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Thursday afternoon at Emerald City Comic Con, Image Comics unveiled 15 new series scheduled to launch in the latter half of the year, covering genres from fantasy romance to food noir (with crime thrillers, satanic politics and bear-punching along the way).
The two-hour panel, helmed by Image’s David Brothers, featured appearances of a number of creators working on the new titles, and took the place of the now-traditional stand-alone Image Expo events; the company’s recent move from the Bay Area to Portland, Oregon was identified as the reason for a lack of 2017 Expo, although a 2018 event was confirmed during the panel, dated for Feb. 1.
Unlike previous Expo announcements, there wasn’t a dominant theme to the new titles unveiled, with Brothers pointing to the diversity of material as proof that comics as a medium have been so fully accepted by mainstream audiences that the market will support many different kinds of material. Perhaps notable is the fact that only one title that could be considered a superhero series was announced, with even that — Matt Wagner’s Mage: The Hero Denied — being the continuation of a fan-favorite series that launched in the 1980s.
The new series announced were:
New Lieutenants of Metal by Joe Casey and Ulises Farinas, which Casey explained was inspired by the original Image Comics titles from 1992. “They were gloriously incomprehensible, and that’s not a pejorative,” Casey said. As the name suggested, he went on, the new series is “not something you have to think too much about,” jokingly adding, “I didn’t, obviously.”
Death of Love by Justin Jordan and Donal DeLay, a series that follows a “Nice Guy” so unsuccessful in romance — because, as Jordan said, “he’s an asshole” — that he declares war on Cupid.
The Family Trade by Justin Jordan, Nikki Ryan and Morgan Beem, which originates the genre “oceanpunk” with a tale about who really runs a 19th century-tech-filled floating city filled with criminals and assassins.
Flavor by Joe Keatinge and Wook Jin Clark, which Keatinge jokingly described as Hunger Games without the hunger; a series about a world where food is the biggest celebrity sport, but the most popular chefs have all started disappearing in mysterious circumstances. (“Spoilers, they’re dead,” Keatinge helpfully explained.)
Sleepless, a fantasy romance by Sarah Vaughn and Leila De Luca, which De Luca said “deals with sleep deprivation, but also about how [the daughter of the dead king of a fantasy realm] Poppy has a lot of assassination attempts on her life.” Everything’s not all bad for Poppy, though; she’s also falling in love with a knight of the realm … who magically stays awake to keep everyone safe.
Redlands by Jordie Bellaire and Vanesa Del Rey, which Bellaire described as “everything I’m pissed off about in one book” — a list that includes misogyny, politics and murder. The framework of the book? “Imagine [the movie] Hocus Pocus if Sarah Jessica Parker won,” she teased.
Shirtless Bear-Fighter! by Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner and Neil Vendell, which is exactly what the title (complete with exclamation point) suggests. “Our main character is shirtless, because his first name is Shirtless,” explained Girner. “He actually only wears pants, because we can’t have a naked man on the cover.”
Family Tree by Jeff Lemire and Phil Hester, an ongoing horror series launching this fall that sees a family go on a road trip across America to discover the secret behind a teen girl’s mysterious transformations, with the group pursued by a cult, some assassins and a tabloid journalist.
The Hard Place by Doug Wagner and Nick Rummel, about Detroit’s most famous wheelman, forced back into a life of crime unexpectedly when two inept thieves suddenly find themselves in need of a getaway driver.
Generation Gone by Ales Kot and Andre Lima Araujo, which Kot described as “Unbreakable meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind if it included trips to the sun, weird black goo and break-up fights inside a nuclear reactor, because I’m nothing if not subtle.” He added, “It’s about what it means to be young right now.”
The New World by Ales Kot and Tradd Moore, which is set in New California some decades after the second American Civil War, and features a love story where “Romeo is a hacker and Juliet is a reality TV show with a license to kill.”
Mage: The Hero Denied by Matt Wagner, which is the final part of the trilogy launched with 1984’s Mage: The Hero Discovered. Like previous installments, this series — which Wagner said was “telling the story of my life through a fantasy allegory” — will run 15 issues, launching with a zero issue connecting it to what has come before, released in July.
Savage Town by Declan Shalvey and Philip Barrett, a crime story set in the Irish city of Limerick. “It’s very loosely, and I emphasize loosely, based on real events because those guys are going to get out of prison soon,” joked Shalvey.
Sacred Creatures by Klaus Janson and Pablo Raimondi, which is a supernatural thriller about an ancient race of beings who have been manipulating society throughout history. The creators will share art duties on the title, with Raimondi illustrating contemporary sequences while Janson draws historical elements.
Moonstruck, by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle, is a magical romance about a werewolf who wants to be normal that Ellis said was “very fun, it’s very cute, it’s very gay.”
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