Today was a massive day in publishing news, with the Image Expo in full-swing and some additional publishers jumping up and down yelling "ME TOO!" over all the applause for Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman.
First the Image stuff...
Image announced that they'll be making their digital content available as DRM-free downloads in a variety of formats. This removes one of my biggest complaints about services like Comixology, in that you are essentially renting the books not actually owning them. Image was also forthright with what kind of numbers they're doing on the digital front, and it's nothing to sniff at. (Wired)
To kick off their new DRM-free digital policy, they've got Warren Ellis and Jason Howard's Scatterlands Vol. 1 available through the Image website for only $0.99.
They also announced an all-star slate of upcoming books, with many of Marvel's biggest stars attached to upcoming projects. Here's some of the books they've announced so far:
- Alone from J. Michael Straczynski and Bill Sienkiewicz, a six-issue mini that will "deconstruct comic book storytelling."
- Sidekick from J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Mandrake. The series explores what happens when the death of a superhero leaves a kid sidekick all alone.
- Southern Bastards from Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. Described by Image on their Twitter as "Dukes of Hazzard x Coen Brothers or The Untouchables vs Boss Hogg."
- Rat Queens from Kurtis Weibe and John Upchurch. In a Tolkien-esque fantasy setting, a group of female mercs slay monsters and party as hard as they work.
- Velvet, from Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. It's a Cold War book with a female spy lead.
- Sex Criminals from Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. Two people with the ability to stop time at the point of orgasm find each other, go on a crime spree.
- Satellite Sam from Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin. This long-gestating project explores sexual indiscretions behind the scenes on a kiddie sic-fi TV show in the 1950s.
- Ody-C from Matt Fraction and Christian Ward, a sci-fi spin on the Greek Odyssey.
- Infinite Horizon from Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto. It's also supposed to be a sci-fi spin on Greek myth, and time will tell how this and Ody-C are different from each other.
- Black Science from Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera. Announced as a sequel to Fear Agent, but focusing on break-throughs in taboo "black science."
- Deadly Class from Rick Remender and Wes Craig. Remender's using his own high school experience as the basis for this story of teenage assassins.
- Noah, from Darren Aronofsky and Niko Henrichon. This is the English-translation of the existing four-part Noah comic that ties in to Aronofsky's upcoming feature film of the same name.
Meanwhile, Dark Horse has resurrected the Kitchen Sink brand for reprints and original graphic novels. The first book under the partnership will be The Best of Comix Book: When Marvel Went Underground, reprinting Stan Lee and Denis Kitchen's stab at the burgeoning underground comics movement of the early 1970s. Bleeding Cool has some groovy exclusive images from the collection.
Last, but not least, is the news from indie publisher Lion Forge, who just signed a deal with NBC Universal to license some of their beloved TV properties for comics. The first batch of titles will include Saved by the Bell, Airwolf, Knight Rider, Punky Brewster, and Miami Vice. I have no idea if Lion Forge is going retro on all of these or if they'll get a modern spin. Who's the audience for an Airwolf comic book in the year 2013? I guess Lion Forge will find out soon.