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Monday, March 19, 2018 

Former IDW editor Chris Ryall proves why he spelled disaster for his onetime employer

IDW's now departed editor-in-chief gave a podcast interview, and in response to a tweet announcing it, he just signaled he has no respect for Transformers fans, indicating he considers LGBT ideology far more important than readership:

Wow...so homosexuality is such a big deal to him, he's perfectly fine with offending Transformers fans who find it objectionable. I am aware they injected some of that propaganda into the TF comics they were publishing, making it no better than the shoddy, overrated movies starring Shia LeBeouf. "More than Meets the Eye" indeed! I can only conclude he didn't get into this whole business to set a company on a path to stratospheric success, but to ram SJW ideology down everyone's throats, and afterwards take the money and run.

Ryall also gave an interview to Comics Beat where he looked back at his 14 years as the EIC, and downplayed at least one of the biggest controversies and PR disasters they experienced last year. The beginning is quite the apologia-fest:
Last week The Beat broke the news that IDW’s Editor-in-Chief (and for a time Chief Creative Officer) Chris Ryall was leaving that position. While it came as something of a bombshell to the industry, there was no dark story behind it, just a person leaving a position after 14 years to do other things. [...]
Oh, so nothing dark about the grave mistake of hiring a politically-motivated writer for GI Joe who made horrific comments about 9-11-2001 on his Twitter feed, attacked anybody who disliked the artwork as homophobic, practically attacked all opposition, right-wing or otherwise for getting him fired in the end, and never apologized for the PR fiasco he wound up causing? Stupefying. But it's just like The Beat to water down the whole mess and not admit lines were crossed in how to promote a book. The interview continues with:
THE BEAT: Let’s get right to it. You decided to leave. Why?

RYALL: It’s funny. After 14 years, when you have any job for as long as I’ve had that one–and I never had any job for anywhere near that amount of time – you know, you kick around other options here or there. You think, Is this the thing I want to keep doing or are there other things I would like to do? Well, I’ve got time to do that. I don’t know if it’s fear or inertia or just a general comfort with the job and the people and the circumstances that keep you in a place. It just reached a point where I thought, well, you know there’s not an infinite amount of time to do things and I’ve done this for as long as I have.

It just feels like it’s time to explore other things and move on from there. I’d taken the position about as far as I possibly could and I accomplished a great many things, probably more than I ever thought I would be able to, that were on my dream list of things to do. And so I thought, OK, let’s go find that new dream. Let’s go see what else what else there is to do in the world of comics or out of the world of comics.
Honestly, I'm not sure what other options he's got right now after the comments he made about Transformers fans. In the beginning, he obviously did make successful choices in publishing. But that all went downhill over a year ago, as they started associating with SJW types shortly after Donald Trump was elected, and chose to emulate Marvel's worst recent steps. This is precisely what's wrong with some smaller publishers today - they seem to literally follow what example Marvel's setting no matter how bad, not content with their own approach to win over a crowd. If they can't tell when Marvel's making a mistake, they're not doing a good job, and neither was Ryall in the end.
THE BEAT: I would think a lot of people would think that you’re a pretty brave person because being the editor in chief of a major comics company is pretty much the dream job for a lot of people. So it’s a bold move. How long did it take you to come to this decision?

RYALL: I mean it had been a thing in my head, back and forth, for months, if not a couple of years. But you’re right. But any time you’re at a job. it’s a job. So there’s going to be things that aren’t necessarily exactly the way you want them done. But I was also always conscious of how it’s a stupid thing to complain about petty little things that get to me. But if you want to work in comics, it’s certainly one of the few top jobs available to people in the comic business. We tried to keep that in mind too. I don’t take it for granted and also don’t walk away from something that would be really hard to attain. I started with my first official job in comics as the editor in chief of a major comic publisher and the publisher only got bigger and grew more from that. That’s how I broke in!
And within just a year, they lost all their gain, as they went around the bend and tried pandering to social justice mentality, reducing their profits by 91 percent. Furthermore, if he thinks it's stupid to complain about petty matters, then why did he want to anger paying customers for the Transformers? If he thinks nobody's allowed to object to terrible ideologies, then he's not fit for the job. I may have once thought he was at least halfway decent a fellow, but his comment reveals a very dark side of his personality telling that he certainly lost his moral compass just recently, and that doesn't reflect well on his career at IDW as a whole. He's practically got the personality of a Decepticon. The interview also has an eyebrow-raising revelation about interviewer Heidi MacDonald, and where Ryall previously worked:
THE BEAT: Well, let’s step back 14 years, because if I recall correctly, when you got the job you were working for Movie Poop Shoot [a one time pop culture news site run by Kevin Smith].

RYALL: Yes. That was a side job, though, I had done a lot of other things. At that point I was an advertising copywriter. I’ve been a corporate speechwriter. I’d worked for Dick Clark. But it was that website job through Kevin Smith that really opened the doors to transition to comics. It’s kind of funny that it was the side job that paid a fraction of my real job that was the thing that really led me to the greatest step in my career.

THE BEAT: Right. I think we probably crossed paths a little bit back then.

RYALL: Is it true that you were you were up for the EIC job?

THE BEAT: Ted wanted me to interview for it, but I was just back into the journalism game and I just didn’t want to move back to the West Coast. I knew that deep down, and that as awesome an opportunity as it would have been, I knew for me it wasn’t right. But I can really sympathize with your decision. Sometimes even though it might be the greatest thing on earth, there might be some circumstances or something personal where it’s not the right thing or it’s time to move on or something like that.

RYALL: It’s funny because at the time I got offered the job I think I’d also been offered a job running Kevin Smith’s comic shop in Westwood in California. It was literally in the same week. So I had to decide do I go be a comic publisher or do I go be a comics retailer. They both had their merits. But as a kid I’d always want to be on the publishing side of things and so it was it was too hard to pass up.
So Ryall once worked for the overrated filmmaker Smith, did he? Well I'm aware Smith is as much a leftist as he, and maybe even more (and let's remember the embarrassment he caused with the Black Cat miniseries in the early 2000s), so I guess this explains Ryall's thinking. And MacDonald was almost offered the job of EIC taken in the end by Ryall? It might've kept her out of the dishonest journalism she sank into since, but ultimately, I'm sure she would've been a bad choice and there's every chance she'd take to leftist pandering as Ryall did, and be a victimologist if anybody disagreed with whatever poor steps she'd take. The comics store Smith once owned has since closed, and maybe for the best, though if Ryall had chosen that career, at least we wouldn't have dreadful headcases like him littering up comicdom, as he did in the end. He also noted:
...when I started IDW was a horror publisher that dabbled in licensed things like CSI, and now it’s gone to my being instrumental in bringing in Transformers, which changes the entire scope and face of the company. So that certainly was a huge badge of honor. I’m sure I’m forgetting things after 14 years but getting John Byrne to work on so many different properties over the last decade. Certainly Locke and Key, which to me is probably the premier creator owned book that I’ve ever produced.
Imagine that. A company that once produced horror stories went on to produce more horror stories of a different kind! Namely, the Sitterson catastrophe, along with the Jem & the Holograms monstrosity. 2017 was certainly a most embarrassing year and it's cost them big. He also brought up ROM, which they licensed as well for new adaptations:
God, I don’t know. There’s so many. I mean certainly bringing Rom back was always a goal even when we first started with Transformers and Hasbro in 2005. My second question was “What about Rom?” It was a love of mine that had been out of comics for 30 years. To be able to bring that back is just a huge feat for me, just as the kid who grew up loving this stuff.
I've learned some SJW elements may have turned up in his rendition, so I can't see why he considers ROM a childhood favorite if he's going to cram propaganda down the readers' throats.

Next comes where MacDonald at least admits the controversy ignited by Sitterson existed, but sugarcoats it nevertheless:
THE BEAT: OK, I do have to bring up one of the low points however. A recent controversy that touches on a lot of how comics and social media interact is the Aubrey Sitterson situation.

RYALL: The story has gotten spun in such a way that makes us look like the bad guy and it kills me that that’s the case. Because that all came about because somebody said things that companies (that I don’t own) took exception to. But I and a of couple others really staked our jobs on not making a rash decision on having that person removed and keeping the book going and even rewarded that person with a new series. Ultimately that new series didn’t sell. I’m sure there’s all kinds of ideas of why it didn’t sell but the fact is it didn’t sell right from the start and so it had to go away. But somehow rewarding somebody with a new book and not giving in to these idiots who were trying to put pressure on things, got spun to being that we didn’t support this person. That I think is the thing that hurts, because we did. We supported him, kept his job, gave him a new book and it killed me that it didn’t work.

Also at times I was going to go out there and try to defend it, trying to say no, no you’re wrong. And keeping the conversation going and giving a forum for people to say more terrible things just felt like a losing battle. My entire time at IDW I’ve always approached things as the air is much fresher on the high road.
A confession he backed Sitterson's twisted political vision all along, and indeed, when the scandal first erupted, the staff's initial reaction was to defend him, before most fans and fansites must've surely contacted Hasbro about this, and since the toy company holds the license, IDW had to take responsibility and finally let him go. Sales receipts for the abortive Scarlett's Strike Force bore this out. I think the same has since happened with Wizards of the Coast, today a subsidiary of Hasbro's, after the scandal they caused with Magic the Gathering (which IDW wrote up a few comics based on 4-5 years ago, along with their Dungeons & Dragons adaptations). I even found this thread recorded from 4Chan where an anonymous source says Ryall violated a deal made with Hasbro not to promote the Scarlett's Strike Force title they originally didn't want published, by arranging with Bleeding Cool to give Sitterson a promotional interview. It'll surely have to be taken with a grain of salt, but some of the allegations do sound eerily possible.

So while IDW may have initially had some gems to offer in the past decade, they sure turned the gold into straw since Trump came into office. If Ryall was fired by IDW management for his alarming miscalculations, I can only conclude at this point he deserves it.

It remains to be seen where IDW will stand by the end of the year, if they're even still around at all. Ryall obviously caused them serious damage, and they may be set to lose the Hasbro license, which could lead to more dominoes falling with other licensees, and even creator-owned book writers may pull out. I'm sure if they go under, none of Ryall's apologists will blame him for the shambles the company has now. But, he is the main one guilty, and he'll have to come to terms with that, if he's willing to. All the same, he won't be missed.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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