IDW’s New Editor Talks Comics and the Pandemic

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Based in San Diego. ID w Publishing is one of the top four comic book and graphic novel publishers in the United States, like so many other companies. He had to make adjustments during the pandemic. Currently, her staff are still working remotely, but staying busy, K PBS arts reporter Beth Amando checks in with her new editor. Elle Marc who took over in the fall of 2020 in the midst of a pandemic.

Speaker 2: (00:26)

So what have been some of the challenges for ID w during this pandemic, and especially for you coming into the middle of it?

Speaker 3: (00:34)

I think the biggest challenge for IDW has been that comics and graphic novels are generally a very collaborative storytelling environment, whether it’s specifically multiple people working on, uh, a single issue of a comic or even a, a, a small creative team working on their own graphic novel. And it certainly fits the office culture too with things. And, and I think the biggest challenge that everyone’s faced and that I’ve faced since coming on board is just trying to figure out how to keep as much of this kind of open and collaborative environment going so that we can be as creative as possible, and so that life doesn’t just turn into a bunch of 30-minute snippets. Talk about that 30 minutes to talk about that 30 minutes to talk about it while still literally having enough structure in the day to do all of this is something we literally talk about every month and try to make sure we can have a balance decent of, but it’s definitely not going away, uh, anytime soon. Now,

Speaker 2: (01:32)

One thing that maybe helped in some way, because I know I’ve, uh, I’ve interviewed some of your predecessors there mm-hmm, is that there was this Some increase in light contribution from contributors due to the ability to transfer files digitally and not having to be in the same room as whoever is creating your artwork. So, has any of this kind of grassroots work from these kinds of collaborations really come in handy during the pandemic? Certainly

Speaker 3: (02:03)

The ease of being able to have the flip side of where, where you can’t all be in the same place, but it means you can actually be anywhere, has made it easier for us to continue working with talent creative when, when we’re actually talking about doing the joint and graphic novels. But it also made it beneficial for us in some places where we could make sure we weren’t turning anyone away because, oh, here’s an amazing candidate for a role, but they live in the Pacific Northwest or they live in the greater New York area or something like that. Obviously, we don’t know what the future looks like. And I sure would like everybody, you know, to meet my colleagues in person and all that. But we are, we are certainly trying to make sure we can enjoy it. And so it certainly creates a bit of an easier environment when we’re looking for new talent or just trying to run the machine the way it was

Speaker 2: (02:52)

Before the pandemic, there was a push for digital comics and there are a lot of comics that are available, uh, online. So during this pandemic, has there been a bigger, uh, push towards digital or just, uh, more interest in the possibilities? Um, what kind of conversations have you had about it?

Speaker 3: (03:11)

I think a lot of people didn’t expect that initially, in terms of tax reduction. For example, if you don’t go places and want to read comics, how are you going to do that? Obviously having digital distribution for all of our stories is very helpful, but I think a lot of companies that deal with physical media have discovered during the pandemic, that a lot of people are developing even more of an affinity to be able to have books they can hold, have things they can hold. And in order to be able to kind of focus on what they’re reading, will you certainly have seen that, particularly on the library side, library closures must have happened often and throughout the pandemic that we’ve seen a increased business of digital library services, which is also fantastic. There are a lot of great companies that are doing a really good job of making sure that people who are kind of a lifeline to reading in general, are recognized as entertainment, whatever it is through libraries , may continue to have this lifeline in as many ways as humanly possible. So yeah, I was thrilled to see that happen and over time.

Speaker 2: (04:21)

So we are now about to start a new year, 2022. What are you looking forward to this year or your concerns or what kind of crystal ball is your for 2022?

Speaker 3: (04:34)

Um, the fact that if you had asked me this question 14 days ago, I feel like I would have had a different answer, but I see how complicated 2022 is going to be. It’s really kind of, for us, the normalization of what at times felt like a chaotic environment. And now it’s kind of like Tuesday when, when we’re dealing with things where we’re making the best plans humanly possible, but then understanding that when we get to work, get to work, when we turn on our computers in the morning or whatever , that we might have to do a 180 and spin around and say, where are we planning on going to the show? Does this show still exist? What do we do instead? Or are we planning on trying to do in-person events with an author on X, Y, or Z?

Speaker 3: (05:17)

Do they have the right to do so and, or do they want to, what do we do instead? You know, we really want to make sure that we’re in a place where we can’t just clean things up, but be able to give alternatives and everything and options for both our talent and our fans. For me, I’m really excited about the evolution of how readers and fans interact with the comics industry in general, the evolution of the type of coven in the space and the interaction space fans at conventions. Uh, during the pandemic, that’s something that’s been really exciting for me to see. And can I ask

Speaker 2: (05:52)

If you have any memory of what kind of comics got you hooked?

Speaker 3: (05:57)

I do. I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and there was a, a comic book store, not too far from where I lived as a kid. We moved around a lot, but there was kind of, a place that ended up being pretty far away from various kinds of chaotic twists and turns around that, that we were doing. It was a, a little store, but the kind of place where, like when an 11-year-old kid walked in and was like, I saw this thing on TV and it’s, it looks like there has comics that contain giant robots and da, da, da, da, that, you know, instead of looking through their noses and only talking to cool people about cool things, they’re like, oh, you should spend your few bucks you have on these robotic tech comics or like, oh, they, these people are talking about, it’s like 20 years of Xmen continuity.

Speaker 3: (06:41)

You don’t have the money for that. But like, here’s that classic problem of anything referring to the things we were talking about. And it was less of a one-time problem. Although there are definitely things that stand out over time, for me, and more just the idea of ​​being able to go somewhere. I was a kid who liked to talk to strangers in bookstores about things they were passionate about or something like that. But being able to go almost to a place where you could be around people who wanted to be like that and be like, oh, I guess I could ask a question. And then four weeks later, like building up the kind of courage to ask a question and come up with some cool comics. That’s what hooked me, because there’s always something new coming out, you know, the idea of ​​being able to go somewhere every week and, and be able to, you know, get something new , and then being able to get the sequel to whatever, you know, cliff hanger was kind of, uh, got me in the best way possible at the time, which really made me love the serialized release genre things.

Speaker 3: (07:39)

And then it just grew and flourished over time. I want

Speaker 2: (07:42)

Thank you so much for talking to me about identification and getting through this ordeal.

Speaker 3: (07:47)

Pandemic. No, my pleasure. Thanks for the time. And for reaching out, that

Speaker 1: (07:51)

Was Beth. Amando speaks with the new editor of ID W and she marshes,