Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
When the announcement broke that Rob Liefeld and Image Comics were reviving the Extreme Studios titles, I was pretty excited, and not because I was a huge fan of the imprint back in the day. In fact, the only Extreme titles I can remember buying and reading were the first few issues of Youngblood. The whole Image Comics phenomenon hit around a time that my interest in superheroes was waning, as I started to shift more to things like Sandman. So as they left Marvel’s biggest superhero books, gradually I did, too, at least for a little while. And I didn’t replace them with these new books from the hot young company formed by seven rebels who decided to forge their own path. No, I was on to Neil Gaiman and Jeff Smith and Hellblazer and Sin City and other things.
I do remember the Image thing as being a huge phenomenon, though. I remember my friend Mike showing me the CNN segment he had recorded about the birth of Image Comics, about how all these guys who made X-Men, Spider-Man, etc. such hot titles had decided to do the unthinkable and form their own company. I remember seeing Liefeld on Dennis Miller, the Levi’s 501 ads, the long lines at the Dallas Fantasy Fair for a bunch of artists who weren’t even the original seven, but still commanded an enthusiastic crowd … I remember being at the comic book store flipping through a copy of some random title when two kids and their mom came in looking for the Bloodstrike “Rub the Blood” cover. They came in, bought their weekly allowance’s worth of Image books, and taped them all up in bags with the hopes, I guess, that they’d be worth something some day. “Aren’t you going to read them?” I asked. They just looked at me. “They don’t read their comics,” their mom said proudly. Ah, the 1990s.
Controversial artist Rob Liefeld — and by “controversial” I mean people tend to either love his work or hate it — seems to be in one of the most productive phases of his recent career, drawing a monthly book for five consecutive issues, and about to take the reins as both writer and artist.
And the Liefeld-created Extreme Studios properties have returned to Image Comics, which is launching continuations of several of the books as part of an ambitious resurrection of Liefeld’s early-’90s characters.
And here’s the weird thing — the two aren’t connected.
Liefeld’s monthly book is DC’s current volume of Hawk and Dove*, a perennial lower-tier property conceived by artist Steve Ditko in the late 1960s. One of Liefeld’s first big breaks was a penciling gig on a Hawk and Dove series in the late ’80s, and DC has kept the characters around in one book or another almost ever since.
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My first thought when learning that there was going to be a revival of Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Comics line at Image was that I was an old, old man. We’d already reached the point where something so recent was old enough to have a nostalgia hook? And then I realized that we’re more than a decade since the last revamp of Prophet and almost as long since the last attempt at a Glory series. Continue Reading »