Now I'm not privy to Kirkman's financial terms, but I can certainly say with confidence that he's well on his way to attaining a kind of financial independence that few have enjoyed in the comic book industry. Not coincidentally, Robert's partners at Image Comics were some of the last creators to obtain true WEALTH (meaning millions of dollars) when they created Image in the 90s.
As Kirkman rises to the top of the comics pantheon, it may be time to revisit the now infamous "Kirkman Manifesto". For those who don't recall, Kirkman created a video blog of sorts fresh off his return from the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con. He was frustrated with the state of the comic book industry and felt compelled to share his frustrations, as well as ways he felt the industry could be changed for the better. There were a lot of disparate thoughts in his speech, including a call to arms for creators to hone their craft at the Big 2, gain some notoriety, and then leave to create their own ideas. You can view his speech in its entirety here:
As you might imagine, his honest and pointed statements became the talk of the industry, with everyone seemingly taking sides. Brian Bendis took up the mantle to argue the other side of some of Kirkman's points; which led to both uber creators sitting down and facing off for a debate of sorts at the 2008 Baltimore Comic-Con.
Fast forwarding to the present, have many creators followed his advice? Can you think of many creators that have obtained a modicum of success writing for Marvel and DC who have since turned their focus almost entirely to creator-owned work? I'm sure there are a few, but I can't think of any. And yet, there ARE quite a few creators making big marks at the Big 2 who recently came from the creator-owned world. Presumably those would be the guys (and ladies) who Kirkman was most directly speaking to.
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a handful of reasonably well-known creators, primarily working for Marvel and DC, taking a chance on more (if not exclusive) creator-owned work. I would love to hear what you all think about this. Do you think more creators will take the leap? Do you think they should?