Former Valiant Executive Editor Joe Illidge Explains Exit in Open Letter to the Industry

Illidge, who has also worked at DC, Archaia and Lion Forge, will concentrate on independent work moving forward.
Courtesy of Joe Illidge
Joe Illidge

Since his surprise departure from Valiant Entertainment earlier this week, the question of what Joe Illidge — formerly Valiant’s executive editor, and before that, a senior editor for Lion Forge Comics and veteran of DC Entertainment, Archaia and Milestone Media — would do next has been an open one. Until now.

The Hollywood Reporter can exclusively reveal that Illidge is moving into freelance editing, with the aim of only working on creator-owned properties moving forward. He is, as he put it, “ready to work with ambitious creators to editorially shepherd their dream projects, and forward-thinking parties looking to tap the full potential of their mythologies for growing audiences and expanding markets."

To this end, Illidge has written an open letter to the industry, announcing his intentions and ambitions for the future. The letter is reproduced in its entirety, below.

This is the most exciting time to be in comics!

An industry fueled by grit, imagination, and the need to tell stories has more publishers now than ever before, harnessing the voices of more kinds of creators than ever before, to produce a vast library of stories every week, every month, every year.

Periodicals. Collected volumes. Webcomics. Zines. Digital Comics.

There are no barriers between the consumer and the story that cannot be overcome, no insurmountable obstacle preventing the storyteller from getting their ideas into the world.

We are in the most creatively competitive market of the industry’s history, because of the diversity of good stories available.

Comic books are a nucleus for global entertainment and a magnet for companies looking to use the power of personal journeys and myth structure to leave an impression on the world.

At the center of all this possibility, realization of ideas, and life-changing artistic and business endeavors is the Creative Participant.

The people who dare to dream, who face the blank page, the blank screen, and courageously challenge the world with stories.

Stories are created by collaborative communities. Imagination villages. Those who are legion, who avenge, who believe in justice, and ultimately want a better world.

At Milestone Media, we planted a flag on the landscape of comics with the first, truly inclusive superhero universe.

At DC Comics, we brought a new level of variety, quality, and vitality to Gotham City and the world of Batman and his allies.

At Archaia, we fostered the vision of independent creators in ways that were prescient.

At Lion Forge, we created the catalyst for a contemporary vision of heroic drama.

At Valiant, we courageously opened the doors to emerging creators, in order to elevate characters to new heights.

I’ve been in the hero business for twenty-five years, and it’s clear that the best time for comics is ahead of us, so I’m looking forward.

Forward to working with creators to realize unique, crazy, and distinctive visions that run the gamut of genre, style, and format.

Forward to team-building with companies who embrace their power as the caretakers of great and wondrous mythologies.

Forward to using my collective experience and daring ideas to keep pushing the comic book industry in a positive direction.

Forward to being an ally to you, for the better days ahead.

Let’s make some great stories.