Friday, 20 July 2012

Image-in all the comics.

Or how Image Comics is winning at everything.

It seems that Image has developed a strategy to relieve me of all of my moneys by making The Best Comics. Seriously, the line up Eric Stephenson introduced at SDCC consists of many of my favourite creators (in some cases creative teams) announcing super interesting new projects. I am ridiculously excited to read these comics.

But I think there is an interesting trend in this news story (beyond the coral of A-list creators flocking to creator owned projects). Look at the proposed (and some existing) Image titles and pay special attention to the genre of these books:

From SDCC:
Howard Chaykin/Matt Fraction: Satellite Sam (Mystery)
Greg Rucka/Michael Lark: Lazarus (Dystopian/Hard sci-fi)
Kelly Sue Deconnick/Emma Rios: Pretty Deadly (Western)
Brandon Graham: Multiple Warheads (Sci-fi/Fanatasy)
Gary Whitta/Darick Robertson: Oliver (Steampunk, Dystopian sci-fi)
Chris Roberson/Paul Maybury: Rain (Epic fantasy)
James Robinson/J. Bone: The Savior (Sci-fi/horror)
Joe Casey: Sex (Superheroes/Erotica?)
Joe Casey/David Messina: The Bounce (Superheroes)

From Image Con:
Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples: Saga (Sci-fi)
Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie: Phonogram 3 (Urban fantasy)
Jonathon Hickman/Nick Pitarra: The Manhattan Projects (Sci-fi)
Jonathon Hickan/Ryan Bodenheim: Secret (Espionage Thriller)
Brian Wood/Ming Doyle/Jordie Bellaire: Mara (Dystopian sci-fi)
Grant Morrison/Darick Robertson: Happy (???)
Mark Millar/Frank Quitely: Saturn’s Children (Superheroes)
Joe Keatinge/Andre Szymanowicz: Hell Yeah (Superheroes)
Howard Chaykin: Black Kiss II (Erotic/Thriller)
Jonathon Ross/Bryan Hitch: America’s Got Powers (Superheroes)

And since it makes my point:
Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips: Fatale (Lovecraftian Horror/ Crime Noir)
John Layman/Rob Guillory: Chew (Science Fantasy/Police Procedural)
Warren Ellis/Ben Templesmith: Fell (Mystery Horror)

If we discount for a second the absurd level of talent in this lineup, we’re left with a pretty diverse collection of genres at Image (variations of: Superheroes, Sci-fi, Western, Fantasy, Mystery, Horror, Crime, Erotica). Contrast that with Marvel (variations of: Superheroes) and DC (variations of: Superheroes). It seems Image has figured out that part of the trick to doing well as a producer of fiction is to embrace as wide a variety of books as possible. Regardless of what your geeky fiction interests are Image has a comic for you (unless you are so into Pirates, and I’m sure the next set of announcements will have you covered). As someone who is burning out on the repetition of superhero comics, I am very excited by this. Also, as someone who regularly agitates for his friends to give comics a try I’m pretty excited, because I’ve found adults are more interested in smart sci-fi or crime comics than superhero comics (largely because if they were interested in superhero comics they would already be reading them). So it seems Image (and their independent comic creators) are trying to provide all of these underutilized kinds of stories and maybe grow the comics reading audience while they are at it.

Also, also: super talented creators + genuinely diverse subjects + the uncertainty inherent in true creative freedom is just such a winning formula. Add to that the bonus of creator owned projects (I get to get more cash in the pockets of the artists/writers I like and fund a company that facilitates this) and I can feel pretty good about reading this amazing content.

Image is going to get so much of my money, and I am going to enjoy it so very much.

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