Eric Stephenson, publisher of Image Comics, gave an impassioned speech to ComicsPRO in Atlanta, and it was so close to not screwing up. He shared his love for the industry, he congratulated all present on continuing to support this beautiful art form, he talked about the importance of women in and to the field, and then screwed it all up by talking shit about which comics aren’t real.

“Transformers comics will never be the real thing. GI Joe comics will never be the real thing. Star Wars comics will never be the real thing.”

You could only derail your speech more hatefully by attacking Astrotrain. “Hey, everyone in this industry is great, except Dark Horse and IDW. Screw those guys. Buy Image instead, infighting is how you advance an industry!”

Eric attacked all comic conversions of other media properties. Apparently art loses its ineffable artistic phlogiston when it dares venture past its original form, so someone better tell Marvel so they can give back those billions of dollars the Avengers have been earning. Frank Miller and Walt Simonson only imagined Robocop vs Terminator. And as for that Batman TV series, well, that obviously achieved nothing because it wasn’t the original comic. (Which catches Batman ’66 in in a miserable existential trap, the exact opposite of what this joyous escapist comic).

If you want to prove a point, make something, boost something, build something. The only “reality” is fandom is the certainty that when someone says something isn’t “real”, they’re the one who’s not a real fan. Image Comics have Invincible, The Manhattan Projects, East of West and so much more. They don’t have to throw insults. They only have to keep making awesome things.

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