Winter Break: Image Comics, Badrock, and Pony Finally Arrives!

To the guys at Image Comics: this is a criticism.  Just so you know.

To the guys at Image Comics: this is a criticism. Just so you know.

Firstly, let’s keep in mind that the first level of mockery here is leveled firmly and directly at Rob Liefeld. Sadly, Rob is the slowest moving and largest target, possibly in all of comics. You, Gentle Reader, are asking, “who the @$#% is Badrock?” Allow me to quote Wikipedia:

“Badrock (formerly Bedrock) is a fictional comic book superhero who appears in books published by Image Comics. Created by Rob Liefeld, he first appeared in Youngblood #1 (April 1992).

Thomas John McCall was an average underachieving 16-year-old. When he swallowed a vial of top secret genetic material in his father’s lab, a transformation occurred, and McCall’s body became a mass of granite-like organic rock, while still exhibiting the emotional immaturity of a 16-year-old. Later, Thomas assumed the identity of Badrock when he was recruited to join the high-profile government superteam, Youngblood. Badrock has been a part of every incarnation of the Youngblood team to date (1992, 1995 and 2008 series as well as the Team Youngblood and Youngblood Strikefile series).”

I was looking to take a shot at Image in general, so I needed an easily mockable character idea that you could easily trick an idiot into becoming. Viola! Badrock.

I want to make the level of mockability totally clear: Upon Youngblood’s debut, the character’s name was originally “Bedrock”, but Liefeld changed the name to “Badrock” to avoid confusion with The Flintstones’ town. This was parodied during a television report seen in Spawn #12. So…another Image book mocked this character. A year into the company’s existence. Nice.

Badrock, by Rob Liefeld.  Looks a lot like Ben Grimm, but he isn't.  Because he's completely original.

Badrock, by Rob Liefeld. Looks a lot like Ben Grimm, but he isn’t. Because he’s completely original.

In his own book with huge shiny gold shoulder pads?  Still, the equation is equal to FAIL.

In his own book with huge shiny gold shoulder pads? Still, the equation is equal to FAIL.

Don’t get me wrong…I like a good number of current books published by Image. I’ll list all of them: Saga, Chew, Lazarus, Morning Glories, and Mind the Gap. I liked Godland, but that’s over. I’m ambivalent to Manhattan Projects and East of West, which are big hits. I dissent with a huge number of people, and find Walking Dead repetitive.

I also think that a large number of Image titles get by on “shock value.” On being able to do things in their comics that the Big Two can’t, and as a result, this forced “edginess” drives the books for as long as they will go, in favor of story actually driving them. For this I point to Sex, Sex Criminals (see a trend?) anything by Mark Millar, and Pretty Deadly as good examples. Each one has relatively shocking acts of sex and violence peppered throughout the narrative, but really, there isn’t a whole lot of narrative purpose to it. Not that I’m wishing for more issues of Witchblade…that book never made a whit of sense to me.

Although, criticizing an Image book online is a mixed bag. In past months, their Twitter machine has moved against more than one reviewer, even retailers. That seems ironic, that they are so quick to call “foul on critics” when they publish this book:

Fighting Censorship...so long as free speech isn't used to criticize Image titles.

Fighting Censorship…so long as free speech isn’t used to criticize Image titles.

Am I being harsh? Maybe. Or maybe I’m just looking at the last few months of Twitter, and various press releases from the publisher, and interpreting them as I see fit, as a fan of comics in general. Also, lets be plain…I won’t let an issue of Saga slip by me. Lazarus…that MUST go home with me. However, crying that Sex Criminals No. 3 doesn’t meet the terms and conditions of the iTunes store….that seems like a very artificial way to jump sales. As does calling your book “Sex Criminals.” That having been said…I support free speech (clearly) so they can call their book whatever they @#$%ing want. I just don’t have to buy it.

That’s the power of the consumer, which I think the consumer often forgets. Who cares how much buzz there is about a book? You decide how you spend their money, on what creators decided they wanted to create. That’s free speech, and the free market, working in tandem. If everybody is producing and buying quality, it works itself out.

As it is…nobody is buying Youngblood, or Badrock, no matter how many times they rear their ugly heads. Because the market has limits. That being said, Mr. Liefeld is free to continue attempting to sell it to us.

On a more interesting note…Pony arrived today in the mail! Lets look, as I try out my new “comics” filter, that I don’t think is that great. It’s supposed to make photo’s like old comics pages…and is very, very hit or miss.

I came home to a primitive TARDIS at the door!

I came home to a primitive TARDIS at the door!

Inside, pony had clearly had a conflict with Superior Spider-Man. @#$% you, Octavius!

Inside, pony had clearly had a conflict with Superior Spider-Man. @#$% you, Octavius!

Finally, Pony is among friends in the Fortress of Togetherness.

Finally, Pony is among friends in the Fortress of Togetherness.

I can’t express enough how awesome Pony is. Now that he is in hand, I am amazed by the quality of the work done by the nice people at Cutie Corral. Click that link to get your own ponies in Chibi style, by the way. Pony is durable, well stuffed, and they even provided a reference sheet of how to take care of your Chibi Pony…stuff like washing and repairs. No one does that kind of coolness in this day and age.

Here’s a shout out, in the form of their card sent with Pony:

Again...I can't speak highly enough.

Again…I can’t speak highly enough.

Once again, click here for Ponified Goodness. Or, use the link to the right side, which is here forever.

Next Issue: Marvel Variant Cover Madness! Be there!

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