Dark Horse Comics



Dark Horse comics is a comic book publisher that currently publishes over 70 monthly releases. Each book employs it’s own authors, illustrators, and editors in the Pacific Northwest.

They have a healthy mix of original content, as well as adaptations from other media.  Due to their variety of offerings, their intended audience is not as specific as one might expect.  The comic book industry is widely dominated by Marvel and DC comics, so individual publishers do not have an intended audience so much as individual books have an intended audience.

Dark Horse advertises mostly in comic book shops.  One of their techniques is to provide free copies of promotional issues to be left at the counter of comic book stores.  The idea is that the clerk will hand these out to customers who are purchasing a competitor’s product.  The hope is that the customer will read the issue and begin purchasing the subsequent releases.

Dark Horse was actually founded by an individual, Mike Richardson, in 1986.  He maxed out a $2,000 credit card to open a comic book store but was frustrated by the products available to sell.  His response was to self-publish two comic books that fit more into his expectations. He then began to reach out to independent comic book authors, providing them an opportunity to display their work in his shop.  It has since grown into a company with an international audience funded by in-issue advertising targeted toward readers of specific books.  For example, readers of a comic such as The Legend of Zelda are met with advertisements from cartoons, anime, video games, and snacks.  Meanwhile, readers of a book such as The Occultist are met with advertisements for cars, home entertainment systems, alcohol, and R-rated films.

Since its meager conception in the mid-1980’s, Dark Horse has struggled for market-share against the Marvel and DC giants.  It currently sits at 2.59% of the comic book market share, also behind Image and IDW.  Though many consumers are unaware of Dark Horse’s existence, their influence has been large.  Dark Horse is to thank for many popular franchises in comics, television, and film.

Additionally, many established media franchises claim Dark Horse as a home for their comic book adaptations, since they rely on the title to sell the book rather than the notoriety of the publisher itself.  Since it costs the rights holder less to publish through Dark Horse, it is a win for them.  It is through these books that Dark Horse is able to secure extra profits in order to entice up-and-coming authors/artists.  Some of the franchises that have published comic book tie-ins through Dark Horse are:


Springer Publishing


The Company’s trademark design may not have the marketability of the golden arches, but it serves the company well. 

We’ve all come into contact with them; textbooks, academic journals, and peer-reviewed articles are essential to any student or academic professional. But who is responsible for gracing our academic consumption with such quality material? Springer International has its roots in a small family operation, but quickly emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the academic market (employing now several hundred both in publishing and academic capacities), particularly in the health professions. Pushing thousands of academic pieces over several mediums, there is no shortage of material for the aspiring professional.

Springer unapologetically favors the world of medicine when it comes to marketing. Hundreds of textbooks available here and oversees (primarily England and Germany), thousands of peer-reviewed academic articles, and a multitude of online subscriptions keep the thirst of any academic quenched. Though selling and primarily online subscriptions, it is important to note that Springer maintains a powerful presence in the health care textbook market.

How does such a reputable publisher stay a float? Springer finds its origins in Berlin by Dr. Bernhard Springer and his wife in 1950. Afer some success, the company gradually acquired a substantial customer base in this niche market and by default a larger company. The passing of Dr. Bernhard in 1970 was not an end to an era, but rather the beginning. The good doctor’s wife selling the company Mannheim Holdings, LLC. The profits from the academic publications do more than keep the lights on, they keep the company in a state of gradual expansion.

Springer has seen its share of success and failure. The website explains the publications initial groundbreaking moment: “Dr. Springer’s first landmark publications included Livestock Health Encyclopedia by Dr. R. Seiden and the 1952 Handbook of Cardiology for Nurses. Nursing publications grew rapidly in number, as Dr. Modell’s Drugs in Current Use, a small annual paperback, became the gold standard text for many years, selling over 150,000 copies over several editions. (Springer, 2017).” Currently, the publisher has won 11 AJN (American Journal of Nursing) awards.

Springer does not claim any failures per se, but the challenges facing a group selling to such a limited audience coupled with the fact that the sheer size of Springer is not all that impressive in comparison to larger publishers. Another limitation may have been linked to the founder, being a family run operation takes a toll both financial and on the integrity of the company. Dr. Bernhard, by trade, was a physician as opposed to the head of a publishing empire.


First Second Press

Graphic novels, more commonly known as comics, have maintained a large popularity for all ages and backgrounds. We can thank First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillian Publishers, for fueling the supply.


First Second Books is an independent trade press, founded in 2005 and located in New York City. Behind the brand stands a small, devoted team of seven individuals who edit, publish, and advertise an average of 20 to 25 comics per year. First Second Books is well known for producing high quality comics that appeal to a large audience of comic fans. In fact, all that First Second publishes is strictly comics; however, the comics are diverse in different aspects, including the fact that many stories are published from around the world. Genres span from children’s to adult nonfiction and this range allows any age to enjoy First Second’s collection of graphic novels. The only material that’s not allowed: pornography or “gratuitous” violence. As broad at this is, not everyone reads comics, so their market is not as large as conventional publishers.

There’s not a lot of explicit information about funding for First Second Books, but they are a popular independent comic press and seem to be doing well on their own. I’m also sure that being an imprint of Macmillan has its advantages, as well.

First Second maintains its own blog and stays connected to readers through twitter, tumblr, Facebook, etc. As a fairly popular indie publisher, articles can be found celebrating its 10-year anniversary, new series to be published, and spotlight books. Their presence is also prevalent at comic cons, as they stay involved in the comic community.


Successful graphic novels are necessary to keep publishers like First Second Books relevant. For them, American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang thrust them into the spotlight. This novel was published in 2006 and is still on shelves!

Here’s 5 out of 29 notable awards/nominations:

Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Books of the Year

National Book Awards Finalist

New York Times bestseller

Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award

2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New

Comics and manga are incredibly popular industries and have millions of fans worldwide, but, the competition is fierce, especially for genre specific publishers, which First Second is not. Standing out requires publishers to find their niche in the industry and First Second seems to have found theirs with stories that have a personal element, regardless of genre.  Balancing reader taste and staff taste has led them to improve each year’s publication.

Read All About It: Zondervan Publishing

zondervanType of Publisher: What kinds of publications does this publisher produce? Describe its list(s) and aesthetic. How many publications does the publisher develop each year? How many people, and in what functions, does the publisher employ?

Zondervan is a publishing company that produces Christian based books. This publishing company is the most well known of all the Christian publishing companies. It has been producing books for over 80 years. Zondervan is a branch of Harper Collins publishing company, which helps add to its popularity. The types of publications that Zondervan produces include Christian fiction and Christian nonfiction. A few examples of these are the NIV version of the Bible, the VeggieTales book series, Duck Dynasty books, and Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life. To go deeper into the genres that this company produces, let’s look at them in more detail. Zondervan produces marriage and lifestyle books, Jesus storytelling books for children, gift books for holidays, romance fiction, and even Sci-Fi fiction. This range of books appeals to a wide range audience, but I believe the main aesthetic of their books is inspirational. This company sells books in multiple formats in more than sixty countries. Their books are translated into over 200 languages. The company, tied with Harper Collins, revenues $160 million in sales annually. Zondervan’s publishing division was putting out an average of 130 new titles a year. They also had 1,000 titles in the backlist. They have many different branch off companies which have helped developed their profits. These include, Zondervan academic, Zonderkidz, Blink, and Vida. The number of employees they have is close to 400. They pride themselves in being a family business, which higher people that share their same values.


Market: Who is the publisher’s market? Is it diverse or narrow? Where does the publisher advertise?

The publishers market are people who are interested in faith based books and novels. They also cater to people who like to read inspiring or knowledge based books. It is diverse in a sense, but I feel that you will only read these books if spirituality appeals to you in some aspect. If it does not, you may not even pick up a book. The publisher advertises on their website, in stores that carry books, in churches, and in spiritual based businesses. Being a part of Harper Collins helps the advertisement because it is a name that people trust and are familiar with.

Funding: How is the publisher funded?

This company was originally bought by Harper Collins and branch of News Corp. Their profits, along with the annual successes of the books produced through Zondervan help to fund this publishing company.

Successes: Describe one of this publisher’s success stories.

One book that they published succeeded in big ways. 30 million copies of a book named The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey. This was a record for the company, but the most sold book that they have published is the NIV version of the Bible. In 2001 Zondervan finished the year with profits of $165 million, the NIV version of the Bible being the reason for a huge chunk of the revenues.

Challenges: What kinds of challenges does this publisher face?

The publisher faces challenges such as the loss of faith and interest in reading in the past few years. As social media rises, the company has tried to keep up with the digital age by releasing its first e-book in the early 2000s. These challenges will only continue as the world begins to change with social media and the perceptions that people have within the world.


Blog 2: No Starch Press

nostarchlogoUnless you are into Manga or technology how-to books, you have probably never heard of No Starch Press. However, in the twenty-two years since its founding, the independent, San Francisco-based publisher has found a devoted audience. It may be a small press, but to its readers, it’s a big deal.

No Starch Press prides itself for publishing “the finest in geek entertainment,” meaning books on hacking and security, Lego, programming, coding, and Manga, to name a few. These topics might seem obscure, but the press has actually published multiple bestsellers, including Steal This Computer Book and The Manga Guides. So, No Starch’s books might not be popular with a general audience, but geeks eat–and buy–them up.

A visit to No Starch’s website might as well be a visit to a nerd’s paradise. The site’s homepage features the press’ new and upcoming titles, all of which fall under the “geek entertainment” category. Packaged with each title is the Manga-ed-out cover of the book and a brief summary of the book’s content. No Starch knows its audience, depending on its books’ cover art and content to grab attention rather than presenting a flashy website design that would feel inauthentic. The site is simple but to-the-point and colorful, much like its artistic audience whose main reason for visiting the site is to learn more about their hobbies and hone their skills.


Just a few of No Starch Press’ publications.

According to their online catalog, No Starch published twenty-two publications in 2016, which is impressive for a company with a staff of sixteen. In a personal touch, all sixteen employees are listed on the site’s staff page, complete with a short biography, “office pet peeve,” and Manga caricature of themselves. These editors, designers, sales managers, production managers, and publicists are geeks too, just like their audience.

While there are many geeks in the world, there is only a certain number of techie geeks, which is No Starch’s dominant market. Therefore, the press’ market is narrow, and it must find ways to effectively reach its audience. No Starch uses its audience’s interest in technology to its advantage. The company saves money by advertising itself on its verified Twitter and Facebook pages rather than purchasing advertisements. On its social media, No Starch posts quotes, images, and blurbs from its books. Within the same posts, the press provides direct links to purchase said books, making it easy for readers to locate and buy the books that interest them.

In typical nerd fashion, No Starch’s social media pages are not all about self-promotion– they also delve into nerd culture. The pages post technology information and events, answer technology questions, and share No Starch’s community outreach and assistance. The pages’ general tips and images, along with No Starch’s technology community presence, grow the press’ social media followers and, therefore, the number of people who know about and purchase works published by No Starch.

Along with social media, No Starch advertises through the attention it is given in interviews and recommendations. The press’ “news” is listed on the website’s homepage and includes features on No Starch publications in the Wall Street Journal, Family Circle Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and more. No Starch advertises by word-of-mouth–both its own mouth and the mouths of others.

Because it is so small–yet so successful–No Starch’s funding is a bit of a mystery. As mentioned earlier, the press definitely saves money by refraining from advertising, and I imagine they are thrifty in a number of other ways. Like most independent presses, No Starch’s staff appears to take care of all production and distribution. They might have a small staff, but their employees cover all areas of business, from design to sales to marketing to customer service. This way, they avoid the expenses of outsourcing.

The genius behind No Starch undoubtedly provided the funds to get the press started. William–or Bill–Pollack, described as the “Big Fish” of No Starch, started the company in 1994. Before No Starch, Pollack had experience in publishing and was even a co-founder of another computer book publisher, Apress. With his experience and prior success, Pollack probably started the press on his own. However, contracts with larger presses are what keep No Starch in business.

Effective August 1, Penguin Random House Publisher Services will sell and distribute globally No Starch Press. The much larger publishing house noticed No Starch as a market leader in its category, and PRH must have realized it could benefit from selling to an army of geeks. No Starch will also benefit from this sales and distribution agreement by reaching a wider audience.

While the deal with Penguin Random House is huge, No Starch has seen much success in its lifetime. In 2014, its sales jumped 41% over 2012 due to growth in its Lego and children’s programming lines, as well as its backlist of core tech titles. The press’ work has been in demand for years, and its audience is only going to grow through its new partnership.

The only problem with a growing audience is the temptation to appeal to everyone or, in other words, sell out. If No Starch starts publishing books everyone will want to read, it will definitely make more money. However, it will lose its original audience and all it stands for. As the press grows, its staff must remember to stay true to themselves and keep their “geek” audience in mind. Fortunately, Penguin Random House appears to appreciate No Starch for what it is and does not want it to change–probably because PRH wants to reach the geeks, and No Starch will help them do it. As long as No Starch remains a niche press, it will continue to expand and cater to geeks worldwide.

connexions • international professional communion journal

connexions-logoconnexions is an online scholarly journal that publishes content regarding international and intercultural communication in both industry and academia. Their publications range from “original research articles, reviews, focused commentary and industry perspectives, and teaching cases.” They also publish video interviews (and transcripts) with experts in industry and academia. “The journal’s subject areas cover the theory, management, design, development, translation and delivery of international professional information, as well as issues relating to the education and training of its practitioners and researchers.” One to two Volumes are published each year containing approximately ten to twenty publications in each.

The webpage has a navigation bar on the left that allows users to easily find the content they are looking for such as Volumes, Call for papers, or Contact information. Each Volume has its own page with a table of contents that links to each individual article in pdf format. This makes it easy for readers to find the works they are looking for as fast and efficiently as possible.


connexions home page.

The journal employs two Co-editors, Dr. Rosário Durão and Dr. Kyle Mattson. A Technical Editor, Dr. James Kalmbach, and an Interview Editor, Dr. Quan Zhou. They also have over fifty Reviewers and twelve Associate Editors. The Editorial Board does not receive payment for their services. To see the full list of connexions staff click view the Editorial Board page.

The journal has a narrow audience in terms of subject matter but it “provides a forum researchers, practitioners, students, and leaders of international and intercultural professional communication.” In terms of advertising, connexions does not have advertisements but they do have an active Twitter and Facebook account.

connexions is an open-access publication, in other words they do not charge readers for any of the content in the journal. They also do not charge authors publication fees.

Due to the open access, the journal is easy for those interested in the field of international and intercultural professional communication to access, but as I said before, the audience for the journal is narrow. The publication is entirely in English which could further limit their audience to those fluent in these subjects in English.

The latest success that the journal has had is with to Peter J. Fadde and Patricia Sullivan’s article, “Designing Communication for Collaboration Across Engineering Cultures: A teaching case,” connexions • international professional communication journal, 1(2), 2013: 135-158, which was awarded the The National Council of Teachers of English awarded the CCCC’s 2015 Best Article on Pedagogy or Curriculum in Technical or Scientific Communication.


Sources:  connexions • international professional communication journal,  https://connexionsjournal.org/ 


HarperCollins Publishers


Type of Publisher: The publisher I chose for this blog post is HarperCollins Publishers. They are a trade book company with numerous publishing houses beneath their name. Under their general branch are Broad Side Books and Avon Books. Harlequin Books is their line for teens. HarperCollins Publishers as a whole are diverse so they can appeal to a broad audience. If you love reading christian fiction, they have Faith Gateway. For children, there is Greenwillow, HarperCollins Audio, and Amistad. The genres go from historical fiction to business. If you have a love for books you are sure to find something at HarperCollins.

HarperCollins produces approximately 10,000 books annually in 17 different languages. They have a print and digital catalog with over 200,000 titles. Many publications have won awards such as the National Book Award, Newbery, and Caldecott. Notable authors include, J.R.R Tolken, and C.S Lewis.

HarperCollins has career opportunities all over the world specifically in the United States. They employ book editors, financial analysis, publicist, and publicity managers. I could not locate the exact number of people they hire but did noticed their website says they welcome employees with open arms. For students interested in a future publishing career, they have an internship program.


Market: HarperCollins has a diverse market. They cater to a multitude of people. Children to adults are sure to find something of interest. One of the ways they market their titles is through social media. I follow them on Twitter and Instagram and encourage other book lovers to do the same. They post information recently published titles, or just give an update of what is going on in the office. HarperCollins is very open with their customers.

Funding: Traditional publishers like HarperCollins earn their funding through the sale of books to consumers. HarperCollins sells numerous books per year, but the specific total could not be located. All indications are that HarperCollins is a financially sound company.

Success: For me, HarperCollins has many success stories as a book publisher. Two notable book series that got their start with HarperCollins are The Cornicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. When they were first released, people could not get enough of them. Both series turned into movie and are still popular today meaning they are producing revenue for the company. HarperCollins is currently considered the second largest book publisher in the world.

Challenges: HarperCollins must move in the direction set by the consumers of books. If demand of e-books dominates the market, then HarperCollins must respond. If consumers shift back to print or to some yet to be invented form, then HarperCollins needs to accommodate to continue to be profitable. Other challenges include finding and publishing the next New York Times bestseller as well as the Newbery and Caldecott medal winners.

James and John Harper founded this company in 1817 as publishers of religious and scholarly books. As the second largest publishers today, they have faced and conquered many challenges.

Source: http://corporate.harpercollins.com/about-us/company-profile



Penguin Random House


Type of Publisher: I decided to go with Penguin Random House press. They date back to the early 1800’s. It wasn’t until 1927 that is was renamed to Random House. Penguin was established in 1935. PRH has many other publishers and presses with them. They are a Trade publisher. They focus on printing books for older readers, young and average adults. For instance, the publish books like mystery&suspense, literary fiction, teen& young adults. romance, science fiction, biography and memoir, children’s books, and cook books.  They have many positions; more specifically 12,000 people globally. “Publishes 70,00o digital and 15,000 print titles annually, with more than 100,000 eBooks available worldwide.” They publish many popular and best-seller books. Besides their Board of Directors jobs, PRH offers many other positions as well. They broke it down into three categories: Experienced, Entry_Level and Fulfillment. The Experienced jobs would be for publishing professionals; Entry-level would be beginners; Fulfillment would be distribution. “This complex organization receives picks, packs and ships out an average more than 1.2 million books daily to customers around the world.” Besides on their website, they advertise in many different ways; in book stores, social medias and online shopping.

Market: There target audience is young/ older adults. They are very diverse. They have operations in 20 countries across five continents. The picture above is popular books printed by PRH with Speak. They created Speak specifically for older readers.

Funding: PRH has nearly 250 editorially and creatively independent publishing imprints. They get funding from production and the published imprints. “The PRH foundation has awarded more than two million dollars in scholarships through it’s Creative Writing Award program for young writers since it was established in 1993, with separate, additional grants distributed though our newest foundation program, the National Teacher Awards for Literacy.” I couldn’t find anything really specific on funding, but I drew the conclusion that they are very popular.

Successes: They have published “everything from National Book awards to Printz awards to Coretta Scott King awards and Finalists.” Their Speak list features strong titles year after year. For example, John Greens “Paper Towns,” sold very well, then the movie came. The sales went up more drastically. The same can be said for Gayle Foremans “If I Stay.”

Challenges: This was hard to find. I believe their biggest challenges would be other publishing companies. Many publishing companies can produce copies of the same book and all of them try to be different.




Sources: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/about-us/


Oxford University Press


Type of Publisher: The publisher I have chosen is Oxford University Press. It is a department of the University of Oxford. It publishes worldwide. According to its website it is the largest university press with the largest amount of global presence. It publishes in various companies in more than 40 languages, in both print and digital formats. The website says Oxford University publishes for all audiences ranging from children, to teens, to young adults, and so on. The press is made up of delegates appointed by staff of Oxford University. They have offices all over the world in the U.S., New Zealand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Mexico, etc. They have editorial positions, publicity, sales, marketing, sponsoring, and a diverse range of positions. They currently publish more than 6,000 titles a year worldwide.

Market: The publisher appears to advertise worldwide. Oxford University Press delegates certain individuals to take on certain advertisement and marketing positions in order to make products known. Due to different parts of Oxford University Press being located in so many different areas throughout the world I think they get a little bit of advertising everywhere.

Funding: Due to Oxford University Press being so well-known and well-known across the world the funding most likely comes from the majority of the works published. I couldn’t find specific details anywhere discussing this but I’m just assuming it comes from a variety of sources and works. It publishes english language teaching materials, children’s books, literary journals, scholarly journals, printed music, and textbooks. There are plenty of ways for it to gather revenue in different ways.

According to the website the University’s funding comes from several different sources. This includes external research funding from charities, trusts, foundations, and industry. The university receives government grants as well. “Other income includes annual transfers from Oxford University Press, income from the commercialization of research, and philanthropic support,” according to the website. Academic fees also play a role in the university’s funding along with investment income.


Successes: One of its biggest success stories is that it has published and continues to publish many religious texts. For example, the website discusses how the university created its right to print the King James version of the bible in the 17th century. It allowed the press to continue advancing its publication.

There’s also a series on phonics, which help children who are learning to read. They also have a series on the class Pippi Longstocking books.

Challenges: The Oxford University Press began in the 1400s and was taken over by various upper class individuals. Different changes have been made with it both good and bad. I think one of its biggest challenges was finally establishing something that meant something to people and could finally publish just about whatever it wanted. It is a publisher that has enhanced education for both teachers and students, informs individuals about different religions, informs individuals about different topics, and allows many people to learn different things while viewing its various publications. It’s so big now it’s hard to see what all it has and has not published.

Source: https://global.oup.com/?cc=us

Blog 2 Instructions: Publisher Profile

Our second series of blog posts will help us explore the vast array of publishers and presses.

To complete the blog, you will need to choose a specific publisher (whether a trade press, an academic/scholarly press, a literary journal, an independent/non-profit publisher, or a magazine) and put together a profile. Your profile should provide details and descriptions of the following:

Type of Publisher: What kinds of publications does this publisher produce? Describe its list(s) and aesthetic. How many publications does the publisher develop each year? How many people, and in what functions, does the publisher employ?

Market: Who is the publisher’s market? Is it diverse or narrow? Where does the publisher advertise?

Funding: How is the publisher funded?

Successes: Describe one of this publisher’s success stories.

Challenges: What kinds of challenges does this publisher face?

To complete the publisher profile, you will need to do some behind the scenes research. Explore the publisher’s website as well as reviews and articles written about the publisher. See our list of publishing resources to get started.