More comics! More properties! More to read! IDW has just packed with Comics Experience, LLC, the online comics school run by former IDW editor Andy Schmidt to publish a line of mini-series by new talent. According to PR, the material will be “creator owned.” IDW editor Bobby Curnow will also work on the project. The line-up:
• Drones by Chris Lewis and Bruno Oliveira, the story of two Predator drone operators on a bizarre journey that will take them to a terrorism-themed hotel in Las Vegas, in a war where terror and entertainment have begun to blur.
• Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit by Rob Anderson and Fernando Melek, about animal control officers in a near-future city who must deal with patchwork, hybrid animals, from gator-snakes to panda dogs.
• Gutter Magic by Rich Douek and Brett Barkley, set in a world where World War II was fought with magic, and the heir to a powerful magical dynasty can’t cast a spell to save his life.
• Tet by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker, is a story of hard-boiled crime and star-crossed romance, set at the height of the Vietnam War and the decades that followed.
While this looks like a win/win for all—Schmidt gets to help students of his online courses; the creators get publishers and IDW gets more books by potential future stars (and market share) but is it really that simple? Schmidt explains more at Multiversity:
How did this partnership come about? Was part of the Comics Experience plan to always publish the work of its participants?
AS: My priority at first was to help people find their own path. That meant focusing on the courses and then the Creators Workshop. Now that we’ve grown and many of our alumni and Workshop members are actively working in the industry, publishing was the next logical step.
But it wasn’t always the next logical step. Something started to shift in the comics industry and I noticed it maybe two years back or so. The opportunities for new talent were becoming fewer and further between—and it wasn’t for lack of great talent. So I started rethinking my stance on publishing now that I saw a need for it. It seemed more important to our mission to give that extra push for creators, and frankly, to the industry.
Once I started looking for a partner for this, IDW made a lot of sense. Chris Ryall and Greg Goldstein were really supportive of the idea. There was an instant recognition of the need for something like this and so we were all working together to find the right deal that could work for everyone. And I think Ted Adams at IDW had already shown his support of creator-owned books. That’s what the company started with, and they still are working with folks like Ashley Wood and Steve Niles. It’s a good fit. And, it’s really awesome to have creator-owned books by new talent that are in the front of the Previews catalog. Maximizing exposure is important to new creators–getting their names and their work out there and seen by as many people as possible.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.