Late today, Image Comics announced that they were “expanding” their day-to-day operations to more directly include Marc Silvestri’s Top Cow Productions, publisher of comics including Witchblade, Velocity and Artifacts.
Save a brief period in 1996, Top Cow has always been an Image partner, but has acted mostly autonomously. Image’s release states that now “Image Central will work more closely with Top Cow to coordinate production, marketing and sales efforts in much the same way it already does for the other Image partners.”
The press release included quotes from Silvestri, Top Cow’s founder and CEO, along with publisher Filip Sablik. What this may mean to readers and the employees of Top Cow’s Los Angeles office is currently unclear.
The full press release follows after the jump.
BIGGER, BRIGHTER, BETTER
Image Comics Expands Publishing Operations to Include Top Cow
Berkeley, CA – 17 January 2011 -
Following up on a banner year in which Image Comics saw its top-selling series THE WALKING DEAD take to the air as a critically acclaimed series on AMC, while simultaneously launching a series of breakout hits like TURF, MORNING GLORIES and SKULLKICKERS, Image is growing its day-to-day publishing operations to include partner studio Top Cow.
As part of the expansion, Image Central will work more directly with Marc Silvestri’s Top Cow Productions and will be handling many key operations. Image Central will work more closely with Top Cow to coordinate production, marketing and sales efforts in much the same way it already does for the other Image partners, including Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen and Jim Valentino.
Top Cow is no slouch when it comes to hits: With the ongoing success of touchstone series like WITCHBLADE and THE DARKNESS, the success and critical praise garnered by ARTIFACTS, a first-day sellout for new series ECHOES, and over a million votes in this year’s Pilot Season campaign, the inclusion of Top Cow’s properties within Image Central’s purview can only benefit the books, the creators and the company as a whole.
“This is an amazing time for our industry with new opportunities popping up on an almost daily basis,” says Top Cow founder and Image CEO Marc Silvestri. “Between the debut of THE WALKING DEAD show on AMC, SPAWN hitting issue #200 and exciting new titles like MORNING GLORIES and CHEW making a splash in the market, Image has had a fantastic year. We’re all looking forward to working more closely with Eric Stephenson and his crew at Image Central and we’re excited by the opportunities that this will bring to our line.
“In many ways, as we look ahead to the exciting projects coming up, Top Cow is actually getting back to the roots of Image and reinforcing the ideas the company was founded on by strengthening our family ties. This is something that myself and my Image partners have talked about for a long time, and finally seeing it come to fruition is very cool for all of us!”
Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik adds, “I’ve known Eric Stephenson since I was a publishing liaison at Diamond, and I’m really looking forward to working with him and the entire talented team in Berkeley. For fans, creators and retailers, nothing will really change. We will maintain the same editorial freedom that we always have. If anything, we will have a higher level of support that will make it easier to manage the daily logistics of producing comics, while maintaining our focus on quality story-telling and art.”
“I’ve been supportive of a closer relationship between Image Central and Top Cow since I first took over as PR & Marketing Coordinator way back in 2001,” notes Image Publisher Eric Stephenson. “Matt Hawkins and I worked together at Extreme Studios and then Awesome Entertainment, and I’ve worked with Filip since his Diamond days, and I think the time is right for us to capitalize on those relationships in a way that will strengthen both Image and Top Cow.”
The expansion of Image Central’s publishing operations to include Top Cow marks an exciting new era for Image Comics. The closer partnership between the houses guarantees that Image will continue its winning streak as the premier publisher of creator-owned comics.
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.