Tagged: Boom Studios

Ed Catto: Boost Your Local Comic Shop!

The world is changing quickly, but I think everyone always says that. Back in high school, my fantastic Latin teacher, Mr. Guido, had us read writings of Romans from 2 AD or something. The gist of it was “the kids these days… they have no respect.” Sounds like what my parents said about my generation (they were right) or what adults say now about the younger generation.

But one part of the world is changing rapidly, and that’s the world of retail. On one hand the stores I ventured into this Yuletide Season seemed really crowded. My wife, who works in retail, was working hard as well. And so my parochial experiences didn’t really prepare me for the dire national news about retail chains; specifically, that 100 Macy’s, 108 K-Marts and 42 Sears stores would be closing this year.

That’s a huge number. Having moved back to a smaller community from the Metro NYC area, I can see how a department store closing like this can fundamentally impact a small town.

When we focus the retail lens on Geek Culture, quite a few comics and cards stores ended up struggling during the last few months of 2016.

You’d think that with big movie blockbusters, TV hits, strong merchandising, card game growth and some of the most creative comics being published in years, comic shop retailers would have it made. But they don’t. It’s still a tough business. There are many reasons and they all are passionately discussed. To say that Marvel’s recent comic product has been underperforming is simplistic, but there’s no denying that it’s a piece of the puzzle.

Christy Blanch is an owner of Aw Yeah Comics store in Muncie, Indiana. But she wears a lot of hats. She’s also a comics scholar, an educator, a columnist at the 13th Dimension and a comics writer. She shared her insights on it all.

“I am not really sure why comic shops are having such a tough time right now. It should be the opposite – we should be busier than ever,” said Blanch. “Maybe people don’t want to read about the characters they can see on the television and movie screens. I just don’t know because besides superheroes there are so many amazing books out right now. It could be that other places are selling comics or Amazon is so easy. But for me, the experience of comics is one that involves people. Checking out what’s new, talking to other people about what they are reading – it’s the touch and the smell and the visuals that get me. Comics shops are cultural touchstones – I believe that.”

And as comic shops are cultural touchstones, recent pop culture events spark conversations. “When Carrie Fisher passed, so many people came into the store just to mourn with us. It moved me,” continued Blanch. “People thanked us for being there. That’s why I do what I do. That’s why I don’t plan on going anywhere. As Commander Peter Quincy Taggart said in GalaxyQuest, “Never Give Up. Never Surrender.”

Given these retail realities, I was especially impressed with Ross Richie’s recent Boost Your Local Comic Store campaign. Ross is the entrepreneurial CEO of Boom! Studios. He takes his job seriously and he takes the industry seriously, but he never takes himself too seriously. He’s a big, loud, smiling guy with both vision and a laugh that are both infectious.

Ross Richie must have had an epiphany (right before the liturgical Epiphany) and promptly sat down at his laptop and recorded an upbeat, call-to-action video. It’s not slick. It’s not overly produced. It doesn’t’ look like the executive team at Boom! Studios spent days and days planning it. It does look like one guy took the time be creative and issue a call to arms. The effort is called Boost Your Local Comic Store.

Via social media, it’s easy to see that this idea has caught on. Fans and collectors have been posting their additional purchases and shout outs to local stores.

Sparked by Richie, I visited two local comic shops last night: Larger than Life and Play the Game, Read the Story. During these visits, I bought a couple of comics for two co-workers: A Valiant Comic for a lapsed Valiant reader and Hawkeye #1 for a mom to give to her daughter, who likes archery. Gee, it sure felt good.

“I’m not sure how comic shops will survive but I know we have to survive, for the reasons I said above. Plus I’m not letting my kids live in a world without comic shops. They are the happiest place on earth. I love them,” added Blanch. “All I know is that I will do everything in my power to help comics shops, not just mine, but all of them, survive and hopefully flourish.”

 

Martha Thomases: Graphic Novels Save The Day!

A few years ago, the conventional wisdom was that physical books (and therefore, bookstores) were endangered species. All of us were going to get our reading material beamed directly into our various devices, if not our actual eyeballs, and there would no longer be physical books to buy.

This isn’t happening. Print book sales are up this year.

Among the categories helping to sell hard copies of books (besides coloring books, and is that still a thing?) is graphic novels. Sales of graphic novels were up twelve percent last year.

That is a lot.

A great deal of the credit for the book market success of graphic novels is Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series, which continues to sell and sell and sell. Raina Telgemeirer is another dynamo. Both are considered to create books for the children’s market (or young adult). While this market is not growing as quickly as it was a few years ago, it’s still a very profitable segment of the business.

However, kids’ books aren’t the whole story. All kinds of graphic novels are doing well. Why are they selling so many in the book market that isn’t necessarily kind to actual, physical books with pages? I have my theories.

For one thing, a lot of people (myself included) have not yet accustomed themselves to reading comics on a screen. It can be difficult to read lettering on a small device, and blowing up the image means you don’t get to see the entire page. To me, that diminishes the experience. Note that changing the size of the type in a prose book, especially the mysteries and thrillers I tend to pack into my Kindle to read on airplanes and in hotel rooms, makes no difference whatsoever in the experience.

People are busy. People have trouble unwinding at the end of a stressful day. A graphic novel, all things being equal, provides as rich and nuanced a reading experience as a prose book, but more quickly.

(Yes, I can think of a zillion exceptions. Please feel free to list your favorites in the comments section.)

Graphic novels are the new coffee table books. Along with collections of great art, great photography or great travel destinations, graphic novels demonstrate to your guests that you are a literate sophisticate who appreciates the finer things in life.

This is all lovely and satisfying to those of us who love the medium, but it isn’t all roses. While graphic novels are selling very well, individual comic books seem to be less successful. This means trouble for the comic book stores that were designed to sell individual comics to fans on a weekly basis. Now, I love my local stores, and I am a regular customer at several. It’s hard for me to pass up an opportunity to buy books in any form. However, I understand why a reader new to the medium might prefer to buy collected editions of comic book stories. It’s simply more satisfying as a purchase. The parallel case might be someone who prefers to binge on a whole season of a television show instead of waiting week to week.

This is where Amazon, which I generally love (they have everything!), gets to be a problem. Because they buy in enormous quantities, they can sell graphic novels for much less than your local shop. And if your local shop isn’t selling weekly pamphlets, and if it can’t sell graphic novels either, then it won’t be open for much longer.

I love my local comic book shops. They are places that understand me. And as the graphic storytelling medium has grown to cover more kinds of storytelling, they understand even more people.

Ross Richie of Boom! Studios has a solution. He urges everyone to buy a graphic novel from our local comic book shops.

It’s a great idea. I’m going to do it, even though it means that I will have to schlep a heavy book around with me all day. Along with yarn, water, money, glasses, pens, phone, tablet and all the dreck of modern life. It’s a small sacrifice to make to keep my pals in business.

Molly Jackson: City Love

Cover Photo Strange Attractors

I’m tired of the big two. Frankly, the latest controversies have burned me out on them. I’d rather talk about the exciting news happening in indie comics, which is such an interesting and varied world unto itself. A favorite graphic novel of mine, Strange Attractors by Charles Soule, is getting new life as a limited series run (available today!) thanks to Boom! Studios. You make recognize him from his work on Daredevil, Star Wars, Death of Wolverine, or even She-Hulk, but before all of that, he was doing amazing creator-owned work.

The very basic premise of Strange Attractors is how chaos math can predict events over a period of time. Main characters Dr. Brownfield and Heller Wilson use this math to help keep New York City running. It’s a regularly used trope that New York City runs on its own clock. This story proves that true with mathematical equations and complexity maps.

StrangeAttractors_001_A_MainOriginally released as a graphic novel in 2013 by Archaia, Strange Attractors is being broken up and rereleased as a limited series event. Since there are plenty of fans like myself who read it on the first go-around, they have enticed us back with an additional story about Dr. Brownfield in his youth, titled Antithesis. I know that a big reason this was released is Soule’s skyward climb in popularity. But to see his indie, and in my opinion best, works getting attention is wonderful.

Almost three years to the day, I attended the Strange Attractors release party with fellow ComicMix columnist Joe Corallo. By this time I had seen the complexity maps grow and change over the past two years at conventions and had the story pitched to me a couple times. Excitement couldn’t stop me, and I had made a point to share that enthusiasm with Joe and any friends I could show it too.

By now, you might be wondering why Strange Attractors deserves your attention. In a nutshell, this is such a unique story. The use of math (that normal goes of most people’s heads) should be a negative but it works so seamlessly that it may almost reinvigorate your interest in math! But the real draw to this story is how at its core, this is really a love story with New York City.

In most stories involving New York City, the city is just a backdrop for the story or gets destroyed. But in this tale, New York City is a character in itself. While the city doesn’t have any actual lines, the character development is there through the motions of the protagonists. Soule doesn’t breathe life into New York City; he just uncovers how it was alive all along. To see the city that I love given life is so touching and wonderful.

This is a story that feels great to read. If you like math, New York City, amazing art, the coolest looking maps you would ever see, or just want something new to read, check out Strange Attractors. I believe anyone would find this story as wonderful as I do.

Martha Thomases: So This Is Thanksgiving

Bugs Bunny“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep

I count my blessings instead of sheep

And I fall asleep counting my blessings”

“Count Your Blessings” by Irving Berlin

Next week is Thanksgiving, and so I’m trying to remind myself that I have many reasons to be thankful. First, of course, I am grateful for my family and my friends (human and otherwise) who make my life so entertaining.

But you didn’t come here to read about how fabulous my life is. You want to read about comics. And so, I present to you, Constant Reader, those things about comics for which I am most grateful.

  • Image Comics. Back in the 1990s, I agreed with the founding principles of Image (creator ownership and control) but didn’t really like what they published, which to me looked like a lot of scratchy drawings of women with gigantic tits and tiny little ankles. Now, however, I find myself buying a few Image titles every week. Was I wrong in my original impression? Maybe. Are they publishing a more diverse list now? Definitely. In any case, they provide me with more joy.
  • Boom! Studios. I confess that I originally mostly picked up the Boom! titles when Mark Waid worked there, because I strive to be loyal. He is no longer editing their books, but they publish a lot of things I like. I told you how much I like Americatown. I started Last Sons of America and that looks promising, too. They publish lots of cool stuff, including Last Sons of America, Adventure Time, Lumberjanes, and Mouse Guard. You could do worse.
  • Forbidden Planet. I am fortunate enough to live in a place where there are many different comic book stores near my home, and a high percentage of them are excellent. However, for more than three decades, Forbidden Planet has been the one I go to most often. A lot of that is location (they are near the subway station that goes where I need to go on Wednesdays), but I also like the vibe. When I go, I’m greeted by name. The folks at the check-out know I want a paper bag, not plastic. They recommend books they think I’ll like. Some people have a favorite bar where everybody knows their names. I have Forbidden Planet. I hope you have a local comic shop that makes you feel just as special.
  • Kids. Every day, there are opportunities to turn kids on to the fun of comic books. After I get my stack on Wednesdays, I go to the hospital where I volunteer on the pediatric floor. I’m there to teach knitting, but there are some kids who don’t want to knit. If I have a Simpsons comic or another age-appropriate title with single-issue story, I’ll often give it away. Every child, even those without hair or with a port in his chest, lights up in beauty with a glorious smile at the sight of a new comic.
  • The revenge of the nerds. Sometimes I wonder if comics are really mainstream now, or if I simply live a life in which that can pass for truth. But, really, there is at least one television show based on a comic book on prime time just about every day. “Superhero” is now a movie genre, one taken (mostly) seriously by respected film critics. The New York Times Book Review publishes best-seller lists for graphic novels in hardcover, paperback and manga formats. Comics are now so respectable that parents try to make their kids read them.
  • Comics! Let’s not forget how great they are. Even when I’m irked by some current controversy and what it means about our sociopolitical climate, I still love the feeling of sitting down to a fresh stack of comics, with my cat purring next to me on the armrest.

And, as always, I’m thankful for you and your indulgent attention. Happy holidays, folks.

Joe Corallo: Diversity Inaction – or Diversity In Action?

VirgilLike many of the contributors on ComicMix, I spent the other week at New York Comic Con. In a continuing trend, attendance keeps going up with a greater representation of the general population, and with that, more programming centered around diversity.

Diversity in comics has been an important topic to me for years. Important to the point where those panels I prioritize over all other kinds. The Internet can tell me all the Batman announcements later. This year, I made it to at least one diversity focused panel (usually two) every day of the con. And because I’m so passionate about these things, I wanted to share with you all why these panels are important to me.

First off, and probably most importantly, they are safe spaces at the con. Knowing you’ll be in an environment with people who are either like you or at least empathetic can be and often is important to an attendee. Being othered sucks. It really sucks. Just being in a place where you can listen to people talk about their struggles being an outsider, and how they’ve made it work for them anyway can really be inspiring.

Second, they’re also great places to hear from creators of different backgrounds and become knowledgeable of their work. Truthfully, the goal of nearly all panels is to get you to buy the publisher or creator’s books and merchandise. As cynical as this may sound, the reality is the only way we’re going to get more diversity in comics is to actually buy comics with diverse characters in them. Crazy, right?

I had already been picking up DC’s Midnighter, the company’s only solo superhero comic with a gay male lead, written by Steve Orlando. I wasn’t aware of his Image Comics graphic novel, Virgil. After hearing him on a panel talk about Virgil as being a blood soaked revenge story and as “queersploitation” (a reference to blaxploitation films of the 70’s) I knew I’d love it. I went down to his booth in Artists’ Alley after the panel, picked it up, and already read it. I did in fact love it, but I might not have known to get it if I didn’t go to these panels.

FInally, they are helping to change the discussion in comics. Yes, social media is doing the day to day work, but diversity panels at these cons provide an opportunity for the publishers and creators to roll out their new books that will better reflect the changing demographics of comic readers, and gauge reactions. Sunday’s Culturally Queer panel moderated by Geeks OUT‘s Joey Stern opened up a conversation about queer representation in comics between the panelists where they differed greatly on what makes for good representation. This is an important conversation to be having. There is not necessarily a uniform right way to have representation. There are certainly some uniform wrong ways, however.

The biggest example of a change in the discussion that I saw was Thursday’s BOOM! Studios panel moderated by their President of Publishing and Marketing, Filip Sablik. The panel discusses the Push Comics Forward movement, which is actively setting out to make the comic industry more diverse over the next 10 years. However, the panel was made up of all white (or white presenting) panelists, with eight men and two women. Though there was some queer representation, Filip Sablik actually addressed this at the beginning of the panel, stating that they do have more diversity in their talent pool, and it just so happened that the people able to make it to the con and who were able to attend this panel for the books they wanted to highlight were mostly white male creators. I thought this was incredible. I give BOOM! Studios credit for addressing this. I don’t think we would have seen something like this happen even last year, and that’s a testament to the publishers and creators putting themselves out there on the issues of diversity in part because of these panels and that some of them are listening to us.

If you were at New York Comic Con last week and didn’t get to any of the diversity focused panels, definitely try to at the next con you go to. Even if you’re a straight cis white guy, there are so many new and exciting stories coming from women, nonwhite, and queer creators that you might end up loving just as much as I do.

BOOM! Announces ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Series

This November, award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios and Twentieth Century Consumer Products are pleased to announce they will launch DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, a new comic book limited series based on the new film from 20th Century Fox.

Written by Michael Moreci (CURSE, Hoax Hunters), the six-issue series bridges the 10-year gap between the Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apesfilms, chronicling the fall of humanity and the rise of Caesar’s ape civilization. Additional creative team details will be revealed at a later date. While the apes of the world have yet to advance as a species, Caesar (portrayed by Andy Serkis in the films) must find a way to unify them to one cause. On the other side of the country, Malcolm (played by Jason Clarke in the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes film) must venture into the decaying Americas with his family to find a cure for the plague slowly killing his wife, Rita.

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BOOM! STUDIOS ANNOUNCES ‘DAY MEN’ #3 RETAILER PROMOTION

Day Men #3
BOOM! Studios is pleased to announce a special retailer promotion tied to the March 5th release of DAY MEN #3, the breakout series by Matt Gagnon, Michael Alan Nelson, and Brian Stelfreeze about humans who act as protectors for vampires. The top 50 retailers who order DAY MEN #3 will receive one free signed copy each of the upcoming DAY MEN: PEN & INK #1, the first in a new, limited line of publications designed to spotlight some of the comic book industry’s best creators and their work on BOOM! titles. Retailers who qualify for this promotion will be the first individuals to get an advance look at BOOM!’s PEN & INK program.

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Marc Alan Fishman: WWE and A Future For Comics

Fishman Art 140118Last Wednesday, Vince McMahon announced the launching of the WWE Network. Suffice to say it was well received by his hardcore fans just as he’d hoped. To use a bit of hyperbole – which all things considered, seems apropos – the self-made millionaire stands to become a billionaire with the launch.

It’s many things, but above all else, it’s a stroke of genius in the modern era of content delivery. Comic companies might want to take note… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The WWE Network would appear to just be Netflix for hillbillies, but truly those who aren’t in-the-know, and quick-to-judge are missing out the insane deal the WWE is offering. For $9.95 a month (purchased in six month blocks, with a potential discount for year long subscriptions forthcoming), users get access to every pay-per-view since 1985 from the WWE, as well as rival companies WCW and ECW. They also get access to newly created content like countdown shows, reality shows, and plenty of documentaries and retrospectives.

Oh, there’s more. Users get every pay-per-view coming out. At present, purchasing a pay-per-view from VinnyMac sets you back 45-60 dollars, depending on the event, and the quality – SD or HD.

Do the math, kiddos. If the WWE just offered you the pay-per-views at ten bucks a pop, you’re saving anywhere between $440 – $620 a year. But if someone were to offer you an 83% discount, and you were even just a normal fan, certainly you’d find that to be worth considering. Add that insane discount to an increase in content, somewhere around 1900%, and now you’re starting perhaps to see why this is a big deal.

Obviously there are plenty of folks scoffing at the financials of all of this. With an 83% discount on a product, WWE’s PPV buy-rate profits will appear to tank. Vince and family are of course looking for volume profits to achieve the balance. In addition, newly minted subscribers will now be marketed to (in essence) exponentially more than they ever have in the past. This of course creates new advertising revenue streams. Imagine having an audience with decades of trend data sitting in wait, where your product can be hocked to them every single time they decide they want to indulge in their vice. This is internet ads the way companies dreamed they’d exist. Paint me impressed, at very least.

In covering the announcement, Gizmodo said “…[T]hink about what you’d rather pay for: Netflix and its vast but unpredictable movie library and unproven original series? Or the entirety of [thing you love]?” Truly, as I’d said: this may very well be the way to save our always-in-a-state-of-dying medium of comics.

Marvel and DC have set to revolutionize content delivery in the digital realm many times over. They’ve offered subscription services in the past (and may still do) and never once have I heard from fellow comic fans “this is how it’s done!” Instead, too many apps produce access to the same material, forcing fans to choose a vehicle, and then commit to it. Same as iTunes vs. Amazon MP3 vs. Rhapsody, etc. Vince McMahon chose instead to Spotify his industry-leading content library. Could any of you imagine a service that for the price of your books perhaps for a single week… granting you access to decades worth of content, as well as keeping you current on your favorite titles for the month? Could you fathom a service that could be easily accessed on your tablet, desktop, laptop, and/or phone? And dare I dream… what if that service gave you Marvel, DC, Image, IDW, Boom!, Avatar, the works…?

A boy can dream, but a man faces reality. Warner Bros. and Disney have no need or desire to combine their libraries of printed materials. Nor could they ever negotiate a way to create a subscriber base, and split profits. And they certainly wouldn’t give a rat’s patootie about any smaller publisher, even if say they made The Walking Dead. Instead, our comic books (both in print and digital) will continue to be a publisher-to-publisher game. ComicXology, Graphic.ly and other providers will continue to create proprietary filetypes that prevent the average user from controlling their ala carte purchases in a single easy-to-manage collection. The key of course falls back on the broad shoulders of you-know-who.

When Vince McMahon created Wrestlemania in 1985, he officially buried the original independent scene of professional wrestling. Over the next 20 years he slowly but surely eliminated his only competition. Over the next 10 years after that, he spent his profits slowly building and secretly digitizing the libraries of not only his content, but that of his antagonists. Nearly a decade after that, he’s set to launch a single product to unite every fan he’s gained and lost throughout those 30 years.

I, for one, can’t wait to sign to up. While my recent return to the comic shop has proven that industry still trips over itself with the sins of the past I can at least enjoy one publicly mocked genre in peace, and personal profitability.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

TUESDAY MORNING: Jen Krueger

 

REVIEW: 2Guns

2-Guns-DVD-CoverThe buddy picture was a staple of the 1970s and 1980s, possibly dating back to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but it’s been largely missing from more recent Hollywood fare. As a result, you have to given Universal Studios credit for recognizing the somewhat fresh approach in the Boom! Studios graphic novel 2Guns. Steve Grant paired two men in a drug story that felt familiar but with every action, things were never what they appeared, freshening the entire concept. Add in the charismatic Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, stir, and you have a crime story worth taking a look.

Out now on Blu-ray from Universal Home Entertainment, the film starts off with a robbery and never really slows down. Washington is Robert Trench, Bobby T, and Wahlberg is Michael Stigman, Stig, paired up to rob Mexican criminal drug lord  Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos) of $3 million in cash. Neither is ware that both men are phonies with Bobby working undercover for the DEA while Stig is a member of Naval Intelligence, hoping to obtain the money to fund their cover operations.

Instead, they wind up robbing a bank in Tres Cruces, New Mexico and walking away with over $40 million in kickbacks paid by the drug lords to the CIA. The agency dispatches Earl (Bill Paxton) to recover the money and he cuts a bloody swath as he nears the truth and the cash. Along the way, the friends discover the truth about one another but then the revelations keep on coming as Bobby realizes he’s been set up by his sometime lover Deb (Paula Patton) and Stig discovers the Navy would rather sweep the scandal under the rug than do the honorable thing.

And chasing them all is Papi, who wants revenge for being robbed and humiliated by the pair. Olmos looks like he’s having the most fun although the two lead performers also banter nicely. The problem with the film is that Blake Masters’ screenplay never properly develops a single character so they feel sketchy. We don’t know what drives Bobby to spend three years undercover and what he’s had to give up or why Stig thinks it’s okay to use drug money for government purposes.

Under Baltasar Kormakur’s direction, we get lots of nice scenes set in New Orleans, and New Mexico and some inventive action sequences but everything feels like it’s on the surface. It’s a cleverly constructed plot and no one seems interested in exploring the larger themes or motivations. Maybe this is why it was aimed at late summer, when most audiences stop thinking and accept whatever’s on the screen.

Watching at home, you stop and realize how little of the story holds up under scrutiny, especially the whole Deb betrays Bobby sub-plot. The disc includes several extended and deleted scenes, none of which add anything to a deeper understanding of the story. Koramakur and producer Adam Siegel provide a standard commentary that shows no one seemed interested in making this a more complex tale. The movie comes with “Undercover and into Action”,  a fairly by the number Making Of featurette.

Marc Alan Fishman: Boom! Is! Doing! It! Right!

Fishman Art 130921It wasn’t too long ago that I heard Mike Gold exclaim “I’m really liking what you’re doing there.” He was talking to Ross Ritchie about Boom! Studios. It got me thinking. From one publisher to another, true respect shared between gentlemen. No snide jabs. No undercurrent of jealousy or malice. Just respect. And it’s that respect that made me realize that Boom! Studios is a shining example of what is going right with our industry.

A cursory glance at their site shows a publisher pushing boundaries in every conceivable direction. Where the brand was once known for either being Mark Waid’s playground or Stan Lee’s litter box, today they are producing comics in every genre under the yellow sun. They once clung to licenses from Disney in order to pay the bills. Without Mickey’s teets to suckle from, instead they’ve smartly chosen popular brands like Adventure Time, and the biker-beloved Sons of Anarchy in order to draw in more ‘non-comics’ fans to the shelves.

Boom! also has broken its brand into smarter sub-brands in order to focus efforts on different emerging markets. KaBoom!, its kid-centric brand, is of course anchored by the aforementioned Adventures of Finn and Jake. But they’re also branching out with other recognizable brands like Peanuts, Garfield, and the Adventure-esque Bravest Warriors. The fact that Boom! recognizes the kids market and pushes their line in order to draw the wee ones into a comic shop should be commended. And while a licensed kids book is nothing new in the marketplace… the fact that their books are not chained lock-in-step to their source material means kids will be able to see the comic medium as a place to explore the vastness of the worlds they may only know in cartoon form. It’s a small thing, that means huge ramifications as the li’l readers grow up.

Beyond that, Boom! recently realized its creative teams had more to say and show. So much so that they’ve chosen to branch out even further, with the newly dubbed BOOM! Box imprint made for experimental comics. Not happy to place these potentially “indie for indies’ sake” titles into Boom! Town, or its newly acquired Archaia lines… the box will house the weirdest of the weird. The idea being of course that comic creators who would otherwise choose to self-publish short runs of books that might be too crazy for even a “B” or “C” publisher like Boom! to consider… are given the carte blanch to actually give it a go anyways.

As an indie publisher myself, I’m of two minds on that. One mind says “kudos to Ritchie, Gagnon, and Watters for having balls!” The other mind morbidly declares “Yay! One more sub-publisher with money behind them to tell Unshaven Comics they’re cute for trying!”

These days a cursory glance over my newsfeed on Facebook shows normally at least several daily references to what DC or Marvel is messing up. DC way more than Marvel, if you’re tallying. It’s a bit hilarious to me, given my recent rekindled love of professional wrestling. Because when one steps back to see the forest for the trees, they’ll eventually see the cyclical nature of the continual soap opera that is male-fiction. With Boom! taking the role of the babyface… We crave a heel, and DC is glad to play the role right now. Can’t stand Villains Month? Keep blogging about it! Think Man of Steel crossed a line? Put it on a tee-shirt! Think Dan DiDio is secretly behind it all, and should be fired? Make a god-damned hashtag, and tag him in every post you write for a month! Guess what? There’s no such thing as bad press. Case in point? I’m DVR’ing Dads tonight on Fox. Do the math. I’ll wait for you to catch up. But I digress.

Boom! is doing it right. They’ve branched out beyond the capes (while still putting out some decent-if-not-mind-blowing cape comics) to compete with Image for the Comics With Original Ideas the Big Two Won’t Touch (and face it, Vertigo isn’t near what it used to be, and Marvel never even tried to compete there). They’ve made kids comics that matter again, and in doing so, have ignited passion for our media in the next generation… buying us soon-to-be-old-farts at least another few years to do what we love. The old adage is true; big risks equal big rewards. Boom! for the time being is reaping plenty of rewards.

We fans, bored of the Big Two are now seeing a true third leg of the market arise. Small(er) presses are proving profitable. Hollywood is even catching wind of it. And when big money backs small(ish) companies, it seems that the money may be headed not only into the coffers of secret investors… but back into the comic medium itself. It’s a grand day to be a comic fan, kiddos.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell