CCI: IDW's G.I. Joe and Transformers Panel

Hundreds of G.I. Joe and Transformers fans gathered in a small room in the San Diego convention center during Friday's Comic-Con International IDW panel to hear announcements about their favorite franchises. After introducing the panelists, IDW's Andy Schmidt instantly grabbed the crowd's attention. "In case you don't know, you can stop by the IDW booth to enter (a raffle) to be held on Sunday to win this." He held a long white sheath above his head and slowly pulled out a gleaming katana. As gasps of approval reverberated through the crowd, Schmidt continued. "We'll make the announcement Sunday. You don't have to be present to win but you do have to be eighteen to enter."

Schmidt then moved on to his long list of announcements. "Hasbro and IDW have Transformers graphic novels on the New York Times bestseller list." This received a large round of applause. "Transformers comics have also gone digital. You can download them on iTunes for one dollar per download. IDW, due in large part to G.I. Joe and Transformers, is dominating iTunes graphic novel publishing."

Andy started up a slideshow detailing the latest G.I. Joe and Transformers news. "We'd like to announce "G.I. Joe" (issues) 7-12." In this arc, written by fan favorite Chuck Dixon, "Snake Eyes will fight a Cobra agent in (these issues)." Schmidt continued, "Robert Atkins will return to "G.I. Joe" in issue #13, which will also introduce Tripwire and another major Cobra villlian." Next, Schmidt talked about "G.I. Joe Origins" issues 11-14, and the introduction of the character Ripcord, as well as a one shot to be released in September written by Mike Costa explaining the history of Tomax and Xamot. "This will probably be the best comic book I've ever worked on," Schmidt explained. "It's better than 'Watchmen,'" added Costa, getting a number of laughs.

On to the "Cobra" issues, Schmidt revealed that Chuckles will return. "We wanted to call it 'Caged Chuckles,' but Hasbro turned us down," added series writer Chris Gage. Schmidt also revealed that Max Brooks, author of the very popular novel "World War Z" will be coming on to write a G.I. Joe mini-series.

Schmidt's announcements continued, "Switching gears into the G.I. Joe movie continuity, 'G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra' movie adaptation just wrapped up last week, and the trades are going on sale. If you would like to spoil the movie for yourselves, go ahead and buy it." He continued, "Coming out after that, in October, will be a four issue mini-series titled 'Snake Eyes'. It takes place before the movie."

The room, consisting of a makeup of about 70% Transformers fans, exploded into applause (with one fan exclaiming 'All Hail Megatron') as Schmidt then began the Transformers related announcements.

"'Revenge of the Fallen' has already started. Issues 3 and 4 feature Jetfire. He was British in the movie, I don't know why. Next we have issues featuring RC and Ravage."

Schmidt continued, "Switching continuities to the comic continuity, we have a story with Perceptor which explains why he became so dark and brooding." Also announced were more issues, which will include a Bumblebee story and a Spike story, the latter written by the aformentioned Mike Costa. "Our big news is 'Transformers,' the ongoing series, written by Mike Costa with art by Don Figueroa." This received some cheers from the crowd. 'Transformers' will launch in November. Schmidt kept the presentation vague on story details as he toyed with the crowd. "This is really going to change the direction of what we've been doing with Transformers. (There are) big changes in issue #1. Someone might bite the dust." Gasps were then heard throughout the room. "But then, someone might not." The crowd broke out in laughter.

Schmidt also announced that "Transformers: Bumblebee" will be a new series written by Zander Cannon and illustrated by Chee. Zander spoke about Bumblebee's new role, "This (role) puts him in a difficult position, with the Decepticons left on Earth and a tenuous truce with the humans." Schmidt then closed out the panel with the announcement of another miniseries entitled "Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers" to be written and drawn by Nick Roche.

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