By Beau Smith

This week I figured I would do somethin’ different. I thought I’d get down and do an interview. I usually don’t do em’ but now and then the occasion calls for it.

Today you’re gonna get an interview with IDW Publishing President and publisher?Ted Adams. I’ve known and worked with Ted for close to 17 years. There’s not much about him I don’t know. One thing that I know is that Ted is one of, if not the best, business mind in the comics industry today. It’s real nice workin’ with someone that is so smart and has his finger pushin’ hard on the pulse of comics.

But enough of my jibber-jabber. I’ll get the questions goin’.

Beau: Hi, Ted. Why don’t you start by telling the readers what you do.

Ted: Hi, Beau. I’m one of the owners of Idea and Design Works (parent company of IDW Publishing) and the company’s President & Publisher. I’m the guy who sets the overall strategy for our company. I make the “big picture” decisions at IDW. I decide what books we’re going to publish and what’s going to be in them.

I work with our editorial team to decide what creators to hire and with our marketing/promotion team to determine how we’re going to market and sell them. I also handle all the boring parts of the business including paying the bills, doing the deals, and signing the contracts.

Beau: How do you decide what books to publish?

Ted: It depends. Certain creators (like Steve Niles, Ash Wood, and Ben Templesmith) have an open door at IDW. I can’t imagine a project that we wouldn’t do with any of those guys.

For other creator driven projects, Jeff Mariotte generally screens the pitches we receive and he and I discuss any that he likes. For licensed books, it’s a similar process. At this point, license holders come to us (instead of us tracking them down) and Jeff and I talk about what we think will work.

While we publish a lot of horror books, we’re really open to anything. Our goal is to publish the best books we can. I’m really excited about our publishing plan. We’ve got some great books in the works.

Beau: You can’t tease people like that! Give it up!

Ted: Well, certain things we’ve already announced. GrimJack is, obviously, going to be a big part of our publishing plan next year. We’re also hoping to bring back a few other classic titles but none of those deals have been finalized yet.

I suspect that our best-selling book this year will be Metal Gear Solid. That game has a huge fan base and we’re getting a ton of support from all the major video game magazines. If you’re into video games you won’t be able to miss the promotion for this one.

On the licensing side, we’ll continue to publish CSI. Max Allan Collins has agreed to write our first CSI: New York mini-series. He’s got a great story planned that will appeal to our horror fans. We’ll also be doing new Silent Hill, CSI: Miami and 24 one-shots.

We’ve also got several new projects from Steve Niles in the works, including Secret Skull and The Lurkers. Ben is finishing up Singularity 7 and I hope that he’ll bring his next project to us. Ash is doing the art on Metal Gear Solid and will be continuing both Popbot and Lore. We’ll also be launching our first project with Keith Giffen.

There are a couple of classic horror novels that we’ll be adapting late this year but I just can’t announce them yet. They’re going to be amazing, though!

Beau: What’s the scoop on the movie side?

Ted: We’ve got a bunch of stuff in development for features. 30 Days of Night is at Sony. Both Wake the Dead and Hyde are at Dimension. CVO is being developed by Konami as a video game. By the end of summer, I suspect we’ll have 3 or 4 more deals done.

And, as you know, we’ll be announcing a big celebrity attachment for Wynonna Earp in the next couple of weeks.

Beau: What do you think makes an IDW book different from the other books in the market?

Ted: From day one, we decided we wanted our books to look different. We’ve always gone for a “European” feel for the art. I don’t think the art in our books looks like a traditional American comic. But, unlike most European comics, our comics are story driven.

We wanted to make sure that our production values were as high as possible. I like to think that our design and printing is the best in the business. We spend a lot of time working with our printers to make sure that our books look as good as possible. Most American comics are printed on a web press. Web presses are used to print large quantities and are traditionally used for periodicals where the quality of the printing is secondary to the speed of the press. We use sheet feed presses for all of our comics. If you take the time to compare the printing between an IDW comic and just about any other in the market, I think you’ll see the difference.

That’s also why our books are more expensive than some of our competitors. And our pricing strategy sure brings out the aggression from the guys who post on websites. There was a guy on Newsarama last week, who literally said I should be killed because of the price of our comics. It amazes me: a guy can literally threaten my life on a public forum and not a single person said it was unreasonable behavior. Newsarama didn’t pull the post and not a single person commented on it. What if that guy approached me at a con and said the same thing?

The bottom line is that nobody has to buy a comic book. I don’t wear a Rolex or drive a BMW. I might want both things but I can’t afford them. Doesn’t mean I walk around threatening to kill the Presidents of either company, instead I wear a Tag Heuer and drive a Honda.

Certain goods are commodities and are priced as such ? milk, gas, raisins. One gallon of gas is, more or less, the same as another. It doesn’t really matter what gas station sells it and you likely make your purchasing decision based on convenience or price.

But comics aren’t a commodity, you make your purchasing decision based on whether or not you think you’re going to enjoy it. A copy of 30 Days of Night isn’t the same as a copy of Batman. I think our books are worth what we charge. Are they more expensive? Absolutely. Are some people not going to be able to afford them? Yup. The nice thing about our free market is that our customers can decide what they want to buy and how much they want to spend.

I fully undestand that some people won’t be able to afford our comics. What I don’t understand is why they’re so angry about it.

Beau: What’s the scoop on the San Diego con? IDW gonna have a big presence?

Ted: For the first time, we’re taking a full island at the con. We’re going to have signings at our booth by Emily Procter (Calleigh Duquesne on CSI: Miami), Carlos Bernard (Tony Almeida of 24), Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith, and many others.

We’ll have a bunch of con exclusive covers and some cool giveaways. We’ll also be displaying the first IDW statue (which is being done by the best company in the business).

I’ll be announcing a bunch of projects (including several I hinted at above) and I guarantee that our party will again be the party of the show.

Beau: Thanks for your time, Ted!

To all you BK readers, see you next week. As always, I ain’t hard to find.

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507
http://www.flyingfistranch.com


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About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin