Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by Power Fantasies

This was an extremely interesting week of things to write about, so let’s jump straight into Comics Disassembled, as I look at ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics, led by a new series that has all the markings of something special.

1. The Power Fantasy, Standing Out

Maybe it’s just my weird brain doing its weird brain things, but when I first read about writer Kieron Gillen, artist Caspar Wijngaard, and letterer Clayton Cowles upcoming Image Comics series The Power Fantasy and how its definition of a person having “superpowers” means they have the destructive capabilities of America’s nuclear arsenal, I just started thinking of Phonogram: The Singles Club and…well, Blondie. I saw that description and the “ooooOOOOOO ATOMIC!” page from that comic hit my brain like Seth Bingo and The Silent Girl’s high five in its final panel.

But that’s probably just me, and I’ve digressed from the very start.

The point is, there’s an incredible looking new comic coming, and it’s called The Power Fantasy. It has an incredibly simple pitch, in that it’s about six people who each possess that definition of superpowers, and how “the world’s continued existence relies on them never coming into conflict.” Drama unfolds from there, as it would. The story takes place between 1945 and 1999, and per Gillen, it can be seen as “as an extension of my best work: (The Wicked + The Divine’s alternate-pop culture, a cold-war take on Uber’s realpolitik, Die’s social group drama hyper-charged by genre.” To take it a step further, I’m thinking of it as For All Mankind where the eternal Space Race and its varying astronauts are scientists are replaced by superpowered beings, with all the complications that might cause. It sounds amazing.

I have a hot take about this one, and a tip for retailers who read the site. I predicted 2024 would bring a new Saga to the direct market, in the sense that a real tentpole hit (or three) that shops could hang their hat on would rise this year. Ultimate Spider-Man is one already. The rest of the Ultimate line might offer the same. But I believe The Power Fantasy could be another one. It has all the markings of something that could hit in the market. It features Gillen coming off a run on the X-Men that most would agree was one of the finest in the entire Krakoan Era to launch a new creator-owned book that evokes his most beloved series in The Wicked + The Divine, an apt partner in Wingaard who has been doing tremendous work of late, and it offers a singular focus on a singular title, as Gillen’s putting all of his weight behind the book instead of loading the market with his own work. I think that is a smart play, and it could allow this title to find an audience both with readers and retailers.

If Image plays its cards right, I think this could be a big book, and one that harkens back to that 2012/2013 period where the publisher was dropping hit after hit after hit. It’s a different market, but one that’s desperate for something to connect. Beyond it being something that I think will be exceptional, I think The Power Fantasy could be that book. But we shall see when it hits in August. Oh, and I’ll be talking to Kieron about this (and more) soon on Off Panel, so more on in the next few weeks.

2. Extremity, Going Big

In a wonderfully, shockingly simple campaign, Daniel Warren Johnson and Skybound rolled out a Kickstarter for an Extremity: Signature Edition, which is effectively an Artist’s Edition of the entirety of Johnson’s 12 issue series, all printed at the size of the original pages. Extremity is a great comic, one that was DWJ’s first at Skybound, and this is sure to be glorious, even if it’s going to be massive to an honestly previously inconceivable level. Artist’s Edition are typically in the five to eight issue range, so this having four additional issues on top of that means it won’t just be big in terms of height and width, but in depth as well. This thing is going to be a beast.

That book is almost the totality of the campaign. While there’s an additional book in The Art of Extremity, another hardcover tome that will share a behind-the-scenes look at concept art and developmental sketches, those two items are pretty much it save for some prints. In fact, there are only six tiers, and two of them are just retailer ones allowing shops to get more of these books at a discounted rate. It’s kind of a perfect Kickstarter, besides the fact its price point is making me really wonder if I can commit — it’s $250 for both the Signature Edition and the art book — but to be honest, that says more about me than it does the price. Given how much everything costs today and how big these books are, matching the going rate for the Artist’s Editions releases seems perfectly reasonable to me.

And apparently a whole lot of others as well. As of this moment, the campaign has already surpassed $175,000 on a $40,000 goal. I suspect it will finish at a much higher level. That makes sense, because Johnson is pretty much the hottest name in direct market comics today, which makes all this a pretty wise move by Skybound and DWJ himself. It’s a great way to showcase his remarkable art, while making everyone involved a whole lot of money in the process. Seems smart to me, to be honest!

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