So in the end, what did it matter?
30 years ago, Image Comics debuted in the comics marketplace and took the world by storm. 7 of Marvel’s biggest named creators just walked out and went into business for themselves. But beyond milking their fans for more dollar and narrowing the market share for the big 2, what has been the legacy of these guys doing it for themselves?
Much of the IP is still around from Spawn and Savage Dragon still being ongoing titles by the same company, to Wildstorm’s characters getting a second lease of life from the re-boot in The Wild Storm, to some of the post-Stormwatch characters being seen in the main DC Universe and several revival attempts of Shadowhawk, Cyberforce and Youngblood, the characters struck a chord and their fans keep interest in them alive.
It did two other things too, it made a non-big 2 comics company a viable business idea. Dark Horse did so much more super hero stuff with the Comics Greatest World event that had lots of really good ideas in it. Valiant comics burst forth as well from Jim Shooter amongst others. Now you have Boom Studios, IDW, Vault and a dozen more besides offering alternatives to the unstoppable behemoths of Marvel and DC.
Part of this was the other half of Image’s legacy. Moving more behind the scenes jim Valentino became a larger supporter of creator own series. If people wanted to do their own thing, Image was the place to do it, taking advantage of the hole left by Vertigo’s shrinking and eventual cancellation. Many creators doing work for the big 2 now also do Image titles, retaining IP ownership as well as much of the income and there’s no restriction as to what they can do. Sci-Fi, Super Heroes, Horror, Comedy, Romance, Fantasy and Noir are all up for grabs and there are success stories there. Several series have made it to films and television, including the sales juggernaut that was the Walking Dead as well as Invincible, by the same writer Robert Kirkman, who was inspired by the original 7 and has joined them in the upper management of Image Comics.
I suppose that was the real gain from Image. It was 7 guys showing you that it could be done, that you could do what you like and have it be yours. You could want to draw Batman, or write Spider-Man, but if you also had your own ideas, there was a place to do that. Image Comics showed so many people the way and even now, 30 years on, they still do. Whatever you like to read, there’s something for you and we are all happier for that fact.
There’s more that can be said, but better writers can say it. All I wanted to say was Image is 30 years old and from out of it came some pretty damn good comics. So for whatever reasons they had, well done for leaving and doing it for yourself. The comics world thanks you.
That’s all for me for now folks,