Friday, December 16, 2011

Twenty Years Later

Issue 0 cover
Twenty years ago, I bought my very first Image comic.  Up until that point, I was very much a comic reader, and had been through all of my childhood. My mom used to work at a toy store and she'd bring me comics from time to time; I'd get remainder packs sold at places like Venture (they'd be a random collection of books, with no discernible connection in number order or even publisher); or I'd snag an issue or two from the 7-11 spinning rack. Because of this, my reading, in terms of continuity, was all over the place. I didn't seek out particular issues or characters; I had my favorites, but I was happy having any comic book in my hands. 

That all changed with the birth of Image.

I read Youngblood #1 and absolutely had to have issue #2. The same with Wild C.A.T.S, Spawn, Maxx, etc. I knew when books were coming out and, Image being Image at that time, knew when they were late. I kept tabs on my favorite creators, looking for news on their work in Wizard; I anticipated going to the comic shop with my dad every weekend. Image changed me from a comic reader to a comic fan. And, like any fan, I had fantastic dreams that one day, in some pined for yet nebulous future, I too would have my own Image comic book. Well, twenty years later, that day has come.

Interior art
In March of 2012, Hoax Hunters will be released with Image. Issue #0 will collect all the backup material from Hack/Slash, issues 1 - 10, as well as a five-page preview of issue #1.

And, really, there couldn't be a better time to be an Image creator.

I know the creator-owned drum has been beaten pretty thoroughly this past year, but I would be remiss if I didn't add my two cents, briefly.

The work coming out this year from Image comics looks to be some of the best in the company's already prestigious history. In March alone, you'll be able to get the first issues from new series by Brian K. Vaughn, Joe Keatinge, and Jonathan Hickman; the third issue from Ed Brubaker's Fatale; the final issue of the awesome Strange Talent of Luther Strode; the beginnings of the Extreme relaunch, which includes Brandon Graham's take on Prophet and Tim Seeley's take on Bloodstrike, both of which look incredible.
JM's pencils

And, ahem, issue #0 of Hoax Hunters!

If you aren't reading creator-owned stuff (and judging by the numbers, where the thousandth iteration of the same superhero story sells tenfold that of most creator-owned books), you're doing a disservice not only to yourself, but to the industry. And I know, I know--the creator-owned horse has been thoroughly beaten this past year. But let me ask: Where would we be if only a fraction of readers took a chance on Will Eisner's work? On Lee, Simon, and Kirby's stuff? What if they decided to stick with what they knew, newspaper strips and accepted that as comics, and nothing else? We'd be pretty well screwed, is where we'd be. I'm not saying work from the big two is without merit--but make them earn it. Some of these books are so absolutely cynical; as Image publisher Eric Stephenson recently said, the big two have fallen into the habit of treating readers like marks, tossing out crossovers and events not because the story is necessary to tell, but because they have X amount of people hooked in to buy it.

Promo cover from SDCC 2011
Ultimately, my point is this: Buy the best comics available. Right now, it just so happens that the best work being done in comics is in the creator-owned market. Give it a try; prove me wrong.

In 2012, Image will celebrate its 20th anniversary by publishing some of its best work to date. Twenty years ago, their books sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The work being released next year warrants similar numbers. I hope to see it happen. And in that mix is Hoax Hunters, which Steve and I promise will be worth the ride. If you like books such as Planetary and shows like X-Files, you'll definitely find a lot to like in Hoax Hunters. 

Did I mention Steve and I are offering a buy-back guarantee? We're not; we're broke creators! But if you don't like the book, I'll sincerely wish you had. 


Lee Robson said...

Congratulations, man! Well deserved!

Michael Moreci said...

Thanks man! I definitely can say I've put in my time.

And, hey, good luck with Babble. Can't wait for the release.