Axel-In-Charge: Unmasking the "Totally Awesome Hulk"
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.