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Everything Paste Knows About the 15 New Comics Announced at Image Expo

January 13, 2014  |  9:00am
Everything Paste Knows About the 15 New Comics Announced at Image Expo

Fifteen new comics. Fifteen talented creative teams. Fifteen new reasons to open a new line of credit for Image’s 2014 barrage of awesome. Image Comics set their phasers to take over mode this week. If I were other comic companies, I’d be in a defensive crouch after the heap of announcements unloaded last Thursday in San Francisco at its Expo, an Apple-style presentation setting the editorial slate for 2014. The creator-owned imprint is sticking with what works, from Robert Kirkman’s new horror series to Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ noir free reign. But the Berkeley publisher’s also pushing into more cerebral areas with explorations of the afterlife, superheroic politics, and celebrity god-heroes.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the brand new gems — not counting revivals of groundbreakers like Matt Fraction’s Casanova — coming your way this year.

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Bitch Planet
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Valentine DeLandro
Release Date: 2014
In Bitch Planet, a quintet of remorseless bad asses bust out of an all-female prison planet. It’s a galactic spectacle of grindhouse femsploitation that would do Russ Meyer proud. Plus, it has the added bonus of a title that’ll earn you funny/confused glances when you talk about it in public.
Interest Level: 7/10

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Cerulean
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Frazer Irving
Release Date: 2014
With this post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, Nick Spencer is speaking my language. Earth is destroyed and some survivors attempt to rebuild humanity on a mysterious new planet. What lurks within? Well, with Frazer Irving dropping his mind-bending art bombs, whatever it is will surely be equal parts freaky and gorgeous.
Interest Level: 8/10

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C.O.W.L.
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Rod Reis
Release Date: May 2014
A labor union of superheroes struggles to stay relevant in 1960s Chicago, and all the moving parts that go with that, from politics to reporters. It’s another historically slanted perspective on being a powered do-gooder, and it’s a hell of an era to tell this story, too: fear, Cold War paranoia, corruption, and greased palms will surely abound. If writer Kyle Higgins avoids ‘60s caricatures and keeps it real, C.O.W.L. could be great.
Interest Level: 8/10

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Fade Out
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Release Date: Summer 2014
Brubaker and Phillips announced an unprecedented 5-year deal with Image, where they have free reign to do as they please. And why not? This is, after all, the duo that brought us the pulpy hits Criminal, Incognito, and Fatale, which concludes with issue 24 later this year. Immediately on the heels of that sad closure, though, Fade Out begins. Brubaker says it’ll be his “ultimate Noir story” about a murder in 1940s Hollywood. Consider it preordered.
Interest Level: 9/10

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Great Beyond
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Morgan Jeske
Release Date: 2014
Because he’s apparently a cyborg programmed to churn out comics at a ridiculous pace, Nick Spencer is also writing Great Beyond, a good old philosophical sci-fi romp where your place in the afterlife is determined by the thickness of your wallet. It’s a hereafter-oriented series that Spencer said will be “about commercialism and the emptiness of our lives, and other uplifting stuff life that.” I’m honestly not sure what to make of it, but hey, empty lives can make for interesting characters.
Interest Level: 5/10

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Low
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Greg Tocchini
Release Date: 2014
Because he obviously doesn’t have enough on his plate, Rick Remender announced another new series dropping this year with Low. The surface of the Earth is an irradiated sun-scorched badland, and humanity has fled to undersea metropolises from where they search for another habitable planet. As noted, I’m a sucker for a good aquatic techno-thriller, and in light of how amazing Black Science turned out, count me in for the ride. Besides that, the teaser art from Tocchini is enough to have your interest plenty piqued.
Interest Level: 10/10

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Nameless
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Release Date: 2014
It seems that all we know about Nameless is that Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham are making a horror book. And, to be honest that’s enough. Morrison hasn’t done straight-up terror, and considering his uncanny ability to get weird, a la The Invisibles, I’m looking forward to the nightmares. And as we’ve seen from the teaser image, Burnham clearly has some strangeness to unleash.
Interest Level: 7/10

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Nailbiter
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson
Release Date: May 2014
Having scored major points with his horror-crime series Ghosted, I’m pretty much open to whatever Joshua Williamson has to offer. Having said that, Nailbiter, a new ongoing series about an Oregon town that apparently manufactures serial killers, looks like it’ll turn the genre on its head. Or at least spin it around really fast until it’s all disoriented. In any event, it’ll be fun to see Mike Henderson’s noir-ish art get all gory.
Interest Level: 9/10

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Outcast
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Paul Azaceta
Release Date: June 2014
Kirkman permanently changed the zombie landscape, and now he’s going after demonic possession. He announced that his new horror series, Outcast, will make its debut with a 40-page first issue, mimicking the Saga model. Even if it is just another vehicle for Kirkman to unload more crazy, I’m 100% with it. The crazier the better.
Interest Level: 9/10

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Paradigms
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Butch Guice
Release Date: 2014
As a fan of genre crossing, I’m on board with the premise of Paradigm, which Image called a “fantasy epic with a spy thriller aesthetic.” It promises a shadow world populated by clans of warring magicians and political power struggles. Also, Butch Guice’s pencils are generally nothing to mess with, so it could be pretty cool.
Interest Level: 5/10

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Restoration
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Barry Kitson
Release Date: 2014
Long ago, a group of mystics banded together and removed magic from the world, and with it the gods and monsters. Now that they’ve escaped, they aim to hold on to their power for good this time. Admittedly, the setup of Restoration seems like it can go either way. At the same time, though, magic and mythology are right in Bill (Fables) Willingham’s wheelhouse.
Interest Level: 4/10

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Shutter
Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artist: Leila del Duca
Release Date: April 2014
Comparing Shutter’s protagonist to Indiana Jones and Lara Croft could prove risky, setting a very high bar. While those comparisons are intriguing, they require that Kate Kristopher, the modern day explorer extraordinaire, be deep and compelling. We can have all the demons and phantom ninjas we want, but it may just be the character development that makes or breaks this one. Writer Joe Keatinge can probably handle it.
Interest Level: 3/10

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Tech Jacket
Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artist: Khary Randolph
Release Date: 2014
Fans of Tech Jacket rejoiced at the announcement of a 3-issue miniseries marking the return of Zack Thompson and his fancy alien exoskeleton. According to writer Joe Keatinge, the character has grown from the fumbling high-schooler to a full, possibly cocky, champion of Earth. It’s unclear how accessible this will be for newcomers to Robert Kirkman’s Invincible universe, but it’s probably worth a shot for the vivid intergalactic brawls alone.
Interest Level: 6/10

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The Wicked and the Divine
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Release Date: 2014
Writer Kieron Gillen has concocted an intriguing new twist on the superhero in The Wicked and the Divine. A gaggle of gods are reincarnated and use their powers to become celebrity superheroes. Usually, it’s a villain maniacally claiming godhood, or a frightened normal guy flinging the term disdainfully at a hero, but here they just run with the notion of god-like powers. Gods as heroes, heroes as celebrities, celebrities as gods — this has quite a bit going for it.
Interest Level: 9/10

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Wytches
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jock
Release Date: 2014
Scott Snyder knocked it out of the horror park with sea monsters in The Wake, and now he’s tackling another underexposed staple of the genre with Wytches. They’re making some lofty claims, saying it “takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before.” Well, if that’s the goal, then a Snyder-penned creepshow with Jock’s menacing art is not a terrible place to start. To be fair, though, they kind of had me at the weird spelling.
Interest Level: 10/10

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