Heroes Con: The Image Comics Show

Heroes Con: The Image Panel

A handful of creators and executives with Image Comics unveiled some new works, future plans and plenty of teasers for the fall lineup of Image Comics at Image’s “Image Comics Show” panel at this weekend’s Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC.

Image PR representative Joe Keatinge, publisher Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon), Jonathan Hickman (The Nightly News, Pax Romana) , Todd Dezago (Perhapanauts) and Robert Kirkman (Invincible) gathered to release new tidbits and slides for September and beyond.

Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights:

• Part and parcel of Rob Liefield’s return to Image Comics, the long late Liefield-Mark Millar collaboration, Bloodsport , will return. Issue 2 ships in September.

• September is the debut of Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti’s crime book, Back to Brooklyn - “It’s more a hard-boiled crime thing, and it’s all I can say for now,” Keatinge said.

• The Image “monster” books – The Astonishing Wolfman, Proof, Firebreather and The Perhapanauts – are showcased in Monster Pile Up, which will be released for a reduced cost at the San Diego Comic Con. The one-shot will feature all-new stories from each of the series’ creators.

Rocket Red 7, a Mike Allred series exploring rock and roll from a sci-fi perspective, will return in a new format and bonus material. The 7x7 comic is slated for September.

• Darwyn Cooke’s art will be featured in a backup in Mike Allred’s Madman Atomic Comics #14

• As announced earlier, Phil Hester is is working on Golly, what Keatinge describes as a southern gothic horror tale and offer more details later.

• Mark Silverstri, Frank Cho, Rob Liefield are among the artists contributing alternate limited-edition covers to Mark Millar and Tony Harris’ War Heroes.

• Whilce Portacio was announced to doing another as-yet-untitled book, Keatinge showed a sketch of a new character. “All I can say is stay tuned for the summer,” Keatinge said.

• Savage Dragon will be featuring a cross-section of Image characters in issue #140: Spawn, Invincible, Shadowhawk will be appearing alongside Witchblade (“Back in her nice costume, the one the dudes like,” Larsen joked.)

Opening the panel to questions, among the first was asking for how Liefield returned to Image after a public messy breakup.

“Yeah, it was kind of a crappy breakup,” Larsen said. “He’s back but he’s not back as a partner, so we’re able to control him a bit. So we’re just trying to talk him off the ledge in a way. But he’s a crazy guy and he’s got a lot of crazy ideas and wants to be part of a lot of stuff. And if the audience wants that, then we’re going to bring it to them.”

Many questions for Kirkman involved recent covers of The Walking Dead featuring new characters so that issue #50’s surprises won’t be spoiled before its July 2nd release. Another fan asked about his increasing workload.

“I think doing one book would be doing a vacation for me. Part of the reason I do so many books is I enjoy doing it,” he said. If not, he quipped to the crowd’s uproar, he’d have to spend time with his wife. “I like splitting my focus, it keeps me sharp.”

Another fan asked if Image was pursuing the Hollywood train, Larsen said pitches continue to be made but never quite become full-fledged projects. Dezago explained an animation project for Tellos went so far that he received some money from a studio before the project fell apart.

And while he said he enjoys the recent comics-to-film movies, particularly those adapted from graphic novel, he added that he’s wary of how the films affect the industry – or don’t affect it at all.

“All these superhero movies are out and people are like ‘Oh it’s good for comics.’ No, it’s not good for comics, it’s good for movies,” Dezago said. “You don’t see the numbers of comics go up from the movies.”

Lastly, a fan asked Kirkman for more information on the Kirkman- Todd McFarlane collaboration. “Todd has done the first cover, written first issue, a lot of work is done with the series,” Kirkman said. “I don’t want to rush it out and then have large gaps in issues. I want it to be a cool series people can support. I’m hoping we can launch it at the end of the year at the latest. It’s called Haunt.’”

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