TITLE: Brigade Vol. 1, Issue 1
YEAR: August 1992
COMPANY: Image Comics
Creator/Co-Plotter: Rob Liefeld
Penciller/Co-plotter: Marat Mychaels
Script: Rob Liefeld, Hank Kanalz, Eric Stephenson
Inks: Paul Scott, Norm Rapmund
Color Design: Brian Murray
Lettering: Kurt Hathaway
Technical Assistant: Richard Horie
Color Separation: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Eric Stephenson
1992 was a big (defiant) year in the comic book industry.
Several high-profile illustrators would quit their jobs with the major comic book publishers and create their own comic book publishing company and they would be able to publish their material without giving up the copyrights to the characters they created, as they are creator-owned properties.
Back then, no one knew what would come of this project but it made sense. Artists were frustrated because their characters and artwork were being merchandised and the artists didn’t receive any royalties (only on the sales of comics).
Marvel disagreed and thus, Image was born and would consists of six studios: Todd McFarlane Productions (Todd McFarlane), WildStorm Productions (Jim Lee), Highbrow Entertainment (Erik Larsen), Shadowline (Jim Valentino), Top Cow Productions (Marc Silvestri), Extreme Studios (Rob Liefeld).
The initial titles were produced under Image but were briefly published through Malibu Comics.
And while there are many people who remember that time remembered what happened during the earlier years of Image Comics (especially the delays of comic books and disagreements between creators), the positive thing about the founding of Image Comics is that it still exists today and is thriving.
As I owned many Image comics titles at the time (as I supported the crew’s mission), I decided to randomly pick a comic and the first one I pulled out of the box is “Brigade”.
Created and co-plotted by Rob Liefeld, the main penciller for this series was Marat Mychaels (a longtime assistant for Liefeld at the time) and also a co-plotter. The script was written by Liefeld, Hank Kanalz (who created the Image logo at the time) and Eric Stephenson (who is now the executive director of Image Comics).
“Brigade” vol. 1, issue 1 is a mini-series out of four issues and focuses on Battlestone, the former leader of Youngblood, a government-led superhero group based in Washington D.C.
Battlestone was expelled after the deaths of several Youngblood members under his command, so Battlestone moved to Malibu, California to form a group of rookie superheroes which include the often bickering brothers Seahawk (who is supplying the financing of Brigade) and Coldsnap, Atlas, Thermal, Kayo and Stasis.
As the group were not gelling together just yet, they are called into a mission in Washington D.C. as Youngblood are not around for some reason.
But when Brigade goes to take on terrorists, Kayo and even Battlestone feel that the mission is going much to easy but why is that?
The first issue may feature Rob Liefeld’s cover art (along with Paul Scott) and even a card with artwork by Jim Lee, but Marat Mychaels work was almost something consistent with the artwork of the late ’80s and ’90s, popularized by the artwork of Liefeld.
Artwork was OK for its time, not the most detailed and skin turned out more yellow than flesh pink for some characters.
But at the time, I suppose Image fans, including myself bought anything Image Comics related because it was the cool thing to do at the time.
While I’m about to go on a tangent not related to this very issue, I will say that “Brigade” was interesting in the fact that this superhero group series spared no punches of having main characters killed. In fact, when you get to vol. 2 of the series, this action-packed series almost turned to a comic book series making readers wondering who will die next?
And more one-shots would follow, including a fourth volume which was a 2010 re-imagining of this first mini-series and of course, Marat Mychaels artwork has changed a lot since 1992.
But only one issue was released and as of now, “Brigade” is once again dormant. Will we ever see this superteam return? Who knows…