Rob Liefeld no longer owns Youngblood. It was acquired as part of an IP deal by Cowboys & Aliens' Scott Rosenberg. Rosenberg then sold it to Comico and Elementals owner Andrew Rev. Rev and Liefeld have fallen out of sorts over the whole thing. Rev is moving ahead publishing Youngblood without Liefeld or his blessing. While Liefeld is… well, what is Youngblood anyway? A superhero government team from the nineties with some distinctive-looking characters but mostly the appeal has always been Liefeld himself. As Rob told me "I have nothing to do with YOUNGBLOOD. It's dead to me". So… why can't Liefeld just create something very similar to Youngblood? Would anyone care that it wasn't, if everyone was fairly similar?
Welcome to EKO 92. Posted by Liefeld on April 17th 2020, twenty-eight years to the day after Youngblood #1 was first launched and Image Comics began.
Could the name indicate an 'echo' of 1992? Liefeld writes of #EKO92, "Long form is EKO Squadron 92. Also known as EKS92. Quick glimpse of something new I've been cooking up in #quarantine Always be creating." And then we get to meet one of the individual characters, Bo. Of which he says "Meet Bo. Bo knows archery."
An action archer, using a bow without strings, and jumping in the air a lot. And definitely not Shaft from Youngblood, an action archer using a bow without strings. Also Bo is a pretty good name for such a character. But as to the other EKO 92 characters, one has a look somewhere between Die Hard and Deadpool, the other has a touch if Vogue.
Liefeld also had much to remember of 1992, telling us "If you happened to walk into a comic store on April 17, 1992, chances are you encountered an all new comic book from an all new comic label. This was the day that YOUNGBLOOD was launched and Image Comics officially arrived. 28 years ago today, y'all showed up in overwhelming droves, to the tune of 1 million copies, we even sold out early that morning! I was stunned at the reception. The morning started out with me preparing for a singing at @gapplecomics to launch the book and it ended up with me on a talk show later that evening. A whirlwind of a day that I'll always remember as if it was yesterday afternoon. Youngblood was born of true love, pure passion for comic books and an evolution of all that I'd started at Marvel with Cable, Deadpool, Domino and a whole bunch of characters you had never heard of before I created X-Force. It was time to share more of what was in my notebooks and control the creative destiny of all those ideas and concepts. There was no animosity with Marvel, I will always be gratefully for the folks I worked with who let my young ambitions fly free. I just had an instinct that this was a time to let all the ideas fly. Youngblood selling a million copies without a single variant or specialty cover or gimmick of any kind. Can you imagine that in today's market? There was no Youngblood before April 1992, it was fresh out of the gate, we were the gimmick that drove sales, the talent that fans rallied around. Youngblood was the incubator for an entire universe that followed, PROPHET, BRIGADE, BLOODSTRIKE, BERSERKERS and so many more. I viewed it as my Fantastic Four, which birthed Black Panther, Inhumans& Silver Surfer. Thank you to all of you that showed up in 1992 and stayed all the years that have followed. While the rights to Youngblood are a hot mess, the result of a bad deal I did with people who are not terribly bright some 2O years back. Thankfully the rights to the rest of these are safe with me. The feeling of that day and the fun of those days was beyond electric. The impact of Image Comics cannot be measured."
Another anniversary is also due next month, the seventh year of his still incomplete Brigade Kickstarter. He last posted an update in March saying "I'm writing this to inform you that I continue to fulfill orders on Brigade. I want to assure you that I did not produce, print and ship the books to not share them with you. I hope that you are all safe during this time. If you feel like sharing the books when you receive them tag me on social media." We'll keep an eye out for those as well.