In February 1992 a revolution occurred that fundamentally changed the course of comic book publication. The Image revolution was one comic book readers did not know they wanted nor needed until it occurred. Seven creators (Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio and Jim Valentino) decided to leave the House of Ideas and set off to build their own kingdom. For a few of Image’s founders leaving Marvel Comics meant abandoning some of the bestselling titles in comic book history. Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1 released in 1990 sold more than two million copies. In 1991 X-Force #1, plotted and drawn by Rob Liefeld, sold five million copies. A few months later X-Men #1 by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee sold approximately eight million copies! The founders of Image Comics wanted to capitalize on their successes and to chart to course of their creations.
Questions about leaving Spider-Man or Wolverine behind became moot once comic publications (such as Comic Shop News and Previews) started providing artwork and solicitation information. Comic fans were excited to read about Spawn, WildC.A.Ts and Youngblood. Sadly readers had to wait a bit longer than expected before the initial titles launched. In April of 1992, Youngblood #1 hit the stands! In the months that followed Spawn, WildC.A.Ts and Savage Dragon made their way to retailers. The books were plagued with delays from the start, but all was forgiven once the titles appeared in comic shops. Unfortunately the publisher still struggles with its legacy of shipping late books. However, current publisher Eric Stephenson has put policies in place to minimize the number of late titles.
Over the past 25 years Image Comics has evolved from its early days of bombastic over the top super beings in primary colors. However the company still believes in its founding principle of creator autonomy. Image Comics now carries a range of titles including crime noir, fantasy, horror, science fiction and dystopian fiction. Even a few of Image’s original titles (Savage Dragon and Spawn) are still being published. The Top 25 List highlights titles and/or creator runs over the past quarter century that chronicle the evolution of Image Comics.