SAN DIEGO, DAY 4: Image Comics to publish Kaniuga's "Creed"

[Creed]Returning to one's roots is always an exciting adventure and for Trent Kaniuga, currently finishing a successful run on Marvel Comics' "Ghost Rider," returning to his roots means revisiting a character he created when he was just 15 years old, Creed.

Creed began almost ten years ago as a black and white comic self-published by Kaniuga. It was noticed by comics publisher Lightning Comics and switched to a color format when the title was published through them. After a couple of years of working on Creed, Kaniuga made the hard decision to take some time off while he pursued a career in Los Angeles in fashion and animation design. "You hear stories about guys who are artists, making a living at it in Los Angeles. It was a dream of mine to do that. I got a job offer doing clothing design, doing stuff along the lines of what I wanted, in an iIlustration style and I took it," Kaniuga told CBR News Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Kaniuga returned to Creed a year ago and self-published it through his own Gear Box Press, but in January 2002 he makes the big switch to Image Comics to publish his latest 4 issue series, "Creed: Utopiate." This time around, though, he has support in the form of Christina Z, the popular writer of Top Cow comics.

Kaniuga and Z became acquainted when they worked on pitches for various television programs. The relationship worked well and the natural progression for them was to work on a comic together. Z had some ideas for Creed and pitched them to Kaniuga.

"Trent showed me Creed and I immediately had my own idea of a story I wanted to do," Z told CBR News. "It's a much darker sort of feel. He responded positively to the idea, but it was very different than anything from before. He suggested he paint it, making it even more different. Then we hit up Image with it. A totally new, different, darker, edgy and sexy book"

Kaniuga will be paint the new series using a variety of mixed media such as water color, charcoal, grease pen, "Rubbings of leaves ... anything I can find!" He'll then scan in the finished artwork and work on it further using Photoshop.

"Previously there was a very personal, journal type of quality to the story," Kaniuga commented. "I don't want top say it was an art book, but it was very personal. Now with Christina it's much more streamlined and orderly."

One of the goals of this creative team is to turn Creed into something that can be sold as a movie property and franchised for merchandise. As a result, the book will have a more cinematic feel than in previous editions

"This is a great place for people to jump on [to Creed]," said Kaniuga. "People who originally liked Creed will appreciate the evolution in the character."

There are plans for variant covers for the series, but no artists have been announced yet. Kaniuga does have a dream list of creators he'd like to see contribute a cover including artists Ale Garza, Mike Mignola and Sam Kieth.

"Creed: Utopiate" is scheduled to be in stores January, 2002.

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