In a merger that seems to have come out of nowhere, comic publishers Devil’s Due and 1First Comics will be merging into a new studio. The deal merges the two company’s studios, infrastructure, operations, and comic libraries. Both publishers located in Chicago, have been developing more than two dozen titles over the last year. The new series will begin shipping in September. Through the end of the year the imprint will release six original graphic novels and launch five original monthly series, as well as ship trade collections of some of each company’s fan favorite titles.
Starting in September all titles from 1First Comics and Devil’s Due Entertainment will ship under the Devil’s Due / 1First Comics label, available to retailers through Diamond Comic Distributors. Titles will also be available to fans and retailers directly from the publisher. Devil’s Due had announced in May that it’d be turning to a digital first model for some of their series.
1First Comics was founded in 1983 and had a run until 1991. It produced well known series such as American Flagg!, Grimjack, Nexus, Badger, Dreadstar, and more. The company also had a few high profile lawsuits. One against Marvel Comics claiming they flooded the market with titles in order to shit out new companies, and another against a printer for “anti-competitive activities.”
The company was acquired as part of a public offering in 1992, and co-founder Ken F. Levin moved into working with some of the comics industry’s top writers individually. After the new owners allowed the company’s publishing to linger, Levin reacquired 1First Comics.
In 2011 Levin announced the return of 1First with new projects, and this September will see its return to North American bookstores through Diamond Distributors. Its first year of releases will include both original monthly series and original graphic novels from such creators as Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner, Dan Schaffer, The Fillbach Bros., Orlando Harding, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, Sean Azzopardi, the Soska Twins, Steve Stern, Dan Cote, Matt & John Yuan, Dan Dougherty & Raf Nieves, Omaha Perez, Dan Schaffer, Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus, John Lucas, Annie Wu, Kelley Jones, Glenn Farrington, Mike Baron, David Hahn, Val Mayerik, Max Allan Collins, and a host of others.
After being founded in 1999, Devil’s Due was relaunched in 2012 after various issues. Since the relaunch it has built a diverse line of independent and creator-owned titles, with successes including Squarriors, Solitary, Plume, Scorch, Mercy Sparx, Yumiko: Curse of the Merch-Girl, and Tales of Mr. Rhee.