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WAITING FOR TOMMY: JAMIE RICH
By Richard Johnston

I'm feeling much better now, thanks for asking. Flu is now just a cold. But I bet I can still give it to people.

Right.

Today, I'm talking to Jamie Rich, publisher of Oni Press, along with Joe Nozemack and James Lucas Jones. Oni Press launched when Bob Schreck split from Dark Horse, carrying certain projects he seemed unable to get published there, before he himself was headhunted by DC Comics to work on the Batman titles. This included the first Kevin Smith comics, work from quite a few Dark Horse favourites, a Blair Witch project before the film had been hyped up, and a variety of work from the likes of Greg Rucka, Paul Dini, Neil Gaiman, Mike Mignola, Jim Mahfood, Grant Morrison and others. Moving into the trade paperback and graphic novel industry with full force, they've had hits with the likes of Gloomcookie, Queen And Country, Blue Monday and much more.

And Oni have done very well setting up shop, carving a niche and establishing themselves as a reliable, interesting publisher of comic books.

But now I hear that a Bob-Schreck-leaving event is on the cards again. I went in search of Jamie Rich to ask him about Oni, his own ambitions and why he's leaving too.

 

FORTUNE AND GLORY TPB

RICHARD JOHNSTON: Is it just me or has Oni slipped off the radar recently? There have been less Kevin Smith comics (although that's true for everyone), Mike Allred, Brian Bendis, less big announcements, less signing of titles abandoned by other publishers... am I just missing out on what's happening?

JAMIE RICH: I think it depends on your radar. I don't think Oni has ever been just about big names, but has always been about talent overall, and just doing good comics. We were fortunate to get some major people working with us very early on. At the time, though, some of them were just as fresh-faced as we were when it came to comics. Greg Rucka and Kevin Smith were doing amazing work in other media, but they were new to comics. Bendis wasn't quite the juggernaut he is now. But we also worked really early with Matt Wagner, Paul Dini, and Mike Allred--and both Dini and Allred have had work published under the Oni banner this year. We talk with Allred all the time, and when he's ready to do more creator-owned work, we're going to be his first call. We're also reprinting his Tales of Ordinary Madness book next February, his collaboration with Malcolm Bourne from the early '90s. And some days it feels like we can't get Bendis to leave us alone.

Our focus has been on talent who are breaking new ground. We've had ongoing relationships with Greg Rucka, Judd Winick, Scott Morse, and Andi Watson, all of whom have since done a ton of work for the "majors." And we have people like Ted Naifeh and Chynna Clugston-Major, who have created their own cottage industries within the industry. Plus, the growing stars like Antony Johnston. We have the new series by Phil Hester and Mike Huddleston, Deep Sleeper, in February. We're right on track for the things we've always wanted to do. It might not garner the same kind of attention as Jim Lee on Batman, but that's not really on our radar.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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