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.
IDW was founded in 1999 as Idea and Design Works, a collective created to develop intellectual property for comic books, TV and movies, card games, video games and other media. IDW Publishing was launched the following year and has since grown to become one of the five biggest comic book publishers in the North American marketplace. In addition to a number of original works, IDW publishes material based on Hasbro properties including Jem and the Holograms, My Little Pony, Transformers and G.I. Joe, as well as Paramount’s Star Trek and Disney’s Star Wars and animated movies.
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.”
Frazier’s past includes experience as director of marketing for DC Comics Licensed Properties, vice president of sales for Sony Pictures Consumer Products, vice president of sales for Vivendi Universal Games, and executive director of client development and new business development for the NPD Group. Since 2016, she has worked an an independent consultant to companies in entertainment, video games, and the toys, licensing and market research industries.
In a statement from the publisher, Frazier said she is “excited to return to my entertainment roots working with IDW and its array of amazing original and licensed IP.” She added, “This will be a very rewarding journey.”