PRH buys Boom! Studios, will join Random House Worlds

In a  big shake-up for the direct market, Penguin Random House will purchase Boom! Studios, The Beat has learned. Official news will drop later today, we’re told.

The move adds a nearly 20 year old publisher with a strong backlist to PRH’s publishing line-up – which already has several graphic novel focused lines, including Random House Graphics for kids, Inklore for YA, the new 10 Speed Press  and many acclaimed graphic novels coming out via the Pantheon imprint. As part of the move it’s expected that Boom will move from Diamond to PRH as their distributor See below: Boom will remain with Diamond and Simon & Schuster for the time being.  Although Boom’s trade publishing program fits in well with PRH, how much emphasis there will be on Boom’s still vigorous periodical comics publishing efforts at PRH will be a big question moving forward.

UPDATE: The official PR for the acquisition has gone out and it has more information:

• The deal was announced by Scott Shannon, President of Random House Worlds, and Ross Richie, Chairman and Founder of BOOM! Studios. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Boom will become part of the Random House Worlds portfolio of imprints alongside Del Rey, Inklore and the RH Worlds licensing program.

• Boom’s editorial and publishing staff will continue to run the imprint and will remain in their Los Angeles offices, reporting to Shannon. Keith Clayton, VP Publisher, Random House Worlds, and Bill Takes, EVP of Business Strategy, Random House Publishing Group.

• In a surprise move, BOOM! will continue to be distributed by Diamond Comic Distributors to the direct market and Simon & Schuster to the bookstore trade.

Official statements came in the PR:

Ross Richie: “It’s every entrepreneur’s dream to launch a company, build it, and sell it to the best. I’m excited to hand the reins of BOOM! over to the best and largest publisher in the world. Their focus on readers and retail partnerships will build upon our work and help our creators achieve even more success. Personally, it’s time for me to take some much-needed time off with my family and explore what’s next.”

Scott Shannon: “Over the past several years Random House Worlds has partnered with BOOM! Studios on various projects and had the benefit of seeing first-hand their best-in-class comic publishing. Ross and his team have built a dynamic, imaginative home for a diverse and talented roster of creators. We are thrilled to welcome BOOM! Studios to our house, and now work side-by-side with this imaginative team. The acquisition of BOOM! Studios is a major step in Penguin Random House’s expansion of support to the direct comics market and a key part of our commitment to being the best publisher for creators across all categories. We are excited to continue that tradition with BOOM! as part of the Random House Publishing Group.”

And now back to our original story:

Boom! was founded 19 years ago by Ross Richie and Andrew Cosby, as one of a group of then-new companies focused on publishing comics periodicals . Boom outlasted all its  contemporaries with a mix of smart licensed content – Adventure Time comics were a game changer – and innovative originals – Lumberjanes. Over the years they’ve continued to find success in both areas, most recently with the “Slaughter-verse” by James Tynion IV, which launched woth Someone is Killing the Children and has since become a top seller in both periodicals and collected editions. In addition, they set a record for a comics Kickstarter with Keanu Reeves BRZRKR.

In 2017, 20th Century Fox purchased a minority interest in Boom. With Disney’s 2019 acquisition of Fox, that interest passed on to Disney, with the result that several animated movies that were in the works being scrapped because of redundancy at Disney – including Lumberjanes and Mouse Guard, still one of the great what might have beens. 

Boom’s move to PRH has been rumored in comics circles for a few weeks – the company was also rumored to be on the block even before the pandemic. The departure of president Filip Sablik seems relatedit’s being reported that today is his last day.

While this qualifies as breaking news, we’ll have more updates as more information becomes available.

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