Partner added as of 2010
A company founded by seven legendary freelance illustrators and writers of comic books on the idea that comics are owned by the creator rather than the company itself. Seven very popular and famous creators at Marvel Comics were unhappy that their artwork and even characters that they had created were being heavily marketed and exploited while they, themselves received little to no financial restitution in exchange.
Apparently they approached the company about this and when denied, they chose to leave and form Image Comics instead.
Image itself owns no intellectual property except the company trademarks: it's name and logo. Each Image partner would founded his own studio (Whilce Portacio published his Wetworks title through Jim Lee's Wildstorm imprint due to personal issues involving an illness in the family), which published under the Image banner but was autonomous from any central editorial control.
Initially, the comics were produced through Malibu Comics; a small but established publishing company that was sympathetic with Image's position on creator ownership. Malibu provided administrative, production, distribution, and marketing support until 1993.
While originally highly popular and generating sales numbers that surpassed anything that Marvel Comics, DC, or Valiant were able to achieve since the 1970s, few of the creators were able to keep to a strict publishing schedule due to their inexperience in business, management, and marketing fields causing titles to be shipped weeks to even months late.
The concept of creator owned comic books with no editorial control did result in a number of other comic book artists and writers to begin using Image to publish their own series such as Sam Kieth (The Maxx), Dale Keown (Pitt), Jae Lee (Hellshock), and the team of Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross (Astro City) and a number of established self-published comic book series such as Jeff Smith's Bone and Colleen Doran's A Distant Soil also began using the company to publish their work.
While some studios have left Image (Wildstorm Productions and Extreme Studios) the company has grown to include a partnership with Robert Kirkman, the first partner to be added since the founding of Image.
Image has risen to challenge Dark Horse Comics and IDW Publishing for the position of the third largest publisher after Marvel and DC. As of 2011 the majority of titles Image publishes in a given month are non-studio productions.
It's best known series continues to be Spawn, the Savage Dragon, the Darkness, Witchblade, and the Walking Dead.