I always like to apologise to Rich Johnson for having a name far too similar to my own. Former VP Book Trade Sales for DC Comics at a time when DC was establishing graphic novels in the bookstore and library markets in a way we take for granted, he was the co-founder and co-publishing Director of Yen Press and VP Sales, Marketing and Business Development at Lion Forge Comics and founder of his own Brick Road Media. He is also Adjunct Professor at Pace University, teaching Principles and Practices of Publishing Books and Book Sales and Distribution Methods.
But now he is CEO and has co-founded a brand new thing with some of his friends, Endpaper Entertainment, a new content development company focused on producing original stories in a variety of media, formats and genres. And one that will develop content for novels, comics and graphic novels, film, TV, podcasts, SVOD, audiobooks, and merchandise.
The other co-founder and president is Syndee Barwick. She was Director – Product Management at DC Direct for all of the noughties. She joined Rich at Lion Forge, first as Director – Marketing and Product Development, then as Vice President – Marketing, Merchandise, & Product Development. As well as being founder of her own Mythic Media Management, she is also just joined Vault Comics as Director – Sales & Marketing, Book Trade.
Other executives joining Endpaper Entertainment include CCO Jonathon Gilbreath, a producer and director of immersive theatre and VR, who also worked with the U.S. Department of Defense Psychological Operations, where he developed and taught specialized curriculum while producing, directing, and managing international PSYOP/P.O.B.S. productions.
Then there is chief content development officer James Killen, longtime Barnes & Noble buyer for graphic novels, sci-fi, and fantasy who also recently joined 2000AD and Rebellion Publishing as their Editor-At-Large.
Their chief business development officer Kris Longo, former Manager of Advertising and Custom Publishing at DC Comics, former Vice-President, Advertising Sales & Business Development at Bonfire, founder of Geek Riot Media and Chief Sales Officer for Heavy Metal Magazine.
They are currently involved with the following properties;
Kill Party, The TUNNEL, Silver Widows, Santa Crawl, Shunned, The Towneship, The HEX Files, Blood on the Collar, All Dolled Up, The Body Painter, Anomaly: The Series, The Mounty, N.I.C.O. TEAM, Lilybump and STUMP, Little Man & the Frying Pan and The Last Ping Wen.
And coming soon, Union Square, Preppers, Susceptible, Pumpkin Chuckin', Homicidal Maniacs, Asylum, Reunion, Cry Wolfe, Thousand Yard, Foodie TV, Ancient Ice and Saviors.
Kris Longo told Publisher's Weekly that the company is "self-financed" and began organizing about a year ago. The company, he said, plans to produce its content via partnerships with freelance creators, book packagers, and media production houses to bring a wide range of original story concepts to market. "We're publishers at heart, so a lot of our properties will use books as a starting point and we'll use our contacts across different media to start conversations with potential partners. We don't want to force a story into a format or platform. We focus on the property, studying the story, and decide: on what platform and in which format best tells this story."
Barwick also stated that the core mission of Endpaper Entertainment will be "creating and telling the stories in the best and most appropriate way we can for each property. At Endpaper, we are fans and consumers of a lot of movies, television, books, games, and everything else under the sun. We look at what types of properties we love – and what we'd like to see."
But why Endpaper? They remind us "Endpapers hold a book together, joining the internal book pages to the covers – the beginning and the end. The start and the finish. Endpapers can be blank, creating a tabula rasa for the experience to come – and one on which to contemplate after the experience has ended. Endpapers can also be designed and/or beautifully illustrated – preparing the reader for the world waiting with a turn of the page, and bringing the story to a natural conclusion. Endpapers hold the story together, teasing characters, expanding the world, and whispering secrets of the story to come." So that's us told.