Wow, February 1 is a banner day in comics history. It is also the day that Image Comics was created—20 years ago. Via Facebook, co-founder Jim Valentino shared a photo of the founders and one pal on that fateful day, from left to right Erik Larsen, Hank Kanalz, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. They’e all still in the game, all better off than they were 20 years ago. Collectively, they’ve changed the industry a time or two. It was also a day when people wore denim shirts. Ah, what a time…


  1. During my time as VP Of marketing for Image Comics I remember we all had Image Comics denim shirts that were made up for us to wear at the conventions & distributor meetings. Oh, the days of denim. I remember Todd favored the acid wash denim to go with his mullet. I remember Rob sported the Guy Gardner bowl cut.

    I miss my hair…..

    It was a special time. Happy Birthday Image Comics!

    Beau Smith
    The Flying Fist Ranch

  2. What the formation of Image Comics did was change the game. Those early days were shaky and there were a lot of late books but it ushered in the era of creator owned. Sure, they weren’t the first and maybe not even the best but they were the loudest and it made everyone take notice. The genie was out of the bottle and thousands of creators, who otherwise would have never made it at the big two, picked up their pencils, nibs and brushes and never looked back.

  3. Dusty — yeah it is really sad looking around at the barren wasteland that the comics industry has become in the past 20 years. Nobody does anything creative any more.

    I hope that comment was intended to be humorous. Image’s early sales tactics definitely helped lead to the crash of the 90s, but comics prevailed.

    A better question: could a stranger industry have been built without Image?

  4. Those few years that Image was around were amazing, a lot of dynamic energy was created when they hit the scene.

    Its too bad that those ‘starter’ Image books have NOT aged well.

    When I was culling my comic collection last year, some of the first things to go were those early Image series: WildCATS, Spawn, Cyberforce, Shadowhawk. Awful!

  5. The Beat – Nope, the formation of IMAGE is what caused the industry to collapse and never fully recover. I was being 100% serious.

  6. Man, I feel old. Has it really been twenty years?

    Image never lived up to their initial ideals — you’d have thought that given the chance to own their creations and the talent involved they’d have come up with better stuff, as a whole, but quite frankly, they’re my favorite publisher right now. I don’t think anyone has such an eclectic line-up of material that’s all over the map and not highly dependent on any one thing to keep them afloat.

    They made creator-owned something more of a sustainable ideal for a lot of creators, on material that was a lot more mainstream than most of the indie publishers were doing at the time.

    I feel old. I remember freaking out about getting all the issues that had the coupons to send in for the Image #0 . . .

  7. @ Dusty – N’ah. You can’t blame Image for that. Heroes World Distribution’s acquisition by Marvel to act as the company’s exclusive distributor, and the distribution implosion that followed seemed to cause more damage than anything else.

  8. I still remember reading about the formation of the company via a friend’s LEXUS NEXUS connection from his job in a legal office (you know, in the days before widespread internet). Was excited about the prospects then and still remain excited about the prospects of the quality of books the company (and others that sprung up in their wake) continue to put out. Here’s hoping for 20 more years and beyond!

  9. >>>Creators thinking it’s all about them still exists today.

    Thank God.

    I think you live in a different universe than most of us, Dusty.

  10. Dusty, Image may have started the fire, but the Big Two had no problem copying their gimmicks as well.

    They’re all at fault!