In an interview with Oregon radio station OPB, Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson confirmed the stories that Image Comics were moving from Berkeley to Portland, taking offices in Montgomery Park.
He told the station that he initially talked to Image Comics partner and founder Erik Larsen about the possibility of moving to Seattle.
We moved to Berkeley in 2004. A lot of people focus on kinda how expensive things have gotten but it's not just that, it's also the fact the culture has changed a little bit. It's become a lot more of a corporate place. I talked about it with other Image partners, Jim Valentino being key among them, and he said " I know that you like it up there but I think you should spend some time in Portland, I think this is a better place. There are so many Image creators who actually live here, there's a thriving comic community, you're kinda isolated in Berkeley, if you move to Seattle, you'll be just as isolated", there's Fantagraphics but that's it in terms of comics, the more I learned about it, the more I visited, I said yeah, this makes a lot of sense.
The big thing in terms of office space, is things are crazy expensive in the Bay area, the space we are moving into, our rent is considerably less than in Berkeley for more space which will help us grow Oregon is a lot more business friendly than California is, not just in terms of taxes, but the things that Oregon offers that California doesn't.
He also pointed to
"healthcare, wages are a little bit more in favour of employees, we've always been conscious of how we take care of our staff, everything is a lot more geared towards that here than it was in California."
Stephenson told them
"Since we have so many creators here, we're going to actually be able to talk to them face-to-face instead by email or over the phone or at conventions. And that was another big factor in the decision, when you have so many people contributing to the work you put out, it's great to be able to get together one on one.
And there is also the opportunity to do Image Expo in Portland, though he pointed to Wizard World Portland and Rose City Comic Con,
It's great that there are actually two conventions in the city.
As to the future of Image,
we're going to keep doing what we've been doing, hopefully a little bit better, I can;t see it having any seismic effect on the industry as a whole…. I just want to keep refining what we do and keep making the best comics we can make."
About 20 Image staffers will be moving through the autumn and their new headquarters will open early in 2017.
Portland's rich history in comics, from being the basis of Carl Barks' Duckburg, to the home of Dark Horse Comics, Oni Press and now the CBLDF, and home to so many creators, is being celebrated during the autumn with Comic City USA, an exhibition at the Oregon Historical Society gallery running through to January showcasing fifteen influential artists, creators and political cartoonists from the area,
That's Carl Barks, Alex Schomburg, Colleen Coover, Joe Sacco, Jan Eliot, Homer Davenport , Basil Wolverton, John Callahan, Paul Guinan, Anina Bennett , Bill Plympton, Mike Richardson, Dylan Meconis, Cat Farris and Jack Ohman. And attendees will be encouraged, right there and then, to create comics of their own with materials and workstations provided.
Maybe the new Image staffers could pop by?