EiC John Barber took the podium to introduce a panel of Kim Dwinell (writer of Surfside Girls) David Mariotte (editor on Transformers, Sonic the Hedgehog and more), Zoë Quinn (Writer of Goddess Mode), Delilah S. Dawson (writer of Star Wars novels, Star Pig and Wellington), Cade Peterson (CEO of Midboss), Carlos Guzman-Verdugo (former IDW editor, current co-writer of Napoleon Dynamite), Elizabeth Brei (editor of Star Wars Adventures and Disney’s Descendants) and Sara Richard (prolific cover artist).
Barber called this past year a renaissance for the company, especially in creator owned comics. Barber specifically cited the wide success of Canto and Road of Bones in looking at creator owned comics at IDW.
Dawson described Star Pig as “what if your best friend was a giant space tardigrade who you could ride inside”. Vess finds her summer at Space Camp thrown into disarray when her shuttle is destroyed and she is thrown into the vacuum of space. Saved by the titular space pig, she discovers that the answer to the Fermi paradox is that Earth is a protected habitat because aliens LOVE Earth culture, especially the 80s and 90s. The series is drawn by Francesco Gaston and colored by Sebastian Cheng. Expect a lot of trapper keepers, beanie babies, and Lisa Frank colors, especially in Richard’s covers.
On the other side of the color spectrum, is Wellington, based on the Lore podcast. Dawson’s previous comic, Sparrowhawk, was based on a famous exchange between Queen Victoria and Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, so she was very much familiar with the noted historical general and councilor. When she and longtime friend Aaron Mahnke got to talking about translating Lore to comics, she knew that she wanted to explore this Wellington connection further. Dawson says that she’s reimagined Wellesley as “Ghost Busters meets Indiana Jones meets 007”, an “older gentleman in England who has a secret life as a monster hunter.” The stories are all based in things that the podcast has covered but it will explore them through a dark, gaslamp narrative that begins this December.
Though IDW has a huge reputation in licensed work, Barber feels that the “original bread and butter” of IDW was new stories like 30 Days of Night and Locke and Key. Looking forward, Barber feels that middlegrade graphic novels are the future and some of his favorites are the Surfside Girls books. Now, in book two – The Mystery at the Old Rancho, both girls can see ghosts just in time to discover that one of the ghosts on the beach has been spooked by a newly arrived surfer, who she swears is more than he seems. Dwinell has really enjoyed diving into Californian history with this series and exploring how California has its own culture and mythology. The book will be released through Top Shelf.
Brei spoke about Cosmoknights by Hannah Templer, calling it “your ideal colorful, gay space fantasy.” It’s been posted online as a webcomic, but it will be coming to your graphic novel section soon.
Barber then acknowledged the licensed side of IDW, saying that he dislikes that term and sees them as collaborative endeavors more than contract assignments. Snake Eyes: Deadgame is coming in 2020 from Rob Leifeld. It’s “Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow vs. everybody”. Guzman-Verdugo was the first to put Paul Allor and Chris Evenhuis together, on another G.I. Joe comic no less, and now they’re reteaming on a dramatically new take on G.I. Joe. As the series starts, Cobra has won! While you’ll see familiar faces there will be new Joes standing up and resisting Cobra. The thrust of the book is to look at regular people fighting against Cobra as well as the traditional well trained military force. The panel spotlighted Rithi Kay, codename Tiger. An ashcan was distributed to attendees for free at the IDW booth.
Sina Grace and Egle Bartolini are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion ride with a special OGN. The Haunted Mansion is essentially a retirement community for ghosts who don’t have a place to haunt. With ghastly ghosts from all throughout history making their home there, things get shaken up when a hotel manager named Sidney arrives and is interested in making people comfortable.
Brei took great pleasure in announcing Addams Family: The Bodies Issue by Zoë Quinn and Phil Murphy. The one shot ties into the new animated movie and releases in October, just in time for Halloween. Quinn has always been a fan and considers Morticia and Gomez the “ultimate married couple”. Unsurprisingly, this issue will be Wednesday Addams focused. Brei also hinted that this is not the last that we will hear of the Addams Family from IDW.
“Speaking of awkward transitions and characters getting their own movie shortly,”:
In issue #15, Sonic was infected with the metal virus which is slowly turning him into a zombot. The metal virus saga will continue into 2020. Issue #25 will be an extra sized story. Leading up to the anniversary issue, the “Crisis City” two part story sees Sonic working with Team Dark to save the city. Issues #21-23 are an interconnected story called “The Last Minute” The first part follows Tails, Tangle, and Whisper seeking a cure for the metal virus. Issue #22 will follow Amy Rose and her restoration forces as she tries to rescue any survivors that remain. Finally the last part looks at Sonic and his reaction to being infected. All three occur simultaneously, building on each other. Tangle and Whisper are original to IDW’s comics and now they have been announced as the stars of the first Sonic miniseries in almost 20 years. The series sees them investigating why Sonic seems to be committing crimes. Mariotte says that the Sonic comics are really fun but increasingly sad, however he thinks that it’s “sad in an uplifting way.”
Mariotte also announced that Tangle and Whisper enamel pins are now available on the Sega Shop.
Barber took a long and roundabout path to becoming a gamer, but in the last eighteen months he’s really dived in and found the medium uniquely suited for exploring new ways to tell stories. In this spirit he announced a comic continuation of Read Only Memories written by Sina Grace and drawn by Stefano Simeone. The series is set between 2064: Read Only Memories and the upcoming sequel, Read Only Memories: Neurodiver. Barber actually called Peterson personally to ask for the license. Each issue will have a backup in a pixelart style.
Fifteen years after urging people to Vote for Pedro, Napoleon Dynamite is back in comics to “Impeach Pedro”. Napoleon is in senior year when evidence comes out that Pedro might have cheated in that dramatic election. Meanwhile a city council member falls and breaks their neck, bringing a murder podcast who suspect foul play to town and they’re pointing the finger at Uncle Rico!
In much the same way, Denton J Tipton and Kagan McLeod are bringing Youtube’s Cobra Kai to comics in Cobra Kai: Johnny’s Story. Unlike the show, the comics can go back to the original film to look at things from Johnny’s perspective and, in Barber’s words, show why “you gotta sweep the leg”.
Barber was excited to announce the return of a character that he “dressed as before the movie came out, because I was super popular”, in The Crow: Hark The Herald by Tim Seeley, Meredith Laxton, Katrina Mae Hao. In the spirit of the Caliber Comics Christmas special, which featured The Crow on its cover, the series will be set over the holidays with the stated goal of making The Crow a holiday perenial.
IDW also shone a light of some recent comics based on real events. After the Spring by Hélène Aldeguer looks at the aftermath of the Arab Spring among a group of teenagers in Tunisia. Burmese Moons by Sophie Ansel and Sam Garcia explores the effect of the 1988 Burmese Revolution on members of the Zomi people. Rob Rogers’ Enemy of the People looks at the cartoonist’s final days at the Pittsburg Post Gazette before being fired for criticising Donald Trump in his own words and images. Emmanual Lepage was 19 when the Chernobyl disaster occured, twenty-two years later he ventured to the site of the disaster, resulting in Springtime in Chernobyl, a memoir and report in comics. These are all upcoming releases, but finally and most famously, George Takei was at Comic Con for the launch of They Called Us Enemy, his autobiographical look at the Japanese internment during World War II, adapted and drawn by Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker. Barber called the story heartbreaking, citing a particular moment when a young Takei, a Los Angeles native, sees snow for the first time not fully aware of the tragic juxtaposition. Barber said that the true relevance of the story grew increasingly apparant as time went by.
Sleeping Beauties is a surprising horror novel by Stephen and Owen King that’s being adapted by Rio Youers, Alision Sampson, and Triona Farrell. The panel showed off stunning incentive covers by Jana Heidersdorf. Brei called it a reflection on gender and the way people think of and act upon each other. The story explores an Earth where all the women in the world have suddenly fallen asleep and any attempt to wake them carries dangerous consequences. Brei promised that it would not follow the novel but rather find a new niche, overseen and approved by the Kings.
Locke & Key: Nailed It is the first Locke & Key comic since 2016 and it will be in stores in October. It follows the events of Locke & Key: Alpha & Omega and a preview was made available at the show.
Barber also hinted a new Black Crown project, an unannounced crossover book, and a collaboration between Joe Hill and artist Martin Simmonds but couldn’t say more.