Like the Marvel event directly before it, the Image panel had a few hiccups. Though the panelists still struggled to be heard over the event in Theater 2 (about the Kickstarter-funded The Princess Who Saved Herself), at least this time the audience members asking questions didn’t have to climb onstage to be heard.
The hour-long session was less a presentation of everything the imprint has to offer and more of a spotlight on the assembled creators’ work. Perhaps the biggest takeaway (other than the free comics given to attendees who asked questions) is that Image is a great place for creators.
Panelists Alex de Campi (writer of No Mercy), Brandon Graham (writer of the upcoming 8House: Arclight), Becky Cloonan (writer of Southern Cross), Adam McGovern (co-writer of the late Nightworld) and Valentine de Landro (artist on Bitch Planet) were all glad to sing Image’s praises. De Campi explained that the imprint’s strength is in allowing creators to, “just try things and see what sticks.” Or as Graham put it when talking about Arclight: “if I’m going to do something stupid right now, I’m going to do it at Image.”
While de Campi rushed in after the panel had started, she quickly became one of the most interesting members of the group. “If you like watching teenagers die, this is your book,” she said of No Mercy, which tells the story of a group of Princeton freshmen-to-be who become stranded in Central America after a bus accident. De Campi described the story as “a character book” where both the audience and the characters themselves are constantly discovering new things about the kids. Though she did warn–perhaps unsurprisingly–that the book isn’t for readers who are faint of heart. Each issue ends with a cliffhanger and issue #8 ends with what she called “two major mic drops” with another in the middle. She also suggested that the story would eventually shift from a Lord of the Flies feel to legal dramas. “America’s favorite game is blame,” she explained. “Someone has to be at fault,” she added. She went on to explain that the draw of the book for her is what happens after a tragedy. “When you suffer intense trauma in real life, you don’t become a bat,” she quipped.
Less talkative but no less interesting, de Landro said that after a joint project at Marvel fell through, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick pitched him a few concepts and he was drawn to Bitch Planet because of the “women in prison” aspect and the ’70s vibe he could give it. He teased that upcoming issues of the female prison planet drama will involve a visit to another cell block similar to solitary confinement for prisoners deemed too dangerous to interact with others. When asked about the diversity of his female characters’ body types in the book, Valentine explained that after receiving pushback in the past from other publishers, that for this book, “[he’s] going to make them look the way [he] think[s] they should look.”
Speaking of female bodies in comics, the moderator pointed out that Graham used to draw porn. In his response, Graham didn’t necessarily disavow that part of his life, though he did explain that as a creator he’s, “constantly trying to leach the porn out of [his] system,” when it comes to his art.
Cloonan was less talkative than during the Batman panel later in the day. However, she did share the rather surprising information that she and the artist on Southern Cross, Andy Belanger, broke off an engagement before deciding to work together. She complimented her former fiancé saying, “he has a lot of humor in his art that I don’t in my own.” While they have a fairly healthy working relationship now, she explained that they initially committed to only six issues just to make sure they could work together. The series is now an on-going and will have a completely different story starting in issue #7, with only one character carrying over from the previous arc.
As for McGovern, he didn’t say too much during the panel. Though he did describe Nightworld as, “if Dario Argento did Saturday morning cartoons.” But after that description, what more does he need to say?
By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.