CREATOR OWNED: A NEW ERA

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Did you know that Doop was getting his own mini-series? Or that Deadpool is getting married!?!  That Dick Grayson’s life will never be the same? That Steph Brown is coming back? That Peter Parker is coming back?

Of course you did, because most comic news sites all featured the same stories/press releases about them.

I’m a Marvel and DC reader. I like the New 52 and Marvel Now. I’ve got about 20 books from each company on my pull list. I like following the continuing adventures of characters I grew up with when I was a kid but that’s not all that’s out there.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if the same comic sites that give you up to the minute press releases from Marvel and DC were covering the announcements from this week’s Image Expo?

One by one creators took to the stage to announce their new projects.

First it was Robert Kirkman talking about the future of Invincible, the return of Tech Jacket in digital form and his new series Outcast.

Joe Keatinge followed him and announced SHUTTER with Leila del Duca.

Brandon Graham was next and announced 8HOUSE which he’ll be collaborating on with Emma Rios and Marian Churchland.

Josh Williamson took to the stage next to announce NAILBITER with Mike Henderson.

Rick Remender went on to announce his 3rd Image title, LOW with artist Greg Tocchini.

Then came Matt Fraction to announce his 3rd Image title, ODY-C with Christian Ward and reveal that CASSANOVA was returning to Image.

Kelly Sue DeConnick was next and announced BITCH PLANET with artist Valentine De Landro.

Nick Spencer came up to announce three new titles: GREAT BEYOND, with artist Morgan Jeske, PARADIGMS, with art by Butch Guice and CERULEAN with art by Frazer Irving.

Next was James Robinson to announce that SAVIORS was becoming an ongoing and he’d be creating a semi-autobiographical book about his attempts to revive AIRBOY with artist Greg Hinkle.

Nick Dragotta came up to announce that HOWTOONS, his educational comic for kids, was coming to Image and would be handled by the team of Fred Van Lente, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire.

Kyle Higgins was next to go on stage and announced C.O.W.L. which will be co-written by Alex Sigel and illustrated by Rod Reis.

Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie came up to announce THE WICKED & THE DIVINE

Then up came Chris Burnham to announce NAMELESS with Grant Morrison.

Bill Willingham was next and he announced RESTORATION with artist Barry Kitson.

Scott Snyder followed and announced WYTCHES with Jock.

Finally Ed Brubaker went on stage to announce that he and Sean Phillips had signed a 5 year deal with Image and would soon release their next project, THE FADE OUT.

One by one a murder’s row of talent was on display for all to see. Now these weren’t up and coming creators like Image was typically known for. There are plenty of those and more to come in the next year. This was about celebrating some of the biggest names in comics deciding to move away from Marvel and DC and do something of their own.

The writers of Batman, Superman Unchained, Fables, Batman Inc, Nightwing, Uncanny Avengers, Young Avengers, Hawkeye, Avengers Assemble, Avengers World, and Invaders…the biggest titles at Marvel and DC all doing projects at Image. Reminds me a bit of 1992.

If Batman or Captain America changed their costumes it’d be the top story on comic news sites for a couple days with maybe even a teaser leading up to it yet here are the writers and artists from those books launching their own thing and it’s generally ignored.

True these creators aren’t turning their backs on work for hire. It’s more of a branching out and saying they can do it on their own and be successful at it without a world famous character backing them up.

Comic Book Resources did a nice job of keeping up to date with the coverage as did Bleeding Cool. Bleeding Cool also routinely does features on indie and small press titles. I mean if you aren’t going to cover Image news with A list creators what hopes do the truly small press have of carving out some attention?

There’s more out there than Marvel or DC to cover on a daily basis. Sites should commit to doing more coverage of titles outside of those companies. If they’re already doing something then step it up more in the New Year. How bout a bit more from comic sites other than just the press releases from Marvel and DC about who’s dying/coming back/getting crossed over, etc?

Things are changing and fans want to know what else is out there. Image and IDW doubled their market share in the past several years while Marvel and DC lose their stranglehold. Comic sites need to help fans discover the alternatives.

It used to be creators were told to write or draw and make a comic and self-publish or get their work done by a small company and maybe, just maybe, if they were good enough they’d get called up to Marvel or DC. What yesterday showed is a shift in how things are. Do self-published work, get picked up by Marvel or DC and then when the time is right you’ll be able to take your talent to a company like Image and reap the benefits of creator owned.

Image came out firing at Image EXPO this week.

The Big Two is no more.

This is now the era of The Big Three.

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