Image Expo 2014 has launched, and the announcements came fast and furious from the opening keynote address by publisher Eric Stephenson. If you’ve been reading comics for the last few years, even if you’ve only been a Marvel Comics or DC Comics reader, you’ll recognize nearly every name involved in the extensive keynote, with notable announcements coming from Scott Snyder, Ed Brubaker, Robert Kirkman, Brandon Graham, and many, many more.
The most surprising announcements came as Snyder announced a new series with artist Jock entitled Wytches. It marks a departure for Snyder from his usual home of DC and Vertigo, and he promises it’s going to “scare the living sh*t” out of readers. Snyder even joked that when readers open this book, they’ll be questioning why he’s allowed to write Superman. The witches implied in the title, Snyder said at the keynote, will steer away from the softer, glorified witches of modern films and TV, instead giving a darker take.
The other surprise is that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, frequent collaborators at Image, have signed a five-year deal with the company which sounds akin to development deals directors and writers sometimes sign with TV or Movie Studios. The pair can “basically do whatever [they] want, and [Image] have to publish it,” Brubaker told the audience. That deal will see Fatale end with #24, and lead to their next series, The Fade Out, a story based on Hollywood in the 1940s. Criminal and Incognito, originally printed at Marvel’s creator-owned imprint Icon, have now moved to Image for future reprints, too.
Outside of those major surprises, a slew of other series were announced. Robert Kirkman joked about the Invincible #111 teasers – the three number ones making “three number ones in one issue.” He didn’t say much about the new direction of the superhero series, aside from that he’ll now be switching gears in his approach. “This is The Walking Dead Robert Kirkman writing now,” as he takes the series into more horror – a common theme from the publisher’s announcements.
Kirkman’s Tech Jacket is also returning, at the hands of Joe Keatinge and Khary Randolph. The three-issue Tech Jacket Digital is available today on the Image Comics Digital store. Meanwhile, his new horror series with Paul Azaceta, Outcast, was given a June release date, with the first issue being 40 pages for $2.99
More announcements, in rapid-fire:
Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca team for Shutter starting in April, and “adventure fiction” series with a female star.
Brandon Graham is creating a shared magical fantasy universe in a project called 8House that will feature eight magical houses that control everything in the world. He’ll act as a writer and showrunner of sorts with other artists and writers involved.
Joshua Williamson’s Nailbiter, drawn by Mike Henderson, comes in May, and features a small town in Oregon where sixteen of the worst serial killers were born, with an investigation why.
Ted McKeever’s The Superannuated Man hits in June from the Shadowline imprint.
Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini are working on Low, a series set in the distant future that the writer says has been worked on for over three years. That one is coming in July, and is planned as about a sixty issue series.
Matt Fraction and Christian Ward have a reinterpretation of Homer’s The Odyssey titled Ody-C. However, it takes place in space, and gender swaps every character in the story. Casanova vol 4: Acedia will be the return of the series to Image, as well.
Kelly Sue DeConnick has a series based on the girl gangs and women in prison movies of the 1960s and 1970s coming called Bitch Planet. It’s not due to debut until Fall 2014.
Nick Spencer and Morgan Jeske are working on a story called Great Beyond, a story where what happens to your immortal soul is determined by how much money you have when you’re alive. Spencer and Butch Guice are doing Paradigms, a story with a tagline of “Belief is a Weapon.” The fantasy story features several clans, each hinging on their own god. The ever-busy writer also has Cerulean with Frazer Irving, a sci-fi story where humans upload their brains digitally to “survive” the long journey away from the dying planet.
James Robinson’s next Image series is with Greg Hinkle, and is a semi-autobiographical story about trying to revive the golden age Airboy.
Fred Van Lente, Tom Fowler, and Jordie Bellaire are doing an educational kids comic called Howtoons on behalf of Nick Dragotta.
Kyle Higgins is doing a series with Alec Siegel and artist Rod Reis called C.O.W.L. which stands for the “Chicago Organized Workers League,” a superhero union that successfully defeats all evil in the city. That one is coming in May 2014.
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are wasting no time getting to work on a new project after the Young Avengers finale this week, announcing The Wicked and The Divine, a story about the near-centennial reincarnation of the gods in human bodies. The characters start in 2014, and can only exist for two years before dying and returning to their divine nature. McKelvie will draw the first and third arc, with “other artists” coming inbetween.
Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham, who are familiar with each other for their time with Batman, are working on Nameless, which the artist calls “the ultimate horror comic.”
Finally, Bill Willingham and Barry Kitson announced a Fall 2014 debuting series called Restoration. The book sees a world like ours where magic, gods, and the like are suddenly restored on “one very bad day.” The gods decide to unite as one massive pantheon to take over the world and be worshipped once more.
Stay tuned for more details on Image Expo announcements.