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Friday, March 20, 2009

Comics Pitch: Image Universe

[Edit - the review is up and you can find it here.]

Over at Comics Bulletin I'll soon be doing a proper review of Invincible #60 (you can find a preview here), Robert Kirkman's latest entry in his long-running series.

The issue is for the most part and all-out brawl between evil doppelgangers of the title character and the entire Image Comics Universe. While reading Kirkman's story and seeing a bunch of characters that I haven't seen on a page in years* illustrated so ably by Ryan Ottley, I wondered why this didn't happen more often.

Why hasn't Image done more crossover work in recent years? I imagine some of it could be logistical issues of having all of those creator-owned characters in one title perhaps stepping on the toes of ongoing narratives. Also, it's been years since Image really dealt with any kind of shared universe. Some characters might cross over from time to time, but for the most part the Image creators seemed to keep to their own little corners, tapping out their own self-contained narratives.

Could it also have to do with the fact that the brand identity of some of these characters are kind of hard to pin down? Who knows what Spawn or Youngblood are about anymore? Does seeing the Savage Dragon wailing on some villains alongside Shadowhawk elicit any sort of response from anyone save the most nostalgic fan still clinging to a connection with these properties?**

Kirkman is wise to keep his "Invincible War" to one issue for narrative purposes but it's interesting to think about Image exploiting the shared universe of these characters more frequently.

*Seriously, Pitt?! Did that book even reach a conclusion?
** I was totally happy to see Savage Dragon wailing on robots drawn by Ryan Ottley, so I might be the target audience for this sort of thing.

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