The NY Times has the scoop on a new Image imprint to be headed up by Robert Kirkman. Skybound will allow Kirkman to take a more hands-on role in mentoring and editing, and offer creators an advance and marketing, in exchange for a percentage — so it’s kind of like an agency AND an imprint.
Mr. Kirkman’s plan is to offer creators advance payments and a marketing push. If the book proves successful and attracts outside attention, Mr. Kirkman will also help navigate things like international publication rights and licensing in other media — including film, TV and toys. In return, he will get a partnership stake in all of Skybound’s properties. That investment can include percentages on any feature film, TV or merchandising deals.
“It’s a whole new world out there. It’s hard to do any comic book without having an expectation of what could happen. It’s such a prevalent and integral part of our business,” he said.
The line is launching with WITCH DOCTOR, by Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner, (which we previewed last year when Ketner was nominated for the Russ Manning Award*.)
This project — supernatural doctor stories — has been kicking around for a awhile but now it is getting the burst of attention that association with the creator of THE WALKING DEAD can give.
A further press release from Kirkman has the second Skybound book, THIEF OF THIEVES, by the very busy Nick Spencer and Kirkman.
Commentary: Kirkman has always been vocal about promoting creator owned work, and it’s nice to see him working out a way to further this which is (hopefully) economically viable. The word “partnership” implies a pretty high percentage, however, so the Skybound deal should be carefully scrutinized. That said, publishing WITCH DOCTOR is a no-brainer if only for Ketner’s awesome art.
Robert Kirkman announced that he is launching SKYBOUND, an all-new imprint of Image Comics. The imprint will give a new generation of comic book creators the opportunity to publish their works as SKYBOUND Originals.
With SKYBOUND, Kirkman will handpick up-and-coming creators and maintain an active role in promoting and expanding the projects of this already growing talent pool. Artist and imprint alike will be fully vested in the development of their properties into new mediums (e.g. television, film) globally.
Image Comics, the comics publisher that has served as the outlet for Kirkman’s original works (including the New York Times bestselling series The Walking Dead and Invincible), since 2002 will provide publishing and distribution support to SKYBOUND. Kirkman will continue his duties as COO at Image Comics, and use the SKYBOUND imprint to release his own titles as well as every SKYBOUND Original to follow.
Robert Kirkman will preview the first SKYBOUND Original, Witch Doctor by newcomers Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner, during his spotlight panel at Comic-Con International this Thursday. “Witch Doctor is a perfect example of the material we’re looking to cultivate with SKYBOUND,” says Kirkman, citing the comic’s unique vision of a “sick world” where mythical creatures interfere with the natural order.
Kirkman himself found the creators of Witch Doctor online and will continue to play a personal role in the ongoing search for a constant stream of new talent to sign under the SKYBOUND umbrella. SKYBOUND will focus on cutting-edge, creator-owned stories that are outside of the normal spectrum of mass-market genres.
Looking forward, Kirkman recently secured the second exclusive SKYBOUND Original, Thief of Thieves, a collaboration between Kirkman and writer Nick Spencer (best known for his critically- acclaimed Image series Existence 2.0, Forgetless, and the upcoming Morning Glories). Thief of Thieves tells the story of Conrad Paulson, the world’s greatest thief, who has set his sights on his own kind. He vows to steal only what’s already been stolen, in an effort to right the great wrongs of his life. But he may be too late for redemption.
Witch Doctor will hit shelves in early 2011, with Thief of Thieves following close behind. Kirkman has several other SKYBOUND Originals in the works, but plans to focus on quality and the company will take its time to find and develop unique projects that reflect SKYBOUND’s core ideals.
*Damn, that Manning Award series was awesome — we should have done it this year!
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.