SAN DIEGO, DAY 2: A Clearer Image: Valentino, Blaylock, Mack and others reveal plans

[Image Comics]While it seems that DC Comics is the publisher getting the most attention at Comic-Con International in San Diego this year, Jim Valentino and his crew aren't about to hide their aces up their sleeves. "I can tell you as publisher of Image, that when you have people as talented as these, you get the hell out of the way."

One announcement made by Valentino himself was that there would be a trade paperback collection of "Mr.X," a Paul Rivoche series from the early 80's. He also put some rumors to rest by announcing a brand new "Tellos" mini-series called "Second Coming."

Josh Blaylock, of Devil Due's fame and one of the forces behind "G.I Joe," announced that with issue number 11 former Crossgen penciller Kevin Sharpe will become the regular artist. Former regular artist Steve Kurth will be doing a limited series called "Kurza," which will focus on Cobra villain Baron Kurza and will be written by Jim Kreuger. This is also the start of many upcoming Image projects by Jim Kreuger.

"[Larry Hama] is a fun guy to hang out with and we're up for more stuff in the future," said Blaylock of possible future work with the acclaimed former "Joe" scribe.

One of the most jubilant attendants, Colleen Doran, of "A Distant Soil" fame, began by saying "I have nothing to say" but quickly proved herself wrong. "I promised I would never write an epic story agaon, but I signed off on it yesterday," she said, referring to "Zodiac," a new series she's launching that details the conflicts between the twelve warring houses of the zodiac. The series is being produced with Keith Giffen at DC comics and they have a 12 issue commitment, though the story is a 6 year, high fantasy tale with complex layers and nuances. She also briefly discussed her other DC project, "Orbiter," a collaboration with Warren Ellis, which focuses on a lost space shuttle returning after 10 years. Fans were thrilled to learn that "A Distant Soil" has been optioned for TV distribution, though Doran reminded fans that these deals are "a dime a dozen" and not to raise their hopes too high.

Fans of David Mack's "Kabuki" series know about his new project being developed with Andy Lee, but he also revealed plans for further projects in 2003. He says that he plans to aleternate "Kabuki" projects between the painted projects and the written projects with Rick Mays art (IE: "Kabuki Agents"). The next painted series will continue the regular story and the next Mays series will tell thee story of Noh agent Tigerlily. Additionally, Mack also wants to launch a creator-owned project called "Self-Portrait" that he hopes to makes as deep as Kabuki but less veiled under metaphor and more cutting edge in terms of art. He also believes that the departure in style will be "less time consuming."

Jim Mahfood, the newest member of Team Image, was excited about being part of the family. "I sent a bunch of stuff out to people and Jim [Valentino] called me the day he got it. He said 'this shit's cool' and here I am.' Mahfood also said a collection of "Stupid Comics," his underground comic strips will be arriving in stores soon and "Girl Scouts: Work Sucks," a follow-up to the "Girl Scouts" mini-series, will come in January.

Finally, Tone Rodriguez of "Violent Messiahs" fame was able to update fans on the situation of that series. The next arc of that series is in the works and he says there will be "no more massive eight-issue arcs. Also, I really, really want to do 'Shadowhawk...I want to be at Image forever."

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