IDW’s David Hedgecock – Interview

GameStop, Inc.

by Whitney Grace
Staff Writer

 

David HedgecockDave Hedgecock and I are old acquaint ices and when I heard about his promotion to IDW’s managing editor it was exciting news for both of us. Before he gets bogged down with his new duties, I caught up with him and asked him questions about how he got to where he is today.

Whitney Grace (WG): Why do like comic books so much?  Can you pin point an instance when you felt drawn to the medium?

Dave Hedgecock (DH): The ‘why’ is hard. Just do. Always have. Readability, collectability, interesting and unique artistic voice, all of it appeals to me on a visceral level.

I always remember having comics around me. Richie Rich, Hot Stuff, Archie and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have those things to look at and ‘read’ even before I actually could read.

But, the moment where comics became an addiction for me is easy to recall- “Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #4: His Name Is… Mudd!” by Scott Shaw! and Roy Thomas. That was the book that made me want to find out more about comics, the book that taught me the little numbers in the corner meant something, that the books were periodicals and came out monthly, that there were specific creators writing and drawing and that some were better than others. That was the book that did it for me.

I have had a chance to meet Scott Shaw! as an adult and even worked with him a little bit and he lived up to every bit of what my childhood fantasies of him made him to be. Great man who I continue to admire and respect.

 

WG: How did you break into the industry?

DH: I wouldn’t say I broke in. More like I grew on the industry like a fungus.

Odd freelance illustration jobs here and there, some interior work for a couple companies, most notably SLG Publishing… then I went full time building Ape Entertainment.

 

WG: You worked at Slave Labor Graphics when they were publishing and creating Disney comics.  How did the deal happen?  Why did it end?

DH: I just worked as a freelancer for SLG Publishing so I don’t really know the details. Sorry. I am eternally grateful to Dan Vado for giving me a chance to work and consider him another one of the ‘great’ men in this industry.

 

WG: When developing the Disney properties did you have to adhere to specific Mouse House standards or were you given free reign?

DH: I worked primarily on the Disney Gargoyles comic book and we were mostly left to our own devices.

 

WG: Any particular project at Slave Labor you enjoyed the most?

DH: I was thrilled to be part of the Gargoyles team which included original Gargoyles creators and designers Greg Weisman and Greg Guler. It was a huge opportunity for me and I learned a ton from both of those gentlemen.

 

WG: When you transitioned to Ape Entertainment you continued to work with big names in entertainment such as DreamWorks and Sesame Street.  What about your prior experience helped you develop titles for these companies?

DH: Ape Entertainment was in existence for a few years prior to us working up to developing bigger licensed properties. We cut our teeth doing small, creator owned projects and moved our way up to licensed properties like Teddy Scares and then on to DreamWorks Animation and the like.

Along the way, I learned through trial and error and not being afraid to ask stupid questions (a lot of stupid questions… to this day).

 

WG: Ape Entertainment also developed many popular apps.  Were you involved in any app projects?

DH: I was responsible for finding and developing all the different comic book properties for digital media. Pocket God was our best seller and, last time I checked, had sold over 2 million digital units.

 

WG: Ape Entertainment published a lot of independent titles.  What was your responsibility in deciding what got published and what did not?  As an editor how did you help artists and writers make their works better?

DH: At Ape Entertainment, I was CEO of the company so my responsibilities ran the entire length and breadth of the comic industry. From writing legal documents and working up P&L’s to lettering and handling pre-press on a comic and every single step in-between. When I did have editorial duties, I worked to make sure the creators had a clarity of vision that was conveyed in a manner that allowed readers and fans to understand that vision and be excited and energize by it. The important part of editing for me is, remembering when to get out of the way.

 

WG: What are the major differences in working with an established property and creating a brand new one?

DH: Established brands already have rules which narrow the types of stories one can tell. New properties are wide open spaces with room to roam.

They both have their challenges and appeals. Sometimes it’s fun to play in someone else’s sandbox, using their toys and following their rules and sometimes it’s fun to just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. Mondrian v. Pollock. Both can be fun when approached with the proper mindset.

 

WG: Did moving from small publishing companies to a big name such as IDW give you any culture shock?

DH: I am impressed at the speed with which IDW Publishing moves. There are some very hard working, smart people here that move at a pace that I think most companies would find alarming.

With that being said, I’m right at home in this sort of environment. I’m not happy unless I have about 100 different things to work on with all of it due yesterday. I love every aspect of this industry and, at this point in my career, there are very few things that I look at and think to myself, “I have no idea how to do that.” and when I do have that happen, it’s thrilling! It’s one of the reasons I came to IDW, that constant need to challenge myself and learn and do more.

 

WG: As a managing editor at IDW, what will your main responsibilities be?  

DH: Egads. Let me know when you find out, would you!? I’m here six weeks and no one will tell me!

In all seriousness, I am actively engaged in I.P. development, new talent development, and building and coordinating the transmedia narrative for our brands for internal and external exploitation.

In addition, I do my best to support and assist the amazing editorial staff here in producing the massive amount of books the company lovingly puts out on a monthly basis.

Oh, and I also get to edit some GREAT books myself, too!

 

WG: Are you currently attached or developing any projects for IDW? If so, please share what you can.

DH:Check back with me in a couple of weeks. I’ve been handed a number of plum assignments with some amazing talent attached and I am literally chomping at the neck, er, bit to talk about them.

 

WG: I like to think of IDW as a free for all copyrighted play land.  Let me explain my metaphor, they bring in independent titles saving them on publishing costs while maintaining their autonomy and at the same time they are publishing the ultimate compendiums from well known publishers.  How is IDW able to do this?

DH: IDW Publishing has, hands down, the finest production values within the industry. Everyone recognizes it, from major publishers down to singular creators. When you look at the care and quality of the items this company produces, who wouldn’t want to be involved? To IDW Publishing’s great credit, they welcome all comers and do an amazing job of making everything, from biggest project to smallest, a top priority.

 

WG: As the next step in your comic career, what are you excited to accomplish at IDW?

DH: IDW Publishing is perfectly poised to take advantage of its unique place within the Entertainment Industry and raise the level of discourse on the narrative of story-telling in a marked and significant way. My hope is that I am able to assist in nurturing and guiding the vision that is now being laid out and help build a foundation for ways of working and creating that lead to more fulfilling and immersive experiences for customers and fans.

 

WG: Anything you wish to declare?

DH: I like Almond Joy candy bars. I am not above a bribe. I love my wife and son.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Dave Hedgecock is one his way to developing new projects for our reading pleasure with the same devotion of a comic fan collecting all the back issues. I wish him the best of luck and hope he shares insider secrets with me in the future.

Anytime Costumes

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