WonderCon 2016 And Comic-Con HQ
Beth Accomando: Welcome back to another edition of the KPBS Cinema Junkie podcast. I’m Beth Accomando. If it sounds like I’ve lost my voice, it’s because I’ve been at WonderCon. Comic-Con’s not until July, but its sister convention WonderCon is this weekend, ending at 5 pm, on Easter Sunday. WonderCon’s not as big and crazy as Comic-Con, at least not yet. So it provides a perfect warm-up for Comic-Con. It’s like Con training to remind yourself to park for a survival kit when you’re hitting the floor, or waiting in line for panels, and it gets your stamina and body prepared for the intense five days Comic-Con event coming in the summer. WonderCon is ran by Comic-Con International which also runs Comic-Con in the summer. This was the first and possibly the only WonderCon that will be held at the LA Convention Center. I know having it there makes people think that, “Oh, Comic-Con is trying out the convention Centre to see if they want to move from San Diego to there for Comic-Con.” But, that’s not exactly the case. Sure, it give them the opportunity to test up the venue, but at this point there’s no plans for Comic-Con to move anywhere. WonderCon began in San Francisco at the Moscone Center, but when renovations pushed them out, they tried in Anaheim and have been happier for the past few years. But this year Anaheim was undergoing renovations and cannot provide the dates or the space that WonderCon needed for this year. So the convention moved to the LA Convention Center. The exhibit hall, the LA Convention Center was nice and spacious and it was easy to move around even with anime cosplayers carrying huge swords and assorted parents with doublewide strollers taking up a lot of space. I have a pair of interviews for you for WonderCon. One’s with Seth Laderman, he’s the executive vice president and general manager for Comic-Con HQ, and another is with IDW founder and CEO, Ted Adams, who I premiering the Syfy network’s new show, Wynonna Earp, which is based on a IDW comic. I worked with Seth last summer when Lionsgate and Comic-Con had announced plans for a subscription channel that was to be all about things Comic-Con. I was conducting interviews and editing footage of what fans wanted from a Comic-Con platform. As a long time attendee of Comic-Con, I’m excited about what the platform might have to offer including some archives of old panels of Comic-Con. At the conventions, Comic-Con HQ had a booth and people could check out what the platform was all about and what it might be offering. The booth had monitors where you could scroll through content, and it also had some fun activities. I caught up with Seth on Saturday morning at WonderCon as the pace of the convention was picking up. I’m here on the floor at WonderCon, 2016, at the Comic-Con HQ booth, and I’m here with Seth Laderman who is the executive vice president and general manager of Comic-Con HQ. How has WonderCon been? Seth: It’s been amazing. I love this event so much. It’s been a great experience, yesterday our booth was packed all day. We’ve got a lot of interactive capabilities here. We’re really talking to everybody, we just made our announcement a week ago so a lot of people don’t know who we are and what we are, so it’s been great for me and my entire team to come here and be able to talk with the fans and tell them a little bit about what we’re doing and show them what they want to see, so we can really engage them and learn about everything going on. It’s just been a great event, first year here in LA; it’s been a lot of fun. I’m going to tell you it’s a blast. Beth: Were you talking to people about what Comic-Con HQ is going to be offering and seeing what kind of ideas or expectations they have? Seth: That’s exactly what we’re trying to do. So much of what we’re really doing here is communicating with the audience and making this part of the community, because the community is what built Comic-Con and what it is. Our goal is to really provide for them as much as possible, and until when we actually have a platform and we can and start seeing the data and the analytics in what they want to watch, it’s just constant communicating with them whether it’s through email, through social media, in person. “What do you guys want to see? What does Comic-con mean to you? What does this community mean to?” And we’re going to be listen to everybody. We’re going to be taking everything in and we’re going trying to program content specifically to that. Beth: In talking to people, are you feeling that you’re pretty much in line in what people are looking for, or you’re getting some surprises about what people are asking for? Seth: I think we have a pretty good understanding because we are all friends, we’re really trying to program for ourselves. We are part of this community but we’ve had some really good ideas and some really great questions. A lot of the questions are about what we’re doing at Comic-Con which is great because Comic-Con is such an amazing event and it’s pretty much impossible to see everything since there’s so much content. We have those conversations and we’re hearing what everybody is there but our real goal here is to take what is the five days of Comic-Con, take what is the three days of WonderCon and make that a year round event. That’s more a lot of the questions that we’re asking people, “What do you love most about these conventions and how can we make translate that into a digital videos to be able to provide this awesome atmosphere year round?” Beth: You have some content up here; you were showing me actually what kind of the test site looks like. You were showing me how you were packaging some other content in terms of, like Netflix has recommended, but you’ve got some interesting categories that you’re coming up? Seth: Yeah, you know. We want to have fun with this site. When you are looking through our films and TV shows, even our original content, it’s not going to be action, and comedy, and horror. We got some really fun ones like, Look Who’s Stalking. We’ll be able to play. We’re going to communicate with the audience, we’ll ask for ideas, suggestions, we’ll put those on. It’s going to be a very dynamic site where we’re going to be changing on a constant basis to really just show how much content, and its content, and really how much fun it is. Look at these events, everybody here has fun, so why can we not do the same thing on our platform? Beth: Talk about some of content that you have planned and are already popping and making available? Seth: Our original content and our license content is going to be the biggest possible content platform, from a license stand point. What that means is we’re going to be taking films and TV series from all studios and all writers, the big and the independent and putting them on a platform to really, “These are the movies, the TV shows that we love, that we want to see, that we want everybody to be able to see, that we haven’t seen yet, that we’re just really excited to see.” That’s going to be a huge part between three and four hundred of those on a platform at any given time, with different titles rotating in and out monthly. In addition to that, we’re going to need a personal warrant to the original content, a couple of a hundred hours in the first year alone probably like, four hundred or something like scientific really, and get as much add for helping. We’re really excited about that, we’re working with Adam Sessler and Kevin Pereira; two guys from G4 who came to me with some ideas that they have that they’re really passionate about. How they really love this audience they want to communicate on a constant basis, so one of the big things that we’re doing here that’s slightly different than any other place subscription channel is that, we’re going to be releasing content on a constant basis, four, five, six, seven new original pieces of content every week for the audience that’s going to be a lot of high end entertainment news, trusted resources are going to be, communicating some of the coolest and biggest and the best stories and some stories that you’re not really sure of, but in a fun way. In addition to that we’re going to be producing serialized scripted and unscripted content. We announce three of our series last week, one with Ashley Eckstein and Her Universe, which is our project runway [indiscernible] [00:07:12]. She’s an amazing person who’s built this awesome brand and high end run way outfits theme now to Doctor Who, and Star World, and Game of Throne, it’s so fun. We’re going to be following that journey of 25 contestants who have the ability to get in line with hot topic and if they win this fashion show which is really exciting. I’m very optimistic and excited, I keep saying that word the second series we’re having with Jason Laderman, who won Britain's Got Talent. He’s a magician and also a scientist too. Everyone thinks that magic is unreal, it’s actually really happening, so we’ll start every episode out with a great magic trick let’s say like levitating. But then we’ll go in and we’ll show science how we’re actually making things levitate right now for real. Magic is not necessarily magic these days, its real science. So it’s going to be very educational, very fun, he's a really dynamic, personality that I think everyone is going to really like. The other series we will announce is Kings of Con, which is with Rob Benedict and Richard Spade, two guys from Supernatural; they go to Supernatural conventions throughout the year. These are real stories about what happened behind the scenes of these conventions. I’ve read the scripts, I’ve seen one of the episodes, it is so funny and these guys are just like the best. As people will notice and see, every piece of original content are coming from fans. People they have to be passionate about what they want to produce, they have to be passionate about the audience, and that’s when I think content will come out being a lot better when… We’re going to be as hands off as possibly as we can. We’re going to let the producers produce the ideas that they want with our help and our insight because we are the fans, we are the audience, but because the fans are producing all the content, that’s what we’re really excited about. Beth: Now, having heard the universe on reflects that the makeup of the audience coming to conventions like Comic-Con and WonderCon is becoming much more evenly divided between men and women. Seth: That is true. It’s about 60, 40 now, male and women, but it’s giving more towards women, and the women are actually much more engaged audience on a constant basis. I have so many friends like in this community as well and more of them are women. I feel like it’s been that way forever, it’s just now they’re coming out and being part of this like in a full way but it’s so exciting. I’m such a huge fan of Ashley and I’m just…it’s such just a diverse audience in general, completely. We’re going to have a real diverse amount of content on this site, I really working with everyone because as I mentioned before we’re trying to take this event and make it real life, this event is so diverse and that’s the type of content that we are going to be able to have, we’re going to have as well. Beth: Now, here at the Comic-Con HQ booth, I can see that there are a lot of things from the Comic-Con art show that was at the San Diego public library. Does that reflect that the Comic-Con HQ channel is also going to be delving into archives? Seth: Absolutely. That’s one of the most exciting part in this. Comic-Con has got 30, 40 years’ worth of archival content that we’re reviewing now, we’re digitizing, and we’re [indiscernible] [00:10:04] to put it on. We’re really going to be working with everybody, all the studios, everyone who is part of this videos to get that out because there’s such an amazing history of Comic-Con of how it started with a hundred or so people in the basement of a hotel, to now being one of the biggest and best [indiscernible] [00:10:18] conventions in the world. It’s something that again interests me so much. You can see our wall over here, we’ve got pictures from years of Comic-Con, and we’ve got this amazing artwork. It’s just got such a rich history and that’s how we’re going to find out voice and audience by knowing what made Comic-Con what it is today and learning and engaging and be part of the history. Because as you can see, this whole community, the Comic-Con name, brand in general has grown to something, I don’t think anybody would have ever expected. This is just a new way now of trying to turn it digital, to a 365 day event. Beth: What was your first experience with Comic-Con? Seth: That’s a good question. Back, it’s like 12 years ago now, before it was just starting to get really huge. One of my friends was like, “We should go down to Comic-Con.” And I’ll admit it at that point I was like, “Really? Comic-Con? That’s what you want to do?” And he is like “I’ve heard it’s such an amazing event.” I came down and it blew me away. It’s the same reaction that I see with friends and people here when it’s the first time when they come. You just have a smile on your face, the energy is so high, and the energy is amazing. Being able to go to that first panel and see people, just the excitement of people, just standing there and listening to the behind the scenes, the stories of whose personalities are, being able to walk the floor and go to artist ally and go up to an artist and for like $5 or $10 they’ll draw you something right there. That was my first experience and I just couldn’t let it go. I’ve just been a fan, or bigger fan ever since. Beth: What can people expect during Comic-Con from Comic-Con HQ in terms of panels? Is there anything be streaming live? Seth: The plan isn’t really to stream anything live, because a big thing is the experience. We really don’t want to take away the experience of the people who wait in line for hours if not days to be the first to see and hear. That’s just a once in a lifetime experience in event that people do. So, I don’t think we’re going to be streaming anything, but we’re working with all the panel hosts and all the studios to be able to put those panels up shortly after. We’re going to try and cover as many panels as possible, so we’re saying everything from OH to the smallest rooms. Everybody should be part of this audience and just in general we’re going to have cruise out all around town, nonstop just getting, covering the event as much as possible. Our goal is to really bring the experience of Comic-Con to those who can’t make it, while also enhancing it for those who are there. As you know from being there to 20, 30 years that is literary impossible to see everything because there’s just so much great content. So when you go home at night, while you’re waiting in line, while you’re waiting for dinner you can come from our site and take a look from that day what you may have missed and what you may have seen. And then for days, and weeks, and months later. Beth: Are you going to be looking into old panels? Is there a footage that you can use from old panels from Comic-Con content to possibly put up? Seth: Yes, a part of the archive content that Comic-Con have is a lot of old panels, like a couple of thousands from there. We’re in a process right of digitalizing them and working with those panel hosts to put them up on the platform as well, so that’s definitely the plan to be able to bring those things that you might have missed, you might have forgotten about from years ago back to light again. Beth: What kind of things are people actually getting to interact with here in the booth? Seth: Here in the booth is really exciting. We have a pretty amazing mural that was part of the 40th anniversary book that you we’re talking about. We have this awesome instant print thing which is great. So anybody here whether you’re in our booth or anywhere around town really, you take a picture, you post it on Instagram and you just do it #wonderconccHQ and a picture will print out from this instant right here, which is really cool, looks like a little Instagram picture as well. Thousands of people came by to do that yesterday. And then we’re also talking before, we have an alpha version of our site. We’re letting people actually see what we’re doing which just shows how real it is and then even cooler we have this great doodle wall which is right behind you right now, where we’ve had our latest from Artist Alley come here and draw, we have fans come by. People are just drawing their experience of their fondest memories and their best artwork if you will, even stick figures that look really cool on there. So it is just really interactive, as I was mentioning, we want this whole thing to be fun, so we want to make sure this booth was fun and very interactive for everybody. Beth: Tell people, when can they actually get a look at this alpha version of Comic-Con HQ? Seth: The alpha version we’re probably not going to be making public, so it’ll really be our beta version which is May, 7th, free comic book day. We are partnering with [indiscernible] [00:14:36] comics to be the principle sponsor during free comic book day to help get the comic books in more stories out there. But on May, 7th, you can test the site. It’s going to be a very public beta where we’re going to be communicating; we’re going to be asking. What do you want to see? What do you like? What don’t you like about it? We will have a lot of films and TV series on there; we’ll have original content on there at that time. We really want it to be a fully functional site but a way to get our fans there to come early and it will be completely free through Comic-Con. So you can literally sign up on May 7th and have two and half months free and get all of our Comic-Con coverage completely free. Beth: How can they go about signing up? Seth: Right now you go to comic-conhq.com, C-O-M-I-C hyphen C-O-N-H-Q.com and put your email address in there and then we’ll send you an email a day or two before to let you know, “Hey, you’re already signed up. Come here, come in and on May 7th you’ll be able to start watching content,” Beth: Eventually this is going to be a pay subscription channel. Do you have any idea at this point what kind of rates that will be? Seth: We don’t know the exact number right now, but we’re talking to the audience, we’re asking questions, we’re doing mark of research on it. It’s going to be very affordable. Similar how on Wednesday you’re going to your comic’s bookshop and you ask for that comic and you know it’s going to be 399, and you’re completely okay with that. We’re going to be very affordable price where people are going to come back every month and be like, “This is going to be this amount, I’m happy to pay for it.” We’re not going to be competing with the Netflix who owns the worlds, we really want us to be inclusive and affordable for everybody. At some point on in late April or May right before the launch we’ll make that public once we figure out what the right number is. But again it’s going to be completely free for a few months, so you will be able test it out and see if it’s worth it for you. Which we are pretty sure it will be. Beth: Are you actually shooting anything here at WonderCon to use? Seth: We shot The Universe panel yesterday because they announced the open auditions for the contest and so everything is on heruniverse.com right now to go and try to be one of 25 contestants, and then I have a crew around, just going around interviewing people, talking to them, asking them what they want to see, what’s their fondest memories of Comic-Con, getting just some great shots of the great cosplay, the atmosphere, because you know as I mentioned one of our goals is to be able to bring the experiences to those who can’t make it here. So we’re capturing a lot of the autographs and the panels, these people talking and we want to try and put that on our platform and it’s ready to so people can see, where the mainstream experience WonderCon is and get them ready for what we’re going to be doing for Comic-Con. Beth: All right. Any other comments about the platform? Seth: I’m just so excited for people to start seeing it and I’m just really excited that we’re continuously talking to the audience and hearing what they want to see, because I think we’re putting together something really fun and really excited and I’m just very excited [chuckle]. Beth: All right, thank you very much. Seth: Awesome, thank you Beth. I appreciate. Beth: That was Seth Laderman, general manager and executive vice president for Comic-Con HQ. Now for my interview with Ted Adam of IDW. I am here at WonderCon with Ted Adams, the founder and CEO of IDW Comics. How has WonderCon been this year for you? Ted Adam: It’s been a lot of fun, this is the first time it’s been in Los Angeles, so it’s been a different experience. Last couple of years it’s been in Anaheim, but it’s very fun to be here, the LA live is a really fun scene, there’s a lot of events going on, it’s stable as well. Definitely, a good crowd, a good vibe. Beth: IDW seems to have a lot on its plate right now. One of the things front and foremost is you Comic and now TV show for Wynonna Earp. Tell me what you guys are doing here at WonderCon for it? Ted: We’re actually having the premiere and an after party for Wynonna Earp and it airs on SyFy Fridays at 10:00 starting next Friday, April 1st. We’re here with the cast, we’ve got the show runner in Emily Andras also have Beau Smith who created the comic book and we’re here to celebrate with them, and we are anxious for everybody to check out the show. Beth: It seems like you guys have come a long way and did you ever think that when you started out you would be over seeing TV shows like this? Ted: No. I can honestly say that my heart really lies with publishing, so that’s where my passion is, I love books and the TV division has been great, it’s called the IDW entertainment and we had this show. We also have another show that we’re doing for BBC America called, Dirk Gently that will come out October. The TV division is been great but certainly when I started the business it was all around publishing, and then the other things that we’re doing. We also have a board game division now, that kind of sprung out of the publishing division and then there’s entertainment division that’s focusing on TV, so it’s been exciting. Beth: It seems now that comic book companies are all or a lot of them are expanding like this DC and Marvel have expanded so much into the entertainment industry. Does that seem like kind of a normal path to take now? Ted: I think that because comic books are such a good sort of storytelling format for TV and movies and particularly for TV because TV is serialized, you want to cliff hangers, you want to keep that audience coming back, that’s what comic books are all about, have been for 70 years or so more. I think that it makes sense that comic book type story telling really lends itself also to TV storytelling and the character are vetted because only the best rise to the top that make it to a TV show. It really is a good way for networks to have some confidence that this story telling is there and there’s an audience already built in. Beth: Tell me about Wynonna Earp in terms of how IDW come upon it and what was it about it that attracted you to it? Ted: Wynonna Earp was actually originally published by Jim Lee and a company called WildStorm Productions based in La Jolla and I worked for Jim before starting IDW and Wynonna Earp the comic book is created by my best friend his name is Beau Smith and Beau and I have known each other for about 25 years. When we started IDW, Jim sold WildStorm to DC comics and the rights to Wynonna Earp reverted back to Beau, so we started publishing comic books around it, this was probably back in the early 2000s and we got handful of series over the years. But I always felt like this one in particular really landed itself to other forms of entertainment, so we try to set it up as a video game, almost had a deal done, we had a couple feature things that didn’t pan out but looked like they were going to work, and the ultimately we hooked up with a Canadian company called Seven-Twenty-Four and the loved Wynonna Earp and this is actually before we started IDW entertainment. It actually predated the creation of that division at IDW. So Seven-Twenty-Four who are the producers of the show, they had Emily Andras, who is a show runner and head writer and it just kind of took off from there, we started shooting. I guess we were shooting in September, 2015 and like I said the first episode airs on April 1st on SyFy attempt. Beth: What was it about the story about the character that particularly appealed to you? Ted: I think the idea that's she is the great-great granddaughter of Wyatt Earp is just really fun, and when Emily is done with the show she’s really expanded the world, she’s given Wynonna some sisters and assistance and Doc Holidays and the TV shows and Wynonna has a magical gun that she uses to shoot the demons and the demons in the show are actually all of Wyatt Earp’s kills who have come back as what we call revenants, which are essentially demons. Wynonna is the heir of Wyatt Earp so it’s her job to hunt down those demons and protect her town. Beth: What is the other show that you have in the works too? Can you talk a little about what that story is? Ted: That one is based off of a series of books by Douglas Adam, whose best known as the creator of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This was another series of books that he called Dirk Gently, and we’re doing that show for BBC America it is eight episodes. The show runner on that is Max Landis who’s an amazing screen writer, he wrote Chronicle and a bunch of other movies and based on the Douglas Adams character and we just announced that we cast Elijah Wood as one of the two leads in the show, so we’re very excited about that. Beth: IDW has also opened recently your comic art gallery, and how has that been going? Ted: It’s been great. It’s really been nice. We really did that to be able to, it was a chance to kind of give back to the community that has supported us for so long. It really lets people see how comic books are made, it is the only comic art gallery right now in the United States and it allows you to see the whole process how it goes from script, to pencils, to ink, to finished product and that’s really what when we try to showcase there. It also has Kevin Eastman who co-created, The Teenage Mutants Ninja Turtles, he has a replica studio there which is just phenomenal, it’s filled from floor to ceiling with toys and all the things that inspires Kevin. We have a kid’s studio, kids can come in and learn how to draw, and there’s been bags in them for them to be available to read comics. What we’re really trying to do is make a fun place for the community and Liberty Station has really become an exciting hot bed right now, they just opened the public market there which is just drawing in a ton of people, it is so crowded, I was trying to go over there for lunch and the lines are too long right now, but it is exciting to see because Liberty Station is really fun, Stone Brewery of course is there, Comickaze a comic store is right across from our gallery, so it is just, I feel like I'm going to a theme park every day when I’m going to work. Beth: Now IDW has been coming to WonderCon and Comic-Con for quite some time, what is it about coming to these conventions that makes it worthwhile for you to have booths here all the time? Ted: This is all about letting fans interact with the people that they like, so it’s giving them that opportunities to meet creators and be able to talk editors, as far as it’s completely about that sort of fan, letting fans interact with the people that are producing the products that they like so that's really our goal when it comes to a show like this. For Wynonna Earp specifically this was a good chance since we just ended up our shows airing five days after this show ends, it’s just felt like a perfect opportunity to introduce our cast to the world, like I said kind of be a chance to, for all of us who worked so hard to make this show, a chance to celebrate it, and bring our family and friends and hopefully some big wigs and have the first public screening of the show. Beth: Are you able to judge any kind of reaction yet to who you’ve cast or how the fans are taking it? Ted: I think what we found is our show is fun and I think there's really not anything like it on TV right now, it’s extremely a horror show and there’s some of those kind of things in there as well the horror and all those kinds of elements, but it’s really a fun show and our characters are really fun to watch, it’s very funny. Emily is just an amazing writer, she’s just got a great sense of humor, she’s really witty and so the characters are really fun. Melanie Scrofano who plays Wynonna Earp – she’s so charming and likable and charismatic. I really think if you look at so much of the entertainment right now is gritty, and dark and we see Batman and Superman, it’s like this is not like that, this is a fun show, you’re going to like these character, you’re going to like these actors, you’re going to… If you’re like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is the show for you. Beth: Do you hope also that the show also causes some people go back and either discover the comic book or re-read it? Ted: Yeah, absolutely. We’re publishing comics right now as well, so there’re are Wynonna Earp comics, in comic stores right now and I think we’re really hoping the people that like the show will go and search out those comics, written by Beau again so the original creator of course, it is his creation, so he is still writing the comics, but what Beau has done is now added in some of the characters that Emily created, so we absolutely hope that people would check out the comics as well and get a little bit more of the story behind the characters. Beth: You go to conventions now as part of IDW, but do you ever get a chance to walk around the floor and if you do is there something that you look forward? What do you enjoy about going just as a fan? Ted: As I said, I’m a book person, so my favorite thing in the world to do is go to book stores. Comic-Con for me it’s just like an enormous book store, so yes, I very much walk around to find comics, find books, it’s really a chance to... there’s so much there it’s kind of overwhelming and really searching out and finding a book that I didn’t know existed is what I like. So when I travel to a new city I always find time to go to the bookstores there. It’s just that books are in my blood, it’s what I love. The Comic-Con is still fun for me; of course it is very different. The first time I went to San Diego, Comic-Con was in 1990, and I was right out of college and it was a much smaller show back then, but I was nearly giddy with excitement. I was so excited to be going to Comic-Con and now it’s very much wok, but I do always carve out time to at least come home with probably more books than my wife would like. Beth: Do you also go to Artists Alley and small press and actually look for people that you might want to publish? Ted: A little bit. Artists Alley for me it’s more being able to go and introduce myself to freelancers who work for us because the way Comic works they’re not really based in San Diego with very few exceptions. So, if I go around Artists Alley I just try to find the people who work for IDW introduce myself and then thank them for working for us. The editors are more kind of searching out new talent more than I am, but it’s really a good chance I got to be able to go and meet many of the people who work for us. Beth: Does IDW do the portfolio review at Comic-Con? Ted: We do. I don’t believe we’re doing it at this show, we have done it in San Diego, it’s difficult because, you can’t really – the show is so busy, the booth is so crowded, it’s difficult to give people a thoughtful response. I know in the past our editors at San Diego have participated. If I remember correctly San Diego themselves actually set up kind of portfolio review room, and I know we have editors who participate in that. We do have editors who are really serious about not even so much as just trying to find new talent but trying to be able to give good advice to artists who are up and coming an so most of my editorial team they feel like that’s the service that they need to provide. I know we've participated in that in the past. Beth: You mentioned board game, so this is another interesting kind of direction, somebody whose son plays all these video games I was thinking like, wow, going back to board games, but that is also a big industry now? Ted: Yeah. It’s funny you say that because it’s called IDW Games. I have to always preface it with, we’re talking about board games, not video games, and because everybody when they hear games all they go to is video games. These are board games. There’s really been a resonance of board games and I think families are trying to have a little less screen time and really have that opportunity to interact and with a board game which is a really fun way to do it. We have a break out heat called Manchi Koro, which is a Japanese game that we brought to the US and that game has done extremely well for us, it’s really fun family game, it’s got some deep strategy, if that’s what you want but you can also play it right out of the box and have fun with it, so that game has done really well for us. We’re releasing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s board game in July. We did a kick starter for that, that did really well for us. It’s been a lot of fun, we’re doing X-files, Godfather, and it’s really that division has taken off much quicker than we anticipated. Beth: Another one of the things that IDW does is you do these great, large, oversize art books which again, I don’t know if 20 years ago people were thinking that comic books were going to have this kind of coffee table book outlet? Ted: Yeah, we do the artist edition line where we re-produce the art at that actual size that the artist drew it and then scanned it in a way so it looks like it came off of his or her drawing table and it’s just a phenomenal series for us. We started with Dave Stevens Rocketeer, we did Star Wars this year, we’re about to do Jack Kirby’s Thor and the line is one that I’m personally very proud of, I love every book in it and certainly the fan response has been great, most of this art you would never see it in this way, so as I said there’s only one gallery, ours, and even in our gallery we can only show maybe 40 or 50 pieces of art at a time. This is an opportunity for people to be able to see hundreds of pages of art, as the artist drew them and these original pages now go for huge amounts of money. Many cases $15,000 some of them in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s really curating museum in the form of a book. It’s been a really a passion project for us and certainly very commercially successful. Beth: You also need to market the bookshelves and like lectures to put them on? Ted: Being the publisher, I have a copy of all of them including all the varying covers, and I have that issue myself at home. My wife I think is a little bit exasperated by my giant book collections. It does become an issue, so that is true. I’ve broken many, many bookshelves with my heavy books. Beth: Yes, because I got those Star wars one and there’s so many like great pages in that, and I want to have it opened somewhere so people can appreciate them. Ted: Absolutely. I’m the same way. Usually what I do at home is I usually have one on display at a time, so I kind of rotate them out, that is how I do it. Beth: Is there anything else that IDW has coming up that you would like to talk about? Ted: Well, on the comic side we’re doing a couple of new luncheons this year which we are excited about that we've been working towards for a long time, with Hasbro we’re bring Micronauts back to comic and we’re bring back the cult favorite Rom to comics as well, and Rom will actually be our free comic book day comic this year, so we’re pretty excited about that. So those are our two really big launches for us on the publishing side. Beth: And like Comic-Con you guys are still based in San Diego? Ted: We are, yes. We’re down at Liberty station, check out our gallery, our offices are right there, we are barracks two and three right behind Stone, we’re not going anywhere. Beth: All right, well thank you very much. Ted: Thank you. I appreciate you having me. Beth: Thanks for listening to the special edition Cinema Junkie podcast from WonderCon. Please subscribe to Cinema Junkie on iTunes. You can also find the podcast at kpbs.org/junkiepodcast, and for this podcast you can find some photos from WonderCon as well. Till next time I’m Beth Accomando, you resident Cinema Junkie.
Comic-Con is not until July, but its sister convention WonderCon ended at 5p.m. on Easter Sunday.
WonderCon is not as big or as crazy as Comic-Con — at least not yet — so it provides a perfect warm up for Comic-Con. It’s like Con training to remind yourself what to pack for a survival kit when hitting the floor or waiting in line for panels, and it gets your stamina and body prepared for the intense five-day San Diego event in the summer.
This was the first — and possibly only year — that WonderCon will be at the L.A. Convention Center. WonderCon began in San Francisco at the Moscone Center, but when renovations pushed it out it tried Anaheim and had been happy there for the past few years.
But this year Anaheim was undergoing renovations and could not provide the dates and space WonderCon needed so the convention moved to Los Angeles.
The exhibit hall was nice and spacious, and it was easy to move around even with anime cosplayers carrying huge swords and the assorted parents with doublewide strollers taking up aisle space. There was lots of great stuff to find on the floor, from artists and small press comics to high-end collectible toys and extravagant steam punk clothing. I picked up an awesome collector's edition "Alien" book from Insight Editions that comes in a heavy sculpted case and includes an X-ray of a chest burster snuggling inside someone’s rib cage!
I have two interviews for you from the floor, one with Seth Laderman, who’s the executive vice president and general manager of Comic-Con HQ, and another with IDW founder and CEO Ted Adams, who was premiering the Syfy network’s new show "Wynonna Earp," which is based on an IDW comic.
I worked with Laderman last summer when Lionsgate and Comic-Con had announced plans for a subscription channel that was to be about all things geeky and Comic-Con. I was conducting interviews and editing footage of what fans wanted from a Comic-Con platform. Comic-Con HQ had a booth on the floor of WonderCon where people could check out an alpha test of the platform.