John Prophet. Poster child of Early 90’s Image Comics excess. Brainchild of Rob Liefeld. I tried to think of an eloquent way to describe him but I think Wikipedia does a fine job with the facts:
“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’ people fight the evil Disciples”
That’s for real. So what we have here is some kind of bible thumping Captain America killing machine. He debuts early in Liefeld’s flagship Image title, Youngblood and as the Wiki entry notes was originally destined for X-Force before the artist jumped ship. A young Biff Tannen was obsessed.
Yes, retrospectively this seems like the definition of steaming hot garbage, but at the time elementary school me didn’t care. It was everything I wanted, plus he looked BADASS. Now that I can look back at it with adult eyes it seems the reason this connected with me was because the creator (barely an adult himself) had the same interests as my 8 year old self. Who can blame him?
A month ago, I was reading an interview on Comic Book Resources with Simon Roy, the artist for Image Comics’ Prophet series. For the very last question they asked Simon what other projects he was working on. He mentioned something called Pilgrim and described it as “sort of a supernatural spaghetti western set during the crusades”. He certainly had my attention, so I followed the link from the article and was brought face to face with an illustration of a man who looked eerily similar to Clint Eastwood holding a flaming sword. I was sold immediately.