Smaller Publishers Merge: Boom! Acquires Archaia
Yes, that headline is muddled, because whether this is a merger, a joining of forces, or an acquisition depends on which press release you read first.
The news is flying around the internet, however, that Archaia Entertainment, originally founded by Mark Smylie over a decade ago to publish his comic Artesia, is being bought by Boom! Studios.
Archaia has been known for publishing Mouse Guard and putting out attractive, reasonably priced hardcovers, many of which are European reprints. Their licensed properties included a series of Fraggle Rock comics and other Jim Henson licenses, which I mention because I adored Boom!’s Muppet comics before the license for those ended (after Disney’s acquisition of Marvel). Archaia was previously owned by Kunoichi, an animation studio.
Boom! was founded by Ross Richie in 2005. They’re currently excited about the upcoming movie version of 2 Guns, due out August 2 and based on a comic written by Steven Grant. In addition to a number of science fiction and licensed titles, their kids’ line publishes comic book versions of Peanuts, Garfield, and Adventure Time.
Per the press release, “BOOM! Studios will be the surviving company and the Archaia brand shall be maintained as a distinct imprint of BOOM!.” They’re claiming that they will now have “the largest independent company-controlled comic book and graphic novel library”, behind only DC and Marvel. That kind of boast gets Hollywood attention, which may be why Deadline reported on this first. I’m not sure that’s true, though, when you consider Dark Horse and others. However, I do believe that they’re the largest that “shar[es] intellectual property ownership between the company and the creators who generate the content”, unlike many others who are chasing the movie bucks.
Jack Cummins, Archaia’s President and Chief Operating Officer, is mentioned as continuing in that role — but I’m not sure for how long, since you don’t need two executive staffs. Watch for out-of-print Archaia books to come back, though. Speculation is also starting on whether this is only the first in a new trend, of the smaller publishers teaming up to withstand the tread of the two dinosaur media companies.