And now we come to early Nineties Image Comics.
Granted, we’ve been here before because I’ve mentioned Brigade, but what I decided to do this time around was grab all of the early Image books that were in my independent comics longbox and read through them. Whomever owned these comics before me seemed to like Bloodstrike, as there were several issues of the series in there, but also seemed to have sampled quite a number of titles at various points between 1992 and 1996 or so. That was kind of my experience with Image Comics in its early days, although my window was much, much shorter because I was done with it by the summer of 1994. That’s mainly because I wasn’t finding much that was worth holding onto (aside from Spawn, which I collected through about issue #60) and also because DC was publishing Zero Hour that summer/early fall and I went all-in on that event.
I’ve decided not to throw any of these in the trash and the effort to sell them isn’t going to be worth it, so I will be putting these in piles of “keep” and “donate.”
Keep (with hopes of obtaining more issues/reading more)
Savage Dragon #3: My experience with Erik Larsen is with a few of his Spider-Man issues but mostly with some random New Teen Titans and Teen Titans Spotlight issues he drew in the mid-1980s. I know that along with Spawn, this is pretty much the only original Image title that is still going and the only one where the original creator is writing and drawing the book (McFarlane still writes Spawn but hasn’t consistently done the artwork in a very long time). Reading it now, I realize this should have been the book that I picked up back in 1992-1993 because it’s fun as hell and while it definitely has its Nineties-isms, it doesn’t seem to be as high on itself as some of the other titles were. I realize there are a couple hundred issues out there at this point, but I am definitely interested in what I can find in a back issue bin.
Union #2: I really only want to keep this because of the Mark Texeira artwork and because it’s a four-issue miniseries that has an interesting concept. If I can find these at fifty cents or a dollar each, I figure that I’ll grab them because it’s a low-cost, low-risk buy.
WildStar #2: Also a miniseries, this time by Al Gordon and Jerry Ordway. It was a really good issue and I have heard very good things about the minseries so it’s another that I will go looking for.
Donate (and there are so many that I feel like I should just list them here and do a general review because I’m a lazy blogger)
- Ascension #3
- Battle of the Planets #3
- Bloodstrike #7, 8, 12, 13, 14
- Bloodstrike: Assassin #2
- Cyber Force vol 1 #2 and vol 2 #1
- Fire from Heaven #1
- Freak Force #10, 11
- Gen13 (Wildstorm series) #12, 27
- Glory #5
- Image/Devil’s Due 2003 Mix Tape
- Image + #1
- Kabuki #3
- 1963 Book Two (“No One Escapes … The Fury)
- Spawn #8, 10
- Stormwatch #1, 5
- Stormwatch: Team Achilles #2
- Super Dinosaur FCBD Special 2011
- Supreme #2, 5
- Trencher #1, 2, 3
- Vanguard #1, 3, 4
- Wetworks #11
- Wetworks Sourcebook #1
- WildC.A.T.S. #1
- WildC.A.T.S. Trilogy #2
So yeah, that’s a lot of comics to review individually and I read them more or less in alphabetical order (which is how they were arrange in the box). I will say that overall, they are not as terrible as the reputation of early Nineties comics would have you believe. That being said, much of what is in there–especially the Liefeld, Lee, Portacio, and Silvestri stuff–feels really like off-brand X-Men. And I get why–all of those creators had done X-books at Marvel prior to their breaking to form Image–but it is so obvious in some places, it’s completely distracting.
Moreover, they all seem to be trying to create some sort of mythology or build a world around these characters and it seems very forced. I spent a lot of time reading issues that have all of this mention of backstory for the characters while also filling a mandate for big gun, sexy drawing action and in both cases, I honestly had to wonder why I was supposed to care about any of it. Some of the art is pretty solid in cases and a lot of these guys draw beautiful-looking women (who could have used shorts that actually fit), but for the most part it was very disposable which is why these have been constant cheapie bin fodder for years (to the point where they get passed around like currency).
Trencher was Keith Giffen trying to do Ambush Bug for Image and it didn’t work for me. Bloodstrike was as disposable as everything else but the changing direction to kill the team and then create one hero named Bloodstrike made the book compelling and actually set it a little more apart from the other generic team books. I’ve read most of Stormwatch before and thought of collecting all of this and then the Warren Ellis run but I figure that if I want to work my way through Nineties Stormwatch (and into The Authority and Planetary), I will either seek the trades or go digital.
Overall, this was entertaining enough for the time I spent reading these books and I’m glad that I plowed through so many of them. The remaining books in the indie pile are getting fewer and fewer, and it’s my hope that by the end of the summer, I’ll be back to reading DC and Marvel titles.