IDW, the fifth largest comic book publisher in the USA, is in severe financial trouble. Idea and Design Works (IDW) has been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and they have laid off 39% of their work force.
IDW is on their third CEO in as many years. That sort of chop and change isn’t healthy for any business, especially for a company in the creative arts. As cost cutting measures, they have made major changes in their senior management staff. The entire marketing and PR staff have been let go, as well as half of their editorial staff, including publisher Nachie Marsham.
IDW is generally considered to be one of the Top Five comics publishers in the direct market, back when sales charts and market shares were available. Last year they moved from Diamond to PRH for their comics shop distribution. Founded in 1999 by Ted Adam, Alex Garner, Kris Oprisko, and Robbie Robbins, IDW was consistently one of the most innovative and forward-looking comics publishers for 24 years, with such hits as March and They Called Us Enemy from Top Shelf, and the much-loved Artist’s Edition line of oversized collections. But recent changes in the DM and bookstores, as well as effects of the pandemic and the cutback in streaming platforms, meant changes in the business model, which had expanded to going public under parent company IDT Holdings.
The price of IDW stock dropped dramatically.
Davidi Jonas, the son of principal IDW owner Howard Jonas, is has replaced Allan Grafman as CEO, making him IDW’s third CEO in two and a half years. Among the newly unemployed is Chief Financial Officer Brooke Feinstein. Amber Huerta has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer.
IDW made the following statement, via David Breau, Lead Independant Director on IDW’s board of directors:
“The Board has elected to take these actions to preserve capital, and put the Company in the strongest position possible to unlock value from its assets, including its intellectual property and ability to generate new intellectual property.” ComicBeat reported “The Board determined that going dark is the best path for the Company due to expected cost savings, reduction of pressure on limited resources and the Company’s current inability to realize many of the benefits from continued listing and Exchange Act registration and reporting.
“Low trading values and volume has limited our Class B common stock’s liquidity and made it untenable to effectively use our securities as transaction consideration, attract interest from institutional investors or market analysts or provide meaningful incentive to our employees. At the same time, we continued to bear the direct and indirect expenses associated with the NYSE American listing and SEC reporting.”
IDW is best-known for publishing new stories about licensed characters from TV shows, movies, and video games, but they also published Dr. George Takei‘s critically acclaimed graphic novel They Called Us Enemy. Licensing fees are expensive; developing new intellectual property will be in their best interests. There is no prediction on how long their reorganization will take, or if the company will survive.
Free Comic Book Day is May 6, 2023. It’s highly probable IDW won’t be participating this year.
As soon as we have more news, we’ll share it with you.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.