writes about nerdy things, celebrates those things as an English teacher, and is the co-founder of the production house ADK MOGUL. He lives in the mountains. Thanks for reading; feel free to leave a message, and please don't ask if he's D(e)Press(e)d.
Watching this stuff develop – whether it’s my own comic book or any one of dozens of others – is about as good as it gets, really, and a constant reminder of why I got into this business to begin with. Even at two decades and counting, I still regard the whole creative process as something akin to alchemy. Things start as a collection of sentences, and then through the magic of artwork, whole worlds are brought to life. It’s a lot of work, obviously, but it’s also incredibly fun.
One of the things I respect about him is his candor on things I’ve grown into lately. It’s rather obvious that as we grow older we have phases. Two or three years ago I was more of a Marvel guy than a DC person, in high school I was a DC reader, but now I think I’m more Image and creator-owned, and things started to move in that direction towards the end of my time in New York. I think it is very safe to say at this point that I’ve gone mostly creator-owned since I’ve moved back upstate, because I’m spending quite a bit of time thinking about the kind of writing I would like to be doing and whether I’m even interested superheroes, which I’m pretty sure I’m not.
There are maybe one or two or three books from Marvel and DC that I anticipate and buy regularly, and I suspect that will wax and wain. Since I’m not as well connected as I used to be, and more hooked into digital I like taking chances on more creator-owned stuff, because it’s probably a more rewarding read than the latest four-dollar nineteen-page Avengers or Justice League book. I buy nearly everything from Image and Monkeybrain, but I think the reason for that is I adore the stuff they do at Image because their publisher seems like a pretty straight-up guy who is more concerned with people over corporate interest.
I read his Nowhere Men earlier today and I thought it was very Hickman-y, and that’s totally fine because I love that sort of thing. I’m just not sure where it’s all connected. I feel like there is something slightly missing in the narrative because it jumps from the three heads of World Corp to some virus and people going into quarantine and I’m like…wait? Who are these people? Like a transition was missing somewhere.
The pencils are by Nate Bellegarde though, man. I’ve been missing him since there hasn’t been a Hector Plasm book in forever. Just a detailed and expressive style that rivals Cully Hamner.
I think we’re one of the only major publishers doing it at this point, to be honest. I mean, Jonathan Hickman didn’t get started at Marvel or DC, he got started at Image. Robert Kirkman self-published, then came to Image. Nick Spencer got his start here. There are lots of guys who… If you look at everyone from Bendis to Fraction to Rick Remender, they’d all done work at smaller publishers, but it was Image where they took off. Bendis did it with Powers, Fraction did it with Casanova, Rick with Strange Girl, Sea of Red, XXXombies and Fear Agent. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie on Phonogram. Image has either introduced or thrown in strong support for a pretty large pool of talent, and I think that’s pretty well-established at this point. I also think it’s pretty obvious that Marvel, DC and Dark Horse to kind of wait for us to identify all the cool new talent. I mean, how many Marvel or DC books were Justin Jordan, Nathan Edmondson and Joe Keatinge writing before they did Luther Strode, Jake Ellis and Hell Yeah? As important as it is to have the big names, I think the only way creators reach that level is if someone recognizes they’ve got the talent to get there first, and I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but to a large degree, that’s been us.
Within a few years, everything changed again, and those names were replaced with Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison and Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld and it goes on and on — people move on, they keep looking for what’s next. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s the nature of life. It’s the nature of our business. And in all honesty, it’s one of our greatest strengths. And I don’t mean “our” as in Image, but “our” as in our industry. While Hollywood is busy with remakes and sequels, and the music industry is busy remixing and remastering, we’re doing what’s next. And if I can narrow the focus of that all-encompassing “our” just a little bit, so that it’s pointing a bit more directly at Image Comics, I have to say, I think we do “what’s next” better than anyone else.
I like this guy a lot. I make that clear quite a bit, he’s one of the main reasons I mostly read independent comics. People like Stephenson, Waid, and Monkeybrain Comics are people I respect and look up to in comics today.
I’m down to four Marvel and DC books mostly because they are simply not what I’m interested in reading anymore. I read Hawkeye, I try to read Captain Marvel because I like Kelly Sue and Chris, but Dexter Soy’s art is tough for me to put in my eyeballs, and I read Batman and Wonder Woman. I can say those things because I simply do not care to put time or energy into thinking I’d like to write those characters. Seven years ago I might have said writing The Flash would be a dream come true for me, but that’s a dream for my thirteen year-old self. I don’t care. As I’ve grown older I find myself more interested in moving forward and doing my thing rather than being a cog in the system, an assistant to someone, and educating people with comics and books and how they can help us become better, more imaginative people. I’m not sure if we can say most of those books at Marvel and DC can do those things. Some can, some are very good, but most are not. The people who work on them are good people, but I don’t need to give a shit about those characters or those companies or some of those creators whose aesthetic I do not consider good. Nothing against any of them.
I’ve heard critics say that the only people who read Image Comics and like Image Comics are people who want to create for Image. I’m definitely guilty of that, but yes, I find this speech good and honest and true to what I care about.