FOR TOMMY: JAMIE RICH
much better now, thanks for asking. Flu is now just a cold.
But I bet I can still give it to people.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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