Visiting IDW Publishing

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Photo of IDW Entryway by Bob Bretall

When a comic book publisher asks me if I’d like to stop by their offices some time, I can think of only one answer: YES, PLEASE!!!!

When I was talking to the IDW VP of Marketing, Dirk Wood, at the San Diego Comic Con this year he said that I should come and visit the IDW offices some time.  After waiting a few weeks to let them recover from con I got ahold of Dirk and set up a day & time for my visit to the IDW offices.  They’re located in a beautiful location (albeit a bit noisy due to the proximity of the San Diego airport) right next to the fabulous San Diego Comic Art Gallery that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

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Photo of IDW reception desk by Bob Bretall

The first thing that I noticed as I entered the IDW offices and Dirk was showing me around was all the fabulous comic book and comic strip art on the walls.  They’re equal opportunity comic lovers, as befits a publisher preserving comics as an art form with such things as the Library of American Comics reprints, Artist’s Editions, Craig Yoe’s wonderfully weird vintage reprints, and many others in addition to new material original to IDW like Locke & Key and V-Wars.

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Click on any of the above to view at larger size, there are comic strips with Dick Tracy, Rip Kirby, and Batman, as well as a couple of immense cover reproductions.  The main conference room is all decked out in “Locke & Key” dress, but unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures in there that came out very good.

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Production to the left, Locke & Key conf. room to the right!

As we walked around the offices, I was introduced to lots of production folks who help assemble the comics.  A key role and one that generally doesn’t get a lot of attention.  Scott Dunbier, multiple Eisner award winner for his work editing and assembling the IDW Artist’s Edition volumes, was kind enough to take 20 minutes or so out of his day to chat.  He has Eisners covering the top of several file cabinets as well as book cases loaded with all the Artist’s Editions (in their brown cardboard boxes with the names written on the spines in black sharpie) and other comics collections.  We chatted about tracking down original art and he shared some very cool info about upcoming projects (that I am unfortunately sworn to secrecy about).  I know that there’s a lot of great stuff coming and we can look forward to 2016 being just as great as each year in the “Artist’s Edition Era” have been so far.  They’re such a boon for original art fans on a budget.  While they may seem pricey at $100 or so per volume, you have to realize you’re getting original art that sells for $1000s per page at a price of about $1 per page or less.  A great deal in my book.

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Kids enjoying 3D comics! What a great piece for the wall of a comic fan!

I was a bit bummed because IDW CCO and Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall was busy, but getting to spend 30 minutes chatting with IDW President and COO Greg Goldstein made up for it!  Greg was very forthcoming and we chatted about both of our “secret origins as collectors”, including some of Greg’s reminiscences about early comic shows in New York.   As I wrapped up with a visit to a “wall of comics” with many of IDW’s recent comics where I was allowed to avail myself of an armload of free samples of series I was not already buying, and it added a couple of new items to my pull list!

My overall impression of IDW has always been a good one, but they raised themselves up even more as I saw the passion for all comics genres and comics as an art form permeated their offices and their people.  Seeing this first hand “behind the scenes” helped me appreciate that the comic preservation projects they’re putting together on a daily basis are in very good hands.  My thanks go out to Dirk, Greg, Scott, and all the people at IDW.  They’re a real class act and are doing a lot to enrich the comics landscape for all fans and collectors.

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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