Youngblood (comics)


caption=Youngblood #1 Art by Rob Liefeld.
debut="Youngblood" #1 (April 1992)
creators=Rob Liefeld
Johnny Panic
Doc Rocket
Former Members
Diehard II
Big Brother
subcat=Image Comics
sortkey=Youngblood (comics)|

Youngblood is a fictional superhero team that starred in their self-titled comic book, created by writer/artist Rob Liefeld. The team made its debut as a backup feature in the 1987 one-shot "Megaton: Explosion" before later appearing in its own ongoing series in 1992 as the flagship publication for Image Comics.

Youngblood was a high-profile superteam sanctioned and overseen by the United States Government. The members of Youngblood include Shaft, a former FBI agent and archer whose bow uses magnets to propel its arrow instead of a string; Badrock, a teenager transformed into a living block of stone; [Upon Youngblood's debut, the character's name was originally "Bedrock". Liefeld would later change the character's name to "Badrock" to avoid confusion and legal threats from Hanna-Barbera, who owned the copyright to "The Flintstones", which is set in the fictional town of Bedrock.Fact|date=June 2007] Vogue, a Russian fashion model with purple-and-chalk-white skin; and Chapel, a government assassin.

Origins of the series

In interviews, Liefeld has explained that "Youngblood" was partially based on a 1991 plan of his for a new "Teen Titans" series for DC Comics, possibly titled Team Titans to be co-written with Marv Wolfman. Liefeld and managing editor Dick Giordano "couldn't make the numbers work," however, and Liefeld merged his Titans ideas into a new creator-owned project, "Youngblood", to be published by the newly-founded Image Comics. According to Liefeld, "Shaft was intended to be Speedy. Vogue was a new Harlequin design, Combat was a Kh'undian warrior circa the Legion of Super Heroes, ditto for Photon and Die Hard was a Star Labs android. I forgot who Chapel was supposed to be." [ [ "Liefeld Talks Titans"] , "Newsarama", 2005-04-28. Retrieved on 2008-03-14.]

Another inspirational source for "Youngblood", Liefeld claims, is the theory that if superheroes really did exist, they would be treated much the same way as movie stars and athletes. Throughout the series there are numerous references to endorsement deals, TV show appearances, agents, managers and the perceived pressures of celebrity life.

Image Comics debut

With his opportunity with DC to do "Team Titans" looking bleak, and a growing strained relationship with Marvel comics over his "X-Force" royalties, Rob Liefeld decided to band together with other unhappy Marvel artists to form an independent comics company. The company formed was called Image Comics, and the first comic Image debuted was "Youngblood" #1. At the time of its release, "Youngblood" #1 was the highest selling independent comic book ever. However, "Youngblood" #1 also received very poor reviews from critics, which led to Liefeld firing his co-writer from the book. Throughout its run at Image, "Youngblood" was attacked by critics for what was perceived as poor writing and inconsistent art, but mostly for its lateness. Near the mid 1990s, Liefeld had a falling out with his Image partners, forcing him to leave the company and take "Youngblood" with him.

Alan Moore age

In 1998, Liefeld hired Alan Moore to relaunch and revamp "Youngblood". Moore's run on the title began with a miniseries entitled "Judgment Day", which revolved around the mysterious murder of Youngblood member Riptide and the subsequent "super-trial" of fellow member Knightsabre. The trial was held in Supreme's citadel and conducted entirely by superhumans from all corners of the extended Liefeld comic universe. Soon, the heroes learned of the all-powerful "Book Of All Stories" which dictated the order of the universe, past, present, and future, all of which could be altered by simply writing within its pages. Knightsabre's defense attorney, former super-sidekick Toby King (a.k.a. "Skipper") discovered that Youngblood field leader Marcus Langston, a.k.a. "Sentinel", had murdered Riptide himself, framing Knightsabre - all by using the Book of All Stories. Toby revealed that years ago, Sentinel's father had stolen the Book from Riptide's father, "Storybook Smith", and, thinking it worthless, had left it for his son. In its pages, the adolescent Marcus Langston found a grim and brutal future for himself, and decided to change it by rewriting the future with the Book. Langston created a world full of superheroes in which he was "Sentinel", a brilliant scientist and natural leader. But the young Langston's immature fantasies grew darker, and the future he painted grimmer, full of blood and turmoil. At a Youngblood team cookout, Riptide discovered the Book of All Stories from her parents' tall tales sitting on Sentinel's bookshelf, and took it back for herself. Sentinel responded by killing her, and framing Knightsabre for the crime. Once exposed, Sentinel attempted to fight his way out of the citadel and regain the Book, but was taken down by the assembled heroes and imprisoned by Supreme. Youngblood, however, had been disbanded by the government, and the team members went their separate ways.

Many readers felt that the dénouement involving the immature, unbalanced Sentinel perverting the Book of All Stories and thus "creating" the Liefeld/"Youngblood" universe was a meta-commentary by Alan Moore on the company's line of books and the "grim 'n gritty" era of comics as a whole. Numerous other Liefeld-created heroes and superteams also underwent changes in direction and concept in the back-up strips within "Judgment Day", heralding a brighter, more adventurous and optimistic future ahead.Fact|date=April 2008

With "Judgment Day" concluded, Alan Moore's relaunch began. Moore created a new teenage Youngblood group that was independently financed by the millionaire Waxey Doyle, formerly the WWII superhero Waxman introduced in Moore's run on "Supreme". The team was formed by Shaft and the new members included Big Brother (Leonard Doyle, Waxey's adopted African American son who piloted a series of versatile, heavily armed robots of varying sizes; the largest was as tall as a skyscraper and able to act as the team's transport), Doc Rocket (Rachel Richards, a speedster and a medical doctor in the mold of Doogie Howser) who is also the granddaughter of Rex Richards, a golden age superhero of the same name who was once Waxy's teammate in the Allied Supermen of America), Twilight (Linda Kendall, Professor Night's niece and sidekick, analogous to the Dick Grayson version of Robin/Nightwing), Suprema (Sally Crane, Supreme's adopted sister) and Johnny Panic (John Paneczik, in Moore's words, "the first postmodern superhero"; his powers come from a suit that can create holograms and his chosen weapon is a "buzzgun" that fires designer drug ampules). The team's headquarters at this time was Waxey's mansion, the House of Wax, itself something of a museum of Golden Age superheroics.

Most of the villains featured in this series were Moore's creations, like Stormhead (a mutant whose mood influences the weather around him), most members of Badblood (a team created by former Team Youngblood leader Sentinel that intentionally paralleled Shaft's new team in terms of powers and personal connections) and Jack-A-Dandy (Professor Night's archenemy, a Victorian gentleman-themed schemer modeled after The Joker).

However, despite Moore's well-publicized plans for at least 12 issues of his new "Youngblood", only two issues were ever printed and the third issue was published in another book called "Awesome Adventures". The team also appeared in a short story in the "Awesome Christmas Special" where Shaft's journal provides the narration as the new team comes together. Moore's rough outline for the series was published in "Alan Moore's Awesome Handbook," and included a budding relationship between Big Brother and Suprema, a giant planet-devouring entity called "The Goat", Shaft's fruitless crush on Twilight and the revelation that Johnny Panic was the biological son of Supreme villain Darius Dax.

Moore's lineup parallels various incarnations of the Teen Titans, which in itself reflects Liefeld's original conception of the characters that would become Youngblood. In the Handbook, Moore also reveals he intentionally chose the team members for their connections to various points and significant characters in the Awesome Universe's superhero history, particularly that which he had created in Supreme, noting this as the case in the 1980s launch of The New Teen Titans. The NTT series' redefinition of the team beyond its "sidekicks club"/"Justice League Junior" perception seems to be noted in the "Awesome Holiday Special" story, where Shaft rejects Suprema's attempt to replace his chosen lineup with junior assistants of Supreme's Allies teammates. Twilight's update of her look and weaponry parallels Dick Grayson's evolution from Robin to Nightwing in NTT; furthermore Twilight is at the same biological age (19) as Grayson when he assumed his new identity.


In 1993, Liefeld solicited Youngblood stories from Kurt Busiek, who wrote detailed plots for three issues and ideas for a fourth, for "Youngblood: Year One". This was never produced; however, in 2000, Liefeld began soliciting orders for "Youngblood: Genesis", using Kurt Busiek's unused "Year One" plots. Busiek asked Liefeld to be only credited with plots on this new series. He was only listed as plotter on the comic book itself when it came out years later, but when Liefeld solicited the comic through Diamond Previews as written by Kurt Busiek, Busiek accused Liefeld of not honoring their agreement, and eventually asked that his fans not buy the series. It officially ended after two issues, as the third and fourth issues would have used Image Comics characters that Liefeld did not have the copyrights to.Fact|date=April 2008

2004; Unfinished storylines

In March 2004, Liefeld hired Mark Millar to write new issues of "Youngblood: Bloodsport". However, only one issue was published. In June 2008 it was announced, by Liefeld, that issue #2 would appear in September. [ [ Rob Liefeld Talks "Youngblood: Bloodsport"] , Comic Book Resources, June 19, 2008]

In 2004, Robert Kirkman began writing a new series, "Youngblood: Imperial", but left after one issue due to his busy schedule. Fabian Nicieza was slated to take over, but so far issues #2-3 have yet to appear, despite solicitations.


In 2005, Liefeld announced that Joe Casey would be re-assembling and re-scripting the original "Youngblood" miniseries into a more coherent and sophisticated story, to be titled "Maximum Youngblood". On July 12, 2007, it was announced [ [ Liefeld/Image Reunite For "Youngblood" HC/New Series] , Newsarama, July 7, 2007] that Liefeld would return to Image Comics to publish a collected "definitive version" of "Maximum Youngblood" with a new ending written by Joe Casey and illustrated by Liefeld himself. This will be followed in 2008 by a new ongoing Youngblood series written by Casey and illustrated by Derec Donovan, with covers by Liefeld.


Note that many first issues were printed with multiple variant covers.
*Series One - 1994 Issues #0 - 10 and a yearbook
*"Youngblood Strikefile" - 1993 Issues #1-11
*"Team Youngblood" - 1993-1995 Issues #1 - 22
*Series Two - 1995-1996 Issues #1 - 10,14 (super special) There were no issues 11-13
*"Youngblood Battlezone" - 1995 #1-2
*"X-Force/Youngblood" and "Youngblood/X-Force" 1996 one-shots
*Series Three (Alan Moore) - 1998 Issues #1, 2
*"Youngblood: Bloodsport" (Millar) - 2003 Issues #1 and 2(bootleg edition)
*"Youngblood: Genesis" (Busiek/Thomas) - 2004 Issues #1-2
*"Youngblood: Imperial" (Kirkman) - 2004 Issue #1
*"Youngblood: Maximum Edition" (Casey) - 2007

Notes and references

External links

* [ Savant Magazine's analysis of the Busiek/Liefeld controversy]
* [ Excerpt from a public discussion between, among others, Liefeld and Busiek]
* [ Liefeld discusses upcoming plans] for "Youngblood" at Newsarama
* [ Extreme Genesis] for many Youngblood covers and other Liefeld art
* [ Web española sobre el universo superheroico de Liefeld]
* [,%2BI%2Bknow%2Byou' rec.arts.comics.misc thread from August 2000, beginning the Busiek/Liefeld controversy in response to a Previews solicitation]
* [ rec.arts.comics.misc thread from August 2000 featuring discussion between Busiek and Liefeld, among others.]

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