WC: Ross Richie and Eric Lieb on the Boom!/Atomic Partnership

Friday evening at WonderCon, BOOM! Studios announced a co-publishing deal with Fox Atomic, a division of 20th Century Fox, that will lead to several new comic book projects. Though no titles were announced, fans can expect series based on familiar movies as well as original books debuting in comics form. CBR News spoke with Boom! publisher Ross Richie and Fox Atomic's Eric Lieb to get details on the new partnership.

Fox Atomic, a somewhat recent addition to the 20th Century Fox family of studios producing films for the 17-24 age group, has previously published original graphic novels through HarperCollins, with titles including "28 Days Later: The Aftermath," "The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning," and two volumes of "The Nightmare Factory." Lieb began his career in movies--and comics by way of movies--working on the Thomas Jane "Punisher" film at Lionsgate, where he assisted with design and scripts, and ultimately brought "Punisher" cover artist Tim Bradstreet onto the film. He was able to continue working in both mediums directly when he discovered his colleagues at Fox Atomic were also comics fans. "When I got over to Atomic after I left Lionsgate, when I first walked into [Fox Searchlight and Atomic President] Peter Rice's office, looking at his bookshelf I saw 'Elektra: Assassin' and 'Kabuki' graphic novels," Lieb recalled. "So I thought, this guy must be fan! We started talking about Comic Con [International]. Peter is a really really true comics fan, as am I. Peter had worked on the 'X-Men' movies at 20th Century Fox before he went to Searchlight, and he so he was really interested in comics, too, and doing original graphic novels. So we put together a deal with our sister company Harper Collins to start doing OGNs either based around films that we had in production or original content, as well." He said that the new initiative with Boom! would allow Fox Atomic to expand upon its previous efforts.

Ross Richie said that Lieb approached him last year at WonderCon about the possibility of working together. "He was a fan of stuff that we did," Richie said, adding that Boom! and Atomic already shared many of the same creative talents. "Steve Niles wrote the '28 Days Later' comic, and he wrote 'Giant Monster' for Boom!, and Nat Jones, who is the artist on 'Giant Monster,' had also worked on '28 Days Later.' Denis Calero did some interiors on '28 Days Later' and would go on to do covers for us on 'Farscape,' so we just had a lot of the same publishing tastes. I think Eric saw that."

"It's a company that I had my eye on for a while," Lieb concurred. "I liked what they were doing in terms of the books they were putting out, just high-concept, really smart books that as a fan I enjoyed reading. So at Wondercon I approached him and later that night, I think it was the Saturday, we were at the Isotope party and we ended up just sitting down and talking for rest of the night about how we could take what we'd done and make it bigger. I thought Boom! was the best fit because of the similar creative vision that we had and I could see that they kind of understood both worlds, as well. The movie world is different from the comics world, but it's important that they fit together nicely. It was Wondercon last year, so it's nice that we can announce it at Wondercon this year."

Lieb said that Boom! Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid was also a huge draw for Atomic. "I fucking love Mark Waid, I've long admired not only his work but him as a person," he said.

Proximity, though, is another big advantage in the co-publishing relationship. "One of the crazy things is, we're probably only a mile and a half away from Fox, geographically," Richie said. "So we meet with Eric, and the studio, Fox Atomic, is involved as well--from the president, the whole gang of creatives, they're very comics conversive, they're big fans and they know their stuff. So I think Eric is a great hub because we share so many tastes creatively that we were able to reach a shorthand very quickly. That has made the process of working on a big project like this very easy.

"It's just cool. It's like, you get together with a friend and you start talking bands, and you know the same bands, you listen to same kind of music--collaboration becomes that much easier. We work hand in hand with everybody over there, and Eric is the one who's taken the lead on this and really sort of the conduit to make it happen."

As to what projects might be forthcoming, Richie would only say that "there'll be some material that fans will be familiar with, there'll be some material that fans might have heard of before but maybe have never seen in this incarnation, and then there will be original material." Further announcements will be made throughout the convention season.

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