Marvel has announced that it is launching Icon, a new imprint for creator-owned and licensed properties. The first two properties signed for the new imprint are David Mack's Kabuki and Brian Bendis' Powers, both formerly published by Image. There are five SKUs from the two properties planned for release in July:
Powers #1 and #2
Powers: Sellouts trade paperback
Kabuki #1 (variant)
Icon will replace Epic as Marvel's mark for creator-owned properties. The attempted revival of Epic last year, which produced Mark Millar's Trouble (see 'Epic Returns as Creator Packaged Line'), was brief, and ended shortly after the departure of then-publisher Bill Jemas. In addition to creator-owned properties, Marvel will be pursing licensed properties; the announcement listed G.I. Joe and Transformers as examples of such properties from the past.
Although Kabuki is a venerable and moderately successful title, Image will undoubtedly feel the loss of Powers more. Powers has been coming out more recently, and the Powers collections have been the best-selling trade paperbacks ever from Image Central (see 'Image's 'Powers' Growing').
Image has already been losing market share recently; the recent move of the Image partners to replace Jim Valentino with Erik Larsen as publisher appears to have been taken to move Image's publishing in a more commercial direction (see 'Erik Larsen Takes Over as Image Publisher').