Many California businesses seek to improve and expand their market strength and offerings through mergers and acquisitions. The same is true of creative companies like comic book publishers. Two interesting comics publishers have announced their merger, bringing together the producers of “Comics for Everyone” and “Rick & Morty” into one new publishing firm. Oni Press is merging with Lion Forge Comics to create a larger independent house that competes with the major players in the comics market like Marvel and DC.

The merger comes as an increasing number of traditional book publishers are also entering the comics arena by publishing graphic novels. According to statistics measuring sales of graphic novels and comic books, traditional bookstores and online sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble are selling far more comics than specialty stores and website. Oni Comics specializes in marketing non-superhero comics, including mysteries, romances and graphic novels. It was responsible for producing the “Scott Pilgrim” comic series that led to a major Hollywood film.

The company hopes to expand its work in film and television through the merger with Lion Forge. Lion Forge is one of a few black-owned comic book businesses and has established a strong reputation for publishing comics with a high level of diverse characters. It has also become known as a publishing house especially friendly to comic book creators of color. Because the business fills such a unique and underserved market, fan communities have raised questions about how the merger will affect the larger publishing world.

As in this case, mergers and acquisitions can lead to the development of new business models, including tabletop games, music and children’s publications. Business owners considering a merger in their own companies can consult with a business law attorney about how to protect their company’s unique traits while developing its portfolio.