As The Beat first reported a few days ago, online hints began to emerge earlier this week that projects that were in-progress as part of the IDW Originals line were being cancelled before they even came out. Since then, more information has emerged, both publicly and privately, and from what we’re hearing it sounds like the Originals line is being phased out.

We’re told the move is part of a shift back to concentrating on licensed materials at the publisher; however, the acclaimed Top Shelf imprint is unchanged and will continue to put out creator-owned material.

Reportedly, a letter went out to all Originals creators earlier this week, although tailored to each creators’ situation. Projects by Will Robson and Regine Sawyer were confirmed on social media to be cancelled while in progress. A post on BlueSky from another creator confirmed that a third project was also cancelled, but the poster asked not to be named and we’re complying with their wishes.

Although creators are upset, to say the least, they are being given back all the rights to the projects, no strings attached, and payment for the work already completed is being negotiated. In the weird world of comics, this counts as walking away unscathed.

The Originals line launched back in April 2022 with an ambitious slate of nine new titles, all under the guidance of editor Mark Doyle, who is now co-publisher of IDW. Creators involved in the initial announcement included a lively blend of knowns and up-and-comers, including Scott Snyder, G. Willow Wilson, Stephen Graham Jones, John Ridley, Liana Kangas and many more.

There’s nothing more exciting than putting together a line of all-new, all-original comics, and I understand that IDW had been developing a slate that covered several years of production. A few more books have been solicited to come out: just a few weeks ago IDW announced Dark Spaces: Dungeon by Scott Snyder and Hayden Sherman, a follow-up to Dark Spaces: Wildfire.


They also announced Beneath the Trees where Nobody Sees, a horror series from Patrick Horvath (Haha: Sad Clown Stories) with lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Crashing).

However, the retail climate in the direct market for brand-new, unknown comics series in periodical format has been weak this year, with some retailers complaining about a glut of material. While no sales figures for the IDW Originals are available, one has to assume that they weren’t at a level that made focusing on original material more profitable than relying on the licensed books that have been IDW’s main output for years.

In April of this year, IDW announced they were reorganizing, delisting from the stock market, and laying off nearly 40% of their staff. Davidi Jonas took over as CEO, and a new management structure was announced. They continue to have success with hot licensed properties like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Trek.

But as I noted in an earlier story, in the Streaming Era, when comics publishers were selling IP by the bushel load to streamers desperate for material to develop, IDW always had a disadvantage. As I wrote then:

Not having established, popular IP that they could leverage during the height of the streaming era was an ongoing problem for IDW – one that they tried to remedy by launching the Originals line last year. While the books were/are strong, this is pretty late in the game to try to launch a new Umbrella Academy or The Boys. Comics IP is still highly valued in Hollywood, but IDW is playing catch up.

It sounds like the catch-up game has been halted for now.

IDW had no comment when asked about this story.


  1. So Bleeding Cool reported this was more about having too much original material in the pipeline, rather than cancelling all of it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

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