Fans have been waiting since 2007 for the preeminent title of the Image Comics catalog, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, to be rebooted and resurrected from Hell the way it should have been in 1992. Good news is Jason Blum is more committed than ever to make this “horror CBM” in 2025. If that man’s skill and McFarlane’s twisted mind is any inclination of what we can expect, the Image Comics brand will be front and center among the comic book movie faithful.
One problem with that scenario: Although Marvel and DC are omnipresent among the geek community, other labels do have a visible and sometimes, vibrant, presence among comic entertainment. No, really. This is why nerd entertainment blogs (like yours truly here at CoveredGeekly) are important–we provide international exposure and excitement for all things comic.
There are fascinating characters and fulfilling franchises at other, lesser-known comic book labels. When you have an opportunity, stroll through the catalogs of Dark Horse, IDW, Boom!, Valiant, ComiXology, and what is quite possibly the number three label out there, Image Comics.
“Number 3, really?” That’s the good thing about another publisher bringing something to the small or big screen. If you do your homework, you may be surprised just how active a label other than Marvel or DC has been hiding in plain sight. Let’s explore Image Comics rich collection of original ideas and popular labels to test how floored you may be about this portfolio.
What’s that? Never heard of it? Look at the ink carefully. See the neck? Now, think about a tremendous, avant-garde science fiction movie this year called The Creator. Created by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen in 2015, Descender was a widely popular concept for Image Comics.
An incredibly life-like android, TIM-21, possibly has the secrets of the robotic wars origin in his HTML, so he’s a fugitive across the galaxy. Once Lemire and Nyugen concluded the story, they spawned its counterpart in 2018, Ascender. And Sony Pictures has the rights to both. From design to concept, there are still plans for this label. This has been an influential story, and continues to be today.
If you’re a fan of MTV or anything obscure animated show, you’re thinking, “That’s The Maxx?!” There’s this lopsided reality called “The Outback.” No, it wasn’t Australia, just a mysterious land inside the mind of some homeless vagabond. And for some reason in 1995, this Sam Kieth project and storyline became Image Comics’ first mainstream hit. The TV show was an instant success but didn’t sustain the rush of mid-90s television.
Although it lasted one season and is overlooked by many casual comic fans, this was one of the first properties of any “alternative” comic to show there is room on the bookshelves for more than the Avengers and Justice League.
If you’re a fan of the fascinating imagination of Mark Millar, or have seen “Millarworld” on Netflix, this is a title that jumps off this list. Surprise, Jupiter’s Legacy is an Image Comics publication–and one of its deepest in thematic presence and character arcs.
Regretfully, little of that veritas was captured in the Netflix series. If you’re familiar with the comic, that was a colossal suck of happiness. It’s an interesting dynamic when the first generation of superhumans is passing the torch to their kids, and the progeny could care less. The premise is “legacy,” but the reality was Netflix never really gave this a chance to fly.
Do you like Star Wars? Did you enjoy Game of Thrones? No, this comic is not in the same realm as those two powerhouse franchises…yet. But if those two hooked up and gave birth to a streamer series, you would have to bookmark Saga without question. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples has created one of the best reviewed comics, like, ever.
It’s, seriously, that good. This Image Comics stalwart has been awarded with several Eisners, among other prestigious awards for comics. One problem with the streamer metaphor, its creator. Brian K. Vaughan is notoriously against Saga being sold for TV adaptation. Maybe if he sits down with Mark Millar about paychecks, that could change. We can only hope.
The Wicked + The Divine
True story: If you are a comic book fan, and haven’t gotten to Image Comics to read Kieron Gillian’s and Jamie McKelvie’s fantasy tale of Gods among us, you are missing what should become the next great streaming series. Netflix made a thrilling depiction of Neil Gaiman’s enthralling The Sandman. HBO has made a majestic haul with George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
Whoever wants this from Image Comics needs to jump. This series was about 12 mythological Gods who reincarnate as humans every 90 years. The twists and turns are surreal. While you’re reading, it’s impossible not to envision this thing on TV. Read it. You’ll see.
Quick note: The closest this franchise has gotten to the public eye is on The CW, as a muse for an episode of Riverdale. That’s sweet but it deserves way, way, way more!
Yes, the “curved bullet” movie with Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman began in Image Comics by none other than Mark Millar. (Yeah, I have a man crush on the guy. Sue me.) This limited series hailed from an Image Comics splinter brand, Top Cow Productions. Nonetheless, this is a Millar/Image concoction. In Millar’s comic, supervillains have taken over the world.
While the attitude of that premise is in the movie, it is loosely adapted to focus more on the father’s legacy being drawn out of the son (McAvoy). Regardless, if it’s the netherworld or just some secret society of snipers, this movie made that comic a sterling success.
This is usually the one that causes mouths to hang open. Invincible is a refreshing take on animated CBMs. If you’re not familiar with the Robert Kirkman/Cory Walker comic strip from 2003 to 2018, you have seen it in living color on Prime Video. Another father (Omni-Man) and son (Invincible) duo story without the Hallmark TV series schmaltz or forced soap opera tension. But don’t let that smooth taste fool you.
There are visceral storylines that tackle the tough issues occuring in families. There’s no question where this franchise stands within Image Comics, but knowing it helps you understand where it should stand with the rest of us too.
The Walking Dead
Those three words spell “amazing success story.” Frank Miller and Sam Raimi were instrumental in sparking the global interest in watching the undead. Yet, when AMC reached out to Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption) with this wildly popular idea from Robert Kirkman and Image Comics called The Walking Dead, there was no hesitation.
Today, a smash TV series, a couple of spin-offs, and a marketing engine that never idles. Spawn may get more fanfare because of the subject matter and still being intrinsically connected to the comic book, but you can’t deny The Walking Dead and the impact it’s had on today’s TV watching fans. And it all started with a thought, a pencil, and a desk at Image Comics.