Robot 6

Will the return of Extreme Studios mean we’ll see collections of previous titles?

One of the big pieces of news that came out of the New York Comic-Con earlier this month was that the long-dormant Extreme line of titles are coming back to life at Image with a host of modern creators. Liefeld has brought back a number of his titles in the past few years on an individual basis, but this full-scale resuscitation is striking not just because they’re back, but because Liefeld and Image are bringing them back with modern creators whose styles are different from the kind of work most people would expect from the imprint. But there’s also something else out there — the back catalog of comics and scripts Liefeld has commissioned over the years, some of which have never been seen before.

A little history lesson: Extreme Studios was Liefeld’s imprint in the founding of Image Comics back in 1992, and the inaugural Image/Extreme title Youngblood #1 was a bestseller for the company. Liefeld went on to expand this Image imprint quickly with titles like Bloodstrike, Brigade and Supreme . Although the titles failed to stick to a monthly schedule, the sheer amount of new ideas coming out of Liefeld’s camp led Image to turn down some of them, so Liefeld began a separate side company called Maximum Press to harbor those. After Liefeld departed Image over a dispute with his co-founders, he merged his Image line (Extreme) with his non-Image company (Maximum) in what later became a completely independent entity, Awesome Entertainment.

Extreme, Maximum, Awesome. Get it? Good.

Liefeld became an early eye for talent, pulling future Image publisher Eric Stephenson out of fandom to work with him, and also bringing in a movie screenwriter named Jeph Loeb to become publisher of Awesome. Liefeld’s company expanded quickly, not only publishing his ideas but books from Ian Churchill, Loeb and Jeff Matsuda, as well as doing licensing comics like Battlestar Galactica at a time when licensed comics were considered bad taste in the industry. One of Liefeld’s most surprising and popular choices was bringing in writer Alan Moore, who had fled Marvel and DC Comics over issues with them.

Moore’s time at Awesome Entertainment redefined the publishing line, mixing the recognizable art of Liefeld and his associates with Moore’s assured writing when the writer was bar-none the top writer in comics. Moore was given the keys to reboot the entire universe and did just that with the miniseries Judgment Day, and went on to write the line’s flagship book Youngblood as well as Supreme. Moore had a prodigious output, with a number of his scripts and story ideas remaining unpublished to this day — hence the announced Supreme book by Moore, Erik Larsen and Cory Hamscher.

In the late 90s, Awesome Entertainment folded as the collector’s boom ground to a halt and much of what was published at that time remained out of print for the past decade. The real gems that the revitalized Extreme imprint at Image could take advantage of is Alan Moore’s body of work for the publisher, as well as Liefeld’s work on Youngblood and his reinvention of Fighting American, Stephen Platt’s Prophet and Keron Grant’s Century. It’ll be interesting to see how much time Liefeld spends on moving Extreme forward with new work as well as taking advantage of the immense catalog of work by top stars.

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13 Comments

We can only hope. I was hoping that DC would do some collections on the old Wildstorm titles during the DCnU 52 releases. Like releasing Backlash Omnibus collecting 1-32, Stormwatch 4-5, and Wildcore 1-12 and promoting it as dome by the artist on Teen Titans or a giant Wildcats Omnibus collecting all of series 1 with 1-50.

Yea a Fighting American HC would be sweet. I already have all the issues, all the variants but man o man, did I love that series.

Maybe they can get PLATT back and finish that Dogs of War mini.

whatever happened to S.platt?? he was insanely popular for awhile.I havent seen anything from him in awhile. same with dale keown.

I’d love to see more Moore (get it?) Supreme & Youngblood. The rest of that companies output was shite IIRC…

Im excited for the relaunch. Image comic is a publisher i would love to work for. Rob liefeld is one of my favorite creators. I cant wait for all the titles. I hope he brings back brigade and team youngblood.

Did that “remixed” collection of Youngblood that was rewritten (or what have you) by Joe Casey ever see it to print? I was always curious to see how that would work out.

This will all be collected AFTER the HC collection of Image United

“Judgment Day” and Alan Moore’s “Supreme” run were both collected by Checker BPG a few years back, so there may be some rights tie-ups on the reprints there. Also, I haven’t read it in ages, but I remember loving the hell out of Loeb & Matsuda’s “Ka-Boom” and think it’d be great to have that back in print.

“Did that “remixed” collection of Youngblood that was rewritten (or what have you) by Joe Casey ever see it to print? I was always curious to see how that would work out.”

It did, and it’s actually a pretty intriguing read.

Jason Green, there is a collection of Kaboom! available right now.

Seeing Alan Moore back on Youngblood would be AMAZING! Only 4 issues came out! But I loved them.

@Donnie – Backlash was such a great series! ;)

Rob and crew had great ideas, some great characters and some talented people behind the scenes. BUT they were a young unruly bunch that couldn’t meet a deadline to save ,as it became clear, their company. Plath’s attention to detail (anyone remember the contest in Wizard Monthly “count the spent shells”?) was his downfall. I loved his art and he still is my favorite Moon Knight artist but not being able to put out pages on regular basis led to him being replaced on books. He is one of the artist that I always thought should have stayed at Marvel longer. There he would have learned a work horse mentality that is needed. As for Dale Keown he is still out there doing his thing. His art is still at the top of his game. Here’s hoping we will see him back at the House Of Ideas doing what he does best…..HULK! Awesome’s attitude and piss and viniger way could only last so long. I hesitate in comparing them to Icarus but it is a good way to see it. Jim Lee is where he is because he was on time month in and month out. McFarlene is again on time. Erik Larsen is a metronome. Let’s hope with age comes new understanding. Mr Liefeld if you read this please hire a drill sargent to keep the titles coming like clockwork. Oh yeah Badrock vs Ben Grimm too!

I’d just like to say I’m very happy to see an entire page of comments with none of the usual, tired, negative Liefeld comments! People are actually focusing on the good books that came out of Extreme and Awesome. And I LOVE Fighting American, would love to see him come back. I asked Rob on Twitter about Fighting American, he was mum about it though…he often answers back, to, so I’m guessing Fighting American may be mired in rights issues again.

Oh, and yes the remixed HC Youngblood is great, and the Checker Press “Judgment Day” trade is relatively inexpensive online. “Judgment Day” should be read by everyone who enjoyed Watchmen.

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