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Robert Kirkman Launches New Image Comics Imprint Skybound

Robert Kirkman became a household name in comics by way (in part) of an invincible teen hero and legions of undead, but to expand his latest venture, the writer is turning to a “Witch Doctor.”

Yesterday the New York Times revealed that in the wake of his successes both in comics and in television with the upcoming “The Walking Dead” series on AMC, Kirkman is packing up his properties and shifting them to his very own Image Comics imprint by the name of Skybound. Not only will the creator encapsulate his own creations under the imprint, he’s also begun recruiting new talent with the intention of offering creators advance payments and a marketing push for their titles in exchange for a partnership stake in things like their property’s publication and licensing rights down the line. Skybound’s first project? “Witch Doctor,” a supernatural horror medical drama by Portland, Ore. creators Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner.Set to debut at Comic-Con, “Witch Doctor” originated as a simple portfolio piece, but has since evolved well beyond its creator’s earliest aspirations.

“Lukas and I got together because both of us needed a portfolio piece to help us get comics work – we were thinking 16 pages, something just long enough to tell a satisfying story and just short enough to be easy-ish to produce,” explained Seifert in an e-mail to ComicsAlliance, “I kept tossing ideas to him, but the one that I kept coming back to was the idea that turned into ‘Witch Doctor.’ Really quickly that snowballed from a 16-page portfolio piece into something we both needed to make, whether or not we could get a publisher to support us.”

The Times article explains the Kirkman found the duo’s work online via an art piece Ketner had illustrated for the Willamette Week a few years back, but the pair has stayed busy between their initial communication with Kirkman and their freshly-inked deal with Skybound.

“We’ve always had amazing luck with catching publishers’ eyes. Scott Allie shopped us for a potential story in “MySpace Dark Horse Presents” the very first weekend our first issue was out (Stumptown Comics Fest 2008 in Portland), and he and the other Dark Horse folks have always been big supporters of ours,” wrote Seifert, “Lukas has gotten work based on ‘Witch Doctor’ from Dark Horse and Top Shelf, and we’ve had a lot of attention from a handful of publishers, including folks who didn’t think the book was right for them but liked what they saw. We also got a couple offers for ‘Witch Doctor,’ including one from one of the larger indy publishers… but then Robert came along.”

Skybound is yet to announce further titles or creative teams, but with “Witch Doctor” set for a Thursday introduction at Comic-Con, more information about the new Image imprint and its titles could very well be on the way.

[Via The New York Times]

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