"I don't think of stories in terms of genre," Rucka told the crowd at Dark Horse's preview panel Sunday at Seattle's Emerald City Comicon. "The first I realized that this was a horror story was when I was on the horror comics panel in New York at Comicon."
The comic by Rucka and artist Toni Fejzula, centered around an amnesiac young woman living in a subway, reaches its second issue April 2. Rucka's talk on the project led off Dark Horse's panel of previews by creators looking at their upcoming work, alongside Frank J. Barbiere, Bryan J.L. Glass, Matt Kindt, Jai Nitz, Michael Avon Oeming and Adam Warren. Kindt's psionic spy story "MIND MGMT," Oeming's psychologically inspired "The Victories," Warren's "Empowered" and Barbiere's four-issue "The White Suits" all shared the spotlight.
Each creator praised Dark Horse as a welcoming home for unorthodox ideas, like artist Oeming's first venture as sole writer, penciler and inker on "The Victories" -- crafting a story based on his own recent experiences in psychotherapy. The book pursues the notion that individual psychology and society at large are interrelated.
"I've just been having a really good time exorcising demons and just getting it out on paper," Oeming said of his superhero romp. "It's really been a form of therapy. Only Dark Horse would allow me to do this kind of thing."
Writer Jai Nitz returns for a second cycle of his 2013 miniseries "Dream Thief," about a man possessed by the ghosts of murder victims and forced to carry out their revenge. "Dream Thief: Escape" is slated to begin in June, with art by Nitz's fellow Lawrence, Kansas resident Greg Smallwood.
"It's like a reverse 'Quantum Leap,'" Nitz said of his protagonist's dilemma. "Instead of him jumping into other peoples bodies and making their lives better, other people jump into his body and make his life worse."
Kindt's "Mind MGMT," a tale of psychic-powered espionage agents now 24 issues deep, gets special treatment in July with Dark Horse's "Starting Points" program, which introduces readers to ongoing series. Dark Horse publicity director Jeremy Atkins said the idea is to rope buyers in at accessible points in a given series, so they don't feel forced catch up with multiple issues before jumping on board with the latest one.
Warren's >a href="/tag/empowered">"Empowered," about a superheroine with a less-than-reliable costume, should launch a second volume in 2015. First, however, it received an injection of outside talent from "King City" creator Brandon Graham, who illustrated the "Internal Medicine" one-shot, which was recently released.
"As a writer-artist, you have more control over the whole thing, on how production proceeds as well as what the results are like," Warren said. "But working with another artist is kind of a wild card thing."
Glass' "Furious" debuted in January, satirizing media fascination with young celebrities in decline. Its heroine, a fallen actress who sets out to rehab herself with newfound superpowers, calls herself the Beacon, but after she's caught manhandling criminals, news reporters take to calling her Furious instead.
"She can want to be the Beacon to her heart's content," said Glass, "but now the media has labeled her."
The fourth issue of the five-part miniseries, with art by Victor Santos, hits stands April 30. Fellow writer Barbiere praised "Furious" as "the only comic I've ever read on the subway and three different people have asked me what I was reading."
For his part, Barbiere promised a deepening mystery as "The White Suits," his four-issue miniseries with artist Toby Cypress, heads toward its June conclusion. The tale of a mysterious death squad eliminating rival gangs in New York finds an FBI agent following the clues, while an amnesia victim comes to realize his own connection to the killers.
"To get all this into four issues has been really teachable for me as a writer, but I feel like we accomplished it," Barbiere said. "At the core I think it's really about the choices we make and what happens when we use violence to solve an issue."
Stay tuned to CBR News for more on Dark Horse's upcoming projects.