Visionary Comics, a production studio and digital publisher, is marking 10 years in the creative industry by announcing the hiring of two well-known industry execs and a retooled website as the first phase of a major expansion that will extend into 2016. Company leaders are calling the initiative “Visionary 2.0.”
“We’ve been working hard the last few months to move Visionary to the forefront of the industry and wanted to announce our first exciting changes at Tucson Comic Con,” says C. Edward Sellner, the company’s Chief Creative Officer. The eighth annual event kicked off at the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, AZ, on November 6, and wraps its three day run Sunday. Visionary execs made the exclusive announcements today at a panel during the popular show.
The major additions to the company’s leadership include promotion of Jeff Mariotte as editor-in-chief, division chief for Visionary Books, and corporate partner, along with Andy Smith, who will serve as division chief of Visionary Arts.
Mariotte is an award-winning author of comics and prose, including his latest work entitled Empty Rooms. He will continue handling Visionary’s work with the popular Deadlands novels from Tor Books and will be launching new projects from the company in 2016. Smith is a top ranked professional artist, with a resume that includes extensive work on Marvel, DC, and Disney comic and book projects.
“We could not be more thrilled to have Jeff join us in an exclusive partnership, and to be bringing Andy on board. Both of these gentlemen bring a new level of expertise and skill to the studio and will help define us into our next decade,’ says Visionary Chief Financial Officer Charlie Hall.
“Having helped elevate two different startups, WildStorm Productions and IDW Publishing, into the top ranks of comics and entertainment, I had thought my publishing days were behind me,” Mariotte says. “But the folks at Visionary are so smart, so honest, and so great at what they do, they drew me back in. Having a home for my own projects as well as the opportunity to help other creators realize their goals is too good a deal to pass up. This time, I’m going to stay a while.”
In addition, Visionary has virtually doubled its total staff handling day-to-day operations. Sellner states that Visionary’s growth will reflect a change in its overall mission and expansion of its goals. “We’re really not just Visionary Comics anymore, we’re now getting into prose fiction, children’s books, corporate branding, concept and design, etc. As a result, our core identity moving forward will be Visionary Creative Services, the banner for our actual production studio. Our brand labels will then better reflect the product and their respective markets.”
These will include new titles under Visionary Comics, and the debut of Visionary Books with its upcoming Tor offerings, as well as others in the works. Next year will see new labels debut as well as Visionary moves more solidly into new markets.
All of the details about the company’s expanded vision can be found on its relaunched website, still found at visionarycomics.com. Online readers will quickly notice the new layout, says the designer.
“We wanted the site to showcase the visual talents of the professionals at Visionary,” says Liesl Lukacs, web designer and partner for VineBUZZ, the Ranson, WV-based company hired to manage Visionary’s marketing. “They are creating visual masterpieces; so we wanted to use the art to draw people in to learn more about this great company through their blog, newsletter and site pages that chronicle their history and exciting future.”
Sellner adds, “VineBUZZ is another important piece to the Visionary puzzle. With their help, we have a new online home, and plans are being laid for our ongoing marketing and promotion for the company, its services and our titles, to get Visionary out where it belongs – in the spotlight.”
Other initiatives for the coming year include the relaunching of Visionary’s digital publishing efforts, which will include debuting new and revamped content on leading venues, such as Comixology, Amazon, iVerse, and Drive-Thru. Additionally the effort will expand into several newer and fast-growing venues, such as Madefire. The company will also launch its own studio owned properties under their own imprint, Visionary Creation. The new banner will feature properties uniquely created and targeted for transmedia development. These will debut with Visionary as comics and prose, and will become part of the growing library of intellectual properties Visionary represents for all forms of media.