“Joe Keatinge has established himself as the latest new writer I want to undermine and destroy. It’s just top class stuff.”
- Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Civil War, Wanted, Ultimates)

"I think Joe is definitely one to watch."
- Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead, Invincible)

e-mail: joe@keatinge.com

Big News #2 (of 4): BRUTAL

I’ve been vague about four pieces of Big News for a while now. The first was me signing with Paradigm. The second was announced at San Diego. Two more will be revealed at NYCC. There will likely be more.

This time around:

You’ve probably heard me mention I’m working on a book with Frank Cho. There’s a chance you’ve read it’s called BRUTAL.

It’s official now.

One of the greatest moments of my entire life was when this came up on the Image panel and the entire audience had a huge gasp of both excitement and disgust. 

Here’s what that looked like.

This was during the CREATOR OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN panel. From left to right is Image’s marketing coordinator Sarah Delaine, Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson, that Robert Kirkman guy, brilliant writer Jonathan Hickman, other brilliant writer and one of my favorite talk show hosts Jonathan Ross, Frank Cho and… HOLY CRAP WAS THAT BRIAN K. VAUGHN AND FIONA STAPLES?! Yes, it was! They announced their new book, SAGA, which was my pick for News Of The Show.

So, yeah, having my new funnybook announced on a panel with such a pedigree of creators was pretty damn exciting. Furthermore, I’ve talked about how Image Comics IS why I started creating comics, so to have a superhero book I’m writing with a massively popular artist be announced to come out on their 20th anniversary feels like the culmination of my own 20th anniversary of my first having the dream of writing comics means everything to me. I’m extremely flattered by it all. They did a great job with the debut.

Speaking of which, if you notice the teaser Image contained a watermark saying it was a Comic Book Resources exclusive. This is because it was and damn those fellas did such an amazing job with the news.

Here’s a snippet from their interview:


We know that “Brutal” is about a super-assassin, but that’s about it. What else can you tell us about the book’s concept?

Keatinge: It’s about this assassin — who we’ve never said the name of before, but should — who only goes by her last name, Stone. She’ll take out any superpowered character, superheroes and supervillains, but one ground rule we came up with early on was that there was no purely good guys and no purely bad guys, so it’s shades of gray. Regardless, she’ll take down anyone from a Superman-type guy to a Batman-type guy or a Doctor Doom-type guy, she’ll take them all out for half a billion dollars. She does have a support team, but it’s primarily just this one woman, Stone, who has an exceedingly increasing amount of power. When she’s first found, she’s taking out non-superpowered people, just any sort of hit, but if you notice, she’s progressively going after more and more powerful superbeings. Basically, what happens over the course of the first issue is she gets the attention of the wrong people by taking out some more powerful characters. The people behind the superpeople are getting pissed and go after her to see where the money trail is going. She’s accumulated all this money, it’s got to be going towards something. They want to take her out and also find out where all the money’s been going.

Cho: The main villain is not even a villain; he’s actually a billionaire businessman who’s just curious where all the money is going, so he hires her just to follow the money. He realizes it’s going to all these really high-tech weapons. That piques his curiosity, and it leads to this massive, massive twist at the end where you think it’s going to this one point, but [winds up] completely on a different page. The big reveal at the end of the final page —

Keatinge: Don’t say anything, what are you doing?[Laughs]

Check out the full transcript here. They’ve got more coming, but I’ll let them tell you about it.

Here are some nice things The Internet had to say.


Frank Cho is one of the most respected artists working today, bringing an insane amount of dynamism and detail to every page. So when Image announced his new creator-owned miniseries with Joe Keatinge, Brutal, sparks started flying. Cho’s work has always been sort of mannered, so to see him tackling extremely violent content is new. The book tells the story of Stone, a female assassin who specializes in taking out super-powered people, be they hero or villain, for a half a billion dollars a pop. It’s the kind of concept that Hollywood will drool over, so expect multimedia motion on this one.

Bleeding Cool

[Frank Cho] has another book called Brutal with Joe Keatinge about an female assassin with a refreshingly uncomplicated view on life.

Multiversity Comics

The series will poke fun at some of the established heroes from Marvel and DC, with every superhero and villain Stone goes after being an analogue for a more famous character. Cho and Keatinge also tease a big twist with the first issue, so keep your eyes out for that when the series comes out.

Nuvole Parlanti

Frank Cho, che è uno dei miei disegnatori preferiti, ha annunciato una nuova serie, Brutal, realizzata con l’amico editor e sceneggiatore Joe Keatinge.

Il titolo del progetto è perfetto per descrive in maniera efficace il tonoiperviolento a cui verremo sottoposti pagina dopo pagina, in poche parole ci sarà una super signorina che, per la modica cifra di 500 milioni di dollari, può essere ingaggiata per uccidere altri superumani, siano essi eroi o malvagi. Quando il numero dei morti comincerà a salire cosa se ne fa la protagonista di tutti quei soldi?

And finally, thanks to Borg.com, here’s a picture of me apparently not being all that impressed with how Frank holds up my iPad.