Youngblood (comics): Wikis


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Youngblood #1 Art by Rob Liefeld.
Publication information
Publisher Various
First appearance Youngblood #1 (April 1992)
Created by Rob Liefeld
In-story information
Base(s) Pentagon
Member(s) Shaft
Johnny Panic
Doc Rocket
Former Members
Diehard II
Big Brother

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 originally published by Image Comics, and later by Awesome Entertainment.

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;[1] Vogue, a Russian fashion model with purple-and-chalk-white skin; and Chapel, a government assassin.


Publication history

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 Teen 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."[2]

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 Teen 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.

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.[3] 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, according to Liefeld "I have the original issues #3 and #4 that Kurt wrote, they can't be produced as is simply from the standpoint that they heavily feature prominent supporting cast members from Spawn and Wildcats, as well as Lynch from Gen13 and Team 7."[4]

2004; Unfinished storylines

A number of projects were announced in 2003 including reprinting older material[5] and providing the art for two Youngblood series.[6] The two new comic books involved Mark Millar writing new issues of Youngblood: Bloodsport[7] and Youngblood: Genesis written by Brandon Thomas.[8]. However, only one issue of the former was published but in June 2008 it was announced, by Liefeld, that issue #2 would appear in September.[9]

In 2004, Robert Kirkman began writing a new series, Youngblood: Imperial, with artist Marat Michaels[4] but left after one issue due to his busy schedule. Fabian Nicieza was slated to take over,[10] 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 [11] 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.[12] This was followed in January 2008 by a new ongoing series written by Casey and illustrated by Derec Donovan, with covers by Liefeld.Liefeld is slated to begin writing and art duties on Youngblood beginning in May 2009.[13][14]

TV & Film adaptations

A half-hour Youngblood animated series was planned for the 1995-96 season on Fox as part of an hour block with a proposed Cyberforce series. [15] A clip was created but the series was never produced. The clip aired in commercials for Youngblood action figures.

In February 2009, according to Variety,[16] Reliance Big Entertainment has acquired the feature film rights to the comic book, reportedly for a mid-six figures, and has attached Brett Ratner to direct. "Most of the great graphic novels are gone, and 'Youngblood' is one of the few comic books left with tentpole potential," Ratner was quoted telling the trade. "It was a real personal passion project for me, and a lot of people wanted ('Youngblood'), but the amazing thing about the guys at Reliance is the speed with which they're able to move." The film will be fast-tracked, although no decision has been made on whether it will eventually land at Paramount, where Ratner has a first look deal. No cast or release date has yet been announced. The film is currently been written by J.P. Lavin and Chad Damiani.


Note that many first issues were printed with multiple variant covers.

  • Youngblood (vol.1) - 1994 Issues #0 - 10 and a yearbook
  • Youngblood Strikefile - 1993 Issues #1-11
  • Team Youngblood - 1993-1995 Issues #1 - 22
  • Youngblood (vol.2) - 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
  • Youngblood (vol.3) (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
  • Youngblood (vol.4) (Casey) - 2008-ongoing

Collected editions

A number of the comic books have been collected into trade paperbacks:

  • Youngblood: Volume 1 (collects Youngblood (vol.1) re-mastered as Maximum Edition, 168 pages, Image Comics, hardcover, December 2008, ISBN 1582408580)
  • Youngblood:
    • Focus Tested (collects Youngblood (vol.4) #1-4, 96 pages, Image Comics, September 2008, ISBN 1582409455)
    • Voted off the Island (collects Youngblood (vol.4) #5-8, 96 pages, Image Comics, November 2008, ISBN 1607060035)


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "Liefeld Talks Titans", Newsarama, 2005-04-28. Retrieved on 2008-03-14.
  3. ^ Savant Magazine's analysis of the Busiek/Liefeld controversy (archive)
  4. ^ a b Kirkman & Liefeld on the Return of Youngblood, Newsarama, June 29, 2004
  5. ^ Maximum Rob – Liefeld Talks "Old" & New Projects, Newsarama, July 11, 2005
  6. ^ Youngblood-A-Trois I: Rob Liefeld, Newsarama, July 2, 2003
  7. ^ Youngblood-A-Trois II: Mark Millar, Newsarama, July 3, 2003
  8. ^ Youngblood-A-Trois III: Brandon Thomas, Newsarama, July 4, 2003
  9. ^ Rob Liefeld Talks "Youngblood: Bloodsport", Comic Book Resources, June 19, 2008
  10. ^ Liefeld: Kirkman off of Youngblood Imperial, Nicieza on, Newsarama, October 1, 2004
  11. ^ Liefeld/Image Reunite For Youngblood HC/New Series, Newsarama, July 7, 2007
  12. ^ Rob Liefeld Talks Youngblood’s Return to Image, August 1, 2007
  13. ^ Joe Casey: Youngblood’s New Blood, August 2, 2007
  14. ^ New Blood: Joe Casey talks "Youngblood", Comic Book Resources, December 6, 2007
  15. ^ To The Extreme: A Conversation with Rob Liefeld, Comic Book Resources, July 30th, 2001
  16. ^ Brett Ratner boards 'Youngblood', Variety, February 8, 2009


External links

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