Dirk Wood is living the dream. The former marketing director for Milwaukie-based Dark Horse Comics started collecting comic books as a child, then turned to playing guitar and drums in a band in high school and college. Now, his job combines both comics and music.
Wood is the founder of Woodworks, a new imprint of IDW, a San Diego-based media company that started out as an award-winning publisher of comic books and has now branched out into games and the entertainment industry.
"Dark Horse deserves a lot of the credit" for the burgeoning comics industry, Wood said, noting that he worked for Mike Richardson, founder of Dark Horse, for 15 years, 10 of those as director of marketing.
Wood's workspace is in the former Pine Street Theater in Portland, which resembles a music studio more than an office with its concert-poster covered walls and resident drum kit.
"It's a personal thrill to sit in this building and think about the Replacements concert, which I attended" years ago, he said.
Wood also is pleased to be working in the Portland area. When he worked for IDW from 2010 to 2016, he saw his family in Portland only on weekends, flying back and forth to San Diego.
Dark Horse, IDW
Wood's job as the head of Woodworks is to publish a 200-page, hard-cover magazine called Full Bleed, "formatted like a book, but with magazine content," he said.
The goal is to "market comics to people who read and to extol the literary quality of comics; to turn on the people who read comics and encourage them to go beyond."
It made sense to set up Woodworks in Portland, Wood said, because the local comics scene is huge and also because of the "creative nature of the community."
A 1988 Lake Oswego High School graduate, Wood began working for IDW in 2010, and became the vice president of marketing in 2011. Although he is now based in Portland, Wood also is a consultant for IDW and still travels to all the trade shows and events.
The name Full Bleed is a printing term indicating that color covers the entire page with no borders.
"It's a great phrase that sounds kind of dark and intense," Wood said.
IDW has published three editions of Full Bleed so far, with the fourth set to come out this summer.
"The goal is to sell enough books to stay in business," he said.
Once he settled in, Wood began acquiring stories and art. He was looking for writers, artists and colorists to provide illustrations, comics, fiction, nonfiction and longer, in-depth pieces that are of interest.
"I want to mash all those disparate elements together to match my personal vision," Wood said.
He quickly discovered this was going to be no easy task.
"I've been in the business 25 years, and I had to teach myself every aspect of doing this magazine," he said.
This included "working with designers, creating contracts from scratch and editing every single phase," Wood said.
"It was a real learning curve, but it was also the most fun."
Wood further noted that it is "gratifying to publish at a least a few people who have never been published before."
IDW: IDW Publishing's comic book and graphic novel catalog includes "Transformers," "My Little Pony," "Star Trek," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Ghostbusters," and Disney's classic characters. Visit idwpublishing.com to learn more about IDW.
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