Magma Comix’s debut at San Diego Comic-Con was apparently too hot to handle setting off alarms at the convention. Literally, the panel was evacuated before it could even begin. But with the fire literally put out, Magma’s most curious followers came back for an intimate look behind the imprint’s return as an independent publisher.
Founder Denton J. Tipton moderated, opening with the remark:
I came to my first San Diego Comic-Con exactly twenty years ago, and it changed my life. That’s the kind of magical place this can be, and as proof, here I am today.
The panel introduced the other principals in the new company: Editor-in-chief Bobby Curnow, Operations Manager Mike Ford, and Sales & Marketing Manager Joel Elad. Each gave their “secret origin stories” for how they came to love the medium of comics, and ended up working in the industry.
We do this for the love of stories in comic form. The catalog will feature new and original fiction for mature audiences.Joel Elad
Originally founded in 2020 as an imprint of legendary magazine Heavy Metal, the newly minted comic book publisher is dedicated to the belief in the value of creativity. Magma Comix creators will be given a fair and transparent deal with advance royalties, as well as first-look deals with partners to be revealed.
The publisher acknowledged challenges and gaps in the current “comic system” which involves pre-ordering months ahead or crowdfunding which can take some time to be fulfilled. This creates a difficult system not just for readers and customers but retailers who must gauge the demand. Add in a splintered distribution and ordering is much more complicated.
Magma plans to simplify this for customers and retailers, reducing risk for retailers, and amplifying the creators. That includes limiting the number of variant covers, creating an easy to understand numbering/format/pricing system so its painless for readers to start, and a website to guide those seeking information.
Magma has mentioned returnability of the first two issues allowing shops to order more and decrease the risk in promoting Magma’s titles. That combined with advance reader copies, the publisher hopes the quality will stand out and be easy for shops to get behind.
They also plan to promote where adults and readers are with samples and loyalty programs as well as building a community through their website, crowdfunding campaigns, international sales, and digital distribution.
The panel was then opened up for questions from the crowd.
When asked how they will face the challenges in the market, the publisher will offer direct market support through a multi-distributor approach with simple, low-risk ordering for retailers, with a limited number of variant covers and returnability.
A crowd member pointed out that the panelists were all white men, which was not lost on them.
If you look at our editorial track record, you’ll see our commitment to supporting different voices.
Tipton added that their publicist is “the amazing Melissa Meszaros” and more team members are coming, which will reflect Magma’s commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion.
Magma Comix will announce projects in the coming months with legendary creators and talented newcomers, and teased an innovative program to help aspiring creators get published.