Here at The Outhouse we do a lot of making fun of mainstream comics, sometimes too much even, and we like to try to balance it out with the promotion of some comics outside the mainstream, you know, for karma and stuff. After suckling at the teat of HDCDSST shenanigans for the past two weeks, I'm feeling a bit like a junkie at the end of an out-of-control bender, so I figured I should sober up and balance things out by posting some Image press releases. Some (maybe all) of these have been announced, at Image Expo and the like, but it's new to me if it didn't happen within the last two or three weekly comics news cycles. A person's brain can only retain so much silly information, after all.
Let's have a look in the old mailbag and see what we've got:
First up is a new series by fan-favorite writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and and her Osborn partner Emma Rios (that's Rios with a funny i we don't know how to type). It's a supernatural western called Pretty Deadly and it claims spaghetti westerns and samurai flicks as influences. It looks like it could be a big hit with fans of The Sixth Gun, which you all should be, for fuck's sake.
Ginny is Death’s daughter, a reaper of vengeance. She rides through the West on a horse made of smoke, her face tattooed with her heritage, and deals in revenge. She is the mysterious, elusive center of PRETTY DEADLY, the first creator-owned comics series by acclaimed writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Ghost, Osborn) and artist Emma Ríos (The Amazing Spider-Man, Osborn), coming from Image Comics in October.
Simultaneously beautiful and savage, PRETTY DEADLY will unfold over the course of an ongoing story that DeConnick and Ríos developed together, creating a world and characters that are entirely their own. At the same time, DeConnick and Ríos say, it’s almost as if PRETTY DEADLY has a will of its own that guides the action.
“The book is absorbing us while breathing on its own,” said Ríos. “Sometimes I feel we are hidden behind a rock, gasping, watching the characters do their things.”
“This book has defied my directives at every turn, but made it up to me in a series of goosebump moments where things came together as if by magic,” said DeConnick.
Having worked together on Marvel’s Osborn, DeConnick and Ríos found common ground in their love of Westerns and Japanese cinema for PRETTY DEADLY. DeConnick was inspired by spaghetti westerns, Japanese “pinky violence” films, and Grimm’s fairy tales, while Ríos found her visual language for the series by absorbing both Westerns and samurai films. Colorist Jordie Bellaire (THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, NOWHERE MEN) maintains the earthy, dusty atmosphere of the art, as well as the magical tone of the story, thanks to a subdued palette punctuated with bursts of vivid color.
“We wanted a very Leone feel to it. As we worked, I felt we were straying from that original notion and though I came to love the direction the book insisted on going, I felt a twinge of grief at the loss of the Leone connection. I don't know why, but I did,” said DeConnick. “Then a friend of mine quoted this Leone line to me: ‘The important thing is to make a different world, to make a world that is not now. A real world, a genuine world, but one that allows myth to live. The myth is everything.’ So in the end, it seems we haven't strayed at all.“
The first issue of an ongoing series, PRETTY DEADLY #1 will be in stores on October 23 and can be pre-ordered from the August issue of Previews (AUG130504).
Next up, it's a new series by Rick Remender, artist Matteo Scallera, and colorist Dean White called Black Science. It's the same Rick Remender that brought you Fear Agent and Uncanny X-Force, but now he's also that guy that tells fans to drown in hobo piss on Twitter and calls gypsies a religion, so this one could go either way. The art looks great though.
This November, comics superstar and best selling writer Rick Remender (Uncanny Avengers, Captain America) returns to Image Comics with artist Matteo Scalera (Indestructible Hulk, Secret Avengers) and colorist Dean White (Uncanny X-Force) alongside him for BLACK SCIENCE #1, the thrilling beginning of an ongoing series about dimension-hopping scientists and their attempts to escape from the worst kind of chaos.
Writer Remender says, “Black Science feeds on my love of comic book science fiction, the kind that is incredibly reliant on strong visuals. So fortunately, I'll be working with two of my favorite collaborators—Matteo Scalera and Dean White—to bring these hundreds of new worlds to life. I'm incredibly excited to be doing new books with longtime publisher Image Comics. “
Grant McKay, former member of The Anarchistic Order of Scientists, deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. But every experiment has its unintended consequences, and instead of finding enlightenment and epiphany, McKay and his team find nothing but chaos as they are lost in an infinite ocean of alien worlds teeming with the unimaginable. Home is suddenly very far away, but McKay and crew have no choice—they must push forward.
“The setup we have here is one that I have absolute faith will lead to years and years of great stories,” says Remender. “I've already got the first two years of the series plotted out and I'm absolutely dying to take people on this shotgun blast of a journey.”
BLACK SCIENCE was announced at the Image Expo in San Francisco this July, complete with a four-page preview. Recently, iFanboy debuted the solicitation for the first issue of the series, as well as a selection of exclusive production and concept art from Scalera.
BLACK SCIENCE #1 will be in stores on November 27, featuring a cover by Matteo Scalera and Dean White and an alternate cover by Andrew Robinson, and is currently available to pre-order from the July issue of Previews (Diamond Codes SEP130471 and SEP130472).
Here's one from Antony Johnston (any relation to Rich? I'm calling nepotism. You heard it here first.) and Christopher Mitten called Umbral. It's billed as an apocalyptic dark fantasy, and epic adventure. Can it live up to the hype?
In UMBRAL, the young thief Rascal breaks into the royal palace using a rare eclipse as cover for the theft of a priceless gem. During the heist, Rascal witnesses the death of the King and Queen, the first step in the invasion of the world by the Umbral, mythical shadow creatures... and no one knows it's happening.
A work that has been years in the making, writer Antony Johnston (Daredevil: Season One, Wasteland) and artist Christopher Mitten (Batman: Arkham Unhinged, Wasteland) unleash their latest series on the world in November.
"Chris and I spent the last couple of years batting around the idea of creating something new together, and UMBRAL is the result," says writer Antony Johnston. "We're both big fans of weird, dark fantasy, as you might expect... but we also love epic adventure, and building amazing fantasy worlds. That's the combination we're aiming for with UMBRAL. I mean, there's a map in the first issue, for heaven's sake."
UMBRAL is the latest collaboration between the creative team of Johnston and Mitten, who co-created the post-apocalyptic and impressively expansive series Wasteland. Mitten praised their collaborative relationship, saying, "Together we did around thirty issues of Wasteland, and before that, three issues of Greg Rucka's Queen & Country, so there's a fair stack of history there." He also praised his relationship with Johnston. "Having the chance to work with Antony again is fantastic, and I don't think I could be happier about it. He's got this tremendous imagination and the talent/skill combo to bring it to the page feeling fully formed."
Johnston and Mitten have released a teaser for the series in advance of its release on the official Tumblr for UMBRAL. Curious fans should follow the official Twitter, as well.
Announced at the Image Expo earlier this year, UMBRAL #1 arrives in stores on November 13 and is currently available to pre-order from the September issue of Previews (Diamond Code SEP130478).
Okay, hang on a minute, aren't ANY of these going to be superhero comics? We're gonna go into withdrawl here! We've had a western, sci-fi, dark fantasy... what's next, a robot love story?
Dammit! From Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn, it's Alex + Ada, which looks like it should appeal to fans of Saga and people who aspire to build lifelike fembots, Weird Science style, and have human on robot sex with them. We're not saying those two groups of people are one and the same, but the latter is likely a subset of the former, or at least constitutes a substantial crossover on the Venn diagram.
After three years away from comics, Jonathan Luna (GIRLS, THE SWORD, ULTRA, Spider-Woman: Origin) is back, drawing and co-writing ALEX + ADA with Sarah Vaughn (Sparkshooter). In this near-future tale, Alex is attempting to recover from a setback in his life and return to normal. Ada, a Tanaka X5 and the latest and greatest model of companion android, comes into his life. She lives to serve, as long as her programming allows it, but does he want to be served?
The world of ALEX + ADA gives us a glimpse of what our own future may be like. It features a thriving robotics industry, alarm clocks that are floating holographic displays, breakfast served by floating robots, and normal human beings who are able to control their home electronics with a thought. Vaughn says that readers can expect "drama, humor, love, loss, and more robots than you can shake a stick at" in the series.
Luna took a break from comics after the finale of THE SWORD, producing an illustrated prose book named STAR BRIGHT AND THE LOOKING GLASS in the interim, but he’s excited to be back at the drawing board. "It’s so great. I feel like I’ve lost some time, but at the same time I’ve learned so much in the past few years from photography, painting, Star Bright, and life experiences. I’m reinvigorated and I feel so fortunate to be working in comics."
When asked to describe their working relationship, Vaughn said, "It looks a lot like Misery. I ended up having to hobble Jon. All kidding aside, we’ve been able to reach a good balance between our friendship and creative partnership." Luna, too, praises his co-writer: "Sarah is a good friend first and I never would’ve guessed that we’d be working together in this capacity. I’m very glad that we’re able to. It’s all been a very pleasant surprise."
Both creators debuted ALEX + ADA in an interview on Comic Book Resources, discussing both Luna’s break from and return to comics, the research required for ALEX + ADA, and their working process. Follow both creators on Twitter: @jonathanlunacom and @sarahvictoriav.
ALEX + ADA #1 will be in stores on November 6 and can be pre-ordered from the September issue of Previews (SEP130479).
Alright, last up, and I can go back to borderline slandering the Big Two, it's a new series from Ales Kot which will have a different artist for each issue. It's called Zero, and it's a comic about War. What the hell, Image?! Sending out five press releases in a row without a superhero comic has got to be breaking some kind of law!
“War is a disease,” Ales Kot said in an interview with Multiversity Comics, “and it seems that a large part of humanity is obsessed with it.” The writer of comics that range from the stream-of-consciousness apocalyptic tale CHANGE to DC Comics’ Suicide Squad draws on this point of view, developed in his native Czech Republic, for his new series ZERO, out from Image Comics in September. “I’ve seen, first-hand, what kind of damage war inflicts on people, and how often the wounds become obscured as the decades progress,” he said.ZERO is named for its main character, secret agent Edward Zero, a sociopath who solves problems with violence, a perfect execution machine. He’s built his life around certain principles, but ZERO is the story of what happens when his carefully maintained systems break down and Zero must fight not just a war out in the world but one within himself as well.Each issue will end with this internal struggle producing an indelible change in Zero, and so each issue will be drawn by a different artist. The first issue, in which Zero encounters a bioengineered terrorist whose body is a bomb, is drawn by Michael Walsh, who previously worked on the critically-acclaimed time travel Image series COMEBACK, written by Ed Brisson.Subsequent issues will be drawn by comics stars like Mateus Santolouco (Dial H, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Morgan Jeske (CHANGE), Tradd Moore (THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE), and Tonci Zonjic (WHERE IS JAKE ELLIS?). Kot will write each issue based on the strengths of the artist, and the series will be colored by Jordie Bellaire (THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, NOWHERE MEN).Kot has also spoken about ZERO to iFanboy, PreviewsWorld, Technoccult, and Den of Geek. Advance praise for ZERO has begun rolling in, as well, including these accolades from two of the biggest writers in comics:"With Zero, Kot continues to push boundaries of both form and content to stunning and inspiring effect. A new kind of spy thriller written with scope, intelligence and flat out gripping storytelling, Zero is easily one of my favorite reads of the year."
—Scott Snyder (SEVERED, American Vampire, Batman: Zero Year)
"A first issue is the buy-in of the great game, story. This is Zero, and it's where all the action is. Have a seat."
—Jonathan Hickman (EAST OF WEST, MANHATTAN PROJECTS, Avengers)
ZERO #1 is available for pre-order in the July issue of Previews (Diamond code JUL130415). Variant covers by Becky Cloonan (JUL130416) and Chris Burnham (JUL130417) are also available for pre-order.
Okay then! Check out a crapload of preview images below, and remember that you can get these comics DRM-free on Image's website for a reasonable price (when they come out), so there's nothing stopping you from trying out one or all of them in October and November!