The insanity in comics was only at a two or three this week, so everyone can relax. Let’s get to the good stuff that was less insane and more interesting in Comics Disassembled, my look at ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics, led by…more Penguin folk!
1. IDW, Putting on Its Penguin Suit
It’s official: Marvel won’t be by themselves in the Penguin Random House single-issue distribution game. As announced basically minutes after last week’s edition of Comics Disassembled, IDW will be migrating over as well starting on June 1st, 2022. It’s been positioned as a big deal, but by itself, I’m not sure it is one. IDW isn’t moving many needles, and this is a lateral movement if anything. Most readers don’t really care who distributes their comics as long as they get them. And they (should) get them still.
It is interesting from a larger industry perspective, though. Everyone wondered if Penguin Random House was going to get deeper into the distribution game, and sure enough, here they are, getting deeper. If IDW is the next step before Image and BOOM! and whoever else moves over, that’s a bird of a different feather, and it’s a big deal that this reveals officially that PRH isn’t a tourist but an entity that is fully committed to single-issue distribution. We’ll see if it has larger implications going forward. But for now, it’s the move before the move, and the revelation that, as there always is in comics, there is more to come.
2. Marvel, Stepping Back
I thought this was an interesting pair of news items, as Bleeding Cool reported that Marvel’s pulling its own license from IDW when it comes to all-ages comic production, while Disney/LucasFilm are doing the same thing with Star Wars and what IDW was producing there. These deals will end this year, so it’s not something they’ll be scaling down slowly. It’s basically donezo from the jump.
The question of course becomes what is the plan with those? I always thought it was strange that Marvel/Star Wars ever chose IDW as their all-ages licensing partner, because it’s not like they’re especially well-known for all-ages comics (at least in my mind). I’m with Rich’s suggestion that this is probably a Scholastic play sooner rather than later. Marvel knows how they did with the first graphic novels via Scholastic, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was “pretty well!” It would surprise me even less if it was “considerably better than the IDW releases did.” That’s just a guess, but given the avenue that’s been opened up, it feels like the logical next step. Or maybe Marvel doesn’t like money anymore!
That seems unlikely, but we’ll see what happens in the coming months, I’m sure.