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The secret origin of The Boys as a DC superteam to counter Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League

The secret history of The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darrick Robertson, before it became an Amazon Prime Video hit franchise - or even a comic book

The Boys
Image credit: Darrick Robertson (Dynamite Entertainment)

To understand the comic book history of The Boys, you need to understand Image Comics. And Wildstorm Studios. And DC Comics. And Dynamite Entertainment. And the weird world of comics in the late ‘90s and early 2000s.

To fully understand Image Comics, you need to understand that the traditional 'New York' publishing business, which comics fell under, wasn’t modernizing quickly enough to keep up with what the industry was becoming. The history of Image Comics is its own book or series of books. The quick version is, in 1992 Marvel's top artists Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Erick Larsen, Jim Valentino, Marc Silvestri, and Whilce Portacio left their positions at the publisher (for the most part) to form their own comics company to give themselves more creative control and their share of the money their creations made.

Image took off like a house afire, with initial issues selling upwards of one million copies and going into multiple printings. Rather than just publishing their own titles, some like Liefeld, Silvestri, and Lee opted to establish their own studios, each reflecting their own style and filled with their own characters. Liefld set up shop with Extreme Studios, Silvestri with Top Cow, and Lee with Wildstorm Studios.

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Matt Brady: Matt Brady was the co-founder of and wrote constantly about pop culture for ten years. These days you can find him at the intersection of pop culture and science. He’s a high school science teacher, science writer and communicator and author of The Science of Rick and Morty. He keeps his toes in the pop culture pool by blending science with pop culture at, and debating all those who think Star Wars is better than Star Trek. His dog, Jack, is constantly unimpressed by him.
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