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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sharper Image

posted by on July 22 at 12:40 PM

In a move that comics news site Newsarama has announced is “unprecidented” (sic), comics writer Robert Kirkman (the writer of The Walking Dead and Invincible) has been made a new partner at Image Comics.

This was reported in the New York Times this morning. The Times explains Image Comics:

In 1992, seven top-selling artists who had primarily been working for Marvel Comics decided to form their own company, Image. They had grown frustrated with having little editorial control and limited financial benefit from working on corporate-owned characters.

Kirkman’s addition is big news for comics because it’s the first time that a writer, and not an artist, is in charge of finding and developing new talent at the creator-owned company. It’s particularly appealing because while Kirkman does have a fanboy’s love for superhero comics, he has an appreciation for other genres (horror, spy), and he’s also got much better taste than the people who are currently running Image. More and better creator-owned comics are what the industry needs, because both Marvel and DC have become incredibly uninteresting Intellectual Property Farms.

I’m also mentioning this on Slog because it’s both weird and notable that it was mentioned in the Times book section. I think it got the attention because this weekend is San Diego Comic Con, the biggest comic book event of the year, but this is the first time I can recall the Times treating a change at a comic publisher the same way it would a personnel change at a, you know, grown-up book publisher.

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Paul, how in the hell are you able to read Newsarama without losing your shit and killing everyone in the Stranger's offices?

What's your secret? How do you do it? And is Kelly O recording it?

Posted by Dave | July 22, 2008 1:11 PM

Wow! Paul is correct. This is a *giant* change in status-quo for the way that personnel changes in the comic book industry are treated by the publishing industry at large. As in, they're actual blips on the news radar.


Even more bizarre is the fact that The Stranger also cared enough to spread the news. Maybe years and years of giant box-office pulls from the movie industry are carrying comic book publishing kicking and screaming into respectability. Maybe?

Keep it coming, Paul! Always a big fan of your content.

Posted by godsactionfigure | July 22, 2008 1:28 PM

The beyond horrible preview clip of MTV's coming semi-animated "Invincible" series made me feel sorry for Kirkman, but this is well-deserved good news for him.

Posted by Just Sayin' | July 22, 2008 5:54 PM

Actually, Image founder Jim Valentino has good taste. During his tenure as Publisher, Image had a more diverse line-up of books than at any point in their history. The Red Star, Violent Messiahs, Powers, Rex Mundi and Age of Bronze were all initiated during his tenure.

The overall output seems to have suffered under Eric Larsen's reign, where the agenda shifted from "publish diverse non-superhero work" to "publish anything with an enthusiastic creative team," which led to a glut of superhero books from Image Central.

It's too bad Valentino was shifted out of that position (allegedly due to internal controversy over how Devil's Due and Dreamwave among others created competing companies after building their properties within Image).

Posted by Tom X. PDX | July 22, 2008 8:14 PM

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