Shelly Bond spearheads ‘Black Crown’ imprint at IDW

Former Vertigo editor Shelly Bond has joined IDW Publishing and will head up a new line of connected, creator-owned comics called “Black Crown.”

“I’ve long admired from afar Shelly’s track record and have been a huge fan of the direction, vision, and creative teams she’s assembled on her books over the years,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer, in a press release. “I’m ecstatic about the idea of getting to work directly with her in building Black Crown into ‘the Ruling Class’ of creator-owned comics.”

A comics veteran, Bond started at Vertigo one month after the imprint was formed, working on such landmark comics as Sandman, Fables, The Invisibles, iZombie and the Young Animal line. She was promoted to Executive Editor in 2013, but she was let go in a company “restructuring” almost a year ago. Since then, she has launched a Kickstarter for Femme Magnifique, an anthology featuring 30 stories about female trailblazers, including Sally Ride, Jane Fonda, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kate Bush and Harriet Tubman, among others, by the likes of Chynna Clugston-Flores, Paige Braddock, Gail Simone, Alisa Kwitney, Ming Doyle, Jim Rugg, Gerard Way, Sanford Greene and more.

According to the press release from IDW, the title “Black Crown” refers not only to the creator-owned imprint, but also a pub that anchors a mysterious street that connects each creator-owned title. “Top creators will tell stories of a singular vision and point of view but will also have the opportunity to intersect with the tapestry of this unprecedented shared environment by way of owning storefront real estate that correlates to their particular creations,” which sounds pretty cool.

Bond spoke with Heidi MacDonald at The Beat about the new line and about the current state of the comics industry:

It’s electric. The state of the industry is electric right now. There are so many ways for people to show their art now unlike when we were starting out in comics – and I won’t say how long ago that was! When people had to pound the pavement and go to shows and try to show their work to editor. It was hard to even get to the table in those days. What I’m seeing today, it’s so easy to make your art accessible. I used to say to people when I’d talk at SVA or conventions people ask “How do I get into comics?” and I’d say get your work published. Get in print. Sometimes people would huff and puff but it’s true. Create a mini comic. I discovered Becky Cloonan’s work back in the day at Hanley’s Universe when she had mini comics and I just picked them up, followed her work and gave her her first Vertigo work with American Virgin. That’s all we had back then was conventions and Xeroxes. But now it’s incredible! Social media has been a big help. Young cartoonists are getting better at managing their work too. It’s all about identity, presenting yourself.

I think as editors, we’re selective, and know not everything that looks good on the screen would make a good comic. What’s exiting for me is to see the potential to look at a new talent, whether writer or artist. and introduce them to a seasoned pro. I still think that’s one of the greatest joys about being a comic book editor, uniting two talents that would never in a million years meet and bring them together to create an unbelievable story on the page.

Watch for more about the imprint and the comics that fall under it this July during the San Diego Comic-Con. The imprint will launch in October. The news follow a similar announcement that Karen Berger, another former Vertigo Executive Editor, has teamed with Dark Horse for her own line of comics called Berger Books.

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