Before Image Comics was a bastion of creator rights (lol), they too were just a publisher putting out shitty crossovers. Yes, the Image Boys were born and raised in the Big Two, so why on Earth would they do anything differently?
These crossovers were almost all terrible—like much of Image’s early output—and occasionally included some seminal creators on some really weird stories. Heck, Kirkman wishes he was a founder so bad that he actually tried to reboot the Image crossover tradition in 2009 … and failed miserably (but more on that later). For now, enjoy these terrible, horrible, very bad books. And hold them close for the next time a man tries to tell you the revolutionary story that you’ve def never heard of, A.K.A. the founding of Image Comics.
Splitting Image (1992)
The first of Image’s team up books is arguably the best. A comedy parody of the boys’ split from Marvel, starring all of their most famous creations. Making a MAD style comic about yourself is a blatantly arrogant move but fits perfectly into the weird teen boy mentality that most of the (only barely out of their teens) founders built their brands on. This is a uniquely Image version of a crossover.
Violator vs. Badrock (1995)
You love Alan Moore. I love Alan Moore. Everyone loves Alan Moore. It’s Alan Moore. He wrote Watchmen. Have you read it? It’s the only comic ever made? Moore’s the comics chaos magician who was fucked over by DC and wrote some really wild stuff, including this very weird Image crossover book about Spawn villain Violator and Youngblood‘s very own Badrock. As it’s Alan Moore, this book is just as weird as you’d expect and includes portals to Hell, an angel called Celestine, and of course a fuck ton of outrageous Rob Liefeld cover art.
Shattered Image (1996)
This four issue miniseries written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Karl Kesel is probably closest to what you immediately think of when you read the word “crossover.” Basically it’s a bunch of characters who’d never usually interact punching stuff, and each other, and making references to books you’ve never read cos you have to eat and can’t afford to put every single book on your pull list, FFS. I can’t even really explain what happens but Badrock definitely picks up a bus, and Spawn turns up at some point too.
Altered Image (1998)
I think Altered Image was meant to be a comedy book, but the funniest thing here are Witchblade’s gravity defying breasts that grace two of the three covers and almost every page she appears on. Why were they still doing these after Splitting and Shattered? Who knows! This book won an award from Wizard Magazine which really says a lot. These three issues also had HILARIOUS names like “Middle Age Crisis” and “Everybody Smoosh Now,” which is sadly not a food fetish reference.
Image United (2009)
Lol! Only three issues of this six issue miniseries have ever been published. We last got an update shortly after the April and May 2010 solicited #4 and #5 never appeared. Kirkman said he was “definitely finishing the book,” but that was in 2011 so let’s be honest: this thing is never getting finished. The premise for the book was that each creator would draw their own character on each page, with every founder + Robby boy included (except for Jim, who just drew covers, cos he’s a big boy at DC now dontchaknow). It’s as ugly as it sounds, and makes you long for the days of Shattered Image’s simple badness.