In a lengthy article at Multiversity about the current state of creator-owned comics (it’s a good read, check it out), Eric Stephenson, Publisher of Image Comics, tells why he believes so many creators are shifting to work on the creator-owned side of things. Some of his comments, if true, are startling.
Stephenson says, “Well, I think a lot of it has to do with creators realizing they don’t have to toil away in a culture of intimidation and fear to be successful in this business. A lot of people aren’t familiar with how the comics industry actually works, but there’s a lot of bullying that goes on behind the scenes, on a lot of different levels, and I think many creators have grown tired of being wined and dined by their pal in talent management so that anecdotal information about their personal lives can then be turned over to some desperate little suit who calls up and makes all these veiled threats about their family’s well-being while hammering them with a contract.
“It’s a story I’ve heard more and more often the last few years, and it’s almost comical, like a bad TV movie version of how the comics business works. It’s not everyone or everywhere, but there really is a consistent pattern of behavior that involves degrading talent in order to buy their loyalty, and I think people are getting wise to it.”
There are no names mentioned here, and we don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but is this really what’s going on? If so, then the comics industry is headed for a strange place. I hope we hear more about these allegations soon, because these are some pretty heavy handed accusations.