Con season is seriously rolling up, so be prepared to see some very hastily, exuberant and rather long-winded reports of the goings on and going downs at San Diego Comic-Con in the next couple of weeks – from speculation, early rumors, and breaking news – it makes me wish I had access to a continuously updating feed lovingly branded as “Amazing Stories Coverage”, but alas. Perhaps later.
Before that – let’s talk about, not quite a convention, but an expo that happened yesterday in San Francisco. It was actually the first time I was successfully able to use my scant list of posts as a means of gaining an illustrious press badge. Sadly, I was 3000 miles away from the event at the time, so I was not able to attend. Below, after being filtered through my excitable brain-pan, are the important factoids of Image Comics’ 2013 ImageExpo – and the reasons that Image is far and away the best publisher to keep a keen eye on.
Comics to be THRILLED for:
- Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force) is teaming up with two extraordinarily talented artists for what sound like killer books. A Frank Frazetta-inspired sci-fi epic called Black Science with Matteo Scalera (Secret Avengers) and a high school for assassins with Wesley Craig (Guardians of the Galaxy) called Deadly Class.
- A book called Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron (Scalped) and Jason Latour (B.P.R.D.), unabashedly billed as being “about a lot of southern bastards.”
- A “deconstruction [of] the way a comic book works” by J. Michael Straczynski (Superman: Earth One) and Bill Sienkiewicz (Sandman: Endless Nights).
- Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) will be writing a graphic novel retelling the story of Noah with artist Niko Henrickson (which is also in the midst of doing for his 2014 film). If this is anything remotely close to his adaptation of The Fountain for Vertigo, I’m completely on board and a half.
- More Straczynski-based news: He’ll be reviving his previous Marvel Icon works The Book of Lost Souls and Dream Police at Image Comics. Everything is beautiful.
- No matter what personal feelings I may have about Mark Millar (Kick-Ass), his audacious boasting over his “magnum opus” launching in early 2014. He is planning an entire line of books, claiming the first “as pivotal as Fantastic Four” was to Marvel’s comic Universe, but for the 21st century. It’ll be titled MPH, art by Duncan Fegredo (Hellboy).
- Golden boy (after Marvel’s Fear Itself, at least) Matt Fraction (Hawkeye) is writing another book alongside his just released Satellite Sam that’s an adaptation of The Odyssey, no joke, “in SPACE!”. Taglined as “the heaviest trip is the one back home”, Fraction’s Ody-C, brought to life on the concept of giving his daughter relatible heroes will swap all women as men and men as women. All of this, including the “celestial super-cosmic beings” will be drawn by Christian Ward (Infinite Vacation).
In the past two years, Image Comics has sky-rocketed (rapidly followed by atmosphere-rocketed and solar-system-rocketed) to become a comic publisher to take deadly serious. As of this year, “for the second year running, Image was the #2 supplier of trade paperbacks and graphic novels to the comic book store market,” proving that their unorthodox publishing platform is working and as serious money flows in – more and more big names will flock to Image to create titan works unfettered by a defined stock of characters and themes. As Eric Stephenson, Publisher for Image, said during the keynote presentation: “Writers & artists […] come to Image because we give them a platform to do what they do best: create.” As a quick background, Image runs entirely on a creator-owned platform – meaning that the trademark and copyright of the work is wholly owned by its original creator. Image handles promotion and distribution of the works, but hand-down will not claim ownership of work published through under its name, unless requested. It’s widely speculated that the only true trademark and copyright they own is the Image name and their quintessential “i” icon.
Stephenson, aided by some amazingly talented folks, took the day to prove that Image is there for the love of the creation and the readership of the audience, noting, as a very pointed reference to Warner Bros and DC comics that their [DC’s] output isn’t based on creativity but necrophilia. Strong words indeed, but all the more powerful when backed up by what Image is pulling off today. Gosh darn miracles.
While reading through the feeds on twitter and various rapidly-updating blog pages, a little blip of info slipped in almost as an afterthought on Image’s part, which coalesced and explode out into one of the most ground-breaking announcements in the comics industry in years.
Image comics will now sell digital comics DRM free.
DRM-free, in PDF, CBZ, CBR, and ePub.
Launching yesterday with a luscious collection of Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Scatterland, all of Image’s comics will be available for digital purchase direct from their website on the day of release, including Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy, who has never hid his distaste for digital comics. No muss, no fuss – one quick purchase and a whole bunch of files are your own to own. Just like Panel Syndicate by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin – Image is taking the faith-based publishing platform and shooting higher than the stars with it. I’m giddy with excitement – unable to contain my complete adoration for this publishing house that genuinely believes, with their money in their mouth that their readers care – and based off their recent annual earnings, that’s an easy notion to place faith in.
Lastly, they relaunched their website with a new design. It’s beautiful:
My pulls for 7/3 are:
- Catalyst Comix #1 by Joe Casey, Dan McDaid & Others
- Fairest #17 by Sean Williams, Stephen Sadowski & Phil Jimenez
- Five Weapons #5 by Jimmie Robinson
- Satellite Sam #1 by Matt Fraction & Howard Chaykin
- Adventure Time Fionna & Cake #6 by Natasha Allegri
(top image contains cover art of Fairest #17, Catalyst Comix #1, Fionna & Cake #6, and Satellite Sam #1)