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Comics Today's Date:

Friday, July 27 10:30-11:30, Room 6A.
Oh, yeah. It's in San Diego.
Comic-Con 2007:
The Seven Soldiers of
Image Comics Reunite

Last weekend Image Comics and TwoMorrows Publishing made a promise of an event that no one could have predicted. Well, let's let them tell it first:

The original seven founding members of Image Comics will appear together at Comicon International: San Diego on Friday, July 27, from 10:30-11:30am in Room 6A, at the "Image Founders Panel." The panel will be hosted by George Khoury (author of TwoMorrows Publishing's new book "Image Comics: The Road to Independence," available at www.twomorrows.com).

In 1992, seven artists shook the foundation of the comic book industry when they left their top-selling Marvel Comic titles to jointly form a new company named Image Comics. With no certainty of success, they formed a home that would allow themselves and other artists the opportunity to tell their stories without any censorship or editorial restraints. Even more importantly, Image would finally give creators full ownership of their properties. In an industry that began with artists working in sweatshop-like conditions, Image remains a living beacon for any creator that dares to dream.

Appearing at the panel will be Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. This will be the first time that the original seven founding members of Image Comics have ever appeared on a panel together.

One part of that stuns me -- they've never been on a panel together? Not even in the beginning? That's amazing. Originally, by the way, this had been scheduled for a room seating 500, but mysteriously, more people wanted to attend. So now it's up to room 6A, which seats 1000. Stop scoffing, mom, 1000 people will want to hear comics people talk.

For those unsure if they'll be able to attend, we've managed to look into the future and brought back the highlights of the event.

The seven founders enter to thunderous applause as fans leap to their feet. As they take their seats, six of the founders turn to Whilce Portacio and ask who he is. He assures them that, yes, he did co-found Image with them.

"I was there. I swear it."
An incredulous Jim Lee asks, "Really?" Once again, Portacio insists that he had a role, and reminds Lee that he's currently drawing Wetworks for Wildstorm. To which Lee asks, "Really?"

When asked to relive the high points of the old days, Rob Liefeld admits that his greatest and saddest moment with Image was the same one, the day that he decided to change the company's name to Maximum Press.

Though it hurt him to fire the other six co-founders, he knew that the company had to keep growing. Later he gave them an olive branch by allowing them to form a company of their own, and that they could use the name Image for the new product if they wanted.

Jim Valention looks like he's about to protest, but Erik Larsen holds him back and smiles that smile. You know the one.

At one point, an audience member asks if Image turned out to be everything they had hoped. In a low sonorous tone, Todd McFarlane grumbles into the microphone, "Not really. I'm tired of comics. I'm tired of toys. I'm tired of my balls. What I really want to get into is real estate development."

He reaches behind him for a portfolio. "These are my designs for an innovative housing development I call 'Spawndominiums.' I'm sure they'll be really popular, but then I'm going to do the ones i really wanted to do all along. In those, your living quarters are more of a feeling, a shadow, a hint of some unease but that maybe you’ll get a good night’s sleep, if only you could see it out of more than a corner of your eye." He pauses, "They'll start in the low 200s..."

Eventually, talk turns to the future plans for these creators. Valentino mentions that he's continually writing and drawing new books, to which Lee asks, "Really?"

Did we still care?
Lee leans forward into his microphone and announces that he is currently thinking about a panel that he will be drawing for All-Star Batman and Robin #6, which was actually scheduled to arrive in stores the previous Wednesday.

Leifeld announces the imminent publication of the completely original, not derivative at all, All-Star Ultimate Youngblood Extreme Maximum, scheduled for release on December 22, 2012 with a script by sci fi great Cordwainer Bird, pencils by Jack Kirby and inks by Jim Lee.

Until now, Marc Silvestri has stayed pretty quiet. With great solemnity, he announces that he will be joining the priesthood. This announcement is later rescinded after someone informs Mr. Silvestri that he will not actually be able to work his way up the ladder into a secret organization that carries guns and is attended by a cloister of nuns with wimples, g-strings, and ginormous breasts.

Erik Larsen just shrugs and says, "the future holds more great comics." Then he smiles that smile. You know the one.

Erik, call us.

Buy Image Comics: The Road To Independence at Amazon.com!

Derek McCaw


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