I was surprised at the recent news that BOOM! Studios had acquired Archaia Entertainment. I enjoy the product both have created and look forward to seeing that continue since the latter will now be an imprint of BOOM!
What probably made this so unusual to me was that the focus of BOOM! differs so much from Archaia. BOOM! seems to excel at regular comics or miniseries, while Archaia usually produces hardcover comics or trades that appear in their collected formats (with the exception of Mouse Guard, for instance).
I think this will end up being a good combination since they complement each other very well. Honestly, I’ve been a big fan of both companies for quite a long time. Both have largely avoided superhero books, and that’s fine with me since Marvel and DC tend to monopolize that area.
But the two have really excelled at telling stories outside that genre. BOOM! has provided a lot of what I like to call “action/adventure” tales (even before they started putting out Adventure Time), with a lot of more realistic characters in more realistic settings than those wearing longjohns and fighting mad scientists or supervillains. On the other hand, Archaia has been more “dramatic,” focusing on stories that are more about relationships but don’t focus on or exclude action. Their books have been great when I’m in the mood to put my head into an extended story when I have more time.
A few things puzzle me, though.
For instance, BOOM!’s production of Adventure Time has always been something I’ve wondered about. After all, Warner Bros. owns Cartoon Network AND DC Comics. How did Finn and Jake end up at BOOM! instead? The good news is that AT has thrived there, leading into the now-successful Regular Show series of comics.
I also hope excellent books like Mouse Guard and Rust will continue to be produced. Man, I can’t imagine either of them not being in my stack of stuff when they come out!
One good thing that might help Archaia is that BOOM! has the 2 Guns film coming out. There are a LOT of Archaia hardcovers that I feel would make terrific movies. Heck, even the aforementioned Mouse Guard and/or Rust would be great on the small or big screen!
What I worry about is the end of some of the creativity in the current comics marketplace. If we lose the wonderful hardcovers Archaia makes over time, I’ll feel a real sense of loss. I still grieve over the fact that Marvel has largely left the Disney animation properties untouched since their licenses went from BOOM! to the House of Ideas.
Moving forward, I have to wonder if this is the first of other smaller companies turning into larger ones. I didn’t think that Disney would be satisfied with only Marvel, the organization that itself had bought other comics companies in the past. We’ll see if this development prompts them to buy other companies in the near future.
I’ve often enjoyed walking around comics conventions and reading the names of comics companies I’d never heard of before. There have been a lot of them in the past, and some with entertaining names. If I remember correctly, there was one called “Nail to the Head” comics. (I didn’t stop to ask where they got that name, nor did I really want to know.) Even if I don’t care for it, I prefer that creativity continue in all its various forms.
Still, BOOM! taking in Archaia may prompt a future with fewer comics companies, but more variety from each one. We’ll see!