Comic News: Boom! Studios Acquires Archaia
Though they each only hold single digit sized chunks of the comic book marketshare, smaller publishers like Image, Dark Horse, Boom, Archaia, Top Shelf, and others consistently churn out some of the best comics on the market while fighting the twin Death Stars of Marvel and DC and their massive, fiscal, historic, and cultural consciousness advantages.
Now, though, two of those “indie” publishers are joining forces with Boom! Studios acquiring Archaia, which will remain as a “distinct imprint” under the Boom! umbrella according to the press release.
Here’s a bit from that announcement:
The addition of Archaia positions BOOM!’s catalog of intellectual property as the largest independent company-controlled comic book and graphic novel library, behind only industry titans DC Entertainment (Warner Bros.) and Marvel Entertainment (Disney). BOOM!’s comic books and graphic novels pioneer a new business model, sharing intellectual property ownership between the company and the creators who generate the content. BOOM!’s Chief Executive Officer and founder, Ross Richie, noted, “Our creator-friendly model ensures that creatives are rewarded financially as they generate the franchises of tomorrow. Archaia operates with the same philosophy and objectives, which is one of the many reasons this combination is such a great fit.”
“We are thrilled and excited to join with BOOM!,” Archaia President and Chief Operating Officer Jack Cummins, who will continue in the same role, said. “BOOM! is very committed to maintaining the brand we’ve worked so hard to build and preserving our relationship with our creators, fans, and retailers. They’re fans of Archaia first and foremost, and are avidly working behind the scenes to expand our market penetration and carry our catalog deeper into retail channels. Archaia readers can expect the same editorial approach that has garnered industry-wide awards but we will have a much stronger platform to deliver our content in all forms and channels. I am personally looking forward to bringing our team together with the fantastic team Ross has built.”
Richie added, “Archaia has a terrific track record for creating award-winning, beautiful books with high production values. Jack Cummins, Stephen Christy, Mark Smylie, and the entire Archaia team have built an amazing publisher. With BOOM!’s resources, Archaia fans will see more of the books they love, while retailers will enjoy better business through stronger trade terms.” The companies also plan to put key items from the Archaia catalog back into print.
So, what does this all mean to you? Well, as a comic fan, it means that Boom! now has a bigger sandbox to play in and thus, they may be both a more attractive outlet for bigger talent and an easier sell to comic shops.
As someone who doesn’t live in NYC or LA, I personally know that it is very hard to find a comic shop that is willing to roll the dice with indie publishers sometimes. Comic shops can be size queens like that, only buying books from boldface creators and big damn publishers while brilliant GNs and comics see their sales languish because they are quietly brilliant and hidden from readers (which brings me to another “yay” point: Boom! promising to put out select reprints from Archaia’s back catalog)
I don’t fault them for this business model, because theirs is a tough business to be in and they need to minimize risk, but people like me, who have mostly defected to digital due to the ease of indie access, might be more inclined to return if our local shops carried more of a variety and not just whatever the big two shit out on a monthly basis.
Beyond that, though, comics aren’t a standalone medium any longer, so the real meat and potatoes of this deal seems to be the size of the IP library that Boom! is getting its hands on, because now they can spin those off into movie projects in an effort to get fat off the profits of such endeavors and make money the Marvel way as well.
Really, they’re already getting their feet wet in that end of the business with Two Guns (which is one of four indie-comic based films with R.I.P.D. and both Kick-Ass 2 and Red 2 coming out this summer) and Archaia has made inroads too, so this is just going to accelerate things and make Boom! a force to reckon with on two fronts.
I can’t wait to see how this ripple shakes the sea over the next few years, but more than that, I just want this to grease the wheels and make a Mouse Guard movie a reality.