Image Comics

Image Comics

Infobox Company
company_name = Image Comics
company_type = Comic publisher
company_slogan =
foundation = 1992
key_people = Todd McFarlane
Rob Liefeld
Jim Lee
Marc Silvestri
Erik Larsen
Jim Valentino
Whilce Portacio
Robert Kirkman
location =
industry = Comics
homepage = []

Image Comics is an American comic book publisher. It was founded in 1992 by seven high-profile illustrators as a venue where creators could publish their material without giving up the copyrights to the characters they created, as creator-owned properties. Image's success has significantly changed the position of creators in the comic book industry.Fact|date=February 2008 Along with DC, Marvel and Dark Horse, Image Comics is one of the four largest comic book publishers in America.

Its better-known series include "Spawn", "Pitt", "The Savage Dragon", "Shadowhawk", "Youngblood", "Supreme", "WildC.A.T.s", "Gen¹³", "Wetworks", "Cyberforce", "Witchblade", "The Darkness", "Invincible", the third volume of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", and "The Walking Dead".Fact|date=March 2007



In the early 1990s, several popular Marvel Comics illustrators grew increasingly annoyed that artwork and characters they created were being heavily merchandised, with the artists -- working as freelancers -- receiving only page rates for their work and modest royalties. They also resented a common attitude among Marvel management that the writers and artists were less important to the success of a series than the characters, and could easily be replaced. In December 1991, a group of these illustrators approached Marvel president Terry Stewart and demanded that the company give them ownership and creative control over their work. Accounts vary as to whom this group included, but it is generally accepted that Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld were among its leaders. Marvel did not meet their demands.Fact|date=March 2007

Several months later, seven illustrators announced the creation of Image Comics. The company's original line-up included Todd McFarlane (famous for his work on Marvel's ""), Jim Lee ("X-Men"), Rob Liefeld ("X-Force"), Marc Silvestri ("Wolverine"), Erik Larsen ("The Amazing Spider-Man"), Jim Valentino ("Guardians of the Galaxy"), and Whilce Portacio ("Uncanny X-Men"). This development is sometimes called the "X-odus", because four of these creators (Liefeld, Lee, Silvestri, and Portacio) were famous for their work on the X-Men franchise. Although each artist had become relatively well-known at Marvel, the trio of Lee, Liefeld, and McFarlane were comic book superstars. Image's initial titles were solicited and produced through Malibu Comics, a publisher that had specialized in low print run black and white creator-owned and licensed comics since 1986. Malibu provided administrative, production and marketing support for the launch of the initial titles. [ [ Platinum Studios: Awesome Comics] . Accessed February 3, 2008]

Image was formed under two provisions: [ [ "The Image Story" (Part Three)] , "The Comics Journal", 2005-10-25. Retrieved on 2008-03-15.]
* Image does not own a creator's work; the creator does.
* No Image partner would ever interfere, creatively or financially, with any other's work.

Image itself owns almost no intellectual property except the company trademarks: its name and its logo. [ Erik Larsen, "Grand Larseny", printed in the back of various Image titles, February 2008 ]

In the spirit of the second rule, each Image partner founded his own studio, which published under the Image banner but was autonomous from any central editorial control. Because Portacio did not opt to become a full partner in the company, Image originally consisted of six studios:Fact|date=March 2007
*Extreme Studios, owned by Rob Liefeld
*Highbrow Entertainment, owned by Erik Larsen
*ShadowLine, owned by Jim Valentino
*Todd McFarlane Productions, owned by Todd McFarlane
*Top Cow Productions, owned by Marc Silvestri
*Wildstorm Productions, owned by Jim Lee


The first Image comic books to arrive at stores were Liefeld's "Youngblood", Larsen's "The Savage Dragon", McFarlane's "Spawn", and Lee's "WildC.A.T.s". Propelled by the artists' star power and the eagerness of comic book collectors to get in early on the "next big thing", these series sold in numbers that no publisher other than Marvel, DC or Valiant Comics had achieved since the market's drastic decline in the 1970s. The company experienced lesser successes with Silvestri's "Cyberforce", Valentino's "Shadowhawk" and Portacio's much-delayed "Wetworks".Fact|date=March 2007

Some of the founders' studios came to resemble independent publishers, each with several ongoing series set in a shared universe. (At first there were indications of a shared universe "among" the studios, but these decreased as the studios developed their own directions.) The use of freelancers to write and/or illustrate series that were owned by the Image partners led to criticism that some of them had reproduced the very system they had rebelled against, just with them in charge instead of a corporation. Image partners who did not take this approach assumed a neutral position on it, in keeping with the requirement that none of them had any say in how the others' studios were run.Some of the Image partners used their studios to publish the works of other independent creators, offering them the chance to do so while owning the copyrights and maintaining editorial control over their own series.Fact|date=February 2007 Other publishers had offered similar deals to creators, but this was not typical in the industry. These included Sam Kieth, who created "The Maxx", Dale Keown, who created "PITT", Jae Lee, who created "Hellshock", and Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson and Alex Ross, who created "Astro City". Later, some established self-published series also moved to Image, such as Jeff Smith's "Bone" and Colleen Doran's "A Distant Soil". Image soon came to rival Marvel and DC in terms of fan popularity and sales.Fact|date=February 2007

The partners also had little business experience and found themselves overwhelmed with the responsibilities of managing their respective studios. Soon the company became notorious for falling behind its publishing schedule. For example, "WildC.A.T.s," which was intended to be published monthly, had only 4 issues in 9 months (#29-32, Apr '96, Jun '96, Sep '96, Jan '97). Retailers' orders of newly-solicited issues were typically based on the sales of recent issues, but as the issues shipped weeks and even several months late, fans' interest tended to wane, leaving retailers with inventory they couldn't sell. In response, retailers cut orders even further to reduce their risk. This significantly hurt the studios, which were each responsible for their own cash flow and profitability.Fact|date=February 2007

In 1993, the partners hired Larry Marder to act as "executive director" for the publisher. Valentino quipped in interviews that Marder's job was literally to "direct the executives". He developed better financial planning and had some success in disciplining creators to deliver their work on time, in part by insisting that retail orders for new issues would not be solicited until the books had been illustrated, usually ensuring they would be ready to ship when promised.Fact|date=February 2007

By the mid-1990s Image series such as "Spawn" and "The Savage Dragon" had proven themselves as lasting successes (the former frequently topping the sales charts for months in which new issues came out), while new series such as Wildstorm's "Gen¹³", and Top Cow's "Witchblade" and "The Darkness" were also successful. Image had established itself as a strong competitor in the comic book industry, although critical reactions were often still less than enthusiastic.Fact|date=March 2007

Clashes between partners began to harm the company. Several of the partners complained that Liefeld was using his power as CEO of Image to promote and perhaps even to financially support his own separate publishing company Maximum Press. Silvestri withdrew Top Cow from Image in 1996 (although he retained his partnership in the company). This was due in part to Liefeld attempting to "steal away" Silvestri's talent pool, which included then Witchblade superstar artist Michael Turner. Silvestri was infuriated by this and decided that to prohibit this practice from continuing he would pull Top Cow out. In September 1996, Liefeld, before he could be voted out, resigned and Silvestri would later return.Fact|date=February 2007

Wildstorm's Cliffhanger imprint, established in 1998, was also a commercial success, launching high-selling creative-owned properties for new stars such as Image artists Humberto Ramos, J. Scott Campbell and the recent Marvel transfer Joe Madureira. Though the great success at the top of the sales charts was marred with production delays, the imprint continued to attract more star talents such as Chris Bachalo, Joe Kelly, Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco. When Jim Lee sold Wildstorm to DC Comics in 1999, citing his desire to drop his responsibilities as a publisher for more creative work, the Cliffhanger imprint moved along but the popularity of the line was already showing signs of fading, with many of its titles missing production schedules one after the other.

A promised "10th Anniversary" book for Image, in which each of the four remaining partners would create a story featuring their signature characters, experienced delays reminiscent of the period 10 years earlier, and the "Image Comics" #1 hardcover was eventually resolicited for release in November 2005.Fact|date=March 2007

Meanwhile, Valentino, who had become less active in the company, began using his position as a partner to publish a number of "indie" titles by other creators, in a deliberate attempt to diversify Image's output and its image. Although most of these series - ironically dubbed the "non-line" because of their lack of commonality - did not sell well and were soon cancelled, they introduced an increasingly important business model for the company: offering other creators the same total-ownership terms the partners enjoyed, but taking a fixed fee upon publication for the company's administrative costs. This practice increased after Marder left the company in 1999 and Valentino became publisher and manager of "Image Central", the business unit independent of any of the studios.Fact|date=March 2007

In February 2004, Larsen replaced Valentino as publisher, largely continuing existing business practices. As of 2005, the majority of books Image publishes in a given month (in terms of titles, not necessarily sales) are non-studio productions. McFarlane's "Spawn" and related titles, his McFarlane Toys line, and Silvestri's Top Cow imprint remain a substantial segment of Image's total sales. Larsen's "Savage Dragon" continues as the longest-running owner-created title by an Image partner. Valentino has returned to creating comics with his Shadowline imprint, including a new incarnation of ShadowHawk. The company retains its position as the third largest publisher in the North American direct market (after Marvel, DC, and sometimes Dark Horse Comics),under Valentino but had declined to fifth largest publisher under Larsen.Fact|date=March 2007

Larsen stepped down as publisher in July 2008 and executive director Eric Stephenson was promoted to the position. [ [ Eric Stephenson: Talking to the New Image Publisher] , Newsarama, July 9, 2008] Shortly afterward, Robert Kirkman, whose series "The Walking Dead" had emerged as one of the most successful black and white comics of the past twenty-five years, and whose "Invincible" had become one of the few commercially successful original superhero series in recent years, was named a partner, the first non-founding member. [ [ Robert Kirkman Named Image Partner] ]

The Man of Action team have already released titles through Image but in February 2009 will launch "Man of Action Month" with three original titles and an updated release of "Codeflesh" from Joe Casey and Charlie Adlard. The new titles include "The Great Unknown" from Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle and Marcos Mateu's "Soul Kiss" and "Bad Dog" by Joe Kelly and Diego Greco. [ [ Man of Action: Four new projects with Image] , Comic Book Resources, September 28, 2008]

Notable series published

A - E

*"After The Cape"
*"Age of Bronze"
*"Aletheia" [ [ LeFevre Crafts a New Mythology In "Aletheia"] , Comic Book Resources, March 25, 2008]
*"Alley Cat"
*"The Alliance"
*"Altered Image"
*"Alter Nation"
*"Amazing Joy Buzzards"
*"American Jesus" [ [ Millar Resurrects "Chosen" As "American Jesus"] , Comic Book Resources, September 28, 2008]
*"Area 52"
*"The Amory Wars"
*"Astro City"
*"The Atheist"
*"Athena Inc."
*"The Astounding Wolf-Man"
*"Back to Brooklyn" [ [ Ennis & Palmiotti Go "Back to Brooklyn"] , Comic Book Resources, July 15, 2008]
*"Badrock and Company"
*"Battle Chasers"
*"Battle Hymn"
*"Battle of the Planets"
*"Big Bang Comics"
*"Black & White"
*"Bloodmaster Scarlet"
*"Bomb Queen" 2006
*"Boof & the Bruise Crew"
*"Broken Trinity" [ [ Ron Marz talks Broken Trinity] , Comic Book Resources, July 17, 2008]
*"Channel Zero"
*"Cholly and Flytrap"
*"City of Heroes"
*"City of Silence"
*"The Clock Maker"
*"Comic Book Tattoo" [ [,,2274817,00.html Tori Amos's comic reinvention] , "The Guardian", April 18, 2008]
*"Common Grounds"
*"Compass Zero"
*"Crawl Space"
*"Cross Bronx, The"
*"Curse of the Spawn"
*"Danger Girl"
*"Darker Image"
*"The Darkness"
*"Dead Ahead" [ [ Not The Love Boat: Smith on "Dead Ahead"] , Comic Book Resources, July 21, 2008]
*"Dead Space"
*"The Deadly Duo"
*"Death, Jr."
*"Deep Sleeper issues 3 and 4"
*"Desperate Times"
*"Doom's IV"
*"Dust" [ [ 12 Gauge Comics :: Paolo Parente's Dust ] ] [ [ Paolo Parente’s Dust: The Army Weekly ] ] [ [ "Dust" Debuts from mink & Parente this Summer at Image] , February 1, 2007, Comic Book Resources] [ [ Preview: "Dust" #2] , August 28, 2007, Comic Book Resources]
*"Dusty Star"
*"Dynamo 5"

F - M

*"Faction Paradox"
*"Fear Agent"
*"Fire From Heaven"
*"First Man"
*"Forever Amber"
*"Four Eyes" [ [ A Boy & His Dragon: Kelly talks "Four Eyes"] , Comic Book Resources, June 26, 2008]
*"Frankenstein Mobster"
*"Freak Force"
*"G.I. Joe"
*"Gear Station"
*"Ghost Spy"
*"Go Girl!"
*"Graveslinger" [ [ Denton and Mariotte Go West in "Graveslinger"] , Comic Book Resources, August 27, 2007]
*"The Gray Area"
*"Grease Monkey"
*"Groo the Wanderer"
*"Guerillas" [ [ Guerilla Warfare Gets Real at Image] , Comics Book Resources, August 14, 2008]
*"Hawaiian Dick"
*"Heirs of Eternity"
*"Hip Flask"
*"The Horror Book"
*"I Kill Giants" [ [ Joe Kelly: "I Kill Giants"] , Comic Book Resources, April 25, 2008]
*"" (2002, one-shot)
*"Imaginaries, The"
*"Immortal II"
*"Iron Wings"
*"Jack Staff"
*"Jade Warriors"
*"Jersey Gods" [ [ Cosmic Comedy & Romance: Brunswick talks "Jersey Gods"] , Comic Book Resources, September 28, 2008]
*"Kid Supreme"
*"Kill All Parents" [ [ Martin Andrew Smith on "Kill All Parents"] , Newsarama, April 29, 2008] [ [ Mark Andrew Smith Plans to "Kill All Parents"] , Comic Book Resources, April 30, 2008]
*"Lady Pendragon"
*"Lady Rawhide"
*"Last Shot"
*"Leave It to Chance"
*"Legend of Supreme"
*"Liberty Meadows"
*"Lions, Tigers and Bears"
*"Little Red Hot"
*"Lucha Libre"
*"Madman Atomic Comics" (beginning April 2007)
*"Mask of Zorro"
*"Masters of the Universe"
*"The Maxx"
*"Mech Destroyer"
*"Megaton Man"
*"The Mice Templar"
*"Midnight Nation"
*"M. Rex"
*"Mutant Earth"
*"M-Theory" [ [ MacPherson & Barentine Have an "M-Theory"] , Comic Book Resources, August 15, 2008]

N - Y

*"The Necromancer"
*"New Men"
*"The Next Issue Project"
*"Night Club"
*"Noble Causes"
*"NYC Mech"
*"Occult Crimes Taskforce"
*"The Others"
*"The Pact"
*"Pax Romana"
*"Phantom Guard"
*"Phantom Jack"
*"The Pirates Of Coney Island"
*"The Portent"
*"Proof" [ [ Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo on "Proof"] , Augst 23, 2007, Newsarama]
*"Rising Stars"
*"Runes of Ragnan"
*"The Safest Place" [ [ Finding The Safest Place With Riches, Grant & Mandrake] , Newsarama, march 21, 2008]
*"Sam and Twitch"
*"Sam Noir"
*"The Savage Dragon"
*"Savant Garde"
*"Sea of Red"
*"The Second Stage Turbine Blade"
*"Shaman's Tears"
*"Ship of Fools"
*"Small Gods"
*"Stardust Kid"
*"Strange Girl"
*"Stupid Comics"
*"Suburban Glamour"
*"The Sword"
*"Sword of Dracula"
*"Team 7"
*"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
*"The Last Christmas"
*"The Tenth"
*"10th Muse"
*"Texas Strangers"
*"A Touch of Silver"
*"True Story Swear To God"
*"Tomb Raider"
*"Urban Monsters"
*"Violent Messiahs"
*"Wahoo Morris"
*"The Walking Dead"
*"War Heroes" [ [ War Heroes #1] , Newsarama, March 20, 2008]
*"Weapon Zero"

One-shots and graphic novels

One-shots and original graphic novels include:

*"13 Chambers" (with mink and Denis Medri, 2008) [ [ TWISTORY: mink Talks Fantasy Western "13 Chambers"] , Comic Book Resources, February 21, 2008] [ [ Venturing West: Medri talks "13 Chambers"] , Comic Book Resources, June 27, 2008]
*"Aqua Leung" (by Mark Andrew Smith, & Paul Maybury 2008, ISBN 1582408637) [ [ Mark Andrew Smith on "Aqua Leung"] , Newsarama, April 10, 2008]
*"Ascend" (by Keith Arem and Christopher Shy, paperback, ISBN 1582404305, hardcover, ISBN 1582405182, 2005, reprinted as Special Edition by IDW) [ [ Keith Arem on "Ascend: special Edition"] , Newsarama, November 21, 2007]
*"Black Cherry" (by Doug TenNapel, graphic novel, 2007, ISBN 1-58240-830-0)
*"Devoid of Life" (by Raffaele Ienco, graphic novel, 132 pages, September 2008, ISBN 1582409870) [ [ Ienco talks "Devoid of Life" Graphic Novel] , Comic Book Resources, August 22, 2008]
*"Douglas Fredericks and the House of They" (with Joe Kelly and Ben Roman, 80 pages, December 2008, ISBN 1582409943) [ [ Says Who? Kelly talks "Douglas Fredericks"] , Comic Book Resources, October 3, 2008]
*"Earthboy Jacobus" (by Doug TenNapel, graphic novel, 2005, ISBN 1-58240-492-5)
*"The Five Fists of Science" (by Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders, graphic novel, 2006, ISBN 1-58240-605-7)
*"Flight" (comics anthology currently running to 4 volumes)
*"Four-Letter Worlds" (comics anthology, 2005, ISBN 1-58240-439-9)
*"Gear" (by Doug TenNapel, graphic novel, 1999, ISBN 1-58240-680-4)
*"" (by Benito Cereno and illustrated by Nate Bellegarde, one-shot)
*"Iron West" (by Doug TenNapel, graphic novel, 2006, ISBN 1-58240-630-8)
*"Long Hot Summer" (by Eric Stephenson (writer) and Jamie McKelvie (artist), graphic novel, 2005)
*"Popgun" (edited by Mark Andrew Smith & Joe Keatinge, 2007)
*"Stagger Lee" (by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix, 205 pages, graphic novel, 2006, ISBN 1582406073) [ [ Home - Santa Cruz Sentinel ] ]
*"Tales From the Bully Pulpit" (by Benito Cereno and illustrated by Graeme MacDonald, graphic novel)
*"Tommysaurus Rex" (by Doug TenNapel, graphic novel, 2004, ISBN 1-58240-395-3)
*"The Wizard's Tale" - This book was a top votegetter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Original Graphic Novel for 1998

ee also

* Semic Comics
* Top Cow Productions



*" [ Image Comics: The Road To Independence] " (by George Khoury, 280 pages, TwoMorrows Publishing, June 2007, ISBN 1-893905-71-3) excerpts:
** [ McFarlane and Khoury on 15 Years of Image Comics] , Comic Book Resources, June 13, 2007
** [ Marc Silvestri from Image Comics: The Road to Independence] , Newsarama, June 14, 2007
** [;f=36;t=006361 Dale Keown excerpt from Image Comics: The Road to Independence] , June 14, 2007
** [ Robert Kirkman Interview]

*gcdb publisher|id=709|title=Image Comics
* [ Image Comics] at the Big Comic Book DataBase
*comicbookdb|type=publisher|id=6|title=Image Comics

External links

* [ Image Comics Homepage]
* [ "The Image Story"] by Michael Dean. "The Comics Journal", 2000.
*MySpace|imagecomics|Image Comics

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