Image Expo 2014: I is for Irreverent

Maya Zach ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Image Expo 3
Photo by Maya Zach of Emertainment Monthly.

Seven creators of Image series gather on stage to discuss how they got involved in the industry and why they stuck with it through thick and thin.

The panelists include: Brandon Graham (8House), Rick Remender (Deadly Class, Black Science, Low), Joshua Williamson (Ghosted, Nailbiter), Leila Del Duca (Shutter), James Robinson (Saviors, Airboy), Jim Valentino (ShadowHawk), and Joe Keatinge (Shutter).

A majority of the panelists began reading comics at an early age and quickly realized that the comic industry was the place for them. Graham read comics during his young childhood and Del Duca began with web comics in high school. But they didn’t all choose to read/write instantly. Williamson wanted to work as a publisher for the comic book industry before he realized that he was a writer. And Keatinge only decided to go into the business when, at 10 years old, it clicked that people were making these comics and he could to.

When Vertigo turned Graham’s work down and he was let go by his porn comic publisher, everything seemed hopeless. But “it should be about the work,” not the money, so he began to self-publish his series King City, which became successful and was later picked up by Image. Remender spent an entire decade living on barely any money making creator-owned comics, but decided not to give up on his passion. Eventually his work was noticed and he wrote for both Marvel and DC.

This type of story was common amongst most of these creators: they struggled for a long time before they broke their way into the comic book industry. Their passion and love of their work kept them going and later fueled their success. It isn’t easy to break into the comic book industry. But if someone is intent, they just have to keep writing or drawing until they finally get noticed.

The only creator that discussed his upcoming series during the panel was Robinson. He is so invested in Airboy because it is semi-autobiographical. He noticed that very few people write about themselves, because they are afraid to put their own emotions on the page. But he decided to change that with Airboy. He is going all-out outrageous. Though the creators of the original Airboy series might roll over in their graves, he hopes that the readers will understand what he is going for and love the comic as much as he does.

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