The company was initially known for horror comics such as 30 Days of Night, Dark Days and numerous others. Some of the most well-known writers of horror comics, including Ashley Wood, Ben Templesmith and Steve Niles, have written for IDW. The company now also specialize in licensed properties, acquiring the rights to 24, Angel, CSI, Transformers, Star Trek, Dick Tracy, Doctor Who and G.I. Joe.
Idea + Design Works (IDW) was formed in 1999 by four entertainment executives and artists. They decided to create a company that would allow them to work with a variety of clients on the things they liked: video games, movies, tv, collectible card games, comic books, and trading cards.
The company's services include character design, concept design, logo design, computer color, custom comic books, custom trading cards, trading card games, DVD menu design, online and print style guides, text stories, and more.
The company has built a client base that includes: Activision, the BBC, Artisan Entertainment, Bandai America, Brady Games, Cartoon Network, Dimension Films, Electronic Arts, Fox Family, Golden Books, LEGO, Lion's Gate, The Man Show, Microsoft, Pepsi, Pioneer, Revolution Films, Square, Simon & Schuster, Trimark Pictures, Upper Deck, and many more.
IDW Publishing's second title, Popbot, was acknowledged with two Spectrum Gold Awards. The company's first comic series, 30 Days of Night, started a seven-figure bidding war between Dreamworks, MGM, and Senator International with Senator winning and Sam Raimi attached to produce.
IDW also publishes the comic based on the hit CBS TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation The company's other licensed comics include Sony's Underworld, FX's The Shield, Fox's 24 and Angel; Hasbro’s "The Transformers", Universal’s Land of the Dead and Shaun of the Dead; and Konami’s Silent Hill, Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid, and Speed Racer. Beginning in 2008, the company licensed the Doctor Who series from the BBC, launching two concurrent titles: Doctor Who Classics, which reprints colorized comic strips featuring the Fourth Doctor originally published in the late 1970s-early 1980s by Doctor Who Magazine, and Doctor Who, a series of original stories featuring the current Tenth Doctor and overseen by TV series writer Gary Russell. An additional six-part limited series titled Doctor Who: The Forgotten started in mid-2008 by Tony Lee and Pia Guerra.
IDW acquired the G.I. Joe comics license in May 2008 (previously held by Devil's Due Publishing) and will be releasing three new series under editor Andy Schmidt, from writers like Chuck Dixon, Larry Hama and Christos Gage. Other comics are scheduled in time to tie-in with the Summer 2009 G.I. Joe film.
Dimension Films has an option on two Steve Niles/IDW properties: Wake the Dead, with X-2 screenwriter Michael Dougherty attached to write, and Hyde, with Mike Fleiss (The Bachelor, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) attached to produce. IDW Publishing is also supposed to release a comic based on the Hollywood Zombies Topps Card Set at some point in the future.