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IDW Expands the Kids, Family, and YA Divisions with new Executives

IDW Entertainment (IDWE) and IDW Publishing (IDWP) have announced that Jeff Brustrom, Daniel Kendrick, and Erika Turner have been handpicked to build the company’s concentrated initiative within the Kids, Family and YA division. Brustrom joins IDWE as the newly appointed Vice President of Kids, Family and Animation where he will oversee the development and production of a growing slate of live-action and animated projects (drama and comedy) based on graphic novels, prose and other source material. Kendrick, the new Director of Animation, will oversee development and production of animated series. Turner has been named Senior Editor of Original Content, IDWP, where she will focus on the development and acquisition of original IP, primarily in the categories of kids, middle grade and young adult.

Previously, Brustrom spent 17 years working for the Disney Channel where he developed the series that launched the careers of A-list icons such as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Zendaya and The Jonas Brothers. Most recently, Brustrom was an independent consultant, advising international animation studios, production companies and content creators on IP development.

Kendrick was most recently at Chatrone, a Los Angeles based production company, where he represented artists and creators, and oversaw animation projects from initial concept to production, post-production and release.

Before joining the IDW team, Turner served as the Senior Editor at Versify, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and prior to that, she held the Editorial Project Manager position within the same company where she focused on the development and acquisition of owned IP primarily in the category of kids, middle grade and YA.

IDW Expands its Executive Team and Announces Promotion

IDW Publishing

IDW Publishing and IDW Entertainment have announced that Blake Kobashigawa has been named Vice President of Sales, IDWP. Joseph Hughes has been named Director of Creative Affairs, IDWE, and Marisa Stotter has been elevated to Manager of Creative Affairs, IDWE.

As IDWP’s new Vice President of Sales, Kobashigawa will be responsible for developing the company’s sales strategy, initiatives, campaigns and overall business objectives across all markets. 

Kobashigawa previously spent more than seven years at DC Comics, working in multiple capacities including sales, marketing, business development and product development for the book trade, mass, digital and direct-to-consumer markets. At DC Comics, he spearheaded the Essential Graphic Novels program, and led its international book and mass market initiatives.

Since leaving DC in 2018, Kobashigawa has worked as the Head of Industry Operations at Merchbar.com, the world’s largest direct to consumer marketplace for official music merchandise.

Hughes moves up from an editorial role with IDWP to IDWE’s Director of Creative Affairs. He will be responsible for working across the business to develop strategy and hone creative for IDW’s translation of its extensive IP library into TV, film, podcasts and digital media. He will manage creator talent for all IDWE projects, identify and recruit creators to pitch new comics for publishing consideration, and work with creative affairs and development to identify and curate titles to pitch to external talent.

During his time with IDWP, Hughes successfully developed and oversaw significant titles including Star Trek, DuckTales, Samurai Jack and Sonic the Hedgehog while building and maintaining relationships with major industry licensors. Hughes previously served as Editor-in-Chief at ComicsAlliance. During his tenure, the site received the Eisner Award for Journalism, the industry’s highest honor. Before being an Editor-in-Chief, Hughes worked at DC Comics as a Direct Sales Representative and later as an Assistant Editor at the Vertigo imprint. He was previously a Manager at Forbidden Planet in New York.

Stotter moves from Senior Coordinator to Manager of Creative Affairs, IDWE, where she will support the translation of library titles with media rights into their optimal ancillary format including tv, film, podcasts and other digital media.

Before joining the IDW team, Stotter was Coordinator of Scripted Television for Conde Nast Entertainment. She started her career producing and directing the documentary She Makes Comics.

IDW Names Nachie Marsham as Publisher and Veronica Brooks is Promoted to Vice President of Creative Affairs

IDW Publishing and IDW Entertainment, subsidiaries of IDW Media Holdings Inc., announced today that industry veteran Nachie Marsham has been tapped as the company’s new Publisher with Veronica Brooks being promoted to Vice President of Creative Affairs

Marsham brings nearly 25 years of industry experience to his new role at IDW, where he will be tasked with overseeing IDW Publishing’s strategic business units, integrating product cross-platform programs, establishing product growth initiatives with partners, broadening customer experiences to new platforms and expanding the company’s extensive IP portfolio. Before joining IDW, Marsham was the Executive Editor at Disney Publishing Worldwide where he oversaw editorial teams working with various creative divisions of The Walt Disney Company, working on books including original and extension content for a variety of franchises, and working on new IP development for best-selling series from Disney. Starting in 2018, he led the Marvel Press imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide, editing and providing creative direction for prose and picture books, in addition to asset creation for both the vertical publishing division and the licensed business. Prior to his time at Disney Publishing, he spent more than eight years in editorial at DC Comics across a wide variety of titles and age ranges. Preceding his time at DC, Marsham spent years at Wizard Entertainment holding various positions within the company.

Brooks steps up from Senior Director to VP of Creative Affairs where she will work across IDW Entertainment and IDW Publishing, alongside Marsham, to develop strategy and hone creative development for IDW’s translation of their extensive IP library, as well as IP from new creators, into TV, film, podcasts and digital media. Prior to IDW, Brooks was an independent producer and held roles at Ziff Davis, NBCUniversal and MTVShe started her career in features, and was Associate Producer on the films Just Like Heaven and 500 Days Of Summer.  

Review: Locke & Key “Trapper/Keeper” S1E2

Locke & Key episode 2

In the second episode of Locke & Key “Trapper/Keeper” the Locke kids dig deeper into the mystery of the keys while dealing with their mom, Nina, who still has no idea that anything hinky went on with the mirror. Bode discovers the “head key” and takes a fun voyage around his mind to see lovely memories of his dad and they figure out that some keys don’t open doors with handles, some keys can open doors using your body as a keyhole. We also get to meet Lucas which means Bode gets a new friend and if this goes anything like the comics, he’s super important to the story.

WHAT WORKED: The siblings are really starting to work together, I also liked the slow intros of the new characters that are going to round out the stories. The show seems to be deviating a bit from the source material, which is to be expected, but they seem to be pulling it off flawlessly in a way that keeps source fans interested and on their toes and, allows new viewers to get immersed.

I thought that the acting, directing and writing were all spot on. The darkish colors in the production set against the brightness and hope that Bode seems to beam off of his ever-light face was visually brilliant and showed a literal light at the end of the tunnel. The story was easy to follow and engaging even if you didn’t know anything about the comic before your friend, or the internet, told you that you had to check the show out.

WHAT DIDN’T: It’s not so much that it didn’t work but, it just kind of annoyed me that Tyler lied about having sex with Eden. That was a trash thing to do especially when he knows how he would have reacted if anything like that happened to his sister and while I’m a fan of men/boys coming to a decision on how to treat people based on how they want to be treated based on their existence as a human being, it just stung a bit more because it was out of character for Tyler as a “person.” The whole thing kind of was a footnote and wasn’t really brought up, aside from Parker saying she knew what really happened, and if it wasn’t going to be a plot point or an impediment to Tyler and Parker, I don’t know why it happened at all. Especially since, in the real world, Parker would have avoided Tyler like the plague for that, whether he came clean or not, so it was just a bit unsettling.

BEST MOMENT: Kinsey on set helping Sam and the Savini’s make their horror movie magic. When she froze, covered in blood because of her trauma flashback, it was flawless, a moment filled with realness, emotion, and honesty. The talent that it took to make the viewers know what she was feeling and in some way feel what she was feeling while she sat there, covered in blood was beyond amazing. The show really has a way of making viewers connect with the audience and feel like they too are apart of the story and the key hunt is pure magic.

OVERALL: 8.2

Review: Locke & Key “Welcome to the Matheson” S1E1

The premiere episode of Locke & Key kicks off with a man receiving a call from an unnamed caller informing him that “Rendell Locke is dead.” As he enters his home he inserts a key into his chest and immediately bursts into flames taking his home with him. We’re then transported to the back seat of a car where Rendell Locke’s three children and his newly widowed wife are headed from Seattle to Massachusetts, which sets up the catalyst to the events of the series.

3634225-screen shot 2020-02-07 at 12.11.07 am

The Locke children Tyler, Kinsey, Bode, and their mother Nina, arrive at their new home and are greeted by their uncle Duncan who gives them the grand tour of the very large house where they’ll be staying. While Kinsey bonds with uncle Duncan over their artistic talents and Bode goes on a hunt for his new room, Tyler slips off into the woods behind the house to sneak a smoke and bask in teen angst while dealing with his feelings about his dad and his death.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Locke & Key is heavy on the pop culture references both in the visual callbacks and the conversations without being too heavy-handed or obvious. It’s a slow start for a series premiere but “Welcome to Matheson” sets off a nice slow burn that shows a lot of promise for things to come in future episodes. I also thought that it provided a nice starting point to get you familiar with the characters and an idea of the plot so even people who aren’t familiar with the source material can follow along.

WHAT WORKED: The writers and director truly understand that television is a visual medium, so they played heavily on that. The subtle visuals that foreshadowed all that was to come and the flashback showing what happened to Rendell Locke, how he died, and what happened to affect his widow and the kids were equal parts heartbreaking and informative.

I also like how they deal with Tyler and Kinsey’s trauma from what happened when their dad died and they didn’t try to sweep it under the rug or create a cliched existence where they are boilerplate and tragic (not that that doesn’t happen). I liked that the episode showcases that there is more than one way to grieve, or not grieve, and any grief can have lasting consequences that we might not even know about until something happens that triggers a memory.

Locke & Key episode 1

EASTER TIME: There are so many Easter Eggs in this episode both book related and pop culture related. The book-related ones give a lot of hints as to what’s to come this season and the pop culture ones are just fun. I really dig that they didn’t make the pop culture related easter eggs

BEST MOMENT: When the older kids finally realize that Bode is telling the truth and work together to save their mom from the mirror. I know it’s cliched but there’s something to be said for the simplicity of this reveal and the way it sets the kids up as the heroes of the series. It wasn’t over the top or flashy, it was just common sense and teamwork which is a good starting point if they’re going to save the world.

BEST LINE(S) :

“Were you just flipping off the house” – Bode

” No, I was saying goodbye. There’s more than one meaning to the middle finger”- Uncle Duncan

“Like Aloha”- Bode

“Yeah, like Aloha” – Uncle Duncan

“Aloha” – Bode as he sticks up his middle finger

———–

“I like my fologna just fine” – Kinsey (regarding her faux bologna sandwich she’s eating alone in the stairway when Scott shows up)

“First of all fologna doesn’t even like itself…” – Scott

EPISODE MVP: Bode for being our guide into the world of the keys, for figuring out how the keys work and being a true believer in a house of skeptics. Sure, he makes some rookie mistakes but, he’s a kid and he seems to be lacking in supervision as he roams the grounds, and the city,  so he deserves an award for being so darn chipper and naive despite all the tragedy he’s been through. Yeah, he makes a lot of missteps but, there’s something refreshing about him not being a know-it-all or over precocious and I like that he’s just a kid trying to make his way through all the crazy things that are being thrown at him. Even though he screws up and hands the Anywhere Key over to the series big bad he is hella determined to make things right and he’s kind of fearless in the face of things that would destroy someone else.

OVERALL: 7.9

Review: October Faction “Bonds of Blood” S1E9

October Faction

We’re one episode away from the season finale and Bonds of Blood finds Deloris and Fred being held captive by Alice, who has revealed to Viv and Geoff the truth of their lineage while Presidio agents close in for the kill. If that wasn’t enough to process with few episodes to go, we learn the secret behind Viv’s mystery man and how he came to roam the Allen family mansion and we find out where Grandma Margaret’s loyalty lies.

WHAT WORKED: This episode dealt with identity, nature versus nurture, what constitutes family, revenge, anger, and guilt. Bonds of Blood begins to explore the difference between what we know about the characters and what we thought we knew by showing everyone at their most vulnerable and hopeless as they try and figure out where they fit in and how they can assimilate or grow.

I like the little seeds that they planted throughout the season about the main character’s motivation and desires. Everyone is trying to find out where they fit in and how they fit themselves into spaces that they’re not sure they belong in or even want to be in. It was an emotional episode with heartbreak and not understanding that things don’t always get fixed in the end, the way you want.

REDEMPTION SONG: Geoff expecting everything to go the way he wanted when he wanted it. I understand that he was in a hard place and trying to sort out who he was and what his whole identity was but, expecting Phillip to upend his life and existence because he needed to feel like he belonged somewhere, was low key selfish. I thought I was in for a let down when Geoff started to tell all of the high school townies secrets but, he came around and realized that his problems weren’t the only ones that mattered and everyone was fighting an internal battle.

BEST MOMENT: Phillip telling Geoff how it is and calling him on his shit and being a little shit, while simultaneously coming out to the school at the bonfire. I got the feels.

EPISODE’S MVP: Actor Praneet Akilla laid out all of his acting chops in his portrayal of Phillip. He plays his character so well that I forgot that these weren’t real people and I was watching a show. I know that this show is supposed to be about the Allen family but, Akilla’s performance of Phillip and everything going on with him stole the show so much that in the midst of a bunch of family drama and a  whole supernatural showdown , I wanted to know if Phillip was OK and how he was handling everything. It turns out, he was handling it, just fine as he worked through everything in his own way. Phillip earns this episode MVP for being real, I’m proud of him for coming out to his friends but, that’s not what makes him the MVP. He’s the MVP because he kept his journey, timing and fears real AF. He stood up to Geoff and let him know that he wasn’t ready and he did what he felt he had to do. The writers made Phillip have a real reaction to his situation and portrayed him as someone who took his time, in contrast to Geoff’s all here and all-out attitude. It isn’t always easy for teens to come out and their fears are valid, even if they are out at home they might not be ready to be out to everyone else and that’s okay. Phillip went through his journey and his way was no less valid than Geoff’s or anyone else. So Phillip is the MVP for brave enough to set his boundaries, live by them and shift to new boundaries on his clock, and not on Geoff’s or his parents, so he didn’t just come out, he found himself and his voice, in his time and I’m here for it.

Overall: 8.7

Review: October Faction “Alice” S1E8

October Faction

At the end of the last episode, Grandma Margaret discovers that Grandpa Samuel is alive and kicking in a Presidio Guantanamo and Viv and Geoff have turned to the dark side and are in league with Alice. This episode gives us more info on Alice’s back story and how she became what she became and what the Allen family legacy and Presidio have to do with her pain.

WHAT WORKED: The progression of the story and the inter-cutting of Alice’s past and evolution with the twins confronting their parents is done with precision, realism, and grace. I loved the way it was written with such authenticity and compassion.

WHAT BROKE MY HEART: When Alice was betrayed because she trusted humans and wanted to help one who couldn’t be trusted started the break but, when she gave birth while she was linked psychically to her husband as he was being murdered, tore it in half.

BEST LINE(s): Not a line so much as  Alice’s whole monologue that ran along with this episode. It was powerful and well written.

BEST MOMENT: The speech that Alice’s husband gives about fear and knowing that monsters are real because he has lived his life as a black man and a warlock. It was powerful potent and rang true.

EPISODE’S MVP: Alice,  Maxim Roy ‘s portrayal of the innocent, happy to start a family warlock who grows to hate and distrust humans as she watches them slaughter her entire town while she tries to save some all while going through labor is heartbreaking. And, watching her call out to her husband and hear his death telepathically while she’s trying to give birth and knowing what happened after that was brilliant and beautiful and if she doesn’t get an award of some kind for making me feel real emotions, tears and all, for an imaginary character, I don’t know what’s wrong with the world.

Overall: 9.8

Wynonna Earp Returns to Production. Season 4 Debuts Summer 2020

IDW Entertainment, SEVEN24 Films, Space, and SYFY announced today that Wynonna  Earp, the series based on the IDW comic created by Beau Smith, has been greenlit to start production for its fourth season. With production slated to begin later this year, Season 4 is expected to debut in Summer 2020 on SYFY in the US and Space in Canada. Additionally, IDW Entertainment announced that Cineflix Studios has come aboard to co-produce with Cineflix Rights handling international sales for all four seasons of the series.

Wynonna Earp S3 Episode 312

Winner of the 2018 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show, Wynonna Earp follows the life of the great, great granddaughter (Melanie Scrofano, “Bad Blood”) of famous lawman Wyatt Earp. The action-packed supernatural sci-fi series stars Melanie Scrofano, Tim Rozon, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, and Katherine Barrell.

Known for having one of the most active social media communities – from arranging fan conventions around the world to raising money for LGBTQ charities – Wynonna Earp has been praised for its “fierce and committed performances”*, and has received and been nominated for numerous awards including Canadian Screen Awards, GLAAD Media Awards, Directors Guild of Canada, Writers Guild of Canada and Alberta Film & Television Awards.

SEVEN24’s Jordy Randall and Tom Cox, in addition to Cineflix’s Peter Emerson and Brett Burlock, serve as Executive Producers along with Todd Berger and Rick Jacobs.

IDW Entertainment President David Ozer Leaves Company for a New Venture

Kerry McCluggage, CEO of IDW Media Holdings, announced today that David Ozer, President of IDW Entertainment, will be leaving the company to become an independent producer.

IDW Entertainment was launched in 2013, and Ozer and his team have been responsible for building the division and successfully delivering three seasons of the critically-acclaimed Wynonna Earp and securing deals with Netflix to produce Locke and Key and V-Wars. IDW Entertainment also has a strong roster of projects in active development, with properties based on their deep and growing library of comic books and graphic novels, as well as properties created by their many friends in the writer/producer community.

Former Chairman of Paramount Television and President of Universal Television Named CEO of IDW Media Holdings

Veteran television executive Kerry McCluggage, who was joined to the IDW Media Holdings, Inc. Board of Directors in September 2017, has been named as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer. The former Paramount TV Chairman and Universal TV President will replace current CEO and founder Ted Adams, who is taking a brief sabbatical and will return to IDW in a new creative role.

McCluggage’s appointment signals the company’s focus on television where it has lately foudn success with Wynonna Earp which airs on SyFy and was recently renewed for a fourth season. The company has V-Wars in development at the same channel and Locke & Key is moving out of development hell and has landed at Netflix.

The company has had a rough few years. The publishing division declined close to a half million dollars in the fiscal second quarter ending April 30th, but operating losses improved $168,000 and now stand at $1.39 million from $1.56 million at the same time last year.

IDW Media Holdings had $8.7 million in sales for the quarter which is down 2% and a $2.2 million loss, around 23% worse than a year ago.

As both an industry executive and independent producer for over 40 years, McCluggage has also been an investor in media companies, including Allumination FilmWorks LLC. and Content Media Corporation. Since 2002, he has served as President of Craftsman Films, an independent production company developing motion picture and television product. Additionally, McCluggage is a founding shareholder of Old West Investment Management.

Prior to forming Craftsman Films, McCluggage was Chairman of the Paramount Television Group, a position he held for 10 years with responsibility for all aspects of the company’s television operations. During his time with Paramount, McCluggage shepherded many award winning and successful series, including the Emmy Award-winning Frasier and Cheers, and the phenomenally successful Star Trek franchise, as well as the venerable magazine series Entertainment Tonight and helped develop and launch the original plan for UPN (known as The United Paramount Network).

Before joining Paramount, McCluggage was with Universal, where he established the company as a significant supplier of series with such groundbreaking shows as Quantum Leap, Law & Order, Northern Exposure, Miami Vice, and Coach. he joined as a programing assistant in 1978 and would have oversight of all development and production for such series as Magnum, P.I., The Equalizer, Murder She Wrote, The A-Team, and ultimately rising to President of Universal Television.

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