Official Press Release
BERKELEY, CA -- 17 FEBRUARY, 2005 -- Just when we needed him most, that cigar-chomping, carbine-cradling, ass-kicking pontiff, BATTLE POPE, and his simple sidekick, Jesus H. Christ, are returning to comic shelves...this time in full color!
Yes, you heard right. In response to much demand (and despite protests from the Vatican), Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore's politically incorrect initial foray into comics returns in a monthly series from Image Comics.
From 2000 to 2002, Kirkman published the adventures of BATTLE POPE through his own company, Funk-o-tron. When Kirkman and Moore leapt to Image for BRIT and, eventually, THE WALKING DEAD, it was feared by the diehard faithful that BATTLE POPE would never be seen again.
Realizing that thousands of Kirkmaniacs have never had the fortune to read BATTLE POPE, and that no one has been lucky enough to enjoy the book in color, Kirkman has decided to bring the original series back into print at Image Comics.
"Val Staples, the cover colorist on the original series has always been BATTLE POPE's biggest fan. He loves the book, always has. Ever since he started coloring the covers he's always been itching to color the book. At one point he had even asked about doing a color trade through MV Creations," says Kirkman. "I've always been open to the idea and with the fifth anniversary of the first issue's debut coming up in June I thought now would be the perfect time to do it."
Image Executive Director Eric Stephenson is excited to be bringing the book back into print, and thinks readers unfamiliar with BATTLE POPE are in for a surprise.
"BATTLE POPE is Robert Kirkman Unleashed," says Stephenson. "Completely over the top. Completely insane. If your perception of Robert is based solely on INVINCIBLE, THE WALKING DEAD and Marvel Team-Up, prepared to be knocked for a loop."
The first fifteen issues of the monthly BATTLE POPE will present the original series of mini-series, as well as the individual BATTLE POPE one-shots. As for what might come after Kirkman runs out of material to reprint...well, it's a problem that won't come up until at least 2007, but he's leaving the door open for new POPE stories.
"I may just continue the numbering and do new stuff, but we'll see when we get there," says Kirkman. "There was never an ending for the book, the last issue didn't really have any kind of closure, so doing new stuff wouldn't be a bad idea."
The original BATTLE POPE saga was composed of a series of inter-related mini-series, and included Battle Pope 1-4, Battle Pope Shorts 1, Battle Pope Mayhem 1-2, Battle Pope Shorts 2-3, Battle Pope Christmas Popetacular, Battle Pope Wrath of God 1-3 and Battle Pope Presents: St Michael 1-3.
"The original Pope stuff was a series of scattered mini-series and one shots, and none of them were terribly self-contained stories," adds Kirkman. "It was written like a regular series with subplots and stuff carrying over from one book to the next. So it's almost like we're finally getting it right. Doing this book as BATTLE POPE 1-15 makes much more sense."
One aspect of the original BATTLE POPE that shouldn't be overlooked is the number of talented artists who first got their feet wet with the book.
"Robert has an uncanny talent for discovering amazing young artists," notes Stephenson. "And this is where a great many of them honed their craft."
The series featured Tony Moore as artist on the lion's share of pages but also showcased early work by Cory Walker (Invincible), E.J. Su (Sam & Twitch), Mark Kidwell (Night of the Living Dead) Matthew Roberts (Four Letter Worlds), Terry Stevens (the upcoming Nowhere Men) and even a few by Kirkman himself. All the issues will eventually be collected in the new series, along with material originally created exclusively for the black and white BATTLE POPE trade paperback collections.
BATTLE POPE artist Tony Moore is providing brand new covers for the book, and Val Staples is coloring the whole series. Moore also provides covers for Kirkman's THE WALKING DEAD, now illustrated by Charlie Adlard.
The first issue of BATTLE POPE will be solicited in the April issue of Diamond PREVIEWS and will hit store shelves in June.
Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently four partners in Image Comics (Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into three major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today.
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