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Monday, April 30, 2018 

John Barber is the new EIC for IDW

This is hopefully good news for IDW as a publisher:
Weeks after Chris Ryall stepped down from the position, Heat Vision has learned that John Barber has been named editor in chief of San Diego-based comic company IDW Publishing. His appointment coincides with the news that Anita Frazier has joined the publisher as senior vice president of sales and marketing. [...]

Barber, previously group editor of Hasbro properties at IDW, entered the comic book industry as a self-published creator in the late 1990s, before joining Marvel editorial in 2004, working on the Ultimate Comics imprint as well as Marvel’s X-Men line and the first Dark Tower comic books. He joined IDW as a writer for its Transformers line before becoming a senior editor at the company, a position he eventually left in favor of freelance writing, working on IDW’s Transformers vs. G.I. Joe and Back to the Future titles in addition to a number of titles for Marvel.

“To me, the title of editor in chief has a resonance — and a legacy — in comics,” Barber told Heat Vision. “It's something to live up to, a position I find pretty inspiring. So I don't know if I can really express my excitement at being back at IDW in this new role. As editor in chief, I'm in a position to help guide the company into a new era, working with our creators and our partners to make the best comics out there. IDW has some of the biggest and most fun properties in pop culture under our publishing umbrella, and I think some of the stuff we already have planned for the future will spin some heads. The comics world is constantly changing, and IDW's always changed with the times — keeping its core values and looking toward tomorrow. And being right in the thick of that is just where I want to be.”
If he recognizes the importance of story merit and why political pandering does no good, he'll make a fine choice. It's to be hoped he's aware of the disaster Marvel's made itself too for nearly 2 decades after Joe Quesada took over, and why their directions should be avoided if they want an audience to buy their books. And, lest I forget, it's to be hoped he recognizes what a disaster Ryall turned the company into in the past 2-3 years after he took a swerve into SJW territory, leading to embarrassment and getting fired as EIC for the publisher. His antics apparently cost them the Transformers license, and the comics may be officially coming to an end this September, something Barber may not be able to salvage at this point, but if he proves he's dedicated to entertainment, maybe there's a chance he'll win the license back, seeing as he was a Transformers writer in the past decade.

Who knows, maybe this is good news, and if so, IDW's fortunes could transform for the better.

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I'm not so optimistic, but then I read my share of his Transformers comics, so I'm biased.

I forgot which issue, might have been early into the current ongoing Optimus Prime title, but he did have one panel where he had Jazz protect a black youth from police. There have been other examples of his sneaking in his politics throughout the years, but that stood out to me. In fairness to Barber, the current American President in the IDW continuity is a black woman, but she's a borderline Jerkass villain. Fans nickname her 'President Bitch,' and that name's well-earned.

But then, eh, Till All Are One's first arc was basically the Transformers' version of Black Lives Matter. Barber did not write that any of that, Mairghread Scott did, but Barber did edit those issues, so.

Also, as this link reminded me:

"Bad news for this crowd: you know that Barber was editing MTMTE from the beginning, right? Like, gay robots became prominent under Barber's watch. If nothing else, this means that there's still going to be a focus on progressive storytelling aspects. That didn't leave with Ryall."


I won't say "meet the new boss, same as the old boss," but the signs are there, if it happens. I'll say that when Barber is on point with his writing, he can be very good. For that, I'll miss his Transformers writing in some ways, but I'd say good for him on his promotion. Hope he learned something from the Ryall/Sitterson fiasco.

Hmm, you're right, we'll have to be cautiously optimistic about Barber's appointment. Maybe this is why it's a good thing if Hasbro discontinued IDW's license for the Transformers. We'll have to watch closely what he does with the rest of their output from here.

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