You know, the way I usually put together these Image solicit columns is vaguely in an order of importance. The first couple of things I talk about are often books that I find interesting, but don’t necessarily keep up with myself. My favorite books often go at the top of the list. The number one spot goes to the book that I think is the most exciting. I don’t try to order these lists to create little narrative journeys but somehow, that’s kind of what happened. It’s been a crazy few months y’all and I’m starting to see patterns everywhere. Including in the most exciting new books from Image, which is what we are here to talk about!
As always, check out the full solicits on the Image comics website.
10. Lots of things are returning
Man, that was a weird interruption. “Nailbiter” came back just in time for shipping schedules to get all screwy. But the comeback shows that the series hasn’t missed a step. I mean, extremely dark serial killer comedies aren’t for everyone… but I can see that Hannibal is doing extremely well on Netflix, so clearly they are for some people. (And yes, I consider Hannibal to be a romantic comedy. Do with that what you will). Is “Nailbiter” as sensual and gorgeous as Hannibal? Well no, of course not, but it has a sharp mystery hook and a lot of creative depravity. That’s what I look for in stories like this.
NAILBITER RETURNS #5
WRITER: Joshua Williamson
ARTIST / COVER A: Adam Guzowski, Mike Henderson
SEPTEMBER 30 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99
THE NAILBITER IS BACK! But how? How did Edward Charles Warren survive? And what does he have to do with the copycat Buckaroo Butchers? Finch and Alice won’t like the answers, as they realize the new nightmare is just beginning…
9. Digital letdown
The digital art revolution that I have been calling for since 2007 has taken a little longer to get here than I anticipated, but books like “The Marked” remind me that there is a lot of ground yet to cover. I’ve talked in the column before, at length, about why I think “The Marked” does cool things with its artwork. (Elaborate tattoos are notoriously hard to draw by hand!) But catching up on it recently is a cool reminder that it’s also extremely my jam. John Constantine was a very formative influence on me, so this kind of urban fantasy is where I live. I still think this series is a hidden gem that a lot more people could be getting into!
THE MARKED #7
WRITER: Brian Haberlin, David Hine
ARTIST: Brian Haberlin, Geirrod van Dyke
COVER A / COVER B: Geirrod van Dyke, Brian Haberlin
SEPTEMBER 09 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99
“LOVECRAFT IN THE UNDERWORLD,” Part Two For Pope and Klara to save Lovecraft, they must sacrifice their own ambitions. Will The Marked superstars give up fame for the sake of one miserable, half-mad writer?
8. Premature annihilation
I um… I actually haven’t started “Ludocrats” yet. Which is wild, because I own every other thing Kieron Gillen have ever written, from his hard to look at Nazi comic, to his comic book indictment of “300” to the September 2000 issue of PC Gamer magazine where he reviewed Deus Ex. But I haven’t yet started “Ludocrats.” And now it’s ending? You know what this means… time to buy a trade! Gillen and company have been working on this absurd tale of absurdism for over a decade and while that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good, it does make it necessarily interesting. What kind of five issue story take almost 15 years to tell? This here comic is the answer.
THE LUDOCRATS #5 (OF 5)
WRITER: Jim Rossignol, Kieron Gillen
ARTIST: Jeff Stokely, Tamra Bonvillain
COVER A: Jeff Stokely
SEPTEMBER 30 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99
CONCLUSION! LUDOCRATS ends as it began, with the release of a 32-page comic pamphlet. We leave you with fond memories and longing. Forevermore, LUDOCRATS will be the comic whose name you accidentally moan when having sex with other lesser comics.
7. Searching for Pepe SilviaContinued below
Speaking of the September 2000 review of Deus Ex… conspiracies! The original pitch for that classic game was, “What if every conspiracy theory was real, and actually part of the same conspiracy?” This sounds like a similar starting point, but with James Tynion IV steering the ship. Tynion’s work has been getting progressively darker and more personal, which is not what happens to most people who become the writer of “Batman.” This is his first series with Image, so I’m hoping this is going to be the one that holds nothing back.
THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH #1
ARTIST / COVER A: Martin Simmonds
COVER B: Jenny Frison
SEPTEMBER 30 / 32 pages / FC/ — / $3.99
Cole Turner has studied conspiracy theories all his life, but he isn’t prepared for what happens when he discovers that all of them are true, from the JFK assassination to flat Earth theory and reptilian shapeshifters. One organization has been covering them up for generations. What is the deep, dark secret behind the Department of Truth?Bestselling writer JAMES TYNION IV (Batman, Something is Killing the Children) debuts his first Image ONGOING SERIES alongside breakout artist MARTIN SIMMONDS (Dying is Easy)!
Do you feel like “Sex Criminals” has been ending for approximately 25 years? Not that I’m complaining. It is after all, one of my favorite comics of all time. So if the series wants to delay the big finish, I trust it. We also get one final XXX variant cover from none other than Jamie McKelvie, an artist who this series has mercilessly mocked. If that’s not a way to bring this masterpiece home, I don’t know what is?
SEX CRIMINALS #69
WRITER: Matt Fraction
ARTIST / COVER A: Chip Zdarsky
SEPTEMBER 23 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99
FINAL ISSUE! SERIES FINALE in which we skip ahead 39 issues and check in with how it all ends up a few years down the line. SPOILERS: pretty okay?
5. May you live in interesting times… forever!
And speaking of Chip Zdarsky (I swear, I didn’t set this up on purpose), here’s one from that guy. What’s been most impressive about Zdarsky is how much range he’s been able to show off. Just look at “Sex Criminals” or his early Marvel work like “Howard the Duck” and then compare those to his run on “Daredevil” or “White Trees.” So I don’t know what to expect from this mysterious collaboration with Ramon Perez. But I expect it to be really good.
STILLWATER BY ZDARSKY & PÉREZ #1
WRITER: Chip Zdarsky
ARTIST: Mike Spicer
SEPTEMBER 16 / 40 pages / FC/ M / $3.99
Nobody dies. In the town of Stillwater, that’s not just a promise. It’s a threat. Join superstar writer CHIP ZDARSKY (THE WHITE TREES, Daredevil) and Eisner Award-winning artist RAMÓN K PÉREZ (Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, Jane) as they dive into a world of horror and intrigue in this new ongoing Skybound series.
4. Bring down the trolls
Here’s another book that I don’t know much about, but I am very excited about. I had never heard of “Norroway” but I looked it up and… it’s beautiful! Cat Seaton’s original fairy tale looks like exactly the kind of comic I read when I truly want to escape to another world. It’s lush and immersive and imaginative. This is the second volume, so let’s all go educate ourselves about the first to prepare for this release.
NORROWAY, BOOK TWO: THE QUEEN ON THE HIGH MOUNTAIN OGN
WRITER: Cat Seaton
ARTIST / COVER A: Kit Seaton
SEPTEMBER 16 / 232 pages / FC/ T / $14.99
Happiness is an illusion when unfinished business awaits.Seven years have passed since the disastrous events of Book 1, and now it’s time for Sibylla to face her curse-breaking destiny. When Troll Kingdom soldiers arrive in the once-safe town of Fiskeby, she’s forced to flee up the Glass Mountain. But the moment she steps foot on Troll lands, she’s thrown into a jail cell, where she discovers her amnesiac ex-fiancé is set to wed the Troll Queen’s daughter. Using all of her wits, she must convince the princess to turn against her own mother, or else face execution on the day of the wedding—and doom the kingdom to remain cursed forever.TRIM SIZE: 6″ X 9″
3. The cat came back
Wow, a third generation of Kubert artists? That seems like an occasion all by itself. And what is young Emma up to? A misadventure about a sorceress and a stubborn apocalyptic cat? I know there is a very specific target audience for this comic out there, and you all deserve to know that this is a thing.
WRITERS: EMMA KUBERT & RUSTY GLADD
ARTISTS / COVER: EMMA KUBERT & RUSTY GLADD
SEPTEMBER 02 / 24 pages / FC/ T / $3.99
Third-generation comic artist EMMA KUBERT partners with up-and-coming creator RUSTY GLADD to deliver a high-fantasy epic! This new ONGOING SERIES follows a powerful sorceress attempting to correct her greatest mistake—the creation of a magical cat that can travel through time, space, and reality. The cat threatens to unravel the fabric of the universe, doesn’t care, and just won’t listen!
2. Swab the historical record
I like to wait to read the first issue of something before I go on recommending it. I read the first issue of “A Man Among Ye” and I friggin’ loved it. There’s no high concept or supernatural twist. This is the story of three of the coolest pirates in all of history, with a style that feels comfortable. Stephanie Phillips story choices are not only good plotting, they’re good history! Phillips is taking a trio of figures who have lives that have been swallowed by legend. She is making deliberate choices as to which parts of the story “really happened” in her telling of it. By the time this series is over, I think this might be the definitive telling of the legend of Anne Bonny, Jack Rakham, and Mary Reade.
A MAN AMONG YE #4
WRITER: Stephanie Phillips
ARTIST / COVER A: Craig Cermak
SEPTEMBER 16 / 32 pages / FC/ T+ / $3.99
Pirate queens Anne Bonny and Mary Read, along with their all-female crew of buccaneers, are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea as both their former pirate partners and the might of the British Empire close in on them. As the Battle of Nassau rages with cutlasses and cannons, where do the loyalties of Calico Jack Rackham lie? Will Jack be Anne and Mary’s savior or their doom. Writer Stephanie Phillips (Butcher of Paris, Heavy Metal) and artist Craig Cermak (Voltron) continue their pirate adventure!
1. Fang you
Can I get real for a minute? It’s been a really hard month to be a comics fan. The main thing we all like- comics- have been delayed by this awful virus. And for the last few weeks, the news cycle has been a constant churn of learning how the creators of many awesome comics are actually horrid creeps. Before I looked at the September solicits, I decided that I wanted to highlight an exciting comic by cool, outspoken women. And with Image, there’s an honest risk that there won’t be one to highlight. They publish far fewer comics with women creators than men. And when you compare all-male creative teams to all-female? It’s not a very flattering ratio.
But this month, my number one pick would have been the same, no matter what. It’s the coolest looking title, by the most exciting creative team: “Dracula, Motherfucker!” Written by the singular Alex de Campi and drawn by the irreplaceable Erica Henderson… that title! That art! That premise. I don’t know what we did to deserve this book, truly nothing, but I’m not one to look a gift vamp in the fangs. Dracula, motherfucker!
DRACULA, MOTHERF**KER! HC
WRITER: Alex de Campi
ARTIST / COVER A: Erica Henderson
OCTOBER 07 / 72 pages / FC/ T+ / $16.99
Vienna, 1889: Dracula’s brides nail him to the bottom of his coffin. Los Angeles, 1974: an aging starlet decides to raise the stakes. Crime scene photographer Quincy Harker is the only man who knows it happened, but will anyone believe him before he gets his own chalk outline? And are Dracula’s three brides there to help him…or use him as bait? A pulpy, pulse-pounding graphic novel of California psych-horror from acclaimed creators ALEX DE CAMPI and ERICA HENDERSON.