The New York Times reports that Lion Forge Comics and Oni Press plan to announce a merger on Wednesday, which would lead to major changes for both companies. According to the report, the move will allow Lion Forge and Oni to increase their library of original comics and graphic novels, in addition to bringing their characters to other media platforms, including film and animation. The news follows an announcement that Polarity, Lion Forge’s parent company which David Steward II founded in 2018 to develop Lion Forge characters outside of comics, plans to launch an animation studio.

“There’s a lot of alignment, and we were going down the same path,” Lion Forge co-founder David Steward II told the Times. He noted that rather than competing with Oni Press in an ever-growing market, the companies decided they could have a “bigger, stronger, singular strategy.”

When the merger is complete, publishing will be run out of Portland, Ore., where Oni Press is based. Oni’s publisher, James Lucas Jones, will be president and publisher of the newly-consolidated effort. The Times reports that the merger was negotiated by Polarity president Edward Hamati.

“We’re very excited about the resources and the business expertise that David and Polarity and Lion Forge folks are bringing over,” Jones said. “So many potential partnership conversations that we’ve had in the past were really focused on looking at us like an intellectual property farm,” but Steward and Lion Forge are different, because Steward loves comics and has interest in continuing to publish comics, rather than just adapt the characters for other platforms.

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Jones added that while he is interested in other media ventures, “at the end of the day, the mission is about publishing books.”

According to the Times, the Lion Forge-Oni Press merger will combine assets from both companies and “require an examination of staff levels.” Currently, there are just over 20 people employed at Lion Forge and just under 20 employed at Oni Press.

Steward said, “We’re going to take a look at efficiencies and identify a number of areas of growth as well.”

Disclosure: The Beat is owned by Polarity, which also owns Lion Forge Comics.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The more I read about this, the worse it sounds. It looks like Oni and Lion Forge are letting quite a lot of people go — and, indeed, are leaning on their record of diversity while getting rid of some of the staff who are most responsible for that diversity, including Steenz and Desiree Wilson.
    (Disclosure: Scott Sharkey, who has also been let go, is an old friend of mine, and I know Desiree through him.)
    I’m seeing a lot of tumult about this on Twitter, and I’m concerned that the Beat’s coverage up to this point has amounted to a dry press release with no reference to any controversy. I hope that you are able to maintain journalistic independence and cover perspectives that may be critical of your corporate sibling.

  2. Twitter is not real life.
    IRL, all of those laid off employees will find work in a related field.
    Turmoil on Twitter is mostly attempts by individuals to turn public opinion against their enemies.

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