BOOM! Studios wants the comic book world to know who they are. "We Are BOOM!" was a running theme throughout their Saturday morning New York Comic Con panel hosted by BOOM! Founder & CEO Ross Richie, Managing Editor Bryce Carlson and Vice President of Development Stephen Christy.
Richie started the panel by recapping the publisher's history, which goes back to his longtime friendship with prolific comic book writer and artist Keith Giffen. Giffen convinced Richie to pen a comic for him, even though Richie admitted to not being a writer. Afterwards, Giffen told Richie that he should get into comic publishing. At first the idea sounded crazy, but Richie took the word to heart, started BOOM! and the first book published was Giffen's "Hero Squared."
Carlson then explained how he worked his way up to his current position from a gig in the shipping and receiving department. For his part, Christy came to work with BOOM! when they acquired Archaia earlier this year. Christy explained that the partnership has been great because BOOM! is super supportive and offers a great deal more resources than they had access to previously.
From there, the presentation turned to videos of current BOOM! writers and artists like Paul Jenkins ("Deathmatch"), Mike Carey ("Suicide Risk"), Brian Stelfreeze ("Day Men") and Say Anything lead singer Max Bemis ("Polarity") all discussing their current projects with the company. A running theme in the videos was the creative freedom that BOOM! allows each and every one of them.
Richie also discussed comics like Mike Kunkel's "Hero Bear and the Kid," George Perez's "She-Devils" and Steven Grant's "2 Guns," which was one of the earliest BOOM! Studios comics and was adapted into a film earlier this year. Speaking of established creators, Richie admitted to having a real fanboy moment when "Garfield" creator Jim Davis approached him about continuing the portly cat's adventures in comics.
Another important aspect of the company's continued success, Richie said, was the fact that they don't just go for cash grabs when it comes to licensed comics, but also put the same amount of creative energy into them as the original material. He cited books like "Sons of Anarchy" and "RoboCop: Last Stand" in that vein.
But they're not just making comics for established fans -- a big part of the plan revolves around bringing in new readers by way of all-ages comics like "Adventure Time" and "Regular Show" that everyone can enjoy. "If we don't publish material for the generation that's born now, they won't be reading comics," Richie said. "We need to start building the next generation of comics readers."