This July, "The Drowned" surfaces from Image

Official Press Release

Orange, CA -- 8 April, 2004 -- A village of drowned witches beneath the ocean's waves, a secret and deadly cabal of priests, a ritual of murder by baptism, a furious attendance of crows, and a treasure locked in a sacred reliquary.

Welcome to THE DROWNED, an 80-page original graphic novella by husband and wife team Jim Di Bartolo (art) and Laini Taylor (writing).

Set in France in 1800, THE DROWNED follows the path of Theophile, who has been locked in an insane asylum for five years when he is compelled by unseen forces to escape. He makes his way home to the haunted Breton coast of western France, where he follows the tatters of his memory back to the ungodly event he witnessed as a child, an event that destroyed his family and cast an unholy pall on his entire town. A pawn in the grip of a loved one he has long believed dead, Theophile becomes entangled in not one story of supernatural vengeance, but two.

This dark story of madness, horror, and witchcraft unfolds, secret upon secret, twist upon twist, to its surprising conclusion.

THE DROWNED, a fully painted graphic novel, is the first collaboration between the husband and wife team. The seed of the idea for the story was a dream Laini had as a girl, about a village at the very edge of the sea that was swallowed at high tide. Together, Laini and Jim worked out the rest of the details until they'd covered just about every frightening and taboo subject that came to mind.

While Di Bartolo and Taylor are both newcomers to the field of comics, their work has garnered some lofty praise from those who have seen their work, including Eisner Awared winner George Pratt and Top Shelf Productions' Brett Warnock.

"I have known Jim and Laini for several years now and have been impressed by their considerable skills and the growth in their beautiful and resonant work," said Pratt. "When I met Jim, he was diving headfirst into the labyrinth of sequential storytelling and was determined to not rehash old comic book cliches. Additionally, I found Laini's work to be wonderful and her writing effectively pulled me into her world, conjuring strong images and emotions.

"THE DROWNED (both art and script) has been gestating with them for some time, and it has only become richer and more layered. I'm anxious to climb aboard and enjoy the rollercoaster ride this book promises to be. I'm thankful they're willing to share their unique talents with the rest of us."

"THE DROWNED is a wonderful mystery/drama that fully engages with the delirious zeitgeist of a post-millennium 19th Century Europe," adds Warnock. "The taut script moves the story along at breakneck speed, and the delicious art perfectly captures the paranoid delusions of our protagonist as he struggles desperately to find meaning in his mad world. Bravo!"

THE DROWNED will be available for order in the May issue of Previews and is scheduled to go on sale July 7.

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 the third largest comics publisher 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, which is the home of THE DROWNED). 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. Visit www.imagecomics.com for more information.

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