IDW got their Hasbro-inspired panel rolling on Saturday evening at New York Comic Con with a rousing "Yo, Joe!" An attempted "Autobots, rollout!" was less successful, but Senior Editor and panel MC Andy Schmidt said he was still comfortable he was in the right room. Schmidt was joined by a gaggle of IDW writers and artists including Mike Costa, John Barber, Christos Gage, and the recently announced "Infestation" architects, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
Schmidt started out by mentioning that he checked the message boards the previous night to gauge fan reaction to "Infestation." He said he found that it "seemed a little bit controversial. Not too bad, but there is a lot of hesitation."
Next, Schmidt launched into slideshow of the IDW/Hasbro titles, giving a brief overview of each book and look at what was to come in the future.
First up was "G.I. Joe." Schmidt began by noting that "G.I. Joe: Origins" would be coming to an end with issue #23 and that co-writer Christos Gage would be leaving "G.I. Joe: Cobra" after issue #13 (due to his recently announced Marvel exclusive contract). His co-writer on the title, Mike Costa, will become the sole writer of "G.I. Joe: Cobra" after Gage's departure. "G.I. Joe" #27 by Chuck Dixon will wrap up the storylines from what IDW has dubbed "Season One" and then relaunch as "Season Two" in April 2011 with "G.I. Joe" #0. "This is the book," said Schmidt. "It is the only G.I. Joe book from the IDW rebooted G.I. Joe continuity that we'll be publishing in April." When Schmidt stated that the first story line would be called "Cobra Civl War," Christos Gage chimed in to ask, "Is the premise that Serpentor and Cobra Commander argue over a Cobra registration act?"
The panel moved on to quickly touch on "Infestation," which launches in January. After breezing through the various "Infestation" tie-ins, Schmidt brought up the fact that the online reaction to the multi-universe spanning zombie epic varied greatly from fanbase to fanbase. "On the boards, the 'Transformers' fans seemed pretty chill about this. The 'G.I. Joe' fans were considerably less chill."
"Transformers" was up next, and Schmidt showed off slides for some of the new miniseries that are set to debut. "Transformers: Heart of Darkness," written by Abnett and Lanning, will be born directly out of "Infestation" and feature the return of fan-favorite villain Galvatron. John Barber will be handling the adaptation of "Transformers 3" and there is a chance that the book will be released before the film premieres in theaters. Schmidt encouraged the audience to read the book, which would give them the ability "to go into the movie and spoil it for everyone!" Barber explained that the book would not only adapt the storyline of the movie, but also contain scenes and events not directly depicted in the film. Schmidt said that 2011 would really show everything the "Transformers" books have been building towards. "2011 is all about payoff for the 'Transformers' series."
After promising to keep the "Transformers" books coming in the future, "if you all buy them and like them," Schmidt then switched gears to "Dungeons & Dragons." The #0 issue of "Dungeons & Dragons" is available now for $1.00 and Schmidt said the book is perfect for anyone who has "even a mild interest in D&D or 'Lord of The Rings.'" He praised writer John Rogers and artist Andrea Di Vito for creating "a really great comic book" that does not require the reader to be steeped in "Dungeons & Dragons" lore. Soon making its comic book premiere is the world of "Dark Sun," the infamous and some what dormant "Dungeons & Dragons" campaign setting that is often compared to the works of Robert E. Howard. R.A Salvatore is also going to be writing an original "Forgotten Realms" series which will serve as a sequel to his novels. While there wasn't much in the way off information on this series, the audience still managed to respond with vigorous applause at the mention of Salvatore's name.
Schmidt then gave Abnett and Lanning an opportunity to go a little deeper into "Infestation." Abnett admitted that the two writers were "approaching the project with some trepidation. Everyone is so fiercely loyal to the franchises they love." He assured fans that the story would be universal, and that the event would not be "something that jars horribly with the content of each of the separate strands. As such, the tone of the story will be adjusted depending on where we're visiting." While there will be a crossing and interaction between the various universes, Abnett said "I don't think it'll be done in a way that will offend, hurt or otherwise mentally mutilate anybody." Abnett's final words on the subject were simply, "It's great!"