It’s been a while, but The Old Guard co-creator Greg Rucka is headed back to comics with a new Image Comics series launching in March 2023 — and this one might be the most metal space opera you can imagine.
Forged, the new series co-written by Rucka and his Lazarus X+66 collaborator Eric Trautmann, with art by Nailbiter’s Mike Henderson, is set in what the publisher describes as “the 11th Millennium of the rule of the Eternal Empress.” But there’s more to this title than just following the elite soldiers discovering that their world isn’t what they expected it to be. Image also describes the series as “an over-the-top pulp adventure of sex, violence, and sci-fi inspired by Conan, Heavy Metal, and other comics you tried to hide from your parents,” which pretty much makes it sound like the best comic of 2023 even before the year has started.
Image’s official description of the first issue looks like this:
“In the 11th Millennium of the rule of the Eternal Empress, a squad of planet-smashing super soldiers find their routine mission to be anything but. These are the Forged. They take no prisoners. Written by Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann and brought to the page by Mike Henderson, embark upon an over-the-top pulp adventure of sex, violence, and sci-fi inspired by Conan, Heavy Metal, and other comics you tried to hide from your parents.”
About the project Rucka says, “Eric Trautmann and I have been chasing this story for years now, driven by the desire to tell an over-the-top story space opera/pulp mash-up... We had it all in our heads, but it wasn’t until Mike came aboard and added his secret sauce that we could pin it down and make it finally happen. His storytelling is glorious, and with Nolan’s inspired colors and Ariana’s deft touch with the lettering, we finally have a package we’re excited to share. This is meant to be fun, front to back, that’s been our goal since we started.”
“We started batting ideas around for Forged what feels like a thousand years ago, so it's extremely gratifying to see it now,” agrees Trautmann. “Mike's special alchemy has led to what we think is a hell of a fun project, full of pedal-to-the-floor action, exotic locations, and extremely explodey violence… fun for the whole family."
So, what brought Henderson to the project? To hear him tell it, it’s the strength of the concept behind the series. “There are some ideas you put everything else on hold for and when I heard what Greg and Eric had had brewing for so long in Forged, I knew it was one of them,” he raves. “When I knew Nolan and Ariana had also come aboard to help make it what it's become, I knew it for sure. It's been so much fun to build this universe in the orbit of their idea that I hope I pass that fun on to everyone who reads it. If nothing else, I hope they hear heavy metal riffs shredding over every page."
(An added benefit for format junkies: at just over 8 inches by just over 10 inches, each issue will be larger than a regular comic, and seem more like the Heavy Metal/Eurocomics fantasy that it’s drawing its inspiration from. Surely I’m not the only one unreasonably excited about that?)
Forged #1 will be available March 15, 2023. Look below for a special preview from the first issue.
There's a lot of new Image Comics launches coming in 2023, including a new horror series from James Tynion IV.