The Marvel/Retailer Summit, attended by ICV2 is going to be making headlines for days. Here’s just one example. When one retailer asked about how comic creators can make twice the money when selling half their Marvel numbers at Image (and the numbers I’ve seen suggest it can be far more extreme than that) and how that affected talent recruitment and retainment, Marvel EIC Axel Alonso stated,
“I don’t doubt that’s true with some high circing [circulating] books. I know it’s not true for low circing books. I know I’ve spoken with people who let’s just say wish they hadn’t launched an Image book this year, with the way the money got sucked out of the market, and all the rest.”
I am already looking forward to the Eric Stephenson keynote address at the Diamond Summit that may counter this. However it is true that creators on lower selling books at Image can make very little, while those at higher selling books can make more than anyone at the Big Two who doesn’t have a VP or higher in their job title. It is notable that Jeff Lemire just left Marvel in favour of Image, joining the likes of Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jonathan Hickman, Rick Remender and more.
However, even if a creator comes out of an Image comic book with nothing but the shirt on their back – at least they own their shirt, they can merchandise that shirt, they can sell the rights to the shirt to other countries. And you never know who will want to turn that shirt into a multi-picture franchise…Also that many top creators move around a lot. “I don’t need to name names, but you know who I’m talking about… You see big people pop around.
Alsonso also says “I don’t need to name names, but you know who I’m talking about… You see big people pop around. They’re hired guns. They like what they do. I’ve got 12 issues. I would write and tell my story, and ride off into the sunset and everybody goes, ‘Wow, who was that masked man?’ That’s what he wants to do.”
Tom King there, ladies and gentlemen. Warren Ellis seems to prefer six issues.