Put yourself into the wayback machine and make your way to 2012. In that year, Mark Waid and John Rogers launched Thrillbent, a digital comics webportal and an experiment in new-media comic-book publishing. Their mission statement: “To challenge 75 years’ worth of accepted ‘rules’ about what comics are and aren’t.” The commitment to this challenge continues as Thrillbent and IDW Publishing partner to bring these unique digital comics to print starting spring 2015. Over the past two years, Thrillbent has worked with more than 60 creators to publish nearly 20 ongoing digital-only series (and counting) that span all genres, from horror to humor to high adventure. The first series slated for print release under this partnership will be Empire Volume Two and Insufferable, both written by Waid.
“I love print comics,” said Waid, whose own personal collection is legendary. “While we have always proudly been digital-first, print was always in Thrillbent’s business plan–but for a start-up company like ours, it was cost-prohibitive. Once we proved our commitment to ongoing content–Thrillbent currently hosts literally hundreds of new comics, with more added every week–we were courted by several print publishers looking to partner. IDW was the clear choice–its track record for innovation is unbeatable and undeniable.”
Empire Volume Two is a sequel to the series co-created by Waid and artist Barry Kitson from 2000, which Waid describes as “the single most-asked about project in my career–‘When’s Empire coming back?’ is the one question I know I’ll hear at every convention or store signing”. Waid and Kitson have joined forces once again in 2014 to deliver new installments that continue the saga of Golgoth, a remorseless villain whose plans for world domination have won him the planet Earth… and made him the target of every inhabitant. As a kickoff to the larger Thrillbent partnership, IDW will produce an all-new edition of the long-sold-out Empire Volume One and launch it just ahead of Empire v2. Both books will debut next spring.
Also by Waid, with co-creator Peter Krause, Insufferable is a series that explores what happens when a crime fighter’s sidekick grows up to be less a hero constantly at war with his mentor–and what it would take to draw the two back together again for one last adventure. Krause, also Waid’s partner in crime on the 2007 series Irredemable, provides the artwork on this unique look at the superhero genre.
“In addition to being one of the best comic-book writers in modern times, Mark Waid has also proven himself with Thrillbent to be one of the smarter forward-thinkers in comics,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief. “We’re very happy to be partnered with Mark, John Rogers and all the other great Thrillbent creators to help bring their work to comic fans in this way.”
Full press release below.