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October 24, 2013

A Couple Of Quick Observations About Recent Image Sell-Outs

The sometimes untrustworthy -- at least that's what I'm told, I don't read it enough to know -- site Bleeding Cool has a report up that both of this week's big Image series debuts: the Steve Epting/Ed Brubaker spy book Velvet and Emma Rios/Kelly Sue DeConnick western-plus Pretty Deadly. Let's assume that's true, as the lack of a counterpoint note from creators or publisher -- or at least one I've seen -- would indicate tacit endorsement of at least those books doing very, very well in their initial offerings, even as returnable books.

I think this is interesting for a couple of reasons. One is that this would be on pace with what any of those talents could count on selling with a non top-of-the-line property at either Marvel or DC. So Image plays in that world now, which I think is indicative of how the direct market stores have come around on the sales possibilities of having strong Image series to recommend to customers. No matter what any group with a specific interest in a single-factor marketplace will tell you, a number of factors are in play with any comics market including that for serial comic books. Perhaps the most underrated of these factors is the trust that stores will place in a company based on recent business performance and perceived mutual interest. If it's true -- and I think it is -- that we're in a marketplace where folks are desperate to be told what to buy, one possibility they now seem open to considering is certain creator-drive Image comics. Two is that you can make a pretty strong argument that a strong showing for an Image title offering is way, way better for the creators involved than a similar or even stronger showing for a mainstream book. The idea that those creators make bank at Marvel or DC and then do their Image comics for fun and/or creative satisfaction isn't 100 percent true. Not anymore. Not only do creators keep their licensing and adaptation options, but the actual selling of the comics when they reach a point of profitability is -- as I understand it -- much more lucrative with an Image deal than an equivalent Marvel or DC deal even with one of the better available incentives/bonuses programs in place.

None of this is genius-level observation, of course, and there's no place to go that isn't the Land Of Strident Proclamations -- I don't think any of this spells doom for anyone. But it's certainly worth noting that Image can compete this way, and that this may not be an anomaly of time (the Image founders) or genre (Walking Dead).
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

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