NYCC Panel Report: We Are Boom!

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Boom Studios took to New York for a panel presentation on the company. Moderated by Boom Editor-In-Chief Ross Richie, and with panellists Bryce Carlson and Stephen Christy on-hand, the panel discussed the acquisition of Archaia, and the current setup of Boom as a whole.

201310120350 NYCC Panel Report: We Are Boom!

No new announcements – this was more of a declaration of intent and purpose than anything else. To that regard, this may read somewhat as an advertisement for the company, as it was a detailed explanation of their current set-up and operation. All words are my own.

Richie started out by explaining the origin of the company, which came about due to the persistence of Keith Giffen. Giffen asked Richie to work as writer on a comic called ‘Dominion’, despite Richie’s protests that he wasn’t a good enough writer for the job. Giffen refused to take no for an answer, and when the script was complete and was as bad as Richie says it was; Richie encouraged Giffen to rewrite it.

This led Giffen to suggest that Richie should be an editor. Richie refused that offer too, but Giffen once more refused to take no for an answer – leading Richie to ultimately form Boom.

When Boom acquired Archaia they also brought in Archaia’s editor in chief Stephen Christy to the company, who discussed the purpose of their company. When formed, Archaia’s goal as a publisher was to find an area they could be competitive within, and push that aspect. This turned out to be in the actual quality of product that was put out, in terms of printing and stock. Whilst Archaia had limited resources, they could push the goal of making sure their books were of high-quality printing and binding, and that became their niche within the comics market.

During the Q+A section, a member of the audience then asked if the acquisition of Archaia would have any ramifications for the company and this stated policy – which Christy denied. He said that Archaia would be continuing as before, and have several projects in the works over the next few years. One of their biggest projects is set for 2015, and will see a well-known but currently unnamed creator and property be published by Archaia. They would also be working on new formats for delivering product and format in their comics, using the new resources gained from the acquisition.

Richie said, simply, that he felt changing Archaia, after buying them, would be counter-intuitive, and that Boom had no intention of affecting the company in any manner.

Bryce Carlson introduced himself and explained how he had risen from an intern in 2008 through to the managing editor for the company – and a writer. His series ‘Hit’ with Vanesa R. Del Ray has been well-received (not least by The Beat, in fact), and Carlson thanked fans for supporting the book. He also said that the only reason the book existed was because Boom had offered him the creative freedom to pitch to them. Other videos showed people Mike Carey, Max Bemis and Paul Jenkins discussing why they chose to pitch their new comics to Boom first, with the repeated reasoning being the chance of creative freedom.

Richie talked about the ways in which various books have been picked up by Boom. Jim Davis apparently approached the company personally, having been a fan of their ‘Chip N Dale’ licensed comics beforehand – which why Boom now publish Garfield titles. On the other hand, Boom approached Mike Kunkel about his Hero Bear character, and found that he was keen on moving the character to Boom.

The panel talked about the three stated areas of comics published by Boom – their creator owned books; their all ages comics; and their licensed work. There was a notable desire expressed by the panellists for Boom to not publish superhero comics unless the pitch was particularly strong. To that respect, Richie stated his belief that comics are now evolving beyond superhero stories, and that the fanbase were turning towards other projects instead.

A series of videos were shown throughout the panel, including one of Brian Stelfreeze which particularly caught my attention. He spoke of the way he used to read comics when he was a kid, mentioning the excitement he had when reading works like The Dark Phoenix Saga. His belief was that those comics were about entertainment and fun, whereas now that ‘wow’ factor is missing. When Boom approached him to work with them, he gave them a list of requests – which were all met. Because of that, he decided to try and make new comics with Boom which would match the excitement of the comics he read when he was first getting into comics.

It was an interesting panel, not least for the unexpected tone it had. Rather than being about announcements or news, this was a laid back and calm detailing of what people should expect from the company, the types of comics they’re making, and how they hope to build their audience over the new few years.

 

@stevewmorris

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