§ Nice Art: This page from Swamp Thing #56 by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala, John Costanza, Tatjana Wood and edited by Karen Berger will always be great. Via Veitch’s FB page, which just started up. He also has one of the best pictures ever of the late, great Carrie Fisher.
§ As the year begins, so do in depth catch up interview with comics movers and shakers. Albert Ching kicks things off with IDW’s CEO and Publisher Ted Adams, who is equal measures candid, canny and successful. And despite the way the comics industry suddenly seems to be crawling over ice of an unknown thickness, IDW had its best year ever in 2016:
We’ve been a public company for quite some time, but this was the first year where I decided to start attending investor conferences, and put some energy into that side of the business. Our market valuation is $280 million, so we’ve had pretty phenomenal success there. The stock is up a huge amount this year, there’s definitely a lot of interest in what we’re doing. That’s directly the result of the success we’ve had in those different divisions. If you look at the divisions, specifically with publishing, this has really been a breakout year for us.
We won the National Book Award, which is the first time a graphic novel publisher has ever accomplished that. Our lines across the board really seem to be working for us. That side of the business has really done well. Our games business is also up this year, pretty significantly. We had a couple of big things — we had a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” miniatures game that we started via Kickstarter, and also had great success with retail. That single product is the biggest single revenue-generating project in the 18-year history of IDW, which is pretty phenomenal, at least from our preorder standpoint. So that’s pretty exciting. The big driver for our growth this year is our entertainment division. We had two shows on this year — “Wynonna Earp” for 13 episodes on SyFy, then “Dirk Gently” with eight episodes on BBC America — both those shows have been renewed for second seasons; in fact, “Wynonna Earp” [has started] shooting in Calgary.
Market valuation of $280 million – now you know. Producing two TV shows – not as above the line production credit but a hands on partner, is very lucrative for the company, so much so that according to Adams “our total revenue from direct market for IDW Media Holdings is probably going to be in the 15 to 20 percent range. Super-important, no question, but it’s only 15 to 20 percent of our revenue.”
There’s much more, including information on the new Woodworks line, headed up by Dirk Wood.
§ The Eisner Award submission process is open! Full details in the link but here’s the basics:
The tentative categories include best short story, best single issue/one-shot, best continuing series (at least two issues must have been published in 2016), best limited series (at least half of the series must have been published in 2016), best new series, best limited series, best publications for kids and teens, best anthology, best humor publication, best U.S. edition of international material, best graphic album–new, best graphic album–reprint, best reality-based work, best adaptation from another medium, best digital or webcomic, best archival collection, best writer, best writer/artist, best penciler/inker (individual or team), best painter (interior art), best lettering, best coloring, best cover artist, best comics journalism periodical or website, best comics-related book, best scholarly/academic work, and best publication design. The judges may add, delete, or combine categories at their discretion.
The cover letter should include both a mailing address and an e-mail address for the person or company submitting the material. Publishers may submit a maximum of five nominees for any one category, and the same item or person can be submitted in more than one category. Each imprint, line, or subsidiary of a publisher may submit its own set of entries. Creators can submit materials for consideration if their publisher is either no longer in business or is unlikely to participate in the nomination process. Only one copy of each book need be submitted, even it if is being nominated in multiple categories. There are no entry fees.
§ Speaking of getting selected for something precious, TCAF acceptance letters just went out and twitter was part jubilation and part cries of despair. It’s a tough show to get into, but it looks like 2017 will be as great as ever!
§ COMINGS AND GOINGS:
• Laurent Rischmann has joined Humanoids, Inc. as Director of Sales & Marketing, replacing Hillery Pastovich. With a background at SCAD and THR, among other places, Rischmann will oversee synergies between publishing and film development activities.
• Marvel has promoted editor Nick Lowe to the position of Vice President of Content, Digital Publishing. While he’ll still edit titles including Spider-Gwen, Silk, Mosaic, and Doctor Strange the Sorcerers Supreme, his new portfolio includes working on Marvel’s Infinite Comics and new content for Marvel’s Video Comics. Congratulations, Nick!
§ BEST OFS! They are still coming! Ben Towle lists My Faves of 2016, encompassing many media and objects, and one of them is the Beat’s own web comic coverage, thanks mostly to the efforts of Maggie Vicknair.
§ A rather gentle listing of the year’s best GNsfrom Vue Weekly
§ And a massive, massive list from Comics Journals contributors that may just be the last word on 2016.
§ This Great Graphic Novels for Teens Nominations from YALSA seems to be from November but I guess I never noticed before? Librarians love this list, and many good books are on it.
§ Here is a nice story about an artist who is working on a GN about her grandmother’s dramatic life in Shanghai:
Artist Tessa Hulls is working on her biggest project yet: a graphic novel that begins amid the chaos of Shanghai following the 1949 communist takeover. The main character in the story’s first section is a persecuted journalist and single mother, who eventually flees China with her young daughter for a new life in Hong Kong, and then the United States. But the tale is no piece of fiction. It is based on research by Hulls, who is on a mission to piece together the life of her late Chinese grandmother, Sun Yi – the persecuted journalist in her novel. Sun’s daughter is Hulls’ mother, Rose Kappeler Hulls.
§ Finally, here is a marvelous short film that contains only the shirtless scenes from all the Marvel movies, right back to Iron Man. It seems that every Marvel Movie must contain a shirtless man, often named Chris. Who didn’t wear it best? While an online poll found Chris Evans to be the most pleasingly formed, we’d have to give it to the Hulk, who has made an entire career out of being shirtless.
But you may want to watch it a few times and make your own decisions.
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.