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Pacific Comics

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Comics, Publisher.

US independent Comics publisher founded by Bill and Steve Schanes; a pioneer in creator-owned comics properties. Pacific began in 1971 as a comics mail order retailer, then went into distributing comics for major publishers until it was successful enough by 1981, that it began issuing its own titles. The Schanes knew Jack Kirby and were able to bring him out of retirement with an agreement that he would own all rights to any characters and concepts he created for them (in contrast to the work-for-hire deal required by major comics publishers). His first Pacific title, Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers, was a major success and helped the company to attract other major talents including Mike Grell and Dave Stevens. The company became a major force, along with First Comics and such individuals as Phil Seuling (1934-1984), in forming the direct-sales market for comics which eventually became the primary way they are sold. This involves selling the issues at a heavy discount on a non-returnable basis, unlike the older newsstand distribution system which was faltering badly by the early 1980s.

Of greatest sf interest among their titles are two of Bruce Jones's anthology comics: the sf Alien Worlds, and the Horror title Twisted Tales, both of high quality. Alien Worlds was first issued in a 3-D format which failed to sell as well as hoped. The overall success of Pacific led to the rise of many new competitors and distributors; Pacific lost several titles to such new companies and encountered distribution problems, mainly difficulties in collecting money owed. Pacific also found itself in the ironic position of distributing titles for others which they had originally published. The combined effect of these problems led the company to cease operations in 1984, although it is remembered as a major pioneer in creator-owned comics. [GSt]

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