December is a special month to many. It’s the holiday season. It’s also my birthday. It’s a time to celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with a slew of Image comics? We’ve got returning favorites, promising new series, and one comic that has me more excited for a new title than I can ever remember being. How does that grab you? Stick with me until the end; you won’t be disappointed!
As always get the full solicits on the Image Comics website.
10. Yippee-Ki-Yay Mr. Falcon
There’s something about heavy metal demon fightin’ that really hits me where I live. Add a solid dose of irreverence and I’m there. Then Daniel Warren Johnson joins the mix, and it’s a can’t miss series. This series takes Johnson’s singular, incredible art style and then moves it from serious space opera to Tenacious D. It’s got a murderous falcon in it, and his name is Murder Falcon. Sometimes, simple is better.
MURDER FALCON #3
WRITER: DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON
ARTIST / COVER: DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON, MIKE SPICER
DECEMBER 12 / 32 PAGES / FC / T / $3.99
Jake. Murder Falcon. Johann. Who’s next to join the band? If they’re going to defeat the Veldar, they’re going to need someone to lay down a heavy beat.
9. Ramble On
I’m a sucker for Southern Gothic and Americana themed fantasy. The latter hardly ever happens. Sure, you get stories about Harry Dresden wizarding it up in Chicago, but fantasy settings are never rooted in America. They’re based on Europe, or Asia, or the Middle East. Sometimes you get a wild setting like in The Phantom Tollbooth. And I suppose there is Robin Hobb’s Soldier Son trilogy which brings fantasy to pioneers on great fantastical plains. But “Middlewest” looks like the unique sweet spot of fantasy. All the whimsy of Oz, but with the menace of Coraline. The more I hear about this book, the less of a handle I have on what it will read like… and that makes me excited!
WRITER: SKOTTIE YOUNG
ARTIST: JORGE CORONA
COVER: MIKE HUDDLESTON
DECEMBER 19 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
Stowaways! As Abel and Fox tumble out of Farmington they must quickly land on their feet. The protections of home are gone and they find themselves in a hungry, wild new world.
8. With an asterisk
Of all the picks on this list, this is the one I’m most hesitant to recommend, but I think it’s worth taking a look at. The premise is remarkably similar to a recurring dream (nightmare?) that I had as a kid- everyone in the world is frozen, and I can unfreeze them. That’s also a great ethical dilemma for a weird sci-fi story. The premise alone is a draw for me.
I also like the art of Phil Sevy, who did some cool “Tomb Raider” stuff that I really dug. He seems like a promising voice for comics, and the more I see his work, the more I like it. Dan Wickline is what has me really nervous. In the wrong hands, this premise could come off as really gross. In the right hands, it could be mind-blowing. Picture what Mark Millar would do with this story and then think of it as an episode The Good Place. Same premise, totally different story feel.
This is the first original story Wickline is doing for Image. Most of his previous comics work has been for Zenescope, which I am familiar with from my time working in a comic shop. They mostly publish pervy cheesecake about fairy tale characters. Does that mean that Wickline’s ethos match up to Zenescope? Were those the kind of comics he really wanted to be writing? I don’t know, and I am somewhat interested to see what he does with his big break at Image. Let “The Freeze” #1 be an exercise in what Image can do as a publisher. Where other publishers are hiring novelists, journalists, and TV writers, Image is taking a risk by greenlighting a story by a comic industry journeyman. The comic looks cool. I hope it is.Continued below
THE FREEZE #1
WRITER: DAN WICKLINE
ARTIST / COVER: PHIL SEVY
DECEMBER 05 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99
The entire human population is frozen by a mysterious global event… all except Ray, and only he has the power to unfreeze them. Now with the fate of the world in his hands, he must figure out what is going on, how to set things right again, and answer the question: does everyone deserve to be saved?
7. I didn’t ask for the Darkness
Top Cow talent hunt! You know I love it. In line with what I said above, Image is one publisher that makes comics because comics are great. Sometimes that means grabbing all-star creators who have done work for other companies. Sometimes that means giving a chance to someone who has been working in the industry for a while, but hasn’t had a break-out hit. And sometimes that means giving a shot to someone who has never worked in the industry. This years Talent Hunt winners have put out some really fun comics, surprisingly polished for total newbies. I love supporting this open audition for comic lovers, and if that sounds cool to you, it’s worth giving this issue a chance. Even if you’ve never cared for “The Darkness” (or never heard of it), you might find yourself surprised. You never know what kind of subversive take a new voice might bring to the table.
ARES IX: DARKNESS (ONE-SHOT)
WRITER: BRENDEN HODGON
ARTIST: BALAZS VALYOGOS
COVER: SARA KNAEPEN
DECEMBER 12 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99
AN ALL-NEW ONE-SHOT FROM TOP COW TALENT HUNT WINNERS! Witness the untold chapter of a Demi-God’s story. After the Ascension of the IXs, Ares finds himself drawn to a mysterious catacomb. What he finds there will redefine his past, his future, and the entire IXth Generation!
6. Like my driving?
It’s official: “Crowded” is great. It could have coasted on its bomb-ass premise. It could have bragged about its buzz in Hollywood. But it is a good comic for good comic reasons. Interesting art, good characterization, and an impressive sci-fi world should put “Crowded” on everybody’s pull lists.
WRITER: CHRISTOPHER SEBELA
ARTIST / COVER: RO STEIN, TED BRANDT, TRIONA FARRELL
VARIANT COVER: PAULINA GANUCHEAU
DECEMBER 05 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99
Things go from bad to oh-crap as the Reapr-shaped net of bad hitmen and desperate civilians begins to close around Charlie and Vita. As their library hideout comes under assault and the campaign rolls past two million dollars, the Million Dollar Girl and the 1.4-Star Bodyguard have to make some hard choices. And quickly, because Trotter’s master plan is finally unfolding, all with a little help from Circe.
5. Ze Lepair
You know what else is great? “Curse Words!” Charles Soule is one of the most interesting creators in comics, writing this, his deeply personal take on Daredevil and his dark take on Darth Vader all at once. Partnered with Ryan Browne, his silly goofy side gets to come out to play, and it turns out he treats his jokes with as much intelligence as he treats politics, fallen heroes, and the minutia of the American legal system. It’s easy to get excited about the next big thing, but “Curse Words” has continued to be one of the best Image series in years. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. If you’ve fallen off of it, this is your reminder to catch up!
CURSE WORDS #19
WRITER: CHARLES SOULE
ARTIST / COVER / VARIANT COVER: RYAN BROWNE
DECEMBER 19 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
“THEM BLUE WIZARD BLUES,” Part Four Jacques Zacques strikes! During his time in our world, Wizord has made some pretty powerful people pretty angry. It’s time for them to get their due, via a surprise attack. A truly action-packed installment of the ongoing gonzo fantasy, offered with another “magical” variant cover!
4. It would be necessary to create one
The buzz surrounding “Self/Made” is crazy. I’ve seen pages of it, and I’ve got the solicit for you right here, but I’m still hard pressed to describe what its about. But what I’ve seen has left me wanting to read all of it, and that’s a sentiment shared by everyone who’s seen it. What’s interesting is that Kyle Higgins, himself a great comic writer, has stepped up to be an editor for the first time. The excitement surrounding this issue is insane, and you can’t help hope it’s going to live up to the hype.Continued below
WRITER: MAT GROOM
ARTIST / COVER: EDUARDO FERIGATO, MARCELO COSTA
DECEMBER 05 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
Introducing a new creative team everyone will be talking about—superstar talent writer MAT GROOM and artist EDUARDO FERIGATO. When chaos besieges the kingdom of Arcadia, warrior Amala Citlali sees it as her chance to escape her clearly-defined role—and to change her destiny. But she could never have predicted that it would also be her chance to confront her God. In his debut editorial role, comics veteran KYLE HIGGINS guides this intimate, worlds-spanning story of self-discovery.
3. Ride eternal
I reviewed the first issue of this new series, and I loved it! I called it “peak Warren Ellis.” It’s a lot more fun than his previous collaboration with Jason Howard (“Trees” was good, but dreary) and has a youthful excitement that’s been missing from his books for too long. While everyone else is gravitating towards more dire apocalypse scenarios, Ellis is stretching his “Nextwave” muscles, and writing his best comic in years.
CEMETERY BEACH #4 (OF 7)
WRITER: WARREN ELLIS
ARTIST / COVER / VARIANT COVER: JASON HOWARD
DECEMBER 12 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
Force recon expert Mike Blackburn has promised to get dissident Grace Moody out of a secret, private space colony and back to Earth to reveal what happened here a century ago. The oldest people in the colony are about to show they can still kill.
I also got a chance to read “Man-Eaters” #1 as part of my interview with Chelsea Cain, and it was great. I loved her use of charts and graphics, and the way the book mixes real photo-referenced images with its more cartoony aesthetic. The first issue of this book does not disappoint, except in the fact that it ends. I know I’m not going to miss a single issue of this series, and you shouldn’t either.
WRITER: CHELSEA CAIN
ARTIST: KATE NIEMCZYK
COVER: LIA MITERNIQUE
DECEMBER 26 / 24 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99
“CAT FIGHT!” This exclusive special report will be a must-buy for MAN-EATERS fans and collectors, while also acting as a stand-alone entry point for those who are new to the series. “CAT FIGHT” is the illustrated cat defense manual you, and your customers, have been waiting for.
1. Rolling critical
Could it ever be anything else? Regular readers of this column know “The Wicked + the Divine” is a perpetual favorite, so I was always going to get excited by a new Kieron Gillen series. Little did I know, wonderful talented superstar Stephanie Hans would be the artist for the entire series, and that it would be about roleplaying games. “Goth Jumanji” they called it. Holy shit. I love music and I love Jamie McKelvie, but combing Gillen and Hans and RPGs is beyond perfect to me. With a dollop of heavy metal aesthetic and a pinch of 90s nostalgia, this is shaping up to be my perfect comic. There too much talent involved here for this book to be anything less than stellar. Do not miss it. You botch your insight check on this, and you may never live it down.
WRITER: KIERON GILLEN
ARTIST / COVER: STEPHANIE HANS
VARIANT COVER: JAMIE MCKELVIE
DECEMBER 05 / 40 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE writer KIERON GILLEN teams up with artist supernova STEPHANIE HANS (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1831, Journey Into Mystery) for her first ongoing comic! DIE is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. If Kieron’s in a rush, he describes it as “Goth Jumanji.” That only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in oversized debut issue—where fantasy gets all too real.