Noting their home-court advantage and naming their panel after a Stray Cats song, San Diego-based IDW Publishing announced several new projects during its “Rock This Town” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
The panel included Dirk Wood, vice president of marketing for IDW; Chris Ryall, chief creative officer and editor-in-chief; comic writer and novelist Jonathan Maberry; “Locke and Key” artist Gabriel Rodriguez; legendary “Batman” artist and recent Inkpot winner Graham Nolan; “Star Trek” writer Scott Tipton; editors Sarah Gaydos and Tom Waltz; and “Ghostbusters” writer Erik Burnham.
The panel opened with Ryall congratulating Nolan on his Inkpot Award, which are given out by SDCC at every Comic-Con. “Hang around long enough, and they’ll give you something,” Nolan joked.
Nolan was on hand to discuss “Joe Frankenstein,” which reteams him with his “Batman” collaborator Chuck Dixon, with whome he created Bane. “Before I got into comics, I was a monster kid,” Nolan said. “Now I’m getting to do comics with monsters.”
The story revolves around a kid who is the last heir of the original Dr. Frankenstein, and the fabled monster who has been watching over him all his life. The kid’s DNA contains the secrets of eternal life, and the Bride of Frankenstein, who isn’t immortal, wants that secret.
Frankenstein’s Monster wasn’t the only monster discussed at the panel. Maberry was on hand to announce that “Rot & Ruin,” his Young Adult zombie prose series, set 14 years after the zombie apocalypse and features the kids who have grown up knowing nothing but a zombie-infested world, is coming to comics. While their parents lament the loss of their world and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the kids just want a future for themselves.
“We’re setting the comic between books two and three, so it’s going to be all original stories,” Maberry said. “I didn’t want to do a straight adaptation. I wanted to tell — just for me, if nothing else, I want to go back and play with those characters again — so I wanted to go ahead and tell brand-new stories.”
Ryall also said that Maberry’s “V-Wars” series — which he described as “bloody good vampire comics” — would feature his prose character, Joe Ledger, in issues 6- 8.
In addition, IDW announced two crossovers at the panel — one between two of their popular licensed titles, and a second that involves one of their titles and one from BOOM! Studios.
First, Ryall mentioned how many fans were “sad” when they found out that IDW’s “Ghostbusters” comic was coming to an end in September. The end, however, will be short-lived, as IDW will publish a Ghostbusters/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover written by Burnham and Waltz, with art by Ghostbusters artist Dan Schoening. The series begins in October.
“This is kind of the ultimate crossover for us in the sense that we’re crossing over these two iconic properties, which are celebrating their 30th anniversaries at the same time, as well as the two creative teams from the two different books,” Waltz said. He added that the stories will be in continuity and “will count.” He noted that current events in the Turtles title, which has them building a teleporter, play into the story.
“In our story, you’re going to see the first test for the teleporter. It doesn’t go quite the way they expect, and they end up in a different New York, which is the Ghostbusters’ New York,” Waltz said. The Turtles battle alongside the Ghostbusters and “will fight their way back to their universe.”
The other major crossover announced at the panel was “Star Trek/Planet of the Apes,” which brings together the two science fiction properties and is the first company crossover between “Star Trek” publisher IDW Publishing and BOOM! Studios, which publishes “PotA.” The series will be written by Scott and David Tipton, with art by newcomer Rachael Stott and features the “classic” versions of both franchises, finding Kirk, Spock and company teaming with Taylor, Nova and the cast of the original “Planet of the Apes” film.
“It’s a madhouse!” Scott Tipton yelled, adding that this is the project he has “wanted to write since I was seven years old.” As a kid, he would watch the “Planet of the Apes” movie marathons and old episodes of “Star Trek” during the summer. “To be able to use these voices of these characters in an adventure like this is just insane. It’s going to be fun,” he said.
Ryall segued from talking about “Star Trek” to talking about what the studio told them was the “third most favorite ‘Star Trek’ film” — “Galaxy Quest.”
“It picks up not too long after the movie, and the studio considers it set in canon and is fully behind it,” Waltz said.
Burnham will write the four-issue series, with art by Nacho Arranz. Burnham said in his original pitch he was told to go “really ‘Star Trek’ with it,” so he did — and then didn’t hear back about it for six months. He asked what happened, and was told the studio thought it was “too ‘Star Trek.'”
Gaydos was on hand to discuss the new “Edward Scissorhands” comic by the team of Kate Leth, Drew Rausch and cover artist Gabriel Rodriguez. She said the book isn’t a sequel, but does feature stories set in that same world.
“‘Edward Scissorhands’ is obviously, in my age group, probably one of the touchstone films that we all knew growing up that we loved but it also kind of affected us in a way that was very bittersweet,” Gaydos said. “To be able to work on this project, I feel very lucky.” Leth’s scripts “capture all the bittersweet moments of the film, and the wonder of the film.”
The story involves the granddaughter of Kim (played by Winona Ryder in the film) wanting to discover her family history, and she comes across Edward. “So it’s kind of a teen-girl mystery, ‘Edward Scissorhands’ style,” Gaydos said.
Ryall asked Rodriguez about working on the character. “This is a movie that affects a lot of people of our generation, in our approach to visual arts and pop culture, mixed in a big way,” Rodriguez replied. “For me, it was like returning to my teenage years and was incredibly fun.”
Ryall moved from “Edward Scissorhands” to another pop culture icon — the Garbage Pail Kids. Saying the anthology series will feature work by a variety of “alternative” artists, Ryall showed the audience an image by Peter Bagge.
“It’s the kind of thing you hide from parents because it was a little on the risque side,” Gaydos said about “Garbage Pail Kids.”
After noting that IDW would publish an “Orphan Black” comic next year, with a creative team still to be determined, Ryall announced the five-issue comic book adaptation of “Shadow Show,” a prose tribute to Ray Bradbury published in 2012.
We are taking some of the bets of these stories and turning them into comic books,” Ryall said. The first issue will feature a story by Joe Hill, adapted by Jason Ciaramella and Charles Paul Wilson III. Other stories by Neil Gaiman, Audrey Niffenegger and Harlan Ellison will be adapted as well.
Speaking of adaptations, Ryall gave an update on their “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” adaptation, which was announced at last year’s Comic-Con. Troy Little is working on adapting Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism novel, as the artist comes fresh off of “The Powerpuff Girls,”
“There’s a crossover, right?” Gaydos joked.
Finally, Ryall announced a new “Zombies vs. Robots” ongoing series, or “ro-boot,” he joked. Ryall will write it, with art by Ashley Wood.
“This is a thing that Ash and I started a few years ago,” Ryall said. “It’s the kind of thing where we said, ‘Let’s throw out every rule when it comes to telling a story.'” That included starting at the very end, nuking the planet and creating characters with no story arc. “There was nowhere to go with it, so we figured, ‘Let’s keep it going,'” Ryall said. He added that it was an attempt to make “a bit more sense of this property.”
During the Q&A portion, a fan asked if there would be any more “Kiss Kids” comics. Ryall said he hoped so, as they had a blast working with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, but that a sequel was up to the musicians.
Another fan asked if there were plans for more “Rogue Trooper” comics. Ryall said while they loved the series, it “didn’t catch the audience we hoped it would.” A trade of the first story is coming.
A fan expressed their love for Burnham’s recent “Johnny Bravo” one-shot, which ties into the “Super Secret Crisis War” crossover series featuring various Cartoon Network characters. Gaydos said she asked Burnham to pitch her on more “Johnny Bravo” and other Cartoon Network series, noting a panel on their kids properties — which was covered by CBR News — was scheduled for later in the convention.