Publisher IDW Takes the Lead

IDW Has surpassed Dark Horse and Image last week to take up the mantle of the industries third largest publisher.

How things change.

How did they do it? There’s no magical secret, they did the exact same thing Dark Horse and Image did in the first place. Aggressively seeking out comic book properties people WANT to read and publishing engaging new material. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Lets take a look at some numbers. This week Image has the following to offer: an Invincible TP Vol. 5, Elephantmen  #25, Walking Dead #71, Madman Atomic Comics Vol. 3: Eclectic Allegories and Mice Templar Vol. 3: Destiny Part One.

These books will appeal to a few older comics readers, as well as the few new readers turned on by the new titles. Mice Templar and Invincible were great debuts, and still have rabid fan bases. Which of these titles, however, is supposed to be their “Big Title?”

Image made its big splash by having the best artists in town. They soon became a rough and rowdy place to publish, both a champion for creator rights while simultaneously suing each other, Neil Gaiman and anybody else they could over the rights to their own material…quite the mixed message there. Growing pains aside, Image has earned its rep as a reliable publisher ready to give new talent a chance, but when your stable of titles are either older books with dwindling readership and new titles with high risk it is hard to earn a market share.

IDW prints some similar material to Image, such as the art collection The Art of P. Craig Russell and the Bloom County: The Complete Library Vol. 2 that are sure to please comic stalwarts such as myself as well as a plethora of new and licensed titles. IDW has new Transformers and G.I. Joe out this week, not to mention the licensing rights to Doctor Who, 30 Days of Nights, Star Trek and more!

At the C2E2 this past weekend Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast jointly announced IDW would start carrying the Dungeons and Dragons comic book license. This is starting to get interesting.

There was a time when Dark Horse had some of the hottest properties around. Dark Horse made a killing off of the Aliens vs Predator comics it published. Sure, Dark Horse has the Joss Whedon money making machine that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as reprints of Sin City and all the new Hellboy you could stand, but what is the future of Dark Horse?

We have a significant race for third place here, kids. Why should you care? Because the industry is so shaky right now that the winner in this race will be whoever can discover the fresh new taste of comic books first.

As for right now, the smart money is on IDW.

DC/MARVEL

DC has a few good looking books out this week. I’ll be scooping up Batman: Streets of Gotham #11 as I never miss a chance to read Paul Dini write for Harley Quinn! I’ll probably get The Spirit #1, too, though this will be the third #1 The Spirit has had from this publisher, sigh.

Meanwhile Marvel has a book to weird to be missed: Captain America Who WON’T Wield the Shield One-Shot. It looks like just another Deadpool book, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Also on my buy pile is Savage She Hulks #2 and Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #2. Funny books from Marvel? Yes, please!!

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