Writer Robert Kirkman has brought Marvel Zombies to life and created such books as Invincible and Walking Dead. This month, he’s writing the epic Image crossover event, Image United. Westfield’s Roger Ash recently contacted Kirkman to learn more about this book.
Westfield: What can you say about the story of Image United and which of the Image characters are involved?
Robert Kirkman: All of the characters are involved. Everyone from Bloodstrike to Blacklight, Spawn to Cyberforce, they’re all here… everyone’s characters are appearing. This isn’t just a story where six characters get together to fight the main bad guy – this is a world-spanning epic. It’s a giant mega-crossover that will be something old-school Image fans can enjoy but also something for someone who has never even read an Image book who wants to find out what all the fuss is about.
Westfield: How did everyone get together for this project?
Kirkman: After doing the reunion panel at Comic-Con 2007, Mike Malve got the original Image Crew together for a signing on FCBD 2008 and while there, the guys started talking about the huge turnout of fans and how it would be really cool if there was something they could all do together to reward the fans for being so dedicated for so many years. Larsen was the one who had the idea to do a mini-series structured around jam pages where everyone drew their own characters. After everyone agreed, Erik called me up and asked if I’d be interested in writing the thing… and I said “heck yeah!” and that pretty much brings us up to speed.
Westfield: There are a lot of characters and creators involved in the book. What challenges were there to coordinating a project like this?
Kirkman: This project has been INSANE. It’s been a difficult undertaking for pretty much everyone involved. Pages are drawn in pieces with guys leaving big blank spaces for the next guy to fill in. Pages are being shipped all over the country and all times. It’s been kind of a sight to behold seeing it all come together. Thankfully, everyone has really stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park artwise – but honestly, I hope to never be involved in another project this complicated. When issue 6 ships, I’m going to take a nap… for a year.
Westfield: There are a number of event comics on the shelves right now. What, to you, makes Image United stand out?
Kirkman: This is a group of characters, all with individual fan-bases, all drawn by the creator who draws them the best. Todd McFarlane draws the best Spawn, Rob Liefeld draws the best Youngblood, Erik Larsen draws the best Dragon, Marc Silvestri draws the best Cyberforce, Whilce Portacio draws the best Fortress, and Jim Valentino draws the best ShadowHawk. You can’t get this anywhere else. You can’t have the best artists associated with Marvel Characters draw each individual character in a series – most of those creators have moved on. Image United is a completely unique come-reading experience. Nobody is going to want to miss this.
Westfield: Any closing comments you’d like to make?
Kirkman: I couldn’t be happier that this project is finally shipping. We’ve been working on this behind the scenes for a year now and I can’t wait for fans and retailers to finally get a look at the finished product. As a fan of all this stuff myself – I’m dying to hold this book in my hands. All I can say is that this series is everything you want out of a book like this… the Image boys doing what they do best – kick ass comics! This will be one for the history books.