Business News Round-up: Gungnir Books, Magma Comix, PRH-Wattpad, Diamond cancels summit, more


News in brief

It’s been a busy week of breaking news in the comics industry, and here’s a quick-round-up of everything we missed:

§ In a big blockbuster deal out of Angouleme, Editions Dupuis and Kadowkawa have signed a huge joint venture that will publish Japanese and Korean comics, light novels and other content for the French language markets worldwide, with Kadokawa taking a 51% share of the business, which is called Dupuis Vega.    


§ PRH has signed a deal to distribute both frontlist and backlist books published by the Wattpad Webtoon Book Group (WWBG), starting in September, PW reports. The deal covers imprints including Wattpad Books, W by Wattpad Books, and Frayed Pages x Wattpad Books, and Webtoon Unscrolled, 

Wattpad has continued to expand since its 2021 acquisition by South Korea’s Naver, including growing its print book business. The deal also marks the continuation of a trend at PRHPS of bringing aboard major comics and graphic novel publishers. In 2022, the division inked a deal with Dark Horse Comics for distribution to the direct market, the dominant distribution channel for comic books to comics shops in the United States. In 2021, it cemented deals with IDW and Marvel, followed by a distribution agreement with the entire publishing wing at Disney—which owns Marvel—the next year.


Kodansha Comics is getting into the variant cover game with the first volume of the Initial D omnibus, ICv2 reports, with three covers:

The standard cover (for book and all other non-Direct Market channels), a Direct Market/Crunchyroll exclusive, and a Kinokuniya exclusive. Kinokuniya is also offering an exclusive shikishi (sketch board) with pre-orders while supplies last.  The first volume will be released in the book channel on March 19, 2024, and in the Direct Market on March 20, with an MSRP of $22.99.


§ A new publisher is on the scene! Gungnir Books, as announced in PW, will be a SF/fantasy line launching in April. The principals are executive editor Steve Orlando (Wonder Woman, Midnighter) and editor-in-chief Jim Krueger (Injustice). But more players are involved: 

The company has partnerships with Herø Projects, a creative studio headed by former Heavy Metal publisher Matthew Medney that will publish graphic novels through Gungnir, and Iconic Arts, a multimedia studio that will develop the properties for games, film, television, and more.

The line will launch in April with Hiroquest: Genesis & Double Helix, by musician Steve Aoki and Krueger, and then Mutant Cats, in May, a title about which little more need be said, although it is a tie-in with the Mutant Cats line of NFTS. June will bring Chupacabra: Tales of Blood & Ink, by Medney and artist Kyle Faehnrich. 

There’s more in the PW story, with more pacts and distribution deals. 


But that is not even the only publisher with a big announcement this week! Earlier this week saw the return of Magma Comix, a new line launching with books from Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Eamon Winkle, Jason Starr, Dalibor Talajić, Steve Orlando (again!), and Megan Huang. 

Magma started out as an imprint at Heavy Metal, but has since reestablished itself as independent publisher, under founder and CEO Denton J. Tipton and e-i-c Bobby Curnow. Joel Elad and Mike Ford are also involved. 

Magma Comix holds steadfast to empowering comic book creators with the freedom and support necessary to make their 100% creator-owned passion projects that will excite and enthrall our readers. All creators signed to the publisher receive a fair and transparent deal with advance royalties, as well as first-look deals with partners to be revealed. The publisher will offer direct market support through a multi-distributor approach with simple, low-risk ordering for retailers, including returnability and a limited number of variant covers. 

“They say comics will break your heart, but comics will also mend your soul,” said Tipton in a statement. “The best stories have that power, and we need to do better for the people that create them. To that end, Magma is blessed to be working with such talented storytellers who hold comics dear in their hearts and their souls.”

“Surely one of the most potent drugs in the world is the thrill of creation and I can confidently say our creators must be off their heads at this point,” added Curnow. “All of our teams are pouring everything they have into their books, creating some of the best comics I’ve read in my fifteen years of editing. It’s been a real pleasure to help bring these stories into the world” 

Launch titles include Silicon Bandits and The Principles of Necromancy

The Principles of Necromancy #1 (Apr. 3)

(W) Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly

(A/CA) Eamon Winkle (CB) Jana Heidersdorf

The phenomenal writing duo of Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing (Outsiders, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek) return to creator-owned comics with this macabre series brought to life by the evocatively horrific art of Eamon Winkle. Each issue features a variant cover by Jana Heidersdorf (Dark Souls)! 

silicon bandits


Silicon Bandits #1 (Apr. 10)

(W) Jason Starr (A/CA) Dalibor Talajić (CB) Goran Parlov

Crime novelist and comic author Jason Starr (Wolverine Max, Ant-Man: Natural Enemy) reunites with Casual Fling collaborator Dalibor Talajić (Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe) in a tale with enough twists and turns to fry your circuits! Each issue features a variant cover by Goran Parlov (The Punisher)! In a near future where automation has caused mass unemployment, programmers Kenji and Aurora’s careers seemed safe. But when they are suddenly fired, the couple hatches a desperate plan: assemble the perfect heist crew out of androids they programmed. The ensuing crime spree goes perfectly… until betrayal and sentience emerge in equally devastating turns!

Comings and Goings

Adam Phillips announced on Facebook that January 31 will be his last day at AWA Studios, where he worked as Director, Sales & Trade Marketing. “It’s been an interesting time, and I’ve met some great people, but mostly I am looking forward to whatever comes next!” he wrote. 

Whitney Leopard has been promoted to Executive Editor at Random House Graphic, she tweeted. This kid comics imprint has been making a big impact, and Leopard has been instrumental to that, so congrats. 

Kickstarter has posted the job listing for their Senior Outreach Lead, Comics, with a salary of $95,000 – $110,000 a year – a bit less than the last time they posted this job, although I didn’t note the salary at the time. No, I do not know how you can get this job. 


Diamond has canceled its retailer summit for 2024. It was originally going to be held in February in Orlando, but was postponed so as not to conflict with the ComicsPRO meeting, also held in that month. 

After careful consideration, Diamond has made the decision to cancel the previously postponed 2024 Retailer Summit.

We understand that this news may be disappointing, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Our team is committed to finding alternative ways to engage and collaborate with all our retail partners, including seeing many of you next month at the upcoming ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, and hosting our annual Retailer Appreciation Luncheon at Comic-Con International: San Diego in July. We look forward to seeing you at these upcoming events!

Heidi MacDonald
Heidi MacDonald
Heidi MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of The Beat and an award winning author and editor. She is the co-author of The Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master.

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