We’re celebrating Image Comics‘ 25th anniversary all this week by breaking down the company’s all-time best 25 series. With so much diversity in its catalog, Image truly has comics for everyone. Check them out for yourself! And leave some of your own favorites in the comments.
Image Comics’ longest running series (and one of the original seven), Savage Dragon, is also the work of one sole creator, Erik Larsen. For 25 years, Larsen has taken Dragon and readers on a roller-coaster ride of comic book storytelling. Experimenting with the passage of time, gigantic and sudden status quo changes, and deep mythology creating, Savage Dragon is the kind of story that can only be told in the medium of comics. Still going strong today, Savage Dragon is a treat for any sequential art fanatic.
It started as a webcomic and has since returned to the format, but for a solid few years PvP (short for Player vs Player) was put out by Image, and it was truly unique among their entire catalog. A hybrid of newspaper style comic strip and long-form narrative, PvP told the often hilarious yet strangely moving story of a group of friends running and working on a video game magazine. The book was also printed on its side, to mimic the panel structure and layout of a daily strip. Often forgotten, PvP should not be overlooked.
One of the newer titles to be put out by Image, The Humans by Keenan Marshall Keller and Tim Neely is a ‘70s grindhouse biker movie on the printed page. Oh yeah, but everyone is also a monkey. The anthropomorphic aspect is just one of the many great things about this title. Beautifully illustrated, it is filled with crime, drugs, and Sons of Anarchy inspired drama, The Humans is a true original in Image’s current line-up and in comics in general.
Simply put, Deadly Class is the greatest ’80s action movie John Hughes never made. Rick Remender and Wes Craig have created a punk rock/crime/action/teen romance hybrid that never slows down in narrative, energy, violence or style. It’s a coming of age story told with guns, assassinations, and teenage drama; thrown at the reader like a Molotov cocktail.
There is no shortage of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips noir comics, but Criminal may be the best one they have done. Essentially one family’s sordid and tragic history, Criminal also plays with the comic book format and narrative by experimenting in form, time passage, and length. Individual parts are fantastic, but when it is read as a whole, a large and violent family portrait is painted that will stay with readers for ages.