I remember vaguely in 1992 is where my addiction to printed comic books began an addiction. I’ve always been a fan of XMEN and have a few issues here and there, but it was like starting in the middle of something and didn’t want to collect all the back issues. Especially when you’re on a junior high budget and the books were hot and in their prime. Jim Lee had the memorable XMEN covers when he rebooted the series. Around this time, he shocked the industry with 6 other well known artists and founded Image Comics.
Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri and Todd McFarlane took something that worked and made their own iteration to it. I would not say it was a rip off, but it was an era.
WildC.A.T.S. by Jim Lee @Wildstorm Studios. The formula worked. Use the existing XMEN formula that made Jim Lee who Jim Lee was known for. Spartan (Cyclops), Void (Jean Grey), Voodoo (Psylocke), Zealot (Storm), Grifter (Gambit), Maul (Colossus), and Warblade (Wolverine). Jim Lee’s art was at its prime.
A winning combination, Lee (pencils), Williams (inker) [or as Kevin Smith would say “TRACER” LOL]
Also met Chris Claremont and had him sign a few issues where he wrote the mini story at Wondercon in 1995 I believe.
CyberFORCE was Marc Silvestri’s creation @Top Cow studios. He also took the winning formula and applied it to his creation. Ripclaw (Wolverine) and Cyblade (Psylocke) were my favorites of this series.
I had a few early issues signed by Silvestri for CyberFORCE. Also had a few “one shots” with origins of Cyblade, Ripclaw and other Cyberforce characters.
Spawn, Todd McFarlane’s creation went on his own path. After penciling for Spiderman’s little reboot, McFarlane did a lone character Spawn who literally spawned many other creations for his enterprise. His character spawned live action movies, HBO cartoon series, a McFarlane toy line and expanded into making a very hot toy enterprise utilizing great quality sculptures for the toys.
I was fortunate to have the first early issues of Spawn and his best spin off Angela series
…and then there were the smaller universes that tied to each other! That is what made the stories addicting and interesting to read. Starting with TEAM 7. TEAM 7 consisted of many members that later formed their own groups or spawned offsprings that did. Dane from WETWORKS, and Grifter from WILDCATS were TEAM 7 members. GEN13 members were a few of the member’s offsprings. Deathblow and Backlash were original members. Later on they even did a TEAM7/TeamX crossover with Marvel.
Gen 13 was another one of my favorites. Spawned off the Wildstorm universe from TEAM 7, this title was drawn by J. Scott Campbell. He had a similar style to Jim Lee with a fun style mixed into it.
And then there was WETWORKS. This was one of my favorite and still is the BEST storyline that I believe that ever came out of the Image universe. F***K the Twilight bullshit. (you can quote me on that :p ) You want a good Werewolves vs. Vampires story. Read WETWORKS. Just imagine the movie UNDERWORLD meets PREDATOR. Wilce Protacio had the winning combination before the Vampire/Werewolf craze took off. This team also spawned from the original TEAM 7 story arc. I had all the TOYs associated from this comic book line made by McFarlane. (I will make a special blog post related to TOYS later) All my early issues were signed by Wilce Protacio before he left the country (DAMN YOU!!!!!). For some reason he made a small appearance at the Vallco Fashion Mall in Cuppertino, CA. back in 1996 where I brought cases of toys and comics to him to sign. I had so many eyes on me wanting my toys, it was scary. Protacio was impressed and chopped it up with my roomate and I at the time. One of the nerdiest memorable moments I will never forget. It was too bad it took so long for each issue to release. I remember it took Protacio a year to release 5 issues. After the eighth issue, he left the creation to go overseas.
He came back a short while to reboot the Iron Man series with Marvel in 1996. I had to grab a few issues strictly for the art as I was not a huge fan of Iron Man. He made it look bad ass.
Other titles that I had to get were Top Cow’s WITCHBLADE series. Witchblade spawned from a comic book, to a television series, and evolved also into a Japanese Manga and anime. I was fortunate to get the crew of Witchblade to sign a few at a past Wondercon in the late 90’s.
HELLSHOCK by Jae Lee was another title I had to get strictly for the art. Jae Lee had an alternative style to his work different from all the other Image studios.
The MAXX by Sam Keith was also another great title. The MAXX also made it to MTV’s cartoon lineup. The artwork was also unforgettable as well as the toys and the animated series.
I wasn’t just an Image Comics reader/collector, there were a few indie studios that I followed as well. William Tucci’s SHI series had a good story and also did a few crossovers with Top Cow’s Cyberforce CYBLADE character.
Wizard also did a 1/2 series that I liked. I got a few titles that I never read, but was cool to have
…only maybe 1/10 of my collection of comics, cards and toy collection. It scares me sometimes that I may be a hoarder. But you can’t help it when awesome art, stories and toys inspire you everyday…….
I am debating whether to unleash the toys I have stacked in storage. Maybe…just maybe