Rumors have been swirling of buyouts and mergers in the comics publishing world for some time and this year it looks like some of that is finally play out with today’s announcement that Lion Forge and Oni Press have announced a merger. Polarity, the parent company of Lion Forge, will become the majority owner of the new combined entity, with James Lucas Jones serving as president and publisher and the Oni team leading creative and business operations.
The combination of the two companies creates an industry player focused on creator-owned, cutting-edge licensed partnerships and original content. Both companies are known for engaging diverse and under-served audiences. In March 2019, Oni Press held 0.74% of the dollar share and 0.64% of the unit share for Diamond Comic Distributors. In 2018, the publisher made up 0.83% of the dollar share and 0.54% of the unit share.
The deal, which streamlines and concentrates the editorial, marketing, production and operations in Portland, OR, was orchestrated by Polarity president, Edward Hamati, who oversees administration and corporate development for Polarity.
As part of this transition, Joe Nozemack is stepping down as president and will move to a board and advisory role with the company. Sarah Gaydos will be serving as editor in chief of the new company. The staffing of the two companies is still up in the air as both have about 20 employees.
The move comes after the announcement of Polarity, Lion Forge’s parent company and its focus on expanding its reach into other media such as games, television, and film.