Kirkman Starts His Own Imprint: SKYBOUND

In a place no less prestigious than the New York Times, Robert Kirkman has announced the formation of his new imprint, Skybound, under the Image banner.

The imprint will focus on bringin new talent and new projects from obscurity, offering them both a marketing push, and an advance payment, something that's not normally done at Image.  In exchange, Skybound is essentially buying a piece of the property should it develop into a TV, movie, or toyline.  It's good business sense, but the creators are losing some of what they'd have under the normal Image deal, where they own the property 100%. This isn't all that unusual, and several other indie publishers operate with the same model.  But none of them have the clout of Robert Kirkman behind them, especially as we get nearer to the release of AMC's Walking Dead TV series. 

Details will likely follow in San Diego, when Skybound officially announces their first title, Witch Doctor, a horror-medical drama by Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner. There's no word yet on the submission process, and how that will work for hopeful creators.  Kirkman's titles will also move out of Image proper, to under the Skybound imprint.

What you're seeing here is the next step in Kirkman's manifesto that had comics talking for months afterwards. He has certainly put his money where his mouth is, and is now giving new creators a place to attempt the same.

And while they're definitely looking for properties that translate to other media (because that's just where the money is), Kirkman says “I’m not going to publish anything that would be a bad comic but would make an excellent TV show.

UPDATE: Now Skybound has a website.


  1. This is very interesting news. I can’t wait for more info. I wonder how their model for finding/choosing new series will work? What will make this different for giving new creators a leg up, over other small publishers — other than the fact that Kirkman’s name means potentially easier access to the deals that might come once the comic is published and finds an audience…

  2. As someone who has just decided to try to break into the industry the obviously comes as good news. I do have concerns about how big of a cut Skybound gets, but considering the properties they publish might never get a fair shake elsewhere, it’s kind of a something is better than nothing scenario.

    Also of note from the article is that it doesn’t look like he’s going to be putting out tons of books. It  seems more like a few a year. Still excited though.

  3. Hmmm. Have any of Kirkman’s books besides Invincible and Walking Dead been doing good? I love Invincible, but I don’t know if the Top Cow pilot season stuff he has done was anyone good. I can see this becoming very popular, but I also see a downside in that fresh original titles will be passed up for something more profitable.

    It seems that Kirkman will be seeking out comics that are good but also can be expanded into other mediums, where as a title that stands well as a comic but would be infeasible or impractical as a television series will be overlooked. 

    hmmm… need to think more on this

  4. @simmons I don’t believe so, however I think it is an incredible success to launch two successful books with original IP.

    The only thing that concerns me with this announcement is the implicit correlation between new and any sort of quality.  Also, something reminds me of the horror stories of musicians’ managers, though I don’t think that Robert Kirkman is that exploitative. 

  5. I like kirkman, he’s cool. Is he the next Neal Adams? Mean that in a good way. Good on you man! Power to the creators! Yes, his books are good.

  6. Does anyone else feel like we’re starting to lose Kirkman? Or am I still paranoid after BKV sailed off into the horizon?

  7. Hopefully there will be something at San Diego about BKV.

  8. @jimski

    He wrote a full episode for Walking Dead. So yes, I feel like we are losing him.

    But as long as Invincible and Walking Dead still continue, which they will until I at least reach old age (y’hear that Kirkman!), I’m okay with that. 

  9. Yeah but I wonder if he’d publish a book that would make a great comic but a bad TV show.

  10. @jimski: I didn’t when he was on his "on time in ’09" mantra.  But now I think he’s slipping.  Although I don’t think he’s  full on bkv’ng us.

  11. He’s not leaving comics. I’d bet my shoes on it. All Kirkman ever wanted to do was make comics.  Vaughan went to film school.  Kirkman was self-publishing Battle Pope when he was a teenager. The guy LOVES comics.

  12. He’s got 2 popular ongoing titles with no end in sight. He’s not BKVing us, he’s his own entity. He’s Kirkmaning us.

  13. @Jimski – He’s sounded pretty married to the medium still, in the recent interviews I’ve seen with him on AMC’s Walking Dead.

  14. Wow it only took two years for Kirkman to start his manifesto! I mean he could’ve done it sooner. But you know with his own success with Image and doing a TV Show about a comic he created, I can see why he’s been busy thinking about himself and not others.

    Witch Doctor? Seriously? That’s the first thing they could publish under this new line? Sounds like someone has been reading some Stephen King and watching Kingdom Hospital to make this title. 

  15. I don’t think we are losing Kirkman, but he is elevating himself to the next level so he can have more creators like him. He’s essentially giving birth to himself. i think giving the right new creators and stories, as well as the right advertising and word of mouth, this imprint could do wonders.

    it also reminds me of when Marvel attempted something similar back in 2003. i can’t remember if that was icon, but i can remember preping and preparing something for it, only to be denied because they had cancelled the program not long after.

  16. I get the feeling Kirkman is just trying to make independently owned, non-Marvel/DC properties financially rewarding to all creators involved. If Hollywood’s fishing, why not throw your property in the pond? Especially if Warner Brothers and Disney own the big guns already.

  17. @TNC – He’s been doing it for 2 years. He quit Marvel. He didn’t say he was going to be the arbiter of others’ success.

  18. This is fantastic news. Kirkman is my favorite writer and I’m glad to see him pushing for more creator-owned stuff, which are my favorite types of comics. I’m just hoping the series are good and this all works out.

  19. I write WITCH DOCTOR, and me and Lukas are both really damn excited about getting to work with Robert and Skybound!

     We’ve been self-publishing our book for the last couple years.  We no longer have any free issues online, but you can find out more about WITCH DOCTOR at <A HREF="">our website</A>, <A HREF="">our Facebook</A>, or <A HREF="">our Twitter</A>.

  20. Congratulations. Hope the book does well.

  21. Thanks Scorpion!

  22. Yes, best of luck on the book. I’ll give the first issue a try, at least.