For comic and graphic novel readers who haven’t branched outside of the worlds of Marvel and DC, it can be difficult to know where to start. Image is a comic and graphic novel imprint that’s a great go-to for a blend of affordability and high-quality stories. Just from your many trips patronizing your local comic shop, you’ll likely recognize some of their most iconic titles such as Saga and Invincible, which was also recently made into an animated series on Amazon Prime. They also have another even more recognizable series, maybe you’ve heard of it… it’s called The Walking Dead. Now that we have your attention, here are just a few of many Image series that are worth checking out.
Although the SYFY show never gained much traction, the series it’s based on is amazing. Deadly Class is set in 1987 at a school that has classes like ‘Dismemberment 101’ as opposed to AP Bio. The world’s top crime families send members of their next generation of assassins to an elite school to train and learn the craft. Beginning its run in 2004, the most recent volume of the series was released in 2020 titled Deadly Class Vol. 9: Bone Machine. The next volume is expected to be released in 2021. With some iconic characters and lots of blood, here’s hoping this series will one day get the TV or film adaptation it deserves.
East of West
One of the most underrated series, East of West is a sci-fi western set in dystopian America where the future of the world is on the shoulders of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse… who just so happen to be trying to kill the President of the United States. And that’s just the beginning, it only gets crazier from there… are you sold yet? The series debuted in 2013 and the final volume, Volume 10, was published in 2020. The series blends the action and tone of a western with the technology and high-stakes of a sci-fi thriller.
From the same author that brought you SAGA, this series would be a great read for any Stranger Things fans. In the early hours after Halloween in 1988, four twelve-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover something truly astounding. Image touts this comic as being “Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds” and it began its run in 2015. The final volume (Vol. 6) was released in 2019. Thankfully many graphic novel fans have seen the potential in this series, so much so that a television series by Amazon Prime is in the making, though it’s still early in the casting process.
Any fans of Lovecraft Country out there? Bitter Root gives us very similar vibes, blending horror and magical realism with important conversations on race and racism. Set in the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye can save New York from the supernatural forces attempting to destroy humanity. The series does an amazing job creating this rich family history and lovable cast of characters. It also balances humor and action with extremely relevant and important themes.
In May 2021, it was announced that Regina King will be directing a film adaptation of the series. The film will be produced by Ryan Coogler, who directed Black Panther and produced Judas and the Black Messiah. There are currently two volumes of the series available and the third volume is expected to publish in 2021.