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File:Image-comics-logo 4682.jpg

Image is a comic book company founded in 1992 by seven famous artists from Marvel Comics after a dispute over creator's rights. Their goal was to publish "creator-owned" comic books not controlled by a central editor, and it consisted of six studios (one person decided not to be a full partner) that would be completely autonomous from each other.

The original titles were:

Image eventually became famous for publishing Nineties Anti-Hero books, very far towards the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, and for a bad case of non-webcomic Schedule Slip, sometimes delivering issues as much as nine months late. Also, none of the partners had any business experience. Still, while the Nineties Anti-Hero fad lasted, the Image titles were a massive success, but now they mostly look like Dark Age disasters with an excess of sex and violence and somewhat... questionable art.

At first success was so intense that series were added, either ex-novo (like Sam Keith's The Maxx, Dale Keown's Pitt, Nick Manabat's Cybernary) or being "filiated" from the original ones like Codename: Strykeforce (from Cyberforce), Freak Force (from Savage Dragon), Deathblow and Team 7 (from Jim Lee's WildC.A.T.s. universe), and Glory and Supreme (from Youngblood), but soon after things began to fall apart.

Image eventually lost two founders: Rob Liefeld was fired, and Jim Lee sold his Wildstorm Studios to DC Comics after leaving Image[1]. Over the years, Image started Growing the Beard: they got a central editor to help control the schedule, and the quality of the art and maturity of the storylines started looking up somewhat. They also hired some other writers and with this they got some more diversity, with titles like Jeff Smith's Bone, Kurt Busiek's Astro City and Robert Kirkman's Invincible. Kirkman has recently been bumped up to the equivalent of founder status, replacing Jim Lee. Spawn and Savage Dragon are also still published, and are better-regarded than in their heyday, whilst Image is giving a chance to many writers whose ideas would never be published by the "Big Two". Still, Image is very much remembered for its gritty Dark Age series. Their main competitor nowadays is Dark Horse Comics rather than Marvel and DC, as both companies tend to release similar off-the-cuff, independent works.

Comics published by Image:

  1. There was even a Crisis Crossover, Shattered Image, devoted to writing Wildstorm's titles out of the Image universe, and vice versa.