What started as a series of novels and became a hit TV series is finding its way to comics, as HBO’s “True Blood” will be adapted by IDW Publishing this summer.
At their panel on Friday during WonderCon, the publisher revealed that the show’s creator, Alan Ball, worked with members of the show’s writing staff to develop the plot, while David Tischman and Mariah Huehner will write the comic. David Messina will provide interior art and covers, with alternate covers by J. Scott Campbell.
“It’s great to see a guy like Alan Ball, who doesn’t have to, take such an incredible interest and take such ownership of something like this,” said Special Projects Editor Scott Dunbier. “He obviously has such tremendous pride in the show, and he really cares about it, and he really wants to make these comics the best they can be. He’s been incredible to work with to make that happen.”
The first six-issue mini-series will be available in July in time for San Diego’s Comic-Con International and will be available both digitally and in print. A video of Ball, which you can see here on Comic Book Resources, was played during the panel.
But the Southern vampires from “True Blood” aren’t the only monsters joining IDW’s line of books. “Famous Monsters of Filmland” publisher Phil Kim was on hand to talk about the resurrected magazine that IDW will publish.
Billing it as “the world’s first monster fan magazine,” Kim noted “Famous Monsters” was originally published by Forrest J. Ackerman from 1958 to 1983. Ackerman, also known as the person who coined the term “sci fi,” was a huge science fiction, fantasy and horror fan whose magazine inspired everyone from Steve Spielberg to George Lucas.
“When ‘Famous Monsters of Filmland’ first came out, it was a very, very edgy magazine,” Kim said, noting it “pissed off” parents and “moral rights” people. “For the last 17 years it was relegated into more of a historical remembrance, and it didn’t do very well. But the brand was so indelible that it survived even through that. Two years ago with the blessing of the courts and Forest J. Ackerman we are bringing it back.”
The resurrected magazine comes back from the dead with issue #251 in July and will be officially released at Comic-Con International in San Diego. It will sport a cover of Count Orlok from the film “Nosferatu” by Richard Corben and an incentive cover by William Stout.
Dunbier and Kim were joined on the panel by author Max Brooks, who is working on a G.I. Joe miniseries for the publisher, and Senior Editor Bob Schreck, who is also writing the recently announced “Jurassic Park” comic for IDW. Dunbier noted that several members of their panel didn’t make it to the convention due to weather-related travel problems, so they breezed through slides for several projects because the appropriate editorial staff wasn’t there to discuss them.
The second of four graphic novels by Darwyn Cooke adapting Richard Stark’s “Parker” novels is due in October. The first book, “Parker: The Hunter,” was a critical and sales success for the company last year, Dunbier said.
Cooke is skipping Stark’s second novel, “The Man with the Getaway Face,” and jumping to the third one, “The Outfit.” However, crucial plot details from that second novel will be included in the book as a prelude, and that prelude is also being released as an oversized standalone comic this July. IDW was selling copies of the preview at their WonderCon booth.
Brooks, the writer of “The Zombie Survival Guide” and “World War Z,” talked about “G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds,” a five-issue miniseries he’s doing with artists Howard Chaykin and Antonio Fuso.
“Basically what I wanted to do was not do a linear story, but take a step back and examine the lives of certain Joe characters and certain Cobra characters,” Brooks said. Each issue will be divided into two stories – one about a Joe and one about a member of Cobra. Characters he’ll focus on include Major Bludd, Doc, Spirit, Blowtorch, Deep Six, Dr. Mindbender and a regular Cobra recruit.
“What would make someone join Cobra?” Brooks said, adding that he wanted to make them real terrorists. “I try to infuse mine with as much reality as Hasbro would let me get away with. And they let me get away with a lot.”
Brooks noted he grew up in the Reagan-era 1980s, a time of “harmless violence.” He said “G.I Joe” was perfect for that.
“There were a lot of lasers, a lot of explosions, but nobody ever died,” brooks said about the “G.I. Joe” cartoon. “A character named Roadblock used to rhyme his words, which they’re not doing anymore, thank God. But you kind of can’t do that anymore. Because America’s different. The times are different. We’re not only at war, but we’re in two separate wars. So you can’t do harmless violence.” Some of the issues he’ll tackle include medical malpractice, human evolution, science vs. religion and child development and sensory integration disorders.
Schreck talked about Steve Niles and Ashley Wood’s “Mystery Society,” which will be drawn by Fiona Staples, who drew Wildstorm’s recent “North 40” miniseries. The five-issue miniseries is due in May 2010.
“It’s kind of Nick and Nora meet Scully and Mulder. These folks run around and debunk things and unearth stuff. They go to Area 51 and find two little girls that have been enhanced by the government,” Schreck said. “Jules Vernes shows up with his brain inside a robot’s body. It’s just completely over the top and a lot of fun.”
Schreck also talked about a title he’s writing, “Jurassic Park: Redemption,” which kicks off in June. Nate Van Dyke will draw the first five-issue story arc, while Tom Yeates provides covers. Frank Miller, Paul Pope an Art Adams will provide variant covers for the series.
Schreck said his story will take place 13 years after the first “Jurassic Park” movie. It will star Tim and Lex, the grandchildren of John Hammond, who created Jurassic Park in the film. The inherited Hammond’s fortune after he died, and while Lex uses her share to create organic farms all over the world, Tim wants to redeem his grandfather’s name – and thus tries to create a dinosaur petting zoo in Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, Texas. Schreck said other characters from the films will show up in the series.
As a part of their Library of American Comics line, IDW will release the second book in their “Bloom County: The Complete Library” series in April. The book will include an introduction by broadcast journalist Ted Koppel that starts with the line, “It’s come to this. I’m the opening act for a penguin.”
Then in July, they’ll release the first volume of “X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan” by Al Williamson and Archie Goodwin. And this fall brings “Genius Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth,” a biography of the famous artist. It will include never-before-seen artwork, production drawings and “things that no one has ever seen,” Dunbier said.
Last year IDW published two collections of Dave Stevens’ “Rocketeer” material – a regular edition and a deluxe edition. IDW plans to release a third book, “Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist Edition.”
The oversized hardcover will be printed as the same size as Stevens’ original art, approximately 11 by 16 inches. “You’ll be able to see his beautiful blue pencil work, you’ll be able to see the stats, all of it,” Dunbier said. “It’ll be the closest thing you ever get to Dave Stevens original art.”
Other projects mentioned at the panel include “Transformers,” Scott Morse’s “Strange Science Fantasy,” James Patterson’s “Witch & Wizard” and “The Murder of King Tut,” and “Angel: Barbary Coast.”