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Image Comics' Youngblood Goes Digital

Youngblood  fans may soon develop bulging muscles of their own: on their fingers. Owners of iPhone and iPod Touch can now get the Image Comics miniseries on Comics by comiXology, the plummy application for digital comics on Apple tablets.

Created by writer-artist Rob Liefeld — who also co-founded Image — Youngblood vol. 1, #1 follows the heroic feats of an elite government force comprised of former FBI agent and archer Shaft; teen-turned-to-live-stone Badrock; Russian fashion model Vogue; and government assassin Chapel. Rounding out this super-team that's tasked with the safety of an adoring populace are Sentinel, Photon, PSI-Fire and Cougar. Celebrity endorsements, shoe contracts, guarding the President — all in a day's work.

Self-taught illustrator Liefeld sicced comics writer and Ben 10 co-creator Joe Casey on a high-stakes mission to freshen the original Youngblood scripts for his remastered edition. Expanding the early readership to today's smartphone users is the latest step in an ongoing effort to update Youngblood''s fan base. More than a million copies sold upon its early-1990s launch.

Liefeld had already leapt to comicdom's nosebleed heights as an innovative artist on Marvel Comics' The New Mutants and the multimillion selling X-Force. The success of his hallmark characters, Cable and Deadpool (created with writer Fabian Nicieza), prompted him to mount the independent franchise with Youngblood when he and six other high-profile comics creators left the major companies to form their own, Image, in 1992. The publisher of Spawn, Witchblade, The Savage Dragon and other '90s hits evolved or devolved, depending on one's point of view. Liefield left Image in 1996 under acrimonious circumstances, but his 2007 return led to Youngblood 's makeover and redeployment.

Liefeld awarded comiXology exclusive rights to digitally distribute his company's maiden publication because of its "impressive track record in distributing classic print comics," he said in a statement. The nearly three-year-old ComiXology is considered the leading purveyor of comics to a broad range of iPhone and iPod readers.

Youngblood — together with Armegeddon Now! and the remainder of Liefeld's Awesome/Extreme catalog — shares the Comics by comiXology emporium with 1,000 or so other comics from more than 30 publishers. ( users can visit subscribing retailers to pre-order the dead-tree version of Youngblood.)

Will comics enthusiasts want to "Bag It" or "Burn It"? Stay tuned for the property's next hotly anticipated episode…


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