Some changes at Image Comics, which had a dynamite 2010 with the success of WALKING DEAD and many new series. As announced in a press release, Top Cow, which has functioned pretty much independently of Image for marketing and PR, will be moving some of its operations to the Image Central office, coordinating more production, marketing and sales efforts. Top Cow had a big hit in 2010 with ARTIFACTS, a big event crossover for their long running WITCHBLADE and DARKNESS franchises, but they don’t have a huge publishing program and some consolidation seems like a move to strengthen both companies.
Although not included in the release, both Betsy Gomez, Image Central’s PR and Marketing Coordinator, and Christine Dinh, who held a similar position at Top Cow, have moved on. The PR below was sent out by Sarah deLaine, whose title is PR and Marketing Coordinator for Image, so one would expect she’ll fill at least one vacated position.
Following up on a banner year in which Image Comics saw its top-selling series THE WALKING DEAD take to the air as a critically acclaimed series on AMC, while simultaneously launching a series of breakout hits like TURF, MORNING GLORIES and SKULLKICKERS, Image is growing its day-to-day publishing operations to include partner studio Top Cow.
As part of the expansion, Image Central will work more directly with Marc Silvestri’s Top Cow Productions and will be handling many key operations. Image Central will work more closely with Top Cow to coordinate production, marketing and sales efforts in much the same way it already does for the other Image partners, including Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen and Jim Valentino.
Top Cow is no slouch when it comes to hits: With the ongoing success of touchstone series like WITCHBLADE and THE DARKNESS, the success and critical praise garnered by ARTIFACTS, a first-day sellout for new series ECHOES, and over a million votes in this year’s Pilot Season campaign, the inclusion of Top Cow’s properties within Image Central’s purview can only benefit the books, the creators and the company as a whole.
“This is an amazing time for our industry with new opportunities popping up on an almost daily basis,” says Top Cow founder and Image CEO Marc Silvestri. “Between the debut of THE WALKING DEAD show on AMC, SPAWN hitting issue #200 and exciting new titles like MORNING GLORIES and CHEW making a splash in the market, Image has had a fantastic year. We’re all looking forward to working more closely with Eric Stephenson and his crew at Image Central and we’re excited by the opportunities that this will bring to our line.
“In many ways, as we look ahead to the exciting projects coming up, Top Cow is actually getting back to the roots of Image and reinforcing the ideas the company was founded on by strengthening our family ties. This is something that myself and my Image partners have talked about for a long time, and finally seeing it come to fruition is very cool for all of us!”
Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik adds, “I’ve known Eric Stephenson since I was a publishing liaison at Diamond, and I’m really looking forward to working with him and the entire talented team in Berkeley. For fans, creators and retailers, nothing will really change. We will maintain the same editorial freedom that we always have. If anything, we will have a higher level of support that will make it easier to manage the daily logistics of producing comics, while maintaining our focus on quality story-telling and art.”
“I’ve been supportive of a closer relationship between Image Central and Top Cow since I first took over as PR & Marketing Coordinator way back in 2001,” notes Image Publisher Eric Stephenson. “Matt Hawkins and I worked together at Extreme Studios and then Awesome Entertainment, and I’ve worked with Filip since his Diamond days, and I think the time is right for us to capitalize on those relationships in a way that will strengthen both Image and Top Cow.”
The expansion of Image Central’s publishing operations to include Top Cow marks an exciting new era for Image Comics. The closer partnership between the houses guarantees that Image will continue its winning streak as the premier publisher of creator-owned comics.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.