In January, Image Comics announced that it had reached an agreement with the largest studio under its umbrella, Top Cow, to assume the duties of marketing, production and sales. In this consolidation the central Image office took over the responsibilities of production, marketing and sales; editor Phil Smith, Sales/Marketing Director Atom! Freeman, and Publicity Manager Christine Dinh were all let go.
At the same time, the central Image office –- called aptly enough “Image Central” –- announced a change in its own marketing department, with 10-month hire Betsy Gomez heading out and Image Administrative Assistant Sarah deLaine taking the role of public relations and marketing coordinator. Although the initial reaction to this story has been minimal, further talk around the virtual water cooler among journalists, professionals and industry watchers see two things revealed in this – the downsizing of Top Cow’s office in order to maximize profits, but secondarily – and maybe more importantly – is the state of publicity and marketing for the third-largest comics publisher in America. As a journalist covering comics for Robot 6 and other outlets, I’m without a doubt more acutely aware of any changes in the publicity desk; they’re the point-of-contact for journalists big and small, from Comic Book Resources to USA Today. But I’m also aware from my own background working as a publicist and marketing professional outside the comics industry.