Fanboy Rampage: Image Comics Vs Boom Studios – What's a Comic Creator To Do?

At the weekend, former Marvel employee and EIC of Comic Book, James Viscardi, tweeted the following.

It developed into quite the thread.

But it was one response that seemed to kick off all the emailing that has been going on. With Image Comics Chief Financial Officer and co-Founder, Erik Larsen, creator of Savage Dragon. replying to the idea that IDW or Boom may overtake Image Comics in marketshare.

Now that is a thing. The Image Comics deal is. basically, for creator-owned comics, the designated creator receives all revenue minus print, distribution, warehousing costs and a central Image Comics fee. Rather than getting paid a set per-page fee and then a small percentage of profits in royalties, Image creators get the vast majority of the profits. This is why a comic book creator on 20,000 sales at Image Comics will make more money than a creator on 80,000 sales at Marvel or DC. And a comic like Undiscovered Country launching at 80,000 will have paid Scott Snyder, Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli more than months worth of working on Batman or Justice League.

However, this is usually paid out of the back end, months after the comic book has been published. Which means the creative team have to finish the comic months before they get paid for it. There are some arrangements either from Image Comics directly or with the lead creator so that some artists get an advance on future payments, so can get paid while drawing pages, but it is not the norm. While at Boom Studios, they are still fully creator-owned, the royalty payments are still generous, and there are page rates for artists working on the comic as they draw it.

Which is why some creators who do very well at Marvel, DC and, yes, Image Comics, see some of their projects come out through other publishers. It's why Kieron Gillen's Once & Future King comes out from Boom, so that artist Dan Mora can get earlier payment, while Die comes out from Image Comics. So yes, they sometimes have the same talent as Image Comics dies. I am sure Image Comics would be happy to publish a comic by James Tynion IV, but The Woods, Something Is Killing The Children have come out from Boom. Boom also publishes comics by Grant Morrison – as does Image Comics. Image also publishes Si Spurrier's Cry Havoc while Boom is now publishing Alienated. Brian Azzarello also writes Moonlight at Image and Faithless at Boom. When Erik says that Boom doesn't have the talent to beat Image, they are often the same people. Hence the buzzing of Slacks, WhatsApps and private Farebook groups.

Now Image Comics has done big launches of late for Undiscovered Country and Killadelphia, for example. But Boom hasn't done badly at all with Faithless, Once & Future, Something Is Killing The Children, Folklords and more – possibly more consistently. Image Comics saw a significant drop in marketshare towards the end of 2019, so the possibility is certainly there.

Oh wait, what was I thinking? We're getting more Saga for 2020. That will fix everything. As you were… but the conversation was continuing, as all sorts of people crawled out of the woodwork to comment.

I am sure I will be getting e-mails from Kat Salazar or Arune Singh about this sometime. Maybe even Keith Davidsen, you never know. But creators, feel free to candidly tell me on how the famed gold standard of the Image Comics deal compares to Boom, IDW, Dark Horse, Vault, Aftershock, AWA or any of the other comic book publishers putting out creator-owned books right now. And retailers, tell me just how you cope with being faced with such a plethora of product…

Fanboy Rampage: Image Comics Vs Boom Studios - What's a Comic Creator To Do?

Fanboy Rampage was a blog by Graeme "Graham" McMillan dedicated to the funniest, most ludicrous and most inappropriate comic book back-and-forths online. McMillan has moved on now, becoming a proper journalist for the likes of The Hollywood Reporter and Wired but he gave permission to Bleeding Cool to revive his great creation.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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