IMAGE Publisher: Industry Grappling with Monthlies vs. OGNs

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Credit: Babs Tarr (Image Comics)

Credit: Image Comics

Over the past few years, several Image Comics creators have hit ‘pause’ on their creator-owned titles with the publisher, and announced plans to switch to an OGN-only format. Motor Crush, Moonstruck, and Crowded have all announced the change, and it’s not just at Image: Kurt Busiek’s long-running Astro City series at DC is seguing.

Is this a trend? We asked Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson – who also writes and creates comics of his own from time-to-time.

“I think everyone involved [in the Image titles that are changing] agreed the monthly comics weren’t reaching the audience we wanted to reach, but the trades were doing well – and in the case of Moonstruck, markedly better in bookstores – so it seemed like the most logical step forward,” Stephenson told Newsarama.

Credit: Shae Beagle (Image Comics)

“I don’t think that’s going to be the case for every title, but it worked for those books,” the publisher/writer continued. “If it makes sense for other books in the future, then great, but generally speaking, I don’t think comics and graphic novels should be treated as interchangeable. Comics should be written as comics, and graphic novels should be written as graphic novels.”

Stephenson compares it to the divide between movies and television shows, and how the prestige for that has changed over time.

“For a long time, actors valued film work over television work. Going from movies to TV was regarded as a step down, despite the fact the fact that both film and television can yield equal measures of quality and crap,” said Stephenson. “Right now, I feel like that’s something we’re grappling with in comics – that the monthly comic book is somehow inherently inferior to the graphic novel – and I’m not sure limiting our format options or storytelling approaches is in the creative community’s or the industry’s best interests.”

Look for Newsarama’s full interview with Stephenson later this week.

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