Prophet (comics)

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Prophet
Prophet 1.jpg
Cover art for Prophet #1 (1993). Art by Rob Liefeld.
Publication information
Publisher Image Comics
First appearance Youngblood #2 (July 1992)
Created by Rob Liefeld
In-story information
Alter ego John Prophet
Abilities
  • Superhuman strength, speed, durability, and stamina
  • Master swordsman

Prophet is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Image Comics. Created by Rob Liefeld, he first appeared in Youngblood #2 (July 1992).

Prophet has starred in three ongoing series bearing his name; these monthlies debuted in 1993, 1995, and 2012, respectively. A fourth series, named Prophet: Earth War, is announced to begin in January, 2015.

Fictional character biography[edit]

John Prophet, a poor and homeless man living in the World War II era, volunteered to participate in the medical experiments of Dr. Horatio Wells, a time-traveling scientist from the future who used DNA-enhancing methods to transform Prophet into a supersoldier. He was engineered to serve the evil Phillip Omen and programmed with murderous instincts. Wells had a change of heart though and changed Prophet's programming from evil to a strong belief in God. Wells planned for Prophet to be placed into stasis for many years and then re-emerge in the future to help Wells's people fight the evil Disciples. Eventually found by Youngblood, Prophet awakens disoriented, in a world he does not recognize, and he mistakes Youngblood for the Disciples and attacks.[1][2]

It was later discovered that Prophet was not always in stasis after World War II, and had been used as "a mindless weapon of war" in Vietnam.[1] Stephen Platt, Prophet artist from 1994 to 1996, explained that the character "feel[s] responsible for the things that people forced him to do, even though he can't remember them. He's always thought of himself as a good person, and now he's discovering that the things he did were hideous by all standards of human decency. He's going to [...] take a spiritual journey to discover who he really is." [1]

Despite his enhanced DNA and ability to communicate in all languages, Prophet was described as "very childlike" by Platt. "He doesn't know the social workings of the world that most of us take for granted: he can't hail a cab, and he eats ice cream too fast and gets a headache," Platt described to Wizard.[1]

Publication history[edit]

Creation and introduction (1992-2000)[edit]

Rob Liefeld told Wizard magazine in 1994 that he was inspired by Gene Roddenberry and Steven Spielberg to create Prophet.[1] The character first appeared in Youngblood #2, released by Image Comics in July 1992. Prophet was originally intended to appear in the pages of Marvel Comics' X-Force. Liefeld explained to Wizard: "He was going to show up around #6 or #7 in my original plans, and the cover to Youngblood #2 originally had X-Force members looking on instead of Youngblood members. I soon decided that I was going to work on stuff that was creator-owned, so I pulled the character of Prophet and saved him for later."[1]

The storyline in Youngblood led directly into Prophet's own title, which lasted eleven issues (including a zero issue). A second series, written by Chuck Dixon, premiered in 1995 and lasted eight issues. A one-shot was released in 2000 by Awesome Comics.

Image revival (2012)[edit]

Prophet #21 cover. Art by Marian Churchland.

Image Comics announced at the 2011 New York Comic Con that Liefeld's line of Extreme Studios comics would return with the revival of five titles, including Prophet. Written by Brandon Graham with art by Simon Roy, Prophet continued the numbering of the previous series and launched with issue #21 in January 2012.[3] The book takes place approximately ten thousand years in the future. Graham said, "In the first issue, Prophet has to blend into an alien city and find his contact to get orders. The city is in a living spaceship that died after it landed and is slowly rotting. The aliens that live in it are a fermentation-based caste society. In the second issue, in order to cross a desert, Prophet joins an alien caravan where each of these giant alien beasts feeds off the waste of the creature in front of it until eventually the waste becomes a refined product that they go around selling. Prophet gets mixed up in an assassination plot of the caravans leader." Graham added that one of his main goals of the series is to "out 'Conan' the current run of 'Conan'".[4] The first arc revealed that there are dozens, or more, of Prophet clones scattered throughout the universe.[2][5]

Prophet features a four-man rotation of artists: Roy, who drew the first three issues of the revival; Farel Dalrymple, who drew issues #24 and #25; Giannis Milonogiannis, who is illustrating six issues; and Graham, who drew issue #26.[5] Each artist, Graham told website Newsarama, will focus on one main Prophet. "So when [Roy] returns on #32 he'll be drawing the same Prophet that he drew in his first issue. [Milonogiannis] will draw the old man Prophet's story and Farel Dalrymple is doing all the issues about the Prophet with a tail. I like the idea of each artist's style representing how the character they're drawing sees the world(s) around them."[6]

The series concluded in July 2014 with issue #45, and the story continued in a new series called Prophet: Earth War, which began in January 2016 and ended with the sixth issue in November 2016. The entire storyline has been reprinted in 5 volumes, including the 2 issue Prophet: Strikefile miniseries.

Critical reception[edit]

In a review of Prophet #21, Newsarama's Scott Cederlund wrote that "Graham and Roy's revamping of an old Rob Liefeld character has a wild, untamed vibrancy that makes it more of a comic of today and not a rehash of a 15-year-old concept that only lasted for under 20+ issues."[7] Charles Hatfield of The Comics Journal, in a review of issues #21 and #22, remarked that despite the book's "many obvious points of reference, Prophet casts its own spell, evoking its own fantastical reality."[8] Oliver Sava of The A.V. Club said that issue #26 "shows the stunning storytelling possibilities that arise when an established character is paired with an innovative creator." Sava added that "the main lesson that Marvel and DC can take away from the success of Prophet is that the best way to revitalize a property is by finding people who create good comics and allowing them to do whatever the hell they want with it."[9] The editors of Amazon.com named Prophet, Vol. 1: Remission - which collects issues #21-#26 - the fifth best graphic novel of 2012.[10]

Collected editions[edit]

Trade paperback (1993 series)[edit]

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Prophet Prophet #1-7 December 1998 978-1887279161

Trade paperback (2012 series)[edit]

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Prophet, Volume 1: Remission Prophet #21-26 September 2012 978-1607066118
Prophet, Volume 2: Brothers Prophet #27-31, 33 June 26, 2013 978-1607067498
Prophet, Volume 3: Empire Prophet #32, 34-38 February 12, 2014 978-1607068587
Prophet, Volume 4: Joining Prophet #39-45, Prophet: Strikefile #1,2 March 31, 2015 978-1632152541
Prophet, Volume 5: Earth War Prophet: Earth War #1-6 January 10, 2017 978-1632158369

In other media[edit]

In 1995, TriStar Pictures acquired the film rights to Prophet.[11] A live-action film was planned with Rob Liefeld as a producer, but the project did not proceed beyond pre-production.[12] Fleer/SkyBox International released a "Prophet Collection" series of trading cards in 1996. Approximately half of the set's 90 cards were created by Stephen Platt. Additional artists included Liefeld, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, and Mike Deodato.[13] A Prophet action figure was produced in 1997 by Awesome Toys, a division of Liefeld's Awesome Entertainment.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f McElhatton, Greg (July 1994). "Prophet Margin". Wizard. Wizard Entertainment. 1 (35). ISSN 1065-6499. 
  2. ^ a b Parker, John (August 9, 2012). "'Prophet': The Barbarian Space Opera You Should Already Be Reading". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on August 23, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ Dietsch, TJ (October 14, 2011). "NYCC: The Resurrection of Extreme Studios". Comic Book Resources. 
  4. ^ Dietsch, TJ (November 15, 2011). "Brandon Graham Declares A New 'Prophet'". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Truitt, Bryan (March 30, 2012). "Brandon Graham explores the sci-fi sandbox of 'Prophet'". USA Today. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ Arrant, Chris (June 25, 2012). "Liefeld & Graham Talk Prophet vs. Prophet". Newsarama. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  7. ^ Cederlund, Scott (January 17, 2012). "Best Shots Advance Reviews: 'Prophet' #21, 'Wasteland' #33". Newsarama. 
  8. ^ Hatfield, Charles (March 16, 2012). "Reviews: 'Prophet' #21-#22". The Comics Journal. 
  9. ^ Sava, Oliver (June 29, 2012). "The latest issue of Prophet illustrates the value of letting creators do their own thing". The A.V. Club. 
  10. ^ Melrose, Kevin (November 13, 2012). "Amazon names best comics and graphic novels of 2012". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  11. ^ Pearlman, Cindy (June 7, 1995). "Drawing from Success". The Gainesville Sun. p. 3D. 
  12. ^ Hodari Coker, Cheo (October 1, 1996). "Coloring for the Big Screen". Los Angeles Times. p. F1. 
  13. ^ Szadkowski, Joseph (January 27, 1996). "Small things mean a lot: Welcome to the world of miniature art galleries". The Washington Times. Retrieved December 2, 2012. (Subscription required (help)). 
  14. ^ "Get the Shaft from Awesome!". Toymania. September 25, 1997. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 

External links[edit]