Tag Archives: lion forge

Graphic Policy Weekly Episode 1: Pilot

Welcome to the launch of Graphic Policy Weekly, our new weekly show going over the biggest comic news out there.

On this debut episode:

  • Last week and this week’s comics!
  • Marvel Celebrates 80 Years
  • Dark Horse and Netflix cut a first look deal

Main story:

  • Polarity, Lion Forge, and Oni Press, this past week’s biggest comic news. We dissect what it means, why it happened, and why you shouldn’t believe the spin.

Polarity’s Oni Acquisition Leaves Staff Scrambling for Jobs, to Pay Bills, and Medical Coverage

While some were praising the acquisition of Oni Press by Lion Forge‘s new parent company Polarity, there was a very human side to the story as individuals were laid off just hours after the announcement. That’s even after the initial press announcement article said staffing decisions were still being made about that.

While many rightly pointed out those fired were women, queer, disabled, and people of color, they are also human beings with bills to pay and medical expenses to cover. They need our help in the short term and jobs in the long term.

While an official butcher’s bill isn’t know, we’ve been told from those in the know that most of Lion Forge’s staff has been laid off along with some of Oni’s. In essence, Oni was acquired to absorb Polarity’s comic publishing arm and run that operation out of their Portland office.

The firings undermine the quote from a damage control interview where Polarity/Lion Forge founder David Steward II has said:

…there are things that we have to do, unfortunately, from a business standpoint to make sure that the organization stays healthy and that we’re able to continue to keep on our mission going forward.

Part of the initial announcement of Polarity was one of investment and funding. While the elimination of redundant positions would be expected in a merger/acquisition, this mass layoff, including another 11 laid off recently at Lion Forge, signals a business hemorrhaging money, a comics and entertainment dot com bubble in the making. It’s a sign of weakness, not strength. It also has become the story of the acquisition.

It looks like those fired are again in the double digits leaving talent out their for other publishers to snatch up including award winning creators. Some of that talent directly responsible for the diversity in creators and content that the company claims is a priority.

The layoffs also make little sense unless production is also being cut, otherwise you’d have a smaller staff producing the content of two publishers. No matter the careful spin by Polarity, there’s many questions they haven’t answered.

Below are just some of those looking for work or need our help to help cover medical expenses (if there are more, please comment below or contact us so we can add them):

This is just some of those laid off and the real people behind corporate decisions beyond their control.

There’s much more to come to this story.

Layoffs Have Already Begun Due to the Oni/Lion Forge Merger

Update: We’ve been told of many more layoffs but attempting to confirm the extent so as to not exaggerate. If anyone has more specific details or can confirm what we’ve been told, please contact us.

The press release and announcement isn’t even 2 hours old and already staff are losing their jobs due to the merger of Oni Press and Lion Forge. We’re told there’s multiple staffers who have been let go of the around 40 staff involved. In the initial story staffing decisions were mentioned but it’s happening much sooner than expected.

Mergers will lead to staffing cuts as positions overlap but decisions can take weeks, months, or longer to shake out. The Disney/Fox merger for instance is expected to cause up to 10,000 jobs lost over the next year as decisions are made.

We’ll let the Tweets below do the talking.

https://twitter.com/swindlesoiree/status/1126173121348694016

Lion Forge and Oni Press Merge Under Polarity

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.

From Comics to Beyond, David Steward II Launches Polarity

David Steward II

News was revealed today that Lion Forge founder David Steward II has been quietly expanding his portfolio over the past year to meet the demands of today’s modern audiences. The goal is to go beyond comics but also television, movies, streaming, and gaming. In early 2018, Steward formed Polarity, a holding company and investment platform and began recruiting a new team of professionals.

The focus is authentic content for a global audience and Polarity has recruited individuals beyond the traditional Hollywood roots.

To form Polarity, Steward sought out talent from the business world to augment the creative talent led by himself and Carl Reed, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of several companies in the Lion Forge brand family.  Polarity oversees operations for the portfolio and pursues new business opportunities to expand the company’s offerings.  

David recruited Edward Hamati, Polarity’s President, in early 2018. The two previously worked together at a private equity firm. Hamati also leads the firm’s corporate development activities including mergers and acquisitions and investments.

The core management team includes Shonagh Clements (Chief Legal Officer) and Angie Smith (Chief Financial Officer), well regarded industry professionals and leaders. On the portfolio operations side, the team includes Chip Schafer (VP, B2B services focus) and Rick Johnson (VP, publishing focus).

Polarity is based in St. Louis, MO with an office in Boston, MA.

Lion Forge Heads to C2E2 with Signings and Panels

Lion Forge is heading to C2E2 and you’ll find them at booth #317 for multiple signings throughout the show, including the creative team behind the recently release graphic novel, GLINT!

Friday, March 22
11AM – 12PM: Sam Sattin & Ian McGinty (GLINT)
1PM – 2PM: Gene Ha (Mae)
5PM – 6PM:  Sam Sattin & Ian McGinty (GLINT)

Representation in Graphic Storytelling: From the Comic Shop to the Tabletop

Date: Fri, Mar 22, 2019
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: S403

Lion Forge Comics strives to publish comics and more that anyone, regardless of background, ethnicity or gender identification can connect with. With multiple imprints, including an entire line of books for younger readers, and one of the most diverse superhero universes in comics history, the St. Louis publisher makes good on that promise every Wednesday. Join Lion Forge’s Devin Funches and Christina “Steenz” Stewart, along with writer Amy Chu (Summit), artist Gene Ha (Mae), Ben FisherEmily Whitten, and Michelle Nguyen, the team behind The Underfoot, as well asSamuel Sattin and Ian McGinty (GLINT), for a look at how Lion Forge truly publishes “comics for everyone.”

Saturday, March 23
12PM – 1PM: Sam Sattin & Ian McGinty (GLINT)
2PM – 3PM: Gene Ha (Mae)
4PM – 5PM: Sam Sattin & Ian McGinty (GLINT)
6PM – 7PM: Amy Chu (Summit)

Sunday, March 24
11AM – 12PM: Sam Sattin & Ian McGinty (GLINT)
12PM–1PM: Amy Chu (Summit)
2PM – 3PM: Sam Sattin & Ian McGinty (GLINT)

And on the C2E2 SyFy Wire Live Stage:

Friday: Gene Ha–11:30 – 12:30PM Interview & Live Drawing
Friday: Sam Sattin and Ian McGinty–1:45 – 2PM
Saturday: Ben Fisher, Emily Whitten, and Michelle Nguyen–11:00 – 11:15AM

Lion Forge Reveals the Release Date and Cover for Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu’s Mooncakes

Following this past weekend’s American Library Association Midwinter conference in Seattle, WA, Lion Forge has announced Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu’s Mooncakes will be released in print for the first time in October of 2019. The series is a queer Chinese-America fantasy romance.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. 

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. 

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

Mooncakes began online in 2015 and has been updated on the first and fifteenth of each month since. Lion Forge first announced its publication in 2017, and today reveals both this much anticipated collection’s brand-new cover and publication date of October 2, 2019 in comic shops, and October 15 in bookstores. Mooncakes will resume online on February 14, with pages uploaded weekly ahead of the print release this fall.

Mooncakes

Joel Christian Gill’s Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride Comes to Lion Forge

Lion Forge has announced the publication of the next book by Joel Christian Gill released in time for Black History Month 2019!

Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride is a fun imagined account of a young Bessie Stringfield, a true adventurer and one of the first African-American women to travel solo across the United States on a motorcycle.

Have you ever been told that you’re not enough? That you’re not strong enough, tall enough, or fast enough? Bessie was told she was not enough.

Fast Enough combines an imagined story of Bessie Stringfield as a young girl with historical facts about the real Bessie, and an essential read for parents and children alike! This must-read picture book arrives in stores in February of 2019, and deserves a place on bookshelves in libraries, living rooms, and classrooms everywhere.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here and we’ve got lots of geeky things we’ve got planned. What are you all doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the week day to end and weekend to begin, here’s some news from around the web.

The Wrap – Jaime Reyes ‘Blue Beetle’ Latino Superhero Movie in Development at DC and Warner Bros – Good. This is a smart move.

ICv2 – Lion Forge Restructuring – We’ve been hearing rumors.

CBR – Black Lightning Showrunner Faces Domestic Violence, Copyright Lawsuit – …

iO9 – Adorable Into the Spider-Verse Heroes From Build-a-Bear Workshop Have Arrived – Hell yes!!!

Stiletto from Palle Schmidt is Out from Lion Forge in March 2019

Lion Forge gives comic book fans another reason to be thankful this holiday season, with news that the 2013 hard-boiled crime noir series Stilettofrom writer/artist Palle Schmidt, will be translated and expanded for release in the United States next year!

Additionally, the St. Louis–based publisher of comics for everyone unveils a brand-new storytelling format with this series to help expand the serialized reading experience, with three action-packed 48-page issues at just $5.99. This will give fans and retailers a low-risk way to jump on board with a brand-new original series! In addition to value pricing, Lion Forge will offer the first issue of this limited series as FULLY RETURNABLE to retailers!

A crime story with a twist. The brutal slaying of two police officers guarding a material witness pin detectives Alphonse and Maynard against their toughest adversary yet. But as they get further into their investigation, they uncover a leak inside the police department known only as “Stiletto.”

What appears to be a gritty police drama takes unpredictable turns as our heroes race against the clock to solve this double homicide and flush out the mole that puts them all at risk to the criminal underworld.

Stiletto will be released in March 2019. This three-issue limited series features a brand-new expanded 48-page reading experience at a value price of $5.99, with the first issue being offered to retailers as fully returnable.

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