Marvel’s “Star Wars” comics are doing very well for them. So well, in fact, that the numbers for those comics alone are nipping at Image’s heels in the direct market. Image sells more actual comics, after taking in ALL of the titles they publish, but the “Star Wars” comics make more money. However, even when the “Star Wars” collections start coming out, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll be a dominant force in bookstores or give “The Walking Dead” juggernaut a reason to lose sleep at night. Also, “Star Wars” and “Darth Vader” writers Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen have their own Image comics as well. Even with these numbers they still stand to make more from “Southern Bastards” and “The Wicked + The Divine” even though they don’t even sell a tenth of their “Star Wars”-related work. In fact, it’s not hard to imagine that the reason these creators are doing this kind of high-profile work on licensed titles is simply to get their names out their to people who wouldn’t have heard about them in any other way and maybe get them to check out their Image work. I hope that’s working for them. Still, it’s kind of a fucked-up situation where the writers of these best-selling titles are making less from them than their lower-profile creator-owned series. You’d think it’d be the other way around, but that’s not how the industry works right now.
Chew: Omnivore Edition vol. 5 HC: Like “The Walking Dead” hardcovers, each “Omnivore” edition of “Chew” collects two volumes of the regular series. So anyone reading the series in this format gets spared the cliffhanger resulting from the shocking death at the end of vol. 9. Also, it means they only have one volume of the series left to go. ...I’m a little envious of that. But I’m not about to change my reading habits in advance of the final two softcover volumes.
The Fade Out #12 (of 12): Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ 1940’s noir murder mystery finally gets re-classified as the maxi-series that it is. I read vol. 2 earlier this week and it continues to be a return to form for the creators after their not-as-good-as-it-should’ve-been work on “Fatale.” Expect a satisfying ending, but if the story is any indication so far, it’ll also be one where you’ll be hard pressed to tell who winds up in a better situation: the living or the dead.
Material #7: Cam porn, comics, gender, fracking. These are the only words in the solicitation text. Okay Mr. Ales Kot, I guess I’ll have to buy this comic at some point to see how those things fit together in this issue.
Saga #32: More fun from the solicitation text -- in this issue, “Marko and Alanna learn something!” I have to say that it doesn’t reflect well on the protagonists of this series if the fact that they learn something here is cause for celebration. Unless we’re talking about learning something about the plot. Like where their daughter has been spirited away to. That’s the kind of learning I’d be happy to see them do.
Sidekick #12: J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Mandrake’s “kid sidekick grows up badly” series comes to an end. You know, until I saw it here I forgot that this title was still coming out. The first volume came out well over a year ago. As to what happened to cause the final six issues to be delayed like this, your guess is as good as mine. Assuming that this final issue does come out in December, will I get the eventual second volume? I suppose if I remember…
Sunstone vol. 4: A nice post-Christmas gift from Image/Top Cow (it comes out on Dec. 30th). Also, the solicitation text points out an interesting fact. While they were flirting online for months, Lisa and Ally have only known each other in real life for two weeks. Aside from meaning that the whole “moving in” business is likely to be fraught with drama -- and maybe a little hilarity -- it never occurred to me that’s the period of time the first three volumes have covered. It honestly felt a lot longer to me. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, just a weird quirk of fiction.
We Stand On Guard #6 (of 6): Also being revealed as a series of fixed length in these solicitations. As silly as the idea of waging war on Canada sounds, this latest effort from Brian K. Vaughan is apparently anything but. It’s also his latest anti-war story, dispensing with the allegorical talking animals of “Pride of Baghdad” and making the victims to make sure that his audience finally gets his point.
Big Man Plans: While “The Goon’s” shift into drama has caused it to go off the rails from its hilarious early days, this project from creator Eric Powell and co-writer Tim Wiesch is promising a straight-up tale of heartbreak and revenge. Only four issues in length and without any earlier, funnier issues to give the reader cause to lament how much more fun it was back in the day. In short, the quality of this series is what will determine if I’m going to continue to follow Powell as a creator post-”Goon.”
God Hates Astronauts vol. 3: Easily the best title Image has published (or will likely ever publish) with the word “Astronauts” in the title. *drops mic*
Lady Pendragon vol. 1: From Matt Hawkins, writer of “Think Tank” and “The Title.” This is a title that hails from the “golden days” of Image publishing. Where pretty much every new title they put out was guaranteed to sell really well. Of course, it was really a crapshoot if the first issues of these titles would be followed up by a second, let alone published in a timely manner. Which is why the first “volume” of this series consisted of only one issue, while the second had three including a zero issue. As for the story, it’s about a woman in the present day (which at the time of publication was 1999) who is descended from Guinevere and must claim her birthright while facing down the twin threats of Morgan Le Fay and Mordred. Hawkins’ star may be on the rise at Image, but I think I’ll stick to patronizing his present efforts rather than his past ones.
The Private Eye: The Cloudburst Edition HC: Because readers, retailers, and (most importantly) Robert Kirkman demanded it, the physical edition of this online comic will arrive in print just in time for Christmas. Yeah, I could go online and read this story right now… but then I’d probably be less inclined to pick up the hardcover and have it decorate my room when it comes out. Yeah, I’ll get on the digital bandwagon one of these days, likely after every publisher makes it abundantly clear that I have no other choice. As for the story, “The Private Eye” takes place years in the future where the digital cloud has “burst” and you can find out everyone’s worst secrets on the net with little effort. Now EVERYONE has a secret identity to protect themselves from this loss of privacy. Into this mix comes an unlicensed private investigator working the biggest case of his life. Not the strongest of story hooks to go on, but when you’ve got a writer like Brian K. Vaughan and an artist like Marcos Martin as the creators of this series, you can get away with that because their presence virtually assures a quality read.