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Waiting For Tommy: Erik Larsen
By Richard Johnston

RICH: So what do you do to stop that?
ERIK: I don't think it's something we can do much of anything about. Ultimately, these guys do find out that Image does add value. We reach more stores than these guys do--there are a lot of stores that order from the top three or four and don't bother with the others. These folks are selling fewer comics than they could be selling. That, and these guys discover, rather quickly, that they need a room full of guys to deal with printers, distributors and the other aspects of doing business--and that they're spending a LOT more money than they would be by paying in the Image fee. We're set up like this for a good reason--and we've been told by other publishers that they couldn't make ends meet doing things the way we do but it's a fair way of doing business so we continue. It's my feeling that the "suits" shouldn't be the guys getting rich in this business--it's the creative people. In any case--our doors are open and some of the guys that have left will be coming back because it makes sense for them to be here instead of off on their own.

 


SAVAGE DRAGON/HELLBOY TPB

RICH: It seems to me that Image's biggest success was breaking the hegemony of Marvel and DC. That there were Marvel zombies who would never look outside of that checklist of comics printed in every Marvel book. But there have been other benefits, specifically in creators rights and production levels... is it an insult to say that Image's biggest success has been its affect on other companies?
ERIK: Sure--it IS insulting.

We've made a huge impact on a LOT of levels. Other companies scrambled to keep up with us and coloring, printing and production values HAD to go up in order for these guys to compete. Page rates went through the roof. Many creators got huge raises because of Image. Creators rights have been helped a LOT over the last twelve years--creators have more options than ever. And things will continue to grow and change. Creators come, creators go--it's just the way things are. We've had hit books in the past--we'll have hit books in the future.

RICH: Does that mean you feel things are at a lull right now? Aside from influence, what do you believe Image's biggest successes have been in terms of published work?
ERIK: We did a number of books that sold millions of copies--that's pretty obvious.

RICH: But there has been some recent creator concern over Image as a publishing destination. Certainly, Image can give a far better overall deal than other publishers, and that if your book sells well, you'll make more money than with anyone else. However, the lack of an advance or advance page rate has meant a number of books have failed to happen, or certain talent has been unavailable as a result. When every Image book sold 100,000 minimum, this wasn't an issue. But some sell at a level that can't even pay the creators - some writers have lost money giving a page rate to an artist just so they'll draw an Image title - even ones internally believed to be a success. Is it now time for a different system at Image Central? A two-tier system even?

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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