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First Chances: Image Comics

Why should you give Image Comics your time and money? We'll tell you why.

For the majority of comic book readers today, fans start reading either Marvel and/or DC, then they tend to stick with that. Sure, they may branch out a bit here or there, but a lot of people are missing out on some amazing stories, let alone amazing more independent companies. As a comic book reader myself, I try to branch out and check out new companies and new titles. Like many people, I still love my books from the "Big Two," but you start seeing trends repeat themselves: good beats evil, a character dies then comes back, a super-hero is born, etc. 
 
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with reading just DC or Marvel, but sometimes I want more. Sometimes I want something with a little more kick, and that's when I turn to some of the independent companies.  
 
More so than ever, I find myself drawn to one company over all the other ones: Image Comics. Many people know Image from one hell-bound character from the early 90s: Spawn. While the company really made a name for itself with that character, there are more and more books popping up that are not only growing in popularity, but they are fantastic reads. Let's take a look at some of the hotter books at Image, and a few of the ones I prefer. Maybe you'll give these books a first chance.
== TEASER ==

The Walking Dead

How can you mention Image Comics right now without mentioning Walking Dead? The book was adapted for television last October and hit record viewing numbers on AMC. The six episode season may be over, but it's been picked up for a bunch more next year.  

What's it about?

Zombies have taken over the world, and the book follows a group of survivors, led by Rick Grimes, who sometimes have to do a bit of dirty work just to stay alive. 
 

Who is it by?

The book is written by Robert Kirkman. Tony Moore did the art and covers on the first 24 issues, and then Charlie Adlard took over.
 

What makes this book stand out?

Unlike 99% of the zombie infested comics on your store shelves, this book isn't about zombies, and it has a heart. It's about human survival, adaptation, and community, while shooting the undead. If you loved the television series, you'll love the book more. Lastly, the book is an emotional roller coaster. Don't get too attached to anyone in this book because they will die, go crazy, or loose a limb, and in this book, when you're dead, you're dead for real. It's my second favorite comic book series of all time. Read this puppy in trade. One issue won't satisfy your thirst, or pick up The Walking Dead Weekly. Image is re-releasing single issues on a weekly basis. Issue four will be out on today.
 

Invincible

It's hard for me not to mention Invincible right after I praise The Walking Dead, both written by Robert Kirkman. (It's also hard not to mention Battle Pope, also written by Kirkman for Funk-O-Tron comics, but reprinted by Image in 2005 in color) Kirkman's writing, in this book, is a complete 180 from Walking Dead. It's lighthearted, fun, and well, violent.
 

What's it about?

It's about a teenager ( Mark Grayson) who finds out his dad is an alien ( Viltrumite) with Superman-like powers, and a killer mustache (all Viltrumites have killer mustaches). Grayson finds he has super-powers and decides to become a hero.
 

Who is it by?

Robert Kirkman writes and Ryan Ottley has been the main artist on the book with Cory Walker returning from time to time.
 

What makes this book stand out?

It's a traditional super-hero book that isn't so traditional. Sure, the good guy fights the bad guy and gets the girl on occasion, but sometimes the good guy has to kill, or sometimes he loses, or sometimes his father isn't who he seems. Just like Walking Dead, when people die in this book, they die, for the most part. I love super-hero books. I've read thousands, and I can say without a doubt, this is the best super-hero book to date. Pick this book up in trade or in the Ultimate Collections because you won't want to put it down.
 

G.I. Joe

Yo Joe! This toy turned cartoon franchise, as children of the 80s know it, has been through quite a few companies (starting with Marvel), but for me, one really stood out, and that was the Image run starting in 2001. Sadly, in 2010, this whole series was ripped out of continuity and considered another dimension. Boo on that!
 

What's it about?

About 25 issues long under Image! (rim shot) The G.I. Joe team has to get back together to fight COBRAAA! Destro has taken over Cobra, and Cobra Commander has lost his mind. It's a new spin on the classic franchise.
 

Who is it by?

The book was written by Josh Blaylock, and it had a slew of artists, but Steve Kurth started this series off.
 

What makes this book stand out?

It's the G.I. Joe team a lot of us grew up with with better writing and art. I loved the idea that Cobra Commander is crazy and Destro is leading the team. Plus, you get to meet Destro's son. This franchise has been through a slew of different companies, but this was by far my favorite run. It was fun and made you feel like a kid again. If you're not sure about stepping out of your comfort zone, this will be easy for you to pick up since you already know the characters and story. This run of G.I. Joe is the comfort food of comics. G.I. Joe is now currently published through IDW but these issues deserved to be read.
 

Chew

Sometimes ideas are so far out there when someone tells you about them that you HAVE to pick up the story and read it. That's how a lot of people feel about Chew.
 

What's it about?

Prepare yourself. Tony Chu is Cibiopathic, meaning whenever he eats something he gets a psychic impression of where that food came from, who touched it, and anything else involving that food. It's more of a curse than a blessing, but said curse doesn't affect Tony if he eats beets. Tony works for the F.D.A. as a Detective in a world where chicken is illegal because of a bird flu that has killed millions. 
 

Who is it by?

The book is written by John Layman and drawn by Rob Guillory.  
 

What makes this book stand out?

For such a bizarre concept, this book has a great sense of humor about it. It's fresh, fun, and well written and drawn. I suggest picking it up in trade, since the book is a high seller, and it can be tough to pick up single issues. Currently, there are three trades out. Although the idea may be a little off-putting, Chew is a book that will leave you hungry for more. (Pun intended)
   

Honorable mention

It's hard to only pick a few of these books since Image has done a lot of great books the past few years. The one I keep hearing about time and time again started in late 2010. It's called Morning Glories and it's written by Nick Spencer, who wrote the most recent issue of Supergirl. I know Nick is a solid writer from that issue and the Jimmy Olsen back-ups currently in Action Comics, but the problem I have with Morning Glories is that I simply can't get my hands on a single copy! It's always sold out! I'll be waiting for the trade I guess. The book is about six prep-school students who find out their school is not what it seems to be.  
 
 The other book by Image I highly recommend is Skullkickers. I've fallen in love with this zany medieval mystical romp as two mercenaries get in all sorts of trouble. The book is currently on issue number four and you should still be able to pick them up. 
 
There you have it! Some great books from a great company. Image Comics has published some great books over the years, and they are one of the top overall companies in the business. These are great books to start with if you've ever wanted to step more into the "indy-arena." Give them a first chance.
 
~Mat "InferiorEgo" Elfring is a comedian, teacher, writer, comic book store employee.
Check out Mat on twitter.
54 Comments
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Posted by Jake Fury

I really need to check out Invincible.
Posted by ComicMan24
@Jake Fury said:
" I really need to check out Invincible. "
Me too.
Posted by ChrisPartin

Wow. Adding G.I.Joe in there is a little strange considering how long ago it was printed at Image.  Keep in mind while Image printed it, it was a Devil's Due book while Devil's Due was an imprint under the Image umbrella.  I never really considered it an "Image" title. 
 
As far as a book you should be checking out - Savage Dragon for sure, especially new readers should be checking it out with the next issue (#169).  

Posted by chalkshark

Bomb Queen is the only book I regularly buy from Image.  I've always had a healthy mix of independent books sharing space with my Marvels & DCs, dating back to the old Charlton & Atlas days. At the moment, IDW & Dynamite seem to be publishing more of what I want to read than the other smaller companies. That can always change.

Posted by NightFang

The Invincible and Chew are the best!

Edited by DarkCanuck

I think you've sold me on trying out Invincible, Mat. I do love Walking Dead and I've been a big fan of Haunt (which is also written by Kirkman) since it came out so I can't see why I wouldn't like it.
Actually, Haunt should probably be on your list as well. It's a very interesting take on the magic super-suit or sybiote-giving-powers style of hero with lots of great dynamic relationships going on.
 
Also, everyone who doesn't already, really needs to start reading Chew. Chew is honestly one of the most interesting titles you're ever like to read.

Posted by Jolt92

Both Invincible and Chew are great.

Edited by longbowhunter

I'm a big fan of both Invincible and Walking Dead. I plan on checking out Morning Glories when the first trade comes out. Other great Image titles I've read are The Sword (which I cant recommend enough) and Dynamo 5. 
 
P.S.  
Please checkout Halcyon and Echoes.
Posted by ChrisPartin
@longbowhunter said:
" I'm a big fan of both Invincible and Walking Dead. I plan on checking out Morning Glories when the first trade comes out. Other great Image titles I've read are The Sword (which I cant recommend enough) and Dynamo 5.  P.S.  Please checkout Halcyon and Echoes. "
I second that with Halcyon!  That is a great new series.  
Posted by laussica

chew and morning glories are both awesome

Posted by J1ml33

I have been reading image comics for a long time ( 15 years on and off ) but I have been on amazon and digging up old trades of DV8 ,Stormwatch and Savage Dragon ( my personal favorite title)  but I Am now going to go on the hunt and buy up a few 1st volumes of Chew,Invincible  and walking dead to check them out and maybe a Top Cow title or two (besides lately I have been trying to find something weird and exciting ,it`s not that the big two are not doing that already but I want to read something with a little bit more bite , something that is not afraid to go outside the normal practice and standards of the modern comic book self censer ship . well to make this brief  I am now looking for new things (and something that is nothing that I am familiar with  even if It is not superhero title .) other than that Image Comics is fine with me as a publisher . they produce  great work from creator who want to see their vision realized ,not the editors .
maybe one day I will Have my work published by them (yeah one day ) anyways image is still 
important to the landscape of modern comics today and an example of if you have a (good ideal) or a really really bad one it could be tested in the public arena by the loving fans and readers of  
the world (or a very small part of it ) . ^_^

Posted by IrishX
@ChrisPartin said:
"Wow. Adding G.I.Joe in there is a little strange considering how long ago it was printed at Image.  Keep in mind while Image printed it, it was a Devil's Due book while Devil's Due was an imprint under the Image umbrella.  I never really considered it an "Image" title.    "


Agreed. 
 
I'd also like to recommend the first 12 issues of Deathblow. The Jim Lee creation was a great story with great art that many people may have missed out on. 
 
When it comes to Chew I have less than no interest in the series. The entire concept is unappealing to me.

Posted by inferiorego
@ChrisPartin said:
" Wow. Adding G.I.Joe in there is a little strange considering how long ago it was printed at Image.  Keep in mind while Image printed it, it was a Devil's Due book while Devil's Due was an imprint under the Image umbrella.  I never really considered it an "Image" title.  As far as a book you should be checking out - Savage Dragon for sure, especially new readers should be checking it out with the next issue (#169).   "
I understand that. The book is mainly on that list because it's solid and it's a good starting point for people that may have trouble branching out. It's easier for many people to jump into a franchise book, something they know, rather than a random book. 
 
It's a lot like when I mentioned Battle Pope (which originally was on this list, before I cut it). It was originally a Funk-O-Tron book and years later Image reprinted it in color. 
 
As for Savage Dragon, I've always loved the writing and art on that book, but overall, I never really got into it.
Staff
Posted by ChrisPartin
@inferiorego: I get what you're saying, and I probably jumped a little early on that.  I didn't really take it in the context of what you were saying, just the fact that book was on the list next to the others.  LOL. 
 
Just for kicks, try out Savage Dragon starting with #169 for 3-4 issues.  If you don't like it, let me know and I'll buy the books off of you. 
Posted by inferiorego
@ChrisPartin said:
" @inferiorego: I get what you're saying, and I probably jumped a little early on that.  I didn't really take it in the context of what you were saying, just the fact that book was on the list next to the others.  LOL.  Just for kicks, try out Savage Dragon starting with #169 for 3-4 issues.  If you don't like it, let me know and I'll buy the books off of you.  "
lol. I get what you're saying as well. I was just trying to put it in a little bit better context. 
I'll give the book a chance starting at 169. That comes out next month?
Staff
Posted by ChrisPartin
@inferiorego said:
lol. I get what you're saying as well. I was just trying to put it in a little bit better context.  I'll give the book a chance starting at 169. That comes out next month? "
Yep.  Keep in mind, I'm a Savage Dragon fanatic, so I could be bias at how good it is. LOL
Posted by karrob
@ComicMan24 said:
" @Jake Fury said:
" I really need to check out Invincible. "
Me too. "
Me three
Posted by halfpastwhenever

morning glories is pretty awful IMO -  seems to rely on shock value the entire time.
 
but i'm really enjoying Chew, love the art and Savoy kicks ass :)

Posted by -Eclipse-

I agree with this! I was a hardcore Marvelite until recently, the only non-Marvel title I read was DC's Bat-related books. Invincible changed all that. Two guys on this site (the Wanderer and Nobody) recommended I start reading it, but I didn't really think much about it until I got this issue of "Invincible Returns" in a grab bag of 5 random comics. After that issue I knew this was something I wanted to read, so I looked up my options and decided to go for the Ultimate Collections. This was probably around 3 or 4 months ago, maybe more... I got myself one collection a month for a few months and then got the last two for Christmas. I'm not eagerly waiting for February and the 6th Volume. Invincible has easily become my favourite title and my favourite superhero by a longshot (unless Allen the alien counts as a superhero, naturally). 
 
This has persuaded me to expand my comics horizons a little, so I began by reading some more Kirkman books. I got Astounding Wolf-man Volumes 1 - 3 and, again, found them just as if not more entertaining that anything I'd read at Marvel. I'm still a big fan of Kirkman (and a HUGE fan of Ryan Ottley, Invincible's artist) but recently I decided to go for another Image book I'd heard a lot about, Chew. It arrived a couple of days ago and I absolutely loved the first volume. The style of the art is crazy-awesome and the writing is just brilliant. At the persuasion of Icarusflies I also bought Umbrella Academy, which just arrived today. It's not Image, but it's not Marvel either, lol. I also really want Y the Last Man. 
 
I want to get the Walking Dead books at some point, but I'm not in a hurry. Does anyone have any other recommendations for good Image books?

Posted by kungnima

 It's my second favorite comic book series of all time.  
 
And your favorite?: )

Posted by Mumbles

love me some image

Posted by aztek_the_lost

Moderator
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@kungnima said:
"  It's my second favorite comic book series of all time.    And your favorite?: ) "
my money's on Y: The Last Man
Moderator
Posted by inferiorego
@kungnima said:
"  It's my second favorite comic book series of all time.    And your favorite?: ) "
Aztek hit it
@aztek the lost said:
" @kungnima said:
"  It's my second favorite comic book series of all time.    And your favorite?: ) "
my money's on Y: The Last Man "
Y: The Last Man is my favorite series of all time.
Staff
Posted by Kid_Zombie

Nice read 3 out of four of those. 
 
Chew is one of the best comiocs i have ever read and hasen't let me down yet!
Walking Dead again one of the best comics i have ever read and hasen't let me down yet. i know over 20 people off the top of my head who are reading these books now after the walking dead show. That show really brought in a lot of new readers, most of whom thought comics were kids stuff and used to make jokes that i read them.
G.I.Joe: this book started coming out when i was still in highschool. In Highschool i didnt keep up with the big two companies or comics really, just didnt know where to start, But a comic book store opened down the street from me, which became a daily visit on my lunch breaks from school. I began to read Crimson trades which brought me right back into comics, and when i thought of collecting issues again this G.I.Joe book came out that was a continuation from the marvel comics me and my bro would read in the 80's which was a huge deal to us. So this G.I.Joe comic(along with crimson) helped get me back into comics at the tender age of 15 when comics were nothing but for nerds and star wars still reigned supreme (thanks episode 1 and 2 ha ha) Highly recomend this book, walking dead and CHEW! I havent read invincible yet, but i would really like to, have heard nothing but good things. How is astoning wolfman? Another image title i wouldn't mind picking up.

Posted by InnerVenom123

Posted by ReVamp

What about Witchblade/Darkness... I always though they were good for image new comers since they were different than usual?

Anyways, nice list, have been looking for a place to start G.I. joe actually... this came in handy :P

Posted by Silkcuts

Great article.  For sure Image is over looked. And then when series get big, people go nuts.  Many of the creator owned Image books I think are more accessible.  The Trade Paperback program works very well for image, while it has failed Vertigo it seems.  Image is a well oiled machine and with the gears get going they don't disappoint.

Posted by IrishX
@ReVamp said:
"

What about Witchblade/Darkness... I always though they were good for image new comers since they were different than usual?

Anyways, nice list, have been looking for a place to start G.I. joe actually... this came in handy :P

"

In a way you could say it's the same but technically Witchblade and Darkness are Top Cow. 
 
That is not a good place to start G.I. Joe. Larry Hama just picked up where he left off on the original series.... that's where you should start imo.
 
http://www.comicvine.com/gi-joe-a-real-american-hero/49-32910/    
Edited by Om1kron

This is pretty much how I feel about Invincible. Bought them all in a matter of 4 weeks. 
 

I haven't collected comics in years, and holy shit this book is good.
Posted by MikeDanger1

I have all the invincible tpb's (wasnt easy) ive read upto vol 5 and it's really good soo far, I've got the Compendium 1 of Walking Dead also a good read (waiting for #2....). If I may add to the list Elephantmen kicks ass as well. Looking forward to read Chew my gf already read vol 1 and recommended it to me, but I was trying to complete my Preacher volumes, but Chew is on my Image list for sure, Marineman 2nd on the list.

Posted by MikeDanger1

OH P.S: Read Axe Cop! :D
Posted by Bobby X

I've loved everything I've read by Nick Spencer so far, so I'll definitely be looking into Morning Glories. Definitely sounds like it might be a little more difficult to track down though...
Posted by haydenclaireheroes

I love image my favorite is Morning Glories but I also like Invincible also. 

Posted by tonis

Great article IE, I agree there are times you just need to get out of the box and find some reads that are more independent. 
 
Back in the 80's there was a really decent flow of independents till the fuzzy critters got carried away. I always loved what Eclipse had to offer before going belly up.

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

I really need to read Invincilble.
Posted by Primmaster64

INVINCIBLE

Posted by SlightConfuse

savage dragon is a good read. 
The top cow stuff is amazing as well 
Godland is awesome.  
 
I hope a column for vertigo is next everything there is amazing

Posted by Om1kron
@Cryoedge said:
" savage dragon is a good read."
Yeah I asked Eric Larsen when he is going to make ultimate editions of his book, Todd McFarlane should really jump on that too. Really the Ultimate editions are like the best thing over, oversized packed with tons of extras and if you're lucky misspellings on your hardcover cover slips lol.  
 
But Eric stated that some of the "film" is missing so that's got the project on indefinite hold for now. I think Savage Dragon is a great book and a lot more people should read it. 
Posted by goldenkey

None can touch the Maxx when it was out.
Edited by jakob187

This article is seriously lacking in Cowboy Ninja Viking, Skullkickers, and and Savage Dragon. 
 
Also, Morning Glories is an HONORABLE MENTION?  That's one of the best books on the STANDS right now.  It sells out every time without fail!  On top of that, Spencer just started The Infinite Vacation, and that first issue was f***ing BOSS!

Posted by ninjadude853

I've always wondered... how does Top Cow fit in with Image?
 
I'm pretty sure they're separate companies and Image just publishes the stuff Top Cow produces but i'm not sure.
 
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because IF Top Cow stuff falls into this category (and I apologize if it doesn't) then the lack of mention towards Artifacts and the Darkness is a crime

Posted by JonesDeini
@longbowhunter said:
" I'm a big fan of both Invincible and Walking Dead. I plan on checking out Morning Glories when the first trade comes out. Other great Image titles I've read are The Sword (which I cant recommend enough) and Dynamo 5.  P.S.  Please checkout Halcyon and Echoes. "
LOVE Image. Invincible (The best super hero comic I'm currently reading), Walking Dead, Haunt (also by Kirkman), Infinite Vacation (by Nick Spencer).    
 
And READ MORNING GLORIES ASAP!!!! Nick Spencer is a virtuoso man!!! I need to read the Sword, heard nothing but good about it. 
Posted by JonesDeini
@InnerVenom123 said:
"
"
Hells yeah!!!
Posted by SilverZeo

Image has come long way from Youngblood...

Posted by Pizawle

Skullkickers has been awesome thus far.

Posted by Eyz

*cough* hu-hum.
Fanboys tend to stick and be over-protective with one of the big two houses.
That's why indie and non-DC/Marvel publishers have so much trouble selling their stuff.
 
I read a lot of other publisher proprieties. Dark Horse, Image, DDP, Dynamite, and indie stuff~

Posted by Mercy_
@Jake Fury

I really need to check out Invincible.
This.
Moderator
Posted by sweatboy

 really? you talk about Image and forgot the Turtles? really? lol just kidding around. But The Turtles! definitely worth mentioning. (but tok their roots from DD so,...) i think Turtles was my first real comic BOOK. I also got into the UK Beano/beanie (Bananaman/Dennis the evil menace who was a LOT more menacing in his Brits version. And of course who can forget Archie, Jugs and Veronica and Betty? I STARTED comics with Grim Jack,...weird, sexy,.... not one of my favourites. in fact i threw one of those away. Then i read Superboy, which in itself was DC but STILL not one of the big titles, and was of a different flavour, (more teen oriented) The Fly was a comic i liked, i think it was done by Impact. As i remember, whatever the line that did The Fly was under DC but was more like Spiderman, (the art, the story, the friends, the situations) he even lived with his mother, who's around when he changes in to the fly. It was one issue but i loved it. And even under DC or Marvel, i dont think many people check out Vertigo or stuff like that (I know EYE didn't know about it till Losers came out and i realized, "wow, that was out of a COMIC??") And Tarzan, Darkhorse, Thundercats,... i actually saw a thundercats comic and i went like "really? a ripoff of the old cartoon?" but i regret not having bought that,    

Posted by inferiorego
@sweatboy:  Sadly, I've never read the Turtles books.... but then again, there's thousands upon thousands of books, and it's hard to keep up.
Staff
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