This week marked the 25th anniversary of Image Comics and comic book stores celebrated by providing their patrons with an exclusive Image Classics preview comic. I made sure to go by my local store, Alter Ego Comics, for their special Image Day. While I was there I was inspired to write up something about some of my favorite Image Comics to celebrate their 25th.
One of my absolute favorite comic books is from Image Comics and I’ve actually written about it on The Nerdy Girl Express before. Hack/Slash began with a series of one shots through Image Comics and evolved into a full fledged series. It focuses on Cassie Hack and her companion Vlad who work together to hunt slashers. You can check out a much more detailed description in my article, Hack/Slash: A Comic Recommendation.
Going in chronological order by original release date I’ll highlight five other comics by Image that I highly recommend. First published in March 2012 Saga is a sci-fi action comic that focuses on the relationship between Alana, a former prison guard, and one of her detainees Marco. The story begins with the birth of their daughter Hazel and readers follow the family in their quest to survive after they left the prison Marco was imprisoned at. Saga is full of love, humor, and interesting characters. It is one of the publisher’s most beloved and best selling titles and is a great series to start with if you are a beginner comics reader.
Rat Queens, first published in September 2013, is one of the funniest comics I have ever read. The title Rat Queens are a group of mercenaries made up of archetypal fantasy characters who are tasked with protecting their kingdom from threats. The main characters are all women and they aren’t afraid to do whatever they want. There are massive party scenes, a variety of hookups, and huge reveals about their pasts. Each of the characters has such a diverse story that it is hard to pick a favorite and honestly I love all of them. Reading Rat Queens is like being immersed in a sort of subversive Dungeons and Dragons universe where anything can happen.
Also published in September 2013, Sex Criminals is a delightful take on the typical “girl meets boy” story. Suzie acts as the focal point of the comics and we watch as she struggles to save the library she works at, while also dealing with a brand new relationship. When she meets Jon the two of them learn that when they have sex they are able to stop time. To try and get the money Suzie needs the two of them decided to rob a bank. After that they learn they aren’t the only ones with sexual superpowers. The creators of the series also appear within the comic in certain scenes and they add so much to the humor of the stories. Sex Criminals is a really funny comic that also examines real world issues in well done way.
The Wicked + The Divine debuted in November 2014 and has gained its own large cult following in the slightly over two years since it first hit the shelves. The series blends modern day pop music with ancient mythology through The Pantheon. Every 90 years twelve demigods return to earth within the bodies of humans. Once you’ve been chosen and accept your place within The Pantheon you are instantly famous. The demigods perform for humanity and show their powers to the world. While they might all be connected, each of these beings has their own goals and they don’t always agree. Laura, a huge fan of The Pantheon, is drawn into their politics and within the story we watch as she grows more and more connected to the beings that she once worshiped.
In December 2014 Image debuted Bitch Planet, a comic set in a dystopian future world where men rule and any woman who does not fit within a rigid construct of what it means to be female is deemed a non-compliant and sent to prison. The comic has a very strong feminist message and advocates gender equality and freedom of expression. It focuses on the women of Bitch Planet, a prison satellite full of non-compliants, and we learn why they are where they are and watch as they attempt to fight against the system. It is an amazingly well written series and is full of diverse characters who show that there is no one way to be a woman.
I highly recommend any of these comics to new and old readers, though it is important to note Image does focus on mature themes and ideas. They also have a number of series beyond what I mentioned here, including Papergirls and The Beauty. Happy 25th Image and I look forward to seeing what the next 25 years brings.
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