Exclusive Interview: David Wohl Talks About Darby Pop The Newest Creator-Owned Imprint

Well we have a special treat for you today. I had a chance to correspond with David Wohl the Editor-in-Chief at Darby Pop about the publishers upcoming projects and how they found a home at IDW Publishing. We'll also be sprinkling in some covers for their upcoming titles: Indestructible, City and The 7th Sword. Tell us about Darby Pop, what’s its goal as a publisher?

I know this probably sounds corny, but our goal is really to tell the best story that we can with the most talented writers and artists that we can get our hands on. Unlike some others out there, we really don’t see ourselves limited by genre. It can be a humorous superhero story (like “Indestructible”) or a gritty, realistic, action-adventure with a sci-fi twist (like “City”). We have no boundaries when it comes to genre, as long as the stories are told well and they look good (and hopefully our fans will like them too!!!)

How did Darby Pop become an IDW imprint and what sets it apart from the previous creator-owned titles at IDW?

I’ve known Ted Adams for a long time, and have always been a big fan of IDW. Seeing where they came from, and how far they’ve grown in prominence in the industry, I have a great respect for them. So when we discussed potential publishing homes for Darby Pop, IDW was very high up on our short list. And luckily for us, they were amenable to the idea for a partnership and the opportunity for Darby Pop to be an imprint under IDW’s banner—and so far, I have to say, that things are going quite well!!!

Regarding what sets Darby Pop apart from previous creator-owned titles, I think it’s mainly that we see ourselves not just as an entity putting out our own ideas, but also partnering with like-minded creators under the Darby Pop banner who are seeking publishing homes for their series.

Having worked with a lot of publishers and editors over the years what experiences are you looking to bring to Darby Pop and what pitfalls are you looking to avoid?

Yeah, I guess I HAVE worked with a good number of publishers over the years in one way or another (between Marvel, Image/Top Cow, Radical—as well as Aspen and Dynamite as a writer), and in all that time I’ve had plenty of opportunities to see systems that worked well, and others that didn’t work quite so well. Starting at the very beginning with Darby Pop, I’m hoping that all of those experiences will allow us a unique chance to pick and choose the best aspects of all of those publishers, to build a new paradigm that will withstand the test of time in an industry where it’s often difficult for publishers to survive past the first few years. Another advantage we have is that our company’s founder, Jeff Kline, comes from the world of television and film, and although he brings a true love of comics with him to Darby Pop, he also brings a very different take on professionalism and an understanding of the work it takes to put out high-quality product month after month. I think that sometimes we believe that habits we’ve picked up over the years are the norm and just the way things need to be, but a guy like Jeff can come in and say that there are perhaps ways to improve the production processes of comics, to encourage better communication between all the Creatives, to create an experience that’s better for everyone—especially the fans who look forward to seeing their favorite titles on the shelves month after month, without the delays that seem prevalent in the business.

Being the story editor on Indestructible, what can you tells us about the series?

“Indestructible” is our first title, and is written by Jeff Kline, with interior art by Javi Garron and Salvi Garcia, colors by Alejandro Sanchez, and covers by Jose Lopez and Bernard Chang. It is a very unique superhero story, as it’s one of the few tales in that genre that’s told from the point of view of a guy (Greg Pincus) who, depending on how you look at it, is either at the wrong place at the wrong time or the right place at the right time. He’s at a video store during a robbery and gets shot at point-blank range, but due to a well-placed flask in his jacket pocket, he survives the attack. From that moment on everyone in the world except himself and his opportunistic friend Barry think he’s, well, INDESTRUCTIBLE. That’s everyone, from the media, to the police, to other superhero teams, to supervillains, and, worst of all, his MOTHER. The story tells Greg’s experience with this newfound fame and glory, living with the guilt of knowing that it’s all a lie, and it shows, in a very humorous way, what life could be like for a very normal person living in a very abnormal world.

Obviously in the world of comics the superhero genre is dense, what’s going to make Indestructible stand out?

Yes! I do agree with you that there is definitely a plethora of superhero comics out there (I believe I used that word correctly, by the way!!!), but I really do think that “Indestructible” shows a world that seems familiar, but is offered from a VERY unique perspective that I think the reader will really appreciate. I truly hope that fans will give it a chance because I ASSURE you that you will not be disappointed. This is unlike any superhero book you’ve ever seen.

Can you tell us anything about the other two launch titles City or The 7th Sword?

“City” is a new title by Eric Garcia with interior art by Javier Fernandez, colors by Felix Serrano, and covers by Tommy Lee Edwards and Matthew Waite. It’s a gritty, realistic sci-fi series set in the not-too-distant-future about a software developer named Ben who helps create a program for the government that uses anything with a camera in it to constantly monitor everything in San Francisco--theoretically to help protect the city from criminal or terroristic threats. After an apparent terrorist attack causes Ben to lose his sight, he is hooked into the program so that he can see through the city’s eyes. This leads him to discover that nothing is as it seems and the world is a much more dangerous place than he initially thought. “City” launches in February.

“7th Sword” is a new series we’re releasing in April. It’s a cool blend of Samurai action and futuristic sci-fi created by writer John Raffo. The interior art is being done by Nelson Blake II, with colors by Dave McCaig, and it will have covers by Nelson and Andrew Robinson. This book is set on a far-off world where human colonists battle against bandit androids for control of the planet’s limited natural resources. Their only hope is to seek the help of a disgraced soldier who can train them in ancient ways of battle using legendary Malathane swords.

What does 2014 hold for Darby Pop?

Although our first book launches in December, 2013, it will really be 2014 when we begin to show the fans much of what we have to offer. Beyond the launches of “The 7th Sword” and “City,” we’re finalizing agreements on several more new titles, and have a very ambitious plan to launch a new title every other month throughout 2014, all the while keeping our series ongoing!!! So yes, 2014 will be a very busy year indeed (and don’t get me started on 2015!!!). -- Well there you have it, a ton of great information about Darby Pop straight from the EIC. We'll definitely be looking out for the first three series and any info on the titles that launch afterwards so check back here for more info or check out Darby Pop's website as well. We'd also like to extend a big thank you to David Wohl and look forward to speaking with him in the future!