Kickstarting Comics & Culture: Interviewing IDW’s Dirk Wood On Full Bleed Volume 3

by Oliver MacNamee

I think you’ve got to admire any publishing company still trying to keep the medium of print alive and robust, and IDW are one such company. Having already published two volumes of their oversized hardcover “magazine”, Full Bleed they’re at it again. Well, with a little bit of support from their readers. IDW have just launched a Kickstarter campaign for the third proposed curated volume of strips, essays, interviews and more.

This third issue will feature a long-lost interview with Grant Morrison, discussing his feud with writer Alan Moore, a conversation between music legends Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and Anthrax’s Scott Ian and an interview with with comic book legend Geof Darrow. That and more, which you can check out here.

I was able to interview curator of this title, and Creative Director at IDW:PDX, Dirk Wood about this upcoming publication, the inception of the book and what more to expect form volume three.

Olly MacNamee: Dirk, for those who don’t know about Full Bleed by IDW, what can they expect from this hardback coffee table magazine?

Dirk Wood: Mostly, they should expect surprises, Olly! We wanted to make the ultimate coffee table magazine, basically. One thing I think the age of the internet has done, is kind of screw up the art of curation. It’s just too easy these days to seek out and read exactly what you expect to. I’m as guilty of that as anyone. We wanted to bring you in with something, whether it’s an interview with Stephen King or Alan Moore…and the next thing you know you’re reading an essay about Cuba, or a comic about a young woman’s struggle with softball injuries. This next volume is no different. All along we’ve said we wanted “every page to bring a surprise.” And that’s true. But of course, not everything will appeal to absolutely everyone. It’s the kind of book we want people to read like a magazine…because it is! Pick it up, put it down, skip around. It might not all be your cup of tea. But we’re betting a lot of it might just sneak up on you.

OM: It’s kinda tough out there at the moment for print media, right? Is that a reason behind running a Kickstarter for this mammoth 200 page hardcover?

DW: Indeed it is a tough time, but I see a lot of positive trends out there at the moment, actually, more than I have the last couple of years. But this is no time to be shy! For those of us who love print media, well – I’m not sure any of us got into this business to get rich. We got in it because we love it. And we’re going to have to fight for it. Fortunately, there are plenty of us out there who do, I think. And from the beginning, we knew Kickstarter would be the way to get the word out about Full Bleed, and find those like-minded people. We need to subscribers if we’re going to make this format work. 200 ad-free pages is no easy thing to do. That said, we broke new ground with how we did these Kickstarters in terms of how they’re fulfilled at comic shops, and have involved the direct market in a big way. And that’s been a big success, we sold more copies of Volume 2 into comic shops than we did of Volume 1! That just never happens.

OM: Now, reading what’s in it, this seems like a comic book fan’s wet dream. Grant Morrison discussing his feud with Alan Moore, a conversation between music legends Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and Anthrax’s Scott Ian; an interview with with comic book legend Geoff Darrow… I could go on. This is a rather amazing outline right there. And, perhaps one aimed at readers other than comic book fans? Something more akin to Rolling Stone mashed up with The Comics Journal?

DW: Well, you nailed it! That’s exactly right. I think people who read, are people who read. I read a lot of comics, but I read a lot of fiction, too. And plenty of non-fiction. I like “oral histories.” I like long interviews. I think there’s a place for all of it, and frankly, it’s too easy to get in “a rut” reading-wise, I think. At least, it is for me. If a Metallica or Anthrax fan picks up Full Bleed specifically for the interview, but find themselves reading through the adjacent comics, well they might just walk into a comic shop. Or maybe a comic fan will end up telling all his friends who like Metallica to check it out. Or maybe they’ll go buy a Joe Lansdale novel after reading his great short story…All of these things are good.

OM: What else is on offer in this third volume?

DW: Oh man, how much time do you have? Fantastic essays from Tini Howard, Vivek J. Tiwary, Jon Raymond, Abdulkareem Baba Aminu, Jarrett Melendez….A great short story from the aforementioned Mr. Lansdale…All of the great stuff you mentioned of course…new comics from Erin Nations, Julia Alekseyeva, Adam Knave & Andrew Losq, Roger Langridge…and plenty more. You can jam a lot of action into 200 pages.

OM: Stepping back a bit; how did Full Bleed come about in the first place? And what’s been the reaction?

DW: First of all, the reaction has been great! We sold out of volume 1, and volume 2 is well on its way. And all of the comments I’ve heard have been positive, other than “There’s too much good stuff in here!” but I’ll take that. In terms of how it started, I’ve told this story, but actually, it all came out of discussions between Ted Adams and myself. Without getting too deep into it here, we were both…depressed about the state of the world after the election in 2016. We started talking about what we could do, where do we go from here? And Ted quite sincerely said, “Well, we can do two things: We can love our families, and we can make great books.” And that led directly into the creation of Full Bleed. It just kind of turned out that this was the sort of thing we’d both always wanted to do.

OM: And your own involvement?

DW: Well, Ted and I built it from the ground up! It took a while to get going — No one else is doing this. At least, I’m not aware of anyone else doing a 200-page hardcover, quarterly, print-only, comics & culture magazine. Let me know if there is! But the first few months we just had to get our heads around how we’re going to do this thing. Ted said the other day after looking at the majority of the content, he thinks the 3rd volume is going to be the best so far. I’m inclined to agree, selfishly.

OM: Finally then, Dirk, what are some go the rewards one can expect if they back this hardback book? What makes this something special to back?

DW: Oh man, you’ll just have to check them all out! The amazing Geof Darrow has agreed to provide original art, which is super exciting. There are autographed prints, enamel pins, slipcases and all sorts of extra goodies. And I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, but although we’ve got some bells and whistles, to us, the book is really the star of this thing.

OM: Thanks for your time, Dirk. Maybe see you at Portsmouth Comic Con again next year?

DW: Sounds like I will be there, Olly! Thanks for having me, and pints on me in Portsmouth.

If you haven’t already made with the clicker-click to link onto the Full Bleed Vol. 3 Kickstarter here’s your chance again.

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