When it comes to comic book superheroes, DC and Marvel hog the limelight. We ignore the third big player in the game – Image Comics. Formed in 1992 by 7 of the comics industry’s best selling artists in North America, it’s a platform where comics creators could publish their material without giving up the copyrights to the characters they created, as creator-owned properties.
Let’s get to know some of the most popular Image Comics characters, some of who have already appeared on screen (heard of The Walking Dead television series?):
Spawn is an antihero sent to Earth to deliver evil souls to Hell. However, Spawn became the psuedo-protector of New York City, fighting against Heaven and Hell alike. The legacy of Hellspawns spans throughout history tapping into the enigmatic Necroplasm and evil creatures to gain their powers. The protagonists are- Medieval Spawn (slain by Angela, a seraphic warrior), Albert Simmons (Spawn of the 90s) and James Downing (after Al sacrificed himself, Jim took up the mantel of Spawn for several years till Al reappeared in 2015)
The creator of Spawn is the superstar Todd McFarlane – a Canadian cartoonist, comic book writer, artist, toy manufacturer/designer, and media entrepreneur, who earned fame with his work on both DC Comics’ Infinity Inc.and Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man franchises in late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1992, he helped form Image Comics
2. Savage Dragon
The Savage Dragon, often called simply “the Dragon,” is an Image Comics superhero created by Erik Larsen. The Dragon is a large, super-strong, finned, green-skinned humanoid. He is an amnesiac; his earliest memory is awakening in a burning field in Chicago. Thus, for most of the series, his powers and appearance were a mystery to readers. At the beginning of the series, he became a police officer and battled the mutant criminal “superfreaks”—principally the Vicious Circle—that were terrorizing Chicago.
3. Sara Pezzini (Witchblade)
The series follows Sara Pezzini, a NYPD homicide detective who comes into possession of the Witchblade, a supernatural, sentient gauntlet that bonds with a female host and provides her with a variety of powers in order to fight supernatural evil. Sara struggles to hone the powers of the Witchblade and fend off those with a nefarious interest in it, such as entrepreneur Kenneth Irons and his bodyguard Ian Nottingham. The Witchblade was created as a means of balance for The Darkness and The Angelus.
4. The Darkness
The Darkness is an ancient living power reaching back to the beginning of the universe as well as the creation of mankind. At an unspecified time following the birth of the Witchblade, the Darkness began seeking a vessel within human bloodlines, eventually choosing Mafia hitman Jackie Estacado. On his 21st birthday, he becomes the bearer of the Darkness, that allows access to an otherworldly dimension and control over the demons who dwell there.
A character created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Cory Walker, Invincible is the teenaged son of Omni-Man, an extraterrestrial superhero of the Viltrumite race. Invincible inherited his father’s superhuman strength and ability to fly and he has sworn to protect the Earth. He has had trouble adjusting to his newfound powers and coping with the reality of his origins.
Set in a world where all chicken and other bird meats are illegal, after a catastrophic outbreak of the bird flu that killed 23 million Americans, Chew centers on Tony Chu – a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agent who solves crimes by receiving psychic impressions from food, including people. It is written by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory. The series has won two Eisner Awards and two Harvey Awards.