Today, Comic Book Workers United announced they were forming a union to represent comic book industry staffers, and were launching at Image Comics after a supermajority vote, signed by Image Comics staffers Ryan Brewer, Leanna Caunter, Marla Eizik, Drew Fitzgerald, Melissa Gifford, Chloe Ramos, Tricia Ramos, Jon Schlaffman and Erika Schnatz. They talked out the reasons, and stated "in fact, several months into our organizing efforts, Jim Valentino made a comment on social media celebrating union accomplishments. That was the moment we knew this could work." Jim Valentino was one of the founders of Image Comics and runs Shadowline Studios, which publishes through Image. And he did as well, earlier this year posting on Facebook. look.
Here is a little of the immediate reaction from comic book industry employees. Including many at Image Comics.
- Alison Sampson: oh wow. That's fantastic.
- Jess Taylor: Congratulations! This is amazing news!!
- Erica Friedman: Yahoo! Congrats! Fantastic news I hope to see this become the norm in comics. (And manga, but that's a whole different set of issues.)
- Zander Cannon: Fantastic! That is excellent news.
- Emily Pearson: Absolutely wonderful!!!
- Doug O'Loughlin: Congrats! This is great, I've often thought comic industry was ripe for a strong union like other arts has.
- Carina Taylor: Unbelievably happy and proud of my counterparts at Image. These are some of the hardest working people in comics and working with them weekly shows just how deserving they (and we all!) are of labor protection. An incredible step.
- Dave Scheidt: F-ck yeah. Any comics professional knows how understaffed and overworked comic publishing is. I've had editors email me at like 11pm on a Saturday. We wonder why so many bright, talented and incredible people burn out in comics. Solidarity. Let's make comics a better place.
- Tom Muller: This is very cool, and the people behind it are fantastic — often saving everyone's hide (mine included) to make sure all the comics look great.
- Aubrey Sitterson: This is excellent news. If you're at all involved in comics – pro or fan, publisher-side or freelance, editor or creator – and you don't support this, I have to wonder whose interests you're committed to defending and/or how you're lining your pockets.
- Neil Kleid: Huh. This is interesting.
- Sean Kleefeld: Damn. The last time comic folks even came remotely close to forming a union, I think, was the 1970s. And even then, it was mostly just Neal Adams trying to drum up support. This could be huge.
- Mark Bradley: This is really excellent news for US periodical comics market. Out of all the publishers, it seems right that Image should lead the way on this. I hope that Image recognises them.
- Alex de Campi: this is absolutely fantastic and something that comics has needed for a very long time
- Ramon Villalobos: that's hella tight. glad for those workers. wonder if image will find a way to make a variant cover out of this.
- Jackson Lanzing: About damn time. While I'm not at Image and so cannot materially support this move with anything but enthusiasm – I enthusiastically stand with the CBWU.
Much more reaction to come… now to find out what Image Comics the publisher – and other comic book publishers – think about this move.And after all, Image Comics did one publish this title…