9. Marvel's Talent Doesn't Leave For Image
As far as comics are concerned, the nineties was a pretty dreadful decade. Bizarre creative decisions, Clone Sagas, edgy and dated character designs - all found a home at both DC and Marvel during those years. And, while the industry looked like it was on the rise (in the same way Wall Street did shortly before October 1929), the numbers didn't do justice to the various internal calamities that were then engulfing the Big Two.
Marvel was suffering the most, and their top talent sensed the worst. Todd McFarlane, who had quickly established himself as one of the biggest artists in the industry, owing to his stint on Spider-Man, was growing increasingly frustrated in regards to editorial interference on his title. Compounding these worries further were Marvel's apparent unwillingness to pay substantial royalties to staff who'd created characters for the company, and so, in 1991, they left.
McFarlane led the charge along with Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Whilce Portacio and Jim Valentino, a group who'd later go on to become the founders of Image Comics. Image today stands as being one of the key publishers in the biz, offering writers and artists the ability to own their own material in an environment unburdened by events and editorial interference. Spawn-mania gripped the rest of the decade, and yeah, the rest is history.
Had McFarlane et al. chosen to stay at Marvel, however, then things would've worked out a whole lot differently. Although tension had been brewing for some time, there's every chance that, had Marvel backed off and made McFarlane an offer, the 'X'-odus of '91 would never have occurred, meaning that the Image we all know and love may never have come to pass, and that the Indie scene itself would never be the same.