Yesterday, IDW Publishing launched their latest partnership with Humble Bundle, which allows digital consumers to pick up copies of dozens of IDW's creator-owned comics for a fraction of their normal cost, with a chunk of the proceeds going to charity.
Along with familiar names like Locke & Key, Wynonna Earp, 30 Days of Night, and Walter Simonson's Ragnarok, the offer will give IDW's CEO Ted Adams a splashy launch for his new horror series Diablo House with artist Santiperez and colorist Jay Fotos.
"I wanted to do a real throwback to the books that I loved when I grew up reading comics and that really kept me interested in comics," Adams told ComicBook.com of the series. "It's certainly in that '70s DC vibe, the Joe Orlando-edited comics back then like House of Mystery and House of Secrets. It's very much that sensibility, where it's a haunted house with a host, and the Diablo House people can go to make their dreams come true, but it always comes at a cost."
The series might remind some fans of things like Creepshow or Tales From the Darkside, the latter of which is a property published by IDW.
Proceeds from the Humble Bundle sales go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a First Amendment organization that specializes in the comics industry, and the San Diego-based Traveling Stories, of which Adams is the Chairman of the Board.
"Our mission is to introduce kids to the love of reading by grade four," Adams explained of Traveling Stories. "We're working in under-served communities in San Diego. A lot of immigrant communities, communities where English is the second or third language. What we're trying to do is help them find books and fall in love with reading books, and we do that by setting up story tents in farmer's market kinds of places. The kids come into our story tents and they can either read to themselves or they can have an adult read to them, and for every book that they read, they get a 'story buck,' and they can use those to redeem for small prizes and things."
Besides his charity work, Adams has a variety of responsibilities just in his role at IDW, so it's a little surprising he's found time to carve out to write a comic at all. He became CEO of the public company just about two years ago, and spends a lot of his time speaking with the shareholders and going to investor conferences. He's also the operational CEO of the IDW businesses, which includes publishing, an expanding board games division, and an entertainment division where the company is producing TV shows, on which Adams serves as a producer.
"I definitely do wear a lot of hats. But my favorite hat is definitely being a publisher at IDW. Books are where my heart lies and I definitely consider myself a publisher first and everything else second."
While a signed copy of Diablo House is the only physical good fans get for contributing $25 to the Humble Bundle, it's the digital copies of a great many of IDW's best-reviewed and most popular comics that Adams is pushing as the heart of the matter.
"It's really the cream of the crop from IDW creator-owned comics. It's just a murderer's row of our great books, tons of Eisner Award-winning books, critically-acclaimed books. The list just goes on and on. I also like it becuase it includes some of our newest creator-owned books, so we have Animal Noir, which is in stores this week, and we have a few other titles that a lot of readers haven't had a chance to see yet."
Not that he doesn't also love Diablo House -- although he's very happy that the book is what it is: it's neither awards bait nor a licensed book, which makes fit right in with the other books in the Bundle: it's a creator-owned comic with the primary function being to entertain.
"What I like is that this is not high art," Adams said. "We aren't looking to win awards with these stories, they're just fun and the book is really a showcase for Santiperez's art, who's an artist I met in Barcelona last year and just fell in love with his work. We're looking to have fun and to give him a chance to show the world what he can do with his art. Every issue is a stand-alone issue, which is something that's a little bit lacking in comics these days. You can pick up an issue and there'll be just the bare bones of a little bit of continuity as I build out the history of the house and build out the history of the host, but the real meat and bones of the book are the stand-alone stories."
Adams had the bare bones of the series in his mind before meeting Santiperez, but it was the prospect of giving the artist a chance to flex his muscles that drove him to put it all together. The first issue managed to give the artist the mundane, the violent, the sexy, and the comical all in one, but Adams told ComicBook.com that it's really the second issue where things start to get crazy.
"I think if you look at the history of comics, these kinds of stories have been told with the host and twisted tales and bad people getting their come-uppance for generations, from EC to the Warren Magazines to the DC books. It feels like something that's kind of been missing from the market for a while for whatever reason, and hopefully we'll find a new audience for it."
And that's something that should be comparably easy at IDW, Adams reckons, since unlike most major publishers there isn't a specific group of people who are being targeted or who are buying their books regularly: the appeal, he says, is pretty widespread.
"One of the things that everybody at IDW is proud of is the diversity of our catalogue," Adams told ComicBook.com. "We have things for kids, we have things for adults, and everything in between including our archival books like Artist's Editions and Library of American Comics and Yoe Books. We're proud to bring all kinds of different material to the market."
The Humble Comics Bundle "Creators Showcase presented by IDW Publishing" runs from now until Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. You can check it out, and name your price for bundles of books, here. You can also see a full list of books there, with more being added to the Bundle next Wednesday. Buyers who have already made their purchase at that time will still get any newly-added books that join their existing price point.