Selasa, 02 Februari 2010

Comic Books Are the New Mainstream by Rachel Friedman

Millions of Americans are fans of comic book creations, and many might not even know it.
"There were more than 140,000 people who attended Comic Con International in San Diego this year, the largest of any year and the most-attended show of any convention in California," said Mike Richardson, president and publisher of Dark Horse Comics ( "More than the attendees, the tenor of the show was set by the exhibitors. Every major and many minor movie studios had big booths, as well as mainstream book publishers like Random House, Penguin, Chronicle and others. More than comics, the show was about popular culture in all its forms."
Richardson should know, since his company publishes graphic novels and comics that have been source material for movies that most consumers don't realize came from comic books. In addition to publishing the source material for box office hits like Sin City and The 300, Richardson has been the executive producer of some of the movies launched from his company's properties, including:
• Hellboy and Hellboy 2, starring Ron Perlman • The Mask, starring Jim Carrey • 30 Days of Night, starring Josh Hartnett • Barb Wire, starring Pamela Anderson • Mystery Men, starring Ben Stiller
"When you go back over the numbers, eight of the top 10 movies of 2008 came from either comic books or science fiction/fantasy genres," he said. "Comic books are no longer thought of as cheap, disposable entertainment for kids. Over the last 20 years, it has become an inexhaustible source of rich intellectual property for movie studios and producers. That's Hollywood talk that means comics have a lot of good, original stories that appeal to everyone, and not just kids."
Richardson founded Dark Horse in 1986, during a time of creative explosion and milestones in the comic book industry. It was the year that The Watchmen, the best selling graphic novel of all time, was published. DC Comics' revisionist Batman story The Dark Knight Returns was also published in the same time frame. At that time, the industry was dominated by the big two publishers, Marvel Comics and DC Comics, and Richardson thought the industry could use an independent voice that could foster an atmosphere for creative professionals or creative (and financial) freedom. Today, Dark Horse Comics has grown to become the third largest comics publisher in the United States, and remains the number one independent voice in the industry.
As a result, Dark Horse attracted top storytellers from the Marvel and DC, as well as from other smaller independent companies. Today, Dark Horse Comics has grown to become the third-largest comics publisher in the United States.
"The comic industry's influence on popular culture is evidenced by the fact that we are now publishing in dozens of countries around the world, and even taking some of the best comics from those countries and publishing them here," Richardson added. "In conjunction with our sister company Dark Horse Entertainment, we now possess more than 350 properties currently represented under the Dark Horse banner, serving as the jumping-off point for comics, books, films, television, electronic games, toys, and collectibles. And it's all part of the mainstream, now."

About the Author
Rachel Friedman is a Staff Writer at News & Experts.

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