Thursday, June 19, 2014

Image is Everything: An Introduction

A couple weeks back, I made an appearance on an episode of Geek Fallout: The Comic Book Episodes where we discussed Image Comics. You can listen to it here.

As a young comic reader in the early to mid-nineties, the formation of Image Comics was an absolutely mind-blowing event. Top talents from Marvel, my one true love at the time, jumped ship to form their own company without all the Comics Code restrictions and editorial interference. Regardless the quality of several titles, I still dove right in and devoured most of the books that this newly founded publisher put on the shelves. But my love and admiration for everything eXtreme had to start somewhere, right?

Yup, that's Spawn issue number three, dated August 1992, and it's the first Image comic that I ever picked up. It's not the exact copy; the original is tucked away in a bin somewhere, but I found this second copy in the dollar-bins at my local comic shop the other day and couldn't leave it behind. It's not a particularly thrilling issue, but I suffer severe bouts of nostalgia just flipping through it. Something that's worth the price of admission alone.

Obviously, this is -very- early in the title's publication, a time when Todd McFarlane was at his absolute best. Hot off a super-successful run on Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man, his new venture was easily one of the most anticipated of Image's announced books and would serve as one of the company's two launch-titles [along with Rob Liefeld's Youngblood]. The promise of occult-based ultra-violence and heavy melodramatics, paired with McFarlane's uniquely gritty art-style, was all that was needed to catch my attention.

Like many of those early Image comics, this particular issues doesn't hold up very well. That's okay, though, because it served its true purpose all those years ago. It hooked me, reeled me in to this world of grim anti-heroes and cyborg-mutants, alien cops and edgy vigilantes, and it's refused to let me go, even two decades later.

Stay tuned, true-believers, because there's a lot more style-over-substance to come..!


  1. Spawn was my introduction to Image as well. Pitt and Savage Dragon ended up being my favorites, though I'm not sure how well either one will hold up today.

  2. Image was a major deal at the time for sure and I had my share of comics from them in the past.

  3. I wasn't buying comics at the time of the Image Boom but I learned of Spawn from an episode Popular Mechanics for Kids were they toured Todd MacFarlane's studio as he drew a cover for Spawn. Since I was already the "artist" kid my eyes were glued to any video I could find of professional comic artists at work. The way he said "Spawn" so simple and precise that it stuck out in my memory as something extraordinary.

    Spawn starts at 17:28

  4. I'm sorry to say that Image was never a part of my comic book experience back then. Although I was definitely aware of it, it didn't call to me. I had already kind of decided I didn't like Liefeld and I think Spawn actually kind of scared me a bit and I didn't want to check it out because of that. I missed that whole boat entirely. I had an artist friend in highschool who was a McFarlane enthusiast and I remember in great detail an afternoon he spent teaching me how McFarlane drew capes.

    By the way, I TOTALLY get the concept of picking up duplicate copies of nostalgia-drenched comic books.

  5. Man, I love Spawn! When the movie came out I was so stoked and I loved it. Many say Spawn was a terrible movie, but I remember it being amazing.

    Also, I'm glad I've been able to rediscover The Maxx recently. He's the coolest hobo/super hero ever! I actually stopped by a comic shop today qnd saw that they've started reprinting The Maxx in living color!

    1. Make sure to keep an eye on the mail over the next few days. There, uh, might be a certain hobo looking for a new place to crash.