Ahead of Comic-Con this year, Image Comics decided they wanted to do their own thing, so in San Francisco, they put together ‘Image Expo’ to showcase the latest and greatest news coming out of their offices.

Taking a bit of the wind out of SDCC’s sails, the Image Expo made some huge announcements which included exclusive news coming straight from the mouths of such greats as Robert Kirkman, Ed Brubaker and J. Michael Straczynski? Yes it’s going to be THAT kind of a party.

First up is word from Brubaker. He is going to be once again partnering up with Steve Epting (they worked on ‘Captain America’ together for awhile) and be putting out a new crime series entitled ‘Velvet’. ‘Velvet’ will be trying to mix ‘Mission: Impossible’ with a realistic Cold War scenario.

Next up will be Matt Fraction (‘The Invincible Iron Man’, ‘The Immortal Iron Fist’, ‘Uncanny X-Men’ and most recently the critically acclaimed Hawkeye) will be joining with artist Christian Ward to take on a science fiction themed take of ‘Homer’s Odyssey’ entitled ‘ODY-C’.

Rick Remender (‘Punisher’, ‘Venom’) has a couple tricks up his sleeves for us as well! First he’s going to be writing ‘Black Science’ with Matteo Scalera (‘Secret Avengers’) which will be a science fiction themed epic. After that, he is teaming up with Wesley Craig (whose work can be found all over the place) to create a new series involving a high school for hire assassins entitled ‘Deadly Class’.

Mark Millar (‘Kick-Ass’) and Duncan Fegredo (‘Hellboy‘) are putting together ‘MPH’. There really isn’t much information here but one of my favorite writers and artists together? YES PLEASE! Their only tease is that they want it to be like ‘Fantastic Four’ in that he wants to use it as a way to kick off a new sort of “Marvel Universe for the 21st century.” With Millar on board and Fegredo illustrating, I’ll be adding this one to my pull list asap!

Also up, we have Jason Aaron (‘Ghost Rider’,’Punisher MAX’) getitng together with another of my favorite artists Jason Latour (‘B.P.R.D.’) to put together Southern Bastards. This one is a crime story that takes place in Alabama.

J. Michael Straczynski (‘Superman’, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’) is putting out a title ‘Alone’, which will deconstruct how a comic book is written. It will be illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz (‘The New Mutants’, ‘Elektra: Assassin’). They are aiming to give us something completely new and we’ll see how it works.

Darren Arronovsky is trying his hand at writing instead of directing (‘Black Sawn’, ‘Requiem for a Dream’) and plans on doing a graphic novel of Noah (which he is also creating a film of.)

Finally ‘The Walking Dead’ fans have some news that Robert Kirkman is releasing a 7 month story line entitled ‘All Out War’ which will see the comic released twice a month instead of once.

If you are more into technology and standards, one change that may interest you is how a new series will be presented. Digitally at least. Image Comics is going to now release it’s comic books in a DRM free digital format allowing you to read it on any reader. In a world where DRM content is king, any time we see less of it being used is always a good thing for fans as it allows you to read your content how you want to.

So what out of Image Expo are you most excited about? While the news from ‘The Walking Dead’ resonates with me I’m clearly looking forward to hearing more about ‘MPH’ as it comes to light!