Image Expo Keynote: GRANT MORRISON is 'HAPPY' @ Image

SDCC 2010: DC Focus: Grant Morrison LIVE

Grant Morrison is coming to Image Comics in 2012.

The Action Comics and Batman Incorporated writer is bringing a new project titled Happy to Image, as revealed during publisher Eric Stephenson's keynote address Friday evening at Image Expo in Oakland. Happy will be illustrated by Transmetropolitan and The Boys artist Darick Robertson, but no other details were revealed beyond a teaser image.

Happy was just one of several new Image series announced by Stephenson, who also confirmed a third Phonogram volume, titled "The Immaterial Girl." New work from the book's creative team of Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson had been teased earlier this week.

Current Conan the Barbarian writer Brian Wood, who made his pro comics debut in 1997 with Image's Channel Zero, is working with artist Ming Doyle on a new Image book called Mara.

Nick Spencer, whose work on Image books like Existence 2.0 led to several gigs at Marvel and DC, is teaming with Proof artist Riley Rossmo for a new series titled Bedlam, which Stephenson said is targeted for this fall.

30 Days of Night writer Steve Niles has two new series coming to Image, Crime and Terror with artist Scott Morse, and Chin Music, illustrated by Tony Harris, which Stephenson described as "full-on Steve."

Planetoid by Ken Garing, which started life as a Graphicly digital exclusive, is coming to Image Comics in the near future.

Stephenson also discussed Howard Chaykin's Black Kiss 2, which was first announced at last year's Comic-Con in San Diego. "It's pretty dark and goes into some uncomfortable places," Stephenson said, adding that one of the qualities he admires most about Chaykin is his willingness to "challenge his audience."

During the first part of his speech, Stephenson discussed his thoughts on how personal relationships are what has led to Image's success over the past 20 years, pointing out how the original founders "weren't put together by a Rolodex" and that connections have brought books like Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Fatale to Image.

Stephenson closed the panel by bringing five Image founders — Jim Valentino, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio — on stage with him, along with The Walking Dead and Invincible's Robert Kirkman, an Image partner since 2008.

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