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    Archive News  

    Jack Staff Set for January 2003 Image Relaunch

    Image Publisher & VP Jim Valentino announced Friday at the Comics 2002 Festival in Bristol, England, that Paul Grist's black-and-white independent series JACK STAFF is moving to Image. According to Valentino, the title will be relaunched in January 2003 as a new ongoing series -- in full color. Originally published by Grist's own Dancing Elephant Press, JACK STAFF utilizes a loose anthology format to tell the tales of a unique group of characters comprised of Tom Tom the Robot Man, an enigmatic group of secret agents called Q, and Becky Burdock, Vampire Reporter. Linking all these stories together is the ongoing mystery created by the return of Jack Staff - Britain's greatest hero. The end result is a series not too far removed from Kurt Busiek's ASTRO CITY, wherein Grist allows his imagination to run wild as he offers his own unique takes on a variety of archetypes from comics and popular fiction alike. "We're absolutely delighted that Paul Grist has chosen to make JACK STAFF part of the Image line," said Valentino. "This is one of the freshest takes on superheroes I've seen in some time -- witty, intelligently written and overflowing with so much enthusiasm that it's downright contagious." Image cofounder and SAVAGE DRAGON creator Erik Larsen added, "I'm thrilled that JACK STAFF is coming to Image. Image started off as the premiere publishing house for new and innovative superhero comics. It's a pleasure to welcome aboard a creator who's as committed to his craft as Paul Grist! This is a big step toward restoring the grandeur to the Image Comics superhero line." JACK STAFF debuted in April, 2000, but while Grist's imagination and distinctive art style won rave reviews, the book has frequently been overlooked by fans and retailers alike. "It's been my experience that many readers don't even know JACK STAFF exists," said Image Director of Marketing Eric Stephenson. "I started picking up JACK STAFF myself because I was already following Paul's other series, KANE, but most readers haven't been exposed to Paul or his work. "So many comics come out every month that even gems like JACK STAFF and KANE can get lost in the shuffle, but it's our hope that bringing the book to Image will raise readers' awareness of this genuinely gifted creator." With issue eight and a recent trade paperback collection, YESTERDAY'S HEROES (collecting JACK STAFF #1-4), available in shops now, Grist plans to wrap up the current series with JACK STAFF #12. "Over the next four issues, I'm going to be telling the story of Charlie Raven, the greatest escapologist of the Victorian Age," he explained. "We'll also be looking at the rather murky past of Q agent Ben Kulmer, and revealing that Jack Staff is a little older than people have realised! "This all sets the scene for (tah dah!) the all-new all colour series, which will kick off with a bang as I'm bringing back probably the single most popular character in the series, Tom Tom the Robot Man!" Recent issues of the current JACK STAFF series remain available through Diamond Comic Distributors. These include: JACK STAFF #5 (OCT002011), #6 (APR012107), #7 (JUL012000), and #8 (OCT012394). These issues should be available for immediate reorder, along with the JACK STAFF: YESTERDAY'S HEROES TPB (NOV012304). JACK STAFF #9 (DEC012316) and #10 (FEB022374) are also available for advance reorders. Issue #9 is due out in June.

    A New Model of the Visionary Indie Title Premieres in September

    Fans eager for more of Matthew Cashel and Jeremy Haun's PARADIGM following the disturbingly surreal first issue of the all-new series will be pleased to know that there IS a second issue on the way...but they'll have to wait until after the series relaunches this September at Image Comics. Originally published by Cashel and Haun's Two Irish Guys Press, PARADIGM is the tale of twenty-something Christopher Howells, an average guy, completely comfortable with the life he shares with his girlfriend of two years, until a chance encounter on the way home from the movies changes everything. In that moment, a revolution that challenges the norms of society begins, and suddenly Christopher finds himself drawn into a tangled web of conspiracy, betrayal, and fantasy. Characterized by its creators as a "historical retelling of the future," PARADIGM is set to expose a world within worlds and open a gateway to the ultimate pop-culture mismatch. It's a serialized adventure that attempts to make sense of the world we choose to ignore, but what's more, it's an intensely personal epic charting the rise and fall of mankind's final generation. Taking advantage of the move to Image, Cashel and Haun have opted to completely "remaster" PARADIGM #1, expanding its story content from 34 to 42 pages. The first issue is also being relettered and will have an all-new wraparound cover to make it easily distinguishable from the original version. And why make the switch to Image in the first place? According to the creators, it was all about the freedom the move afforded them in terms of putting the book out on time and in a quality manner under a quality banner. "The Image 'i' demands that we do our best work and do so in a timely manner," explained Cashel. "It's all about getting the story out there to as many people as possible, and we can't imagine a better home than Image comics. "Image to me was always an ideal. Something new, where the restraints have been thrown to the wayside, creative passions unleashed. Image is and always has been exciting -- artists looking out for artists, creators creating -- but most of all, Image is a company about 'the love of comics,' and that's something I'm proud to be associated with." "The opportunity to tell our stories the way we'd like has always been important to Matt and I," added Haun. "Image has allowed us to do exactly that. What's more, the people at Image are passionate about comics, and we're happy to be part of a company like that." Available for order in the July issue of Diamond Previews, PARADIGM #1 is a 48-page black and white comic priced at $3.50.

    THE PAIN REMAINS THE SAME Violent Messiahs Returns in September
    Are you ready for the next chapter in the VIOLENT MESSIAHS saga? You'd better be -- Image Comics' macabre thriller is returning this September with an all-new four-issue miniseries entitled VIOLENT MESSIAHS: LAMENTING PAIN. Picking up a month after the events of the first miniseries, VIOLENT MESSIAHS: LAMENTING PAIN opens with the city in a social meltdown. Street gangs prowl the night, riots break out constantly, and the mayor is talking about marshal law. Amidst all of this, Citizen Pain has disappeared from Rankor Island, and in his absence, a new vigilante is striking, leaving her victims horribly mutilated with a single word carved into their corpses: Scalpel. "Scalpel is a latex-dipped femme fatale who is sexually, emotionally and physically obsessed with Citizen Pain," explains VIOLENT MESSIAHS writer Joshua Dysart. "We'll try our hardest to use the character as an honest exploration of the world of fixation, fetish, and S&M without disrupting the traditional pulp narrative of the comic." Accompanying Dysart's suspenseful storytelling once again is artist Tone Rodriguez, whose wonderfully visceral art brought VIOLENT MESSIAHS so vividly to life during the first miniseries. Cover artist Travis Smith will also be returning for VIOLENT MESSIAHS: LAMENTING PAINT, and his stunning photomontage covers will be featured in rotation with covers by Rodriguez, as well as a surprise guest artist or two. VIOLENT MESSIAHS: LAMENTING PAIN is a $2.95 color comic book available for order in the July issue of PREVIEWS.

    HAMMER HITS IMAGE Oeming and Wheatley Expand Viking Territory in September
    Image Comics officially announced today that the hugely successful indy hit HAMMER OF THE GODS is moving to Image Comics. POWERS artist Michel Avon Oeming and BREATHTAKER scribe Mark Wheatley, the creators behind HAMMER, are moving their epic saga to the big "i" with a spectacular collection of the original miniseries in trade paperback form this September. Entitled, HAMMER OF THE GODS: MORTAL ENEMY, the new collected edition of the original miniseries is slated to get the full-color treatment for the first time, and subsequent offerings will debut in color. A new three-issue miniseries -- HAMMER HITS CHINA -- will follow in November. HAMMER OF THE GODS began as a five-issue miniseries published by Insight Studios Group. The epic saga focuses on a Viking boy, Modi, who is cursed to never touch a weapon lest he lose his soul. Modi is a frustrated Viking, angry with the world and the gods themselves. His quest against the gods forces him into hand-to-hand battles with giants, trolls, demons and even beautiful Valkyries. Created by Michael Avon Oeming, co-creator of the Image Comics smash hits POWERS and BASTARD SAMURAI, HAMMER OF THE GODS is a collaboration between Oeming, who plots and draws the stories, and Mark Wheatley, who plots and writes the tales. Wheatley is perhaps best known for his creations MARS, RADICAL DREAMER, and BREATHTAKER. The stories are told with a light touch that brings the characters to life in a world of wonders and tumultuous action. HAMMER OF THE GODS, as reviewer Mike Barron noted, "dodges every cliché." "I'm trying to make it easier on my readers to find my books," Oeming said from Insight Studios' headquarters. "The overwhelming success of POWERS and BASTARD SAMURAI have made a very strong statement that Image Comics is a great home base for me. That's where many of my readers look for my books, and that's where HAMMER OF THE GODS is going to be." He said he wanted to make it clear that he was not leaving Insight Studios behind. "The guys at Insight are my friends, and there is no place better to give birth to a new project." Insight head honcho, Mark Wheatley agreed. "We're trying to be good parents to HAMMER OF THE GODS. Mike and I took the luxury of several years of development on the series before we started publishing. Then we focused a great deal of attention on just how our Viking was introduced into the market. But the kid is all grown up now! We're gratified by the strong response the series has generated, and the time has come to turn this over to a publisher who has the experience dealing with hits the size of HAMMER." Insight Studios will continue to produce HAMMER OF THE GODS for Image with the creative team remaining the same, including the exceptional work of John Staton. The one major change for the Image incarnation of HAMMER will be the move to color. When Insight Studios published the HAMMER OF THE GODS COLOR SAGA in December of 2001, it became the fourth best-selling graphic novel offered through Diamond Comic Distributors. This first color book was the maiden effort for colorist John Staton and the positive response from fans was largely responsible for the decision to take all HAMMER projects to color. "I've been fortunate to work with some great colorists," said Oeming. "John's gray-tones were fantastic, but his color work takes my art to the proverbial whole new level." Scheduled to strike the comic-buying public in September, the 176-page HAMMER OF THE GODS: MORTAL ENEMY will be available for order in the July issue of PREVIEWS. Current printings of some issues of the original miniseries remain available through Diamond Comic Distributors. These include: HAMMER OF THE GODS #1 (DEC002073), #2 (FEB012085), #3 (APR012241), #4 (JUN012205), #5 (AUG012047), and HAMMER OF THE GODS COLOR SAGA (STAR14986). These issues should be available for immediate reorder.

    Image Comics announced today that Diamond has completely sold out of BASTARD SAMURAI #1. Created, co-written and inked by Michael Avon Oeming with newcomers Miles Gunter (script/co-plot) and Kelsey Shannon (pencils), BASTARD SAMURAI is the second solo hit for the Eisner Award-winning artist following his meteoric rise to prominence on POWERS. Oeming's first solo success, last year's epic HAMMER OF THE GODS miniseries (co-written with Mark Wheatley), will be collected as a trade paperback by Image later this year. A trade paperback of Oeming's pre-POWERS work on BULLETPROOF MONK is due in stores on May 22. If it sounds like Oeming's been working overtime, though, most readers don't know the half of it. In addition to POWERS, HAMMER OF THE GODS and BASTARD SAMURAI, Oeming spent a good deal of 2001 working on Kevin Smith's BLUNTMAN & CHRONIC graphic novel, and he's recently signed on as cover artist for Jay Faerber's NOBLE CAUSES to boot. "I'm basically trying to slowly take over the world through comics," laughed Oeming. "I know, I know -- it's kind of an ass-backwards way of going about it, but what the hey, it's working well so far!" A representative for Image declined to verify Oeming's claims that his Fall 2002 schedule would include annexation of "a small European country in the Benelux region," and instead urged retailers to re-check their orders for BASTARD SAMURAI #2, as there is still time to place advance re-orders for that issue, which is currently scheduled to ship on June 12, 2002.

    THE BIG BOOK OF LITTLE DEATHS Third Powers TPB Due in August
    The POWERS: WHO KILLED RETRO GIRL? trade paperback is going into its third printing, making it the best-selling trade in Image Central history. The second TPB, ROLEPLAY, is heading into its second printing after fewer than six months on the stands. So what's next for award-winning team of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming after that? A third trade paperback collection, of course. POWERS: LITTLE DEATHS will compile the three-part "Groupies" story arc from POWERS #12-14, along with "Ride Along," the story from the sold-out POWERS #7 in which Warren Ellis guest-starred as himself. Also included is the complete POWERS ANNUAL (including the story that first ran in Wizard's POWERS 1/2) and the POWERS COLORING AND ACTIVITY BOOK, along with a dazzling new sketchbook section from Oeming, a cover gallery, and an in-depth interview with Bendis. Also, as a special bonus, POWERS: LITTLE DEATHS will include POWERS: WHO KILLED MADMAN? from the 2000 Oni Color Special, a sly parody of POWERS by the series' creators featuring a mind-blowing lineup of comic book guest-stars that has to be seen to be believed. And if that's STILL not enough, LITTLE DEATHS will also feature Bendis and Oeming's very first collaboration, the crime noir tale, "Keys," a short story that originally appeared in the ultra-rare JINX TRUE CRIME CONFESSIONS SPECIAL. If that sounds like a lot of material, Bendis and Oeming couldn't be more pleased. "We understand what the readers expect from POWERS trade paperbacks: more more more," says Bendis. "I think this trade builds on the expectations set by WHO KILLED RETRO GIRL?" All in all, POWERS: LITTLE DEATHS will be a whopping 224 pages shipping in August. The book will retail for $18.95. Meanwhile, the third printing of POWERS: WHO KILLED RETRO GIRL? is due to ship in July with the second printing of ROLEPLAY set to follow shortly thereafter. A signed and numbered print of the cover from the latest printing of the overwhelmingly successful RETRO GIRL trade is also being produced, with all proceeds going to ACTOR (A Commitment To Our Roots).

    May Previews
    Check out the new releases for May 2002 in our Preview section as reported by Diamond.

    FUSED! SELLS OUT, GEARS UP FOR SECOND ISSUE All-New Backup Feature Debuts in Fused! #2
    Fans curious about Image Comics' new series, FUSED!, may have a bit of a search on their hands as the release date for issue #2 draws near: FUSED! #1 has reportedly sold out. Created and written by Steve Niles (HELLSPAWN) with art by Paul Lee (SAM & TWITCH), FUSED! has received exceptionally strong word of mouth from fans and retailers alike. A number of retailers have reported brisk sellouts on multiple reorders. Niles and Lee aren't resting on their laurels, either: Beginning with FUSED! #2, due out in May, each issue of the series will feature a four-page backup story at no additional charge. Running as a separate serial, the backup will introduce an a group of federally funded superheroes called the Implementers. "These are 9 to 5 heroes," Niles explains, "They're like firemen in that they spend a lot of time waiting for the alarm to send them on their next mission. They work under strict jurisdictional restrictions. These heroes don't do bank robberies, they don't go out on patrol. They're only called when there's a national security threat." The initial Implementers backup focuses on the first day on the job for Kid Crash, the son of the world's most famous hero, as he meets his future co-workers DOA and Sliver. Along the way, Kid Crash discovers that there's more to being a hero than simply punching the clock and following in his father's footsteps. He also learns that sometimes there is an 'I' in team. As with the lead story, the Implementers backup will be written by FUSED! creator Niles and will feature artwork by Lee -- along with newcomer Adam Huntley. The Implementers will play a major role in upcoming issues of FUSED! and the team will be featured on the cover of FUSED! #3, scheduled for a July release.

    COLLECTED ACTS OF VIOLENCE Violent Messiahs Trade Paperback to Ship in July
    The long wait is over for everyone who missed out on the early issues of VIOLENT MESSIAHS: a trade paperback of the genre-bending cult hit is due out from Image Comics in July. VIOLENT MESSIAHS: THE BOOK OF JOB will collect all eight issues of the first series, making the entire story available again following the complete sellout of the first four issues. An urban crime fantasy combining the themes and pacing of suspense novelist Ramsey Campbell with the horror/fantasy of early Clive Barker and the socio-religious sci-fi of Phillip K. Dick, VIOLENT MESSIAHS: THE BOOK OF JOB tells the story of a poetic serial killer, an unforgiving vigilante called Citizen Pain and Cheri Major, a fiercely independent police detective assigned to bring both killers down. Conceived by Joshua Dysart and William O'Neill, the grisly world of VIOLENT MESSIAHS: THE BOOK OF JOB is brought vividly to life through the chilling storytelling of writer Dysart, the Russ Manning Award-nominated artwork of penciler Tone Rodriguez and the stunning computer art of colorist/cover artist Travis Smith. Described by some as "Beauty and the Beast meets Frankenstein" in a film noir setting, VIOLENT MESSIAHS is driven by a very dark poetic sense that Dysart isn't seeking to downplay. "The reality is that I love the two stories," Dysart admits. "I think they pretty much run the gamut of human emotion. Citizen Pain is a combination of the Beast, who is completely incapable of being loved, even though his soul is quite beautiful, and Frankenstein's monster, who is basically similar in theme." As would be expected from a tale that can only be described as a theological, sci-fi love story about criminal politics, the nature of violence and man's search for individuality, however, there are a number of differences between VIOLENT MESSIAHS and the works at the base of Dysart's inspiration, but Dysart is quick to point out the themes of the story are fairly universal. "I also draw from a sense of solitude and loneliness, all the stuff people go through," he explains. "All those times in your life when you've felt really lonely and no one was there for you. That's the energy I take and put into VIOLENT MESSIAHS--everyone is somewhat lost, lonely and scared." Set for a July release, the 224-page VIOLENT MESSIAHS: THE BOOK OF JOB will be available for order in the May issue of PREVIEWS. The trade will feature a new cover by Smith, as well as numerous extras, including rare artwork and sketches by Rodriguez and a gallery of variant covers by Andy Park and Ed McGuinness. A new VIOLENT MESSIAHS series, VIOLENT MESSIAHS: LAMENTING PAIN, is currently scheduled to debut in September.

    Image Comics: The 10th Anniversary Book
    In 1992, seven of the most popular creators in the comic book industry walked away from lucrative paychecks to form their own company; Image Comics.They went on to conquer not just the world of comics but movies, television, games, toys, and all manner of media. Ten years later, the remaining four join forces on their original creations, some for the first time in years, to create the single, most highly anticipated and controversial graphic novel in the last decade: Image Comics!Toy, movie, video and television mogul Todd McFarlane returns at last to his seminal creation, Spawn. Marc Silverstri (Witchblade) tells the poignant tale of what happened to the members of Cyberforce in the last decade. Erik Larson reveals, at long last, the secret origin of the Savage Dragon, and Image publisher Jim Valentino reinvents Shadowhawk. All four artists join on the cover jam and the book also features a timeline of the company, showcasing not only their many accomplishments, but also their pratfalls. Order here.

    Campbell's Got It Covered! -To celebrate the launch of Brian Haberlin and Jay Anacleto's all-new Image title, ATHENA INC. #1 will feature an alternate cover by J. Scott Campbell. Retailers will receive one Campbell variant with every five copies ordered (a one in five ratio). And as a bonus for retailers placing reorders, an additional copy of the Campbell variant will be included with every five copies ordered, at no additional charge. Due out in April, ATHENA INC. #1 invites readers to explore a world of secret agents so clandestine that not even the agents realize they're secret. Inspired by tales of the so-called "sleeper agents" operating during the Cold War -- operatives brainwashed by their agencies to become killing machines when a secret word unlocks their programming -- ATHENA INC. explores the possibilities of agents imprinted with a unique genetic program that makes it capable for an agent to alter his or her facial features, hair color...even fingerprints. Written by Brian Haberlin and featuring artwork by the award-winning Jay Anacleto, the first issue of this bi-monthly ongoing series also features a hefty 29 pages of story and art. ATHENA INC. #1 (FEB021538) is scheduled to be in stores on April 24th.
    Guardian Angel Takes Flight in May -In the mid-1990s, writer Jonathan Peterson (Strikeback) and artist Aron Weisenfeld (Team 7, Deathblow/Wolverine) consumed attention with their respective projects. After taking self-imposed sabbaticals, both creators will return to the scene via Image Comics' new, four-issue mini-series, Guardian Angel.
    'Witchblade #54' Features Special Cover -Celebrating the launch of a new era for Top Cow's preeminent title, Witchblade #54 sports a special black cover with gold foil at no additional charge to fans or retailers. The original cover penciled by new series artist Francis Manapul will be a second cover stapled beneath the all black cover (not a variant). "We wanted to do something other than just another variant cover to draw attention to the new creative team launch for Witchblade and came up with the idea for this cover," says Top Cow President Matt Hawkins. "It's an experiment and, as always, we'd love to get feedback on it from fans and retailers."
    Superpatriot Returns In July -It's been a while, but Image Comics' SuperPatriot is back in action this summer, thanks to up-and-coming artist Cory Walker and Battle Pope creator Robert Kirkman. The creative duo are combining their talents on an all-new four issue miniseries entitled SUPERPATRIOT: AMERICA'S FIGHTING FORCE.
    'Leave it to Chance' returns this July -Image Comics announced today that the popular series by James Robinson and Paul Smith "Leave it to Chance" will be returning with all new issue starting in July. Issue #13 of the series will be a will be a 48-page special picking up where the last issue published, #12, left off. Originally published in 1996 as part of WildStorm's Homage Comics line, "Leave it To Chance" told the supernatural tales of young Chance Falconer. The book was an all ages series that won great critical and fan praise plus both Eisner and Harvey awards during its original 12-issue run. When DC Comics acquired Wildstorm in 1998 it left "Leave it to Chance" in a state of flux with the four-part story that began in issue #12 unfinished.

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