Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Image joins the #1 parade

You don't have spend all your hard-earned comic book dollars on the new Marvel Now books if you're looking for a new #1 to try out.

Image, who for the past year have been putting out new books in small waves that have become increasingly stronger in quality, has launched a tsunami of new titles starting this season that shows no signs of slowing down.

Back in January, they brought us a number of new series including the reboot of one of the year's best books, PROPHET, which John Parker at Comics Alliance calls "the premiere science fiction experience in comics." More recently, we were introduced to Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson's trippy mini-series HAPPY!

Starting this month, Image whips up a major storm that will continue to crash down on us into January and possibly beyond.

NOWHERE MEN hits shelves this week and is one to watch. It's a new ongoing written by Image publisher Eric Stephenson. The book follows a popular science supergroup named World Corp with some form of drama/tension at the heart of the story. I'm often on the lookout for something off the wall that is reminiscent of Vertigo's early days with books like Doom Patrol and The Invisibles but also offers the polish of modern comic storytelling such as Planetary. Hickman's current ongoing The Manhattan Projects is a good example of that and is another science genre comic which happens to be published by Image. The few pages of preview art for Nowhere Men floating around the Web look great. Nate Bellegarde, Jordie Bellaire and Steve Finch all lend their talent on illustration.

Written by Jay  Faerber and art by Koray Kuranel. A murder mystery intertwined with a love triangle. The cast includes a beautiful corpse, a homicide detective (her friend), a journalist (her husband), a former soldier (her lover). Plus there appears to be some form of a conspiracy. The cover had me doing a double-take. It looked like the opening panel of the story. Whether deliberate or inadvertent, it was clever, and I wish they'd kept it up with the second issue. I'm not familiar with the work of either Fearber (Dynamo, Noble Causes) or Kuranel. In the back pages, Faerber writes Robert B. Parker was a big influence for him. The story moves quickly, and Kuranel's black and white artwork is well-suited. I'm enjoying this title more than I was expecting.
(4-issue limited series)

Written by Ed Brisson and illustrated by Michael Walsh, the first book introduces us to an illegal time travel agency that turns a profit selling its services to families who want to save loved ones. By the end of the issue, we learn someone is out to get them and tension is bubbling just below the surface, preparing to explode. Both script and art are influenced by Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips books like Sleeper and Incognito, which is a really good place to be seek inspiration. Jordie Bellaire on colours has a hand in this title as well.
(5-issue limited series)

Written and illustrated by Brandon Graham, the mind behind the new incarnation of Prophet, the sci-fi fantasy Multiple Warheads is the essence of its creator. Here's the summary: " Sexica and her Werewolf boyfriend Nikoli travel across a sci-fi, fantasy Russia smoking singing cigarettes. Meanwhile the organ hunter Nura is sent out with a severed head and instructions to find its body." Brandon Graham comics evoke in me the same feeling I get when I read European comic artists. The imagination, narrative and script techniques, not to mention the personality in his style, create such a unique, immersive experience that I lose myself in the book.

The first issue of this 4-issue mini-series is 48 pages long (and dense) and only $4. Good value for your comic book money. Plus, people have lots of good things to say about this book. If you're a fan of King City and quite likely Prophet, then you're already buying this. For the rest of you, if your taste in comics bends toward indie creators or you're just looking for something that is different and good quality, you can't go wrong here. Issue #2 comes out this week, and issue #1 went back for a second printing and will be available again next week in case you missed out the first time.

A few books more you might want to look up:
CLONE - Juan Jose Ryp on art. I really like his look. He has the same qualities I like about Geof Darrow, Darick Robertson or Steve Dillon. He's illustrated a number of books, including Black Summer with Warren Ellis for Avatar, and also Wolverine: The Best There Is with Charlie Huston.
WHERE IS JAKE ELLIS - the follow-up to the 5 issue series Who Is Jake Ellis. Nathan Edmondson writes and Tonci Zonjic on art. (another 5-issue mini-series this go around)

And coming next month is BLACKACRE, which is getting some of the most wonderful endorsements in a long time from comic creators whose work I adore. The first issue of Brian Wood's new powers mini-series, MARA hits shelves. It features art by Ming Doyle who has this really cool (now completed) Web strip titled The Loneliest Astrounauts  (do yourself a favour and read this one from the start), and, for a third time, Jordie Bellaire. Also CHANGE by Ales Kot and Morgan Jeske. And then in January, we get TODD, THE UGLIEST KID ON EARTH that I'm hoping turns out to be a nutty series to make me laugh with ultraviolence and zany comedy. And Mara, Change and Todd are all mini-series which makes it easier to commit both money and time.


And Image is also giving everyone a second chance to jump onto some of their best titles with IMAGE FIRSTS. Reprint copies of the first issue of seven of their top titles will be on sale in early December for only a dollar each. It is easily one of the best comic promotion concepts going.

Check out  Revival, The Manhattan Projects and one of my new favourites, Fatale, plus a few others for only a buck each. They are all solid titles. Heck for that price, get two copies and spread the word that Image is publishing some of the most creative books on the stands today.

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