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There are so many popular movies with dedicated fan bases; IDW Publishing is the publishing company to turn to when making them into comics. The company managed to establish a large client list despite their lower level of notoriety (especially when compared to the popular DC and Marvel companies) after the release of their very first title. IDW Publishing has their own original series but also a slew of licensed titles including Star Trek and G.I. Joe. This is a look at the history of the company and what they produce.
IDW Publishing (Idea Design Works), also known as LLC (Limited Liability Company), was started by four entertainment executives: editor Ted Adams, artist Alex Garner, writer Kris Oprisko and letterer Robbie Robbins. The team’s goal was to create work with things they loved like video games, movies, trading cards and comic books. They reprinted classic titles like the original Doctor Who comics and several newspaper strips including The Family Circus and The Complete Little Orphan Annie and created their own series and licensed titles. All of these titles were marketed for $3.99, which is always the price of an IDW and not the usual $2.99. Ted Adams explains why he believes in this higher price on The Beat – “I think if you’re putting out great and compelling product, that $2.99 vs. $3.99 is kind of a moot point. The reality is that collecting comic books is an expensive hobby. It’s not a hobby you can do on a budget; it’s just not.”
IDW first became well known for their horror series. The first title produced by IDW Publishing ironically created the most heated bidding war in the history of the company. The series was30 Days of Night and the bidding war was about who would get the rights to the movie – a bidding war that moved into seven figures. Columbia Pictures won this war and 30 Days of Night hit theatres in 2007.
Now, IDW is known for its licensed titles. After their first two successes (the second an award-winning series entitled Popbot), IDW became friendly with several movie and television studios and began producing popular licensed titles based off of those companies’ popular movies and TV series. The team has snagged numerous television companies including BBC and Cartoon Network, game producers like Electronic Arts (creators of The Sims), and several movie studios. In 2009 IDW added EA games to their client list and came out with two comic books based off of the video games Army of Two and Dragon Age.
Becoming the small juggernaut of the comic world, IDW launched two imprints: Worthwhile Books and Blue Dreams Studios.
In an agreement with Meadowside Children’s Books, a UK-based publishing company renowned for their children’s stories, IDW launched Worthwhile Books. Worthwhile Books was the only U.S. publisher with the rights to print Meadowside Books titles. IDW made deals with top Hollywood writers to write the titles produced for the company, including The Simpsons writer David Sacks (yes, a very appropriate children’s writer there…).
According to Ted Adams on the subject of why IDW wanted Worthwhile Books, Adams said on Comic Book Resources that “[our] growth strategy calls for continued expansion into other areas of the entertainment sector… Creating and controlling successful children’s properties helps us in those endeavors. Meadowside’s books are playful, empowering, smart and exciting and the artwork is simply breathtaking. These are children’s picture stories in the classic tradition with a central character that is relatable to today’s kids.”
Blue Dream Studios
Blue Dream Studios was previously a self-publishing company owned by Scott Christian Sava, who worked on video game and cartoon animation before deciding to create an imprint and make material for all-ages. He wrote The Dreamland Chronicles which appeared online and won a fan poll award from Comic Book Resources for “Best Graphic Novel of 2007.”
Sava praises the powerhouse that IDW has become by saying on Comic List that “Ted was so generous with his time and insight. He knows what it takes to build a publishing company from scratch. Seeing him turn IDW into the publishing powerhouse it is today is awe-inspiring. Working with Ted and his company is a dream come true, and if THIS year has been good… I can’t WAIT to see what a year with IDW will hold.”
Some popular titles from Blue Dream Studios are Casper the Friendly Ghost and the X-Files.
IDW has become a powerful name in the comics universe despite not reaching the levels of love Marvel and DC have gotten. The company produces a lot of content from almost every genre and can open doors for the Transformers, Godzilla and Doctor Who fanboys to enter the realm of comics.
Check back next week for “Books to Read from IDW Publishing.”