Saturday, August 21, 2004

Pacific's legacy: San Diego Reader examines Bill and Steve Schanes' Pacific Comics, which grew from one store in 1974 to a distribution company in the late '70s, then to a ground-breaking publisher in the early '80s, releasing books by the likes of Jack Kirby, Mike Grell, Dave Stevens, Mark Evanier and Bruce Jones:

"In many ways, Pacific formed the template for Image Comics, today's most successful San Diego­-based comic company. Image began in 1992 as a publishing imprint where creators could own and profit from their characters. It was founded by Todd McFarlane (who'd made his name drawing Spider-Man and the Hulk), San Diego illustrator Jim Lee (known for an acclaimed run on the Punisher comic), and several other mainstream Marvel artists. Others joined up to form a staff of creators, including Jim Valentino, who'd once worked as a shipping clerk at Pacific's San Diego warehouse (I'm told I was hired at Pacific as Valentino's replacement). Sales of Image titles, such as Spawn and Wildcats, quickly rivaled Marvel and DC in numbers that nobody before them, not even Pacific, had ever managed to pull off. Once again, the Big Two were forced to play catch-up with an upstart new indie publisher. Reportedly over a million copies of Todd McFarlane's Spawn #1 were printed and snapped up in multiples by eager comic consumers who made Image comics the best-selling independent titles of the past quarter century."

(Thanks to Matt Maxwell for pointing out the story.)