Nov 13, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 627: Backlash #2, December 1994

I had a quick look just before starting this post, and of the 626 previous comics I've read, only 12 are from Image.

I missed the Image renaissance in the early 90s. I'd discovered sex, drugs, and rock and roll (I'm being quite literal here), and comics had fallen by the wayside. I'd become bored of them by that point anyway, though I think if I'd concentrated more on Animal Man, and less on Uncanny X-Men, if I'd given that weird new series Sandman a go, I might have stuck with it. It took until about 1995, and a friend handing me Sandman: Season of Mists, for me to realize what I'd missed out on. Of course, not long after, I also found out about the Image controversy, and about the rest of what I'd missed out on.

Now, I do, every now and again, try to give the early 90s Image titles a go. They had so many talented creators working for them, I can't help but think that somewhere in that collection of zeppelin-sized breasts and muscles made out of airplane cable, there must be something good. Gerber and Manabat's work on Cybernary is pretty sweet. And early Jim Lee stuff is pretty good, though he really doesn't seem to have evolved as an artist, at all, over the last 20 years. The guest-written issues of Spawn are excellent for the most part. But, by and large, and this is becoming an increasingly unpopular opinion in our 90s nostalgia-fuelled days, the comics are just bad. The fact that Image comics have featured twice in my "Horror from the Dollar Bin" posts does say something.

I've had a pretty nice-sized run of Backlash for a long while now. I think they were amongst the comics I picked up when trying to get stock for my store way back when. I've got numbers 2 -9 consecutively, which I may give a go over the next few days. It's grim, it's gritty, it's got that stylized/realistic aesthetic that early Image loves. But what it has done for me is consider the Image Universe and its composition. Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon guests in this issue, and the major villains are the Daemonites, a group of alien beings that permeate all of the Image superhero titles. This universe is very much a series of interwoven stories, much more so than their more famous predecessors, and despite the art and stories being slightly sub-par, there's something very, very cool going on with the shared narrative of this universe. Perhaps this will give me a better vantage from which to consider Backlash as we continue with his story over the next little while.


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