Sunday, March 12, 2017

NWCG Top 5 Countdown - Image Comics

Good Morning,

We're all about countdown's and comics! Northwest Comics & Games Presents the Top 5 Countdown of Image Comics.  Here's some history about Image Comics. On February 1, 1992 Image Comics launched with seven comic superstars (Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, & Jim Valentino) forming a company that focuses on creator owned comics. While the initial comics launched with massive sales most of the comics lacked the sophisticated storytelling to keep readers coming back.

5. Youngblood The very first comic that Image published in 1992 was Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood. Liefeld was on the seven partners that defected from Marvel to form Image so it’s absolutely vital that we recognise his efforts despite many of the shortcomings the comic has. Looking at Youngblood now is like a time capsule into 90s comics and superhero aesthetic. Its big muscles, exaggerated poses, endless violence and over the top stories. It’s big and bold. The first issue was the best selling independent comic at the time of its release. While the series was panned by critics it’s important to recognise Youngblood’s importance on the comic book industry and creator’s rights. With the relaunch of the series coming in 2017 we’re hoping to get a new quality Youngblood series that lives up to its full potential.

4.  The Maxx Sam Kieth’s creator-owned series about a homeless man who imagines himself as the powerful protector of an alternate reality known as the Outback, was one of the first Image books to reach a mainstream audience after it was adapted into an animated series that ran on MTV in 1995. The series wasn’t as popular as the first superhero wave of Image books from the early 90s but The Maxx was always critically acclaimed and continues to be recognised as a unique work by Keith. For being the first critical darling and the first Image comic to get an adaptation The Maxx rightly deserves its place in the top 10. Recently IDW Publishing started to republished The Maxx in a recolorized format with some new artwork from Kieth.

3. Savage Dragon Launched in 1993 Savage Dragon is true ode to the creator-owned comic ideal. Erik Larsen has written and drawn the comic to this day, setting a number of records in the process. Savage Dragon is the longest running American full color comic book to feature a single artist/writer, is the only Image book from the early 90s to still have its original creator working on the series, and is one of two Image books that were part of the initial launch that is still releasing new issues today (the other being Spawn). The series was adapted into an animated series that aired on USA Network in the mid-90s. The comic is heading to issue to 250. Thank to Larsen’s continued ownership and involvement the comic has been of a consistent quality and it deserves to be hire than Spawn.

2. Witchblade Witchblade has been a live-action TV series, a magna series, an anime series, and even spawned spin-offs (The Darkness). Creators Michael Turner, Marc Silvestri, David Wohl, Brian Haberlin and Christina Z’s supernatural tale about a New York detective and the gauntlet that gives her her powers remains one of Image Comics longest-running titles. What it lacks in consistent quality it makes up for in amazing art and longevity. If you’re new to series pick up Volume 1: Witch Hunt which is where Ron Marz begins his well-respected run on Witchblade and is a great jumping-on point.

1. Spawn Spawn is probably the best know Image Comic of all time. When the series launched in 1992 creator Todd McFarlane was on the best known artists in the world. The first issues sold nearly 1.7 million copies and remained Image’s top-seller a few years after the series debut. McFarlane was smart and within the first 20 issues, the series brought in industry icons as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Frank Miller and Neil Gaiman to write scripts. A number of other series spun off from Spawn, including Angela (now owned by Marvel), Curse of the Spawn, Hellspawn and Sam & Twitch, the latter well known for helping launch Brian Michael Bendis’ career. The series is also well known for it’s art by Greg Capullo, now a superstar after his run on Batman. We’d be remiss not to mention the Spawn toys, which led to the creation of McFarlane Toys, one of the most successful action figure companies in industry history. The popular comic also spawned a 1997 major motion picture and there has been constant talk about a reboot. Spawn is still being published today and is heading for issue 300 which is just amazing from a creator owned comic. For that it deserves to be recognised!