Eric Stephenson on The Debut of Image+

April 27, 2016

Eric Stephenson on The Debut of Image+

At a 7-Eleven or the local Fred Meyer, the response would have been "I don't know" and an empty smile, but I came away from my first experience in a comics shop not only with some new comics by one of my all-time favorite artists, but a rudimentary understanding of an interesting new concept that would figure into my future endeavors: creator-owned comics.

I also got to hear some news about what to expect in some of the comics I was already reading, along with some life-altering information about what day new comics actually went on sale. I was given a flyer for a small local comics convention, and found out about a mail-order company that specialized in cheap back issues. I could not have been more thrilled.

We take it for granted sometimes, but comic book stores are pretty special.

Even with the proliferation of comics material available online or in bookstores or on our phones, the local comics shop is still the only place we can go that caters to our specific interests, the only place we can hang out and talk comics with a community of fellow travelers eager to hear the latest news about our favorite creators or series. Sure, a lot of that information is available online, but there's just something more exciting about hearing it in your favorite shop.

And that's why we're launching Image+ this month—to help bring some of that excitement back to comics shops by giving you a first look at some of our upcoming comics before that information shows up anywhere else.

We get things started this issue with the first part of an exclusive new Walking Dead serial by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard, insightful interviews with Monstress writer Marjorie Liu and Eisner Award-winning colorist of everything Jordie Bellaire about finding their way in comics and refining their skills, plus an extended first look at Scott Snyder & Jeff Lemire’s greatly anticipated graphic novel, A.D. Plus, as you may have already noticed, King City creator and Island editor Brandon Graham will be contributing an ongoing series of comic strips about comics, and in an effort to shine the spotlight on comics shops themselves, we’ve got the first of several profiles intended to introduce some of the Direct Market’s retailers to a wider audience. East of West artist Nick Dragotta provides some more details about an all-new non-profit designed to help creators everywhere break into comics.

And that’s just our first issue!

Every month, we’re going to be sharing as much information as we can gather about everyone involved in the comics we publish, plus previews, exclusive comics, and big surprises about what we have planned for the future. If there’s an opportunity to announce something here instead of online or at a convention, you can bet it will happen, and don’t be surprised if sometimes the only place to see what’s happening in upcoming issues of your favorite comics is right here in these pages. The hope is that everything we put into Image+ will serve as a conversation starter at your local shop and continue the tradition of building a real life community so that—whether you've been visiting your store for years or it's your very first time—you feel equally at home.

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Every month, IMAGE+ will deliver spotlights on brand new series, interviews with amazing creators, centerfold posters, spotlights on comic shops, and extended previews of upcoming works, in addition to a brand-new chapter of THE WALKING DEAD: HERE'S NEGAN! by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard, the twelve-part origin of the meanest villain to ever stalk Rick and the other survivors. IMAGE+ is available in comic shops free with purchase of the Diamond Previews catalog or for $1.99 on its own. IMAGE+ 01 is available now, and IMAGE+ 02 and IMAGE+ 03 are orderable with the Diamond Codes APR160003 and MAY160003, respectively. You can use the Comic Shop Locator to find a store!