It's... been... a... long... day.
But we're so close to the finish line! This morning, we decided we were going to cover every new series announcement from Image Expo, and though it's 11:30 PM here on the West Coast, I'm turning in the final article (until someone reminds us we forgot something). And I saved this one for last because I wanted to take my time with it.
This one is a new series from Joe Keatinge (Marvel Knights: Hulk, Glory) and an artist that's new to most of us: Leila del Duca.
First, let's look at the premise:
Kate Kristopher, once the most famous explorer on Earth—an Earth that’s far more fantastical than the one we know, filled with demons, gorgons, phantom ninjas, and various other monsters of lore—is forced to return to the adventurous life she left behind when a family secret threatens to destroy everything she spent her life protecting.
Wait, I thought this was an urban fantasy. Where are the sexy vampires?! You can't have an urban fantasy without sexy vampires, and possibly sexy werewolves or were- animals of some sort! It's against the rules!
In any case, Keatinge goes on to talk about the protaganist, Kate Kristopher:
Kate’s character can be described as a contemporary Indiana Jones. “We’re looking at the 21st Century, where it’s at and where it’s going, and considering what the Adventurer for its time might be like—what would Indiana Jones be like if created in 2014? What’s after Lara Croft?” said Keatinge. “We’re at a much different time than the pulps and serial Indiana Jones and, to an extent, Lara Croft, were rooted in—information from all remote corners of the world comes from great ease, where we’re more knowledgeable about other cultures, where technology enables us to access we could only dream about. Where do you go from there?"
And what about Leila del Duca?
Leila del Duca was brought on for SHUTTER’s art by Keatinge himself. “Joe Keatinge was the first industry name who showed real interest in my work and I really enjoyed his writing on Glory and Hell Yeah,” del Duca explained. “When he pitched Shutter to me, I was ecstatic about the concept. Joe's imagination is incredible and he's writing me a script perfect for my interests, with lush visuals and diverse subject matter.”
Ok, but who is she? You can find out at her website:
Leila lives and draws comics in the beautiful valley city of Missoula, Montana. She graduated from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in 2007 with a Bachelors degree in Illustration. Afterwards, she stayed in Denver for five more years and concentrated on making comics. Leila has worked on various projects including the webcomic Escape From Terra and was an Art Director for the Denver-based anthology, Cellar Door. In 2011, she self-published her first collection of short comic stories called The Fox Witch and Other Tales. She currently draws The Pantheon Project and Deadskins. For fun, she makes music of the vaudeville, gypsy, 8th grade band, folk sort and likes to bike and hike around the mountains of Montana.
That's better. There's a ton of art samples at her DeviantArt page:
Flirting, TEE HEE! by leilasedai on deviantART
Dear Rabbit show poster by leilasedai on deviantART
Pantheon Project Issue 2, Page 16 by leilasedai on deviantART
Pantheon Project Issue 01 Cover by leilasedai on deviantART
The Pantheon by leilasedai on deviantART
tRUNks postcard by leilasedai on deviantART
BRW page 197 by leilasedai on deviantART
Cosmic sketch by leilasedai on deviantART
Fox Witch page 6 by leilasedai on deviantART
The Rehearsal Page 4 by leilasedai on deviantART
Fox Witch cover by leilasedai on deviantART
Birds of Prey by leilasedai on deviantART
Red Ajah by leilasedai on deviantART
Even a self portrait:
inked self portrait by leilasedai on deviantART
I selected whatever looked cool to me and tried to choose some different styles (of which there is a wide range), but there's a lot more there, and you can also check out this comic featured prominently on her website called Deadskins, which looks pretty crazy (in a good way):
A Harvard-educated Dandy and his blind, drunk companion are all that stand between the Old West and a Zombie Indian Apocalypse. This is the true story of Custer's Last Stand... whatever they taught you in school is bullshit.
Serialized graphic novel. New 30-page installments every two months. Written by Clay Adams and Alexandre O. Philippe, with art by Leila del Duca (pencils) and Brett Nienburg (color). Covers by Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night) and Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai)!
As for the style she'll use on Shutter, we have the cover of the book, which might give us an idea:
So now we've been properly introduced.
Image has been rocking the comics world with announcements of interesting, exciting, refreshing new books by a combination of top talent and up and coming talent. Really, what they're doing just feels light years ahead of what Marvel and DC are doing. That's not to say there aren't quality comics being produced at Marvel and DC, but you wouldn't know it by the hype circus that surrounds the companies. The latest gimmick, crossover, super-mega blockbuster event, "mind-blowing" status quo that will forever change the universe, movie or television show tie-in, relaunched #1 issue, or, in the case of DC, all too frequent massive publicity embarrassment, is always at the center of the hype machine in Big Two comics, and when Image comes along and just lets creators make cool comics, it makes all that other stuff look foolish.
It may have taken all day (and believe it or not, I have a lot of other stuff to get done too, so I've been pretty busy nonstop for about sixteen hours), but I feel like it was worth it to give each of these announcements the attention they deserved. Plus, it's good karma for the next time I write an article where a fictional Bob Harras is sucking a donkey's dick.
So nice job, Image. I hope I make it to the next Expo.