|Parent company||The Lion Forge, LLC|
|Founder||David Steward II|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||St. Louis|
|Distribution||Diamond Book Distributors (books)|
Lion Forge Comics is an American comic book publisher founded in 2011 by David Steward II and Carl Reed, with headquarters located in St. Louis, Missouri. The company has a strong focus on culturally diverse creators and stories.
Lion Forge Comics was founded in 2011 by David Steward II and Carl Reed to give ethnically diverse creators an outlet to create ethnically diverse characters. The company began as a digital publisher but experimented with print comics when digital sales began to plateau industry wide. Initially, Lion Forge worked on developing their own original properties. However, the company picked up a number of NBCUniversal 1980s properties, Airwolf, Knight Rider, Miami Vice, Punky Brewster, and Saved by the Bell. In 2012, the company launched its initial titles. followed that up with American Greetings properties, Care Bears, Madballs, and Packages from Planet X.
By 2014, Lion Forge had staff in New York and Los Angeles in addition to its headquarters in St. Louis. In mid 2014, the company announced a children's line, Roar Comics, would launch with six titles. They also announced IDW Publishing would publish and distribute print version of their comic books.
In July 2016, general counsel Geoff Gerber was promoted to president taking over from founder David Steward, who was named founder/publisher. Plus, additional editors and sale and marketing staff were also hired.
It expanded its print line in the Fall of 2016 with the CubHouse imprint for grades pre-K through 12, splitting that age group off from Roar Comics. Both lines would be under Andrea Colvin as senior editor. By late 2017, it had grown to 30 employees located in St Louis, Chicago, and New York City, with remote employees primarily working from home, with Geoff Gerber as the company president. On Free Comic Book Day 2016, May 6, Lion Forge launched its superhero universe line, Catalyst Prime, under senior editor Joe Illidge with a single issue.
The company began to grow through acquisitions in 2016. In early October 2016, it purchased Magnetic Press, and renaming it as Magnetic Collection. In October 2017, it purchased the New York City-based comic journalism site Comics Beat. Steward created a subsidiary called Syndicated Comics to control assets and content generated by Comics Beat.
Following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Lion Forge partnered with Book Industry Charitable Foundation to help comic book retailers who needed aid. A benefit book to aid Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane Maria has been announced for 2018.
In early 2018, the company was showcased in a discussion on racial representation in comics at Trinity University in anticipation of the release of the film Black Panther.
In February 2018, Lion Forge Comics indicated that it would enter the picture book market with a line under its CubHouse imprint that would hit the stands in May with two original picture books. In May 2018, Lion Forge announced its middle reader imprint, Caracal, with its first titles to hit the stand in late 2018. Lion Forge announced in June 2018 the Quillion imprint for tabletop gaming inspired stories to debut in September 2018.
After a year of rapid expansion in staff and focus, in November 2018 the company laid off twelve out of approximately sixty employees primarily in editorial, in a restructuring move.
In May 2019, Lion Forge Comics announced a possible merger with Oni Press into Polarity. More recently, the animation unit Lion Forge Animation has a first look deal with the sports network APGS.
Lion Forge has several imprints aimed at different demographics. CubHouse is Lion Forge Comics’ imprint for children ages 8 and under. It publishes graphic novels and picture books. The imprint's first picture books released in May 2018 were Oothar the Blue by author-illustrator Brandon Reese and This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose, illustrated by Josh Shipley. The Caracal imprint focuses on material for audiences aged 8–12. The first title under the imprint was released in late 2018. Young adults and teens are targeted by the Roar Comics imprint. Some of its tiles include Lighter Than My Shadow and The Castoffs. The imprint was founded in 2014 with six titles, Care Bears, Punky Brewster, Saved by the Bell and original comics such as Roboy, Crystal Cadets and MER. Fans of role playing games are the intended audience for the Quillon imprint, which releases comics inspired by tabletop role playing games. The first title, Rolled & Told, was released in September 2018. Each issue includes a ready-to-play adventure.
Joe Illidge, who began his career at the minority-focused comic publisher Milestone Media in 1993, was hired as Senior Editor to oversee the superhero imprint Catalyst Prime in June 2016. In 2017, he told the Washington Post he wanted to focus on diverse characters and creators, but that he did not want the line to be defined by that focus. In a listicle of the best Black comics for the Stillwater News-Press, Lawrence Ware praised this line for "its dedication to authentic, three-dimensional portrayals of the lead characters".
Comics in this line are set in a shared universe where superpowers are triggered by events following an asteroid approaching Earth. The initial seven ongoing series in the imprint are Noble, Accell, Superb, Incidentals, Asthonisher, Kino and Summit. The next two series were Quincredible and the crossover event Seven Days.
Acquired in October 2016, Magnetic Press was integrated across Lion Forge's imprint as the Magnetic Collection. The collection is a cross-imprint brand line of curated material. Mike Kennedy, Magnetic Press Publisher and President, moved over with the purchase as Creative Director of the Magnetic Collection. Some of these titles are A Glance Backward, Doomboy, the Love trilogy, Warship Jolly Roger and Wasted Lands Omnibus.