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Comics we’re looking forward to in 2012

Jeff Lemire's Underwater Welder art.

Jeff Lemire's Underwater Welder art.

Comics (and comics events!) for 2012

– by Ryan Ingram

Here at The Snipe, we’re still trying to catch up on all our comics reading from last year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start looking forward to all the comic book goodness awaiting us in 2012, from new books and reprints to two brand-new comic conventions arriving in Vancouver – and also one huge comics announcement we kind of hope never happens.

– More Watchmen: You know how prequels are almost always fantastic? And remember how after you read Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ superhero classic Watchmen, you had all those burning, unresolved questions? Me neither. But if the artwork popping up (and quickly being pulled down) on comics’ rumour site Bleeding Cool is any indication, 2012 will be the year a Watchmen prequel officially goes from being a gag from The Simpsons to an actual thing that someone can read if they hate themselves enough. On the plus side, once this desperate cash-in is announced and released, it means we’ll finally be that much closer to finding out what Doctor Manhattan’s midichlorian count actually was.

Watchmen on The Simpsons

"We're reeeaaally looking forward to a Watchmen prequel Bart..."

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Volume III) Century #3: 2009: Sure, I might be a hypocrite about the Watchmen sequel when, for over a decade, Alan Moore’s been playing around with some of literature’s finest in The League of Extraordinary. But the Watchmen creator has managed to create a staggeringly rich, alternate world and timeline, drawing from countless literary sources. And it all comes to an end this August, as Moore takes what’s left of his mashed-up team of literary rogues and takes them into the 21st Century.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 2009 image

"Hey! Isn't that Snooki?"

Image Comics 20th Anniversary: No one’s more surprised than me that two of the superhero comics I’m most looking forward to this year are Glory and Prophet, both creations of comics pundits’ favourite punching bag Rob Liefeld. (In fanboy circles, Liefeld is primarily regarded for his love of drawing grimaces, pouches, and impossibly gigantic laser guns. You can learn more about him at 40 Worst Rob Liefield Drawings). But the reason I’m stoked for both of those books has very little to do with Liefeld, and all to do with the talent Image has brought aboard to turbo-charge these books with creativity, handing the characters off to Joe Keatinge, Ross Campbell, Vancouver artist Brandon Graham and Simon Roy.

Glory art Image Comics

Art from Glory (Image Comics 2012). Stolen from Erik Larsen’s twitter feed.

Also as part of the Image’s 20th anniversary, the publisher has just released Fatale, a new horror-noir series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, the creative team behind the highly-acclaimed series Criminal. They’re also reteaming David Hine and Shaky Kane for a follow-up to the mind-blowingly bizarre Bulletproof Coffin. And if that’s not enough, the brilliant Brian K Vaughn (Y:The Last Man, Ex Machina) is coming back to comics with a space odyssey titled Saga released through this spring through Image.

Art from Brian K. Vaughn's Saga (Image).

"Where did we put the pan flute?"

Vancouver Comic Arts Festival and Fan Expo Vancouver: Two brand new comic conventions will be launching in Vancouver in 2012. The Vancouver Comics Art Festival (VanCAF) looks to be a comic book-centric affair, drawing inspiration from the always amazing-sounding Toronto Comic Arts Festival, while the recently announced Fan Expo Vancouver looks to be much broader journey into all things geek-culture, including anime, manga, sci-fi, gaming and toys. There’s been no announcement yet of which nerd celebrities will be on hand for Fan Expo, but Las Vegas casinos have set the over/under line at 5 for how many Battlestar Galactica and Stargate alumni will be appearing at the show. (VanCAF is May 26-27 and Fan Expo is April 21-22.)

Emerald City Comic-Con: Celebrating its 10th year, the ECCC has come a long away from its modest first year, set up in a small corridor at Qwest Field with only a dozen or so writers and artists on tap. The convention has managed to get bigger and better over the last ten years, without losing its focus on comics. The guest list this year is stacked with comics talent, as well as a healthy dose of nerd celebrities, including actors from The Walking Dead, Firefly, and even George Takei. Last year’s Comic-Con weirdness saw Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) meeting Seattle’s real-life superhero Phoenix Jones. (The show runs from March 30-April 1 at the Washington State Convention Center, downtown Seattle.)

Fantagraphics’ Disney reprints: Last year’s Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse and Carl BanksDonald Duck reprints were huge hits around these parts, so it’s not much of a surprise that we’re counting down the months until the next volume of each is released. (Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Volume 3: “High Noon At Inferno Gulch” is scheduled for May and Uncle Scrooge: “Only A Poor Man” is scheduled for June.)

Brain Wood at Dark Horse: Writer Brian Wood will be launching two new projects at Dark Horse in 2012. The first will see him work with the ultra-talented Becky Cloonan on Conan The Barbarian, and his second series is The Massive, an environmental action series, set in a “post-crash, post-disaster, post-everything world.”

Becky Cloonan Conan art

The Underwater Welder: Jeff Lemire’s writing on DC’s Animal Man and Frankenstein has been a lot of fun, and his work Vertigo’s Sweet Tooth is a solid monthly read, but if you’re looking for something closer to his Canadiana-infused Essex County graphic novels, you’ll get your wish this summer. The Underwater Welder is described as being “equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending science fiction epic,” following a soon-to-be-father/welder, working underwater at an oil rig off the coast off Nova Scotia. Comic Book Resources has a six-page preview here.

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