I started reading comics around the time that Image Comics launched. Accepting all the criticism around Image, it has to be recognised that as a studio they injected some dynamic competition into a comics industry dominated by DC and Marvel. Over time Image has fractured into various offshoots, with the one I was most interested in being Jim Lee’s Wildstorm Studios. Titles like The Authority, Planetary, WildCATs and Mr Majestic (plus Alan Moore’s ABC line) captured a lot of my interest, even after being bought out by DC Comics.
Of course, I’m not (and I don’t think anyone is) surprised by the news that DC are closing the Wildstorm line and folding most of the people working there into their regular staff. Wildstorm titles weren’t sellers, especially following the disasterous re-launch that was meant to get people excited about Wildstorm again but flopped because numerous titles failed to even appear on shelves. Jim Lee appears to have been increasingly absorbed into DC Comics, so his focus can’t be on reviving Wildstorm.
DC may bring back certain characters within regular continuity, but they’ll more than likely pick the ‘softer’ Wildstorm characters – Mr Majestic, Grifter, Zealot, Savant – over the more extreme ones (such as: the entire cast of The Authority). DC’s never really been that comfortable with a team like The Authority that semi-mirrors the Justice League, but then has those characters kill everyone who gets in their way. Alternatively, some Wildstorm characters might appear so they can be used as easy sacrifices that don’t actually disturb the status quo.
Maybe I’ll go pick some Wildstorm TPBs. Never actually picked up Planetary #27 either…
UPDATE: How could I have forgotten the awesome Sleeper series? Pretty sure Astro City will continue at DC – it seems like it would be easy enough to transition it across, given its separate standing from Wildstorm continuity.