Image Comics has announced that writer/artist Jeff Lemire has signed an "exclusive deal" with the publisher for all his projects in "2022 and beyond." Newsarama has learned that there are some exceptions to the agreement.
What this new Image deal will include are the upcoming projects Little Monsters (with Dustin Nguyen) and more series spinning out of Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Gideon Falls series, as part of what's now being called "The Bone Orchard Mythos of shared horror universe titles."
Image is also teasing some "soon-to-be-announced" projects from Lemire coming to the publisher, some with Lemire writing (with another artist drawing), and some with Lemire writing and drawing the whole thing.
"Having worked with Image on so many projects over the last decade, I've come to appreciate the complete creative freedom and support that they've provided me," says Lemire in the announcement. "I'm excited to make Image the exclusive home for all my projects in the years to come, both solo projects that I will draw myself, and my various collaborations. Bone Orchard and Little Monsters are just the start of what I have planned this year and beyond."
So what does this mean for Lemire's Black Hammer franchise at Dark Horse Comics and the creator-owned comics he's doing at various places including his Substack? We asked Lemire for clarification.
"So this deal is for print only. Meaning I will continue to publish comics online through Substack as well as through print at Image," Lemire tells Newsarama. "I have an exemption to write the final few Black Hammer series which will be released through Dark Horse and my Substack over the next couple of years. And all Black Hammer books will continue to be published through Dark Horse. Nothing is moving."
That would mean the current Substack-first comic Fishflies by Lemire will also be part of this Image deal.
However, this would seemingly signal that Lemire won't be starting any new projects with DC, Marvel, or other publishers beyond things already underway like Swamp Thing: Green Hell.
This Lemire/Image Comics partnership is the second major 'exclusive' deal Image has agreed to in recent memory, following the joint Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips exclusive deal signed in 2013, and later renewed in 2018. However, Brubaker and Phillips have likewise created some comic book work outside Image, showing Image's exclusivity has some exceptions there as well.
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