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  1. #1
    Newsarama refugee JayBee's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The approach of image comics compared to DC or Marvel

    Hey everyone!

    Doe my introduction to media class I need to write a paper that compares and contrasts two different types of the same medium and being a comic geek I figured my best shot would be to do DC comics and Image comics. I figured that I would be able to talk about how DC seems to be more about attracting readers through gimmick events and character deaths where as image seems to be more about the stories. I think the dynamic of how DC focuses on the greater DC universes continuity to tell stories while Image hardly ever uses the loose connection of books that make up the Image universe might make for a good paper. I also figured my teacher might like the information on the birth of Image from some upset Marvel people.

    The key in the paper is that these two companies go after the same audience with many super hero books but also a lot of other kinds of comics like The Walking Dead or Y: The Last Man from DC's Vertigo imprint.

    I figure the best way to start my paper is to do a little fact finding by asking comic book fans who have been interested in the industry longer then me (6 or so years) about the different tactics and over all differences between these companies. Any help anyone can give is very much appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayBee View Post
    The key in the paper is that these two companies go after the same audience with many super hero books but also a lot of other kinds of comics like The Walking Dead or Y: The Last Man from DC's Vertigo imprint.
    I wouldn't make this the key because I don't think it's true. When Image started they may have been trying to copy Marvel/DC with a ton of superhero books, but the Image of today is much more about variety. DC, on the other hand, is pretty much only superhero books because that's their history and strength. Sure, Vertigo puts out some non-superhero stuff but it's a very small percentage of DC's sales.

    The biggest difference between these two companies is the creator owned aspect. Image just lets creators come in and do whatever they want, which leads to amazing variety but also a lot of hit-and-misses. A lot of people don't want to start reading a comic that is going to die by #10 or so. On the flip side, DC relies on 70+ years of history and brand recognition to sell superhero books. You know Batman, Superman, Justice League, etc. are not going to be cancelled so you feel safe buying into them.

    I personally prefer Image because I like the variety. Superhero books .... I mean, there's only so much you can do after awhile before you have to do gimmicks and other things to keep it interesting. We know Spider-Man will not die so we don't read wondering "Uh oh, will he make it?" When I read Morning Glories from Image, I have NO clue what can happen. In that sense Marvel and DC are trapped by their own characters. Did anyone really think Human Torch was going to stay dead?

    Anyway, just some points off the top of my head.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dark-Flux's Avatar
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    Yeah its really the work for hire vs creater owned angle you should focus on me thinks.

  4. #4

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    DC (and Marvel) sell the majority of comics month to month. As a result, they are keeping the industry afloat by appealing to fans who want to read about popular characters (Batman & Superman). Image tends to focus on quality of output and diversity in content. Even their superhero books like Invincible tends to be a superior read compared to DC superheroes, because they don't have to worry about licensing and other factors that prevent the writers from telling the stories that they want.
    Last edited by Morlock50; 04-12-2012 at 08:37 AM.

  5. #5
    Member Quest Mar-Vell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abysslord View Post
    Superhero books .... I mean, there's only so much you can do after awhile before you have to do gimmicks and other things to keep it interesting. We know Spider-Man will not die so we don't read wondering "Uh oh, will he make it?" When I read Morning Glories from Image, I have NO clue what can happen. In that sense Marvel and DC are trapped by their own characters. Did anyone really think Human Torch was going to stay dead?

    Anyway, just some points off the top of my head.
    I take it you dont read Invincible or The Savage Dragon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quest Mar-Vell View Post
    I take it you dont read Invincible or The Savage Dragon?
    I read Invincible, which uses those gimmicks and cliches and sort of makes fun of them. I tend to think of that book as a parody of superhero books though, in the same sense that the movie "Scream" is a parody but still a horror movie. So it's not quite the same. I guess I'm trying to say Invincible is aware that it's a superhero book .... if that makes sense.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Gianluca's Avatar
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    I figured that I would be able to talk about how DC seems to be more about attracting readers through gimmick events and character deaths where as image seems to be more about the stories. I think the dynamic of how DC focuses on the greater DC universes continuity to tell stories while Image hardly ever uses the loose connection of books that make up the Image universe might make for a good paper.
    All publishers use gimmicks and "events" to sell books. Remember Image United... well at least the theory behind it.

    As previously stated, the greater difference is regarding work-for-hire that DC does as opposed to the creator-owned aspect for Image Comics.
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    Member Quest Mar-Vell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abysslord View Post
    I read Invincible, which uses those gimmicks and cliches and sort of makes fun of them. I tend to think of that book as a parody of superhero books though, in the same sense that the movie "Scream" is a parody but still a horror movie. So it's not quite the same. I guess I'm trying to say Invincible is aware that it's a superhero book .... if that makes sense.
    Complete sense... agreed

  9. #9
    Newsarama refugee JayBee's Avatar
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    Hey everyone!

    Thanks for all the info and help with this!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member timeismoney's Avatar
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    The thing to remember is Marvel and DC is the comic industry, Image as good as some of their comic are guess who write them the same guys that write at Marvel and DC which in turn keep Image around. And let me explain to you how take the top writers and artist's at both Marvel and DC, they get paid good money for their work that money allow them to put out creator own books because all the money that go into making those creator own books come out the creators pocket. The thing is both Marvel and DC has books that has nothing to do with hero's but that is what they are known for. Hell Mark Millar started Millar World but who publish those titles Marvel, The thing I get from other company when they complain about the big two is they're mad at their success. I like Image they have some good books but the comic industry need to understand without Marvel and DC their is no industry. Also comic is no longer Marvel's bread and butter they now have a movie verse which is why they're king of the comic world.
    Last edited by timeismoney; 04-17-2012 at 12:37 PM.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member capuga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timeismoney View Post
    The thing to remember is Marvel and DC is the comic industry, Image as good as some of their comic are guess who write them the same guys that write at Marvel and DC which in turn keep Image around. And let me explain to you how take the top writers and artist's at both Marvel and DC, they get paid good money for their work that money allow them to put out creator own books because all the money that go into making those creator own books come out the creators pocket. The thing is both Marvel and DC has books that has nothing to do with hero's but that is what they are known for. Hell Mark Millar started Millar World but who publish those titles Marvel, The thing I get from other company when they complain about the big two is they're mad at their success. I like Image they have some good books but the comic industry need to understand without Marvel and DC their is no industry. Also comic is no longer Marvel's bread and butter they now have a movie verse which is why they're king of the comic world.
    I get what you're saying here but you should keep in mind that the majority of those writers that do both Marvel/DC and creator owned actually started with their own creator owned books and then moved on to the Big 2 after having success. Remender, Bendis, Nick Spenser, Jonathon Hickman, Matt Fraction, etc all worked at Marvel/DC after their creator owned success caught the Big 2's eye. So it's not like people always just start at the Big 2 and work on creator owned titles on the side.
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  12. #12
    They LAUGHED at my theory SteveGus's Avatar
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    Historically, Image was started as an artist driven imprint. I am well aware that it has changed substantially since it made a big splash on the foundation.

    I do know that the impact it had on the industry has been the subject of actual academic literature, but most of it seems focused on the foundation rather than what the company has become today. Robert Harvey's The Art of the Comic Book: An Aesthetic History could put you on the track if you wanted to focus on this aspect.
    Superhero comic books only become art to the extent that their banal, unrealistic fantasy and garish styles go too far and become interesting. Attempts to ground them in reality can only ruin them.

  13. #13
    Member Quest Mar-Vell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capuga View Post
    I get what you're saying here but you should keep in mind that the majority of those writers that do both Marvel/DC and creator owned actually started with their own creator owned books and then moved on to the Big 2 after having success. Remender, Bendis, Nick Spenser, Jonathon Hickman, Matt Fraction, etc all worked at Marvel/DC after their creator owned success caught the Big 2's eye. So it's not like people always just start at the Big 2 and work on creator owned titles on the side.
    Id like to know what the numbers are... im sure its probably pretty even.

  14. #14
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timeismoney View Post
    The thing to remember is Marvel and DC is the comic industry, Image as good as some of their comic are guess who write them the same guys that write at Marvel and DC which in turn keep Image around. And let me explain to you how take the top writers and artist's at both Marvel and DC, they get paid good money for their work that money allow them to put out creator own books because all the money that go into making those creator own books come out the creators pocket. The thing is both Marvel and DC has books that has nothing to do with hero's but that is what they are known for. Hell Mark Millar started Millar World but who publish those titles Marvel, The thing I get from other company when they complain about the big two is they're mad at their success. I like Image they have some good books but the comic industry need to understand without Marvel and DC their is no industry. Also comic is no longer Marvel's bread and butter they now have a movie verse which is why they're king of the comic world.
    as some else said marvel and dc recruit most of their talent from indie sector. secondly while marvel and dc sell most floppies, when it comes to graphic novels they are just another fish in the pond. http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-B...gbs/books/4366
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    Elder Member BrotherUnitNo_4's Avatar
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    Marvel and DC do "poach" from the indie community, but working for those two is the chance to get paid without having to worry about just breaking even, not to mention the huge profile boost that sometimes come from those opportunities. Otherwise, why would any writer ever bother with giving their good ideas to Marvel or DC? I mean sure some of them do it out of passion, but there has to be a more tangible benefit than that.

    I'm inclined to agree that if Marvel and DC collapsed tomorrow, so too would the comic industry. Maybe if Image was a close third-place, but they're not. Their star has been rising lately but it's still a pretty sizable gap. Superheroes are pretty much the foundation. Lose that and then what? All of those people who love capes won't just turn around and start buying Image or Boom tomorrow. They've had years to turn to other publishers. I think most would give up the hobby first.
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