Image Comics,
Rebels who made a Mark!

Image Comics has often been considered the third largest American comic book publisher in the industry, but not without its trials and tribulations. Seven high-profile illustrators founded Image in 1992. They wanted a venue for creators where they could publish their material without having to give up the copyrights to the characters they created. Image-Comics’ success has significantly changed the position of other creators in the comic book industry. Infighting and lack of business experience between its partners though, have contributed to sometimes-volatile fortunes for the company.

Some of their better-known series include Gen¹³, The Savage Dragon, Spawn, WildC.A.T.s, Witchblade, Youngblood, and more recently Invincible.

Image Comics Early History

“In the early 1990s, several popular Marvel Comics illustrators became angry that artwork and characters they created were being heavily merchandized, 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 (also at rival DC Comics) 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.”

As a result of Marvel’s lack of response, seven Marvel illustrators announced the creation of their own company “Image Comics”. They included McFarlane (famous for his work on Marvel's Spider-Man), Liefeld (The New Mutants, X-Force), Jim Lee (X-Men), Marc Silvestri (Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine), Erik Larsen (The Amazing Spider-Man), Jim Valentino (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Whilce Portacio (Uncanny X-Men). This uncommon move has sometimes been referred to the "X-odus", because four of these creators were famous for their work on the X-Men franchise.

Two provisions became the underlying rules of Image:

  • 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.

So therefore, Image itself would own no intellectual property except the company trademarks: its name and its logo.

And further, each Image-Comics partner founded his own studio, which was published under the Image banner but was autonomous from central editorial control. Portacio did not opt to become a full partner in the company, so Image originally consisted of six studios:

  • Extreme Studios, owned by Liefeld
  • Highbrow Entertainment, owned by Larsen
  • ShadowLine, owned by Valentino
  • Todd McFarlane Productions, owned by McFarlane
  • Top Cow Productions, owned by Silvestri
  • Wildstorm Productions, owned by Lee

And thus started another force to be reckoned with in the Comic Book Publishing Industry. Visit the link below to learn more about the development, trials and tribulations of Image Comics.

More for Image Comics Fans

Image Comics

To see what Image is up to today, you can visit their official site at Image Comics .

There also looks to be interesting tidbits about Image over at Amazon that may tickle your taste buds. Just click the image to the left. Don’t stay too long though, and come back here. I have more interesting factoids on my next page.

If you want to keep up on the varied and interesting activities going on in the world of comic books, then feel free to sign up for my newsletter “Comics Galore” in the form below. And by all means, I would love to hear your comments and opinions on Image Comics. You can sure leave them for me at my contact page in the menu at the left. I may even be able to include them in my newsletter. I thank you ahead of time.

Dave Gieber

Development of Image Comics

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