Movie Review: The Image Revolution
Twenty-five years ago, seven superstar artists left Marvel Comics to create their own company, Image Comics, a company that continues to influence mainstream comics and pop culture to this day.
Today marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of Image Comics, a comic publishing company that has left its mark on the comic book world. Directed by Patrick Meaney and released by Respect Films, The Image Revolution is a documentary that examines the founding of the publisher.
In 1992 Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, and Rob Liefeld quit working for the big two publishers forging their own path an independent publishing company that has undoubtedly shaped comics after, for good and bad.
There’s a lot that’s good about the documentary itself. It gives a warts and all accounting of why this mattered and what happened over the years. It doesn’t go too much in depth, mostly relying on interviews and first-hand accounts of the situations and history. With that, there isn’t much pushback and evidence presented as a true accounting of what happened, it’s what these big comic personalities say is history.
Interspersed with interviews of the founders is others talking about their time within the studio and excess that went with being on top of the world. And that’s where the documentary really shines. It presents a lot of negative and a lot of the folks presented do not come off well, like at all. Egos abound with an almost bragging aspect to it, humility is not on display here. All it missed was scenes of individuals doing lines of coke and dollar bills flying around. That’s the type of excess is presented and talked about.
But beyond the excess, the personalities of the founders, and the clashes that caused, are on full display. It’s amazing this group got done what they did after seeing this documentary and you get some might feel the same way. It also does a solid job of taking us through the comic industry of the time, giving viewers just enough information to understand why what’s going on is important.
There’s some bad about the documentary, though it’s a fascinating watch. There isn’t much push back on stories or some of the juicier things that are out there. These individuals control what they want out there, clearly, and the documentary team seem to be ok with that. Lessons learned also aren’t present. Mistakes are admitted, but there’s no real reflection upon all of that. So, it’s an oral history that’s just not too deep and presents some of the facts, not much more.One of the biggest issues is the documentary itself
One of the biggest issues is the documentary’s presentation itself. It relies a lot on archive video from the time and that quality is just not good. Even the filmed interviews for the documentary feel like they’re low budget and compared to other documentaries, it just doesn’t compare, there’s much higher quality out there.
For those that want the basics, this is a solid view. For those that are looking for a bit more, you’ll be disappointed. Basically, if you’re looking to learn the history of Image Comics, this is a good start, but should not be your only stop.
Overall Rating: 7.4