The Image Revolution (DVD Review)

Image-RevolutionIn 1992, Marvel Comics was the #1 publisher of comic books in the world, largely due to its dynamic artwork. At the height of this popularity, in response to what they believed to be years of mistreatment toward creative talent, a small – but influential – group of artists left Marvel Comics to form their own company, Image Comics. Led by the outspoken Todd McFarlane (Spawn), this group kicked off a revolution that not only changed the comic industry forever, but has had an indelible influence on mainstream pop culture that continues to this day.  But with great power came great turmoil, as Rob Liefeld (Deadpool), Jim Lee (X-Men), Marc Silvestri (Wolverine), Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon), Whilce Portacio (X-Factor) and Jim Valentino (Guardians Of The Galaxy) almost immediately began to unravel the very bond that united them. 

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The fascinating story of the rise, fall and triumphant return of one of the most successful publishers in comic book history, from Image’s skyrocketing fame in the early days, to the ups and downs of the ’90s, and the publisher’s new generation of pop culture mainstays like The Walking Dead.

In my hey day of comic book obsession in the 90s, Image was always the “extreme” or “Move over Batman and Spider-man, our people our super more hip” kind of comics.  When I was collecting, I was too young to ever know the story behind the scenes and was only learning artists and the like.  What I did really get into was Todd McFarlane’s line of figures he put out in the 90s (Still have the very first Jason and Freddy figures in package). So, honestly, I never purchased one Image comic book until I started collecting The Walking Dead back in 2005.

Their story, though, my was this fascinating.  Its a good scan of seeing where the business of comics was at this time and how these guys turned their backs and made things for the better.  This documentary not only grabs input form them, but other industry folks at the time and some celebrities and people that they had working under them.  This is THE Image story but you also get the beginnings of their subsidiaries as well.  Its a blunt, honest look at the game changers in the comic world proving both fun and educational.  A very big recommend.

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Encoding: MPEG-2 NTSC

Resolution: 480i

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  This documentary contains video and photo sources of all different qualities.  For the archival stuff, they’ve done a real nice job and it comes across very well.  The interview segments are the modern things, and they look about as terrific as something is able to in standard definition.  With documentaries, I’m never really too bummed or picky if they get to DVD only…I’m more happy the subject matter got a documentary.

Depth:  Solid work here.  Spacing is fine.  Movements and backgrounds come through with good clarity.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and can hide some detail at times.  No crushing seen.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are vibrant and natural in scope.

Flesh Tones:  Close ups provide good detail on facial features, though it is pretty smooth due to the sourcing nature.  Skin tones keeps a natural look to them.

Noise/Artifacts:  Nothing aside from typical DVD compression grievances.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  With all the different old VHS sources and the like, it comes across impressively, even though you can hear the age or distortion in the aged media.  There are sound effects here that sound pretty good, but dialogues is what this is all about and it more than gets the job done.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud and as crisp and clear as you’ll get with compressed audio.

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Extended Interviews

  • Founders (SD, 45:00) 
  • Others (SD, 15:33) 

Trailer (SD, 2:25) 

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What a terrific journey this little documentary takes us on.  Its pretty close to no-holds barred, though there is a politeness to it.  My only wish is that it had gone a tad more brutal and been a hair longer.  Aside from those nerd nit picks, its great.  The presentation offers the best of what standard definition can bring and you get almost an hour of extra interview stuff.   Fans and collectors should swipe this right up.  If you’re not one of those, you should still see it in some way shape or form.

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1 Response to “The Image Revolution (DVD Review)”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    I was big time Image Comics disciple. I got into Spawn, Wildcats, Youngblood (yeah, I know), and Cyberforce. I never did care for Shadowhawk and Savage Dragon.

    Jim Lee is still my favorite artist of all time, too.