Comics Lowdown: Oni Press, Lion Forge announce merger, restructuring, layoffs

Plus: Patrick Gleason, Emily Carroll, awards and more!

Oni Press and Lion Forge will merge in order to “strengthen their library of original comics and graphic novels and help them to leverage their characters on other media platforms, including animation and film,” according to a story in the New York Times. The new publishing company will fall under the Polarity umbrella, a media entertainment entity launched by Lion Forge co-founder Dave Steward II last year.

The new company’s combined publishing efforts will be overseen by Oni Press publisher James Lucas Jones, who will be president and publisher. “We’re going to take a look at efficiencies and identify a number of areas of growth as well,” said Steward. The Beat details several layoffs that have already occurred at both companies, including Andrea Colvin, Lion Forge’s editor in chief, and Oni’s Desiree Wilson. According to Publisher’s Weekly, Joe Nozemack, founder of Oni Press, will join the new entity’s board and serve in an advisory role.

As far as their publishing lines go, Lion Forge Senior Publicist Jeremy Atkins tweeted that Oni Press “will be the publisher of all creator-owned books going forward,” while company-owned IP, like the Catalyst Prime universe, will fall under the Lion Forge banner. This one is still developing, so no doubt more information on the new structure and publishing entity will be forthcoming.

Creators

Marvel has announced that Patrick Gleason, known for his work at DC Comics on Batman And Robin, Aquaman, Green Lantern Corps and most recently Young Justice, has signed an exclusive contract with the publisher.

The announcement was made at last weekend’s Fan Expo Dallas event. According to the press release, Gleason’s first work will appear in Amazing Spider-Man #25.

“I am so pumped to be joining the Marvel family as a newly exclusive artist and writer,” Gleason said in the press release. “C.B. and everyone at Marvel have been so welcoming and enthusiastic about what we are going to do together, and it’s been nothing short of awesome! Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of working with their iconic, and now world-renowned heroes. It’s exhilarating at this point in my career to reach a new high point, and to be drawing the Amazing Spider-Man! I can’t wait for fans of the Marvel Universe to see the crazy and exciting comics we’re going to make together!”

art by Patrick Gleason

Interviews: Renee Nault talks to the CBC about the graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Interviews: Emily Carroll talks to Quill & Quire about her latest from Koyama Press, When I Arrived at the Castle. “On its surface, the book is about a would-be vampire hunter infiltrating the castle of a vampire, only to become lost and beguiled in her serpentine lair. What it’s really about is my own creative process and a rough period of burnout I was going through at the time the book was written. It was drawn intuitively, without knowing exactly what it was or where it was going, plot-wise. I drew each page of this book entirely on its own, without knowing what the next one would be,” Carroll said.

Creators: To celebrate Denny O’Neil’s 80th birthday, Newsarama’s Vaneta Rogers counts down his six greatest impacts on the comics world.

Interviews: Caitlin Major and Kelly Bastow discuss their upcoming graphic novel Manfried Saves the Day.

Profiles: The Los Angeles Times profiles Love & Rockets‘ Jaime Hernandez.

Awards

Giants of the North: The Doug Wright Awards has announced its inductees for this year’s Giants of the North Hall of Fame for Canadian cartoonists. Fiona Smyth, an artist and teacher known for her groundbreaking comics tackling female sexuality, and Alootook Ipellie, a multi-faceted artist, writer, activist and cartoonist recognized for his satirical comics about Inuit life in Canada, will be inducted in a ceremony being held this weekend in conjunction with the Toronto Comic Art Festival.

Awards: Drawn to Berlin: Comic Workshops in Refugee Shelters and Other Stories from a New Europe by Ali Fitzgerald took home the gold in the general graphic novel category on the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards. AndMark Twain’s Niagara, by Zachary Schwartz, Andy Stanleigh and Fred Kennedy, took the top award in the Graphic Novel – Drama/Documentary category.

Awards: Nora Krug’s Belonging has won the 2019 Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, which is awarded by Penn State University Libraries.

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