Wondercon 2017: Boom! Studios: Discover Yours
Editor’s note: GC4K writer Lori Henderson attended this year’s WonderCon, which took place on March 31-April 2 in Anaheim, California. Over the next few days, we will publish several writeups of the panels she attended there, which featured editors and comics creators from different publishers discussing their work.
Since its humble beginning in 2005, BOOM! Studios has grown as a comics publisher, from original works to licensed titles. Today, the publisher has four imprints to appeal to different demographics. At Wondercon 2017, they held a panel with editors and creators to explore each imprint. Editor in chief Matt Gagnon and president of publishing and marketing Filip Sablik moderated the panel, which featured four creators of comics from these imprints: Sam Sykes of Brave Chef Brianna, Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith and Kurt Lustgarter of Misfit City, Delilah Dawson of Lady Castle, and Simon Spurrier of Godshaper.
Sablik started things off by asking the panelists how they got into comics and the origins of their fandom. Gagnon started out collecting the Garfield comic strips, Sykes read both traditional and web comics, while Smith admitted she was a recent convert who was brought into the fold by Lumberjanes.
Sablik then spoke about BOOM! Studios’ philosophy towards comics, saying “comics are for anyone, so we make comics for everyone.” The company has four distinct imprints, each for a different type of comic. KaBOOM is intended for younger readers and features titles such as Adventure Time, Garfield, and Brave Chef Brianna. BOOM! Box is an imprint for teen to young adult readers, as well as for independent creators. Lumberjanes helped kick off this imprint, but you’ll also find Giant Days and Goldie Vance under this banner. Misfit City represented it at the panel. Archaea was an independent publisher that was acquired by BOOM! Studios, and its titles are firmly in the Young Adult demographic, including Mouse Guard and the Jim Hensen comics. The final imprint is the main BOOM! Studios. It is used for adult and genre titles. Most of BOOM!’s library falls under this imprint, and it was represented by Godshaper.
Each creator was given a chance to talk about their books while art from them was displayed. Lady Castle and Brave Chef Brianna were already available at the convention, and Smith’s description of Misfit City and how she was inspired by the town in Oregon where The Goonies was filmed sparked my interest in it. Spurrier’s description of Godshaper, a story set in a world where everyone has personal gods that provide for them, except for the “godshapers” that are simultaneously shunned and needed to spruce up others’ gods, got me to pick up the first issue.
As well as talking about their books, the panelists talked about the medium of comics and comic creation. Several mentioned webcomics as the starting point. Because many creators were just starting to learn the craft, the early webcomics emphasized character; the stories tended to be more slice of life, and even though the art or plot might not have been as strong, they still drew an audience because of the characters. The creators also discussed how comics were used as inspiration for filmmakers. Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics is held up as a bible in many film classes, as it helps visualize different ways to frame a scene.
All of the artists on the panel agreed that it was important for the artist to also be able to tell a story, even when working with a writer. The artist is the most responsible for world building. They create the look and feel of the world. An artist being able to tell a story is just as critical to the storytelling as the words.
The panel ended with an exclusive announcement: The Archaia imprint would release David Peterson’s upcoming book Mouse Guard Alphabet Book. The art will be hand painted by artist Serena Malyon, and it is the first time Peterson is collaborating with an artist on the series.
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About Lori Henderson
Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!
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