Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson is moving up in the world. According to a press release sent out by Image, Stephenson has joined the Image board of directors, an esteemed group that includes Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. In the press release, Image did some bragging about their success under Stephenson.
During the 10 years since Stephenson was named Publisher, Image Comics has risen from fifth to third-ranked publisher in the industry—maintaining that rank for seven years running. Over that period, Image has received Diamond's Gem Award for Best Publisher three years in a row from 2014 to 2016. Stephenson individually has been honored with ComicsPRO's Industry Appreciation Award and was named The Beat's Industry Person of the Year in 2014, as well as being ranked in the Top 10 on Bleeding Cool's Power List every year since its inception in 2012. Under Stephenson's watch, Image has onboarded an unprecedented number of game-changing new series, with Image titles winning nearly three dozen Eisner Awards, across a variety of categories, as well as dominating bestseller lists.
Valentino and McFarlane also issued personal complimentary statements about Stephenson.
"In early 1992—right after we'd founded Image—the best piece of advice I gave my friend and occasional studio mate, Rob Liefeld, was to hire Eric to be his editor," said Valentino. "In the years since, Eric's been the editor-in-chief for Extreme Studios, he was first my right-hand-man and then Erik Larsen's when we each served as Publisher, and then eventually the Publisher himself. Eric has proven himself loyal, dedicated, hard working, patient, tolerant, talented, and nearly unflappable. His instincts and his leadership have proven a boon not only to Image Comics, but to the comics industry as a whole. He has made us all proud. His becoming our latest partner is, in my opinion, long overdue."
"As publisher of Image Comics over the past decade, Eric has helped grow this company and helped attract the very best writers and artists this industry has to offer, and it's that tireless pursuit of excellence that has now earned him the title Chief Creative Officer as our newest partner," said McFarlane. "We hope this move emphasizes the stability we will continue to bring to our company and more importantly, with Eric's addition to Image's board of directors, it will assure retailers and creators alike that the key person you have all grown accustomed to working with is going to be there for you for many years to come."
Stephenson's initiation into the group will be completed with a secret ritual at the Bohemian Grove.