The Great Desertion?
The Image Expo was this past week, and with it came some pretty surprising announcements. Of course, there was the typical announcement of a new Robert Kirkman series, and a few Image mini series that have now become ongoing monthly titles. In addition to these announcements, there were a multitude of new titles announced at the Expo. However, many of these were for titles that featured not up and coming creators, but well-known Marvel writers like Matt Fraction, Rick Remender, Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker, and Jason Aaron.
Like many current writers, the creators who announced their own titles this past week got their start in the indie realm. It’s natural that they would want to go back to their roots and stretch themselves creatively. Jonathan Hickman and Rick Remender had a string of critically acclaimed books through Image, which obviously brought them to the attention of Marvel. Same goes for Matt Fraction, whose Casanova also started at Image before he took it over to Marvel’s Icon imprint.
Brubaker is the one writer that I’m least surprised by the move to Image. As the first one to jump ship from Marvel after finishing his Captain America and Winter Solider runs, Brubaker made the move back into creator owned work, and Fatale has proven to be quite the sales juggernaut. Of course, when your previous work includes Criminal, Incognito, and the best run on Captain America of all time, it’s pretty much a given that your fan base will follow you wherever you go.
Of the titles announced, the ones I’m most excited for are Rick Remender’s Black Science and Jason Aaron’s Southern Bastards. Science looks like the child of Heavy Metal and my old high school Science textbook, while Bastards looks to be the perfect follow-up to Aaron’s Vertigo series, Scalped (which I really have to get around to finishing). To be honest, there’s not a bad one in the bunch, and I’ll most likely be picking up the first issue of each of these series when they hit the shelves.
Should Marvel fans be worried that some of the company’s top talent is doing some work for the competition? I don’t think so. While writing for a company like Marvel or DC is a dream come true for a lot of writers, it’s not like they can really change much from the status quo. To paraphrase Todd McFarlane, they are essentially “playing with someone else’s toys”. While it’s got to be a lot of fun to create new adventures for the Avengers and Wolverine, there’s a ton of other factors that come into play when creating those stories, whether it’s from editorial or someone even higher up. This allows the writers to have complete creative control, and keep themselves from going too insane in the world of the “big two” heroes. As long as it give them an outlet to try new things that could be used when writing the next Marvel event, I’m all for it.