Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison, creators who had worked for DC on the monster hit All Star Superman, Flex Mentallo and We3 and currently working on one of the Multiversity issues together.
And suddenly Frank Quitely is working with Mark Millar on Jupiter's Children from Image. A twelve issue series.
And then before you know it, Grant Morrison is working with Darick Robertson on Happy from Image.
And while we're talking about it, DC Comics had big plans for Bryan Hitch. But he has his own Image comic, America's Got Powers delaying them.
And Image Comics has started growing. With The Walking Dead tearing up the charts and filling the bookstore sales, repeatedly and consistently beating their rivals, and in May taking over seven percent share of the market, when they were under five percent a couple of months ago. And that's share of an increasing not decreasing market.
In the past, Marvel and DC exclusives had been quite laissez faire about creator owned contracts. So Jason Aaron could work on Vertigo's Scalped (even though it's more of a creator participant deal) without any issue. But with these moves, and the odds that creators are more likely to promote their own owned work than that of a publisher, word has been coming down at DC and I'm told by creators that the latest exclusive contracts are far tighter on creator owned work outside the company.
It might help if DC actually had a decent creator owned imprint, as Marvel does with their Icon deal. DC used to have Piranha Press, but that was some time ago… and Vertigo's terms contracted a few years ago as well.
Basically, if you are exclusive at DC right now, you are really really exclusive…