The Middle Ground #28 | Sometimes, it’s good to be lost
You’ve probably seen the various Image Comics teasers that’ve been released over the last week or so. They’ve been pretty eye-catching, with some nice design (In particular, I love the font they’ve chosen), weird obtuse dialogue and curiously alluring artwork. But you know what I really, really love about them? I have no idea what they’re for.
Normally, comic teasers come along and, even if you don’t know what series in particular it’s advertising, or what the answer to the exact question they’re asking is, you have a pretty good idea of what it’s all about. “Who is The Man Without Fear?” may not get you to “Oh, Black Panther is taking over Daredevil’s book,” but it pretty clearly says “They’re replacing Daredevil at the end of this Shadowlands crossover, looks like.” Same with these Age of X teasers that Marvel are currently putting out: I may not recognize the characters being slowly unveiled, but it’s an X-Men book that looks like it’ll be another Age of Apocalypse altered timeline deal. For all that they may tease – and some of them do – they also reinforce preconceptions and, in some cases, spoil what’s going on in the books you’re reading at that moment. Not so, these Image teasers.
One advantage that the Image teasers have is that Image doesn’t have the… set mentality, I guess would be a good way of saying it, of Marvel or DC – Both companies have trained their audience well to know what characters are being focused on, what series are upcoming and what creators are going to be working on them (That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I should add). But Image, by its very nature, is so much more scattered that, even if this teased series was a spin-off from an existing book, it’s not even clear what book that would be – and, anyway, it being an Image book, it’s much more likely to be a new idea as opposed to a relaunch of a character or series that we’ve seen two or three times before, already.
And so, each new teaser brings with it some new level of suspicion or analysis about what it’s all about. Social satire (That Jay Leno/Dick Chaney team-up in the new image suggests as much, right?)? Cosmic social satire (considering the original “shape of the universe” image)? Mixing politics and religion for a cocktail of something sure to offend everyone…? I really have no idea, and that fact alone keeps me watching out to see what comes next.