Image Comics Expo 2015 Recap

The Image Expo is an intimate little con where Image Comics announces their new upcoming titles for the year. Most attendees are in the comic business, so there was a lot of numbers talk and no one in cosplay. The first hour of the expo felt more like a shareholders meeting with hot chicks than a con (pretend I know what a shareholders meeting is like). There were cheers from the crowd, though, when publisher Eric Stephenson announced that Image intended to keep the price per issue at $2.99, and sometimes $3.49, while the industry standard right now is $3.99. There was further applause when he said the trades would remain at $9.99.

Then Todd McFarlane (Spawn, Spiderman, a bunch of the action figures you own) revealed his new project, Savior, which is about Jesus returning as not a great dude. He said he was inspired by those 90’s song lyrics, “What if God was one of uuuuuuuus…” They gave out preview pages of some of the upcoming projects (which I will sell to you for lots of money or a date with a cute poly girl: becky@newsklues.com) and the art is incredible. He then announced Al Simons will be returning to Spawn. Issue 250 of Spawn is on the horizon along with a one-shot called Spawn Resurrection.

That was followed by seemingly never-ending announcements for new projects. The most memorable:

  • Image will be putting out a new comic book magazine, called Island, which was described as being like Heavy Metal, but not geared exclusively toward 14 year-old boys. As a 29 year-old lesbian who often feels like a 14 year-old boy, I am both excited and offended. It will include I.D., written and drawn by Emma Ríos, and the 8house miniseries Mirror will be written by Ríos and drawn by Hwei Lim. I’m super excited to check out I.D. because it is about a world where brain and body transplants are possible, and one of the three characters followed is transgender.

    I Hate Fairyland

  •  I Hate Fairyland, by Skottie Young, looks fucking doooooooooope. It’s about a girl who gets transported into a children’s book-esque fantasy world and gets stuck there for thirty years, trapped in the body of an 8 year-old, and, surprise, she hates it. As a child, I wasn’t big on the fantasy novels, partly because everyone in those stories seemed so insufferable. Young showed a panel wherein our protagonist shoots the moon to death because the moon wouldn’t stop narrating her every move, and then proceeds to murder the stars in the sky because they are witnesses. He originally wanted to title it Fuck Fairyland, but some suit somewhere at Image talked him out of it.

    Monstress

  • When people say, “I don’t like comic books,” I like having books that I can hand to people and make them feel stupid for thinking comic books are a lesser art form. Then I scream at them, “YOU CAN’T DISLIKE AN ENTIRE MEDIUM, SILLY!” That’s part of why I’m super excited to read Monstress, by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda. Monstress is about a little girl refugee in an alternative 1920's-era universe who has a psychic connection with giant scary monsters and hilarity – or hullabaloo – ensues. When Liu (a best selling novelist, MIT professor, and super hot chick) announced that Takeda would be the artist, someone in the crowd gasped loudly with excitement. It was adorable as shit.

  • I’ve never read any Phonogram, but other people have, and they are excited that Image announced that the 3rd volume will be released this year. The cover art is super cool. Like, I wanna buy the comic just to put the thing on my wall.

  • Also, JEFF LEMIRE IS GOING TO BE THE ARTIST FOR something called PLUTONIA, written by Emi Lenox (EmiTown, Sweet Tooth, Glory) and Scott Snyder (Batman, American Vampire, Wytches)!! JEFF LEMIRE JEFF LEMIRE JEFF LEMIRE!!!

  • Brian Wood (DMZ, Northlanders, The Massive, a BUNCH of other shit) announced, well…. he wasn’t there. But someone else announced that his new title, Starved, will take place in a near future where celebrity chefs are treated like royalty. So I guess it’s about the present actually.

  • We Stand on Guard will be a new title by BRIAN K. VAUGHAN BRIAN K. VAUGHAN BRIAN K. VAUGHAN BRIAN K. VAUGHAN BRIAN K. VAUGHAN BRIAN K. VAUGHAN BRIAN K. VAUGHAN, and artist Steve Skroce (story board artist for the Wachowski’s). It’s about a war between Canada and the United States from the perspective of the Canadian Freedom Fighters, and also there are giant robots, so fuck yeah.

  • Vaughan also announced a 2nd project with Cliff Chiang called Paper Girls. He said it is both the weirdest and most personal story he’s ever written. It doesn’t really matter what it’s about, you know you’re going to read everything Vaughan is involved with.

  • No Mercy, by Alex de Campi and Carla Speed McNeil, was announced and a few pages were shown in the preview book. The art is sharp and stunning, and right away it made me laugh. It seems to be a about a bunch of young adults who are shallow and self-obsessed (I could have left it at young adults), who end up having some kind of survival ordeal on a school trip in Latin America. When I was done reading the preview pages, I craved more. MORE.

  • Sex Criminals co-creator Chip Zdarsky and Infinite Kung Fu author Kagan McLeod announced Kaptara, which Zdarsky described as “Gay Saga.” (“Sagay”? eh? EH??) It’s a sci-fy story with bright beautiful art and some of the strangest characters, like a motivational orb. There’s lots of dudes with muscles, so if you’re a dude into dudes, why aren’t you planning on reading this??


My very favorite part of day was the art and storytelling panels because the creators talked some about the struggle of creating. As someone who struggles valiantly with a loud inner dialogue that I’m a failure, it was great to hear Emi Lennox say she failed art school, and Scott Snyder say that he often writes total crap and that some days you just have to force yourself to write crap. Brandon Graham (King City, Multiple Warheads) said failed projects are often just first drafts for later projects.

I was really struck by the number of female creators. Almost every title announced seems like it will pass the Bechdel Test, even the male created ones, which really says something about titles on a medium that sometimes has a reputation for being sexist and lacking depth.

The art for every title was just woah. I am not affiliated with Image in any way, so you know I have nothing to gain in saying this: Image is definitely the most exciting comic book company out there today.

Creator after creator got on stage praising Image for allowing creators to do whatever they want without any concern for what other things are on Image’s docket or how hard it will be to pin the title into a genre that is marketable. All Image titles are creator owned, so the creators own the rights to all their stories and characters. With that, it’s easy to see why comics creators have such warm feelings for the press. Creators and artists work with the teams they want to work with and Image allows them time to put several issues together before the first issue goes to print so that there isn’t the same kind of rush as there is at DC and Marvel.

How Image can do this, and Marvel and DC can’t, is not a question I can answer. I can say, however, that the result is that the art in almost every Image title of late, and all the titles featured to be released in 2015, make you go “Damn!” or “Doooooooope” or “Cooooooooool” or “SACAJAWEA!”

The point is, the Image Expo convinced me I’ll be reading of ton of Image comics this year, and so should you!