Smash Pages Q&A: Rich Tommaso on ‘Spy Seal: The Corten-Steel Phoenix’

The creator of ‘She Wolf’ and ‘Dark Corridor’ discusses the first collection of his all-ages series ‘Spy Seal.’

From The Cavalier Mr. Thompson to Clover Honey, from 8 1/2 Ghosts to Dark Corridor, Viking’s End to She Wolf, to the Eisner Award-winning Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, Rich Tommaso doesn’t just jump from one genre to another, but plays with tone and approach, style and color, and the result is an expansive body of work.

Spy Seal is a different book for him, but in truth, almost every comic he’s done has been a departure in some way. It’s an all-ages story about a spy who is, well, a seal. Set in the 1960s in a world populated by anthropomorphic animals, it owes a lot to Tintin and any number of cartoons. It’s a very different book than I admit to being used to from Tommaso but I was charmed by its inventiveness and world building – not to mention the fact that Tommaso is clearly having a lot of fun. Image just announced that Tommaso will be returning to his crime fiction roots early next year with Dry County, before returning with another Spy Seal series in the fall. With the collection, Spy Seal: The Corten-Steel Phoenix out next month and Tommaso was kind enough to answer a few questions about how he works.

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Tommaso’s ‘Dry County’ launches in March

New crime series set in the 1990s features a young Gen-Xer looking for his missing girlfriend.

Rich Tommaso, creator of Spy Seal and She Wolf, heads to Miami for a new crime series set in the 1990s.

With the next Spy Seal story, “Flight of the Golden Bells,” now slated for the fall, Tommaso turns to Dry County, which stars “young Gen-Xer Lou Rossi” in a story of love and crime.

“Lou Rossi wants to grow up—he’s finally of legal age to drink, so all he needs now is a steady day job and a serious relationship,” said Tommaso. “He seems to find the latter in Janet Laughton, while out doing his laundry one night. But the drama that comes with his involvement with her turns his new, ordered lifestyle upside down, having to deal with kidnappers, teenage gangsters, threatening letters and Janet’s dangerous ex-boyfriends.”

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Sienkiewicz covers ‘The Walking Dead’ for the comics’ 15th anniversary

First two variant covers feature Rick Grimes and Michonne.

Bill Sienkiewicz, artist on Big Numbers, New Mutants, Elektra:Assassin and many other awesome comics, will provide a series of variant covers for The Walking Dead in honor of the book’s 15th anniversary.

Image and Skybound Entertainment revealed two of the covers, featuring Rick Grimes and Michonne, which will serve as variants for issues #175 and #176. Issue #175 kicks off the “New World Order” storyline.

Check out the covers below:

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Paul Maybury contributing Chapel back-ups to ‘Bloodstrike’ relaunch

‘I don’t have friends.’

We don’t have a lot of information yet on Michel Fiffe’s revival of Bloodstrike, but a few details have started to emerge. In addition to new Bloodstrike material, the comic will also feature the return of Chapel, another character created by Rob Liefeld who debuted in the early days of Image Comics.

Paul Maybury announced he’s creating back-up stories starring the skull-faced character, handling writing, art, colors and lettering. He also shared a teaser image:

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Superstar armies fight for fame in ‘VS’ [Preview]

Esad Ribić, Ivan Brandon, Nic Klein and Tom Muller team up for a new series from Image Comics.

Image Comics has released a preview for VS, by artist Esad Ribić, writer Ivan Brandon, colorist Nic Klein and designer Tom Muller.

Announced in 2016, here’s how Image describes the series:

War has become a spectator sport.

Privately funded armies of superstar soldiers march into battle for fame, profit and the glory of their sponsor nations. When a new generation of soldiers arrive, top gladiator Satta Flynn is about to discover how fleeting the limelight can be—and how punishing.

“Making VS is a dream,” said Ribić. “After all these years, it feels great to be able to create my own world and tech from scratch.”

Check out the preview below

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Love, Image Comics Style: Alex de Campi helms ‘Twisted Romance’ anthology

Katie Skelly, Alejandra Gutiérrez, Carla Speed McNeil, Trungles and more contribute to a new miniseries featuring stories about love.

Image Comics has announced Twisted Romance, a four-issue, weekly miniseries featuring “love gone right, wrong and everything in between” that will run in the most romantic month of the year, February.

“This project is a dream for me,” said writer Alex de Campi. “I’m getting to collaborate with some of comics’ coolest creators and some amazing prose fiction voices. Everything everyone is doing looks so amazing. I’m just giddy that Image basically handed us the reins and said, ‘do whatever you want. This looks cool.’ So, yeah: come February, we’re going to break your heart, fill you with joy, and give you awkward pants feels. Sometimes in same story. Occasionally, even on the same page.”

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Image Expo returns in February

Image’s mini-convention returns in the company’s new hometown, Portland, Oregon.

After skipping 2017, Image Expo, Image Comics’ mini-convention featuring creators and title announcements, will return next year. The event is scheduled for Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Leftbank Annex in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are now available for purchase.

The all-day event is open to fans, retailers and press, and will feature “the hottest names in comics and offers a unique experience for fans to have unprecedented access to the writers and artists behind their favorite comic books at exclusive autograph sessions and comic-focused programming.” Based on previous years, expect some surprises to walk out on stage during the keynote.

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‘Kick-Ass’ returns with new hero, new publisher

Writer Mark Millar teases something new involving Hit-Girl as well.

To help celebrate the 10th anniversary of Kick-Ass, Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s Kick-Ass will return next year with a new character under the mask — Patience Lee, a black, female military veteran with kids. While previous volumes were published by Marvel’s Icon line, this one will find a home at Image Comics, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“When we sold Millarworld to Netflix, two properties weren’t part of the deal. Kingsman and Kick-Ass both had unique arrangements with Matthew Vaughn and it made sense for these to continue, so in the year or so where we were preparing the sale I came up with this great idea for a whole new take on Kick-Ass,” Millar told EW. “The entire story was all completely written in that year and it’s a monthly book, launching in February for the title’s 10th anniversary. It’s crazy to think that in the 10 years since it was created, Kick-Ass has spawned two Hollywood movies, video games, toys, key rings, PEZ dispensers and even an upcoming board game. So the idea of it lying dormant was just insane and to be honest it’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing anything. I really love that world.”

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Derington covers ‘Redneck’ to benefit Houston charity

‘Doom Patrol’ artist Nick Derington creates a variant cover for ‘Redneck’ #7 to help raise money for the Houston Coalition for the Homeless.

Two Texas comics creators have come together to help out the Houston Coalition for the Homeless, which continues to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Skybound and Donny Cates, writer of Redneck, have enlisted Doom Patrol artist Nick Derington to create a variant cover for issue #7 of the Texas vampire comic. Check it out below:

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