IDW Publishing and Chris Ryall have jointly announced that Ryall is stepping down as President, Publisher and Chief Creative Officer to pursue new business opportunities. Although he is stepping aside from his current roles at IDW, he will continue as an Executive Producer on the Netflix series, Locke & Key, and remain the sole editor on any Locke & Key publishing ventures going forward.
In partnership with Ashley Wood and many of the talented creators he has worked with at IDW, Ryall is launching a new storytelling venture focused on the disparate worlds and characters that he brought to life at IDW Publishing.
Ryall said in the announcement:
Change is often hard, and I will miss this extended family I have worked with for more than 15 years. In the past year alone, we brought on some amazing hires, expanded the scope of many of the departments, and re-focused the foundation of the business to best support the integrated multi-media company that IDW has become. Our collective success with the entertainment team on ‘Locke & Key’ has been a crowning moment for the entire company. I’m so proud of this special place and the incredible people who work here. I know that I leave IDW perfectly poised for continued success.
During Ryall’s tenure as President and Publisher, IDW Publishing signed a multi-year publishing initiative with the Smithsonian Institution, launched a major program to produce Spanish-language graphic novels for the North American market, transitioned its foreign book distribution business to Penguin Random House and led IDW Publishing to 15 prestigious Eisner Award nominations in 2020, the most of any publisher.
Publishers are stepping up with the ever-changing situation around the world. IDW Publishing President, Publisher, and Chief Creative Officer Chris Ryall has penned the below letter to retailers and partners:
To Our Partners Throughout the Comics Industry,
Last week, we sent out a statement to the comics community in which we pledged our support for the Direct Market during the current health and economic crisis. We’ve been keeping a very close eye on the public discussions taking place in forums and on social media, and the sentiment from retailers is abundantly clear:
It’s time to take action.
In light of Diamond’s statement today, our immediate steps to offer relief for our retail partners are:
For the next three months, IDW will be offering 60-day no-fee returnable terms for all items on Final Order Cutoff (FOC) corresponding to the weekly on-sale dates from March 18th to June 24th.
IDW is announcing the suspension of May releases corresponding to OSD dates from May 6th to May 27th.
IDW will reduce its overall publishing line for products originally scheduled through July, with a focus on releasing our biggest projects in special editions to help drive traffic to stores through the summer.
With these measures, our hope is that we can lessen the immediate financial risk that retailers face for IDW products, and give retailers a much-needed break for their monthly budgets.
These are first steps. As the situation continues to unfold, we’re certain to initiate additional programs to help our retail partners. It’ll take insight from and coordination with shop owners, Diamond, and our publishing peers to shape a comprehensive strategy for the industry to move forward.
As a special note to our Creative Partners:
We know that you’re likewise feeling the pain of the current circumstances. Trimming our line through the summer in support of the Direct Market retailers will undoubtedly impact creative workflow for the short term. We fully appreciate the difficulty that this presents to freelancers. It’s our expectation that — in the long term — the Direct Market will bounce back as a result of these steps, and we can all continue the good work of making quality comics on the other side. Our Editorial team has been reaching out to creators and licensors with these latest updates, and we’re here to help in any way we can: answering your questions, listening to your ideas, etc.
(W) Chris Ryall (A) Guy Dorian, Sal Buscema (A/CA) Luca Pizarri In Shops: Mar 11, 2020 SRP: $4.99
1969: The first lunar mission has landed and they aren’t alone. Trapped, hunted by Dire Wraiths, the astronauts find themselves wishing that help weren’t over two-hundred thousand miles away. A Wraith invasion of Earth is looming and only the most isolated men in human history stand in their way. Plus! The connected ROM back-up with art by Guy Dorian Sr. and ROM legend Sal Buscema continues here!
(W) Chris Ryall (A) Guy Dorian, Sal Buscema (A/CA) Luca Pizarri In Shops: Jan 15, 2020 SRP: $4.99
“Inhumanauts,” Part 1: In 1969, two American astronauts became the first humans to set foot on Earth’s moon… but they found something inhuman waiting for them! With Rom the Spaceknight nowhere in sight, can even the Earth Corp help prevent one giant leap for Wraithkind? Plus! Find out where Rom is in a special back-up story with art by Guy Dorian Sr. and Rom legend Sal Buscema!
Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show Deluxe Edition
Chris Ryall (w) • Gabriel Rodriguez (a & c)
sprawling epic begins inside a Nebraska dead letter office, where Randolph
Jaffe’s quest to possess the Art sets into motion a battle between the forces
of light and dark. This lushly illustrated tale is equal parts horror, fantasy,
and love by one of the masters of the genre. Also included is the horrific
standalone tale, “Seduth,” as well as annotations by writer Chris Ryall and artist Gabriel Rodriguez.
IDW Publishing has revealed Rom: Dire Wraiths, a three-part comic book miniseries about Earth’s incomparable heroes – the astronauts whose mission among the stars brought them face-to-face with the Dire Wraiths, the shape-shifting scourge of the universe!
Written by Chris Ryall, the mastermind behind IDW’s Rom comic book renaissance, and gorgeously illustrated by Luca Pizzari, the Dire Wraiths story is guaranteed to be a creepy tale of a secret alien invasion happening on a rocky satellite 240,000 miles from home!
They made it past the initial nail-biting part of the journey, with a speedy liftoff from Merritt Island. They were thrown left and right against their straps in spasmodic little jerks as they rode into orbit and steered insanely fast into space. But that would not be the biggest challenge they would face. As they set foot on the moon, they found something inhuman waiting for them, ready to hitch a ride back to Earth! With Rom the Spaceknight seemingly nowhere in sight, only a handful of intrepid astronauts can prevent one giant leap for Dire Wraith-kind!
Debuting in October, Rom: Dire Wraiths includes a special back-up story with art by Guy Dorian and Rom legend Sal Buscema, answering the question of where Rom is during the crisis.
Rom: Dire Wraiths #1 will feature variant covers by Luca Pizzari, Corin Howell, and a collaboration between Guy Dorian and Sal Buscema.
IDW Publishing, a division of IDW Media Holdings, announced today that its former Chief Creative Officer and Editor-In-Chief, Chris Ryall, is returning to the company as President, Publisher and Chief Creative Officer. Ryall, formerly part of the editorial division at Skybound Entertainment, will be charged with ongoing creative expansion efforts within the company, as well as continuing to work closely with partners and licensors. Greg Goldstein will be stepping down as President and Publisher.
This latest move comes after a year featuring numerous personnel shake-ups and departures at the company and turmoil behind the scenes.
Ryall originally joined IDW Publishing in 2004 as the company’s Editor-in-Chief. In 2010, he was named as the company’s first Chief Creative Officer. During his initial stint with the company, Ryall oversaw the acquisition of licensed titles such as Transformers, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and dozens of others. He also served as editor on hundreds of titles and, alongside creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, helped develop the acclaimed, Eisner Award-winning Locke & Key, currently in development as a Netflix television series.
Ryall has assumed his new duties, bringing more than 14 years of proven success to IDW Publishing. As a writer, Ryall was nominated for an Eisner Award alongside artist Ashley Wood. Together, they co-created the property Zombies vs Robots, purchased by Sony Pictures. He is also the co-creator of Onyx (with Gabriel Rodriguez); The Hollows (with Sam Kieth); The Colonized (with Drew Moss); and Groom Lake (with Ben Templesmith); the co-author of Comic Books 101 (with Scott Tipton); and writer of licensed properties such as Stephen King and Joe Hill’s Throttle; Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show; Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The Transformers; Mars Attacks, Rom, Kiss; and many other titles.
This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Road Rage
Road Rage, published by IDW is an adaptation of Stephen King and Joe Hill‘s Throttle and Richard Matheson‘s Duel by writer Chris Ryall and artists Nelson Daniel (on Throttle) and Rafa Garres (on Duel).
Despite the collected edition of Road Rage containing two versions of essentially the same story; King and Hill’s story in this trade is itself an adaptation of Matheson’s original short story, making the two issue comic an adaptation of an adaptation – which is an interesting choice for a collection. But if you’re expecting to read the same story twice, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. King and Hill’s story focuses on a group of bikers who end up running afoul of the deadly truck, where as Matheson’s features a lone salesman desperately trying to avoid a different truck in his car. The two stories are linked by the deadly truck, but are ultimately different enough that you shouldn’t feel short changed should you happen to pick this book up.
When it comes to the quality or faithfulness of the adaptations to the original stories, well that’s not something I can comment on as I have never read the text-only stories. However, I did really enjoy both comic stories as they were presented; Ryall’s comic scripts, presumably, more than does justice to the source material as he’s able to effectively convey the tense horror and suspense of both Throttle and Duel (the latter feels more like a horror story for me than the more action tinged former), though a portion of the credit should also be given to the artists. Garras work on Duel veers between the mundane daily life of a salesman driving to the pants wetting terror and desperation to stay alive. The more afraid the protagonist becomes, the more distorted the art feels – it’s a brilliant and investing touch to the story that effectively builds upon the tensions of the script.
The collection is a great taste of horror tinged comic books, and one that despite the high profile genre names connected to the comics I had never heard of before I spotted it at the used section of my LCS. It’s the subject of today’s column because it was a fantastic read, remarkably tense and quite exhilarating. If you get the chance to read the collection or the four issues collected within, then do so. You’ll find an Underrated gem.
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.
Chris Ryall & Christos Gage (w) • David Messina, Ron Joseph, Paolo Villanelli (a) Loston Wallace (c)
The evil Dire Wraiths have escaped to Earth but are hounded by a Knight of the Solstar Order, the one feared more than all others. He is Rom, the Wraith-slayer. Rom, the Spaceknight!
Having followed the Dire Wraiths across the galaxy to Earth, Rom finds they have infiltrated all levels of society, hiding in plain sight. Replacing many humans in key leadership positions, the Wraiths’ plan to dominate the planet—and everyone in it—is gaining momentum. But Rom finds resistance from the humans as well, who fear he is just another alien invader. He is joined in the battle by two other Solstar Knights… but are they here as friends or foes?
Collects all 14 issues of the series, the 2017 Annual, and the Rom: Revolution one-shot.