Image Comics’ 12-issue, 30th anniversary anthology will drop another highly collectible installment this December in the upcoming Image! #9. Just in time to curl up and read by light of yule log, Image! #9 will feature a brand new Criminalstory from crime noir masterminds Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips titled “Teeg’s Christmas Carol,” the highly anticipated return of Gerry Duggan and John McCrea’s beloved Dead Eyes, as well as many more exciting tales.
Cover art for this issue is by Phillips and will display a cigarette puffing, Santa-hat wearing Teeg.
Image! #9 also includes an all-new short by Bitter Root co-creator Chuck Brown and artist Steven Statz, “Familiar Fears,” as well as the latest chapters of “The Blizzard” by Geoff Johns and Andrea Mutti, “Closer” by Kieron Gillen and Steve Lieber, “Red Stitches” by Brenden Fletcher and Erica Henderson, “Gehenna” by Patrick Kindlon and Maurizio Rosenzweig, “Hack/Slash vs. Image” by Tim Seeley and Stefano Caselli, “Billy Dogma” by Dean Haspiel, and “Stupid Fresh Mess” by Skottie Young.
The Image! anthology is a 12-issue series celebrating the 30th anniversary of Image Comics. It treats readers to all-new stories from some of the biggest and best names in comics and is curated by Image Comics’ Publisher Eric Stephenson. The series features a combination of ongoing serials, standalone short stories, and first looks at exciting upcoming projects at Image.
Image! #9 (Diamond Code OCT220159) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, December 28.
Writer Patrick Kindlon and artist Paul Tucker team up for a hard-hitting crime thriller in the upcoming Stringer. This original graphic novel hardcover is set to release in April 2023 from Image Comics.
In Stringer, it’s 1983. Tournament tennis. A racquet stringer turned small-time drug dealer gets in over his head transporting a gym bag of cocaine across Europe. Carrying a half-million in narcotics puts him on the radar of every dangerous man on the continent. Whoops.
This high-stakes crime thriller is the perfect read for fans of Ozark and Gunning for Ramirez. Stringer kicks off Kindlon and Tucker’s “Rabbit Hole” universe of high-impact crime comics.
Stringer hardcover (ISBN: 978-1534324886) will be available in comic book shops on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 and at independent bookstores, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Indigo on Tuesday, April 25, 2023.
Fan-favorite Frontiersman creators Patrick Kindlon and Marco Ferrari re-team for an all-new ongoing series titled Antioch. This fast-paced, high-stakes story is set to launch from Image Comics this September.
Antioch follows a king from a lost continent who enters the world of man with a purpose: to stop us from killing the planet. But when he finds himself in a superhuman prison, his title is useless and his powers only matter if they help him survive!
Antioch #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, September 7:
Antioch #1 Cover A by Ferrari – Diamond Code JUL220059
Antioch #1 Cover B Jeff Stokely – Diamond Code JUL220060
It’s been 30 years since Image Comics launched. I remember fondly the buzz and excitement of these amazing creators breaking off on their own and creating whole new worlds no longer shackled by corporate bosses. I also remember reading a lot of those early comics and scratching my head. The art was definitely better than the stories with each series varying wildly in the overall quality. A lot has changed in that time with many ups and downs for the company. Image! 30th Anniversary Anthology #1 doesn’t celebrate what was, it instead what is. The anthology focuses on the current crop of creators releasing their creations under the publisher. It’s not a reflection of those titans who started it all.
Image has come a long way and this anthology is evidence of that. With a who’s who of creators, Image! 30th Anniversary Anthology #1 features a little something for almost everyone. There’s a lack of all-ages content, but, with so much adult content, it’d feel a little out of place. And boy is there adult content. Serial killers, murder, violence, the stories within are fare from the general “spandex superheroes” the publisher launched with. Sure, Image pushed the envelope in many ways when it launched, but the first story involves a child killer being killed on the footsteps of a courthouse. If there’s ever a flag planted that says this isn’t the Image of old, that’s a pretty big one.
And there’s a lot of variety here. The stories are pretty entertaining with few that are outright clunkers. But, with every anthology there’s some stories you’ll enjoy and some you probably won’t. It’s the nature of anthologies.
The art is generally top-notch. There’s a wide variety of styles and designs. Image! 30th Anniversary Anthology #1 features black and white gritty stories to bright colored neon explosions. The stories themselves are a mixture of cartoony manga inspired designs to grittier noir-ish tales that whose looks feel like they’re inspired by Frank Miller. Like the stories themselves, there’s a lot to take in and surely there’ll be some that readers will enjoy and some they don’t.
Image! 30th Anniversary Anthology #1 is an interesting comic. With it, the publisher seems focused on what is and what’s to come. This isn’t so much a celebration of the past 30 years of Image, it’s looking ahead at the next 30.
Story: Geoff Johns, Declan Shalvey, Wyatt Kennedy, Wes Craig, Skottie Young, Mirka Andolfo, Erica Henderson, Brenden Fletcher, Kyle Higgins, Patrick Kindlon Art: Andrea Mutti, Declan Shalvey, Luana Vecchio, Wes Craig, Skottie Young, Mirka Andolfo, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Maurizio Rosenzweig Color: Jason Wordie, Chiara Di Francia, Walter Baiamonte, Katia Ranalli Letterer: Rob Leigh, Clayton Cowles, Fabio Amelia, Becca Carey Editor: Brian Cunningham, Heather Antos
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Fan favorite Patience! Conviction! Revenge! creative team Patrick Kindlon and Marco Ferrari reunite for a superhero adventure of epic proportions in the forthcoming Frontiersman. This exciting, all-new ongoing series will launch from Image Comics this September.
Here readers meet the Frontiersman as he’s coaxed out of retirement by an environmentalist group only to find that being a spokesperson makes him a target for old and new enemies alike! In this new series, classic Green Arrow-style adventure blends with the thoughtfulness of Concrete in a super-powered odyssey for mature—but uncynical—readers.
Frontiersman #1 Cover A by Maurizio Rosenzweig (Diamond Code JUL210033) and Frontiersman #1 Cover B by Matteo Scalera (Diamond Code JUL210034) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, September 22.
Z2 Comics has been a home for music-inspired graphic novels, and further that no pairing is alike, introducing an original graphic novel by Patrick Kindlon and artist Goran Gligovic, with an original soundtrack by Kindlon’s band Self Defense Family. The result is one of Z2’s most immersive experiences yet, blending comic book storytelling, music, and an original and completely playable RPG, Run the Dungeon.
Relst is just your average young man. Except he is stuck in an Endless Dungeon. Follow his “adventures” through the Dungeon hoping to escape to the surface world. Run the Dungeon is for fans of witty fantasy adventures everywhere. It includes a soundtrack from Self Defense Family and an original pen and paper RPG based off of the book.
The Run the Dungeon graphic novel comes in at over 100 pages of fun and will be released in a standard softcover edition in comic shops and bookstores alike in August 2021, as well a special deluxe edition available for preorder now only through the Z2 website, which will include a special exclusive vinyl edition Self Defense Family’s original soundtrack in a strictly limited edition of 500 copies! Standard editions include a code to download the soundtrack through Bandcamp.
Twelve Reasons to Die acts as the source material for the 2013 concept album of the same title by Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, and the record’s producer/composer Adrian Younge and executive producer RZA even get story and writer credits respectively on this comic, which is finally being released as a collected edition.A pre-4 Kids Walk Into A Bank/Marvel Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon handle the brunt of the scripting though. The comic is a multi-generational crime saga in the mold of such classics like The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, and Once Upon A Time in America with a horror spin. With the exception of the final one, each issue tells two parallel stories. The first is about the rise of African-American gangster Tony Starks (One of Ghostface Killah’s aliases.) from muscle for the DeLuca family to a kingpin in his own right, and it is drawn predominantly by artist Breno Tamura. Gus Storms handles the other story which features “crate digger” Michael Migdal looking for 9 rare records for Lucraze, the don of the DeLuca crime family, because he feels like they’re cursed and wants to destroy them.
The parallel structure of Twelve Reasons to Die allows Rosenberg, Kindlon, RZA, Tamura, Storm, colorist Jean-Paul Csuka, and the various guest artists to play with different genres, art styles, and palettes like Younge and Ghostface Killah play with different beats, instrumentation, samples, and deliveries on the album. Starks’ story is a crime saga while Migdal’s story is more horror, and both use elements from the blaxploitation genre. This really shows up in the artwork with Tamura’s work being looser with scratchy inks and Bronze Age era Ben-Day Dots while Storms’ art is softer and more grotesque with the mysterious “Ghostface Killer” lurking around the edges like something out of a bad dream waiting for the needle to drop and to bring vengeance.
The different guest artists, like Nate Powell, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, and Riley Rossmo, meld well with Storms and Tamura while bringing extra flair to key scenes like Starks torturing a racist DeLuca made man and framing him for having an affair with the boss’ wife, Logan (Who Starks is actually sleeping with.) or several night club and murder sequences. Csuka’s colors really tie everything together and control the mood of each sequence whether that’s the sleazy red and blue of the strip club where Starks gets his first assignment from the DeLuca (and later runs) to the pop art pink of a “masqua-rave” that Migdal goes to get one of the records from a DJ, who decides to play the record and gets devoured by ravers turned into insects. It’s a Kafka-esque acid trip that shows the decadence of the DeLuca “social club” (They’ve filed off the serial numbers of their criminal enterprises.), and of course, there’s a panel where Migdal vomits.
Twelve Reasons to Die doesn’t shy away from showing the racism that Tony Starks faces from his employers, the Delucas, who bar him from becoming a made man because of the color of his skin and hurl slurs and stereotypes at him throughout the entire comic. Starks gets passed over for the mob equivalent of a promotion even though he has killed, tortured, and general gone above and beyond the call of duty because of the color of his skin. Eventually, this causes him to band together with his colleagues from the Black community to take over the DeLucas’ turf and even have some DeLuca foot soldiers work for him. There’s a dark, cathartic glee to watching him topple an empire in twelve months that had been established 30+ years ago. (See the prologue featuring Mussolini, mainland Italy vs. Sicily, and double page map spreads.) Starks’ ruthlessness is magnetic, yet frightening as he goes from possibly negotiating with one of the DeLuca’s made men to pistol whipping him in an alley and then tying his neck to the back of a car and having him dragged. This comic definitely uses torture creatively a la “Method Man” from Wu-Tang Clan’s classic album, 36 Chambers.
However, Rosenberg, Kindlon, and RZA also take time to develop Tony Starks’ softer and more vulnerable side through his relationship with Logan, who he genuinely cares about and basically uses as a spy for the DeLucas (Although she betrays him because femme fatale trope.) and especially for his love of records. There’s a touching scene where Starks says that his only dream is to get his hands on the most “hype” records, and he uses his organized crime money to build a factory where he can press his own wax. This is why his demise in that same factory is so tragic, and his vengeance via the drop of a needle is so satisfying as the Ghostface Killer slays the men who betrayed him in new and fucked up ways, or just a single page beheading. (I guess that’s pretty messed up though.) The exception is the noble fencer Batiato, who gets an epic sword fight complete with Ghostface in samurai armor and some fun, blocky cartooning from Edwin Huang.
I haven’t really touched much about Migdal in this review, and initially he seems quite distant from sex, violence, and racism-tinged world of Tony Starks and the DeLucas. He’s just a guy with a sarcastic sense of humor, who you’d see digging through the crates at your local record store, probably every day. However, as he continues to be treated like shit by the aging DeLuca crime bosses and see more horrific things, Migdal seems more attuned to this grindhouse movie of a world even though he doesn’t lose his innocence making the high energy Chris Hunt-drawn finale have a tinge of sadness. He really just wants to get paid so he can buy more records.
Even though it has an entire restaurant of chefs in its proverbial kitchen, Twelve Reasons to Die is a damn good fusion of the crime and horror genre with a charismatic protagonist and a social conscience in the midst of all the schlock. However, it never gets preachy. For three decades, Ghostface Killah has been one of hip hop’s best storytellers, and his vision translates really well to the comic book page thanks to Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, RZA, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt, Jean-Paul Csuka, and the guest artists that are the visual equivalent of that perfect drum sound or soul sample that raises a track from skippable to total earworm. Finally, and it goes without saying, but this comic pairs really well with the 12 Reasons to Die album.
Story: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, C.E. Garcia Story/Script: Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon with RZA Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt Guest Art: Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Russell Roehling, Ryan Kelly, Riley Rossmo Colors: Jean-Paul Csuka Letters: Jim Campbell and Nic J. Shaw Story: 8.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Created by: Ghostface Killah / Executive Produced by: RZA Written by: Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon Illustrated by: Ronald Wimberly, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Christopher Mitten, Jim Mahfood, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Ben Templesmith, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Juan Doe, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Johnnie Christmas, Russel Roehling, Ryan Kelly, Michael Walsh, Chris Hunt, Riley Rossmo, David Murdoch, Garry Brown, Johnny Ryan, Shaky Kane, Benjamin Marra, and Brian Level Colored by: Jean-Paul Csuka Lettered by: Jim Campbell, Nic J. Shaw Mature / $24.99 / 180 pages
Guns. Sex. Vinyl. Revenge. Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and RZA teamed with then young-gun writers Matthew Rosenberg (Uncanny X-Men, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank) & Patrick Kindlon (Survival Fetish, Nobody Is In Control) for this brutal tale of a dangerous crime lord’s rise and fall.
In M. Night Shyamalan’s film, The Village, the characters are warned to stay out of the woods. In Nobody is in Control Richard follows a stranger into the woods, thinking the man needs help. It’s obvious to me that Richard has never seen that movie or at least didn’t choose to heed the warning. Soon, following the stranger leads Richard to stumble upon a conspiracy that has been going on for decades. The four-issue story arc is collected in this trade paperback from Black Mask Studios.
My favorite part about this story is that it reads like an actual novel. Writer Patrick Kindlon composes dialogue the way playwrights and novelists write it. All of it reads like a natural conversation. These conversations cover a vast array of subjects, from various known conspiracy theories to the flora and fauna of Georgia, to seemingly mundane topics. Even though these conversations seem random they reveal small details about both the stranger’s history and Richard’s past. The narrative Kindlon creates from these fractal character details, and intensive dialogue is full of suspense. I was so engrossed in this book that I read all one hundred thirty-two pages in a single sitting.
There are a lot of interesting layouts throughout this first volume. Artist Paul Tucker maximizes his chances for visual storytelling by using many panels on the majority of the pages. Yet, even the smaller panels are drawn with a level of detail that I had no trouble figuring out what I was looking at in each panel, no matter its size.
Throughout the book there are also info-graphs highlighting the things Richard observes. There’s some trippy imagery as well. Characters transform into the subject of conversations and settings change around the characters as they talk. I’m not sure if these transformations are meant to be symbolism or just supposed to add visual interest because the other characters in the conversation don’t react to the changes. Whatever they’re meant to be, they make dialogue heavy scenes visually interesting and keep the pages from being filled by stationary figures talking to one another. This level of detail also makes for elaborate backgrounds and gorgeous full-page spreads.
As Ivy learns in TheVillage and Richard learns in Nobody is in Control, sometimes to solve a mystery, a person must venture into the woods. Nobody is in Control is part survival story and part conspiracy thriller, that combines to form an exhilarating story. The art is expansive, and the illustrations are highly detailed. The narrative is unique and unexpectantly works well in a graphic format. This is my favorite Black Mask comic I’ve ever read, and at this point might just turn out to be my favorite comic I’ll read this year. Treat yourself to a different kind of comic book, with awesome art and an enthralling story, and pick up a copy of Nobody is in Control.
Story: Patrick Kindlon Art: Paul Tucker Letterer: Wallace Ryan Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Black Mask Studio provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Writer: Patrick Kindlon / Artist: Paul Tucker / Letterer: Wallace Ryan Mature / $16.99 / 132 pages
When Richard sees a man run through his yard, he follows him out of concern. This deep in the woods, he must be lost… must be in trouble. Bust soon it’s Richard in peril, as this stranger drags him into a deep, twisted web of conspiracy going back hundreds of years. By writer Patrick Kindlon (Survival Fetish, There’s Nothing There, We Can Never Go Home), artist Paul Tucker (Tet), and hand-lettered by Wallace Ryan. Collects issues 1-4.