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  1. #1

    Default What happened to the excitement around Image?

    Another post made me want to start this discussion.

    Enthusiasm for the Image slate, in a relative sense, is waning. There are a lot of good books, and sales aren't poor I don't think, but it used to be much more popping here as well as elsewhere - and the announcement of a new series doesn't seem to make anyone take note these days.

    This isn't to bash Image, they do a lot of great stuff and give a ton of creators a chance to shine. I'm more interested in constructive criticism.

    What used to work that isn't anymore?

    Is there something the company's doing wrong?

    And what can Image do to get back on the tip of people's tongues?

    I think, more than making the company succeed, comic fans need to make sure the business model they've been following succeeds. Because if we see Marvel and DC gobble more market share back, we're going to lose what foothold independent comics have earned in the bigger market. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I remember all that hype. I used to read East of West, Sex Criminals, Saga, Rat Queens, Lazarus, Black Magick, Descender, Southern Bastards, Bitch Planet, Deadly Class, Chew, Copperhead, Big Man Plans, They're Not Like Us, Velvet, Wicked + Divine etc.

    I stopped. Not sure why. I think I just got fed up with following so many comics at once, especially when half of them would seemingly disappear for months at a time with no word from the creators or publisher.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member rui no onna's Avatar
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    Delays are a bit of a problem for a lot of Image Comics. Hiatus in between story arcs aren't so bad but there's delays in the middle of a story arc, too.

    I expect if I had only been following Image books and hadn't been getting either Superman or Action weekly, I'd probably fall off the comic habit and would just trade wait everything and buy online. You've got to give props to DC and Marvel for getting majority of their books out on time every single week.
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  4. #4
    Mighty Member MRP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rui no onna View Post
    Delays are a bit of a problem for a lot of Image Comics. Hiatus in between story arcs aren't so bad but there's delays in the middle of a story arc, too.

    I expect if I had only been following Image books and hadn't been getting either Superman or Action weekly, I'd probably fall off the comic habit and would just trade wait everything and buy online. You've got to give props to DC and Marvel for getting majority of their books out on time every single week.
    That's a lot easier when you use assembly line methods and rotating art teams to crank out issues than when you have a consistent creative team each and every issue. If Marvel & DC didn't use fill in artists or multiple art teams to get the books out, they wouldn't be meeting monthly deadlines, and I would prefer consistency and quality rather than just getting something out to meet a deadline. I'd rather wait than buy a comic that is by a different creator than the one that interested me in the book initially, but then I grew up reading bi-monthyl 8 times a year and quarterly books in the 70s so waiting doesn't bother me and monthly was never a pre-requisite for getting the comics I liked.

    -M
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  5. #5
    Astonishing Member rui no onna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    That's a lot easier when you use assembly line methods and rotating art teams to crank out issues than when you have a consistent creative team each and every issue. If Marvel & DC didn't use fill in artists or multiple art teams to get the books out, they wouldn't be meeting monthly deadlines, and I would prefer consistency and quality rather than just getting something out to meet a deadline. I'd rather wait than buy a comic that is by a different creator than the one that interested me in the book initially, but then I grew up reading bi-monthyl 8 times a year and quarterly books in the 70s so waiting doesn't bother me and monthly was never a pre-requisite for getting the comics I liked.

    -M
    If more comics were standalone instead of being Part 1 of 6, I'd probably feel the same. As it is, I trade-wait most Image except for absolute faves.
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  6. #6
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    I dont see it that way. Image is still a very fine publisher, the only problem it has it that most of the books read better in paperbacks and in one sitting.

    I used to read Invincible in trades until i reached the last one avaiable, than changed to singles. The impact is almost lost. I had a blast to read a whole volume in one sitting, but just one single feels too short and empty.

    Same with TWD, not as bad as Invincible but it was still better in TPB.

    I sold my East of West, because i got lost in the monthly or bi-monthly schedule and wait for an ultimate edition.

    Some others work pretty well in singles: Savage Dragon, Lazarus and Seven to Eternity for example are books that dont feel light on contend when you read them monthly.

  7. #7
    Non-fanboy Member Cel's Avatar
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    Hype is overrated, but Marvel and DC have had their hype departments working in overdrive for quite awhile now and no one else can really match theirs...
    "Ignore them. They're nothing but a bunch of basement dwellers who spend all day whining on the 'net. Not a single open-minded one in the bunch."
    --Andre Briggs, Justice League International #1

  8. #8
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    I think the hype came from us, the readers, not image itself. We created it, because we liked what we saw. It was just about good storys. So, the "hype" is still there...it sells good.

  9. #9
    Wily Veteran cc008's Avatar
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    The boom a few years ago was pretty crazy. Big name creators were announcing books left and right.

    It's died down a little.. only because those books are either delayed, or just in the middle of their madness now. Those big name creators are still around, they're just already writing all the books they can and don't have time to announce new ones.

    There are some good ones coming down the pike now, no doubt. But I don't see Remender, Hickman, Kirkman, Ellis, Aaron, Rucka, and the like announcing MORE books on top of everything they're already writing.

    And yes. The reality of delays have definitely been deflating. And I'm not talking about the month or 2 off in between arcs. I appreciate those. I'm talking about books disappearing for half a year with no idea as to why.
    Last edited by cc008; 09-02-2017 at 08:30 AM.
    Ideas never die.

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member rui no onna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanMad1977 View Post
    I think the hype came from us, the readers, not image itself. We created it, because we liked what we saw. It was just about good storys. So, the "hype" is still there...it sells good.
    Quote Originally Posted by cc008 View Post
    The boom a few years ago was pretty crazy. Big name creators were announcing books left and right.
    Hmm, I do wonder if part of that is because there was a speculator boom (moving to Image from DC and Marvel). I remember comments from retailers saying they'd get cleaned out of Image #1s but no one was coming back for #2.
    Currently Following:
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  11. #11

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    I wonder if it's mostly just a perception thing? Like, we've gotten used to Image's new plateau but still expect them to rise further?

    Most of the titles Vegan Daddy mentioned are still ongoing to (mostly) continued critical acclaim. That means all these "big name creators" can't just come out with another 3 titles, because they're working on their current projects (goes for artists in particular). There's only so many 'big names' in comics, I think, so there have been less of these "OMG Brian K. Vaughan returns to comics at last and Saga looks gorgeous"-announcements.

    Additionally, I think the sudden Image boom where they secured around 10% of the market (a number they still hover around/above, depending on which statistic you look at), also served as a punch to the teeth of Marvel and DC. In my perception at least, suddenly Marvel was taking a lot more risks again with "indie-flavoured" takes on superheroes. Hawkeye is likely the premiere example there. They also saw Image catering to a demographic they routinely ignored, so things like Ms. Marvel or Charles Soule's She-Hulk suddenly got a shot.
    [Note: this could be projection on my part, you could argue that Marvel saw enormous publicity/success with their Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales relaunch in 2011, combined with the critical acclaim for DeConnick's run on Captain Marvel, they may have arrived at this conclusion themselves, rather than by trying to emulate the Saga/Rat Queens/Bitch Planet successes.]

    DC was a bit later on the uptake; while the recent Image boom was happening they were still busy with their (initially well-received) New 52 initiative. It was kind of the opposite strategy really, with cohesive books sharing a consistent look, rather than how Marvel let uniformity become less important. Nowadays however DC has a number of titles that could be of interest to indie readers too (Batgirl, Gotham Academy, a bunch of the DC You titles seemed like an attempt to get the Vertigo/Image crowd on board).

    TL;DR I think multiple reasons: there's not as many whammy announcements because those creators are ALREADY at Image, the competition has stepped up their game significantly since the Image boom (DC in particular made a steep climb), there's fewer Image Expo events I think too. Of course there's many other factors, I mean you gotta wonder what the market can support since we're being absolutely spoiled with quality indie comics the past years.
    Could be wrong about all of this though, just some speculation haha!

  12. #12
    Mighty Member MRP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rui no onna View Post
    Hmm, I do wonder if part of that is because there was a speculator boom (moving to Image from DC and Marvel). I remember comments from retailers saying they'd get cleaned out of Image #1s but no one was coming back for #2.
    I'm not a speculator, but I often by the first issue of Image series to sample and then trade wait on many that I like. I've long ago broken the new comic day addiction and prefer to buy comics like I buy other books, getting what I want to read when I want to buy it rather than having to run to the store to snap it up when it comes out. I either give away the #1 issues to people I think might like a series or trade them in to some of my dealer friends from the con circuit and use the credit to sample other things I am interested in reading. So there are other reasons why #1 sell better than #2 than just speculation, though speculation is a huge part of it I am sure.

    -M
    Comic fans get the comics their buying habits deserve.

  13. #13

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    I hear the delay thing. I try to read series in collections unless I'm buying to support the artists - which I do with Invisible Republic and Empty Zone, and I'm happy to. But Black Monday Murders has broken my heart, I don't know if I'll get a third arc in singles. I understand that artists (writers and "artists") need to do hire work to pay the bills, or focus on certain projects, but as a fan it can feel like someone made a promise to you and is slacking on fulfilling it, and that sucks. So that may be a factor.

    The whole idea of done-in-one issues need to come back as well; Rui kind of alluded to that. I really enjoy when there are several stand-alone issues that later tie together, too. When it's one story and there are five cliffhangers, or it's perpetually cliffhangering, it's a little much. ...that's an across the board crit though, that's comics in general right now. But, as he/she said, delays and trade-length arcs aren't an ideal match.

    MRP, that sig needs to be everywhere, bullseye.

  14. #14
    Mighty Member MRP's Avatar
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    Here's the thing with delays. No one really remembers them after their initial release. When people talk about Watchmen now, no one bitches that there were massive delays with the last 3 issues. At the time, sure, but after trades hit and the primary way people were exposed to the book were in collected editions, all those delays didn't mean a thing to the book's legacy or readership. No one today is saying well I can't read Watchmen because there were delays on issues 10, 11 and 12 when it came out that weren't planned breaks between arcs. It is only the Wednesday Warrior in need of their Wednesday fix that will even notice the delays (well and retailers whose income is based on comic sales), but in terms of long term readership, quality of the book, and legacy of a book, the delays are inconsequential. After the initial release, no one will encounter the book as it comes out. Anyone reading the book or coming to it after the release will do so through back issues or collected editions where the quality and consistency of the work itself, not the frequency of its release, will be what matters.

    -M
    Comic fans get the comics their buying habits deserve.

  15. #15

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    That's true, however sales (of single issues) are used to gauge whether or not to keep a series going. So if you want multiple volumes of a series, buying the singles helps way more than buying a trade later on.

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