Dinesh Shamdasani is back in comics. And he’s brought his whole crew with him. ANd he’s got some really unusual ideas about marketing comics … all under the umbrella of a new publisher called Bad Idea. Are they Bad Ideas? I suspect this is going to get a lot of people talking…and that’s probably the point.
Two years ago, Shamdasani’s Valiant comics relaunch got a shake up when Chinese investor DMG took over the company, sending Shamdasani on his way – with, it’s rumored, a sizable buyout.
Since then he teamed with producers Jason Brown, Sean Daniel, Kathy Lingg to form Hivemind Entertainment, a company that has produced some shows you may have heard of such as The Witcher and The Expanse.
In addition, the Bloodshot movie that Shamdasani toiled over for years is finally coming to theaters in a few short weeks.
But now he’s back in the comics game with Bad Idea as Co-Ceo and Co-Chief Creative Officer, and he’s bringing Warren Simons (Co-CEO & Co-Chief Creative Officer), Hunter Gorinson (Publisher), Joshua Johns (Director of Marketing) and Sales Consultant Atom Freeman along with him – all alums of Valiant.
But this won’t be your usual comics start-up, with a slate of comics by big names going out to comics shops. Oh no. Bad Idea is throwing out some truly new ideas. There WILL be big names, but all the titles will be distributed ONLY through a network of 20 “select retailers.”
There will be no digital editions, no variants and no collections.
They won’t be going through Diamond.
Instead, Bad Idea will “self distribute” their titles to just 20 handpicked comic book shops, all qualified via “a unique system of criteria” that includes extra promotional commitments and a “strictly enforced ‘limit one per customer'” policy for Bad Idea comics, among other stipulations.
Bad Idea will gradually add to the list of retailers, aiming for 50 participating stores by the end of 2020.
In the meantime, the line launches in May with ENIAC by Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite. Other creators on tap include Marguerite Bennett, Mae Catt, Joshua Dysart, Tomas Giorello, Eric Heisserer, Jody Houser, Lewis LaRosa, Jeff Lemire, Peter Milligan, Adam Pollina, Robert Venditti, Zeb Wells, and more. They also provided the cover to Megalith #1 by Lewis LaRosa.
I’ve appended the Bad Idea PR to this post because reading it will give you an idea of the “unruly” and “experimental” model they’re going for.
Frankly, it’s nuts.
But it’s also fun and is going to get people talking.
We’ll have a full length chat with Shamdasani and other Bad Idea personnel in the very near future.
From here on out, you’re going to hear an awful lot about BAD IDEA – an experimental new comic book publisher debuting in select comic shops in May 2020.
But, wait, we’ll get to the “select” part in a second.
BAD IDEA’s mantra is “don’t do anything unless it’s special.” That could apply to the way we appear at conventions, it could be the way we get books into stores, but, more often than not, you’ll see it first and foremost in our comics. With that in mind – and in spite of ourselves – BAD IDEA is going to produce an intentionally limited number of series at any given time: no more than one to two single issues per month. Single-issue, monthly comics are the fuel that keeps BAD IDEA’s engine running – and, over the past year, we’ve been making a ton of them in secret with some of the industry’s best and most respected creators.
It’s been a blast so far…and we’re just getting started.
An advance look at Lewis LaRosa’s cover art to MEGALITH #1 – coming soon from BAD IDEAEach BAD IDEA comic will feature A-level comics storytelling from some of the medium’s leading talents in a pristinely designed, prestige-format package. Some – usually our first issues or totally mind-blowing one-shots – will be oversized with page counts far in excess of the standard 22 pages. A few others might even come stealthily loaded up with hidden features and other surprise bonuses so secret we might never even mention them in public. But, no matter what, each BAD IDEA comic will have a standard $3.99 cover price. And our goal is to make sure that each time a new one shows up in your local comic shop, it’s kind of a big deal.Here’s why: BAD IDEA’s titles will feature no variants, will not be offered digitally, and will not be collected into trade paperbacks, hardcovers, or other bookshelf formats.
You will have to go to a comic shop to buy them, each and every month.
We’re not going to tell you everything about all of our new comic series up front because, well, we don’t want to spoil the fun all at once. But we can say this…
BAD IDEA’s first release will be ENIAC – a new series from New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT, Folklords) and acclaimed artist Doug Braithwaite (Justice) beginning May 2020 – and we’ll be releasing complete details about it in the next few days. In short order, you’ll also be hearing about upcoming projects from creators including writer Mae Catt (Young Justice), Eisner Award nominee Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier, Harbinger), acclaimed artist Tomas Giorello (X-O Manowar), Harvey Award nominee Lewis LaRosa (Bloodshot Reborn), acclaimed artist Adam Pollina (X-Force), New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (Justice League), and more.
What’s more, BAD IDEA is already hard at work on new releases from multiple GLAAD Media Award nominee Marguerite Bennett (Batwoman), Academy Award nominee Eric Heisserer (Bird Box, Arrival), Eisner Award nominee Jody Houser (Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy), multiple Eisner Award winner Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer, Gideon Falls), comics icon Peter Milligan (X-Statix), Emmy Award-winning writer Zeb Wells (Amazing Spider-Man), and more.
But here’s the rub: BAD IDEA’s new releases won’t be available everywhere. To get things going, BAD IDEA will be self-distributing its titles to a carefully selected roster of just 20 participating comic book retailers with more admitted on a rolling basis for a total of roughly 50 within the first year.
Each BAD IDEA store will qualify to participate based on a unique system of criteria that includes enhanced signage, promotional displays, and rules for stocking and selling BAD IDEA releases, including a strictly enforced “limit one per customer” policy on all BAD IDEA comics. Retailers who wish to apply directly can email BAD IDEA’s customer service team at email@example.com.
Here are the people who should be held responsible for this: BAD IDEA will be led by Co-CEO & Co-Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani, Co-CEO & Co-Chief Creative Officer Warren Simons, Publisher Hunter Gorinson, Director of Marketing Joshua Johns, and Sales Consultant Atom Freeman – reuniting the team that successfully resurrected Valiant Entertainment and re-forged the independent publishing house into the leading, award-winning industry force behind the upcoming BLOODSHOT feature film starring Vin Diesel from Sony Pictures.