During a sit-down interview with ComicBook.com, Image Comics partners Robert Kirkman and Rob Liefeld took a couple of minutes out to discuss the status of the long-delayed Image United team-up series. The project, which most fans think will never be finished, is reportedly more than half done, with pages in the possession of each of the creators involved. Both Liefeld and Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen have expressed a willingness to carry on, even though most of the other contributors and fans seem to assume it is done for.
“I’m kicking ass at 51, I feel like I’m in a zone, and if I have to carry the rest of these guys to finish a book, I’ll do it!” Liefeld joked.
“It was crazy. I feel like it was EL that suggested it in the first place: everybody gets together, draws jam pages, we do the story together. It’s six guys that have very busy lives networking and getting pages together and drawing pages. It’s an absolutely insane project. I wish we had made it to the finish line.”
He added that he would not rule out a return to the project, to which Liefeld added that there was a Top Gun sequel coming out soon, decades in the making.
“The reason to finish it in ten years is to have a collected edition,” Liefeld said. “I’m all about the collected editions now. Robert Kirkman's life is built on collected editions.”
Back in May, Liefeld told ComicBook.com that fans might hear news about Image United in 2020. While he said that there was definitely not going to be any movement in this calendar year, he has a plan to get it completed, and has already spoken with Image partner Robert Kirkman about it. While Liefeld is aware that many fans assume the series is dead, he is committed to seeing it through since he still gets frequent messages and inquiries about whether or not it will ever be finished. He said that in order to get it finished, "the few will have to complete what the many began."
Earlier this year, before Major X became a publishing phenomenon that has Liefeld topping the Diamond charts, he said on social media that he was still working on the crossover, which was originally conceived as a collaboration between all of Image Comics's co-founders to reunite several of their characters from the early days of Image Comics in a more modern context.
Over the years, almost every Image founder seemed to have given up hope of ever seeing Image United completed. One person who has said over the years that he hoped it would one day come together -- though he doubted it -- was Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen, who laid out the series.
"I laid out issues #4 and #5 years ago and pages have been with the guys, scattered about," Larsen told ComicBook.com back in January. "I’d like to think that guys are knocking out occasional panels here and that it’ll eventually all come together."
If Image United -- which launched in 2009 -- does come together again, it will have transformed from an event that was designed to play into then-current events in some of Image's titles to a period piece. In the time since Image United was launched, major events have fundamentally altered the look, tone, and character of Spawn and Savage Dragon. Since Dragon takes place in real time, Malcolm Dragon -- who was a pubscent teenager in 2009 -- is now a fully-grown adult and his father, who used to be the series lead, has been dead for over a year.
The series brought the original seven Image Comics founders together, with DC honcho Jim Lee providing covers and interior art provided by Whilce Portacio, Jim Valentino, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen and Todd McFarlane, with each artist drawing the characters he created for Image. Robert Kirkman, who was not a founding member of Image but who is a partner in the company now, wrote the script. Presumably, Kirkman's script is completed, and Larsen has repeatedly suggested that he has outlined most of the event. Only three issues saw publication, with Larsen saying in a 2011 interview that the fourth issue was "about 60% done."
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