That Bad Boy Image #1: Big Behaviour Bars

Welcome to That Bad Boy Image! A weekly column where we commemorate 25 years of Image by making a very statistically accurate graph to showcase just what those naughty boys and their driving-seat successors are up to during this most momentous quarter century celebration of one of the biggest shakeups in comics history– the founding of Image Comics. 


Todd McFarlane
A man in search of a plaque, McFarlane was the grease in the gears (and a big cog too). The wily business brain of the oufttfit, he wanted a home for his gothic Spider-Man Gary-Stu.

Rob Liefeld
A Labrador puppy in human form, this excitable boy had ideas (millions of’em) and was inflamed, and eventually overwhelmed, by the power of paying it forward. Go team Extreme!

Erik Larsen
Knows exactly what the Dragon would and wouldn’t do. Looking for an escape from editorial mandate; set his eyes on the prize and tortoised it.

Jim Lee
“Everyone was always doing crazy stuff in the Image offices; Todd was shirtless giving speeches. Once I took my baby into a meeting!” –World’s loveliest comic book dad on the early days of Image

Whilce Portacio
A beautiful dreamer in search of an artists’ commune. Not a technical Founder due to family illness and bereavement, but (ironically) a true believer.

Jim Valentino
Mister Experience, no stranger to independent publishing; a dad-sized formal influence with a Miami Vice wardrobe. Half business, half comics, all power.

Marc Silvestri
Known as “the handsome one” because nobody was looking at Jim Lee. Knows his lane, which is the X-Men. “What if colossus and psylocke had six babies?” Strong jaw, strong eyebrows. Tall guy.

Eric Stephenson
Comics baby hired on a whim– the only one awake enough to suggest editorial input to Rob Liefeld. Not very good at it though. Prone to editing himself; absolute wildman.

Robert Kirkman
A litre baby child, starry-eyed at all these new incredible books! Oh boy! Could I do this when I grow up?

????Caveat: Where He Was At EntryThe Golden Boy. Coming off the success of that book. Makes more money than any of the founders; always trying to “get the boys back together.” Lied to everyone to get the Walking Dead published by Image.

More newborn than even Stephenson, Image Comics was fresh from the hive-womb of its seven freedom-bound fathers. Made a lot of promises; broke a lot of promises. But boy, did it look exciting and feel like change!


Graph collated by Claire Napier and Rosie Knight. Graph created by Rosie Knight and Nick Marino.

This week is all about Eric Stephenson. With the release of Howard Chaykin’s generally gross, horribly racist and violently transphobic new book at Image during Pride month, comic fans, critics and creators were waiting for a response to the reaction from the publisher. And boy did they get it. In one of the most misguided editorial choices in modern Image history Stephenson used the valid and urgent criticism from trans members of the comics community to brag about the “Conversation” that the book started and to announce it’s second printing. This is also pretty ironic coming from Stephenson who has openly talked about how “selling out” is bad business and “creates a roadblock” between publishers and fans. Stephenson even wrote an entire essay on it which included this stellar line (which has aged pretty badly with his smug announcement on the “success” of Chaykin’s bigoted book).

“Bottom line: We all lose when we sellout. Sure, it gets Image some nice PR, and there’s a lucrative secondary market for sold out books with high demand, but that stuff is fleeting”

Hypocritical ol’ Eric-with-a-C doing the most to be as offensive and inconsistent as possible there. 

In better news Image hot dad #2 Mark Silvestri did a lovely tweet about the passing of Adam West and how much the original caped crusader meant to him. Nice.

And Image’s #1 hot dad Jim Lee launched his peak comic dad title Dark Days at DC, which is leading into a very cute dad event called Metal–complete with a Justice League in the shape devil horns #1 cover–which is basically just all the old guys at DC listening to AC/DC and drawing Batman with axes. Adorable.

Join us next week for an update! And let us know any and all of your picks for That Bad Boy Image’s next edition.

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Rosie Knight

Rosie Knight

writer. fake geek girl. makes comics, occasionally sells some.

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