-Tom Spurgeon goes into some of the reasons why the early development of Image was a tragic era for the comics industry. I kind of hinted at this the other day, but I really think Image was a lost opportunity for the comics industry. The speculator bubble was bound to burst, no doubt about it, but a healthy Image would have softened the blow. Instead, the bubble busting coincided with the moment when consumers lost confidence in Image mark 1. There were too many late books, too many books farmed off to other people (under work-for-hire arrangements, as Spurgeon points out), and generally not enough quality. Instead of working towards conditioning the market to follow creators rather than intellectual properties, too many of the Image founders were more concerned with establishing their IPs as launching pads for multimedia empires. Which isn't to say that they owed the industry anything--many people would have done the same thing if in their position. Plus hindsight is 20/20 and all that.
Still: in 1992/3, I thought we were on the verge of a total revolution which would open up the comics industry to all kinds of publishing opportunities.* I don't think the industry is impervious to change, but the things changing it now are more nebulous, like the role of bookstores or the internet. There are opportunities there, to be sure, but there isn't the same sense of malleability. The Image founders had the opportunity to shape the industry, and they passed it up. I don't know if that kind of opportunity will ever present itself again. And that's Image's biggest legacy, more than crappy Michael Turner art.
*I was 16 or so at the time, but still.
-Mark Evanier posted a link to this jam poster of most of DC's biggest intellectual properties, c. 1987. I'd never seen it before, but it's kind of my personal ideal of an afternoon time-waster, in that I can't figure out who drew what. I mean, some are obvious: Kubert drew Hawkman, Gibbons drew Rorschach, "Bob Kane" drew Batman and Robin. And others are immediately recognizable due to style, despite the artist having no direct association with the character (eg, Gilbert Hernandez drawing Hourman) But there are a few others for which I have no idea. Doesn't help that I can't read the signatures very easily. Anyway, here are the ones I can't figure out:
Bill Sienkiewicz-I have no idea. The position of his signature would indicate perhaps Enemy Ace, but I'm guessing that's actually Dave Stevens' work. Ragman would be another possibility, but that has to be Keith Giffen. That leaves...Plastic Man? Is that plausible?
Steve Rude, Jaime Hernandez, and Jim Steranko-Their signatures are all bunched together. I'm guessing Steranko drew Mr. Miracle, since he was supposedly the real-life inspiration for the character. And I'm pretty confident that the GA Flash is Hernandez' work. What, then, did Steve Rude draw? Robotman? Did he have any connection to that character? Or did Steranko draw Zatara (I think that Zatanna is Grey Morrow, right?)? If so, Rude probably drew Mr. Miracle.
Gene Colan-I can tell which character he drew (the one between the Spectre and Robotman), but who is that?
Steve Lightle- One would assume a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but I don't see any of them. Unless I'm missing Jim Aparo's signature, I have to think that Michael Kaluta drew the Spectre. Jan Duuresma almost certainly drew Arion. Who does that leave? The Ray? Lady Blackhawk? Robotman, assuming Rude didn't draw him? Actually, Robotman looks more like Lightle (or what I remember Lightle looking like) than any of those other characters. Is it possible that Rude drew Lady Blackhawk?
Related: why aren't there any Legion members in this poster? Or are they there and I'm not seeing them?
P. Craig Russell-I assume it's the chalk white woman who I would have assumed was the 1987 version of the White Witch had I not decided that Russell was the artist. Now I'm not sure who that character is, but I'm pretty convinced that it's Russell's art.
Anyway, great fun and whatnot. I await humiliation in the comments, as I slap my head in realization that I missed something obvious.