Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Comic Books Get Some Local Cred

Last Week, the day after my son was born, I noticed a front-page article in the Oregonian about Portland comic books. I didn’t have the time to read it then but I finally got back to it this week via This paper has done several stories about the local comics scene but finally they put it right there on the front-page, for all to see. I’ve been waiting for this kind of nod to the importance that comics play in the makeup of the city of Portland. Of course, it’s not technically about comics, the article is really about comics being adapted into films that make big bucks but it’s a step in the right direction. I guess with Comic Con coming down the pike the folks at the Oregonian wanted to highlight the local contribution.

Here’s an excerpt:

Portland's thriving community of comics creators and publishers -- including Dark Horse Comics, Oni Press and Top Shelf Productions -- is playing a major role in feeding the silver screen's voracious appetite.

"Portland," says Eric Gitter, Oni Press' L.A.-based producing partner, "is the Hollywood of comic books."

The week before Batman and the Joker commandeered the nation's cineplexes, the No. 1 movie in the country was "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," adapted from the comics series published by Milwaukie-based Dark Horse Comics. Although it fell from its perch in the "Dark Knight" onslaught, even a brief stay on top can do wonders for your visibility, Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson says.

"My phone's been ringing," Richardson says. "Lots of people have been calling and saying, 'Congratulations! Oh, and by the way, I have a project . . .' "

Although publishers won't reveal exactly how much money such Hollywood deals add to their revenue stream, Richardson says the movie connection may account for Dark Horse's sales records for three consecutive years. "We're heading for another record this year, despite the economy," Richardson says. Dark Horse Entertainment has offices at Universal Studios and Sunset Gower Studios in Los Angeles and is developing a slate of productions.

Portland's Oni Press, with several projects in development, has added staff. "We're at seven people now in Portland and two in L.A.," Oni Press co-founder Joe Nozemack says.

Local comics publishers aren't necessarily driving Jaguars and rolling in dough, Nozemack says. "You're not looking at serious amounts of money until the films are actually made. But the money that creators get for option rights gives them the freedom to do their own thing rather than working on somebody else's characters."

The whole article here



Arkonbey said...


Arkonbey said...


Dr. Zaius said...

When are you going to write another comic book, Swinebread? I remember the one that you posted recently that you made when you were in Junior High.

Don Snabulus said...

Nice to see the article. Knowing the Oregonian, it probably means that there is something in it for their owners or else it would be another year of faint coverage.

Dean Wormer said...

I saw that and thought of you. Big picture of Hellboy right on the cover of the Big O.

Usually it's the boy from hell (Bush) so it was a welcome change.

Someday you will work for Dark Horse.

Swinebread said...

arkonbey - let us know when you are coming out for a visit. Stumptown Comics fest would be a good time

dean - gee Doc I don't know, I don't really have much talent. I do have a few pieces I did for a digital class a few years ago. Maybe I'll post those.

snab - Comics book movies are now big business. I think they are trying to attach themselves to this type of media.

dean - It would be cool to work for darkhorse but I'd actually have to have some skill set they could use.

Randal Graves said...

How about owning Dark Horse instead and counting all that Hollywood cash?

pidomon said...

when Watchmen hits times this time 1000

i talked to a lot of clueless people at comic con whose key word was "licensing"

Swinebread said...

randal - I like that idea better

pidomon - you're right!

ug, they just don't get it do they.