Oregon Public Broadcasting has confirmed Image Comics will move from Berkeley, Calif. to Portland, Ore. by early next year. Image publisher Eric Stephenson told OPB that a big part of the decision was due to the culture of the Bay Area changing so much. He said, “it’s become a lot more of a very corporate place.”
The arrival of Image, the third largest comics publisher, will further establish Portland as an important hub of comic-focused creativity. The City of Roses is already home to Dark Horse, Oni Press, and Top Shelf. Portland also welcomed the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in June of this year.
Portland provides access to a pool of creators who are already part of the Image roster. “We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, but hopefully better, thanks to our proximity to creative people,” Stephenson said.
Dozens of creators call the city home including Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Greg Rucka, Joshua Williamson, Kurt Busiek and many others.
The move makes a great deal of financial sense. In the interview, Stephenson said the consideration of rent, wages, and healthcare all played a role in making the decision. The cost savings could allow the company to do more as it seeks to solidify its double-digit market share.
Image Expo unlikely to return to San Francisco
San Francisco has hosted four Image Expos over the years, but this year the company chose to try a new city and partnered with Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con. Stephenson said Portland could be in consideration for the next Image Expo but, in the interview, was careful to note the city already has two successful comic conventions. These factors combined with San Francisco losing a significant amount of convention space in 2017 as the Moscone Center enters a significant renovation phase likely means Image Expo won’t return to our backyard anytime soon.