Everyone knows a classic super hero story. Damsel in distress is threatened with death by bullet or disaster, caped crusader with incredible powers swoops in to save the day, done. It’s a framework that has been used over and over again in the medium and most people were tired of it a long time ago. In fact, this repetitive, forgettable and (despite its incarnations) unexciting series of events is what the layman assumes the pages of most, if not all comics are filled with. This may have been the case back in the infancy of the medium but today they couldn’t be more wrong.
Take a look at Image comics. Formed by high-ranking members of the comic community including Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn and McFarlane entertainment) and Jim Lee (superstar artist and current CCO of DC), Image became a response to the barriers that were being put on creators in the 90’s. The big two companies Marvel and DC had their own codes and regiments and still have characters with a rich legacy that they don’t like being meddled with. Though many of these artists worked for the big companies, they wanted to tell different stories, and Image gave them the opportunity to do this.
Today Image is home to a widespread and diverse mix of creators who each use the platform to tell unique and often rarely heard tales. Another feature Image has is that the content it publishes is entirely creator owned, this is vastly different from the characters created under the roof of the bigger brands, who often alter and warp the creations of others to fit their mold. Thanks to this image has attracted a host of incredible storytellers such as Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and Brian K. Vaughan (Saga). With the creators themselves in the director seat and with no limits on what they can do, a new wave of comics has emerged with the Image name on the cover.
Image stories are rarely superhero stories, The Walking Dead being a classic example. This very human story of survival shows what people will endure to stay alive even among the most impossible odds. Saga is a story about a family formed by lovers from both sides of a planetary war, on the run with their child, it seems the entire universe is out to get them, while their own personal issues bear just as much weight. The Ice Cream Man is a strange and twisted anthology of shorts with one constant, a creepy 1950’s Ice Cream man who frequents the neighbourhoods. While Kill or Be Killed is a gritty action thriller focused on a vigilante haunted by a demon who makes him murder.
Few of these stories would even be allowed in the big two for so many reasons. Their unconventional art styles, non-heterosexual main characters, lashings of blood and gore, the list goes on. But this is exactly what compels readers to pick up an Image title. Inside these pages you are going to experience something entirely new, possibly shocking and unforgettable.