Marvel and DC have been kings of the comic book community for decades now. Though fans often like to debate as to which is better, not everyone actually enjoys a lot of flashy, superhero spectacles. When Image Comics was first created, its main goal was to actually set out from the Big Two and do something differently.
Though the publisher has seen its fair share of superheroes, it has done just fine without any interconnected universe or tragic origin stories. To celebrate some of the publisher's greatest achievements over the years, here is our list of the 10 best Image comics ever.
Though author Robert Kirkman is most known for his horror works (more on that later), Invincible is another great series featuring a lighter tone, but equally dramatic moments. Centered around young superhero, Mark Grayson, Invincible starts as a great coming of age superhero story. However, as time passes, Mark begins to make discoveries that drastically alter the course and tone of the series.
What began as a fun family title became far more adult, especially towards the end. While the tonal shift may not be for everyone, Invincible is still a great general story, featuring compelling characters and parodying many other comic book heroes. Any fan of the untraditional superhero is sure to love this series.
9 The Wicked + The Divine
Kieron Gillan’s The Wicked +The Divine quickly became one of the most popular Image titles one the shelves. With compelling characters, a strong narrative, and a fusion of pop culture elements, it is easy to see why it had such a large appeal. The story itself consists of deities who are resurrected every 90 years into a new host, where they then live out their lives among humans for up to 2 years before the cycle restarts.
Using this concept, Gillan raises a lot of questions about life and death, beliefs, and many more. In regards to the series as a whole, the first arc is just the worst. That’s not to say that it is bad by any means, but getting past that sloppy start opens the door to everything else that made the series great.
Any fan of fantasy is sure to love Monstress by Marjorie Liu. Initially, Liu described the birth of the series as a character concept. Believing she had a great idea for her main character, Liu built the rest of the world around her. Though it may be a bit more of an unconventional creative process for some, it certainly paid off in Liu’s case, as Montress is one of the best fantasy titles on the market.
With a subtle addition of some steam-punk elements, the world of Monstress is unlike any other. Furthermore, seeing the world unfold and develop around the character only adds to the intriguing nature of the story. With gorgeous artwork by Sana Takeda, Monstress is the whole package that virtually any fan of fantasy can enjoy.
Of course, the original Image series had to be on this list at some point. Though it isn’t the best Image book of all time, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn is still one of the highest praised and popular series from the publisher. Going beyond the comic pages even, the series has even received a highly successful animated TV show, as well as a live action movie with a reboot on the way.
With a very dark past and violent nature, Spawn quickly became a fan favorite character upon his debut. Likewise, Spawn has undergone many extensive changes over the years. With the character recently reaching his 300th issue, his spot on this list is well-deserved.
6 Deadly Class
Rick Remender’s Deadly Class was actually popular enough to get adapted into a TV show along with others on this list. Though the show was unfortunately canceled, it received praise for its adaptation of the source material. In regards to the comic, Deadly Class follows a group of students who are studying to become some of the world’s best assassins.
Each with their own motivations, Deadly Class excellently captures a youthful voice while exploring some (oftentimes humorous) antics that the kids find themselves in. For a grittier story with great art to complement it, Deadly Class is not one to be missed.
5 Paper Girls
For all the great series that Brian K. Vaughn has delivered over the years, Paper Girls is easily one of his strongest. The series has often been described as a “female Stranger Things” and while there are certainly some weird aspects to it, Paper Girls still does enough to stand apart. Centered on a group of girls who run a newspaper route together, Paper Girls sees them thrown into a whole new world of science-fiction.
Faced with beings from the future and alternate dimensions, Paper Girls is a sci-fi story unlike any other. While any fan of Stranger Things is likely to enjoy this, the two stories are still different enough that they don’t feel like they copy each other.
While most comics have taken a weirder turn here and there, Chew is definitely one of the weirdest - and that's saying something. Tony Chu is a detective in a world where the sale and consumption of poultry is illegal due to a mutated strand of the Bird Flu. However, Tony is also a cibopath, meaning that he can see the memories of all the food he eats.
Due to the unique nature of his abilities, Tony is constantly eating some very weird and very gross things. However, though the series has a great layer of comedy throughout, it is also a great detective story. With great, lovable characters and a sci-fi element as well, Chew is a surprisingly fantastic series that almost anyone with a strong stomach can enjoy.
Jeff Lemire’s Descender series was so popular that Sony actually bought film rights to it before it even released. Thankfully, their investment may pay off, as Descender was one of the biggest and best comics of its year. The story is a fantastic sci-fi tale of friendship and loyalty as a TIM unit potentially holds the key to saving mankind.
Not only is the story great, but Dustin Nguyen’s watercolor artwork is absolutely incredible. The whole series has this beautiful aesthetic to it that is incredibly difficult to find in another book. Fans are currently enjoying the sequel series, Ascender, which has also received great praise.
While Brian K. Vaughn may have knocked it out of the park with Paper Girls, Saga is far superior. Not only would Saga outsell Paper Girls, but it also combines elements of virtually every genre in a way that doesn’t weigh down the story. Because of this, the stakes feel higher in Saga and also help it to appeal to a much wider audience.
Though certain aspects of the series are very weird, Saga is actually a great, epic story that follows a family caught in a war between science fiction and fantasy. With classic elements such as “forbidden love” built on a modern epic adventure, Saga is one series that is an absolute must read from the publisher.
1 The Walking Dead
No other Image series has been more popular than Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead. Since its debut, The Walking Dead has grown beyond the comic and into a very popular TV series. With a great balance between horror, suspense, and drama, it is easy to see why The Walking Dead has become as big as it is.
Not only did it have a great tonal balance, but the characters were all incredibly strong as well. Seeing very realistic people fight to survive a situation like this led to some incredibly morally gray decisions, only adding to the dramatic elements of the series. Though the comics have recently concluded, there is no denying that The Walking Dead is easily the best Image series yet.