Welcome to the weekend edition of Comics Relief! The holidays are barely over, and already the major publishers are actively promoting their content for the remainder of 2015, none more so than Image Comics, who held their Image Expo in San Francisco this week. Image made a ton of announcements about future titles, enough to make any fan out there jazzed at the prospects for great comic books this year. So let’s get right to the big news, shall we?
Image Comics Announces Their 2015 Slate At The Image Expo
The last few years have incredible for Image Comics. Books like Saga, Sex Criminals, and Wytches have really stood out from the pack and made an impact, not to mention the continued huge success of The Walking Dead. At this week’s Image Expo in San Francisco, the publisher brought out all their big guns and announced several new titles for 2015. Here are just some of the highlights:
AD: After Death, from writer Scott Snyder (Wytches, Batman) and artist Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), in November 2015. The book will be set in a near future where death has been cured and one man must come to grips with what comes next.
Black Road is writer Brian Wood’s first new Viking series since his book Northlanders, featuring art from past collaborator Garry Brown (The Massive). Set in Viking Age Norway, the book follows Magnus The Black, a fixer for the Christian Church, who loses a Roman official to bandits on the infamous Black Road.
I Hate Fairyland is from artist Skottie Young (known best for his Oz books and all those cute Marvel Babies variant covers) and Jean-Francois Beaulieu. The book centers on Gertrude, “a snarky, slightly deranged 40-year-old with a battle axe who happens to be trapped in a Shirley Temple-esque body and confined to the technicolor funworld that is Fairyland.”
Monstress will be an all-new ongoing series from Marjorie Liu (X-Men, Tiger Eye) and Sana Takeda (Ms. Marvel) set in an alternate 1900s Asia “where immense Leviathans roam the Earth, wielding unimaginable powers that many have long desired to exploit.”
Paper Girls, from New York Times bestselling and multiple Eisner Award-winning writer Brian K. Vaughan (Saga, Runaways) reunites with artist Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman) for this all-new ongoing series, which is the story of four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls who experience something extraordinary one day, right after Halloween night.
Revengeance will be artist Darwyn Cooke’s (Parker, DC: The New Frontier) first fully creator-owned project, which is described as “a psychological thriller with darkly humorous overtones.” When Joe Malarky is faced with a criminal tragedy, he sets out to make things right on his own. What follows is Joe’s odyssey through the underside of the city and the madness that seems to drive his crazy world.
Heaven is the hugely ambitious new space opera series from writer James Robinson (Earth-2) and artist Phillip Tan (Spawn, Uncanny X-Men). Heaven is set in a distant future “where the forces or man and alien combined have used religion to conquer this universe and are now ready, about to invade the next one — Heaven itself. The “Good War” between man and angel will span galaxies and dimensions, building to a final conflict that threatens to negate all of reality itself.” How’s that for ambitious high concept?
Included below are the promotional images for A.D. After Death, Monstress, No Mercy, Phonogram, Plutona, Revengeance, Heaven, I Hate Fairyland, and Starve.
IDW Set To Bring Back Jack Kirby’s Kamandi Series As An Oversized Artist’s Edition
When Jack Kirby left Marvel in 1970, he famously created the Fourth World series, featuring the New Gods, Mr. Miracle, and more. But he also created other concepts for DC, like the Demon, and Kamandi, the Last Boy On Earth. Set in an apocalyptic future, where sentient animals rule and superheroes are thing of the past, Kamandi only ran a few issues, but had a fervent cult following.
Now IDW is adding Kamandi to their collection of oversized Artist’s Edition volumes. According to IDW, this Artist’s Edition features some of the most influential complete issues from the series, including issues 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 9, along with additional covers and other bonus material. At 160 pages and measuring 12” by 17,” this Artist’s Edition will become available this May. [Bleeding Cool]
Dark Horse Set To Chronicle The History of The World of Warcraft
Dark Horse is set to publish a series of high-end books chronicling the history of the universe of Blizzard Entertainment’s Word of Warcraft. This is going to be a series of heavy duty coffee table-style books, with the official title of World of Warcraft: Chronicle. Volume 1 will showcase over twenty full-page illustrations by World of Warcraft artist Peter Lee and marks the first in a multi-part series which is set to explore the Warcraft universe; from the long distant past to more modern times. The book doesn’t come out until November, so you have plenty of time to start saving your pennies, all you Warcraft fans out there. [Comic Book Resources]
Did _____ REALLY Come Back From The Dead In Amazing Spider-Man #12? SPOILER Warning On Maximum.
So, did you check out The Amazing Spider-Man #12 this week? If not, you might have missed a doozy of spoiler, as the last page features the return of none other than Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben. Of course, this already confirmed to be the Uncle Ben from another universe, tied into the whole Spider-Verse thing, and not the “real” Uncle Ben. Will this version of Ben Parker stick around? My instinct is to say he’ll die tragically too, but then again I never thought Bucky would come back to life, or that there would be a superpowered version of Gwen Stacy running around, so stranger things have happened in the Marvel Universe recently. [Newsarama]
Former Dark Horse Star Wars Books Show Up On Marvel’s ComiXology App
Remember when in a recent column I said that Dark Horse’s Star Wars titles, which they were selling via bundle for a very reasonable price right before the new year, would be the last time many of these would be available once Marvel got the Star Wars license on January 1st? Well, I spoke too soon. The best of the old Dark Horse Star Wars books have now appeared on Marvel’s ComiXology app, under the “Legends” banner, but are going to cost you a wee bit more than they did when they were practically being given away by Dark Horse right before the change over. It is nice to know they are being preserved somewhere, and Marvel aren’t being so Disney that they are pulling a Song of the South on them and making it like they never happened by putting them in a vault forever. [ComiXology, via IGN]
DC Giving Away Free Copies of Brian Azzarello and Lee Bremejo’s The Joker #1
DC Comics is continuing their free comic program, which promotes what they are calling their “DC Essentials” titles. Previously they released the first issue of Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. Now they are going with a different critically acclaimed and beloved Batman title with The Joker #1 by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. This portrayal of the Joker is what may have cited was the main influence behind Heath Ledger’s portrayal in The Dark Knight. You can get your free copy here.
Spawn Hits Issue #250, Todd McFarlane Announces Spawn: Resurrection
We began today’s column with Image Comics news, and so we’ll end it with some pretty big news about one of the original Image titles, Spawn. At Image Expo, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane revealed that Spawn #25o will “reset the machinery,” in a special anniversary issue that will have a cover by Greg Capullo, who drew over 80 single issues over 7 years. #250 will also see the return of Al Simmons in the Spawn suit, with Simmons in full control of the demon for the first time.
There will also be a special one-shot relaunch in February’s Spawn Resurrection #1 with Brian Wood writing and Jonboy Meyers drawing. Despite the new #1 issue, this isn’t a relaunch, as the storyline will continue in Spawn #251. In fact, McFarlane plans to never re-number Spawn, saying “I spent 20 years to get to that number, and to just throw it away, I can’t do it. If Marvel and DC want to renumber all their books and make me the highest-numbered book in the country, dude, I don’t see that as a detriment. I see it as a badge of honor.”
Which of these new comics has you anticipating it the most? Sound off in the comments below!