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Thursday, December 12, 2013 

Just how honest is the new Image documentary?

A new documentary came out about the founding of Image Comics, which CBR's Augie deBlieck reviewed. Now I won't say that there wasn't anything good to come out of their company in the long run, and some affliates like Top Cow did manage to achieve success. But if this documentary doesn't have an objective view of people like Rob Liefeld, to name but one telling example, then I don't see what the point is. DeBlieck says:
It might not be a powerhouse of journalistic endeavors, but it'll be informative for someone who's new to the topic and isn't sick of hearing about Kirkman's faked alien invasion story. It is, however, an entertaining special, a glossy overview of a fun period of comics with lots of memorable and honest remembrances from the participants. All seven founders (plus Whilce Portacio and Robert Kirkman) are interviewed for the piece.
Sigh. That's not telling anything new. Nor is it honest. Liefeld's catastrophous products like Youngblood, which bore as bad a story as it did artwork, is not something to celebrate, and if they're glossing over anything bad or not willing to admit they wasted many people's time and money, then this documentary has little value to it.
The movie gives Rob Liefeld the best opportunity to display his skills as The World's Greatest Todd McFarlane Impressionist, something which he'll have to add to the back of his business card this week. I also like Valentino's description of Liefeld as being "like a speed freak that stuck his finger in the light socket." It helps to drive home that this group of Image Founders feels a lot like a brotherhood as much as anything else. They have their squabbles and they make fun of each other constantly, but they get along at the end of these days more often than not.
I realize the co-founders aren't going to berate one another for poor art and scripting, but what about the filmmakers? Do they acknowledge that Liefeld was - and still is - a very poor artist with a derivative style? It remains to be seen if they feature any of his worst examples, because anybody with good taste who catches sight of his most sloppy, deformed anatomy designs would come away wondering what all the fuss is about.

Robert Kirkman is an okay choice for interviewee, and his Walking Dead comics have been adapted for TV, but any producer thinking of adapting Liefeld's output should have their heads examined. Fortunately, I don't think there's much of a chance of that happening, and if it did, they'd surely be embarrassed to let the public know they're making a TV show or movie based on terrible farces.

Does the documentary tell how Image initially led to a speculator market that that collapsed, and stories that weren't worth the paper they're printed on? Probably not, so I wouldn't care to take a look at an otherwise uncritical production. The real reason Image is still here today is because they did wise up in their approach.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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