Magma Comix Presents Creator-Owned Comics at WonderCon 2024

Magma features new and original content from Steve Orlando, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Eamon Winkle, and Darick Robertson.

After a literal false alarm*, Magma Comix kicked off their first panel at WonderCon 2024 on March 29 to showcase their new creator-owned titles from The Scale Trade writer Steve Orlando, The Principles of Necromancy co-writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, series artist Eamon Winkle, and variant cover artist Darick Robertson. 

Out the gate, Magma Comix founder, Denton Tipton, and Editor-in-Chief, Bobby Curnow, focus on their overall mission and why Magma is an enticing new home for artists and writers who want to create and own their stories.

Steve Orlando Jackson Lanzing Collin Kelly Magma Comix Wondercon 2024
Magma Comix presenting creator-owned titles at WonderCon 2024. Credit: Vanessa Young

“What it comes down to is honoring a creator’s vision. It’s very easy for a product to go from your mind, to the page, and into your hands as a comic reader, for things to go wrong in any myriad, different ways,” Curnow said, during the panel. “It could be editorial’s changing what they want you to do, could be printer problems, it could be getting news of your book out to the people. So what really excites us is being the people who can help the creators to do all this.”

Curnow expressed excitement about this creator-focused vision that supports creative teams every step of the way, without the usual limitations from larger, more “corporate” publishers. 

“What we’re excited about is the creator’s vision. We’re creators ourselves, we know how difficult it can be. What we want to do is really put everything aside and say, ‘Hey, creators, what do you need? We help you with? How can we go on this journey with you to support this new idea?’” Curnow continued.

“All of our books are brand new, original content. These are the most exciting things in the world. Comics is the laboratory of creativity. It’s really sad to me that we have put all of these constraints on comics, that there has to be one way to sell to a certain market. We’re interested in taking what ideas are and figuring out how to best make that work in today’s market,” he said.

Both Tipton and Curnow dive a little into the business side of selling comic books in today’s era, adjusting away from the standard set by bigger publishers. Tipton talked about simplifying the publishing process with limited variant covers, which he believes will help make things easier and reduce risk for retailers.

“The A cover we’ve got those priced at $3.99. Those are entry-level, everyone can get in. Those are returnable to retailers, so they can order up as much as they want without taking risk. We have a B cover, which is your cardstock that gives you a new artist,” Tipton shared.

Lanzing and Kelly were quick to express how passionate they are about what Magma is doing, not just for their team, but for writers and artists in general. 

“Ethics in comic book creation is really complicated, right? Comics are high creativity, low pay. We’re doing this primarily because we love the medium. Especially taking creator-owned books with a new publisher can be a real risk,” Kelly said. 

Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly Magma Comix
Co-writers Lanzing and Kelly at WonderCon 2024. Credit: Vanessa Young

“The reason that we love working with Magma is that it’s everything that Denton said. This is a company that respects the creators, they respect our time. They respect our creative vision. It’s like if you’re gonna buy fair trade ethically-sourced coffee, these are fair trade ethically-sourced comics. Great company to be supporting, especially your local shops, we hope that they do gangbusters because more companies should be following this model,” Kelly continued, with Lanzing backing him up.

“I don’t know another company that follows this model. That’s what’s really unique about Magma is that when you look at the wider range, Collin and I have worked with pretty much everybody under the sun at this point,” Lanzing said. 

“The thing that you’ll encounter over and over again, people who say the word ‘creator-owned’ comics, they don’t actually mean it. What they mean is creator half-owned, creator-adjacent? That is not what’s happening. In fact, we were shocked when we got the contract and realized how much we weren’t giving up on this. Despite the fact that the advance was enough that Eamon could live on it and work, which is just not the kind of thing that you would normally see out of a contract like this,” he continued.

Lanzing, Kelly and Winkle have The Principles of Necromancy coming Wednesday, April 3.

Magma Comix creators
Magma Comix creators at WonderCon 2024. Credit: Vanessa Young

Magma Comix began as a creator-owned imprint of the legendary magazine Heavy Metal. Now Magma forges a new path as an independent publisher of original, 100% creator-owned comics for mature audiences. Meet some of the creators of Magma’s upcoming launch titles—including Steve Orlando, Darick Robertson, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, and Eamon Winkle —and find out more about their new titles, including The Principles of Necromancy, Silicon Bandits, and The Scale Trade.

*Just as the panel was starting, fire alarms started flashing, with sirens going off. A single message telling us to evacuate, while we all stood around, confused, until a WonderCon volunteer told us to leave the room. We walked outside for a bit. Eventually, we were allowed back in and received no further news about it. Very strange.