Wednesday, September 12, 2007

REMEMBERING IMAGE COMICS

*Click image (heh) to enlarge*
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Remember when IMAGE COMICS was born (1992)?!! Sure it quickly kind of fell apart like wet tissue, but when it first came on the scene there was an energy in the comics industry I had never witnessed before! Marvel's top pencillers LEAVING Marvel to start their own INDY comic company? What? That's pure madness! Nothing can survive against the Big Two (Marvel & DC)!! Well they didn't fail, that's for sure. Creator's rights, paperstock, coloring, art style and storytelling all changed. The Comics Industry itself was forever changed; good and bad.

During that initial push, and a few years after, I was really digging alot of stuff coming from Image. It didn't hurt, too, that at the time both Marvel and DC were churning out some horrible crap. Under the "IMAGE" banner were several "studios", each run by one of the 7 co-creators; Todd McFarlane, Erik Larson, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Jim Valentino and Whilce Portacio. Others soon followed like Dale Keown, Jae Lee and Sam Keith to name a few.
[more info on Image's Origin]

Personally, I loved Jim Lee's "WILDSTORM" line of books! It's flagship title was WILDCATS helmed by Jim Lee himself, who was at his peak of performance just coming off of a stellar X-MEN run. Man, he was ON FIRE then! For a handful of years, Wildstorm books were my favorite bunch of books; Wildcats, Team 7, Deathblow, Grifter, Stormwatch, Backlash, Gen13 and DV8 to name a few. Of course, looking back, I'm not as thrilled with them... partially due to at the time I was on the road to becoming an Illustrator and I loved the pencil work in those book, so the ART was a large selling point for me. I suppose, too, it was merely a different time back then that fit well with where I was in my life.

Anyway, while Image is no longer the same Image it once was (good and bad), I still look back on that short energetic era with fond memories. I've posted some covers that I feel capture that initial burst of excitement. Whew! Look at dem colors! That right there is a color palette defining the 1990-era of comics, if you ask me!

Funny enough, the only book that's still going strong, and for the most part still the "same" book is Erik Larson's SAVAGE DRAGON (#125 and going) and STILL drawn by Larson! SPAWN is still alive (#175 and going) but has changed over the years, beginning with McFarlane no longer handling artchores early on. All the other "1st/2nd Batch" Image Comics rarely made it to or past 50.....or 20...or 10! While SOME others are technically still around, they have been rebooted and retconned to the point of being different books themselves. And many moved onto other places - like Wildstorm is now being published by DC Comics. The only Image book I read now is THE WALKING DEAD, which is a fantastic zombie series begging to adapted into an HBO series!

(did anyone actually read this long post?)

2 comments:

Scott King said...

For ongoing books I've really enjoyed Kirkman's "Invincible" as well as "Walking Dead." "Powers" is also good but had to move to Marvel's Icon line just so Bendis could be Marvel Exclusive.

But I do think they produce some really decent mini-series. "Ultra: Seven Days" by the Luna Brothers might be one of my top ten comics.

Jim said...

oh yeah, INVINCIBLE!!! I have all three hardcover books! sweet! Powers is really good, too! Thanks, Scott!

I haven't tried Ultra.... I enjoyed their Spider-Woman miniseries they did for Marvel. I've heard mixed reviews about their GIRLS series, tho....