Avatar Press
Founded1996; 28 years ago (1996)
FounderWilliam A. Christensen
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationRantoul, Illinois
DistributionDiamond Book Distributors (books)[1]
Key peopleWarren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Alan Moore
Publication typesComic books
Fiction genresBad girl, Horror, Superhero
ImprintsBoundless Comics
Bleeding Cool
Official websiteavatarpress.com

Avatar Press is an independent American comic book publisher founded in 1996 by William A. Christensen, and based in Rantoul, Illinois. It was originally known for publishing bad girl comics, such as Pandora, Hellina, Lookers, The Ravening, and Brian Pulido's Lady Death. Later the company became better known for publishing particularly violent titles by popular and critically acclaimed writers such as Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Jonathan Hickman, and Kieron Gillen.

Avatar also publishes the comics news site Bleeding Cool, helmed by Rich Johnston.

History

Founder and editor-in-chief William A. Christensen.

1990s

Avatar Press launched in December 1996 with three titles: Pandora, Silent Rapture, and Donna Mia. Lookers followed in January, 1997.[2] The founding publisher was Richard Christensen, his son William Christensen was editor-in-chief, and Mark Seifert was creative director.[3]

The Christensens previously founded the comic book retail outfit Comic Cavalcade in 1989, when William Christensen was 16 years old.[4] Seifert worked as a manager at Comic Cavalcade.[5] Seifert and William Christensen co-bylined several articles for Wizard magazine during the early 1990s, including installments of "The Wizard’s Crystal Ball" column, an interview with Alan Moore, and a Jack Kirby retrospective.[6] Before the launch of Avatar Press, William Christensen was also credited as "managing editor," among other roles, at London Night Studios in 1995 and 1996.[7]

Avatar began publishing at the end of the 1990s comic book speculation boom and bust, when many publishers and retailers were going out of business, yet the company expanded, publishing titles by creators such as Mike Wolfer, David Quinn, Tim Vigil, Eric Powell, and Warren Ellis.[8] Pandora became the company's flagship character, appearing in crossovers with numerous other "bad girl" characters, including Hellina, Razor, Lady Death, Shotgun Mary, and Widow. [9]

2000s

In 2000, Avatar Press began publishing comics featuring characters licensed from Rob Liefeld's defunct Awesome Comics company, including Avengelyne and The Coven.[10] The next year, Avatar began publishing previously unreleased issues of Glory written by Moore and originally intended for Awesome.[11] More works by Moore followed, including adaptations of his prose stories and song lyrics, such as Alan Moore's Magic Words, and reprints such as the graphic novel A Small Killing.[12]

Avatar soon attracted other critically acclaimed writers such as Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano, and Mark Millar.[13][14][15] Ennis became a particularly active writer for the company. He brought his series Dicks with John McCrea over from Caliber Comics in 2002, then wrote a series of new titles, including 303 in 2004, Chronicles of Wormwood in 2006, Crossed in 2008, and Stitched in 2012.[16] He brought his series War Stories, previously published under DC's Vertigo imprint, to Avatar in 2014.[13]

Ellis continued to publish material through Avatar as well. In 2004, the company published four comics written by Ellis under the label "Apparat Singles Group." Described as "a group of imaginary first issues of imaginary series from an imaginary line of comics," the books represented Ellis's vision of what comics could have been like if the industry had drawn more inspiration from pulp magazines instead of superhero comics.[17][18] Ellis's 2007 title Black Summer, about a superhero assassinating the President of the United States, garnered a cover story from American Prospect magazine.[19]

Asked in 2009 how Avatar attracted well-known writers like Ellis and Moore, Christiansen cited creative freedom.[20] Millar says Avatar was the only company willing to publish his series The Unfunnies because it was so "extreme."[15] Eventually the company became better known for publishing titles by critically acclaimed, popular writers featuring extreme content, such as Crossed, than for the company's earlier bad girl titles.[21]

Avatar also licensed comic book adaptations of famous science-fiction and horror movies and television shows, such as RoboCop, Stargate, Night of the Living Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.[22]

The company launched the comic book and pop culture news site Bleeding Cool in 2009 with Rich Johnston as head writer and Mark Seiffert as managing editor.[23][24]

2010s to present

Moore expanded his output for Avatar over the course of the 2010s. In need of quick money to pay a tax bill, Moore created a new comic book mini-series for Avatar called Neonomicon.[25] The series was published in 2010 and featured art by Jacen Burrows. Much of what Moore says will be his final comics work before retiring from the medium was published by Avatar Press, including Crossed +100, Providence, and Cinema Purgatorio.[26]

Avatar continued to expand its line-up of titles from high profile writers in the early 2010s, adding books like Kieron Gillen's Uber and Jonathan Hickman's God Is Dead, both in 2013. In 2016, Comics Alliance described Uber as "the backbone of Avatar Press' overall line" and "one of the publisher's most well-received and critically acclaimed comics."[27]

In 2013, Delano said he wouldn't do any " and further work for Avatar after the company sold a "torture" variant cover depicting sexual violence towards a women for an issue of Crossed he wrote.[28] Later that year comics journalist Heidi MacDonald criticized Avatar's "torture" covers in general, asking "what kind of person buys a “Torture variant” cover anyway?"[29] MacDonald's article prompted numerous responses, including one from then new Crossed writer Justin Jordan, but MacDonald noted how civil the debate remained.[30]

Avatar launched a new imprint called Boundless Comics in 2010 to publish a new line of Lady Death titles and similar bad girl and "cheesecake" comics titles similar to those Avatar published during its early days.[31] The imprint launched War Goddess featuring early Avatar characters Pandora, Hellina, and Widow in 2011 and a new Lookers title in 2016.[32][33]

Avatar's Bleeding Cool website was criticized in 2018 after publishing an interview with far-right writer Vox Day conducted by Seifert. Bleeding Cool apologized for running the interview and appointed Kaitlyn Booth as editor-in-chief.[34] Seifert remains managing editor of the site, according to his author page on the site.[35]

As of June 2023, the Avatar Press website's news page has not been updated since October, 2020.[36] In 2021, the company released the Providence Compendium and the Warrior Nun Dora graphic novel, both of which had been crowdfunded on Kickstarter in 2020.[37][38][39] Avatar also released a new Jungle Fantasy Fauna series under the Boundless imprint in 2021. No new issues of Jungle Fantasy Fauna were published in 2022, but the fifth issue is solicited for December 2023. Meanwhile both Avatar and Boundless continue to solicit reprints and bundles of previously published material[40] and Bleeding Cool continues to operate.[41]

Titles

By author

Selected other titles

Adaptations and licensed properties

By author[edit]

Selected other titles[edit]

References

  1. ^ Our Publishers
  2. ^ "Avatar Gears Up For December". Avatar Press website. Archived from the original on 1998-12-02. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  3. ^ Pandora, vol. 1, no. 1 (January 1997). Avatar Press.
  4. ^ "Comic Cavalcade | Better Business Bureau Profile". www.bbb.org. Retrieved 2023-06-25. Mitchell, Tim (2005-05-17). "Comic book dealer wants to use site as a warehouse". The News-Gazette. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  5. ^ Carlson, Debbie (November 23, 1992). "Superman's death sparks reflection, sends dealers searching for more". Journal Gazette from Mattoon, Illinois.
  6. ^ Christensen, William; Seifert, Mark (November 1992). "Wizard's Crystal Ball". Wizard The Comics Magazine. USA: Garab Shamus Enterprises. p. 79. Christensen, William; Seifert, Mark (November 1993). "The Unexplored Medium". Wizard The Comics Magazine. USA: Garab Shamus Enterprises. p. 42. Christensen, William; Seifert, Mark (August 1994). "The King". Wizard The Comics Magazine. USA: Garab Shamus Enterprises. p. 90.
  7. ^ Credited as "Sales Representative": Widow: Metal Gypsies, vol. 1, no. 1 (August 1995). London Night Studios.. As "Executive director": Widow: Metal Gypsies, vol. 1, no. 2 (1995). London Night Studios.. As "Project manager: Razor Torture, vol. 1, no. 0 (December 1995). London Night Studios.. As "Managing Editor" Razor Torture, vol. 1, no. 1 (1996). London Night Studios.. As "Managing Editor": Razor/The Suffering, vol. 1, no. 3 (1995). London Night Studios..
  8. ^ Publishers and retailers going out of business at the time: Jim McLauchlin (2021-06-17). "Comic books' crazy 1996 revisited: a wedding, a bankruptcy, a DC-Marvel crossover, more". gamesradar. Retrieved 2023-06-25. and "Tales From the Database - Mile High Comics, Chuck Rozanski". www.milehighcomics.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25. Avatar founding and expanding during the bust: Wolfer, Mike (2007-07-17). "HOW AVATAR PRESS SAVED MY LIFE, Part 4: Reconstruction". Avatar Press. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  9. ^ Flagship character: "'Avatar' builds on Pandora fever". Chicago Tribune. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2023-06-25. and "C2E2: Bad Girls Return in "War Goddess"". CBR. 2011-03-19. Retrieved 2023-06-25. Crossovers: "Pandora -- Avatar Press". www.avatarpress.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25. and Seifert, Mark (1998-06-01). "News & Notes". Avatar Press. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  10. ^ Seifert, Mark (2000-07-24). "Shaw, Rio, Haley Take Avengelyne to the Brink in Avengelyne: Revelation". Avatar Press. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  11. ^ "To the Extreme: A conversation with Rob Liefeld". CBR. 2001-07-30. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  12. ^ "Alan Moore category page from the 2000s". Avatar Press website. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  13. ^ a b "Garth Ennis Proves Everything Old is New at Image Comics with Trio of Re-Releases". CBR. 2016-04-13. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  14. ^ Hudson |, Laura. "Delano's New Narcopolis at Avatar". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  15. ^ a b "Mark Millar: World On A String (Part One of Two): Interviews & Features Archive - Comics Bulletin". 2011-08-10. Archived from the original on 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  16. ^ Dicks at Caliber: Sandifer, Elizabeth (2021-10-04). "For Sweet Fuck All (Book Three, Part 25: Troubled Souls) – Eruditorum Press". Retrieved 2023-06-25. Titles published at Avatar: MacDonald, Heidi (2011-07-01). "Garth Ennis writes and directs Stitched". The Beat. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  17. ^ "Warren Ellis' APPARAT". Avatar Press. 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  18. ^ "Ellis' Artist Entourage: Talking With The Artists Of Apparat". CBR. 2004-11-05. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  19. ^ Sanchez, Julian (2007-10-21). "The Revolt of the Comic Books". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  20. ^ "Top Writers Anchor Avatar". icv2.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  21. ^ McCulloch, Joe (2016-05-11). "THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (5/11/16 - Crashing Headlong Into the Limits of My Charisma". The Comics Journal. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  22. ^ "Steven Grant Aims To Do Permanent Damage with 'Frank Miller's Robocop'". CBR. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 2023-06-25. "Dynamite Gets 'Stargate'". icv2.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25. "Wolfer Takes "Night of the Living Dead" West". CBR. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2023-06-25. Jasper, Gavin (2019-09-13). "The Weird History of Friday the 13th Comics". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  23. ^ "Bleeding Cool Magazine". Bleeding Cool News. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  24. ^ "Rich Johnston post on White Chapel forum". May 27, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  25. ^ Thill, Scott. "Alan Moore Gets Psychogeographical With Unearthing". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  26. ^ Cain, Sian (2016-09-08). "Alan Moore confirms he is retiring from creating comic books". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-06-25. Leith, Sam (2022-10-07). "Watchmen author Alan Moore: 'I'm definitely done with comics'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-06-25. Shapira, Tom (2020-09-15). "Their Other Last Hurrah – Cinema Purgatorio". The Comics Journal. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  27. ^ Shiach, Kieran (2016-08-23). "Avatar Press Launches Kickstarter For Gillen & Gete's 'Uber'". ComicsAlliance. Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  28. ^ Παπαδημητρόπουλος, Θωμάς (2013-04-27). "Jamie Delano: H Συνέντευξη Στο CCA2013". Comicdom. Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  29. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (2013-08-20). "So what kind of person buys a "Torture variant" cover anyway? (NSFW, trigger images)". The Beat. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  30. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (2013-08-23). "The week in review: No one did anything they didn't want to". The Beat. Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  31. ^ Johnston, Rich (2010-04-15). "Avatar Launches Boundless At C2E2 - Brings Back Lady Death". bleedingcool.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  32. ^ "C2E2: Bad Girls Return in "War Goddess"". CBR. 2011-03-19. Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  33. ^ Johnston, Rich (2016-03-21). "The Lauch of Lookers - Boundless Solicits For June 2016". bleedingcool.com. Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  34. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (2018-10-12). "Interview with white supremacist causes regime change at top comics site". The Beat. Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  35. ^ "Mark Seifert Page 1". bleedingcool.com. Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  36. ^ "Avatar Press". Avatar Press. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  37. ^ Johnston, Rich (2021-03-23). "Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows' Providence Compendium From Avatar In June". bleedingcool.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  38. ^ Johnston, Rich (2020-07-06). "Spoiler Previews of Warrior Nun: Dora on Kickstarter". bleedingcool.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  39. ^ "WARRIOR NUN DORA TP VOL 01 (NOV201091)". www.previewsworld.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  40. ^ "Listing of Avatar Press solicitations". Diamond Previews World. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  41. ^ "Bleeding Cool News - Comics, Movies, TV, Games, Collectibles". bleedingcool.com. Retrieved 2023-06-25.
  42. ^ "Future Imperfect: Jamie Delano talks Narcopolis". Comic Book Resources. November 7, 2007.
  43. ^ "Entering Narcopolis I: Jamie Delano". Newsarama. March 1, 2008. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009.
  44. ^ "Double-Crossed: Ennis & Burrows talk Crossed". Comic Book Resources. June 12, 2008.
  45. ^ "CCI: Christos Gage discusses Absolution". Comic Book Resources. July 23, 2008.
  46. ^ Leader, Michael (November 3, 2009). "Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie Interview". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on 6 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
  47. ^ "WW Philly: The Avatar Panel". Newsarama. June 1, 2008. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009.
  48. ^ "Escape of the Living Dead". Avatar Press.
  49. ^ "WWC XTRA: Picking the Brains of a 'Living Dead' Legend with Avatar Press". Comic Book Resources. August 13, 2007.