NYCC ’17: Comics & Chaos At The IDW: PDX Full Bleed And Black Crown Panel

by Hannah Means Shannon

The IDW: PDX Full Bleed and Black Crown Panel at New York Comic Con brought us Dirk Wood, Shelly Bond, Peter Milligan, Tini Howard, Bob Fingerman, and Cassey Kuo.

Bond, who had a terrible cold, but was powering through, told us about the launch of Black Crown. The title stands for a “creator owned line of books that share a landscape”. It’s anchored in a shared landscape, with designed streets. Kid Lobotomy launches on October 18th, by Peter Milligan and Tess Fowler. The idea was the pair comics veterans with “punk neophytes” and bring influences from “different places”. All the design on Black Crown has been done by Bond’s husband, Phillip Bond. He’s become a kind of “creative director” for the line.

Bond spoke about the Black Crown Quarterly that’ll be coming out, containing disparate elements and short pieces. It will also have “regular features” include interviews, process pieces, and previews of upcoming projects. It’ll arrive in shops October 25th.

On Kid Lobotomy, Milligan said that many comics can be summed up neatly, but this is not one of those books. It comes from the “subconscious”, he said, and it’s “unlike anything else I’ve written”, even though it ties into his established interests. It’s a “gothic tale” set in a crumbling hotel. Kid Lobotomy has an obsession with Kafka’s Metamorphosis, maybe a “Metamorphosis Syndrome”. His father, the antagonist Big Daddy, has an obsession with King Lear, and those two syndromes clash, Milligan said.

Kid wanted to be a rock star or a writer, and the last thing he wanted was to be a manager of a hotel, but he finds himself in this situation. He has a “strange insanity” and he thinks he can cure himself if he acts as manager of the hotel, however, meanwhile he’s going through metamorphosis from kid to adult, Milligan said. He feels that somewhere in the “darkness of the hotel” lie the secrets to becoming well. The hotel is an extension and a metaphor for Kid’s struggle to find his identity, Milligan explained. It manages to be “dark, heartfelt, and funny”, he said.

On Punks Not Dead, Bond said there’ll be a lot of “trouble” in this monthly book, starting in February, following a character raised by a single mother who is raised by the ghost of Sid Vicious.

Assassinistas, writer Tini Howard said, is a “surreal experience” working with Gilbert Hernandez, and is a “Kill Bill story in a Venture Brothers world”. A group of three women whose job is to be assassins are our characters who operate “then” and “nowish”. We learn about their golden age as young assassins, and also about later life, 20 years later. A lot of them have kids, and some of their kids are in college, for instance. Dominic, one of the sons, just wants to go to college and be normal after being raised by an assassin. But he gets pulled in, too, when his college funds are being used to buy assassin equipment to rescue one of their kidnapped kids. These ladies are “baddies who fight baddies”.

Working with Gilbert Hernandez, who she views as a “legend”, has taught her about emotional or character-driven storytelling, Howard said. It’s a book about a “murder based family unit”, and Hernandez tackles that in a way that brings relationships to the fore.

Black Crown are having a signing at St. Mark’s Comics, tonight, Friday the 6th of October, which is the inspiration for the street where the Black Crown real-estate appears in the comic. They’ll also be signing from 2-4PM on Saturday at the IDW booth. Bond said she loves the variant cover program at IDW, and they have the opportunity to use 5th color inks, including metallic and neons, and we’ll be seeing those “in abundance” on Black Crown books, Bond assured us.

Dirk Wood spoke about Full Bleed, currently funding on Kickstarter, and it’s a 250 page quarterly hardback magazine and a “beast”, he said. The first volume lands in December, and will be 25 dollars in cost.

The cover for the first issue, by Cassey Kuo, was discovered by Ted Adams in a ‘zine from MoCCA Fest, and they managed to get in touch with her about using it for the cover. She said it’s based on the experience of playing TETRIS as a kid, and she “noodled around” and began to think about elements in her life in the same way. She named the composition “Clear the Blocks”.

The first volume has a long interview with Stephen King, and it was a tough choice not to have a Stephen King cover, but to Wood, when he saw this illustration, the elements of mystery to it made it a clear choice. Kuo comes from a background in medical illustration, which you can also see is an influence on the cover. Right now, she’s left that field, and entered illustration instead.

He’s working on some “deep dive” elements that are about “destroying the programming” of the world, Wood said. Wood previewed some art, comics, and layouts, for the upcoming magazine with “intense and fascinating” stories, and quite odd elements, too, like a story from Ted Adams about a trip to Cuba. It’s a “mix mash”. Contributors include Gideon Kendall, Rob Salkowitz, Bob Fingerman, and many more.

Fingerman’s watercolors being posted online of political figures “moved” Dirk Wood and will now be part of the magazine. Fingerman said they are “barely caricatures”, given the politicians we are dealing with. It springs from his feelings that politics became led by a “sociopathic, ignorant” person. Doing watercolors was an attempt at some sort of therapy. He tried to see the humanity in the faces of these figures, despite all, and he realized it was harder to draw them as human beings as grotesques. Fingerman did these images quickly, at 15-20 minutes as a time. Unfortunately, there’s no reason to stop doing these, given the political climate, Fingerman said.

Wood said that one of the things he wants to do is to create for comics what Rolling Stone did for music, in terms of containing really wide-ranging articles with “something for everybody”. It would be “disingenuous” not to have some politics in the magazine, since he wants to reflect the times. He has been asked if he’d include different political views, and Wood says that he would, and will in future. Mad Magazine is not “shy about its politics”, Wood observed.

Mark Russell is also a contributor to the magazine, Wood said, writing “history” pieces with illustrations, rewriting ancient histories in modern terms. His work will be “serialized” and run throughout, Wood said.