The growing wave of worker organization has officially touched the comic book industry. Artists and writers from Image Comics have come together to form Comic Book Workers United, and are now requesting voluntary recognition from the company and the comic book industry.
“We, the workers of Image Comics, have formed a union,” reads the statement.
“For years, comics publishing workers have watched our professional efforts support creators and delight readers. Sadly, we have also watched that same labor be taken for granted at best and exploited at worst. Keeping our heads above water was the new normal before the pandemic and since its onset we have been expected to take on even larger workloads with fewer resources.”
Some of the concrete goals the union hopes to achieve include a “plan to address the overall lack of diversity in both general staff and management,” the continuation or remote work, pay and workload transparency, as well as improved career mobility. The final goal proposes a collective voting action against creators “found to have engaged in abuse, sexual assault, racism and xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, ableism, etc,” which could result in cancelling their publication.
In their statement, the workers say they were inspired after seeing Image Comics co-founder Jim Valentino celebrate union accomplishments on social media. They say they found inspiration in those who created Image Comics as a way for comic artists and writer to retain ownership and more creative control over their work than what’s offered at Marvel and DC.
“In the early stages of organizing, we looked to Image’s founders for inspiration. Their dreams of self-determination and more equitable treatment in the industry they loved and helped make successful are also our dreams,” the statement reads.
“We are honored to grow their legacy by taking this step to give all comic book industry professionals, regardless of title, the same rights, guarantees, security, and protections which the founders sought when they broke away from the big two to start their own company.”