Like most comic book publishers, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent industry shutdown, IDW Publishing put several of their ongoing comics on hold, effectively furloughing the creators of those comics, who work as independent contractors. Those include some of the company's most high-profile comics, such as GI Joe: Real American Hero and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. At the same time, new documents reveal IDW parent company IDW Media Holdings received over $1 million in loans as part of the Paycheck Protection Program, a United States government program designed to provide relief by forgiving loans if companies use them to pay employees and don't furlough or lay off employees. Most comic book creators work as freelancers, independent contractors not considered employees, and so not entitled to the same protections under the law, making their continued engagement exempt from the forgiveness clause of the Paycheck Protection Program.
A financial filing from IDW Media Holdings reads:
On April 24, 2020, IDW Media Holdings, Inc. (the "Company") received loan proceeds of $1,195,679 (the "PPP Loan") from Bank of America, N.A. pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (the "PPP") under Division A, Title I of the CARES Act, which was enacted March 27, 2020.
The PPP Loan, which was in the form of a Note dated April 15, 2020 issued by the Company, matures on April 15 , 2022 and bears interest at a rate of 1% per annum, payable monthly commencing on November 24, 2020. The Note may be prepaid by the Company at any time prior to maturity with no prepayment penalties. Funds from the PPP Loan may only be used for payroll costs, costs used to continue group health care benefits, mortgage payments, rent, utilities, and interest on certain other debt obligations. The Company intends to use the entire PPP Loan amount for qualifying expenses. Under the terms of the PPP, certain amounts of the PPP Loan may be forgiven if they are used for qualifying expenses as described in the CARES Act.
In addition to the loan taken out by IDW Media Holdings, two additional IDWM subsidiaries, CTM Media Group and Ettractions Inc., also obtained Paycheck Protection Program loans in the amount of $1,710,971.50 and $68,270 respectively. Bleeding Cool has long reported on financial losses suffered by IDW, both from IDW Publishing and IDW Media Holdings. In the first quarter of the fiscal year 2020, which ended before the shutdown, IDW Media Holdings reported a loss of $6.7 million. Bleeding Cool was unable to reach IDW Publishing for comment before publication of this story.