SDCC 09 EXCLUSIVE: Bob Schreck Speaks on Move to IDW

SDCC 09 EXCLUSIVE: Bob Schreck To IDW

Later today at Comic-Con International: San Diego, longtime industry stalwart Bob Schreck will be officially announced as a new Senior Editor at IDW.

Previously known for his work as Senior Group Editor at Dark Horse and founding Oni Press along with a long career at DC Comics, Schreck has helped shepherd projects ranging from Sin City to All-Star Superman, and given breaks to such creators as Greg Rucka, Kevin Smith and many, many more.

In an exclusive interview, we got Schreck’s first words on joining IDW, and what he hopes to bring to the company.

Newsarama: Bob, how did this position with IDW come about?  

Bob Schreck: Soon after I became available on the market again, that is “laid off,” IDW and several other interested parties reached out to me to see if I might be interested in joining their teams.

From the start IDW was the frontrunner and seemed a perfect fit for my next journey in the comic book publishing field. I am very happy and very exited to get started in October.

NRAMA: What drew you towards working with the company?

SCHRECK: So many good reasons. First, Ted Adams. I've known Ted for years – back when he was working with Dean Mullaney at Eclipse Comics, then soon after he and I worked together doing the marketing of Dark Horse Comics in the early 90s, and I've kept my eye on his publishing journey ever since. He's a very sharp fellow with a keen eye for quality and has a solid understanding of business.  

That said, the second reason is obvious... IDW is on fire! Who wouldn't want to be a part of a company that is so on the move and so in tune to today's comics' readers and pop culture? They choose their projects carefully and haven't lost their identity as a publisher, which is no easy task when trying to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. I feel like the sky's the limit there creatively speaking and that I will be able to achieve some very interesting and exciting results.

 NRAMA: What exactly does your position as “Senior Editor” entail?  Will you be involved with any of IDW's existing properties, or will this primarily involve developing new material?

SCHRECK: I hope to bring all my editorial skills to bear at IDW and will be doing a little bit of everything, frankly. I enjoy working with writers and artists, and licensed titles need those folks just as much as the creator-owned books do.

NRAMA: IDW has become a sort of “dream tream” of acclaimed editors the last few years, including Scott Dunbier and Andy Schmidt.  Had you worked with them before, and what's your impression of the creative environment at IDW?

SCHRECK: While I've known Scott Dunbier for many years and have had limited work experiences with him (all excellent!), I have not yet worked with Andy Schmidt, but know of his work, have heard nothing but good things about him. Nor have I worked with Chris Ryall before, but seeing what he's delivered over the last several years at IDW, I have the highest respect for him and his editorial vision.

With my relationships with Scott and Ted going many, many years back, so do my ties with Dean Mullaney and Alan Payne. And I know Mariah Huehner is a good egg, as she worked at Vertigo while I was at DC.

Even Greg Goldstein and I share a connection which goes years back that we only just discovered the other day. I'm assured that the environment there is that of a healthy competitive sort, one which allows for everyone to bring their best to the table for the greater good of the company.

These are all very smart and creative people, so I look forward to working with Ted & Chris and the entire IDW team.

NRAMA: I suspect you're already in talks with some talent to come to IDW, but anyone you'd like to work with at the company?  

SCHRECK: All too soon to discuss at the moment, I'm sorry to say. Only time will tell if I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.

NRAMA:  IDW also has a significant number of reprints. Will you be involved with any of this, and are there any older series/comic strips/foreign material not previously reprinted in the US that you'd like to see come out through the company?  

SCHRECK: Again, as you suspected – a little too soon to discuss.

NRAMA:  Having been an editor through some of the more complicated periods of the comics industry, where do you see things headed over the next few years?  With price points for single issues growing, do you see more of a movement toward original graphic novels, downloadable issues, or both?

SCHRECK: I always fall back on the words of Will Eisner. He'd really seen it all during his graphic storytelling journey, and heard so many predictions of what was lying ahead for the comics medium. “There's really no telling what will happen next.”

Clearly, the onset of new technologies will have an impact. Look at how much lettering, coloring and inking and the actual physical transporting of the comic book “page” has changed in just the last five years. It's exciting. I discovered many years ago to learn to love change. It's coming whether you want it to or not.

NRAMA: What's your favorite current IDW book, as a fan?  “All of them” is not a real answer.  Yes, we are putting you on the spot.

SCHRECK: Lora Innes' The Dreamer. Wonderful work. And actually, there's a whole lot they're doing right, even though the characters were not of my generation, I love how they've handled Transformers, and of course the beautiful art books and Dean's award winning reprints of Caniff and Sickles works. IDW has a very diverse, well rounded line of amazing material!

NRAMA:  Do you see yourself doing more work in outside media, similar to the documentary?

SCHRECK: You mean, of course, Comic Books: Unbound for the Starz Network? Plug - Plug!  (laughs)

Yes, that's just another one of the many great reasons for joining Ted and his IDW team –that this option is one that I can aggressively pursue. So, yes I do have plans to work in other media outside of comics.

NRAMA:  You have helped bring in a number of talents from film/TV/print literature into comics.  What do you feel have been the most positive and possibly negative aspects of this trend, and what qualities do you feel a writer needs to make a successful transition into the medium of comics?

SCHRECK: I have tried to choose who I bring to the medium very carefully, with one eye on their ability to adjust to our medium's special and unique language and the other eye on how that particular creator's vision will be accepted by the comics' audience at large.  It's a tricky dance, one that I feel has been abused of late.

NRAMA:  Anything you would like to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?

SCHRECK: Yes. If I may take this moment to convey my thanks Ted and the folks at IDW for welcoming me on board.

And to all those who took the time to let me know (at the cons, on the internet, by phone, by email, Facebook... and via smoke signals, even!) of your concern and willingness to lend a helping hand when news of my departure from DC became public... well... honestly, words can't even come close at expressing how wonderful it was to be on the receiving end of so much good will and friendship.

I am no one without my family, friends, loved ones and the tremendous camaraderie of the comics community, fans and pros, alike. Thank you all.

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