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NYCC 2017: Image Comics’ New Books Sound Incredible

Three fascinating new comics join the must-read list.

New York Comic Con had its share of disappointments this year, most notably the league of Angry White Men© who used Marvel’s comic retailers panel as a platform to argue against comics appealing to anyone but adolescent white males (or those who never progressed beyond the mental state of such).

Thankfully, not everything coming out of NYCC is so dark and depressing.  Case in point, the interesting trio of new books announced by Image Comics. These books will run the gamut from a horror series exploring Islamophobia, a dystopian thriller about the ‘crash of the information age,’ and a slice of life romance between two Black lesbian women.

This is a very diverse slate, and while that alone wouldn’t make this newsworthy (Image has made a name for themselves as a publisher willing to redefine themselves to allow unique books under their masthead), I think the particular topical nature of each of these stories comes at an interesting time, both in terms of our corrosively divided country, and at the Con itself… in light of the retailer panel which dusted up in tandem with the announcement of these books.

I love that more diverse subjects and more voices are making a presence in comics, and I give huge credit to Image for supporting creators focusing on these topics in interesting ways.  You can read up on INFIDEL, ANALOG, and the graphic novel BINGO LOVE below. They’re all getting added to my pull list, no doubt!

INFIDEL—A NEW HORROR SERIES THAT EXPLORES ISLAMOPHOBIA

Bestselling writer and former Vertigo editor Pornsak Pichetshote and artist Aaron Campbell give horror a new name in the forthcoming INFIDEL set to launch from Image Comics this March 2018.

Rife with political undertones, the new series will explore Islamophobia through a haunting and chilling story about one American Muslim woman and her multi-ethnic neighbors who move into a building haunted by creatures that feed on xenophobia.

“I’m a huge fan of horror and was really interested in a horror story that more accurately reflected the multi-racial world we live in and the fears that seem to come with it,” said Pichetshote. “Aaron, Jose, Jeff, and I are really trying to take a classic horror staple—the haunted house—and update everything about it—setting it in the heart of the city, giving it a multi-racial cast where those backgrounds actually matter to the turns of our story, and centering our horror around the very distinct fears of today. I’ve taken to calling Infidel ‘political horror,’ and while we’ve been cooking this project for a while, the success of movies like Get Out make us optimistic that audiences will be as hungry to read something like this as we are to make it.”

This tautly-woven new series tackles controversial topics in race and racism and how it can affect people from different cultures. INFIDEL features a diverse, multi-ethnic cast where character backgrounds affect the plot twists and pacing as the story unfolds from issue to issue.

Campbell added: “The horror genre has always been near and dear to me. From an early age it has shaped much of my artistic sensibilities, showing itself in deep shadows, gritting locations, and emotional dread. Really good horror gives us a safe place to indulge in our most primal emotions, confront fear eagerly, and ask deeply loaded questions with acerbic abandon. Great horror adds to this a dark mirror that reflects, with uneasy clarity, the existential and ontological threats of our humanity. For Stoker it was our place in nature. For Lovecraft, our place in the universe. Romero’s zombies threaten our individuality and King gave us normal people who could stand as surrogates for our own terror. Now, more and more, the genre is concerning itself with the threats of us vs. them. Tribalism. And so I could not be more proud or excited to be a part of the Infidel team. Finally, I get to work with the incomparable Jose Villarrubia who I’ve known since my MICA days as a shaggy haired illustration wimp. And Pornsak has written a truly terrifying tale that cuts directly to the quick of current events. It’s a story about the broad brush of fear. A young, wonderful, hateless girl wants to be, just be, but the fearful few have other plans…”

DUGGAN AND O’SULLIVAN ANNOUNCE NEW SERIES ANALOG

Bestselling writer Gerry Duggan (THE INFINITE HORIZON, THE LAST CHRISTMAS) and artist David O’Sullivan team up for an all-new ongoing series in ANALOG.

“David O’Sullivan is lushly rendering a world that is chaotic, beautiful and repulsive, sometimes on the same page,” said Duggan. “He and Jordie Bellaire are the perfect collaborators to leap over this post-fascist tale of the great crash of the information age.”

ANALOG is the future our society is failing to prepare for. The basic security of the internet crumbles after devastating attacks on the internet result in mass doxxing. People, corporations and governments are all affected and the world is changed overnight. Secrets once entrusted to encrypted emails are now printed on paper, put into briefcases and sent around the world in the hands of discreetly armed couriers. Jack McGinnis is a hard-drinking, hard headed former member of the US intelligence community who now earns a living as a “ledger man”.

O’Sullivan added: “Gerry creates a world where all hope is lost and yet a glimmer exists in the very person who tipped it into the abyss. He makes you care about humanity when it’s at its lowest. There’s also lots of violence, the main character is essentially a walking punch bag!”

ANALOG is set to launch from Image Comics in 2018.

IMAGE COMICS ANNOUNCES ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL, BINGO LOVE

Image Comics is pleased to announce BINGO LOVE, an original graphic novel created and written by Tee Franklin, with art by Jenn St-Onge, and colors by Joy San.

BINGO LOVE is about two Queer, Black women and the love between them that spans decades. Their story also explores the complications of coming out at an older age, and how that decision affects their families lives. BINGO LOVE will hit stores just in time for Valentine’s Day, February 2018.

“As a woman who was married once upon a time, I understand how it is to come out as a Queer woman to my family,” said Franklin. “Bingo Love was important for me to create for the youth, the LGBTQ youth needs to understand that happily-ever-after’s aren’t only for straight people. If Disney’s Carl and Ellie can grow old together, so can Mari and Hazel.”

Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray are two young, Black girls who meet at church bingo in 1963 and eventually fall in love…but in this time period, their love was not accepted. Hazel and Mari are broken up by their families’ “shame” and go on to marry and have families of their own. Almost fifty years later—in the fever pitch of church bingo—Mari and Hazel are reunited and rediscover the love they have for each other, even though they both are still married.

Tee Franklin is a Black, Queer, disabled woman, known in the comics industry as a vocal person of color and advocate for the LGBTQ and disabled community. She is credited for starting the popular hashtag: #BlackComicsMonth which aims to make comic book fans more aware of talented Black comic creators, and their diverse comic book characters and superheroes that already exist in the industry.

Franklin won the 2017 Queer Press Grant for BINGO LOVE and has raised almost $60k for this graphic novella via Kickstarter.

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