Dynamite Comics: A Retrospective

9935_20051227225727_largeTen years. Dynamite has already been around for a decade. It doesn’t seem like a very long time, considering that Marvel and DC are both nearing 80. On the other hand, over the last ten years, Dynamite Entertainment has risen to become quite a competitor in the market. Part of Dynamite’s success is based on their licensing of familiar characters to create a fantastic set of universes. The other part of their strategy deals with the talent involved. The writers and artists over at Dynamite are some of the greatest in the industry.

The whole phenomena started with the publishing of two Army of Darkness series through Devil’s Due before Dynamite struck out on their own and began self publishing. Their first non-Army of Darkness series was Red Sonja. The first issue, of which, debuted with over 100,000 copies sold. From here, Dynamite started to expand quickly. Now, they own over 3,000 characters from a handful of classic publishing companies  including Warren, Harris Comics, Charlton, and Chaos! Comics.

The company hosts an unbelievable amount of talent. Garth Ennis, Alex Ross, Kevin Smith, and Matt Wagner have published under their banner among many many others. The rapid influx of such big names helped draw a lot of attention to Dynamite’s work.

After ten years, Dynamite has the fourth largest market share outside of the Big Two (as of October 2014). Most fans of comics know this already (specifically those who read my Dynamite Primer from last year). What you may not know is what’s coming next. Adding tokings_watch_p_2013 the long list of incredible characters, Dynamite has just signed a deal to produce James Bond comics starting in 2015. On top of that, Dynamite has just brought back a number of characters from the Chaos! Comics family, and is letting Matt Wagner do what he does best in both Grendel/Shadow and Django/Zorro.

The company has produced an incredible amount of comics based on pulp heroes, like Zorro and The Shadow. Early in its history, Dynamite created the world of Project Superpowers, resurrecting characters like the Green Llama, The Black Terror, and the Owl. They followed this several years later with the series Masks– which brought together for the first time, The Shadow, Green Hornet, Zorro, and The Spider, five of the biggest names in pulp history- and Kings Watch. Kings Watch featured the first ever meeting of The Phantom, Flash Gordon, and Mandrake the Magician. This is a move that has been imitated across the industry. Recently, we’ve seen pulp versions of DC characters featured in their Multiversity series. Dark Horse is also launching its own pulp-era universe by launching several Gold Key titles to which they own the rights, like Captain Midnight. Even Boom! has gotten into the mix by launching Cloaks, a series featuring Blackstone the Magic Detective. Dynamite has launched a major trend in the industry and is now riding the wave of success.

The last ten years have been good to Dynamite, and Dynamite has been good to its readers. Things continue to look up for the company (particularly with the announcement of Ash Vs. The Army of Darkness coming to TV). It is the hope of everyone here at Sound on Sight that they continue to grow and expand over the next decade.

 

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