Image Comics Workers Win Union Election in Historic First for Comics Industry

After management failed to voluntarily recognize the union, Image workers have won an NLRB election to become the first unionized comics company.
A screenshot of the first issue of Spawn
Image Source: Image Comics

Today the workers of Image Comics voted 7-2 in favor of unionizing with the Communications Workers of America. Previously, management refused to voluntarily recognize what is now, officially, the first union in comics.

Comic Book Workers United, the union of Image Comics workers, previously told Motherboard that it had a supermajority of workers eligible to vote.

Screen Shot 2022-01-06 at 5.01.41 PM.png

It’s appropriate that Image is the first comics shop to unionize, despite the fact that the company didn’t recognize the union and has generally been reticent to say much about it. As we wrote in November:

“Image was founded in 1992 as a response to the predatory relationship between publishers and creators. Superstar artists working for the traditional publishing duopoly of Marvel and DC, inspired in part by the creators’ rights and self-publishing movements of the two immediately preceding generations—which included, at one point, a union drive led by legendary artist Neal Adams—wanted more control over their working conditions and intellectual property. When they didn’t get it, they left and founded Image.”

 "Earlier this morning the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and National Labor Relations Board vote results were tallied, 7 - 2, in favor of unionization,” a representative from Image Comics told Motherboard, regarding the successful union vote. “Everyone at Image is committed to this process and we look forward to continuing to work together on this."

Workers previously told Motherboard they were unionizing because of job precarity during the pandemic, because they want to push for greater diversity at the company, and greater transparency into the company’s operations. The union’s list of goals is posted on their website.

Image Workers, and CWA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update: This story was updated to add a response from Image Comics.