IDW had an especially big slate of announcements and revelations at this year’s New York Comic Con. IDW’s Vice President of Marketing Dirk Wood led a panel that including the company’s President Greg Goldstein, Andy Diggle (“Doctor Who”), Katie Cook (“My Little Pony”), J.K. Woodward (“Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation”), Mike Johnson (“Star Trek”), J.M. DeMatteis (“The Adventures of Augusta Wind”) and Fred Van Lente (“G.I. Joe”).
One of the big events takes place in January, when “Mars Attacks” takes over a variety of IDW books including “Popeye,” “KISS,” “The Real Ghostbusters,” “Transformers” and “Zombies Vs. Robots.” All the books will feature covers from Ray Dillon that are designed to echo the style of the classic trading cards.
Adding to the craziness are the retailer incentive covers, which feature creators and characters that are not part of the crossover. Those covers include “Opus” from Berkeley Breathed, “Starslammers” by Walt Simonson, “Madman” by Mike Allred, “Strangers in Paradise” by Terry Moore, “Cerebus” by Terry Moore, “Rog-2000” by John Byrne, “Judge Dredd” by Greg Staples, “Chew” by Rob Guillory, “Spike” by Franco Urru and “Miss Fury” by J. Bone.
After this announcement, Wood asked Diggle to talk about the new “Doctor Who” comic and if the writer was a longtime “Who” fan. “I’m British,” Diggle said, joking that everyone there is a “Doctor Who” fan and how curious it is to see something that used to be odd and British that no one else understood become such a huge global hit. Diggle added that the comics aren’t sold in the UK because of licensing issues, so he hasn’t even seen the comic yet, but intends to bring a suitcase full of them back to UK for his friends.
As far as the challenges of working on a licensed character, Diggle said that he doesn’t think of the character that way. “It’s a pre-existing character,” he said. The writer joked that he had to gnaw his leg off to get out of his exclusive Marvel contract. After that experience, he wanted to have fun with characters. He cited his love for Matt Smith’s performance and the challenge of trying to bring that style and approach to the page. While he’s not sure whether he’s succeeding, he noted series artist Mark Buckingham is doing a great job.
Issues #3-4 of the series will be written by Brandon Seifert and drawn by Philip Bond, with Diggle returning for issue #5. Diggle complained that he’s always wanted to work with Bond.
“Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation” has been a huge success and Goldstein joked that after the miniseries finishes with issue eight, they’ll let Woodward get some sleep. They are hoping to do a sequel, but nothing has been finalized yet.
The other big “Doctor Who” announcement is related to the property’s 50th anniversary next year. IDW plans to publish a twelve issue maxiseries featuring all eleven Doctors, but nothing further was revealed.
In February, IDW will relaunch “G.I. Joe,” with the core title written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Steve Kurth. The other two series — “G.I. Joe: Secret Missions,” by writer Chuck Dixon and artist Paul Gulacy and “G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files” written by Mike Costa and drawn by Antonio Fusa — launch in March and April, respectively.
Van Lente explained that recently in the books Cobra has revealed the existence of the G.I. Joe team to the public. As a result, the newly public team will be based on Governor’s Island and headed by Joe Colton. He also described the book as both “character-based” and “hardcore,” focusing on the core team as Cobra brings the war to America.
As an Art Adams cover featuring the Baroness came up on screen, Van Lente mentioned that as far as he’s concerned, the whole book could be about Baroness and he’d be happy. Ryan Dunlavey will provide variant covers. As far as his collaborator, artist Kurth, Van Lente had nothing but praise and admitted that Kurth’s “knowledge of ‘G.I. Joe’ vastly outstrips my own, which is a great help,” he said. “He’s keeping me honest with the franchise.”
Goldstein made two points about the series’ relaunch. First, each book will have a distinctive voice — something that he admits has always been the goal, but he believes that these creative teams will accomplish. Second, “G.I. Joe: Real American Hero” will continue.
Turning to Katie Cook, the big announcement was that “My Little Pony” #1 had initial orders of over 90,000 copies. “I outsold ‘Uncanny X-Men,'” Cook announced to cheers from the crowd.
Cook joked that her initial reaction was “Oh crap, people are going to read it.” Cook wrote the book for herself and artist Andy Price. “I wrote an epic pony adventure with monsters and evil queens and ponies in peril and that’s not what people are expecting,” she said. “Hopefully they like it.” She then explained the many cameos on one page of the book, which include herself, Price and his wife, Price’s cats, Tom Selleck and the Blues Brothers, among others.
“It’s not just for little kids, she said. “It is for all ages.”
Continuing in the same vein, J.M. DeMatteis talked about his new all-ages book “The Adventures of Augusta Wind,” which debuts in November, and described it as a great challenge to write something that both an eight year old and their thirtysomething parents can read and enjoy.
“I really love working in an all-ages world and I think we need a lot more of it,” he said. “‘Moonshadow,’ if you took out all the sex and violence, was an all-ages adventure.”
DeMatteis said “Augusta Wind” started with a name and the image of a girl in a Victorian dress with a umbrella who lives in a castle. He got a sketchbook from artist Vassilis Gogtzilas of a girl in Victorian dress holding an umbrella in front of a castle, and DeMatteis emailed him immediately. The writer had nothing but praise for his collaborator who he described as “the fastest artist I’ve ever worked with” adept at depicting creatures like the snabbit, a half snake and half rabbit.
Turning to “Star Trek,” Mike Johnson spoke briefly about “Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness,” a four issue miniseries that will be drawn by David Messina and serve as a prequel to next year’s movie. When asked for any information about the movie, Johnson said, “It’s a movie. It comes out in May.”
The “Star Trek” ongoing series will be continue concurrently with “Countdown to Darkness” and will tell the origin stories of Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekhov.
Goldstein was also thrilled to announce that in 2013, “T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents” comes to IDW. He described it as a property he’s loved since childhood and spoke with admiration of the work done by Wally Wood, Gil Kane and Steve Ditko in addition to Nick Spencer’s recent run at DC. Goldstein went on to say that DC is focusing on its own great library of characters and chose not to continue with the characters, citing Michael Uslan for all his help in putting this together.
Wood showed the cover to the first issue of “The High Ways” and said 2013 will see three new series from John Byrne and described them as the equal to his classic work.
Another book that will coming out in 2013 will be a sequel to the hit “Kill Shakespeare” titled “Kill Shakespeare: Tide of Blood” and the creators joked about the many possible titles for the sequel that were rejected including simply, “Kill Shakespeares.”
Turning to the company’s Artists Editions, Goldstein mentioned the recently released Joe Kubert “Tarzan” book and noted two new books have just gone to the printers: Gil Kane’s “Spider-Man” and “The Best of ‘Mad.'” IDW will reprint Dave Stevens’ “The Rocketeer” and next year will see the release of Will Eisner’s “The Spirit,” which will consist of Eisner’s best work.
The panel announced two new projects from IDW’s Yoe Books imprint, including “Haunted Horror,” which comes from the affection that Craig Yoe has for old non-EC horror comics. The collection reprints stories from the 1950s. Yoe second upcoming book collects comics about cartoonists or comics from a variety of great creators including Frazetta, Eisner and Kirby.
Asked by a fan about the possibility of more “Fallen Angel,” Woodward said he would love to do another miniseries but hasn’t spoken to writer Peter David recently.
One fan brought up the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which hadn’t been mentioned at the panel and Goldstein said that this is one of the downsides that a company as big as IDW has, that they can talk for an hour about new projects and yet never touch on the Transformers, Ninja Turtles or other projects. There are some things in the works for the Turtles, but right now the most exciting project is the Annual issue from Kevin Eastman. It was originally going to be 48 pages, but has been bumped up to 60. Goldstein had nothing but praise for the book and Eastman’s work.
On the same topic, a fan asked if IDW had plans to reprint the “Ninja Turtles” comic strip. Goldstein pointed out the upcoming “Star Trek” comic strip from IDW took years for to happen. If successful, they hope that it will demonstrate there’s an audience for similar projects, like the “Ninja Turtles” strip, in the future.
When asked about any restrictions they have to deal with in their work, Diggle said that the BBC is super strict about secrecy but that while they don’t tell him what’s happening, they also don’t tell him what to write. “They don’t tell you the restrictions beforehand,” he said. J.M. DeMatteis described the single issue of the “Star Wars” comic book he wrote at Marvel many years ago where Lucasfilm cut out the essential part of the story changing the entire point so that he took his name off it.
Before the panel wrapped, Goldstein spoke briefly about “Parker,” noting Darwyn Cooke is working on the next book with a target date of NYCC 2013. However, he stated IDW gives Cooke as much time as he needs to do the work. Finally, Goldstein told the audiences they’ve seen the “Parker” movie trailer and he hopes it will either be a big hit or such a failure that no one sees it.