Earlier this week, Boom Studios was very pleased with Grim #1 getting orders over 100,000 across three printings. Image Comics asked Filip Sablik to hold their artisanal homebrewed pale ale. I'm hearing from sources inside Image that Vanish #1 numbers have received orders of over 100,000 from just the one printing. A further indicator that it-team Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have formed a symbiotic relationship with seriously big numbers and that they've venom-ized this launch's success at Image.
Advance reviews for the book likened it to '90s Image classics Spawn and Pitt , as well as mayhem fests like The Boys. It draws inspiration from the Harry Potter-popularized "Chosen One" trope, but makes its main character wantonly violent. In other words, there's more Chainsaw Man DNA in these pages than Chamber Of Secrets. Plenty of retailers have opined that this first issue captured that dark, gritty atmosphere that customers are nostalgic for these days—no surprise that the orders are strong for this one.
And it seems wholly likely that reorders will skyrocket further when this hits shelves with word-of-mouth buzz and the inevitable secondary market speculation bumping up the demand.
For those keeping track, Vanish is the 12th Image title since the pandemic hit to move over 100K in units—ranking this launch up among other recent sales wins from outside the Spawn Universe; Crossover, Department Of Truth, Nocterra, Twig, The Walking Dead Deluxe, What's The Furthest Place From Here and Stray Dogs: Dog Days.
Maintaining this level of momentum, for this long and against the odds, is something of a feat in the industry, and it's probably why Hollywood development reps circle Image debuts like sharks scenting blood in water. My source at Image confirms that Image is pummeled with dozens of requests for development status on series—daily. The feverishly shared Eight Billion Genies option news and the Paper Girls and Invincible adaptation accolades are all raking in the attention and Image has been injecting that newfound attention directly back into book sales to keep the wheels greased. At the end of the day, Image Comics' MO has always been to support comic sales, and it's evident in the way the publisher spins straw into gold whenever there's a Hollywood deal that comes into play for its creators.
Flanking Image Comics' velocity is the expanding Skybound Entertainment, which propped up Cates' profile with their successful run of Redneck, which has since volleyed the House that Kirkman Built into a full-blown horror machine. With Dark Ride to capitalize off Image's Stray Dogs variant program of homage covers and Skybound's Creepshow Shudder-tie-in comics launch I'm told setting a record as their highest ordered series outside of a Kirkman title—the two companies seem to be working in concert with each other as they take on more industry territory.
Further than the Vanish victory, the no-nonsense Image has triumphantly launched multiple lines—all with sky-high orders to boot. I'm hearing Geoff Johns & Gary Frank's Mad Ghost books do nothing but energize the market (Junkyard Joe is rumoured to be one of Johns' most heart-wrenching stories), The Bone Orchard Mythos of horror tales from Gideon Falls team Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino, the Reckless series of hardcover original graphic novels by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips, the Power Rangers-fandom-favourite the Massive-Verse of titles, the aforementioned Spawn Universe and, I'm told, a couple more lines from show-stopping creators will be announced in 2023… something Bleeding Cool has been reporting since before the pandemic.
Where will the explosive launch of Vanish fit in all this? Cates and Stegman look to be in this for the long haul with Stegman already teasing more to come from Image Comics in the future—ensuring that his first work with the publisher will become instant collectors bait. Here's a preview of that first issue from their Substack…