When DC Comics Wanted To Distribute Boom Studios

DC Comics is owned by Warner Bros. Today, Boom Studios is owned by Foz Studios. But something could made it all look very different. Boom Studios co-founder and publisher Ross Richie posted, in the wake of Dan DiDio's no longer being publisher of DC Comics, saying,

I want to wish Dan DiDio all the best in his future endeavors. He has always been kind to me and great to BOOM! Studios.

With him gone from DC now, it might be fun to share a behind-the-scenes story from the early days of BOOM! that might surprise a lot of people and put some smiles on faces. Dan: I hope is okay to share, I don't think I'm giving away any corporate secrets.

I started BOOM! in 2005. Back in 2006 or 2007, it's hard to remember exactly, I got an incoming e-mail from Dan's assistant requesting a meeting the Tuesday before Comic-Con in San Diego

I had never met Dan. I had no idea what the meeting was about. I was intrigued. What could Dan want from BOOM!?

By the time I arrived at the Grand Hyatt the day before Comic-Con, I was really curious what Dan wanted to talk about.

I was shocked.

Dan proposed DC Comics distributing BOOM!.

Dan was wonderful, easy-going, brimming with enthusiasm, and very complimentary. "I don't know where you are getting these artists from, I don't know where you're getting these projects from, but they're terrific and we would be very interested in possibly distributing BOOM!'s comics to the Direct Market and the book trade as well."

I was very interested.

Dan had some internal moves to make to propose the idea, but he wanted to check with me first to make sure if he went to bat internally that I wouldn't turn it down. I gave him the go-ahead to move forward on his side and was interested in what a deal might look like.

Weeks passed, then months passed.

Pressure started to build up from my side — In those early days I had yet to collect any of the early BOOM! series like Zombie Tales into graphic novel collections.

What this means when you're starting a publishing company is that you have enormous financial pressures — the graphic novel collection can be a key source of revenue. It's not where all your profitability is located, but even a 20% profit margin can be a huge boost and keep your lights on when every dollar counts and publishing is often hand-to-mouth.

Our entire line of publishing had been stacking up with no collections being issued. Retailers were asking: when are you putting out your collections?

It would be great to have DC initiate BOOM! into that space. Having a partner of that level introduce us to book stores would have been gigantic.

Back then, we had a lot of interest from an array of distributors to carry our book business. It was flattering to get DC's incoming call and I really liked Dan and wanted to work with him.

But we were getting interest from a number of book distributors. Over time, that turned into Simon & Schuster for us, a global giant and an excellent partner for us to this day.

But the weeks were stacking up. The months were going by. And pressure was building. I was trying to play out the conversations as long as I could with other distributors without stringing anyone along. I indicated to Dan that the delayed profitability for us was becoming a factor and I was being asked to make a decision by other potential suitors.

Enough time went by that made it clear that DC would not be able to act quickly enough, so we had to move on and (as we all know) it never came to pass.

But it all worked out for BOOM!.

We would go on to sell over 1.5 million copies of Lumberjanes, 4 million copies of Adventure Time, over 1 million copies of Mouse Guard globally and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has sold in the millions. The book market has been huge for us as the company has grown. We grew over 20% in the book market in 2018 and 13% in 2019, which if you don't know, are big percentage jumps in publishing.

Through the years, Dan and I have maintained a lively and fun friendship. We even got to work together on crossovers arranged and championed by Hank Kanalz — we crossed over Green Lantern with Planet of the Apes and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with The Justice League. We crossed Batman 66 with Steed and Mrs. Peel and put The Lumberjanes into a crossover with Gotham Academy and had great success with all those projects, which were a lot of fun.

Simon & Schuster has been a great partner for us in the book trade and Diamond Comic Distributors has been a terrific partner in building up our Direct Market comic shops business.

Looking forward to working together again in the future!

Maybe there's room for Dan DiDio at Boom? The nature of his departure might indicate he would be able to…

When DC Comics Wanted To Distribute Boom Studios

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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