SDCC '08 - IDW Publishing Panel

Playing to a full room, IDW’s Saturday panel at San Diego Comic-Con featured a full line up of panelists, overcrowding the table and causing the panelists to take turns at microphones as they discussed their upcoming projects.

Panelists included:

Chris Ryall, IDW; Publisher and Editor in Chief

Scott Dunbier, Special Projects Editor

Joe Hill (writer, Locke & Key)

Darwyn Cooke (adapting the Parker novels)

Jimmy Palmiotti (re-translating Torpedo)

Ted Raimi – for FEARnet.com

Ben Templemsith

Steve Niles

Brian Lynch (writer Angel)

Gabriel Rodriguez (artist, Locke & Key)

Ryall welcomed the audience and after introducing the panelists, took the opportunity to pat the company on the collective back for their first Eisner win Friday night for Terry and the Pirates Vol. 1.

Moving on, Ryall introduced Diana Robina, president of FEARnet and actor Ted Raimi, who spoke about 30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust, the sequel to the already released short film, 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails.

Eschewing the prepared comments he brought, Raimi said that he would rather let the trailer speak for itself. The second part of the film can now be found on www.fearnet.com.

Moving on through his slides, Ryall showed a slide for a new Lock & Key issue, and then turned the mic over to Joe Hill.

Hill commented that when they started with Locke & Key, they weren’t sure if anyone would like it, and were prepared for the project to bomb. “I had a plan for first six issues, and if I had to there was an escape hatch for six more that would wrap up everything up and it would be done, but I didn’t want to use it,” Hill said.

People have liked the series, Hill continued, explaining that as a result, in December, IDW will begin publishing the ongoing Locke & Key series, which will run for 24 issues. The length and space will give Hill time to explore the house and all the different keys. “There’s a fairly dark back story to explore,” Hill said.

“We’ll do that for two years, and then wrap up everything with a final graphic novel,” Hill said. Rodriguez has already signed on for the next six issues which will encompass the next story arc in the series. And as for that ending?

It is a challenge, Hill said, because he hasn’t come up with the ending yet. “It seems to me there’s two great ways to mess up a story – plan for the ending, but then the story becomes a schematic and you’re moving characters around like chess pieces, and no one’s really alive,” Hill said. “Or you build it up and build it up and there’s no real ending there. I’m hoping we can go for middle route.

Moving on to Welcome to Hoxford, Ben Templesmith’s project, the creator said that, even with his proclivities, IDW is letting him do what he wants within its pages, and that’s a very lucky thing for a creator to encounter.

The story, as Templesmith explained it, is set in a prison for the criminally insane, populated with the worst of the worst that humanity has to offer. In terms of populating it, Templesmith said that so far, he’s yet to come up with something he finds to objectionable. “I’m trying to angle for something that I’ll say no to, but haven’t found it yet,” the creator said.

Referring to the sample art shown, which depicted a savage wolf, Templesmith said that, in the series it turns out that the inmates are the good guys, while the wolves – the wolves are the bad guys.

Look for an exclusive preview of Welcome to Hoxford next week on Newsarama.

Ryall then moved on to Epilogue, a new series coming from Steve Niles and Kyle Hotz, which will take Niles’ familiarity with vampires and add in a superhero twist.

“It’s about a guy who loses life and family to vampires, and has to figure out a way to live while being at war with them,” Niles said, adding that even though the protagonist is a vampire, he does have a conscience, so he tries to end up feeding on people he thinks are bad.

The October-debuting series will feature a new style of art from Hotz, according to Niles.

Ryall also announced that Niles will be wearing a new hat at the company coming up, as he will be editing Dark Delicacies, an upcoming horror anthology inspired by the horror anthologies assembled by the Dark Delicacies bookstore. The series will feature two horror stories per issue, some adaptations of stories that have appeared in the original Dark Delicacies anthologies, and some new material. Clive Barker was mentioned as one of the authors whose stories will be adapted.

Showing a slide from Angel, Ryall and Lynch said that the series will conclude with issue #16, but will lead into Angel: Aftermath in 2009, a new project with a number of different writers working on it.

Next up, Cooke spoke about his coming Parker adaptations, which Newsarama reported on here . In talking about the character of Parker and his love of the novels, Cooke said that he was slightly embarrassed when he started working with writer Donald Westlake because he had created the character named Stack based on Parker, and had used him in his Catwoman graphic novel, “Selina’s Big Score. Cooke noted that Westlake said that when he mentioned it to the author, Westlake said that he was flattered by the homage to his character.

Once again commenting on the art style he’s planning on using for the graphic novels, Cook said that the look is something that’s just more natural for him. “It just flows out of me like a river,” he said.

Continuing through the slideshow, Ryall announced a bevy of new and upcoming projects and titles, including:

Doctor Who: The Forgotten

The September-shipping Violent Messiahs collection

Pirate Tales by Dan Taylor. Pirate rats. Yes – pirate rats.

Pop Darlings of America by Neil Kleid and Dan Taylor,

The Dreamer (November 2009) by Lora Innes

Skate Farm, by writer artist Barzak (2009) “It kinda feels like a manga book, but much more cool,” Ryall said.

A Love and Capes collection in November by Thom Zahler.

Coming in 2009 – new collections of the classic Torpedo volumes by Enrique Sanchez Buli and Jordi Bernet. The new collections will be overseen by Dunbier, “re-translated” in a more proper 1930s style by Palmiotti, and designed by Cooke.

Palmiotti, his voice extremely hoarse from his Mortal Kombat vs DCU press duties the day before, professed a lifelong love for the material, citing it as the comic that broke him of his pure superhero diet.

In addition to Torpedo, Palmiotti will be writing, with his writing partner Justin Gray, The Last Resort, a story about zombies set in a Club Med setting.

Also coming from IDW, Peter David will bring his Sir Apropos of Nothing novels to comics, with art by Robin Riggs. The first issue, sporting a gentle Dark Tower spoof, is due in November.

Actor/writer Kevin Grevioux will pen the adaptation to Underworld: Rise of the Lycans with art by Andrew Huerta.

Savior28 by J.M. DeMatteis, which is, according to Ryall, the acclaimed writer’s final word on superheroes – a somewhat more serious take on a “superman” character coming to earth, and how he would be treated.

A prequel to Terminator: Salvation coming in January. Four parts, as well as an adaptation of the film by Jeff Mariotte and Don Figueroa.

Presidential Material – the biographies of Barack Obama and John McCain. Dunbier joked that IDW will soon be publishing Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton Presumptive Vice President biographies as well.

Speaking later of the biographies, Cooke lauded IDW for both the idea of the biographies as well as being a comic book publisher that actually looks to see what the public wants to read about, and then creates it, something which he finds commendable in today’s publishing field.

From Ryall and Ashley Wood – more Zombies fighting robots.

Finally, Ryall announced that sometime next year, Templesmith will start work on The Presidents of the United States a picture art book that will show illustrations of, and present a rundown of presidential facts that make them interesting. Templesmith added that the project is driven by his interest in American history.

With the slides shown, Ryall opened the floor for a brief Q&A.

Highlights included:

Yes – Peter David will continue to write Fallen Angel, and hopefully more Star Trek: New Frontier. Ryall said that IDW ill continue to see how far that can stretch David’s exclusive Marvel contract.

IDW is talking to a couple of other science fiction authors about adapting their work, and is also looking into adapting acclaimed, older science fiction novels.

John Byrne is dying to do more Assignment Earth Ryall said, but has many, many Star Trek and other ideas he’s anxious to get out as well.

Finally Ryall addressed a fan question about IDW’s Doctor Who license, noting that IDW can only sell the comics in the US, and that Who fans outside of the country may have to find other means to acquire them. Also, the publisher is having discussions about Torchwood as well.

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