After another breathless year of new titles and ongoing smash hits, Image Comics has cemented its place as the hottest publishing game in town.
Image Comics continues to set the standard for creator-owned publishing by offering the best deals for creators to own and control their own properties while still receiving the benefits of working with one of the largest companies in the industry.
This past year saw Image build even more momentum in its ability to draw major talent away from their work-for-hire gigs at the “big two” in favor of launching their own series.
And thanks to Image’s financial stability and strong presence in the marketplace, this choice isn’t just about personal gratification: it now has the potential to be a more profitable option as well.
This was most evident in 2015 with the creative team of Marvel’s popular Moon Knight relaunch, Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey, jumping ship to launch Injection at Image. Although not strangers to indie comics, other big names known for their work with Marvel and DC released their own series with Image this year, including Mark Millar and Rafael Alburquerque with Huck and Rick Remender and Sean Murphy with Tokyo Ghost. Meanwhile, both Steve Skroce and Cliff Chang joined Brian K. Vaughan on his latest titles, We Stand on Guard and Paper Girls respectively.
And while star power is nothing new for Image, with megahits such as Saga and The Walking Dead already in its stable, that hasn’t kept the publisher from searching out and developing new talent.
This year saw the debut of the new series Plutona from Emi Lenox (with 2015 BF award winners Jeff Lemire and Jordie Bellaire), as well as From Under Mountains by the all-female creative team of Sloane Leong, Claire Gibson, Marian Churchland and Ariana Maher. Writer Joe Keatinge—no stranger to finding new talent to work with—launched Ringside, which featured the debut of New Zealand artist Nick Barber.
Showing that they weren’t afraid to try new formats, Image also launched a new magazine-sized anthology, Island, curated by Brandon Graham and Emma Rios, which was able to bring even more unique talent under the Image banner.
One of the things that really sets Image apart from other publishers is that it has its own expo. This is a great way to announce new series directly to the press and also puts the spotlight firmly on the creators, as they have a chance to meet directly with the media, as well as many fans and retailers.
Perhaps since they had so many new titles launching, Image held their expo twice last year, once in January and again in early July. There’s still no word on when the Image Expo will happen this year, or how often, but we can be sure something big is in the works.
Never satisfied with their success, Image Comics continues to find innovative ways to bring creator-owned comics to the forefront of the industry, as they continue to keep us asking, “What’s next?”