When the San Diego Comic-Con released its schedule of events for Thursday, July 21st one event stood out. Amongst all the various panels of current publishers hawking their wares was an event scheduled for 5pm to 6pm in Room 23ABC, “First Comics: The First of the Great Independents Is Back with a Fury!”  So the Chicago-based (OK, it started in Evanston) First Comics, which published a number of creator-owned comics during an eight-year run from 1983-1991, is coming back to life. 
Like Eclipse Comics and Pacific Comics, which preceded it (First was hardly the “first” of the independent publishers), and Dark Horse Comics, which followed it into the marketplace in 1986, First took advantage of the burgeoning direct market and was able to lure some top creators from Marvel and DC with the promise of allowing them to retain ownership of their creations.  First Comics published a wide range of titles including American Flagg, Grimjack, Jon Sable, Starslayer, and Warp.  It also took over the publication of Nexus and Badger from Capital Comics, E-Man from Charlton and Dreadstar from Epic.  Because First Comics, like the other independents was not a member of the Comics Magazine Association of America and its books did not carry the Comics Code seal, the creators who worked for them were able to include more mature content.
The panelists listed for San Diego are an interesting group that includes some original members of the First Comics team such as co-founder Ken Levin, art director Alex Wald, and creators Joe Staton and Nick Cuti (E-Man).  But the panel also includes a couple of creators who were active in the 1980s, but not so much for First Comics—Bill Willingham, who did The Elementals for Comics and who has found fame and fortune as the creator of Fables for Vertigo, and Max Allan Collins, whose Ms. Tree was published first by Renegade and then by Eclipse.  And then there are some newer faces including Susannah Carson, who will become First Comics YA editor, and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, who is primarily known for his Webcomics (he is the inventor of the Tarquirn engine, a flash script for creating online comics).  Larry Young, who heads up the indie graphic novel publisher AiT/Planet Lar, will be head of production for the new First Comics.
Exactly which First Comics titles will be resurrected and what we might expect from those new creators who are attending the First Comics panel most likely won’t be revealed until San Diego. Stay tuned for more details.