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Image Month: Jimmie Robinson - "Image has opened doors"

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by Jimmie Robinson

Without a doubt, my career has been directly affected by the influence of Image Comics on the industry for the past 20 years.

Most folks know me for my edgy BOMB QUEEN series, but I’ve worked on a number of other titles under the Image Comics umbrella for the last 15 years.  I’ve created quirky sci-fi (AMANDA & GUNN); romance (CODE BLUE); all-ages (EVIL & MALICE); goth manga (AVIGON); crazy supervillains (BOMB QUEEN); children’s books (T-RUNT!); and a few anthologies (TORI AMOS’ COMIC BOOK TATTOO, THIS IS A SOUVINER, et.) -- all under the umbrella of Image Comics.

I stepped into the comic’s scene late in life.  At that point, my understanding about working in comics meant that I had to match a *house style* by Marvel / DC, or take the independent track.  But along came Image Comics.  At first, I didn’t think their initial impact would affect me.  I’d wager a lot of folks like me felt that way.  After all, the founders launched Image Comics with their own iconic superhero characters.  This made my goals in comics feel even more remote.  I still couldn’t match a publisher’s house style and I wasn’t trying to create anything in the superhero genre.  Also, I wanted to write and draw which is something only afforded to A-list creators like Frank Miller.  And just to keep this in perspective, let’s remember this was the 1990’s era, prior to webcomics and Kickstarter.  Thus, making a creator-owned comic and getting enough people to see it was akin to catching lightning in a bottle.

But that changed when Jim Valentino became the primary Publisher for Image in 1997.  Valentino was part of rebranding Image's perception beyond superheroes. I was part of his SHADOWLINE black-and-white launch.  Some knew it as the “non-line”.

In a few months I went from a self-publishing nosedive to the cover of Diamond Previews catalogue.  I officially stepped 100% into the industry.

In the next decade with image I learned more about the craft.  I grew up in public.  I’ve made mistakes.   I’ve taken more than my share of risks.  But through it all I thank Image and Shadowline for the opportunity to develop and create books in my own style – which is the key difference in how I previously viewed the industry.  Instead of acquiescing to a publisher, I was able to play with unique styles and create my own brand.  I even had a TV option for my book, EVIL & MALICE.

I also got my foot in the door at Marvel Entertainment (WOLVERINE: WHAT IF?), but I still went back to Image Comics.  In fact, I never left since I worked for both at the same time.  The folks at Marvel were great, don’t get me wrong, but the creative options at Image were even better.

Likewise, I wasn’t the only one to notice this.  I’ve seen others come up and enter the industry through Image Comics.  Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, Brandon Siefert, et.  All were given the opportunity to flourish with their projects, which led to other avenues in the world of comics.  Nowadays, we’re seeing the next wave of creators launch projects off the shores of Image, and some of them are even coming from those other publishers.  

It’s easy to take the influence of Image Comics for granted, but personally for me, their work has opened doors in ways I could have never imagined.

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Jimmie Robinson is currently writing and drawing the comic book Bomb Queen, published by Image Comics.

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