Category Archives: Business

AfterShock Announces a Trio of New Hires

AfterShock logo

AfterShock has expanded announcing three new hires for the comic publisher.

Rachel Pinnelas

Rachel Pin­nelas is the Social Community Manager for AfterShock Comics. A comic fan from a young age, she began her pro­fes­sion­al career in the indus­try as a Mar­vel intern while studying architecture, and has worked for both Mar­vel and DC Comics as an editor. She is passionate about lending her expertise, creativity, and fandom knowledge to excite audiences old and new about all things comics.

Charles Pritchett

Charles Pritchett is the Design Manager at AfterShock Comics, spearheading everything from the digital assembly of every title and logo production, to lettering and branding design. Brought up on the wrong side of the tracks in a bustling metropolis in Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada, Charles enjoys a fine stew from time to time and hates to travel.

Katherine Jamison

Katherine Jamison is the Marketing Manager for AfterShock Comics. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and was a freelance writer and editor in a former life. 

The Comic Arts Workshop Goes Virtual

Instructor Ramon Gil
Instructor Ramon Gil

On March 3, The Comic Arts Workshop held it’s last live event in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. That night’s featured guest speaker was Valiant editor Lysa Hawkins. Since then the workshop has hosted David Saylor from Scholastic, Heidi MacDonald from the Beat, Alison Wilgus from Graphic Novel TK, and Jaydee Rosario from Unstoppable Comics. All on Zoom. That’s 4 months worth of events forced online due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Though the reasons might be dark, the shift to virtual events has allowed The Comic Arts Workshop to get attendees from around the world since they no longer have to be held in person. This sudden move to virtual has also given the workshop the impetus and opportunity to beef up the format and content.

It has pivoted beyond moving to virtual events.

The Comic Arts Workshop now offers curated content, mini-coaching sessions, virtual bullpen sessions, an online community, and weekly lessons for folks who want to become confident and prolific comic and graphic novel creators.

Quarantining has been a boon to many businesses with online content delivery models. Netflix, TikTok, Udemy and Facebook are seeing tremendous surges in their user engagement. Ironically, now is a great time to have a web-based business.

The workshop can be found at http://www.comicartsworkshop.com. Enrollment for Fall 2020 closes on August 7.

Dynamite Issues a Statement Regarding Their Stance Over Comicsgate

A little over a week ago, Dynamite Entertainment found itself in hot water after the publisher’s involvement with the harassment group Comicsgate was fully unraveled. What started as anger over covers turned into a revelation the involvement was much deeper. The comic publisher had been releasing variant covers with CG involved individuals for some time now and it was revealed after things had boiled over that Dynamite founder Nick Barrucci had been working with Comicsgate ringleader Ethan Van Sciver in various capacities.

Comicsgate is a harassment campaign presented as a consumer revolt. A conservative, regressive backlash to the world moving forward with equality and generally growing up. You can read more about it here.

Dynamite has officially released a statement regarding their involvement and the fallout from it.

Dynamite Entertainment is a partner in the fight for equality and inclusion. Our company was founded on these core values more than 15 years ago and they are essential to the creative process – the work of visionary artists and entrepreneurs – that we are passionate about. Intolerance has no place in our company or our industry. The impulse behind this brief association was that of helping a friend of many decades and his family, and not how that assistance could potentially affect our valued colleagues, partners, and friends. That association is behind us and this time has strengthened our resolve to continue working with the most diverse talent in creating the best comics possible.

It’s a statement…

What the statement glosses over is the publisher, and more importantly Barrucci’s, actual involvement with the movement that has been ongoing for years. Were they instrumental in getting EVS up and running? Did they connect and hire creators? What other services did they provide? These are all unanswered questions that will haunt the publisher until it comes clean. While being involved with Comicsgate the publisher at the same time was hiring rather progressive creators, some of whom have been targets of CG. It feels like a poor attempt to have their cake and eat it too.

The initial reaction to the statement has been one of skepticism and a general consensus that it’s a weak attempt at a response.

Dynamite and Barrucci need to sit down and answer hard questions to get behind the situation and come clean with their involvement and more importantly show through action their values. As a saying goes, deeds not words, and it’s a saying they should be focusing on as a publisher.

Humanoids Names Matthieu Coppet as Group Chief Operating Officer

Matthieu Coppet

Humanoids has announced today the appointment of Matthieu Coppet as its Group Chief Operating Officer. In this newly created position, Coppet will work directly with Humanoids’ CEO Fabrice Giger to scale the company’s operations. Humanoids recently secured a multimillion-dollar development fund with a strategic partner for the production of film and television content based on Humanoids’ vast IP catalog.

Coppet will supervise the operations of Humanoids’ headquarters in Los Angeles, including overseeing the launching of new business lines, as well as that of the branches in Paris (France) and Tokyo, and across Humanoids’ portfolio of imprints and brands. Humanoids’ catalog spans a varied collection of genres—including science-fiction, thriller, comedy, horror, fantasy, action, adventure, children’s, and more. The company has published some of the most talented and celebrated artists and writers in comics, including Alejandro Jodorowsky, Mœbius, John Cassaday, José Ladrönn, Juan Giménez, and Naoki Urasawa.

In 2019 Coppet got a first hand experience in the gaming industry as a Chief Strategy Officer of Wonder, a game platform startup that was acquired recently by Atari. Before that, Coppet was Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy for Legendary Entertainment.  In this role, Coppet was responsible for targeting and assessing strategic opportunities on a global basis and in advancing such initiatives, including acquiring and growing new divisions. Matthieu joined Legendary in 2010 from UBS where he served as Global Media Strategist overseeing the firm global media equity research practice.

New IDW Publisher Placed on Administrative Leave

IDW Publishing logo

After just five days of being announced as the new publisher of IDW Publishing, Jud Meyers has been placed on administrative leave.

No reason is known right now as to the decision but Meyers previously served as IDW’s global sales director after joining the company in August 2019.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Ezra Rosensaft, IDW CEO, said:

IDW Publishing has decided to put Jud Meyers on administrative leave. President Jerry Bennington will assume his responsibilities as interim publisher at this time.

SUBSUME Media Launches

Subsume

SUBSUME Media has launched today focused on speculative fiction, S.T.E.M., and a goal to provide quality stories and trans-media experiences for readers, students, and clients. The company was founded by Dedren Snead and Marco Lopez. Also onboard are Allison Chaney Whitmore, and Robert Jeffrey II.

The publisher will cover everything from comics to virtual reality workshops with a goal to help marginalized voices be heard.

As a part of their launch, SUBSUME Media has teamed with mobile app developer, Sciberus, to create a comic book series, set within the world of their augmented reality educational game, Armadus. A Kickstarter will be launched later this year for pre-orders of the Armadus #0.

Upcoming titles include

  • Poe – Writer, Creator: Allison Chaney Whitmore, Artist: To be announced – A skeptical young code breaker fights an Edgar-Allan-Poe-themed curse threatening to annihilate her family’s hometown in contemporary Long Island. (Coming Soon)
  • Monday Morning Blues – Writer, Co-Creator: Marco Lopez, Artist, Co-Creator: Vincent Kukua – Five military brats wake up one Monday morning to find they’re the only ones left on the base, while Lovecraftian creatures roam the streets. (Winter 2020)
  • Sorghum & Spear: The Series – Co-writer: Sarah Macklin, Co-writer: Dedren Snead, Artist: To be announced – An African fantasy saga of young girls called to serve their people in a time of war during their ages of innocence. (Coming soon)
  • Sorghum & Spear: The Antillean Islands – Writer: Marco Lopez, Artist: Sean Damien Hill – Anacaona is a princess who dreams of being a warrior. Loiza is a warrior who dreams of any other life but the one she was born into. Soon their worlds will collide when they fight back against generations of tradition. (Coming soon)
  • Soul Nebula: The Consulars – Writer: Robert Jeffrey II, Artist: Matteo Illuminati, Colorist & Letterer: Loris Ravina – In a universe ravaged by war, the crew of the Baiser-Espace seeks to right the hateful and racist wrongs of Earth’s past within the current fractured cosmic landscape. (Winter 2020)
  • Villians and Vinyl – Writer, Co-creator: Greg Burnham, Writer, Co-creator: Dedren Snead, Artist: To be announced – This futuristic, Sci Fi, Hip Hop Saga is a “coming of age” tale that follows Elaine and her crew of misfits as they navigate the streets of Atlanta (2040’s AD) while in search for the perfect sound, they end up finding something way more valuable, something that could change the world as they know it!! (Coming soon)

IDW Publishing Names Jerry Bennington As President, Jud Meyers As Publisher And Rebekah Cahalin As General Manager and Executive Vice President of Operations

IDW Publishing

IDW Publishing has selected industry veterans Jerry Bennington and Jud Meyers as the company’s new President and Publisher, respectively. Rebekah Cahalin has been promoted to General Manager and EVP of Operations, covering both IDW Publishing and IDW Entertainment.

Bennington, who currently serves as IDW Publishing’s EVP of Product Management, brings more than 30 years of industry experience to his new role, He will be tasked with overseeing IDW Publishing’s strategic business units, integrating product cross-platform programs, establishing product growth initiatives with partners, broadening customer experiences to new platforms and expanding the company’s extensive IP portfolio. As EVP of Product Management, Bennington established new business units including IDW Limited and IDW Games, and he increased IDW Publishing’s stable of licensed IPs including the notable additions of  Batman the Animated Series, Dragon Ball Z, Metal Gear Solid, and Usagi Yojimbo. Prior to joining IDW Publishing, Bennington was the President of 3 Point Entertainment where he helped develop specialty licensed merchandise and served as the VP of Marketing for The Upper Deck Company’s Upper Deck Games.

Meyers, who currently serves as IDW Publishing’s Sales Director, will oversee all aspects of production and publication in his new role as Publisher. He will continue IDW’s history of creating quality literature while expanding the company’s reach to new markets worldwide. Meyers started his career in the comic industry at Titan Publishing in London, England, where he helped launch and manage some of the most prestigious comic-book retail stores in the UK, including Forbidden Planet, Virgin Megastore, and Meanwhile Comics. Later, he became owner and co-founder of several comic book stores in Los Angeles and was the recipient of the Will Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award. Meyers also served as the Director of Sales & Marketing at Humanoids Publishing where he helped launch three successful new book imprints and expanded the French publisher’s presence in the U.S. book market.

Cahalin, IDW’s current General Manager | Head of Operations, joined IDW in 2009. She achieved  a series of increasingly important positions within the company’s production, digital production and digital publishing teams highlighted by her work as Digital Publishing Director. In her new position, Cahalin will oversee and integrate  all operations and business activities.

Breaking: Chris Ryall Leaves IDW To Start a New Publishing and Entertainment Venture with Ashley Wood

Chris Ryall

IDW Publishing and Chris Ryall have jointly announced that Ryall is stepping down as President, Publisher and Chief Creative Officer to pursue new business opportunities. Although he is stepping aside from his current roles at IDW, he will continue as an Executive Producer on the Netflix series, Locke & Key, and remain the sole editor on any Locke & Key publishing ventures going forward.

In partnership with Ashley Wood and many of the talented creators he has worked with at IDW, Ryall is launching a new storytelling venture focused on the disparate worlds and characters that he brought to life at IDW Publishing.

Ryall said in the announcement:

Change is often hard, and I will miss this extended family I have worked with for more than 15 years. In the past year alone, we brought on some amazing hires, expanded the scope of many of the departments, and re-focused the foundation of the business to best support the integrated multi-media company that IDW has become. Our collective success with the entertainment team on ‘Locke & Key’ has been a crowning moment for the entire company.  I’m so proud of this special place and the incredible people who work here. I know that I leave IDW perfectly poised for continued success.

During Ryall’s tenure as President and Publisher, IDW Publishing signed a multi-year publishing initiative with the Smithsonian Institution, launched a major program to produce Spanish-language graphic novels for the North American market, transitioned its foreign book distribution business to Penguin Random House and led IDW Publishing to 15 prestigious Eisner Award nominations in 2020, the most of any publisher.

Universal Content Productions Launches UCP Graphic

Universal Content Productions

UCP Graphic is a new initiative from Universal Content Productions focused on publishing graphic novels from “up-and-coming talent.”

The first release will be Proctor Valley Road from Alex Child and Grant Morrison who is co-writing the first five issues. BOOM! Studios is publishing the series.

Proctor Valley Road is about a group of teenage girls suspected in the disappearance of several teenage boys in a 1964 California beach town.

The comic imprint is all about intellectual property and using platforms to develop it across media. Comics could be turned into film, television, or podcasts.

UCP is behind the Netflix adaptation of The Umbrella Academy which is published by Dark Horse and producing Resident Alien for SyFy, another Dark Horse series.

(via Variety)

Estimates Place 2019 Comic and Graphic Novel Sales at $1.2 Billion

In a new joint estimate by Comichron‘s John Jackson Miller and ICv2‘s Milton Griepp, total comics and graphic novel sales to consumers in the U.S. and Canada were approximately $1.21 billion in 2019, an 11% increase over sales in 2018. The increase was due to continued rapid gains in graphic novel sales in the book channel and single-digit growth in sales of periodical comics in comic stores.

One would need to go back to the early 1990s and adjust for inflation to find a similar amount according to the news release.

Sales of kids graphic novels in the book channel, which includes chain bookstores, mass merchants, major online retailers, and Scholastic Book Fairs were once again driving the format. Digital sales were back to 2018 levels as the growth in catalogue titles across major platforms slowed. Sales of periodical comics in comic stores were up mid-single digits.

The continued growth shows there is a high demand for the comics medium giving hope for the current difficult sales climate. Creating demand is not the issue, getting product int he hands of those who want it may be.

The analysts made two changes in methodology that affected estimates for 2019.  First, they began including an estimate of graphic novels sold by comic stores from sources other than Diamond Comic Distributors; past estimates had assumed that sales of graphic novels by Diamond Comic Distributors accounted for nearly all of the graphic novels sold by comic stores. Second, they refined their estimate of Diamond’s North American sales to account for comics shipped from North America to locations beyond the continent, reducing the estimates of sales by North American comic stores accordingly. To some extent, these two changes in methodology offset.

The accompanying infographics, the analysis by Comichron and ICv2 was divided up between periodical comics (what some call “floppies” or “pamphlets”), graphic novels, and digital download-to-own sales.  All print figures are calculated based on the full retail price of books sold into the market, and do not account for discounting or markup. Digital sales do not include subscription-based “all you can read” services.

The “Other” channel in the channel breakdown includes the Newsstand (periodical sales through specialty retail and mass merchant chains) and Crowdfunding (Kickstarter, etc.) channels. This year, those two channels each accounted for roughly half of the “Other” category.

Sources for the information include NPD BookScan, which collects weekly point-of-sale data on print books from over 16,000 locations including e-tailers, chains, mass merchandisers, independent bookstores, and more.  NPD BookScan covers approximately 85% of the U.S. trade print book market.  Some publishers classify titles that are primarily text, or art books, as graphic novels; those titles are removed from the analysis.  The analysis also incorporates information released by Diamond Comic Distributors, the largest distributor of English-language comics and graphic novels in the world, on sales to comic stores.

Information is also gathered from a variety of other sources, including publisher, distributor, and retailer interviews.

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