above image from the slide presentation featuring Walt Simonsson’s interpretation of Thor from RAGNAROK
Baltimore, Maryland (September 2, 2016) – IDW Publishing President and COO Greg Goldstein, VP of Marketing Dirk Wood, and legendary creator Walt Simonson previewed several future projects and provided details during an afternoon panel at the Baltimore Comic Con.
Concurrent with their appearance in Baltimore, several editorial staff members were also present at the Star Trek: Mission New York event where John Byrne, another iconic artist/writer working within the IDW stable of talent, was also participating. It was noted that Byrne had shied away from making convention appearances, which made this a special occasion. It was revealed that Byrne is a big Star Trek fan (the original series) and his only other convention appearances in recent years were also at Star Trek events.
Byrne is working on a graphic photo novel (fumetti) utilizing Photo Shop and using images and artwork to tell Star Trek stories against Byrne-created backgrounds. Walt Simonson has seen some previews, and told the Baltimore audience that Byrne’s scripts “read like classic Trek."
Byrne is also working on STOWAWAY TO THE STARS, a sequential coloring book using both art and prose to tell a complete story. When opening the book, viewers will find the prose on the left page, with art on the adjoining right page (ready to be colored). See images below.
STAR TREK: BOLDY GO, a new IDW title, will be an ongoing series continuing where the recent movie left off. STAR TREK: WAYPOINT will be an anthology series with different creators featuring stories within the entire spectrum of Star Trek’s long history, including spin-off series.
The current REVOLUTION series is an effort to bring all the Hasbro Toy licensed properties into t the same universe (G.I. Joe, Micronauts, ROM, Transformers, etc). IDW is offering a free preview book to Baltimore convention attendees.
Following the outcome of the REVOLUTION cross-over event, four new titles will debut: M.A.S.K., OPTIMUS PRIME, LOST LIGHT, and G.I. JOE. A fifth book, REVOLUTIONARIES, will team up various characters in new stories that stay in the Hasbro Universe continuity.
IDW will continue their popular ARTIST EDITION project with several new hardcovers throughout the remainder of 2016 and early 2017. These artist editions feature original art in the original size, complete with artist notes, comments, cut lines, blue panel edges, etc. As SImonson explains it, “a great way to see the hand of the writer and artist at work, and understand the process.” He commented that for many older projects, it was difficult when looking at older, faded comics printed on cheap newsprint to fully appreciate the true style, work and beauty that were put into the original. He cited the 'phenomenal work” of Jack Davis as a prime example.
Upcoming artist editions from IDW will include AMERICA’S BEST COMICS, the best material from the 1990’s run of Alan Moore’s ABC imprint from Wildstorm Comics; KAMANDI VOLUME 2 a complete story arc from Jack Kirby’s DC title; and DAREDEVIL featuring art by Chris Samnee as well as a script book with writer Mark Waid’s story. Simonson revealed that Samnee’s style was to create storyboards from each writer’s script, so the book has extra merit for those interested in the creative process. Coming in January 2017 will be a JACK KIRBY: FANTASTIC FOUR artist edition featuring FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6 plus some 1980’s issues of the title, all inked by Joe Sinnott.
Attention turned often during the panel to creator Walt Simonson (see photo below), who was celebrating his birthday, and was given the opportunity to speak at length on his current project, the RAGNAROK series. Simonson detailed the background and major plot/conflict of RAGNAROK, which grew out of his appreciation for classic Norse mythology. In Simonson’s version of events, Thor missed the final battle between gods and their enemies. He returns centuries later to discover a different world and seeks to finish things by confronting the Midgard serpent, whose survival prevented the end of everything from occurring.
The first series arc is now available in a hardcover edition, entitled RAGNAROK: LAST GOD STANDING. Simonson is currently at work on the second story arc in the series, where The Lord Of The Dead learns of Thor’s survival and hires a skilled Black Elf assassin. He plans to also incorporate some themes from the historical Lithuanian Hill of Crosses in this storyline. Simonson is enjoying the project immensely, and confided that “I can really dig and go deep into Norse mythology in a way I couldn’t when writing THOR for Marvel."
Other projects announced by Goldstein and Wood include:
* A follow-up limited series to the recent popular BATMAN / TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES featuring art done in the animated style of both series. Goldstein commented on the popularity as well as cooperation from DC on these cross-overs and announced a new STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN mini-series as well as two more (one has been finalized, the other is in development).
* MISFITS, a companion book to GEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS. The Misfits are another band of female musicians, a dark counterpoint to the lighter Holograms (think Rolling Stones versus Beatles).
*MARCH, the biography of Congressman John Lewis, described by Wood as “a 76-year old icon of the civil rights movement” just entered it’s fourth consecutive week on the New York Times Best-Seller list of graphic novels. The three-volume series finished in the #1, 2, and 3 positions. Goldstein called MARCH, published through sister company Top Shelf, “one of the great non-fiction graphic novels of all time.” He complimented the story-telling abilities of both the writer and artist who worked with Lewis in putting the books together.
* After nearly 25 years, newspaper comic strip writer/artist Berkeley Breathed returned in July 2015 with new strips which he posted to a Facebook page. IDW will compile the new strips in a softcover collection for late September-October release, titled BLOOM COUNTY: EPISODE XI - A NEW HOPE.
* Another newspaper comic strip creator, Tom Tomorrow (a.k.a. Dan Perkins) will see his collection published by IDW, titled CRAZY IS THE NEW NORMAL and very timely, considering the current political mash-up. It covers his complete works, and is scheduled to debut before the holidays.
* SUPER WEIRD HEROES is an anthology of the “most obscure and weird” heroes from the Golden Age of Comics.
* WHO KILLED KURT COBAIN by French artist/creator Nicholas Otero deals with the suicide note that Cobain (of grunge band Nirvana) wrote to an imaginary friend. Per Wood, it’s an “interesting, unique and different take” on those events, telling the life and demise of Cobain through the perspective of the imaginary friend.
* IDW will publish a script book of author Joe Hill’s TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, the remake of the tv show that Hollywood producers later abandoned. IDW will also collect the current comic series in a graphic novel in spring 2017. Also look for LOCKE & KEY: SMALL WORLD in December 2016, a one-shot re-uniting Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriquez, continuing with another new tale from the characters they made popular.
IMAGES FEATURED BELOW:
President and COO GREG GOLDSTEIN.
VP of Marketing DIRK WOOD.
Cover art for the STAR TREK series.