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Hasbro's former G.I. Joe and Transformers publishing boss launches his own creative development company

Popverse has said Michael Kelly is the hottest free agent in the comics business - and now he's going into business for himself

Extensive Enterprises
Image credit: Extensive Enterprises

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It's a story as old as comics themselves. A hot free agent who could be wanted by a variety of companies decided to instead go out on his own with a desire to shape their own future. That's what is happening today, but it's not creator-owned comics per se - it's starting your own business.

Michael Kelly
Image credit: Extensive Enterprises

Hasbro's longtime VP of global publishing Michael Kelly is betting on himself and launching his own creative development company. Titled Extensive Enterprises, Kelly's new company aims to be a creative mind for the biggest companies in the world (or those that want to be), offering "development and incubation of intellectual property" for comic publishers, book publishers, and any kind of general brand development.

“Developing a strong IP and executing the right brand strategy is vital to breaking through the noise in today’s marketplace, and storytelling is a particularly important component in any brand strategy,” Kelly says in the announcement of this new venture. “I have an extensive and verifiable track record of success in this space, and am looking forward to helping companies, creators, and publishers achieve their goals.”

Kelly's Extensive Enterprises already has deals in place with the comic strip giant King Features, the toy brand licensor Punkies Playhouse, and the upcoming Paramount animated feature Pierre the Pigeon Hawk, among others.

Earlier this year we pegged Kelly as the hottest free agent in the comics businss space after he was part of massive layoffs within Hasbro in late 2023, despite being one of the key players in the recent Transformers and G.I. Joe reboot with Skybound/Image Comics, the successful Jem & The Holograms comic reboot, as well as the Hasbro licenses long-running relationship with IDW Publishing (amongst others).

“As passionate as he is knowledgeable, Michael is an essential driving force to any project he takes on," The Walking Dead creator (and Skybound co-founder) Robert Kirkman says of Kelly. "As we developed the Energon Universe with the Hasbro properties Transformers and G.I. Joe, I was always impressed with his ability to quickly pivot and effortlessly enhance any off the wall idea we threw at him. He’s someone unafraid of innovation and always willing to take chances. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also one heck of a nice guy.”

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