Even though this column has been in 2017 in spirit for three months now, it just feels so good to think that we’ll finally be leaving 2016 behind us. Not that we know for sure that 2017 is going to be any better than the celestial garbage fire that this year has been, but the prospect of a clean start is one of the few small comforts that I am allowed to indulge in these days.
Existential crisis aside, I’m back to look at what Image Comics has packed into its solicits for the coming months. This time around, we’ll be looking at what we’ve got in store for March 2017. So without any further ado, let’s get to the comics!
10. The Obligatory Mention
I don’t really want to talk about “Rat Queens”. As much as I, once upon a time, may have loved this series, the people behind it have fucked over too many people behind the scenes for me to be excited. Still, it’s back. It’s got a new #1. Roc Upchurch is nowhere near it, thankfully. That’s all I got.
RAT QUEENS #1
STORY: KURTIS J WIEBE
ART / COVER: OWEN GIENI
MARCH 01 / 32 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $3.99
“CAT KINGS AND OTHER GARYS,” Part One.
The Rat Queens are back! Betty, Violet, Dee, Braga, and Hannah return! Palisade is still a rat-infested troll’s ass, and everyone still hates Gary. It’s been a while since the Queens have done a good slaughter, so join them as they get back to the basics of killing monsters and drinking away the profits!
A fresh, soft reboot to the head for the Rat Queens with artist OWEN GIENI!
9. When Comics Pokes Fun At The People Who Read Them
We all have stories about shitty people. Those of us who regularly attend comic cons generally have a laundry list of stories about shitty people that usually paint them as the most unflattering sterotypes of nerds possible. “Tales From The Con” are those kinds of stories from the other side of the table. Taking the perspectives of the creators, it’s a strip that satirises the kind of dumb shit they have to put up with every convetion. Being collected in full for only $10 is a great way of investing in some comedy that pokes fun at the thing you love because it loves it too. Like if someone collected The Outhousers as a paperback.
THE COMPLETE TALES FROM THE CON TP
STORY: BRAD GUIGAR
ART: CHRIS GIARRUSSO, SCOTT MCMAHON
COVER: CHRIS GIARRUSSO
APRIL 01 / 112 PAGES / FULL COLOR / T / $9.99
TALES FROM THE CON is an uproarious take on the world of comic books and conventions. Fanboys, fangirls, cosplayers, retailers, volunteers, and pros collide on the convention floor (and beyond) to prove that comic conventions are one part festival, two parts group therapy. Wrapping up a mega-successful run of over four years online, where it has entertained hundreds of thousands of fans, THE COMPLETE TALES FROM THE CON collects every single strip ever published online, along with some unpublished strips as well! Collects the complete FOUR-plus-year run of TALES FROM THE CON strips along with bonus material.
8. The Hardcover Of The Year
From “Young Avengers” to “The Wicked + The Divine”, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are a creative team to be reckoned with and now, finally, the collaboration that put the two on the map is being collected in full as a single hardcover. Not only that, but the first “Phonogram” series will be presented in colour making this essential reading because it seems from the cover that it will in fact be Matt Wilson colouring which is just fantastic. Expect this to be on a lot of wishlists this time next year.
THE COMPLETE PHONOGRAM HC
STORY: KIERON GILLEN
ART / COVER: JAMIE MCKELVIE
MAY 12 / 504 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $49.99
Collected in a single volume for the first time, the critically beloved work from the creators of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE. Includes RUE BRITANNIA, THE SINGLES CLUB, and THE IMMATERIAL GIRL, with RUE BRITANNIA newly colored. The world where Music Is Magic has never looked better. Collects PHONOGRAM #1-6, PHONOGRAM 2: THE SINGLES CLUB #1-7, PHONOGRAM 3: THE IMMATERIAL GIRL #1-6, and previously single-exclusive B-sides.
7. A Serial Farewell
“Nailbiter” has been fantastic since the first issue. It was the series that made me aware of Joshua Williamson as a writer and Mike Henderson has been creating amazingly dark and gruesome images throughout the series. It has, simply, been one of my favourite horror comics in recent years and I cannot wait for the mystery of Buckaroo, Oregon to finally be revealed. Plus, shout out to Image Comics where tiny, niche horror comics like “Nailbiter” can last for 30 issues in order for the story to be told in full.
STORY: JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
ART / COVER: MIKE HENDERSON
MARCH 01 / 48 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $3.99
EXTRA-SIZED SERIES FINALE. Sixteen of the world’s serial killers were born and raised in the same small town… And now the horrible truth of why is finally revealed.
6. LOOK AT THAT COVER, THOUGH
“Head Lopper” is amazing. You all know it’s amazing. I don’t have to tell you about the medium-defining stories Andrew MacLean is telling because you’re all already reading “Head Lopper”, right? Right? Well, anyway, I wanted to point that not only is “Head Lopper” returning in March, but it’s also going to feature colours by Jordie Bellaire and this sick ass cover by Tony Sandoval which is one of the few times I will probably actively seek out a variant cover instead of the main one. That cover is so cool I want to frame it in a dark mahogany frame that has skulls and roses and swords carved in it.
HEAD LOPPER #5
STORY / ART / COVER A: ANDREW MACLEAN
COVER B: TONY SANDOVAL
MARCH 15 / 56 PAGES / FULL COLOR / T+ / $5.99
NEW STORY ARC “IN THE SHADOW OF THE TOWER” Norgal and Agatha are back! A daring new adventure awaits, looming like the Crimson Tower, home of Ulrich the Twice Damned, sworn enemy of Zhaania Kota Ka. With old friends and new, our heroes boldly enter the bloodied pinnacle with bare steel and steady hearts. The quarterly series HEAD LOPPER has returned!
5. I’m Totally Not Just Filling A Spot Here
Know what’s kinda weird? I’ve noticed that Image publishes a lot of comics about Christianity. From Rob Liefeld adapting Bible stories to series like “The Tithe” and “Saints,” this has become a recurring thing every couple of months. I wonder what it is about Image that seems to be the place to go if you have a dark fantasy inspired take on the Bible to tell as a comic. Still, “Magdalena” seems cool. At least cool enough to check out the first issue when it drops in March.
STORY: RYAN CADY, TINI HOWARD
ART / COVER: CHRISTIAN DIBARI
MARCH 22 / 32 PAGES / FULL COLOR / T+ / $3.99
The Magdalena has always defended the world from demonic evil, empowered by the blood of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene in her veins. But when a brush with death leaves her gravely wounded, Patience decides to seek out the next in the bloodline and train her replacement. The replacement, meanwhile, is having enough trouble with finding her purpose even without the whole holy- warrior gig.
4. The Four Colour Mirror
From the description of the solicit (which I generally base most of my opinions of these previews on more than press releases or interviews because I feel like it defeats the point of the column), this seems like Ray Fawkes’ take on something on an anthology. A series of stories linked by themes that look to create “twisted portraits of our dark world.” Almost like the comics equivalent of Black Mirror. I would be very, very interested in this if that’s case and probably just as interested if not because it’s still Ray Fawkes.
STORY / ART / COVER A: RAY FAWKES
COVER B: JEFF LEMIRE
MARCH 22 / 32 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $3.99
“SYMPHONY,” Part One
Critically acclaimed creator RAY FAWKES launches his new monthly horror series: UNDERWINTER, twisted portraits of our dark world, beginning with the perverse, topical SYMPHONY—a beautifully painted tale of music and cruelty in the modern age.
3. My Neighbour Rockatansky
Did you know that Daniel Warren Johnson is one of the greatest living artistic talents? Well, you should because a) you should have read “Space Mullet” and b) you should know him by how regularly I feature him on Art Of The Week. If you didn’t know already, you should check out his stellar work (including his fan comics for Star Wars and Star Trek) and then get excited for this. Any comic that describes itself as a blend of Studio Ghibli and Mad Max is something that get me very interested and very excited.
STORY / ART / COVER: DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON
MARCH 01 / 32 PAGES / FULL COLOR / T+ / $3.99
Thea dreams. Not of a better life, but of revenge on the clan that ruined her family. With ferocious battles between man, machines, and monsters ahead…who knows where her quest for vengeance will take her? Creator DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Space Mullet) and colorist MIKE SPICER present a bold new vision, where the beauty and imagination of Studio Ghibli meet the intensity of Mad Max, in this all-new Skybound Original.
2. A Shutter From Afar
If you know Image Comics, you should know Leila Del Duca. She’s the artistic might behind “Shutter”, one of my favourite comics right now, and a fantastic creator. Here, she’s on the writing side of things with artist Kit Seaton for a graphic novel that sounds inventive and adventurous. The solicitation brings to mind some of the time-hopping weirdness of Jeff Lemire’s “Trillium” and anything that pulls from the cloth of that series is sure to be interesting. I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one.
STORY: LEILA DEL DUCA
ART / COVER: KIT SEATON
MARCH 29 / 168 PAGES / FULL COLOR / T / $14.99
In a fantastical post-industrial desert, fifteen-year-old Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astral project to other planets while she sleeps. When she accidentally gets a young man hurt on a planet light-years away, she must figure out a way to project back to save him. On her own world, Boetema’s two parents have temporarily left her and her thirteen-year-old brother, Inotu, to make a living as salt shepherds. Left to their own devices, the two siblings must flee across a dangerous desert when Inotu gets into trouble with a threatening cyborg bodyguard. As Boetema visits amazing planets and encounters vibrant cultures, she must confront her mistakes and learn to trust in Inotu as she navigates her newfound abilities.
1. Lemire Goes Full Lemire
I love Jeff Lemire. I think he’s one of the most unique creative talents in comics. As an artist, his style is visibly unique and incredibly personal to him as well being technically proficient and full of emotional storytelling. As a writer, I feel like he generally fairs better writing for himself and in a creator owned environment which is why a new ongoing written and illustrated by Lemire that, as per the solicit text, harkens back to “Essex County” is something very exciting to me.
I can’t wait for this.
ROYAL CITY #1
STORY / ART / COVER: JEFF LEMIRE
MARCH 22 / 56 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99
NEW ONGOING SERIES written and illustrated by JEFF LEMIRE (DESCENDER, A.D., Sweet Tooth). ROYAL CITY charts the lives, loves, and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town across three decades. Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up, is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing mother, and his brow-beaten father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy, who drowned decades ago. ROYAL CITY is a return to the literary and thematic territory of LEMIRE’s breakthrough graphic novel Essex County and is his most ambitious, and most personal, project to date.
As always, you can find the full list of solicitations over at Image Comics’ website.