ or 0115 [...]

  4. [...] entirely DRM-free. During the one-day Image Expo event – which also saw the announcement of even more creator-owned titles from high-profile industry names – the publisher revealed that readers would be able to buy [...]

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