ECCC 2018: The IDW 2018 And Beyond Panel Talks Goosebumps, Judge Dredd, Star Wars, And More

by Noah Sharma

Editor Sarah Gaydos introduced the panel, including Jen Vaughn, Derek Charm, Andy Suriano, Ryan Ferrier, Max Dunbar, Paul Allor, Mark Russel, and Delilah S. Dawson

Gaydos discussed how Clue came to be. The idea came from IDW editorial, who pitched it to Hasbro. Allor was told that he could do what he wanted as long as he used the characters from the game, but not the characters from the movie. The result is a modernized take on the classic board game, complete with senators, rap artists, and fourth wall breaking butlers.

Gaydos also spoke about Goosebumps, saying that it hit one of her favorite genres, child horror; that kind of excitement of reading something you might not be supposed to see. Vaughn wanted to call back to the classic Goosebumps series, basing her story on “Say Cheese and Die”, but polaroids were already questionably relevant when the book was released. As such the story was reinterpreted as “Download and Die”. The story sees the polaroid camera replaced with a phone and the original cast replaced with a group of nerdy STEM girls struggling with the stress of adding a new member to the friendgroup.

Vaughn also wanted there to be a general sense of unease throughout the story. One way to do that was with colors, creating a pulsing teal and purple glow that appears whenever the phone’s power impresses on the story.

Mark Russell is known for his satire, which made him a natural choice for Judge Dredd. The story looks at how long you can ignore people and infrastructure before it bites you. The new block was particularly exciting for Dunbar, who sought to create something unique that still fit within Megacity One. Seeing an older, rundown block, was exciting for him. Russell and Dunbar would frequently collaborate on graffiti and background world building elements.

Andy Suriano introduced Cosmic Scoundrels, the story of a disgraced general and a prince/gigolo on the run from “literally everybody in the galaxy”. Suriano also adores background gags and tiny details. The project was originally a digital story, complete with many strange interactive details appropriate for a project from Matt Chapman, a creator of Homestar Runner. Translating that to print was a particular challenge and one that really fell to Gaydos’ determination to bring it to prints. The purpose of the comic is explicitly to be fun to read.

IDW has the rights to produce All-Ages Star Wars books. With Marvel producing the mainline comic, it was essential to immediately differentiate the two lines. Charm found Lucasfilm to be extremely supportive of creative license. Dawson spoke about the Tico sisters, calling them the heart of the Resistance. The Ticos are who we could be. Being the only woman with comic experience who had read The Last Jedi script, Dawson was the natural choice to take the Tico sisters story in Star Wars Adventures. It was also extremely exciting for her to show the sisters together for the first time. Dawson also spoke about her Forces of Destiny Rose and Paige story, saying that it was very much inspired by her childhood love of the Ewoks Adventure movies, or, as she put it “A little girl crash-lands on a planet and befriends murder bears!” This relationship between the humans and the native lifeforms was the inspiration for the Squonks.

Ryan Ferrier did not grow up reading G.I. Joe comics but discovered Real American Hero a few years ago and was excited to work within that tone and that energy. Despite this he did grow up playing with G.I. Joe toys and that informed his writing process on G.I. Joe vs. The Six Million Dollar Man, trying to capture the feeling of smashing toys together.  Ferrier particularly likes Tomax and Xomat and writing for Steve Austin, calling him “tracksuit James Bond”.

Based on the fan reaction to Star Trek: Mirror Broken, IDW is releasing a weekly event called Through the Mirror, where the TNG Mirror-verse characters will face off with their traditional counterparts.

Sonic remains very much on the horizon, with IDW eager to show the world their take on Sonic and co. Unfortunately there’s still not much to say but the panel encouraged fans to join the IDW Sonic facebook group and to set up a pull list, especially if they used to subscribe directly to the Sonic comics.

Gaydos also announced a new Orphan Black miniseries entitled Crazy Science written by Heli Kennedy and drawn by Fico Ossio. Set after the end of the series, it depicts what is effectively Cosima and Delphine’s first date, traveling around the world to cure the other Leda clones.

The first question came from a fan of Ducktales who asked if IDW would be interested in picking up Darkwing Duck for comics. Gaydos said that she would be very interested in seeing the terror that flaps in the night come to IDW.

Asked about Transformers, Gaydos insisted that fans should be reading Transformers vs. Visionaries, particularly pointing to the last few pages of the most recent issue.

As for the Ninja Turtles, the panel didn’t have much to say, but vaguely mused on what might appear in next month’s solicitations.

The final question was about what books the assembled creators might want to work on. There were a handful of Godzillas and a notable Dungeons and Dragons from Vaughn, but Gaydos certainly had the most interesting answer as an editor with the power to acquire series, saying that she would love to do a “1980s, Tim Curry Worst Witch” comic.

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