Yes indeed, it really has been a quarter of a century since illustrious illustrator Jim Lee first introduced us to the celebrated cast of comic-book characters from the weird and wonderful WildStorm universe.
WildStorm Productions started life as an independent company established by the aforementioned Jim Lee alongside Brandon Choi. It was first established in 1993 as a sub imprint of the popular Image Comics brand, another indie comic company that boasted amongst its ranks some of comicdom’s most influential and talented individuals, including Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Erik Larsen, together these industrious individuals presented to their fevered fans classic characters such as Spawn, Savage Dragon and Wildcats amongst many, many others.
WildStorm expanded over the years creating new sub-imprints like Homage Comics in 1995 (which delivered unto us comic reading mortals absolute classics like Kurt Busiek’s Astro City) and dipping its creative toe into animated movies and television series, plus a card game based upon Lee’s very own Wildcats characters which used a similar template to that of Magic: The Gathering.
Unfortunately though during the early and mid nineties comic-books fell into a major slump period, a serious decline in sales which began to affect most smaller publishers, including WildStorm, due to this progressive downturn Jim Lee started to look around for a buyer for the company and its characters, which ultimately resulted in its 1998 acquisition by DC Comics. Initially the two comic-book universe were kept as separate entities, until 2010 when DC announced that the WildStorm imprint was to be shut down, with WildCats #30 (Vol 5) being the last published title, though they did proclaim that many of its beloved characters would be saved to reappear at some point in the future.
And return they did, a very short while later when DC merged the characters into its mainstream universe during their New 52 relaunch in 2011. Introducing comic persona such as Midnighter, Voodoo and Stormwatch into the established DC universe was a revolutionary and exciting prospect adding a new zest and enthusiasm to both sets of characters who gelled together surprisingly well (Midnighter and Nightwing come to mind, a titanic team up that was wildly adored by fans of both characters.)
In February of 2017 DC announced that the Wildstorm imprint would once again be resurrected as its very own entity after 25 years since its first introduction, and a hardcover collection would be released to mark its quarter century celebrations.
Containing brand new stories by the original creators this is a fantastic buy for established fans and newcomers to the WS fold, with returning fan fave stories such as Wildcats, Gen13, and the Authority under the guidance of notable creators – Jim Lee, Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. The 300 page epic hardcover also contains an extensive art gallery with brand new pieces by incredible illustrative illuminaries such as Adam Hughes (reason enough alone to buy the book!) Fiona Staples, Lee Bermejo and Tim Sale.
To round the title out you also get behind the scenes material and reprints of some of WildStorm’s most popular stories, adding up overall to a priceless package of perfection… a must buy.