IDW Publishing Chief Creative Officer Chris Ryall, director of digital services Lorelei Lucas and creators Chris Roberson, Eric Powell, Tracy Marsh, Menton3, Tom Waltz and Steve Niles took the stage at Comic-Con International at San Diego to present IDW’s Greatest Panel of All Time. Moderated by Dirk Wood, the panel took a decidedly different approach to publisher reveals by using a prize wheel and audience participation to give away fabulous swag and tease some all-new series and an inter-company crossover.
The panel kicked off with an intro and a few jokes about DC Comics’ New 52, saying that IDW would be doing 52 new issues of “30 Days of Night.” Panel-goers who were lucky enough to spin the wheel won prizes like Locke and Key keys and tattoos, an Eric Powell “Godzilla” sketch cover and copies of “Twilight” obtained from IDW’s “Sparkles for Blood” campaign. One lucky contestant won a cameo in an upcoming issue of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” However, the real news came when the wheel landed on an announcement from IDW’s upcoming schedule.
First was the “30 Days of Night” ongoing series by Steve Niles with art by Sam Keith. “The main thing that really sets it apart is that its 10 years later and none of the new characters know what happened before,” said Niles “We’re starting with new characters from scratch trying to figure out who these vampires are.”
The wheel landed on creator-owned titles next, leading to the announcement of a new Chris Roberson project called “Memorial,” releasing February with art by Rich Ellis, “It’s conceptually a cross between ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Sandman’ by way of Miyazaki, with a talking cat,” Roberson said. “If that doesn’t appeal to you, then there’s something wrong with you.”
Also announced was a new John Byrne-created title called “Cold War.” Taking place in an Ian Fleming-esque spy era, the book focuses on the adventures of Michael Swan, an ex-MI:6 agent. “I don’t want to say it’s James Bond, because it’s not, but it definitely harkens back to that era,” said Ryall. “The character, Michael Swan, used to work for MI:6, but they parted on bad terms and now he takes all the jobs that the government doesn’t want to get their hands dirty on.”
Continuing from its recently concluded series “Ever After,” “Love and Capes” by Thom Zahler will return for a third 6-issue miniseries beginning in February of 2012. “Harlan Ellison called me up and said ‘This is the sweetest comic I’ve ever read; you’ve got to publish this goddamn thing,” said Ryall. “We’ve been doing this now for two or three years and Thom has been keeping it going. One of the things we’re announcing is that we’re keeping this going.”
“The new installment of ‘Love and Capes’ picks up the night of the last issue of the series where Abby is pregnant,” Zahler said on the show floor after the panel. “They’re trying to figure out everything having to do with having a kid — a kid who might have superpowers.”
“Monocyte” by Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari ,was another book announced at the panel. A four-issue miniseries releasing in October, the project follows the story of a futuristic Earth where death has no meaning. “The story takes place very far in the future and death really have nothing to do anymore, so he summons an ancient necromancer to bring balance back to the Earth,” said series creator Menton3. “It’s a really hard book to talk about because it’s like trying to summarize ‘Dune.'” IDW showcased a variant cover by Ashley Wood, with many more artists to come.
Newcomer Chris Madden’s “Jack Avarice: The Courier” releases in November as a five-issue miniseries, releasing each week of November. “He brought this book to us. The best way to describe it is ‘James Bond’ meets ‘Austin Powers’ meets ‘Lord of the Rings,’ maybe even a little bit of ‘Back to the Future’ in there,” said Tom Waltz. Waltz and Ryall also commented on Madden’s style being very similar to J. Scott Campbell’s, teasing “a special Danger Girl project that Chris will be involved in.”
The wheel spun again, this time landing on IDW’s Godzilla line. “Godzilla: Monster World” by Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh with art Victor Santos continues, but with new challenges for Powell. “The really difficult thing when they approached us about doing it was trying to figure out how to do the concept of Godzilla, which is really formulaic — monsters come, monsters fight and destroy — you can’t really do an ongoing story with that,” said Powell. “We’ve been trying to do something more along the lines of a satire. Really, kind of ‘Mad Max’ with monsters in it.”
In addition to Powell and Marsh’s ongoing series, John Layman will be writing a five-issue miniseries with art by Alberto Pontincelli called “Godzilla Gangsters and Goliaths.” Rounding out the monster-sized pack of Godzilla books is “Godzilla Legends,” a five-issue spotlight series that highlights five different monsters — Anguirus, Destroyah, Rodan, Titanosaurus and Kumonga — with five different creative teams. IDW didn’t announce any of the teams yet, simply stating that Godzilla fans have a lot to look forward to in the future.
After the wheel landed on Licensed Projects, IDW announced a “Dead Rising” four-issue miniseries premiering in October. Based off of Capcom’s bestselling video game about a photographer trapped inside a mall during a zombie infestation, “Dead Rising” will be written by Tom Waltz with art by newcomer Kenneth Loh. “Capcom approached us and said they wanted to do a comic based on the game,” said Waltz. “They were willing to allow us to pitch that fell officially into canon and filled the gaps in between the games.” The story begins directly after the events of the first game and follows protagonist Frank West all the way through to the beginning of the upcoming installment of the video game franchise.
“Star Trek” was next up on the list. Written by Roberto Orci and Mike Johnson with art by Stephen Molnar, the September-launching ongoing series follows the recent movie continuity and will be the newest source of adventures for the Enterprise and her crew. “We’re reintroducing elements from the TV shows into this universe. We’re retelling old classic episodes, but with the new cast in the new continuity with a new spin. You’re going to see characters and elements of storylines that take an entirely different tactic as befits this new universe.”
IDW also launches a new H.P. Lovecraft series, “Dunwich Horror” in conjunction with Arkham House. Writer Joe R. Lansdale with artists Peter Bergting and Menton3 bring Lovecraft to IDW in a big way in October with a four-issue miniseries. “Joe Lansdale adapts the hell out of things,” said Ryall. “A lot of [the source material] is sort of esoteric where things happen off-panel — not so much in this one.”
After the licensed announcements wrapped up, the wheel spun and landed on Inter-Company Crossover, revealing a “Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes” series. Teased with an image of Brainiac 5 and Spock back-to-back as writer Chris Roberson detailed the plot of the six issue miniseries. “I’m still convinced this is a prank,” said Roberson, to laughs from the crowd. “It’s classic Trek era and the Levitz/Giffen Legion.” According to Roberson, six crew members of the Enterprise and six Legionnaires end up traveling to an altered timeline that replaced both of theirs. What we get is a new timeline that blend timelines of both. “This is a world where humanity went wrong and has gone out to conquer alien races,” said Roberson. “They have to figure out what went wrong and fix it.” The book features Gabriel Rodriguez on variant covers and Phil Jimenez doing regular covers. The interior art is done by Jeffrey Morse. Ryall confirmed, emphatically, that this series has nothing to do with DC’s New 52.
The wheel then announced a new Steve Niles project, “Frankenstein Alive, Alive!” Written by Niles and illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, it is an illustrated sequel to Wrightson’s version of the original “Frankenstein.” A 2012-releasing 13 issue miniseries, it picks up right where the Shelley novel left off. “Bernie doesn’t want to talk about it at all,” said Niles. However, panel attendees were treated to a number of art previews from the book. Niles also revealed that he and Wrightson hammered out the series during their recurring Scrabble night.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was next on the list of titles to discuss. The book is currently available as an 8-page ashcan at the IDW booth. Written by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz with Eastman on layouts and Dan Duncan on interior art, Wood mentioned that the layouts were so good, “It got to the piint where we almost wanted to just publish the layouts.”
“The first time I met Kevin, I was freaking out. What we’re doing is absolutely, positively brand new from the ground up creating the Turtles for the 21st century, keeping the spirit of the book,” said Waltz. “I showed it to Kevin, he loved it. Not only that, but after the meeting with Chris Ryall, he said, ‘We finally met the guy who talks more than you.” According to Waltz, the book will appeal to fans from all generations from the Mirage days up to the present. He additionally confirmed Turtles staples April O’Neil and Baxter Stockman as making appearances in the book, along with some new, original characters.
IDW also announced the addition of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Micro-Series beginning with Raphael. With “Angel: After the Fall” creative team Brian Lynch and Franco Uru, there will be four different microseries, each focusing on a different Turtle beginning with Raphael.
There were six teaser announcements that followed the Turtles announcements. “Infes2ation,” a sequel to IDW’s most recent crossover event. “As happens with books that are well-received, we’re doing another one,” said Ryall as he showed images of logos for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Weekly World News,” “Transformers,” “Danger Girl,” “G.I. Joe,” and “Groom Lake.” “Many of these characters will be crossing over,” Ryall said. “You may actually see Turtles crossing over with Danger Girl crossing over with Transformers.”
The next teaser, an image of a new book called “Zombies vs Everything” showed a zombie with a kitchen sink being thrown at its head. The book will be written by Ryall in collaboration with Ashley Wood and Bill Wray. In the same vein, “Vampires vs Robots” by Steve Niles and Menton3 was teased as Niles explained, “This started as us making fun of your book!”
Tom Waltz then took the microphone to announce IDW’s newest project, “Code Word: Geronimo,” a graphic novel to detail the Seal Team Six raid on Osama bin Ladin. The graphic novel, in conjunction with Charlie Foxtrot, will be written by renowned Hollywood military film consultant Captain Dale Dye and his wife, Julia, with art by Gerry Kissell and Amin Amat. “This is a new wonderful world. Somewhere between a circus and a Star Trek convention,” said Dye as he took the stage to applause. “It’s a challenge. We took a story that we really, really wanted to tell. Let me tell you why we wanted to tell it. You have an extremely short attention span and the reason is that you’re bombarded with media. Everything keeps coming at you. So what we’ve discovered through movies and television is that regardless of how well we do, you’re kind of like the Fox News cycle. It’s only 24 hours. You’ve seen it, you’re on to the next thing. We thought it was unfair to these terrific men who pulled off raid.”
Although Dye was at first skeptical when approached with the idea of a graphic novel, he turned around quickly. “The more we looked at it, what we discovered is that it was a still-life movie and I had written a lot of movies. So, I got it, how to do this. I thought if we could get it out there in this form, then you folks who might not even be interested [would be interested in reading it.]”
Dye finished up the panel to uproarious applause, citing his wife as “the real hero.” “She said I will personally kill you, rip out your intestines and hang you [if you don’t do this.]”
“What really excites me about this project is that the raid that we’re discussing here came from more than one administration,” said Julia Dye. “It came from Democrats and Republicans and Libertarians. It’s a story about Americans. We all did this. We all stood up and we all got it done and that’s what I want to say. Thank you.”