The upstart, throwback publisher Bad Idea is digging deeper into its 'analog' mindset with B-Sides. Beginning with the publisher's first major book (March's ENIAC #1), each Bad Idea issue will include back-up stories intended to be even riskier in terms of genre, story, characters, and creators, than the main story.
"Yes, there is an analog component to what we're doing because comics is still analog business, by and large," Bad Idea co-CEO/CCO Dinesh Shamdasani tells Newsarama. "There's been a race to adopt the next digital method in every form of entertainment, but, in doing so, we feel like some good ideas have been left behind."
Bad Idea's publisher Hunter Gorinson would argue with us calling them 'back-up stories' however, as he describes them as "short-form, self-contained gut-punches designed to take full advantage of the comics medium."
When asked about why these stories wouldn't be published on their own, Shamdasani says it is about comic book tradition and a "fuller experience" for readers.
"Comics has a long tradition of short-form storytelling, whether it's Dr. Strange first appearing as a back-up in Strange Tales #110 or the venerated short stories of EC Comics," Shamdasani tells Newsarama. "It also allows us to give each Bad idea book a fuller experience - or, without teasing too much, make sure we pack few surprises into each issue."
The first Bad Idea B-Side will be the superhero short 'Save Now' (by Matt Kindt, Tomas Giorello, and Diego Rodriguez), and will be included in March 3's ENIAC #1 By Kindt and artist Doug Braithwaite. Here's a preview:
'Save Now' preview
We also have a preview of several future B-Sides. Here is a preview of 'Hank Howard, Pizza Detective' by writer Robert Venditti, artist David Lapham, and colorist Jose Villarrubia:
'Hank Howard, Pizza Detective' preview
Here is a preview of 'Monsters in My Life' by writer Peter Milligan and artist Sarah Burrini:
And lastly, a preview of 'The Provider' by writer Sean Ryan, artist Khari Eveans, and colorist Andrew Dalhouse:
'The Provider' preview
Bad Idea is also reprinting its previous secret release, The Hero Trade by Kindt and Lapham, as a B-SIde to ENIAC #3.
Both The Hero Trade and 'Save Now' are superhero stories - somewhat a surprise given Bad Idea's self-calibration as an atypical publisher. But according to co-CEO/CCO Warren Simons, they've never been about avoiding superheroes (or any genre).
"We don't think of stories in terms of superheroes or not - we gravitate towards ideas that we love, just as we did on The Hero Trade," Simons says. "And, much like The Hero Trade, the idea behind 'Save Now' got us excited - in fact, both were in contention for the first B-Side story, but we decided to give The Hero Trade its own platform. Save Now has become a corner of what we're doing at Bad Idea -- we hope to do more in that world, but more on that later."
Additional B-Sides are planned from Klaus Janson, Karl Bollers, Mae Catt, Melissa Flores, Alex Paknadel, Eliot Rahal, and more.
"We're keeping the line small, we're keeping the line focused, and we're going to use the extra time to make sure that everything we do is as strong as can be - B side or A-Side," Shamdasani says. "The B-Sides allow us to work with the full scope of our friends in the creative community, some of whom we've worked with in the past, some of whom are new. In the end, the goal is to pack the hardest punch possible with a different point of view in each issue and expand the firepower of the entire Bad Idea line."
Bad Idea is a new publisher started by several former Valiant Entertainment executives with a decidedly 'old school' comic publishing approach: no variant covers, no digital comics, no collected editions, and only sold in select comic book stores - currently set at 250 comic book stores around the world.
Check out our rundown of Bad Idea's 2021/2022 release calendar.