Original Image founders Todd McFarlane, Jim Valentino, Erik Larsen, Sir Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, and Whilce Portacio will reunite at Emerald City Comicon 2017, ostensibly to celebrate the company’s milestone 25th anniversary in a panel moderated by Walking Dead mogul and Kentucky land baron Robert Kirkman. Supposedly, the panel “will focus on the origin story of the company when, 25 years ago, a group of comics artists looked at the difference between what they were capable of and what they were being given, and left the promise of steady work for new pastures.” However, what if the whole thing is a ploy to get the six founders and Kirkman in the same room, lock the doors, and refuse to let them out until they complete Image United #4, the fourth issue in the 2009 six issue mini-series by the group which has never officially been canceled despite being eight years late. Despite the lateness, some fans have not yet given up hope on the comic, since three consecutive issues is a better track record than many comics released by the Image founders.
According to a press release, the alleged panel will take place on March 3 from 1:00–2:30 PM, and will be followed by a signing in the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel located next door to the Washington State Convention Center from 3:00–4:30 PM. 300 fans will be able to win a lottery to receive a limited edition posted signed by the founders. However, fans might not want to plan their schedules around attending the signing, since, if the plan is indeed to prevent the founders and Kirkman from escaping before they complete Image United #4, it could be weeks or even months before they are allowed to leave the room at the convention center. If the trap succeeds, the Image founders and Kirkman could subsist entirely on bags of Doritos and bottles of Surge soda passed through a slot in the door until they finally turn in finished artwork for the long-awaited comic, while Kirkman would be forced to film Talking Dead appearances over Skype, and we all know what a pain in the butt it is to get a decent wifi signal at a comic con.
At press time, Image Comics and Emerald City Comicon had not commented on whether the ECCC event is an elaborate ruse to trap the Image founders and force them to collaborate on a project they all committed to and hyped heavily eight years ago, possibly because we had not asked them.