Confirming rumors first reported by Rich Johnston last Monday, Marvel Comics announced today the creation of a new publishing imprint, ICON, which will publish projects outside of the Marvel Universe. The first two titles will be Brian Bendis' "Powers" and David Mack's "Kabuki."
ICON IMPRINT LAUNCHES THIS JULY WITH KABUKI, POWERS!
Marvel Comics announces the launch of ICON, a new publishing imprint that will produce projects utilizing properties outside of the Marvel Universe.
ICON will launch with two titles fans are already familiar with: Brian Bendis' "Powers" and David Mack's "Kabuki."
Marvel is not new to publishing licensed properties. It has had a successful history with such classic licenses as GI Joe and Transformers. However, Marvel, which works with the top talent in the comic industry, has long been considering ways to offer its creators a home not just for their Marvel projects, but for their other work. The new ICON imprint has been created with a mandate to pursue both these creator and licensed projects, while maintaining the highest level of talent and the brands that readers have come to expect from Marvel.
Dan Buckley, Publisher, said, "We had been considering this kind of imprint for a while before talking to Brian and David. But once we did, everything fell into place. Starting with Brian and David on Power's and Kabuki really sets the standard for the whole line. We are very excited about this initiative, and are thrilled that Powers and Kabuki are launching it."
Bendis offered, "We have always said that we have benefited so much from the generations of comic creators before us who worked so hard to pave the way for creator rights. We have had it so good and we are stunned that we get to help take it to the next level... Marvels first true creator-owned imprint."
Said David Mack regarding Marvel Comics' Editor-in-Chief, Publisher and President of Publishing, "Bravo to Joe, Dan and Gui for making this happen!"
Marvel, ICON and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc., and are used with permission. Copyright 2004 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.
Brian Bendis and David Mack both posted comments about the move on their forums. Brian Bendis said:
Happy Passover, muther fuckers!!
Sorry, I always wanted to start a post that way.
The rumors and press release are true. Powers and Kabuki are holding hands and jumping to a brave new publisher after many awesome years at image.
The good news is that nothing about the quality or content of the comics will change. This is FULLY creator owned publishing initiative just like image central is. We own every page, every staple. All content is ours.
Produced exactly like we have for many years at image. Same letter columns, same production people, same everything. No ads except for in house ads in the back.
Everything is the same except the company logo. Most people won't even notice the change.
If you are already a readers of Powers, stay cool. Its all the same goodies.
If you have heard of Powers but haven't read it, but you are a fan of my marvel work, particularly Daredevil and the Pulse, I truly think you will love Powers and now you have a perfect and totally easy way to get on board the first issue of the new series.
The reason for the move is not a slight against image on any level. Both David, Mike and I are still part of image. We will continue to produce our existing library through image, which thanks to your good word of mouth is a big part of our lives. That includes the first five Powers trades and all the Jinxworld titles (jinx, torso, goldfish, fire, and total sell out.)
We will still continue our foreign licencing through image and I will still have my wild and crazy message board at image as I have for many years.
And if you remember, I produced Fortune and Glory at Oni even though I was at image, why? Because Oni is good people and I wanted to do business with them. Still do. Wasn't a slight against image then, and this is not either.
David, Mike and I have been at image for eight years (longer than rob and Jim put together btw,) and continue to support what has been built in image central with our presence. Though, yes Jim Valentino was my saviour over the years, both Eric Larsen and Stephenson have been nothing short of saintly in every single situation I have found them in.
What this is about is Marvel breaking historic ground for the company and our desire to support this with our life blood.
Creator ownership, real creator ownership, not that half assed stuff you hear about from other companies, is so important to all three of us. And when marvel offered to build this, we felt it was so important to be part of it.
We have always said that we have benefitted so much from the generations of comic creators before us, who worked so hard to pave the way for creator rights. We have had it so good and we are stunned that we get to help take it to the next level... Marvel's first true creator owned imprint.
We do want to say to our readers and retailers that we are very, very sorry for the necessary resolicitation. We know paperwork is a pain in the ass, as is waiting for comics. We have never in all of our years ever had to resolicit. But, as you all know, in life sometimes things don't time out the way you would hope for. The resolicit of our recent relaunches was the best scenario.
Sorry for surprising you guys with this announcement, business is a tricky bitch and we wanted to make sure everything was smooth sailing before we went blabbing. There's enough of that on line.
Actually we were ready last Thursday, but we realized the date and figured no one would believe us.
More good news: though there will be a couple of months delay on the new Powers, July will see not one, but two brand new issues and a new trade. All this and I fuck up the avengers the same month.
The new trades will match the image trades in design and paperstock so your shelf will look fab. I know this is a concern for some.
On a side note, Mike and I found some ways to improve the first issue and its definitely stronger because of the downtime.
I do promise that this is the last big announcement from me for a while, even I am sick of me, and I love me.
So, if you are a fan of Powers or Kabuki, really, other than the delay, this is all good news. A happy home for your favorite book is about all you could hope for.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support. As I have told you, you vote with your wallet. You tell the publishers what you want and they listen. You made this happen.
And over on the David Mack forum, Mack said:
Thanks for your patience in this. I had to wait until the Marvel press release went out before I could talk about it. This should clarify everything. Also read Bendis' response to the below thread for his comments.
Here is the news. And some clarifications. Kabuki
and Powers are indeed going to begin publishing at
Marvel. Our new Kabuki and Powers series will debut
in July through the Marvel Previews catalogue.
Our books and all related rights remain completely
ours. So Kabuki and Powers will continue with the
exact same format that you are used to. No ads
interupting the story, a hearty and personal letters
collumn, the paperstock and production values of our
choosing. There will be no change in content.
Our books are not part of the Marvel Universe, but
will be published under a brand new Marvel imprint
called ICON. This is Marvel's first ever step to a
fully creator owned launch. Not partially owned
situtations, but fully and completely creator owned.
Bendis, Oeming and I have benifitted by the path that
Marvel creators before us have made in the direction
of creator rights, and we see this as one way to build
upon that and create a new milestone in that
This is a unique opportunity that offers Kabuki and
Powers the best of both worlds. For the readers who
have enjoyed our Marvel work, we believe that you will
find that our creator owned books such as Kabuki and
Powers are everything that you would hope they are. For the readers who have been with us for years, our books will continue in the content and format that you have loved and supported in the past. The only difference is that they may be easier to find now.
Bendis, Oeming and I are making this move together as
friends, as we have long made decisions together like
this when we first moved to Image Comics which has
been our creative home for almost eight years. This
is no slight to Image Comics who continue to publish
fully creator owned books. We love Image Comics and
all three of us continue to be a big part of Image
Comics. The entire Kabuki library of the six previous
Kabuki collections in paperback and hardcover are
still only available from Image comics. I will
continue to keep them in stock, and you can re-order
them any time. The same with the Powers library. In
fact, I hope a lot of new Kabuki readers will pick up
all six volumes of Kabuki and Powers to read what came
before, in anticipation of the new series in July.
Though we had a great relationship with Jim Valentino,
the former Publisher of Image, we have nothing but
love for Erik Larson, the new publisher, and Eric
Stephenson director of marketing. In fact it was Erik
Larson that invited Kabuki to Image so many years ago.
Erik and Eric have both been a huge help to us and
very understanding of our current situation. We
continue to be in business with Image with our library
of collections and with new creator owned projects in
The move to our new imprint at Marvel is not a
competition with the service the Image offers to the
creative community, but a unique opportunity that
offers Powers and Kabuki the best of both worlds for the new launch of our books. Marvel saw that we were in a certain situation, and offered us this solution. It is an
invite-only imprint that Marvel made for us as a
reward for our level of work with them.
Readers and retailers
A major concern over this was the fact that we had to
resolicit the Kabuki #1 and Powers #1. Bendis,
Oeming and I have done creator owned books for over
twelve years, and never once had to resolicit. We
know that this rescheduling can be a hassle for
retailers and readers. We had some things come up
that did not go as planned, and this time we had to
make a resolicitation. We want to apologize to our
retailers and readers for the rescheduling and we will
do everything we can to help.