Meet The Editors
♦ Portsmouth Comic Con takes place 5-6 May 2018 and Tripwire is proud to be a part of it. Here is the seventeenth spotlight feature on four of its editorial guests at the show, Dirk Wood, Shelly Bond, Eric Stephenson and Randy Stradley…
Shelly Bond is a US comics editor who began her career at Comico but she is perhaps best known for her two decades at DC’s Vertigo imprint where she was editor on books like The Invisibles, Hellblazer and Fables. Currently she heads up Black Crown Pub, an imprint at IDW Publishing and home to books like Kid Lobotomy, Punks Not Dead and Assassinistas, working with creators like Peter Milligan, Gilbert Hernandez, David M Barnett, Martin Simmonds and Tess Fowler. Her aims for Black Crown are clear as she pointed out in an interview she did with us at the end of last year:”“Going back to my roots, I started out at Comico which was an independent comic book company. A lot of people don’t know that about me. I spent twenty three and a half years at Vertigo but I spent two years at Comico and there was nothing like working for an indie. There was less pressure and there was just this great vibe of being fearless and knowing that you didn’t have these shackles on your ideas so it was exciting. And we are going to do things like that and more with Black Crown.” Tripwire Shelly Bond interview
Dirk Wood started his career at Dark Horse in the 1990s in publicity, before moving to IDW as VP of marketing. In recent years, the globetrotting Wood has developed Woodworks, IDW’s new creator-driven imprint. He is also curator and editor of the first Woodworks title, Full Bleed magazine.
Wood used several other publications as inspiration for Full Bleed, he informed us in a chat we did with him last year:”A bunch. I think of it a bit as a mash-up of the old Comics Journals, McSweeney’s, RAW, VICE, and actually, Rolling Stone. I’ve been using this example that Rolling Stone has always ostensibly been about music – But you flip the page, and there’s an article on climate change, or prison conditions, or, whatever. In some respects, I’d like to try and do the same thing for comics that Rolling Stone did for music.” Dirk Wood Full Bleed interview
Eric Stephenson has been associated with Image Comics since they were founded back in 1992. Currently Image’s publisher, Stephenson has also written the Image Comics series Nowhere Men and was nominated for an Eisner in 2014.
The backbone of Image, books like huge international hit The Walking Dead, Wicked + The Divine and Saga would not have happened without Stephenson.
He talked about how Image has changed in an interview he did with CBR in 2017: “Image is more of a business now, for sure. The early days were much more freewheeling. There’s still a bit of that — and one of our greatest attributes to this day is that, as a small company, we’re quite nimble and very adaptable — but there’s a lot more structure than there was in the beginning. Some of that comes with time, obviously, but also I think systems were put into place around the time Valentino became Publisher and then carrying on with Erik Larsen and then myself, that created more oversight and organization than there was before. It was a little bit like the Wild West initially, which served the company very well for a while, but that’s not sustainable over the long haul.” CBR Eric Stephenson interview 2017
Beyond that, I think it’s pretty easy to see that whereas partner studios like Extreme, WildStorm, and Top Cow dominated Image’s output throughout the ’90s, the bulk of what we publish now are independent titles with no affiliation to the Image partners.
Randy Stradley is the vice president of Dark Horse Comics and has been at the company since its start in 1986. He has also written a number of comics at Dark Horse including Aliens vs Predator, Star Wars 86 and Crimson Empire with Mike Richardson. Stradley recalled how he got involved with the company in an interview he did with us in 2016: “I met Mike [Richardson, publisher of Dark Horse] when he opened a comics shop near where I was working at the time, and it soon became my regular place to buy comics. We got to know each other, and we kept in touch after Chris Warner and I moved back east to break into comics. A couple of years later (when I had moved to Los Angeles), Mike called me and said he was ready to start the publishing company he’d been talking about. He asked me if I wanted to be the editor, and the rest is history.” Randy Stradley Dark Horse Comics interview
All four editors will be looking at portfolios all weekend and looking at series pitches. Wood will also be involved in a talent competition that Portsmouth is doing with Full Bleed, details to be announced soon.
Tickets are available now for Portsmouth Comic Con. Please visit the website for details on the show
And here’s the other guest spotlights so far