Image Forms a Pact

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Image Comics founding partner Jim Valentino has been a busy man of late.
First, he pulled his seminal independent creation, Normalman, out of retirement for a twentieth anniversary special.  Next, he reintroduced ShadowHawk in a brand new one-shot.  Now, he's assembled a team of top Image talent to do something that's never been done before.

Beginning in March, Image Comics will debut THE PACT, a four issue miniseries starring four of Image's youngest superheroes.  Along with Valentino's legendary ShadowHawk, THE PACT includes Robert Kirkman's Invincible, Phil Hester's Firebreather, and Jay Faerber's Zephyr, from the pages of NOBLE CAUSES.

The twist is that each issue will be written by the creators of the characters involved, a first for a comic book miniseries.  Part of the fun, according to Valentino, is that each writer is working independently of the others.

"Part of the excitement of this project for me is that I don't know what Jay, Robert or Phil are going to do. I think that 'surprise element' has been gone from comics for far too long," says Valentino.  "I'm really looking forward to this, these are great writers, great artists. This, to me, is what it's supposed to be about--fun. And I think this is a really fun experiment."

Each issue will also feature a different artist bringing the group to life. Valentino will be handling his own story, kicking off the series.  The second chapter, written by Jay Faerber, will be illustrated by rising star Carlo Barberi (Justice League Unlimited).  Phil Hester's third chapter will be handled by recent Comic Book Resources Comic Book Idol contest winner Carlos Rodriguez (see details at comicbookresources.com), and Robert Kirkman's concluding story will be drawn by relative newcomer Jason Howard.

Once Valentino pitched the idea, the other writers were quick to jump on board.

Hester sees the book as a chance to rekindle a bit of comic book magic that seems to be missing from most mainstream books these days.

"Remember how you felt the first time you saw Superman race the Flash, or Spider-Man interact with Daredevil, or Dragon mix it up with Spawn?," asks Hester.  "I see The Pact as a chance to recapture that sort of thrill. You have characters that are just as exciting and well-realized as the big icons, but free from all the continuity baggage encumbering those historic heroes. I hope the feeling readers get from The Pact is that anything could happen in any issue. It's a team book that doesn't have to kowtow to the status quo."

Jay Faerber wasn't any harder to convince than Hester.

"Jim had me at the words 'team up'," says the NOBLE CAUSES and FIREBIRDS writer.  "I love the idea of a shared Image universe, so I'm always up for projects that promote that idea. And the opportunity to write ShadowHawk, Invincible, and Firebreather was too good to pass up! I've wanted to work Carlo Barberi for a couple years now, and when The Pact idea started evolving, he was on my short list."

Kirkman is just happy for the chance to play with a handful of Image icons.

"When Jim approached me about writing an issue of The Pact I was thrilled," says the bearded wordsmith.  "When else am I going to get a chance to write ShadowHawk, Firebreather and play around in the Noble Causes universe? These are all characters I love independently.  I've followed all their appearances in the past and I'm thrilled to be able to participate in bringing them together.  Jim has a great idea here... I'm just glad he let me tag along."

As for the motivation for the characters involved, according to Valentino, it was only natural that the younger Image superheroes would hang out together.

"They're all roughly the same age, around seventeen. They all come from rather dysfunctional families and they're all trying to figure out their place in the world, not just as people, but as heroes." says Valentino. "I think this team has all the elements of a great series. One that can touch upon the drama and the humor of being a teenager as well as provide some kick-ass action. I think there will be a lot of great stories to be told, these will just be the first four!"

THE PACT #1 is solicited in the January PREVIEWS, and will hit stores in March.

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