I had a feeling dire things were afoot when I took a peek at WildStorm’s release schedule for the early 2011 to find half of their original books and planned licensed releases had been unlisted.
WildStorm began as an independent comic publisher in 1992, founded by Jim Lee – a prolific comic book artist, writer and publisher. The company created several of its own series, including WildC.A.T.S. and Stormwatch, as well publishing independent works, like Warren Ellis’ Two-Step and Planetary, plus David Tischman and Philip Bond’s Red Herring.
Lee sold WildStorm to DC Comics in 1998, where it continued as a DC imprint. Since then the imprint has gone through several changes of direction, with the biggest possibly being it’s focus on licensed properties in the latter half if it’s life. Series like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, as well as being one of the first comic publishers to be part of the transmedia movement, with novels and miniseries for Heroes, Fringe, Chuck, Push and Star Trek to name a few.
And WildStorm knew how to play things smart, announcing upcoming licensed comics with scarcer-than-Batman’s-utility-belt issue #0 previews to get collectors drooling at Comic Con. I’m still holding out for several of them myself.
WildStorm may be gone, but it’s ushered in a new era of video game-related tie-ins which looks set to continue. Though a lot of them do end up feeling like shameless merchandise, the occasional bright lights are well worth looking out for.