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“The Image Revolution”

Twenty years ago, seven men sent shock waves across the comics industry as the top artists at Marvel bolted in one move to create their own company.

The result was Image Comics, and the excitement and effect on the collector market (both good and bad) was known as “The Image Revolution.”  Twenty years later, that story is now a documentary set to be released later this month.

20 years ago, a group of artists left Marvel Comics to create their own company, a company that continues to influence mainstream comics and culture to this day. Image Comics began as more than just a publisher — it was a response to years of creator mistreatment, and it changed comics forever.

The Image Revolution will tell the story of Image Comics, from its founders’ work at Marvel, through Image’s early days, the ups and downs of the ’90s, and the publisher’s new generation of properties like The Walking Dead. We will tell the company’s story through new interviews with the people who made it happen.

Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, Whilce Portacio, and Jim Valentino.  Each, with their own reasons to leave (Todd wanted to make a statement about creator-owned comics, Erik wanted to draw his own stories, Rob wanted to get rich, while Jim Lee was brought on-board to just “stick it to Marvel” by robbing the top artist of the top comic in the industry — X-Men.), each with their own ideas.

It was a time when comic book artists became both rock stars and millionaires overnight.  And with the rare exception of Robert Kirkman, the creator of “The Walking Dead,” it won’t ever happen again.

 20 Years later, maybe four or five of the founders are still with Image.  Only Larsen remains at the first book he brought to Image “Savage Dragon,” after all this time, while guys like Silvestri and McFarlane have left their original books for other books or ventures.  In fact, McFarlane now runs one of the most successful toy manufacturers in the country, is co-owner of an NHL franchise (Edmonton Oilers), and is said to have a net worth of over $1 billion.

Jim Lee sold his part of Image to DC Comics in 1999, and now is its “Co-Publisher.”

Liefeld was said to have openly stolen from the company finances, was forced out, and barely avoided jail time (or so the story goes).  For it, he has been a pariah to the industry since the late-90s and has kept himself going with work at Marvel, DC, and some creator-owned work.  In 2007, he was let back into Image.

They were Image Comics.  And it’s impossible to think of the comics of today without them.

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