For the past few years Image Comics has held an Image Expo, which is kind of their own mini-convention where they feature creators and make announcements. Since they ended up skipping it this year (it’ll be back in 2018) they used their Thursday panel at the Emerald City Comic Con to unleash a huge slew of comic book announcements.
So buckle up; here’s the rundown:
Death of Love by writer Justin Jordan, artist Donal DeLay, colorist Felipe Sobreiro, and letterer Rachel Deering
What it’s about: “In Death of Love, a bitter, self-proclaimed nice guy gains the ability to see the Cupidae, who are responsible for love in the world. Who he then ends up in bloody and, hopefully, hilarious war with.”
How it came together: “Death of Love came together pretty much because my buddy Matt Krotzer suggested me to Justin. Justin will sometimes post an elevator pitch for a random concept, and one happened to be for Death of Love. I thought it was a rad idea, and ended up doing fan art of it. Justin liked it, and I mentioned it was something I’d love to draw and we took off from there. The concept, which could fit a tweet, just sounded like it would be funny and have lots of ultra-violence. Two things I enjoy drawing,” Delay told Newsarama in an interview.
Due out: Five-issue miniseries kicks off in Fall 2017
Family Tree by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Phil Hester
What it’s about: When an eight-year-old girl literally begins to transform into a tree, her single Mom, troubled brother, and possibly insane Grandfather embark on a bizarre and heart-wrenching odyssey across the back roads of America, desperately searching for a way to cure to her horrifying transformation before it’s too late.
How weird will it be? Image describes it as A new genre-defying ongoing series” that will “combine mystery, action and Cronenbergian body horror into an epic story.” So Cronenbergian levels of weirdness. Which should be fun.
Due out: The ongoing series launches in the fall.
Flavor by writer Joe Keatinge and artist Wook-Jin Clark
Who else is working on it: Per Keatinge, “Owen Gieni is the colorist. Ariana Maher is the letterer. Ali Bouzari is our culinary consultant, and, f’real, the guy is basically culinary James Bond.”
What it’s about: Xoo’s a young chef in a closed-off metropolis whose economy surrounds the touring of—and some argue, exploitation of—young chefs. When she’s registered for the cooking tournament, she discovers the dark underbelly of the city—why they exploit the young chefs, where their foods coming from and why she’s got to fight against it all.
Due out: The ongoing series starts in Fall 2017.
Generation Gone by writer Ales Kot and artist André Araújo.
What it’s about: What happens when three disenfranchised millennials who were already planning to rob a bank get superpowers? What happens when two of them are in a toxic relationship that implodes shortly after? Think Unbreakable meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and you’re starting to get it.
Another reason to buy it: Kot has said he’s donating all his proceeds to TWOOC, the TransWomen of Color Collective.
Due out: Summer 2017
Mage: The Hero Denied by Matt Wagner
What it’s about: The long-awaited conclusion to Matt Wagner’s Mage series, which started decades ago with “The Hero Discovered” and continued in “The Hero Defined.” It stars Kevin Matchstick, who is a reincarnated King Arthur carrying his baseball bat, Excalibur, and features modern-day equivalents of Hercules and other mythical characters.
Why did it take so long? Per Wagner: “Despite the long intervals between volumes, I feel like MAGE is one of my purest and, well…most magical narratives. I have a fondness for saying that I don’t decide when I’m going to work on MAGE, MAGE decides when it’s going to work on me. And while, sure, that sounds a bit glib…it’s also pretty much true. I started the first MAGE series, THE HERO DISCOVERED, in my artistic infancy and basically developed and honed my creative skills even as my fledgling hero was discovering his own fantastic powers and purpose,” he told Bleeding Cool.
Due out: This summer! Maybe we’ll get new collections of the previous volumes as well.
Moonstruck by writer Grace Ellis, artist Shae Beagle and colorist Laurenn McCubbin
What it’s about: Monsters, romance, and magical hijinks. Fantasy creatures are living typical, unremarkable lives alongside humans, and barista Julie strives to be the most unremarkable of all. Normal job, normal almost-girlfriend, normal… werewolf transformations that happen when she gets upset? Yikes! But all bets are off when she and her centaur best friend Chet find themselves in the middle of a magical conspiracy. Will Julie and Chet be able to save their friends? Is Julie’s dogged determination to be normal a lost cause? Who’s going to watch the coffee shop while our heroes are out saving the world?
Due out: July 2017.
New Lieutenants of Metal by writer Joe Casey and artist Ulises Farinas
What it’s about: They are the most kick-ass, head-banging heroes ever assembled! They are a precision strike force, ready to face any threat! They are a metal militia of mayhem and they mean serious business! If you like blood and explosions… or if you like bloody explosions… this is the book you’ve been waiting in line outside the coliseum to read! Their names are legend: The Mighty Kreig! Vandenborg Riot! Manowarrior! Steppenwulf! Beset from all sides by a growing roster of vicious foes, the New Lieutenants of Metal have arrived to bust down the doors of perception and deliver you to a greater comicbook glory! Featuring the first appearance of Spike!
Due out: 2017.
Redlands by Jordie Bellaire and artist Vanesa R. del Rey
What it’s about: Three witches move to Redlands, Florida and take over as law enforcement.
Why Florida? “I grew up there and Vanesa lives there. I think many of us would agree that Florida is a beautiful, multicultural place but has a truly weird and sometimes dark side that never seems to have any explanation except for the occasional Floridian knee-slap followed by chuckling “Oh, Florida.” Redlands will give readers a peek in on all that weirdness, although fictional, not exactly improbable — this is Florida we’re talking about,” Bellaire told Entertainment Weekly.
Due out: This summer.
Sacred Creatures by Klaus Janson and Pablo Raimondi
What it’s about: The survivors of an ancient, supernatural race have woven their existence into the fabric of our society, and when their delicate balance of power begins to unravel, humanity itself is at risk of being torn apart. It’s a supernatural thriller that reveals the hidden forces manipulating mankind and takes the reader on a journey spanning the history of the world itself.
Due out: The ongoing launches this summer.
Savage Town by Declan Shalvey and Philip Barrett
What it’s about: A crime story set in Limerick City, loosely based on real events at the turn of the millennium. It follows Jimmy ‘Hardy’ Savage as he fails his way up the criminal ladder.
What the name means: “The name comes from local Irish slang. Everyone knows what the word ‘savage’ means but in Ireland it’s also used to describe something great. In this book both meanings are warranted. It’s set in Limerick, a city I used to live in that pop culture wise is probably best known as the setting of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes,” Shalvey told Newsarama.
Due out: The graphic novel arrives this fall.
Shirtless Bear-Fighter by writers Jody LeHeup and Sebastian Girner, artist Nil Vendrell, colorist Mike Spicer and letterer “Famous Dave” Lanphear
What it’s about: Based on the title, either people without shirts fighting bears, or people with shirts fighting shirtless bears. But seriously: “When wild-eyed, super-strong bears attack the citizens of Major City, Shirtless ventures into the human world to do what he does best…PUNCH THOSE BEARS IN THE FACE! But all is not as it seems. Someone is manipulating Shirtless…and only by confronting the demons of his past can Shirtless hope to save his future!”
Which came first, the bear or the egg? Per the creators, the title of the story came first, which led to them building a mythology around it. “It was like we had the perfect title, now we needed to do the work and make a comic that was worthy of it!” Girner told Nerdist.
Due out: This June.
Sleepless by artist Leila del Duca, writer Sarah Vaughn, editor Alissa Sallah and letterer Deron Bennett
What it’s about: An enchanted knight who never sleeps falls in love with the noblewoman he is sworn to protect as they navigate the treacherous court of a newly crowned king. Set in a Renaissance-inspired kingdom, politics and love abound in this historical romance drama.
On designing the characters: “The design process started with 1500’s Italy and Morocco. Adding Moroccan imagery was Alissa’s idea early on when we first started brainstorming additional influences, which was an easy yes! I began by studying a lot of the dresses and clothing from Italy by watching a bit of The Borgias and looking at pictures from Romeo and Juliet, Ever After, and a few other European movies about that time and place. After getting a general sense of how the style in Italy was back then, I studied traditional Moroccan clothing and designs and started incorporating more patterns from that area. It’s been really interesting studying the similarities and differences, and I’ve fallen in love with the designs we’ve created for this world,” Leila del Duca told ComicsAlliance.
Due out: No release date was given.
The Family Trade by writer Justin Jordan and artist Morgan Beem
What it’s about: A family of assassins, con men, and thieves dedicated to keeping their floating city floating. Which goes reasonably well until their youngest member manages to nearly cause the city to go to war with itself.
About that floating city: “Well, one of the interesting things about The Float is that it is this huge, dense, spiraling metropolis. With the city shooting up on all sides and constantly building on itself, there are plenty of places for dark things to lurk. I also tend to think about coloring more for mood, and less local color – so less the color of the actual object, and more color for building feeling. This helps greatly in freeing me to build whatever mood might be needed for the story,” Beem told CBR.com.
Due out: The ongoing launches in Fall 2017.
The Hard Place by writer Doug Wagner, artist Nic Rummel and editor Keven Gardner
What it’s about: A former legendary getaway driver has decided that after five years in prison he’s ready to go straight, but when a bank heist goes wrong and two violent bank robbers recognize the driver, they force him to help them escape using a Russian mobster’s daughter as a human shield. The driver finds himself pursued by a resentful police department and hunted by every asset of the Russian mob.
On the “heist” plot device: “This particular plot device has been used dozens of times. What I hope I’m bringing to the table is a new perspective from the main character. Although AJ used to be a criminal, that’s not who is he anymore. As a matter of fact, he desperately wants to stay away from that part of his life. Well, sometimes the universe kicks you in the balls when you least expect it. AJ’s just at the bank trying to get his life back on track when two psychopathic idiots recognize him and drag him back into his worst nightmare. I’m hoping that resonates with folks. We’ve all been in a place in our lives where we were trying to make change and the universe fought us every freaking step of the way,” Wagner told Paste.
Due out: Summer 2017.
The New World by Ales Kot and Tradd Moore
What it’s about: The New World is set in the United States of America: decades from now. A war-torn landscape slowly revitalizing itself. What happens when Romeo is a straight-edge hacker and Juliet a messy TV star cop with license to kill? What happens when they meet? What happens when their aims may be opposite but the chemistry too real to deny?
Due out: 2017.