Pretty sure no one saw this coming: Hunter Gorinson has been named President and Publisher of the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group, it was announced today.
In Gorinson, OLFPG has a veteran executive with a wide range of experience, including Marvel, Valiant, Hivemind, Bad Idea and most recently Boom! Studios, where he was vp of Business Development. He starts the job today and will oversee all company operations, including Oni’s editorial, marketing, operations, and sales divisions over all sales channels.
The move ends a turbulent period at the much loved Portland based publisher that saw most of the staff – including long time publisher James Lucas Jones and executive vp Charlie Chu – either removed or quitting the company. They have been hiring for key positions, with an opening for a junior marketing position, and the recent hire of PR veteran Kim Estlund to handle that end of things.
I’m going to run the rest of the PR below without editorial comment but I will say I’ve known Hunter a long time, and he’s very smart and knowledgeable about all levels of the comics industry. As his statement below indicates, he understands Oni’s legacy and pioneering role in getting comics publishing to where it is now. And as observers have kept pointing out over the last six months, Oni Lion-Forge has a tremendous catalog of proven sellers – Scott Pilgrim, Gender Queer, Sheets, Tea Dragon Society, Rick and Morty, Upgrade Soul, Courtney Crumrin and lots more. There’s a lot of work to get done at the company, but the most important thing – good books – is there.
Obviously there’s a lot more news to come on this, and we’ll update it as events unfold.
In his new role, Gorinson will be tasked with expanding Oni-Lion Forge’s footprint as one of the world’s most renowned publishers of comic books and original graphic novels; building upon its decades-long relationships with some of the comic medium’s most noted creators; identifying new creative voices and partnerships; and expanding the Oni-Lion Forge brand through new collaborative ventures rooted in the storytelling power of the comic book medium.
“Oni is, without a doubt, one of the most groundbreaking and influential comic book publishers of our generation,” said Gorinson. “It’s a true honor to lead the company at this pivotal moment in its history, and I look forward to working alongside our incredibly talented team and distinguished roster of creators to write a new chapter that will honor Oni’s legacy of advancing daring creative voices, stories, and ideas, while opening new opportunities to maximize the scope and impact of the Oni-Lion Forge library for readers of all ages in comic shops, bookstores, and beyond.”
Gorinson comes to Oni with more than a decade of high-level experience in comic book publishing, film and television development, and content strategy, working in partnership with some of the most recognizable creators, properties, and brands throughout the entertainment landscape.
From 2011 onward, Gorinson served as the founding Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Valiant Entertainment, where he co-architected the relaunch of the award-winning independent comics publisher. In 2018, Gorinson joined Hivemind – the production company behind Netflix’s The Witcher and
Amazon’s The Expanse – where he served as Senior Vice President of Brand & Content Strategy and led development of multiple high-profile additions to the company’s slate of comic book-based film and television projects.
Gorinson also simultaneously co-founded the upstart comic publishing imprint Bad Idea, serving as the company’s Publisher through its launch.
In 2021, Gorinson joined BOOM! Studios as the Eisner Award-winning publisher’s first Vice President of Business Development. As the founding executive behind the company’s emerging business development division, Gorinson worked to forge new business opportunities, partnerships, and brand collaborations for the industry’s second largest independent publisher; expand the company’s opportunities in publishing across the direct market, book, and direct-to-consumer channels; and develop the BOOM! library across publishing, media, and licensing.
Founded in 1997, Oni Press has a 25-year history as one of the industry’s most respected and acclaimed independent comic book publishers. In 2019, the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group was formed through a merger with fellow independent comic book publisher, Lion Forge Comics, founded in 2011 by entrepreneur David Steward II. The Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group now exists as a publishing subsidiary of Steward’s diversified global media company, Polarity.
“From our earliest conversations, it was clear that Hunter was the ideal leader to shape the future of the Oni-Lion Forge brand,” said David Steward II, Chairman of the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group. “With a deep understanding of both the art and business of comics, Hunter knows how to build collaborative environments that foster creativity between creators and colleagues alike, and shape content that will resonate with fans around the world. He has a robust vision for solidifying Oni–Lion Forge’s reach with creators, readers, and retailers in the direct and book markets, while simultaneously extending the wide breadth of our library even further with strategic partnerships that will showcase the best of Oni-Lion Forge, present and future.”
Oni-Lion Forge’s curated line includes award-winning original and licensed comic books and graphic novels, including: Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty™, Nickelodeon’s Invader ZIM, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim, Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin, Anthony Johnston & Christopher Mitten’s Wasteland, Sophie Campbell’s Wet Moon, K. O’Neill’s The Tea Dragon Society, Brenna Thummler’s Sheets and Delicates, Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer, Jarrett Melendez and Danica Brine’s Chef’s Kiss, Ezra Claytan Daniels’ Upgrade Soul, the Eisner award-winning anthology Puerto Rico Strong, and seminal works by hundreds of creators, including Cullen Bunn, Zander Cannon, Tyler Crook, Ray Fawkes, Marc Guggenheim, Phil Hester, Mike Huddleston, Brian Joines, Sam Keith, Jim Mahfood, Chris Samnee, Laura Samnee, Judd Winick, and many more.
Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group publishes more than 60 original graphic novels annually, in addition to an extensive list of periodical comics.
Disclosure: The Beat was owned by Polarity, parent company of Oni Lion Forge Publishing Group, from 2017 to 2020.