For Tommy: Erik Larsen
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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