The IDW Panel at WonderCon 2012 announced their gaining the rights to Judge Dredd, Mark Waid writing the Rocketeer with Chris Samnee, and fifty-five variant covers to Mars Attacks #1.
The panel got off to a start with the creative team of "Smoke and Mirrors", writer Mike Costa, artist Ryan Brown and magician consultant Jon Armstrong taking the stage. Brown and Armstrong were wearing matching "Smoke and Mirrors" T-shirts, and were dismayed that Costa had forgotten to wear his. Costa asked to be excused from the panel to change, turned his back to the audience and instantly was now wearing his matching shirt. Ta-da!
As Costa explained the premise of "Smoke and Mirrors", Armstrong walked the audience through an interesting card trick, using cards that every audience member was given upon entry. The trick was lengthy and involved, but the end result was indeed quite clever. Every issue of the comic features magical tricks woven into the narrative of the story, which the reader gets pulled into.
"Smoke and Mirrors" is set in a modern-day-styled world where magic runs everything rather than science, a stage magician from our world has found himself the only man in the world with no knowledge of spell casting and is using legerdemain to fake it. A precious young boy discovers his secret, and keeping said secret away from a visionary innovator who bears quite a resemblance to Steve Jobs is the bulk of the five issue miniseries.
Scott Tipton spoke about his work on the upcoming Star Trek: the Next Generation/Doctor Who crossover, and how matching the tones of the two series was difficult. Star Trek is Sci-Fi while Doctor Who can be more Sci-Fantasy. Who is more light hearted, while TNG is more serious, so the struggle was to find the humor in TNG and the drama and intensity in Dr. Who. The easiest of the two series for him to write is Next Generation, as he grew up watching the show as it was new. Riker or Picard's voices are always in his head. He struggles with ensuring that he gets Matt Smith's Doctor right, as he'll double guess himself as to whether he's writing a line that would be more at home from the David Tennant Doctor.
J. K. Woodward, who previously did Fallen Angel for IDW is providing the art for the crossover. Woodward is a fan of both franchises, and puts tons of references into the comic. Tipton will review a page and find little easter eggs.
The villains for the book are the Cybermen and the Borg. "Without giving away too many surprises, the Borg and Cybermen together are not going to be a good thing." said Tipton. He explained that while the two groups are similar, he had to figure out what made them augment each other, what are their motivations. Both are supposedly emotionless, but the Cybermen do exhibit more attitude. Borg are straight faced, just-the-facts. The Cybermen will get on your nerves.
Frankenstein Alive, ALIVE by the team of Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson is gorgeous. The book is serving as a sequel to Wrightson's Frankenstein work from the 70s/80s.
The exuberant Ben McCool spoke about the project he'll be writing for IDW about the Russian historical hero Alexander Nevsky. The comic will be based specifically on the classic film adaptation done in 1939 to much acclaim. The comic features art by Manuel Guerra, and will be an epic war adventure historical.
Jason Ciaremella will be writing a prequel to The Cape with Joe Hill, "The Cape: 1969" which will be set in the Vietnam war. The original series, adapted from Joe Hill's short story was a major success, chronicling the story of a horribly burnt out man who never really matured past childhood and has a cape with the power to fly. While the original miniseries which just ended this month had a perfectly fine ending, the success allowed them to go back and do an origin for the titular cape. The book is heavily inspired by Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, and the like. Nelson Daniel will be doing full art, pencils inks and color for the book, with flashback pages featuring the cast of the original miniseries done by artist Zach Howard, to tie the two series together.
The original Cape short story was what got Joe Hill on IDW's radar, as Chris Ryall read it and was convinced to contact him about potential comics work, which is what lead to Locke and Key. Jason Ciaremella's first comic was the adaptation of the short story, which was nominated for an Eisner award. Leading Ryall to joke that Ciaremella should have retired at that point, as he would have had a perfect percentage.
IDW announced that they had the rights to the Crow last year, but only now have announced creative teams. The first miniseries will be by writer John Shirley, who is known mainly for his novels and lyrics for groups such as Blue Oyster Cult, but wrote the first draft for the original Crow movie. Kevin Colden will be the artist, with covers by Ashley Wood, Kyle Hotz and original creator James O'Barr. The first issue is scheduled for July 2012. The series is set in Japan, and will be taking a different direction on the premise, being more than just someone dying and coming back for revenge. James O'Barr is also working on a separate Crow series, using ideas that he had been waiting on for decades. That project is still unscheduled.
KISS will be done with Chris Ryall and Tom Waltz as the writers, with Jamal Igle and Casey Maloney on art chores. Covers will be done by Igle and Nick Runge. Ryall is a gigantic Kiss fan, as is Waltz. Each two issues will be an accessible storyline, covering different centuries, focusing on Kiss as human characters rather than the godly figures they were portrayed as in the 90s comics. It's more of a straight forward superhero take on the book, which is why Igle's art, last seen on The Ray from DC, was the right fit. The first two issues will be based on Dressed to Kill. Scott Dunbier joked that Ryall is such a huge fan, he owns a Kiss Coffin. "I plan to use it as a cooler for now." joked Ryall.
Free Comic Book Day this year will feature Transformers Regeneration #80.5, the first issue continuing the classic 80s Transformers run from Marvel by original creators Simon Furman and Andrew Wildman. They will be picking up the previous continuity from where they left off, in the fashion of GI JOE: A Real American Hero with Larry Hama. Fans had been asking for it, and IDW resisted until they felt that their current ongoing Transformers continuity was established enough that both could be supported. "We give the fans what they want to see. Every now and then we like to do that." joked Ryall.
Mars Attacks #1 by the team of writer John Layman and artist John McCrea will hit stores in June 2012. There will be fifty-five covers for the first issue, reprinting the entire original trading card set. There will be a checklist provided, and a special box set so that interested readers can order an entire collection which will be in a box designed to resemble the packaging for the original trading cards. Sam Keith will be doing a variant for a future issue, but they believed that fifty-five variants was more than enough for issue one.
Following the success of the Rocketeer Collection and Dave Stevens Sketchbook will be a hardcover collecting the late creator's Covers and Stories, set for a July 2012 release. It will include work of his that is rarely, if ever reprinted. The topic then shifted to the next Dave Stevens themed announcement, which caused a cosplayer dressed as the Rocketeer to enter the room, but be shooed out by the panel because it wasn't time yet. The announcement was for the second Rocketeer Adventures anthology miniseries, with covers by Darwyn Cooke, stories by Sandy Plunkett, Stan Sakai, Walt Simonson, pin-ups by Art Adams, J. Scott Campbell and more.
The NEXT Rocketeer announcement was for the first Rocketeer extended story to be published since Steven's death. The cosplayer finally got to enter the room, made his way to the dais, where he took a seat. Slowly he removed his helmet to reveal… Mark Waid. He will be writing a four issue Rocketeer miniseries along with artist Chris Samnee. The series will deal with returning villains from the secret pasts of Cliff's mentors, and the growing threat of the agency that would become the FAA and how regulation of flight means that the Rocketeer's days are numbered.
Chris Ryall's trip to the UK in 2007 resulted in IDW gaining the license to print Doctor Who comics. His most recent trip resulted in their getting the license to print Judge Dredd. Fall 2012 is the scheduled premiere for a combination of new Judge Dredd comics, which Ryall hinted might be a remaining of the series in a similar vein to their current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as reprints of the best of the classic Judge Dredd comics. The deal was only just finalized, and no creative teams have been decided yet. Ryall has a bunch of talent in mind already, but also wants to see what talent he hadn't thought of will contact him with desires to work on the book.
A fan asked if there would be any more Jericho comics from IDW. Scott Dunbier replied "I'm afraid not. Today." The fan was reassured that if he liked Jericho, he might be happy… in the future.
Ryall decided to use the Lovecraft Mythos for Infestation 2 because the plot for the first volume had dealt with barriers between worlds falling, and coming up with what the worst things that could come through would be. Lovecraft was the perfect fit because it's dark enough that you can use it in titles that you normally wouldn't consider horror, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Likewise, it allows for a different twist on 30 Days of Night, where the vampires are while not sympathetic, not the antagonists for once. It also let him bring back Batboy, from the Weekly World News.