WC12: Chris Ryall on IDW's WonderCon Announcements

This weekend at WonderCon, IDW Publishing threw the announcement gates open, setting loose a full slate of projects for the remainder of 2012. Not only did the publisher announce a four-issue "Rocketeer" miniseries written by Mark Waid with art by Chris Samnee, it also revealed a new series for "The Crow" along with a partnership with 2000 AD to publish a "Judge Dredd" ongoing series featuring new tales of Mega City One's top cop.

CBR News caught up with IDW Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Chris Ryall on the busy WonderCon show floor where he shed some light on the announcements, including Mark Waid's pitch for "Rocketeer," a few details on the origins of the "Judge Dredd" ongoing and the reasoning for bringing on a new creative team to explore "The Crow."

CBR News: Chris, you announced this weekend that Mark Waid would be coming on to write a "Rocketeer" miniseries, with Chris Samnee on art. What made you want to bring Mark on for this project?

Chris Ryall: I think we always want to bring Mark on. Mark Waid is one of my favorite writers, one of my favorite people in comics. I know Scott Dunbier likes him and I think a guy like Mark Waid, who is just a classic superhero and comic book fan, it's the perfect sort of thing for his sensibilities. He writes good action, good humor, he writes everything "Rocketeer" is. His idea for the "Rocketeer" series with Chris Samnee is great. It was perfect and very true to the Dave Stevens material. It was everything we would want in a "Rocketeer" series.

Is there anything in particular you're excited to see from Mark's work with the character?

We've been doing "Rocketeer" for the last couple of years, now, with different creators, but I like the 8-page stories, because you get to work with a lot of people. That said, I really like the idea of doing an all-new four-ssue "Rocketeer" series where you can really dig into it and develop characters and plot points and just have the pages to stretch out and tell a long story. I just think it's the perfect sort of thing for Mark.

IDW also announced a "Judge Dredd" ongoing, which is also pretty exciting.

Yeah, we announced "Judge Dredd" ongoing, reprints and a whole big "Judge Dredd" program coming. I'm really excited about that.

How did that come about? How long has it been in the works?

These things always take a while. It's something we wanted to do a long time ago. I've been a huge fan since the early '80s when I read some of the Brian Bolland stuff. I don't remember how many months ago it was, but a few months back, we started talking about things with 2000 AD, and over the last few months, it's come together really nicely. I was in London a few weeks ago and met with the 2000 AD guys. We meshed on the ideas of what we'd like to do and where we'd like to take things from here. I'm really excited about this one. It's the crown jewel, for me.

"The Crow" will also be getting a new series and creative team -- how did this come about?

I want to work with James O'Barr on stuff, too, but I like the idea of other people, who have been inspired by O'Barr's story, telling their own version of the story. We talked to different people and the one that really jumped out at the start is John Shirley, who's a really good suspense novelist and does these really great things with his books. He really makes you feel what these characters are going through, which I think is a really key component to "The Crow." His ability to mix action and pathos and characterization and horror elements all work really well on "The Crow." I just loved his idea of taking the basis of O'Barr's story in a totally different direction that I think will surprise people.

These are obviously three huge announcements coming out of WonderCon. How do you feel these new projects fit into IDW's existing catalogue?

I think the nice thing is for us, the way we approach every property is with the first question, "Do we like it?" We've never gone after something just because it was there or because we think there's money to be made and nobody has a passion for it. They all fit in with IDW very nicely and are something we're really passionate about. We've been doing a lot of books with big action and big horror elements to them, and stuff like "The Crow" and high adventure with "Rocketeer" and everything "Judge Dredd" brings with it fit perfectly with stuff we're doing, like "Ninja Turtles" and "Transformers;" "30 Days of Night" or "Zombies vs. Robots" -- it all fits in really nicely in with the sort of things we've been doing.

IDW's major crossover event, "Infestation," has been running through most of your licensed books this year. If there's another follow-up, can fans expect to see some of these new titles join the fray?

I think we would certainly love to see that sort of thing happen, yeah. Between adding those, and "Mars Attacks" launching in June, even "KISS," there's certainly some good, viable properties that I think lend themselves well to crossing into each other. Again, with "Infestation," that started with us geeking out over, "Wouldn't it be cool if this character started hanging out with this character?" That's the basis for it. I expect the same conversations to be had with "Judge Dredd" and "Mars Attacks." We'll see what happens from there!

Stay tuned to CBR News for more on IDW's WonderCon 2012 announcement slate.

Life is Strange #10

More in Comics