IDW Publishing's first panel for Emerald City Comic Con kicked off with IDW Vice President of Marketing Dirk Wood by introducing Chris Ryall, Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer of IDW. Also on the dais are Sarah Gaydos, Jody Houser, and Eric Burnham.
Wood quickly moved on to announcing a new project from Chris Ryall and Locke and Key artist Gabriel Rodriguez, entitled Onyx, about a female cyborg from another planet, who follows a planet-destroying menace to Earth. A five page preview will appear in all of IDW's May comics.
"Gabriel just does an amazing job bringing these worlds to life, and he's doing that here with Onyx," said Ryall.
Ashley Wood, Sal Buscema, and others will contribute alternate covers for the first issue.
"We're pretty famous for our licensed books, but we're also doing an increasing amount of creator owned books coming up," said Wood, calling out Onyx, Walt Simonson's Ragnarok, and others, reminiscing about the publisher's roots with 30 Days of Night and Locke and Key.
Next up, Sarah Gaydos talked about Godzilla In Hell, saying "James Stokoe provided probably the definitive Godzilla image for issue #1."
Upcoming issues will feature work from Bob Eggleton, Ulises Farinas, Erik Freitas, Buster Moody, Brandon Seifert, Ibrahim Mustafa, and more.
Next, Ryall talked String Divers. "String Divers follow string theory, which you'll recognize if you follow theoretical physics, which, who doesn't?" String Divers comes from writer and cover artist Ashley Wood, and Nelson Daniel, and tells the story of adventurers who shrink to subatomic levels. Ryall talked to Newsarama about this series, which you can read here.
Ryall then passed the baton to Erik Burnham to talk about Ghostbusters. "Back when we started talking about the Ghostbusters/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover, and kind of as a back up plan, we decided to have them crossover with the Real Ghostbusters - so they meet themselves, and it ties into an episode of the cartoon for all those Real Ghostbusters continuity hounds."
Burnham explained the difference between IDW's Ghostbusters and the Real Ghostbusters, saying that IDW's comics follow the movie world.
"I wasn't sure how it was going to work, since Dan Schoening's art is already kind of cartoony, but he really makes it work."
The series is called Ghostbusters Get Real, and runs for four issues starting in June.
"I'm not saying that Ghostbusters is coming back because of us, but it's because of us," quipped Ryall.
Talk then moved to IDW's best selling Orphan Black #1, which reached 400,000 Loot Crate subscribers.
"This is my first licensed work, and the first time my name is on the cover of a book, so it's kind of crazy to see everyone reading it," said writer Jody Houser.
Cat Staggs provided eight different variant covers for issue one.
"Aside from Loot Crate, I think a lot of the credit for the sales numbers go to her," said Houser.
"We're seeing some perspectives you don't usually get to see on the show. I'm working with the showrunner, so we were able to work in some easter eggs for the upcoming season. It's cool to get a behind-the-scenes look at this world in a way you can't really do on a show with ten episodes a season," said Houser. Houser also confirmed that the comic is canon to the show.
Ryall announced that Ted Adams, one of the founders and CEO of IDW is writing his first comic, adapting Richard Matheson's The Shrinking Man with artist Mark Torres of Zombies Vs. Robots fame. "Ted's excited to be doing something on the creative front, since he's been so busy running the business for the last few years."
Up next is X-Files, "a property we brought back completely on our own," quipped Ryall. "We're still working with Chris Carter on season 10, and now they're doing this six episode thing which will tie in, and we'll continue doing more."
X-Files Season 10 features Mulder going on the run from the US government, who believe he has stolen government secrets. "Think Julian Assange," said Sarah Gaydos.
Ryall announced a new IDW Artist's Edition from Mike Zeck, which will include art from Secret Wars, as well as his art from Punisher, and Captain America, and a Miracleman Artifact Edition with art from Gary Leach, Mark Buckingham, and others. "You can really see what the artist intended when you see it like this."
Ryall then moved on to discussing Douglas Adams's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, which will start in May. "Since I share a name with Dirk Gently, I'm considering his haircut with the sideburns," quipped Wood.
"Douglas Adams was writing Dr. Who, and that went poorly, so he kind of took what he was doing on Dr. Who and switched it over to an original character named Dirk Gently, who sees these crazy connections in all things and draws these weird conclusions."
"Adams is really such a singularly unique writer, so I kind of had to decide 'Don't even try to come close to what he did, just do something that lives up to the character and the ideas behind it.'"
"We started out right away provoking people by moving him from England to San Diego. And it's not just cause we're based out of San Diego. We're also developing a Dirk Gently TV show, and the showrunner Max Landis wanted to set it in San Diego. There's a real fish out of water element, moving him from England. I just hope we can live up to the legacy of what Douglas Adams has done."
Dirk Gently features art by Tony Akins, and covers by Rob Guillory and Robert Hack.
Ryall announced new Zombies Vs. Robots with art from James Kochalka, Mark Torres, and other artists "who would never work on Zombies Vs. Robots."
IDW will be doing a month of EC tribute variant covers. Titles receiving EC variants will be Zombies Vs, Robots, The Shrinking Man, Star Trek, Godzilla In Hell and more.
Time for the fan Q&A.
A fan asks Ryall when Ashley Wood's Beautiful War will come out.
"That's a really amazing question," quipped Ryall. "There's twenty pages of Beautiful War all over the floor in his studio, and he keeps saying, 'I may have to redraw these.' I want Beautiful War to happen. I don't know when it will. But String Divers will ship on time."
A fan asked about how much input the owners of licensed properties have over the comics based on their properties.
"I think it varies from licensor to licensor," answered Gaydos. "When you start a relationship with a licensor, they're a little more hands on with the properties," continued Wood. "There's no way Tom Scioli doing Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe would have happened in the first year of our Hasbro license," said Ryall.
"A lot of it is just sending ideas and them letting you know what will work," said Houser.
Next, a fan asked about the Locke & Key TV show.
"It's in development as a film at Universal. It'll probably come out around the same time as Beautiful War," Ryall quipped.