Last year saw Image Comics rise to a new level of excellence with a seemingly never-ending wave of new titles by top talent, and the company isn’t slowing down in 2013. During the keynote speech for Image Expo 2013, publisher Eric Stephenson made a series of announcements that show how Image’s creator pool is significantly expanding, with new titles by prominent Marvel Comics writers like Rick Remender, Matt Fraction, and Jason Aaron.
Remender reunites with his Secret Avengers artist Matteo Scalera for Black Science, a sequel to the pulp sci-fi series Fear Agent, and teams with artist Wesley Craig for Deadly Class, a book set in 1987 about a group of young assassins. Fraction, whose new Image series Satellite Sam launches this week, is joined by artist Christian Ward for ODY-C, a gender-swapped reimagining of The Odyssey that takes place in space. And Aaron and artist Jason Latour are partnering on Southern Bastards, a crime drama set in a rural Alabama town that has a high school football coach as its main villain.
Writers Ed Brubaker and J. Michael Straczynski recently left superhero comics to explore more creator-owned work, and both writers will do so with new Image projects. Brubaker and his Captain America collaborator Steve Epting are launching the spy series Velvet, while Straczynski’s “Joe’s Comics” imprint grows with the return of former Icon titles The Book Of Lost Souls and Dream Police. Straczynski will also be partnering with legendary artist Bill Sienkiewicz for Alone, a series that will “deconstruct comic book storytelling.”
In regards to currently published titles, Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham’s critical and commercial success Five Ghosts has been upgraded to an ongoing series, with The Massive artist Garry Brown drawing the standalone sixth issue. And not to forget Image’s biggest title of the past decade, The Walking Dead will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a new biweekly storyline called “All-Out War” beginning in October.
One of the final announcements was a quick mention that Image would be publishing the U.S. translation of Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel, and Nico Henrichon’s Noah, a graphic novel adaptation of the director’s upcoming film starring Russell Crowe that’s already seen chapters published in Europe. Image’s profile has been growing steadily for the past 18 months, and if they continue to bring in superstar talent, the publisher has the potential to become a force that can compete with Marvel and DC both commercially and creatively.