Skybound is the studio created by Robert Kirkman and published through Image Comics. Best known for the best selling The Walking Dead comic (and this week, the barnstorming Invincible) it has a president, JJ Didde, credited on all their books.
Didde is described by the studio as "a business partner". His Facebook entry lists a series of moustachioed gentlemen in the photo profile, eventually resorting to that of a disembodied moustache (right).
There are no photos of the man. Indeed, aside from Skybound, there are no mentions of the man either. Though his Facebook profile lists that he studied at Yale. That is the only other piece of information we have about him. And no one I've talked to will admit to having met him or communicated with him.
Because JJ Didde is not JJ Didde at all. Although loyal Skybound folk have shied away when pressed, we understand that he is actually Dave Alpert. Alpert is a partner and manager of Circle Of Confusion, the agency and production company that represents Robert Kirkman and, amongst other things, repped the AMC TV adaptation of The Walking Dead, on which he has an exec credit. Corcle Of Confusion also represent many other comic book creators, both at Skybound and elsewhere.
Alpert and JJ Didde are friends of each other on Facebook but this is the only interaction between them I can see.
But why the subterfuge? Well, it was initially a way to suggest that Skybound had more employees than it actually had – a trick employed by many over the years. But it also disguises an institutional link between the two companies, though they have been open about it of late.
There have been many comics that have been ghost written. I've ghost written one or two myself for Premier publishers. But this is the first example of a comic book publisher that I know of that may be being ghost presidented.
I know have another reason to love the wonderful stories (my current favourite being Manifest Destiny) published by Skybound. Even their president is fictional.