After years of inactivity, Image Comics co-founder Rob Liefeld told ComicBook.com today 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."
"I have a lot of pages" of the mega-crossover," Liefeld admitted during a wide-ranging interview timed to the release of Major X #3 this week. "Image United will be completed. I don’t want to give a date but I haven’t given up. I got messages today on my Twitter feed, asking me to finish it up. Look, some things just take more time and this one got caught up in some people who got less enthused with it quickly. I’m not one of them. What it’s going to require is for me to do about 10-15 pages, finish everything that I have from one of the issues, maybe lightly pencil and help out what else is on the page, and then go and make a mass presentation. It’s something I’ve discussed with Robert Kirkman but nobody’s going to take it seriously until the work is done."
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."
For his part, Liefeld brought in Portacio to draw today's issue of Major X, saying that it was one of the best works of Portacio's career. Fan response to the issue has supported that position, which is good for all involved since the first three issues of Major X have sold out before they ever hit the stands, so Liefeld told us that he is thrilled that fans are still enjoying the ride.
"At this point, it's something that they're picking up and they're reading, not something they're collecting," Liefeld said of the consecutive sell-outs. Major X #3 sold out despite a significantly higher print run than the first two issues, as it benefited from the buzz around #1 (whereas the final order cutoff for #2 had already passed by the time #1 sold out).
In another two weeks, Liefeld and Marvel Comics will bring out Major X #4, in which Liefeld told us the big bad will be revealed and the whole story starts to go in an unexpected direction. As for Image United? Well, keep asking about it on Twitter, and maybe fan enthusiasm can speed things up a little.
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