I've been curious about Image Comics' upcoming event, Image United, an artistic round-robin drawn by six of the company's founding members -- Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon), Marc Silvestri (Cyberforce), Rob Liefeld (Youngblood), Jim Valentino (Shadowhawk), and Whilce Portacio (Wetworks). The six-issue mini-series sees all of Image's core characters banding together to face off against a villainous Al Simmons (the original Spawn) in a story from writer Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Invincible).
The gimmick behind the series is that each artist will draw their own individual creations within the comics, so that the original creators are truly collaborating for the first time in Image's seventeen-year history. It's a cool idea, but there's been one glaring omission from all of the announcements concerning the upcoming series -- WildC.A.T.S. creator and Image co-founder Jim Lee.
Lee stayed with the company until 1998, when he took his Wildstorm imprint over to rival publisher DC Comics. Lee has been a mega-star in the comics' world for over twenty years now, most recently working with Frank Miller on a DC Batman project (All-Star Batman and Robin). His absence from the announcement of Image United was disappointing, but understandable.
Well, Jim Lee fans got some good news in an exclusive from Newsarama--Lee is providing a cover for issue one of the new mini-series. In true Image fashion, there are eleven collectible covers in all, and Lee's is just one of many, but it's good to see that Lee got some chance to participate, no matter how small.
For me, I'm not nostalgic for the early 90's glory days of Image. Apart from Larsen's sublimely over-the-top Savage Dragon, I feel no real love for these characters, and even the inclusion of Robert Kirkman hasn't been enough to hook me. For some, the idea of Liefeld, McFarlane, and Valentino all drawing their own characters interacting within the same panels probably sounds like fun, but to me it soujnds like a comic book trainwreck. We'll all find out on November 25th, 2009, when Image United #1 hits the stands.