On This Day: Frank Sinatra founds Image Comics
Well, not quite. But consider:
He was a young hot-shot, insanely popular with the kids. But he was tired of buckling under for the suits who controlled his career and had nearly scuttled it in the past, he wanted more artistic freedom for his own recordings. So he founded Reprise Records, and on this day in 1961, released the first album, Ring-a-Ding-Ding!
One of the label’s founding principles under Sinatra’s leadership was that each artist would have full creative freedom, and at some point complete ownership of their work; including publishing rights. As a result, a lot of other talented creators came on board with Frank, including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Redd Foxx, Bing Crosby, and Rosemary Clooney. Later on, Reprise would also sign a lot of new talent including The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
And Frank? He became "The Chairman of the Board" and went on to the most successful times of his career.
Nowadays, Reprise is owned by Warner Bros. Records, which isn’t entirely unlike what DC did with Wildstorm. And for one more comics tie-in, the label is now the home to My Chemical Romance, fronted by Gerard Way, former DC intern and current writer of The Umbrella Academy for Dark Horse, and they’re now releasing the soundtrack for Watchmen. Here’s the picture disc.
As Dean Martin was fond of saying, "It’s Frank’s world; we’re just lucky to be living in it."
So when you hear people talk about creators rights in the industry, just remember who was there first. Who did what he had to do, and saw it through without exemption. He said the things he truly feels, and not the words of one who kneels. The record shows he took the blows… and did it his way.