UPDATED with a huge image gallery at the bottom of the story.
At New York Comic Con on Friday, IDW Publishing held a panel that celebrated its past by outlining a truly impressive slate of new offerings in 2009. Chris Ryall, Editor In Chief and and Publisher led the panel (and guided the presentation with his very own iPhone), which included J.K. Woodward, artist of “Fallen Angel”; Ben Templesmith, cited by Ryall as simply “dapper lad” (though fans would know him as the creator of “Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse”); Tony Lee “somewhat dapper” and writer of IDW’s recent (and much of its future) slate of “Doctor Who” titles; Brian Lynch writer on “Angel”; Scott Tipton also writer on “Angel," “Star Trek," and IDW’s upcoming movie adaptation and original new “Astro Boy” comics; Andy Schmidt, editor of “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers," Peter David, creator of “Fallen Angel” and relegated to standing next to the table because they were both out of space and he was scheduled for two panels at the same time.
Ryall got right down to business, revealing three releases celebrating its 10th Anniversary scheduled for this April and May. First is a cover gallery book featuring every cover in the publisher’s history. Second will be an oral history of the company, featuring conversations with many of the most important figures over the past ten years including luminaries like Clive Barker and Gene Simmons. Finally, an exclusive 10th Anniversary comic will feature all new “Fallen Angel," “Locke & Key," “Zombies v Robots v Popbot” (a new combatant in the Zombies and Robots seemingly eternal battle), and“Wormwood” stories, among many others. All the stories will actually be connected by the “Locke & Key” universe, and a special slipcase edition will feature that “IDW Key” itself.
Next up, Ryall revealed the company’s plans for their successful series of “Angel” comics, including both their ongoing series and other releases. Starting things off was the announcement that Kelly Armstrong would be picking up “Angel: After The Fall” series where Brian Lynch leaves off with #17, featuring artist Dave Ross on a five issue story. Brian Lynch then discussed his continuing involvement with “Angel” books in a series of specials issues, with “everybody dealing with Spike’s death, because he dies in [Lynch’s last issue,], and, he doesn’t really die, I was just trying to spoil everyone. You’ll get it later, it’s funny,” hinting at the conclusion to his run on Angel, perhaps? One of the more interesting reveals of the show was Lynch explaining how Juliet Landau, who played Drusilla on the original “Angel” and “Buffy The Vampire Series” television series, contacted him on Facebook about how much she was enjoying his work on the Angel comics. (To which Tony Lee interjected, “Juliet Landau stalked you on Facebook?” causing Lynch to cheekily admit he may have stalked her first.) This led to IDW signing Landau on to write two upcoming issues dealing with Drusilla’s reaction to recent events in the book and what Spike has been up to, with art by Franco Urru, who will be working on the bulk of the upcoming issues of the series.
Lynch will also write a story explaining Gunn’s mobility in a sequence during Armstrong’s story (he was comatose as of #16). “So readers are going to be like, WTF?” explained Lynch. “And then I’m writing an issue [where] readers are going to go, ‘Oh, that TF!’” John Byrne will also be writing and drawing a stand alone story of Angel in during World War I and is “doing some special things with the art."
Ryall then revealed that Spike would be receiving his own series of indefinite length. Lynch, who will be writing the series, described it as a “big, fun, comedy, romance, western, musical, cartoon documentary. With Spike.”
Ryall then discussed their upcoming “American McGee’s Grimm” series, written by Dwight MacPherson with art by Grant Bond. In the series, Grimm will be using his strange and warping influence on the world of 70’s superhero, funny animal, and even romance comic books.
IDW will also be putting out a series of “Astro Boy” comics by Scott Tipton (and featuring some fantastic looking covers by Ashley Wood), including the adaptation of the upcoming movie with art by E.J. Su.
Next, IDW’s expansive docket of “Doctor Who” comics was revealed, including a story by Leah Moore and John Reppion with art by Ben Templesmith. “Doctor Who: The Time Machination” will be written by Tony Lee with art by indie legend Paul Grist. Lee and Ryall then revealed that they’ve gotten the BBC to agree to an ongoing monthly series of “Doctor Who” comics starting in 2009. They’re planning it as a “season” that links the current Doctor Who continuity to the introduction of the new Doctor in the television series, played by Matt Smith. It will feature all new Companions so that readers can be surprised.
The series will be inspired by the feel of their popular “Doctor Who: The Forgotten” starting off with a story in 1927 Hollywood featuring Al Davidson on the art. “It’s the best fun I’ve ever had,” said Lee. “For anyone trying to break into comics, this is a testament to what relentless, non-stop, obnoxious pitching can do for you,” said Ryall.
“Star Trek: Countdown” leads directly into the new film, and will feature a story by JJ Abrams and the writers on the film with a script by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones. Running from January to April 2009, it’ll be one of the only pieces of “canon” that will lead directly to the movie, specifically its first two minutes.
John Byrne will be writing and drawing “Star Trek Crew,” whose title is fairly self-explanatory. “Star Trek: Mission’s End” by Ty Templeton and Stephen Molnar seeks to separate the Trek triumvirate of Spock, Kirk, and McCoy. There will also be a series of of “Star Trek: Alien Spotlight” comics focusing on Tribbles, Klingons, and Romulans; respectively.
They also revealed that IDW will be the first company to ever release an adaptation of the classic “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan” by Andy Schmidt and Chee. Schmidt revealed that because the original “Star Trek” movie wasn’t successful in its theatrical release, no one ever bought the license to adapt its sequel for comics.
Ryall then unveiled a series of upcoming releases with short glimpses, including Darwyn Cooke’s adaptations of Richard Stark’s “Parker” novels, starting in July 2009 with “The Hunter." There will eventually be four hardcover stand alone graphic novels when all is said and done. “Locke & Key” continues its current series, and in March 2009, Ryall and Templesmith will unveil their sci-fi title “Groom Lake." Templesmith will also be providing 27 chapter illustrations for a release of Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula." J.M. DeMatteiss will be releasing a new series “Savior 28” (“his final word on superhero comics) and Bob Fingerman will be writing and drawing a series called “From The Ashes," which Fingerman later described as a “speculative memoir” about he and his wife surviving a nuclear apocalypse.
Peter David then stood up from his chairless crouch next to the table to talk about the return of his series “Fallen Angel." It's being releaunched with a new #1, still featuring art by J.K. Woodward. The break between series was self-imposed, as David admitted it was agreed that a new #1 could help the book’s sales. Also assisting, he revealed, would be the first ever crossover of an established Whedonverse character with an established comic book character. Illyria will appear in the series’ first storyline and takes place, for “Angel” continuity buffs, during her brief period of depowerment in the fifth season. It deals with the briefly glimpsed original form of Illyria as well. David then absconded to his concurrent panel in another room.
Ryall revealed a new Zombies V Robots series he and Ashley Wood would be working on entitled “ZVR Adventure,” debuting in March. Each issue will feature three stories, one funny, one grim, and a third that combines the two. In August, IDW will be releasing Pablo Raimondi’s “Oxido," a series about “the most dangerous person in the universe.” (He got his name because he “eats rust.") In October, Chris Eliopoulis’ “Desperate Times” will be collected. Other upcoming collections include “John Byrne’s Next Men” (in a definitive color hardcover edition), “John Byrne’s Danger Unlimited," more Dick Tracy reprints, and a complete edition of Alex Raymond’s legendary “Rip Kirby."
One of the biggest announcements of the panel came in the form of the briefest of teases. Michael Chiklis, of “The Shield” and “Fantastic Four” will be “Executive Producing” a series called “Olympus." Zeus will be modeled after himself in this retelling of Greek myth, and Marc Andreyko was named as the writer in the series that should be releasing this Fall.
In October, IDW will publish, at long last, a definitive hardcover series of Berke Breathed’s classic “Bloom County." There will end up being about five or six books. Ryall thankfully convinced Breathed that there would be interest in the reprints after Breathed feared that no one would be interested in the dated material of the original daily strips.
Ryall also showed how committed IDW is to the burgeoning digital market, with their Digital Initiative of comics released for iPhone and iPod touch. There are currently 16 titles available for download, usually at about $1 a piece. They are also looking into possibly animated material down the road.
There are also more Obama comics coming, detailing the time between his victory and his inauguration and his first 100 Days in office.
After plugging a host of their own children’s books and comics instruction books from other publishers, Ryall opened the panel up to some Q&A.
A reader who wanted to know if there will be any more material featuring older doctors like in “The Forgotten” was told that a multitude of licensing problems made that a difficult and unlikely prospect. (Ryall then took a brief opportunity to shed some more light on “Groom Lake” which he revealed was partly a result of Ben Templesmith’s desire to draw “more crotches.")
Brian Lynch was asked if the recent development in “Angel,” where all of LA now knows of the existence of vampires, was in any way influenced a recent similar development in Dark Horse’s “Buffy” series. It is not. Lynch talked a bit more about his “Spike” series, describing it as featuring an “aimless” Spike running into all sorts of fan favorite and new characters. “Don’t take this out of context,” he assured, “but this is officially Spike: Season One.” Lynch went on to describe the irony of this definitive statement as any number of legal entities would never allow such a thing to pass. “It’ll be our secret,” he said to the crowded room.
Scott Tipton briefly discussed his “Astro Boy” series as a change from the sardonic “Angel” material he had been working on. He described the character as “10 and quipless,” even though he has machine guns coming out of his butt. When asked if there would be any other Tezuka characters making appearances, he revealed there would be some “tips of the hat” in the adaptation, as the movie features the same.
Tony Lee closed out the panel with a last minute reveal that his story “The Time Machination” will be the first mention of Torchwood in a Doctor Who comic. He discussed the need for more appearances of Side Boob in the IDW line and its covers, and with that, the panel was drawn to a close.