Licensed Properties Continue to Exodus the Comics Publisher

There are few constants in the world of comic books – retcons and IDW Publishing (and/or its parent companies) losing money. Okay, so maybe that second one is a bit of an exaggeration but at the same time maybe it really isn’t?

A new report from Rich Johnston over at reveals that hot off the press from San Diego Comic Con Special Edition (held this past weekend) that the hot conversation off the convention floor from industry professionals is that IDW Publishing will be losing the Transformers and G.I. Joe comic book licenses in 2022.

The Transformers comic book license started with Marvel Comics in 1984 and lasted through 1993 with both “The Transformers” and “The Transformers Generation 2”. When the Transformers blew up huge again in 2001, Dreamwave Publishing got the license and held it from 2002 to 2004, only losing the license after going bankrupt. IDW Publishing took over the license in 2005 and has published the comics ever since – a soon-to-be 17 year long run on the book.

G.I. Joe’s comic history is a little more murky – they were with Marvel Comics from 1982 to 1994, Darkhorse Comics from 1996 to 2000, Devil’s Due from 2001 to 2008, and finally IDW Publishing since 2008.

IDW Publishing, earlier this year, lost both the Star Wars and Marvel comic licenses they held (an all-ages license on Star Wars and an Action Kids license for Marvel). If Transformers does leave IDW Publishing, it would leave My Little Pony and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as their big named licensed titles. Recently, “The Last Ronin” (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) became the best-selling comic book in IDW Publishing history, selling 200,000 copies.

So What Does This Mean for Comics

For starters – there are some hot properties coming available in a time where comic books are rebounding from a pandemic-plagued loss in 2020. Hasbro’s relationship with BOOM! Studios – especially their successful Power Rangers comic book series – leads one to believe they have to be on the short-list for both Transformers and G.I.Joe. Having all properties under the same publisher would give Hasbro their ultimate dream of planning and creating their own shared-universe, which has sputtered every single time IDW Publishing made an attempt.

There is also an unlikely long-shot that Marvel Comics could go for it or DC Comics to block Marvel Comics, but the betting man has BOOM! Studios as the overall favorite and likely destination.

Time will tell.