Image Comics may publish the most distinguished books of any major comic book publisher, yet their properties never get figures. Here are ten (or eleven) Image books that deserve their own action figure line.
When ToyBiz originally started the Legendary Comic Book Heroes line, I was skeptical, to say the least. I loved the idea of the line but disliked the character selection. Now, almost a decade later, Image has the most robust comic lineup in its history, and perhaps the most robust lineup of any publisher during any era. Image may not command the sales that DC and Marvel do, they almost always surpass the big two in quality. Image characters deserve action figures too, and I’ve listed my favorite candidates for Legendary Comic Book Heroes 2.0 below. Saga and The Walking Dead were left off because both have had figures in the past (even if they were terrible McFarlane figures).
Honorable Mention: Tokyo Ghost by Rick Remender and Sean Gordon Murphy
Tokyo Ghost probably should have replaced one of the newer titles on the list, but because it technically ended in September, I felt guilty including it at all. I’d love to see figures of Constable Led Dent, his motorcycle, and Davey Trauma, but I’m interested in a Debbie Decay figure more than anything. As a satire about materialism, narcissism, and the digital age, it would be ironic for Tokyo Ghost to get merchandise at all (much like Watchmen), but the designs are too cool to ignore. A toy company could indulge us further with the Japanese members of the cast.
10. Seven to Eternity by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña
Seven to Eternity‘s first issue was released on September 21st, but that won’t stop me from including it. Opeña is the artist behind Uncanny X-Force, The Avengers: Rage of Ultron, and Fear Agent (perhaps my favorite Image comic ever), so we know he has the design chops to create memorable, toyetic characters. He’s already off to a hot start on Seven to Eternity, which is just begging for toys.
9. The Wicked + the Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
Gillen and McKelvie are among the best in the business, and The Wicked + the Divine is one of Image’s best titles. It’s also unique in the fact that a few of my coworkers read it, and I’m the only regular comic reader/nerd in the office. This could be one of those rare properties that encourages normal people to buy action figures.
8. Deadly Class by Rick Remender and Wes Craig
As teenagers in suits and cliquey clothing, Deadly Class wouldn’t provide the most visually spectacular figures, but it would create toys for an excellent comic book. Deadly Class is about what it was like to grow up in San Francisco during the Reagan era. While attending a school for assassins. Remender and Craig present an electrifying series that will bring you back to high school, both good and bad, and while it’s the characters that keep the series on my pull list, the action often leaves me at the edge of my seat. The series is also getting adapted for television, so its chances for toys may be better than most.
7. Kill or Be Killed by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Kill or Be Killed is like the Punisher, but not. It stars Dylan, a relatable young college student turned vigilante when he is forced to kill one bad person per month in order to keep living. The series explores more of the consequences of Dylan’s actions than most Punisher comics. Punisher comics often focus on the consequences of Frank’s actions on organized crime. Kill or Be Killed focuses on the consequences of Dylan’s actions on his own life, and those around him. We’re only two issues in, but I already know that I need a Dylan figure.
6. Descender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen
Lemire and Nguyen’s Descender is another series that would require a full wave of toys just to complete the main cast. Other robots, politicians, and bounty hunters could be made after that, but Descender would need at least five figures for it to be worth a toy company’s time. Captain Telsa and Tim-21 top my wishlist.
5. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
Monstress was recently recommended to me by a friend, and looking at the art, it definitely has a place on this list. Monstress figures would give collectors a shot at character designs that you just don’t see in toy form. Outside of a certain ninja-inspired line, you rarely see classical Asian toys.
4. East of West by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta
Jonathan Hickman is known for complex universe building, and East of West is more of the same from Hickman. Even his run on Fantastic Four involved lofty philosophical conflicts and head-scratching plots. Hickman’s books are fun to read because it’s a fight to keep your head above water with all the information he’s throwing at you. East of West may be his masterpiece, and that’s saying something. In the same way that Hickman’s books require an unusual amount of commitment, of all the books on this list, East of West would require the most action figures.
3. Velvet by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Elizabeth Breitweiser
Velvet is a criminally *heh* underrated spy thriller by the powerhouse team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, making their second appearance on this list. Velvet is a more cunning, more badass version of James Bond. This is one of those books that wouldn’t require an entire line, but rather a single figure slotted into a wave of miscellaneous characters. You could expand on the cast and include other spies from the agency, but I would be happy with just Velvet. She’s one bad bitch.
2. Black Science by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera
If it isn’t blatantly obvious to you at this point, I should admit that I’m a big Rick Remender fan. If I had to pick a favorite writer in the comic industry today, I would likely settle on Remender. And it’s because he makes books like Black Science. Black Science is a fun sci-fi/fantasy series about a scientist who makes all the wrong choices until he decides it’s time to start making the right ones. The series isn’t tied to any realistic, hard science, but it is a wild romp around alien planets facing disease and war. While some of the books on this list only need a character or two, Black Science could support two or three entire waves of figures. Lead hero Grant McKay would be at the center of my wishlist, but seeing the entire crew and some alien species would be ideal.
1. Invincible by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker
This certainly isn’t my favorite publication on the list (in fact, I haven’t read a single issue), but what else could be #1? Superheroes always lend themselves to toyetic designs, and because Kirkman is the writer, it’s surprising that Invincible hasn’t seen any figures yet. I don’t know much about Invincible, but I do know the series has supported an entire universe of characters, so I think this could be an expansive part of our make-believe Legendary Comic Book Heroes 2.0 line.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.