Guest Author - Eugene Bradford
The year 2012 brings much for which comic fans can celebrate. One of those is the 20 year anniversary of one of the best publishers in the industry, Image Comics. Having been established by a group of artists from Marvel Comics in an attempt to maintain ownership rights over characters theyíve worked on, Image has built a vast fan-base as the king of creator-owned comics. Thereís a long list of talented people associated with Image including its founders Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Jim Valentino, Whilce Portacio, and Erik Larsen.
Spawn is one of Imageís most popular, long-running series and is a title I enjoyed as a young reader. Although I fell away from the book at one point, I jumped back on and it is easily one of my most anticipated monthlies. I did a review of a recent issue stating this point as well. The Spawn that everyone knew, Al Simmons killed himself and a new character, Jim Downing, took over. I recommend reading up on this series.
Witchblade, actually published under Image imprint Top Cow, is a book that was quite horrible in itsí early days. I picked up the series within recent years and became quite attached to the lead Sara Pezzini. This enticed me to check out the entire series via the compendium books. This allowed me to read the first 100 issues with ease. I struggled to get through both books. That was until writer Ron Marz took over. Later he would team up with Stjepan Sejic for the rest of his amazing run. He has since moved on and well the title doesnít feel the same. Hereís hoping the next arc by the new team will be better.
Erik Larsen definitely deserves some love for what heís done with Savage Dragon. The finned superhero, along with Spawn, leads the only other original title in Imageís library still being published as well as being the longest running book to be written and drawn by one creator. Thatís quite an achievement.
Robert Kirkmanís name is becoming synonymous with Imageís creator-owned line with his popular superhero title, Invincible, as well as his zombie-apocalypse book turned television series, Walking Dead. Teaming up with Kirkman on those titles are artists Ryan Ottley on Invincible and Charlie Adlard on Walking Dead. Both of these pencillers replaced the former artists Cory Walker and Tony Moore, respectively.
In 2012 alone, the publisher has released some highly-praised works including The Activity by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads. Iíve reviewed entries from this monthly and look forward to it every month. It has that military-special ops touch that I like. The same writer has recently teamed with Nic Klein for the espionage thriller Dancer. Both of these books have found a place in my pull-list.
Saga, another series produced in the first half of 2012 is the brain-child of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. This drama set in space has received much critical love around the internet. Another young title that looks to impress readers with an oversized debut issue is Mind the Gap. This psychological thriller comes from the minds of Jim McCann, Rodin Esquejo, and Sonia Oback.
Image Comics in my eyes is a publisher that caters to just about any reading taste you might have. They are constantly releasing great creator-owned works from known creators as well as lesser known names. The publisher has a ton of books on shelves and they couldnít all catch some spotlight here. Meet me in the forums for more discussion on the company. Hereís to two decades of Image Comics and to another 20 years.