Comic book legend Jim Lee was one of the driving forces behind the creation of Image Comics in 1992 alongside Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, Whilce Portacio, Erik Larsen and Rob Liefeld ... but did you know that Lee almost passed on Image to draw a Batman comic for DC?
That's what Lee revealed when he sat down with SYFY WIRE's Mike Avila during our Oral History of Image Comics series profiling the comic book publishing company where creators were allowed to publish their own material and keep the copyrights to the characters they created thanks to the fact that they were creator-owned properties (Got that? It's a good deal!).
At the time, Lee was still working at Marvel on their new X-Men comic book when DC reached out to him to work on a new Dark Knight title:
"There was a time around X-Men #1 where someone from DC had contacted me and said 'look hey, would you like to do this new Batman book,'" said Lee. "I think it was Legends of the Dark Knight. It was the first big Batman spinoff book that they were gonna do and it actually sold quite well and they said 'look we want you to do this.' This was right after X-Men #1 had launched so this was kind of like 'well, do I do this Image stuff or do I do this amazing project with Batman at DC.'"
The answer quickly came to Lee when DC revealed they had hired another artist to draw the comic book covers: "But then they said 'we have this other artist and he's gonna do the covers.'" Lee added. "And I said 'what?' Like I don't understand that. I didn’t understand why you wouldn’t have me do the covers as well and in my mind I felt that was the disconnect. They didn't quite see the world the way I saw it and that killed that deal and I ended up doing the thing at Image but to me that was indicative I think of how big companies perceive talent. So you come and do something for us. Yeah you might be a name over there but you're not really one over here."
It all worked out for the best, no?
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.