BALTIMORE, MARYLAND SEPTEMBER 25, 2015: IDW Publishing shared news about some of their current and upcoming books during a program at Baltimore Comic Con moderated by IDW President Greg Goldstein and Vice President of Marketing Dirk Wood.
Among the special guests featured on the panel were industry legend writer/artist Walt Simonson and writer James Tynion IV, both presently working on titles for IDW.
The big highlight of the presentation was hearing Walt Simonson expound at length about his version of RAGNAROK with Thor as a pivotal character. RAGNAROK is Simonson’s creator-owned Norse mythology book, but it’s far removed from a simple retelling of the legend. It became very clear during Simonson’s exposition that this is a sincere labor of love, perhaps his seminal creation.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarok tells of a massive battle between gods and giant serpents, fire demons and evil creatures that resulted in the death of major Norse gods, including Odin, Thor and Loki. Various natural disasters changed the shape of the world, which resurfaced to begin anew with two human survivors.
In Simonson’s version of Ragnarok the Midgard serpent survives the final confrontation. Thor did not participate in any of the battles and missed the event entirely while lost in a state of suspended animation. Completely unaware of what was transpiring aboveground, when he eventually wakes it takes him awhile to get his bearing and fully understand what has occurred. One hundred years have passed before his return, and the first six issues of the RAGNAROK series details Thor’s re-introduction into the world.
pictured above: writer/artist/creator Walter Simonson
This version of Thor completely belongs to Simonson. “Thor is just a part of a larger whole, “ Simonson said.
"Thor’s world is destroyed. The nine worlds are out of balance. Thor is confused and angry.” Simonson’s version of Thor is a god who is not one-dimensional, and "possesses a sense of humor, is quick to anger, but has a depth of great knowledge and an appreciation of courage.” Simonson has a long running plan to detail the entire story, which he anticipates could actually play out over the next five years. The second leg of the series is scheduled for release this December. RAGNAROK has been a best seller for IDW and went to a second print run on most of the issues.
Other successes for them in the present year have been the artist editions of classic works, with the Wally Wood artist edition also going to second print runs. Dirk Wood explained that these artist editions were made possible through IDW’s connection with an art dealer who has the right contacts, making it easier to acquire the originals drafts and story boards for the special editions. The artist editions only require a small print run of approximately 7,000 copies, and Wood confided that because of the pricing on the books (expensive to reproduce) they only need to sell a few thousand copies to be successful and profitable.
Turning to future projects, the upcoming TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES/ BATMAN cross-over is generating the most amount of buzz. President Goldstein explained that IDW’s “good relationship with other comics companies allows for these unique crossovers with competitor’s characters, like STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN for one”.
pictured above, left to right: VP Marketing Dirk Wood, writer James Tynion IV, President Greg Goldstein
That series will be scripted by James Tynion IV, who expressed excitement at being picked to bring together for the first time “the two most iconic amazing properties I have loved my entire life!” He revealed that the Turtles will enter Gotham through a bridge in their universe, bringing Shredder and the Foot Clan along for the ride. Neither the Turtles or Batman were previously aware of the existence of each other, and are from different universes. Batman must team up with the Turtles to stop the nefarious plans of Shredder and get everybody back home. Tynion said that working with Fred Williams III on art allows for “each stage to seem like a full production” and the process of depicting the story “has been pretty natural for these two distinct voices (TMNT and Batman) to mesh together."
Tynion promised pizzas every issue, after Goldstein said “I just want to see Bruce Wayne having a pizza!” It was spoiled that there may be a scene where Alfred gets really upset at having accept delivery on a huge stack of pizzas.
TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman will be illustrating the variant covers for the series.
Other IDW projects that were announced during the panel include:
- ROCKETEER AT WAR four issue mini-series in December
- Archie month, with variant themed covers in December, ahead of the 75th anniversary of Archie
- TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES reach issues #50 and keeps going, making it one of the longest running IDW titles. Dirk Wood said that they “are selling more issues at #50 than we did at #30, and that’s unusual.” (STAR TREK also recently achieved Issue #50.)
- New series STAR FLEET ACADEMY telling of the early days of Kirk, Spock and crew. The focus will be young adult, making it a great entry point for new Star Trek readers. New characters will be included.
- TRANSFORMERS also will hit Issue #50 soon.
- BACK TO THE FUTURE debuts on October 21, the same date that the primary characters traveled to in the future.
- Jame Tynion IV’s EIGHTH SEAL (supernatural horror) is in the works.
- A STAR WARS artist edition will debut, with a cover price of $125. The plan calls for a hardcover edition that’ll reproduce the original art in its’ original size. A MY LITTLE PONY art book is also in the works.
- Under development are STAR WARS MICRO COMICS, collector packs sized 3” x 5” that will reprint all movie adaptations and include cards and 3D glasses.
- IDW’s board games are planning to grow. The CHEW game was introduced with modest expectations but is selling well. Negotiations are underway with the producers of ORPHAN BLACK to create a game based on the BBC America television show.
- MICRONAUTS and ROM revivals are planned for the first quarter of 2016 and later. These will be brand new and updated versions.