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IDW Publishing former EiC Jamie S. Rich speaks for the first time on his exit, and the "know-nothings" who twisted the story

It's a big story that IDW's top editor is leaving, but then a segment of the internet made it even weirder

IDW logo and Jamie S. Rich
Image credit: IDW Publishing/Jamie S. Rich

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The editor-in-chief is a big deal for a publishing company, big or small, so when one leaves, it's significant - for the reason(s) for their departure, for whomever is to take over the role following them, and also for where that editor-in-chief goes next.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
Image credit: Rafael Albuquerque (IDW Publishing)

Earlier this month, news came out that IDW Publishing's editor-in-chief Jamie S. Rich - who took the role just 13 months prior - has left the company. First reported by Bleeding Cool writer Rich Johnston, this departure came following the departure of two other senior editors at the company.

Since the news of Rich's departure went public, speculation has been rampant - for journalists, for comics pros, for pundits, and for fans - about what's happening at the company. This has led to significant speculation about what this means for IDW has its 13 months removed from a self-described "reset" which resulted in 39% layoff of its employees. So to cut through the speculation and hyperbole, we went to the source. We asked now-former IDW Pubishing editor-in-chief Jamie S. Rich what was going on.

As it turns out, he too has been reading the idle speculation which some has misattributed as news, and wants to correct the record.

"It’s disheartening to see the know-nothings of the internet twist my hard work and how that is paying off for a new and exciting opportunity for me into something nefarious and negative," Rich tells Popverse. "IDW is currently on a creative upswing. I had the pleasure of working with a lot of talented, professional people at the company who cared a lot about the comics we were making, all of which has been awarded with excellent sales and critical acclaim."

Rich is referring to the landmark sales of the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles relaunch, which is on target to exceed its previous high water mark for sales - TMNT: Last Ronin. As for critical acclaim, IDW earned nine nominations in this year's Eisner Awards.

Star Trek: Lower Decks
Image credit: Paramount+

However, following the initial reports of Rich's departure from IDW Publishing, some individuals online speculated that the editor-in-chief's decision to leave was over internal issues at the company. IDW's licensing group editor Heather Antos, a frequent target of alt-right trolls going back to her time as a Star Wars editor for Marvel in 2017, became a subject of this rampant speculation couched as news in a way that would make the TMNT villain Krang jealous.

Rich refuted that notion directly, saying that Antos was "at the core" of the company's recent sales successes and award nominations. Antos' work on IDW's Star Trek titles earned two Eisner nominations in 2023, with IDW's licensing group (which Heather leads) up for three in this year's awards.

"[Heather] was one of the leaders I heavily relied on in editorial," Rich says. "To say otherwise, to discount the level of skill and vision evident in her comics, makes me wonder if you like good comic books at all."

As for what's next, Popverse can confirm that IDW publisher Mark Doyle will be taking on the editor-in-chief duties temporarily, but not the job title, ahead of an upcoming announcement about IDW's editorial leadership.

Look for news of Rich's new job here at Popverse in the coming weeks - there's several high-profile comics industry positions positions open at the moment, with DC's Batman group editor position (which Rich has done in the past) being just one of them.

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Chris Arrant avatar
Chris Arrant: Chris Arrant is the Popverse's Editor-in-Chief. He has written about pop culture for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel, Newsarama, CBR, and more. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. (He/him)
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