Image Expo 2013: New Books from Rick Remender, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction & More!

Today in San Francisco, the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts played host to the second annual Image Expo. Image Comics  announced many, many wonderful things. It’s pretty safe to say that Image Comics won Image Expo, but they seriously knocked this one out of the park.

image_expo_482_295

Before we get to the books and a truly impressive lineup of creators, let’s talk digital comics. The publisher has announced an all new imagecomics.com, selling DRM-free digital comics in PDF, ePub, and CBR/CBZ formats direct to consumers. Image comics will still be available through ComiXology, iBooks and other outlets, but the publisher makes a strong case for their own platform.

Talking with Wired, Image’s Director of Business Development (and co-founder of iFanboy) Ron Richards said:

“There’s something to be said for the ownership factor. If readers purchase a book on ComiXology, that may be their library [on the service] but from what I understand that could be revoked. And God forbid, if ComiXology goes under or their data center has an earthquake all their hard drives go away — then you’ve got nothing.”

How about some numbers?

Image has the statistics to back it up — and even more surprising in an industry where publishers have been notoriously cagey about providing data about digital sales, actually shared them. Although the publisher only started selling digital comics in 2009, digital sales now make up more than 11 percent of the company’s overall revenue, and is currently projecting sales of 15 percent by the end of 2013. Image’s best-selling comic, The Walking Dead, sees 22 percent of its sales in digital. And when measured solely against print comics sold in the direct market at comic book stores, digital makes up 27 percent of revenue.

And just what kinds of things will be up for sale on the website in late 2013, early 2014?

First up, the Captain America team of Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and Bettie Breitweiser reunite in October for more cloak and dagger intrigue with spy thriller Velvet.

velvet1_2x3_72

VELVET #1
story ED BRUBAKER
art STEVE EPTING & BETTIE BREITWEISER
cover STEVE EPTING
OCTOBER 2
32 PAGES / FC / M
$3.50

ED BRUBAKER and STEVE EPTING redefined Captain America with the “Winter Soldier” saga… and everything they’ve done so far has been leading to VELVET!

When the world’s best secret agent is killed, Velvet Templeton, the Personal Assistant to the Director of the Agency, is drawn off her desk and back into the field for the first time in nearly 20 years… and is immediately caught in a web of mystery, murder and high-octane action.

Sexy and provocative, with a dark twist on the spy genre, this EXTRA-LENGTH first issue by two of the industry’s best-selling creators will knock you out!

Meanwhile, Jason Aaron and Jason Latour lob some pickles in the deep fryer for Southern Bastards. Expect an Alabama locale even crueler than the Prairie Rose reservation in Scalped. Aaron considers it The Dukes of Hazard by way of the Coen brothers. In it, a football coach buries people under the bleachers. Look for it in early 2014.

SB-PROMO-1-FINAL  SB-PROMO-2-final

Matt Fraction is teaming with artist Christian Ward in 2014 for Ody-C, a science fiction spin on Homer’s Odyssey featuring a female character in the Ulysses role.

Next up, Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera pay homage to Frank Frazetta with Black Science. Folks, I’m drooling. Remender calls it a spiritual successor to Fear Agent. Out in November.

Let’s have a look:

BlackScience_01_Cover_A-Dressed

Remender’s also drawing on his roots as a hardcore punk fan of the 80s for Deadly Class, a collaboration with artist Wes Craig. You can check out our preview of the book here. It’s a book about a high school for killers in training. That’s out in January.

In transmedia news, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky has scripted a graphic novel adaptation of his upcoming film Noah with artist Nico Henrichon (Pride of Baghdad). That surfaces in March alongside the movie.

And that sounds like plenty for now, yeah?

 


Comments

  1. A lot of these image announcements seem to be heavily pulling from the Marvel talent pool. Can remender write 5 books, fraction 6? Scalera, Deodato had been drawing a lot of avengers. Really pumped for most of these books but wondering if it will effect marvel.

    • Possibly, though probably one reason we’re seeing release dates for 2014 is to allow plenty of lead time to stockpile scripts and pages while they juggle their Marvel work. On the other hand, look at Brubaker who, I believe, only does creator owned work now . . .

    • Jerk answer: I don’t care if this effects Marvel. As much as I enjoy these creators Marvel work, their creator owned work is what really turns me on. The more the merrier.

    • I’m more concerned that their Marvel work will affect their creator owned work. Did anyone else notice it looks like Image is making 3.50 the new standard cover price? Although, with comics that look this great I’m not upset. My DC and Marvel pull will be crippled this Fall.

    • I won’t complain if $3.50 is the new standard price for an Image book. After all, most Image books have very little, if any adds in them, so $3.50 is still more actual content for less than a $3.99 Marvel book.

    • Image generally gives you much nicer paper and cover stock as well. 3.50 is the standard for most dark horse books which are around as nice.

    • I’m pretty sure $3.50 will just be the comic standard fairly soon.

    • $3.50 is the new $2.99. In Image’s case, thats still a great deal for the content they are releasing!

      This new stuff looks and sounds amazing…Go Image!

    • Agreed

    • Can’t say I’m happy about the price increase, but as long as the stories are at least 22 pages I’ll probably give all of these titles a shot.

      This is what I wanted to see Image Comics be when they first started 20 some years ago: a place where creator owned books reign (and not just from Image founders).

    • Tree-fiddy is better than $3.99 (ahem DC ahem)

  2. OK, Velvet has my money already, as I will give just about anything Brubaker writes a try. Add Epting to that, stir in some spy drama, and I’m sold.

    I’m curious to hear more about the Fraction book, the one sentence tease has my attention. That Black Science book looks beautiful. I’ve seen Fear Agent talked up a lot on this site, but don’t really have a good sense of what the book was.

    Are there more announcement to come? Maybe a date for Three or the next Phonogram . . ?

  3. Sounds like a bunch of great news. Southern Bastards sounds like a fun/crazy ride. definitely the one i’m most excited for

  4. At what point should we start calling Image “Marvel Icon Done Right”

  5. Image is taking all of my money.
    That Black Science cover put an enormous, ENORMOUS smile on my face.

  6. Wow! DRM-free!? Dude, that’s a BFD. Truly a game changer. Well done Ron Richards and Image Comics!

    • A huge part of piracy is simply the convenience. I don’t have to go through this digital middle man, log into my account, transfer money into Apple iBucks or whatever; I can just click this Mediafire button right here, download it, it’s on my harddrive in 10 seconds. I can read it, copy it, flip it upside down, whatever.

      Piracy is never going away. That’s the reality of the situation, and putting more locks on the door just encourages more people to find another way around. When you give people a more convenient way to get to your products, they’re more likely to pay for the products.To fight piracy, you have to be just as, if not more convenient than piracy, taking away one of it’s biggest strengths, and beating them at their own game. This is a big move, the first major U.S. publisher to do such a thing, and I welcome it.

      Also, HOLY SHIT LOOK AT ALL THESE INTERESTING COMIC BOOKS

    • This is gonna change digital comics overnight. Finally legitimate digital comics are as convenient as pirated ones. A great move that the others are gonna have to follow. It’s nice for companies to finally give people the full ownership of digital comics we’ve been crying out for.

    • Convenience is just an excuse to justify piracy. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh but it’s true. Is downloading something from mediafire more convenient? Of course, but it’s also wrong. There is no other word for it. You can equivocate any way you want but it’s still wrong.

      Piracy is also more conveniente than going to a theater to see a movie, going to your LCS to buy a comic, making sure your home when your favorite TV show airs, downloading an album through iTunes, going to a bookstore to buy a book, etc. So I’m guessing if convenience is really all you care about then you don’t pay for anything?

      Piracy is never going away? Only because people think it’s okay, and make up excuses to defend, doing the wrong thing. Sure there is the age old excuse of “only the giant company suffers”, and in some certain cases that is true, but by and large creators suffer too. That’s just the cold hard truth. Come on guys, do the right thing and just buy your comics. People work hard on these, they pour their creative energy into them so we can all enjoy them. The least you can do is take the 5 minutes to acquire them legally so these great creators get paid what they deserve for their hard work.

    • @USPUNX: Agreed. I’ve never wanted to read a comic bad enough to steal it. But in these guys’ defense, it’s not clear to me that they are copping to piracy; they may just be making a point about piracy by speaking vicariously in the manner of someone who pirates comics. Hope that’s not confusing–I couldn’t think of a word that describes that particular mode of rhetoric (making a point by speaking vicariously) though maybe some more knowledgeable individual can clue me.

      I checked out the new Image website. Looks really good. I hope this new mode of selling digital is wildly successful for them.

    • USPUNX – Just to clarify, perhaps I wasn’t clear in the previous post but nothing there was an advocation of piracy. It was simply pointing out that there are ownership benefits and convenience benefits to the cbr/cbz formats that the current legitimate digital comics formats did not provide. I prefer to pay to own something, not pay to rent it as is the current model. I especially don’t want to pay the same price to rent as someone else pays to own simply because I want it digitally rather than physically. This is about companies giving their customers what they want in the best format for them. Everyone wins here.

    • @davidtobin100: Oh okay, much clearer. I completely agree about DRM, so draconian. I agree with you that this new Image model will revolution digital comics overnight. This has been long coming and I’m thrilled Image is the company to debut this model.

    • @USPUNX Image have been very forward thinking in terms of digital from the beginning and I completely agree that’s its great to see them make this step first.

      The only other thing I can think of that I’d like to see introduced in digital comics is digital omnibi at a reasonable price, and especially of material that may not justify a print run. A digital ROM omnibus from Marvel, or a Grant/Breyfogle omni from DC for example would go down a treat.

  7. This is all amazing news! I was hoping to hear updates about stuff like Pretty Deadly as well but it’s hard to be disappointed after these announcements.

  8. Not only is the digital announcement very rad, but a lot of these books sound really great. Image has been crushing it!

  9. Black Science.
    Dear God who can I give my money to right now. Just take it!

  10. Stoked to see Jason Aaron doing a new creator-owned work!

  11. Looks like Kirkman’s Manifesto from a few years back is finally coming to fruition. EAT IT Bendis!!…. jk ily.

    I’m most excited for Aaron’s new book! As much as i love his corporate books, his creator owned work just surpasses it leaps and bounds

  12. I think Image has more then earned it’s spot at the adult’s table.

    BIG THREE!

  13. I’m floored.

  14. WOW, this is all fantastic news! I’m not going to have much money come October, but it looks like I’ll have plenty to read.

  15. Dammit Image, I can’t afford all these! Hopefully some of these suck so my decision is easy. 😉 Image is definitely doing it right. And $3.50 seems more a reasonable price jump from $2.99 than $3.99 does. The latter just seems, well, greedy.

  16. I have to admit I find this more interesting than the Vertigo announcement. I’ve been leaning towards Image content more in the last couple of years and this is just keeping me going in that direction.

  17. Every one of these books looks amazing. Well done.

  18. Image Comics is just continuously blowing me away. The creative renaissance going on there is just unreal. So many of my favorite books are coming from them on a monthly basis (Saga, Lazarus, Chew, The Manhattan Projects, Fatale) and they aren’t even getting started judging by this. Now all they need is to lure Scott Snyder in to do an ongoing (though he is a busy man these days so that seems unlikely).

    • Snyder currently has an exclusive contract with DC. Although, I’m pretty sure Severed was an Image book, from before the contract started. I would love to see Snyder at Image after his contract is up.

    • Severed was supposed to have a follow up story arc, but it seems that’s been put on indefinite hold until the day that Synder can pick it up again if at all.

    • I think that Snyder will simply use Vertigo for his non-DCU stories for the foreseeable future. And why not? American Vampire was probably what got him the Detective Comics job in the first place . . .

  19. Damn!

    Without question, I’m on board for Southern Bastards, Black Science, and Deadly Class. I’ll probably check out Velvet as well. Looks like some other books on my pull list are getting cut this winter.

    Better shape up DC. Winter is coming.

  20. tripleneck tripleneck (@tripleneck) says:

    I’m excited about 90% of the series announced here and that’s pretty amazing to me. All I can say is congratulations to all concerned, creators and company. This further cements Image’s rep as the go-to publisher for smart cutting edge comics.

    And Ron, since you seem to be monitoring these posts, a hearty back-pat and ‘job well done’ for your part in making this stuff happen. I can really see Image’s waves of strong genre works changing the face of comics.

  21. God, yes. Velevt and Southern Bastards look like they just might fit into the Scalped and Criminal shaped holes in my life.

  22. As a rare breed of fan who does not like the majority of Aaron, Fraction, or Remender’s work most of this really doesn’t interest me. But you’d be crazy not to acknowledge how big of an announcement these new series are and the DRM news is also pretty big,

    The titles that were announced I’m excited for include two that kinda went under the radar. The first big one was VELVET and anything with a returning Brubaker/Epting team up should get big news. That’s a must buy right there. But the two minor releases I don’t hear much about are:

    THREE by Kieron Gillen and Ryan Kelly
    ALONE by J. Michael Straczynski and Bill Sienkiewicz

    THREE looks to be a different take on the Spartans ala Frank Miller’s 300, while ALONE is a deconstruction of superheroes by JMS. Not sure if Pretty Deadly will be an immediate buy but a DeConnick/Rios comic is gonna be hard to pass up.

    • Actually, I haven’t been wowed by Aaron or Remender either, though I shall admit that I have not read any of the work for which they seem to be most loved. Fraction is mixed for me. I really liked his Iron Man (though I need to finish the last arc still), but never want to see his name connected to an Asgard comic again.

      As a big Gillen fan, Three has been on my radar since it was first announced (at last year’s Comic-Con?). I hadn’t heard anything about Alone, but JMS is a writer I normally enjoy. I skipped Ten Grand, but plan on getting Sidekick.

    • I don’t care for Aaron either, I don’t know why. To me his was my least favorite run on Ghost Rider. Fraction is cool; I really liked Immortal Iron Fist, Invincible Iron Man, and I thought his Thor take was interesting (only read the first volume of it).

      @Cosmo, I think you made the right choice skipping Ten Grand. I usually love JMS but I read the first issue and felt let down. Some weird cross between John Constantine and Harry Dresden. Interesting, but not good enough for me.

    • I read the first volume of Fraction’s Thor, but it never really jelled with me. I never felt that he had a strong handle on the characters. At least we got Kid Loki out of it, though the character only came alive once he was in Gillen’s hands. Fear Itself might be the worst Marvel event I’ve ever read. Iron Man was great though. Iron Fist is another one that’s been my “to read” list for years now . . .

      The descriptions of Ten Grand did not sound intriguing enough for me to give it a try, and it sounds like I made the right choice, especially with more JMS on the way.

    • I LOVED Fractions Thor, since its the run that finally made me a Thor fan, after years of disliking the character. Aarons Thor is also great, just like his Wolverine/Wolverine and the Xmen run.
      With Remender I love Uncanny X-Force, Fear Agent and his new Captain America.

      I have to say, judging those writers without having read what they are most loved for is a bit… Short sighted/stupid.

    • I was simply being honest about what I had read, Shallbecomeabot, that’s why I qualified in my original comment that I had not read what Aaron/Remender are best known for doing. Aaron’s Thor is something that I have been wanting to read since it launched, but, it simply has not fit into my budget yet (I have a very high bar for Marvel’s $3.99 books), I’ll probably tackle it in trades eventually. As for Remender, I’d like to give Fear Agent a try. I know how brilliant X-Force is supposed to be, but, I’m not really into the X-Men at the moment. Same goes for Aaron’s Wolverine work.

      As for Fraction’s Thor, I respectfully disagree. Personally, I prefer JMS’ run . . .

  23. Any special podcast on the image expo?

  24. Those books look great. Not sure if I’m sold on the art for Black Science but with Remender onboard as writer I’ll definitely give it a shot. And kudos to Image for offering DRM-free digital comics — one of the main reasons I hardly buy (or should I say “lease”) from Comixology anymore is because of their whole DRM model.

  25. Brubaker + Epting = instant buy for me.

  26. Black Science is absolutely for me! YES! When its a bit like Fear Agent I am in for a goooooooooooood time!
    And as much as I like the team of Brubaker and Epting, I am not sure if I can buy another espionage comic from Ed. I mean, come on. We all know he does that well, but how about doing something new and fresh?

  27. Brubaker, Epting and Bettie B on an espionage title? Sold.

    Remender, Scalera and White on a Frazetta-influenced spiritual successor to FA? Sold.

    Take my money Image Comics!

    My cyclic return to the independents continues.

    Marvel and DC? See you at the public library.

    Soon, Kitchen Sink titles from Dark Horse!

  28. I’m commenting as a bookmark on my profile. Definitely want to pick up the Brubaker aNd Remender books in fall.

  29. All in!!!
    Happily cutting DC to fit the budget.