Image Comics has made four of its staff members redundant. The publisher cited the effects of the current global situation, and the closure of comic shores, as well as Image Comics's own Portland offices.
Newsarama identified two of the staff members. Graphic designer/production artist Carey Hall, you can check out her design work here. Then there is Content Manager/Copy Editor Melissa Gifford. Both had been with Image Comics for three years.
This breaks my heart, but I'm especially sad to see Melissa Gifford's name here. She is one of comics' true unsung heroes. She was damn good at her job and deserves to be recognized. https://t.co/P0uVNNPeyo
— Clayton Cowles (@ClaytonCowles) April 6, 2020
Unlike other publishers, Image Comics publish mostly creator-owned comics, with more of the production work in the hands of the creators. The lead creators mostly paid on back end, after the comic books have shipped to comic stores and bookstores. Which means that unlike other publishers, there will be no demand for creators to stop work. However, they aren't getting paid for the books until the comics start getting printed and distributed again. To comic stores and bookstores able to sell them.
The Image Dilemma
It is notable that Image Comics is not only exclusive to Diamond for comic stores but also to bookstores. The largest publisher to be in that position.
Some lead creators will often pay other creators on the book a page rate, taken out of their eventual earnings. Which means that every such creator-owned book going through the direct market system will be having such conversations. Many books will have to be on pause. Not because it's the decision of big corporate, but its the pragmatic decision of a creative team unable to keep working without those Diamond payments coming in.
It is possible that Diamond's decision to start making some payments will help. Unless things get moving again in one form or other, it is going to be a bleak summer for many, unable to change their plans.
The Oni Shuffle
And while comics staffers in Portland are losing jobs, someone is gaining one. Robert Meyers, formerly Editorial Director, of Valiant, is now Senior Editor, Licensing at Oni Press. Shame he won't be able to come into the offices yet.
Thrilled to announce that today I am joining the team at Oni Press, as Senior Editor, Licensing! pic.twitter.com/lSQuVjG4Am
— Robert Meyers (@robertmeyers) April 6, 2020
In January, Oni Press' former Editorial Director of Licensed Publishing, Sarah Gaydos, was been promoted to the position of Editor in Chief.