It’s been 30 years since Image Comics launched. I remember fondly the buzz and excitement of these amazing creators breaking off on their own and creating whole new worlds no longer shackled by corporate bosses. I also remember reading a lot of those early comics and scratching my head. The art was definitely better than the stories with each series varying wildly in the overall quality. A lot has changed in that time with many ups and downs for the company. Image! 30th Anniversary Anthology #1 doesn’t celebrate what was, it instead what is. The anthology focuses on the current crop of creators releasing their creations under the publisher. It’s not a reflection of those titans who started it all.
Image has come a long way and this anthology is evidence of that. With a who’s who of creators, Image! 30th Anniversary Anthology #1 features a little something for almost everyone. There’s a lack of all-ages content, but, with so much adult content, it’d feel a little out of place. And boy is there adult content. Serial killers, murder, violence, the stories within are fare from the general “spandex superheroes” the publisher launched with. Sure, Image pushed the envelope in many ways when it launched, but the first story involves a child killer being killed on the footsteps of a courthouse. If there’s ever a flag planted that says this isn’t the Image of old, that’s a pretty big one.
And there’s a lot of variety here. The stories are pretty entertaining with few that are outright clunkers. But, with every anthology there’s some stories you’ll enjoy and some you probably won’t. It’s the nature of anthologies.
The art is generally top-notch. There’s a wide variety of styles and designs. Image! 30th Anniversary Anthology #1 features black and white gritty stories to bright colored neon explosions. The stories themselves are a mixture of cartoony manga inspired designs to grittier noir-ish tales that whose looks feel like they’re inspired by Frank Miller. Like the stories themselves, there’s a lot to take in and surely there’ll be some that readers will enjoy and some they don’t.
Image! 30th Anniversary Anthology #1 is an interesting comic. With it, the publisher seems focused on what is and what’s to come. This isn’t so much a celebration of the past 30 years of Image, it’s looking ahead at the next 30.
Story: Geoff Johns, Declan Shalvey, Wyatt Kennedy, Wes Craig, Skottie Young, Mirka Andolfo, Erica Henderson, Brenden Fletcher, Kyle Higgins, Patrick Kindlon
Art: Andrea Mutti, Declan Shalvey, Luana Vecchio, Wes Craig, Skottie Young, Mirka Andolfo, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Maurizio Rosenzweig
Color: Jason Wordie, Chiara Di Francia, Walter Baiamonte, Katia Ranalli
Letterer: Rob Leigh, Clayton Cowles, Fabio Amelia, Becca Carey
Editor: Brian Cunningham, Heather Antos
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review