Jim: So of course on the month that we decided to give each company their own spotlight Image is a little light on new series being launched. What I have found to be so interesting from Image (and Lee brought it up last month) is the amount of just graphic novels starting to come out under their banner.
The floppy versus graphic novel debate has been ongoing for a couple of years now, but it seems to be that more and more work is going directly to a graphic novel approach. From an outsiders perspective (meaning I’m not privy to the finances and economics of publishing) I think that straight to a graphic novel make more and more sense.
First I assume that people only have so much money to gamble and getting your entire story out there in one shot as opposed to trying to do a mini-series and hope to generate enough sales for the trade may make sense. Second you are focusing your marketing effort on one sale and not a commitment. Third I assume that you are not forced to just use diamond to distribute your product. Finally from a fans perspective betting $9.95 to $19.95 is on something new is not as daunting as it used to be since regular comics are all moving to $4 a book. The monthlies are burdened with ads and a spotty publishing records, so you are not even sure if a monthly is a monthly.
Off the main point of this post, but still a trend is forming and Image is in the forefront of this movement.
Lee: Yep. That sounds like a whole ‘nother discussion. In terms of Image releases. As usual there is plenty of interesting things. I feel I need to type another three paragraphs to keep up with Jim but, honestly, it’s just to much work today.
COMIC BOOK TATTOO OGN
By Pia Guerra, John Reppion, Leah Moore, David Mack, Mike Dringenberg, Colleen Doran, Jonathan Hickman, James Owen, Eric Canete, Ted Mckeever, Jock, Antony Johnston, Dame Darcy and more than 70 more, edited by Rantz A. Hoseley, cover by Jason Levesque. Over 80 of the best creators from every style and genre, have contributed over 50 stories to this anthology featuring stories inspired by the songs of multi-platinum recording artist, Tori Amos. Featuring an introduction by Neil Gaiman, with stories by creators such as Carla Speed Mcneil, Mark Buckingham, C.B. Cebulski, Nikki Cook, Hope Larson, John Ney Reiber, Ryan Kelly and many others, Comic Book Tattoo encapsulates the breadth, depth and beauty of modern comics in this coffee table format book. 480 pages, $29.99 (Limited signed and numbered hardcover, $149.99), in stores on July 16.
Jim: And this offering is sort of indicative of above, but not exactly as it has the hook of a major outside comic book name attached to it and the price point is higher. Still this is not the type of product that the market would have seen even on e year ago and certainly not from Image. Looking at the talent line-up it certainly has a lot of appeal to comic book fans and indy fans even more.
Lee: I am surprised the price point is so low actually. $30 for 480 pages is pretty good. As long as they are in color which I can’t tell. As for the offering itself. Tori Amos? Oh fer crying out loud gag me. I don’t listen to whiney chick music so I’m really not going to buy this. Even though the artist list looks really really cool. Now, if we were talking songs inspired by the lyrics of Ozzy that’s completely different.
POPGUN, VOL. 2 OGN
By James Kochalka, Ryan Ottley, Dean Haspiel, Jim Rugg, Frank Espinosa, Erik Larsen, Paul Maybury, Jamie S. Rich, Corey Lewis, John Reppion, Leah Moore, Danny Hellman and more, edited by Mark Andrew Smith and Joe Keatinge, cover by Paul Pope.
The original graphic mixtape returns in a new volume, once again mashing up the next generation of cartoonists with the some of the medium's finest in stories covering nearly every genre and style imaginable!
460 pages, $29.99, in stores on July 16.
Lee: For as much as Comic Book Tattoo turned me off, this interested me. Maybe because it was broader in concept and wasn’t limited to a single person/creator. Still 460 pages for $30 which is a good deal. And I find it interesting the word choice mixing music and comics (graphic mix tape?). Is this just a new word for anthology?
Jim: Absolutely, just a new word for anthology. Always a hard sell especially for $30.
FRANK FRAZETTA'S CREATURES #1
Written by Rick Remender, art by Peter Bergting, covers by Bergting, Frazetta and Nat Jones. Pulp fantasist Remender spins the untold adventures of Teddy Roosevelt, Rough Rider, President of the United States and paranormal investigator as he uncovers a plot concocted by a band of nefarious aliens in cahoots with a malevolent ancient Mayan demon to eradicate humanity and claim Earth for their own purposes. A merging of The X-Files, Ghostbuster, and Indiana Jones, Creatures promises high-adventure starting one of America's greatest heroes of the early twentieth century brought to four-color life by Sweden's Bergting.32 pages, $3.99, in stores on July 30.
Artist at http://www.bergting.com/
Jim: I can sign up for this one easily. The Frazetta stuff has been fun, add in Rick Remender as writer and the current trend of using historical figures in fictional stories and you have three elements that have usually entertained me. That is enough to get me to plunk down my $4 and try it out.
Lee: The Frazetta line of comics seems to be doing well because they keep coming out. This addition looks like it will keep up the fine tradition.
Written by Howard M. Shum, art by Matteo Scalera and Oscar Celestini, cover by Scalara, Mike Wieringo and Shum. Four intergalactic highly skilled female bounty hunters pursue an elusive prey. They end up going through a wormhole and crashing on a weird alien planet. They now have bigger concerns such as giant killer robots and crazy aliens. 32 pages, $2.99, in stores on July 2. Artist at http://matteoscalera.blogspot.com/
Jim: This book I’m a little iffy on ordering. The cover is appealing and the premise sounds like a lot of fun, but I do not know the writer. So I’ll try it out, but I’m going in with low expectations.
Lee: Eh. This looks like standard superhero fare to me. Maybe even a return to the glorious Bad Grrl days of the 90’s. It just doesn’t sound new or interesting enough in an already congested market.
I KILL GIANTS #1
Written by Joe Kelly, art and cover by Jm Ken Niimura. Barbara Thorson is your new hero: A quick-witted, sharp-tongued fifth-grader who isn't afraid of anything. Why would she be..? After all, she's the only girl in school who carries a Norse war hammer in her purse and kills giants for a living... At least, that's what she'll tell you about, but where does the fantasy end and reality begin in the heart of this troubled girl? And what if she's telling the truth? Brought to life with unexpected tenderness, I Kill Giants is the bittersweet story of a young girl struggling to conquer monsters both real and imagined as her carefully constructed world crumbles at the feet of giants bigger than any one child can handle. 24 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on July 9.
Art at http://www.niimuraweb.com/
Jim: I know Joe Kelly’s name, but I cannot think of a single book that he has written that I have ever really cared about that much. On the flip side I don’t remember disliking anything he has written. What has sold me is the premise. If the book is half as heartfelt and amusing sounding as the premise it should be a terrific book.
Lee: I feel the same way about Joe Kelly. He always seems to be right on the edge of greatness. I remember him from his X-men run but I’m drawing a blank on more recent writings. The art looks solid but the story sounds really really good.
AMERICAN FLAGG! VOL. 1 HC
Written by Howard Chaykin, art by Chaykin, James Sherman, Pat Broderick and Rick Burchett, cover by Chaykin. Aavailable for the first time as a deluxe hardcover collecting the series' first groundbreaking story arc! Plus: Additional cover paintings and promotional pieces by Chaykin, a Michael Chabon introduction, an afterword by Jim Lee, and as a special bonus -- a brand-new American Flagg! Story written and illustrated by Chaykin exclusively for this edition! Collects American Flagg! #1-14 440 pages, $49.99
Jim: I’m buying this, but I have some reservations. First I believe that this material will be dated as it was very mush a product of its time. Still it was a seminal series for Howard Chaykin and it features the person who is the lead male character in every other book Howard has drawn since, so what the heck.
Lee: I have been waiting for this for years. Maybe this time it will finally get published. Great material for those that missed it the first time around.
THE UNEARTHED CEMETERY BLUES, VOL. 1 TP
Written by Ryan Rubio, art and cover by Thomas Boatwright. Collects the sold-out ShadowLine series "The Haunting of Hernesburg", as well as the never-before-seen series "The Curse of Wallace Manor"! Plus, it includes two unpublished tales of Ridley and Falstaff: "The Inconvenience Store" and "Let's All Die in the Lobby!" This volume truly is a must have for all fans of humor and horror. 184 pages, black and white, $16.99, in stores on July 9.
Jim: A wonderful series and this trade is a buy for me, because of all the extras they are throwing into this book. Thomas Boatwright has a very appealing art style and he and Ryan Rubio have crafted a very amusing horror book.
Lee: Jim raved about this series so much that this is an easy pickup for me too. Horror + humor usually equals easy sale in my book.
NOCTURNALS: CARNIVAL OF BEASTS
Written by Daniel Brereton, art by Brereton, Viktor Kalachev and Ruben Martinez, cover by Brereton.
Celebrate the return of Nocturnals with three rings of savagery in Nocturnals: Carnival of Beasts. In the fully painted "Beasts", Doc Horror unleashes an inner demon while settling an old score with a viper's nest of disturbed scientists. "The Scrimshaw Crown" follows amphibian girl, Starfish, tracking a haunted sea monster. In "Candy Butchers," Halloween Girl, the Gunwitch and Polychrome encounter toothsome carnies.
64 pages, $6.99, in stores on July 23.
Lee: I love Brereton’s art and I love Nocturnals. I just picked up the fancy hardcover and this is a perfect companion. Well written stories with beautiful art. You should try it now if you haven’t before.
Jim: I knew Lee would choose this book. If ever there was an artist that was made for Lee, it is Brereton.
SPAWN: NEO NOIR TP
Written by David Hine, art by Brian Haberlin, Bing Cansino and Geirrod Van Dyke, cover by Brian Haberlin and Van Dyke.
This all-new collection features the most critically acclaimed issues of Spawn in years. If you haven't been picking up Spawn you should and this is a fantastic place to start. Includes the stunningly painted Gunslinger story arc! Collects Spawn #170-175.
144 pages, $14.95, in stores on July 30.
Lee: Don’t get me wrong I dropped Spawn long long ago. BUT David Hine wrote Strange Embrace which was really good. And the art looks really good so I might just give this a try. It can’t hurt… too much.
Jim: It says Spawn on it, so I will pass.
Written by Bruce Brown, art by Nate Bellegarde and Andy Kuhn, cover by Ryan Ottley and Kelsey Shannon, edited by Robert Kirkman.
It's the brawl to end them all! Brit! Invincible! Donald! Wolf-Man! Tech Jacket! Locked in battle with The Emperor! The fate of Other Earth rests in the balance ó but if the world falls -- could our universe be next?
32 pages, $2.99, in stores on July 9.
Lee: Jim still gets this but it reads like a poor man’s Doom Patrol to me. Good if you like that but not as good as the original.
Jim: It is a funky little book, but for some reason it has me hooked for now.
Written by Joe Casey, art and cover by Tom Scioli.
Lee: Now that is an awesome Orion rip off. Casey is doing great stuff with this series.
Jim: I have heard good and bad stuff about this book, but Joe Casey has never been a big draw for me.
Jim: Well that wraps us Image’s first solo month. I like giving more spotlight and maybe a shorter post on this material. I’m sure there are a lot of people who stop reading when the preview reviews goes on and on.
Lee: Well, Jim was right it was a short list this month… until I got a hold of it. There are lots of good offerings this month and really something for everyone.