Style Classification: Creator Owned Content
Notable Works: Spawn; The Walking Dead
The story of Image Comics inside the comic industry needs no introduction, and even outside the industry needs very little explanation. There's a reason Image is first in these breakdowns: it is the most important independent comic publisher today, having wrested that title from Dark Horse sometime in the last ten years.
Superstar artists from Marvel (and one from DC), upset about having no control over the characters they created, bet on themselves and struck out on their own to create a world in which they would have complete control over their characters and the fruits from other media and licensing properties associated with those books. They could create the kinds of stories they wanted to create, and reap the financial windfalls, if any, all for themselves. It was an experiment in the American Dream, and nearly twenty-five years later, it has proven successful.
It turned Todd McFarlane into a toy magnate (he seemed to have learned the most valuable lesson from George Lucas's Star Wars experiment: the plumpest fruit is merchandising) and spawned probably the most important independent comic book series ever: "The Walking Dead."
If you have an idea for a nifty comic story and the art to boot, ship it off to Image and they will check it out. If they agree it's awesome and could find an audience, they will publish it, cover their costs, and give you everything that's left over. Want to make a TV show? A movie? A mixed-media art-installation that charges french-kisses for entry (which is kinda gross...)? Have at it. Image won't stand in your way, and they'll happily applaud any success you find.
They also won't help you get those ideas off the ground either, but that's just not what they do.
If you're looking for top-notch, independent and bizarre stories, and an environment that is the most friendly to creators, Image Comics is the standard-bearer.