Cinematic universes are all the rage these days, and it's a trend primarily driven by the popularity of comic books and superhero stories. Marvel Studios launched it all with Iron Man back in 2008, but now we've seen the model matched on the big screen by competitors at DC Comics and 20th Century Fox. Right now those are the top three in the game, but audiences will soon be introduced to a whole new franchise from a very different brand of comics, specifically the Extreme Cinematic Universe.

It was recently announced that Rob Liefeld's Image Comics-based imprint, Extreme Studios, has earned attention from Oscar-winning writer Akiva Goldsman and producer Graham King, and there are now plans in the works to bring that fictional world to the big screen for the first time. During the early 1990s, Extreme launched multiple successful titles, and the belief is that they can be adapted and made part of a cohesive universe brought to life in blockbuster format. It's source material with plenty of potential, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with some of the big titles and names involved, we've put together this handy guide to help you get a grip on what it's all going to be about and what to expect.

What Is Extreme Studios?

In 1992, a group of very notable comic book artists - including Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, Whilce Portacio, Erik Larsen, and Rob Liefeld - made a big move. Rather than inventing characters for companies that would ultimately own the rights to everything created, they decided to found Image Comics: a publishing house dedicated to releasing creator-owned titles and material. Under this banner, the artists individually established their own special studios, with Extreme Studios being the company launched by Rob Liefeld (best known as the co-creator of Deadpool, Cable, and many other notable Marvel heroes and villains).

The first ever title to be released by Image Comics was Extreme's Youngblood - a superhero team comic that wound up being incredibly successful and the first independent release to be a number one best-seller. In 2009, Reliance Entertainment acquired the rights to this particular series, which explains why it wasn't mentioned in the initial announcement about the Extreme Cinematic Universe. That being said, there are still multiple titles from the same world that still remain open for adaptation - as you'll discover as you continue reading!

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