Image Comics has been slaying the comic game as of late. Created by seven of Marvel Comics’ best selling artists, Image has been producing comics and graphic novels since 1992, and now stands as the 3rd largest comics publisher in the United States. (Facts obtained from ImageComics.com). You’ve no doubt heard their name before, being as they produce The Walking Dead comics that the hit AMC show is based off of. I’m going to give you some lesser-known, relatively newer titles you might want to use as a starting point to dip your toe into the pool that is Image Comics (and possibly spur your next obsession).
1) The Li’l Depressed Boy
The Li’l Depressed Boy started out as a web-series cult-favorite, recognized widely throughout the Tumblr-verse. Known affectionately as “LDB”, this sock puppet, alt-rock Charlie Brown typecharacter has now come to print by the hands of S. Scott Struble and Sina Grace. This series is super relatable to fellow twenty-somethings that are at that “What’s next?” stage in their life. It’s practically geared towards the introverts, which shows in the illustrations of LDB himself. Do his friends and the people in his world see him as a sock puppet? Or is that just how he feels, and is thusly portrayed to us as the readers?
Another great thing about LDB is how they really highlight how he uses music to get through those tough times in his life; which will definitely bring readers back to that one album that they played over and over again to get them through their own rough stuff. The comics have even showcased cameos by artists like Childish Gambino, Lemuria, Andrew Jackson, and Jihad and Kepi Ghoulie. Readers will no doubt fall in love with LDB, because besides potentially seeing so much of themselves in him, who doesn’t love an underdog?
Part of what makes Wytches so spooky is that it’s based loosely on actual, creepy childhood experiences had by its creator, Scott Snyder. The series centers on the Rook family after their move to a new town; a move brought on by a tragedy involving the Rook daughter, Sailor, and a school bully. Rumors of the tragedy have unfortunately followed the family, but Sailor being ostracized seems to be the last of this family’s problems. As the series progresses, we find out more and more troubling, horrific things about this new town and the supernatural members of its population. In particular, the practice of “pledging”, where a person can “pledge” another person to the things that go bump in the forest in exchange for boon.
Something really neat about how this series plays out is that each issue gives you more and more backstory into the Rook family and their dynamics in particular. Something you may not have understood the first time you read an issue may become clear later on. They’re definitely a complex family, so it shouldn’t be too hard for readers to find something relatable about them.
Fans of horror and fantasy will definitely get a kick out of this title. It’s definitely dark and twisted, in the most delightful of ways. It reminds me of something that would’ve come out of collaboration between The Brothers Grimm and Stephen King. So fans of either (or both!) should also definitely check it out!
Described on Image’s website as “an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series”, this series by Brian K. Vaughan (with illustrations by Fiona Staples) is definitely unlike anything I’ve seen before. If you were to look up a roster of the characters… they’re all so mind-blowingly ingenious and unique.
The narrator is, for the main part, a girl named Hazel, whose birth sparked controversy since her parents are from two different long time rival extra-terrestrial races. Although the series is “heavily influenced by Star Wars” (Image.com), we get to see the characters go through very human conflicts and emotions as they flee to keep their daughter safe from the crooked authorities of a world caught up in war.
What had me, for one, enraptured in this book were the different species of characters. There are beautiful arachnid women, men/television hybrids, a cat that can tell if you’re lying, and a little talking walrus with overalls! Each issue brings something new and different for your mind to continually be awed by.
Sci-fi fans, come on down! Also, people that like a little politics peppered into their comics will most likely enjoy this one too.
4) The Wicked + The Divine
The concept behind this series is like the age old “What would you do if you only had so-and-so days to live?” question, but kicked up a notch. Kicked up a LOT of notches. Every 90 years, Gods are incarnated on Earth as humans. Twelve lucky(?) mortals are chosen and imbibed with all the divine, godly powers of the entity that now embodies them; along with a 2 year life span. The Gods are all young, hip, rich pop stars, and one fan gets in a little too deep when she witnesses the murder of Lucifer, or, “Luci”. All the Gods have their guards up now; and we follow Laura (the aforementioned super-fan) as she tries to help make heads or tails of the rules and consequences in this circle of seemingly untouchable, but all too fallible immortals.
This series definitely came about at an influential time. The fact that all the Gods turn into pop stars definitely says something about pop culture today. You can’t deny that it seems pop stars are who the public seems to listen to the most, even if they’re saying the most inane things. Look at Miley Cyrus’s twitter. (Sorry Miley fans.) It’s edgy, too; we follow Laura around to hip underground concerts and into the elusive and exclusive night-life of the Gods.
Fans of theology and/or occult lore will no doubt be fans of this series, as they name drop actual ancient deities, such as Baal and Baphomet. Perfect for those who like to take something educational away from their reading.
5) Rat Queens
Easily the most fun read on the list, Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe follows the exploits of four extremely different, charismatic and rambunctious female warriors. Set in a medieval fantasy world, “rockabilly elven-mage Hannah”, “hipster dwarven warrior Violet”, “atheist human cleric Dee”, and “hippy Halfling thief Betty” are a ragtag, ruthless team of some heavy-hitting females. The Rat Queens Wikipedia site shares that Weibe “described the series as a “love letter to my years of D&D (…) and fantasy” with a modern twist, and the concept as “Lord of the Rings meets Bridesmaids”. The series is hilarious, and perfect for fans of girl power and a balance of witty and foul-mouthed writing!
I hope this list has left you with some new potential reading selections! There are so many more titles that Image has to offer; a trip over to their website would really be worth your while! No matter what mood I’m in, one of these titles always fits the bill for what I feel like reading. The only downside is waiting for the new issues to come out!
Did I leave out your favorite Image title? Or do you just want to share your opinions on the ones I wrote about? Feel free! Let’s grow this pull list, share some of your own picks!