Hannah Means-Shannon writes for Bleeding Cool:
Hosted by Douglas Wolk, the Judge Dredd/2000AD IDW panel brought out a fleet of artists, editors, and writers included Ulises Farinas, Duane Swierczynski, Chris Ryall, Ben Smith, Keith Richardson, John Higgins, Michael Molcher and Henry Flint to a crowded room with plenty of impromptu applause from fired up readers.
Swierczynski introduced some of his concepts via slides on the IDW Judge Dredd series, including plenty of "backwoods noir" as well as crazed carnival scenes. Ryall said they've played it somewhat "safe" so far but things are getting more "twisted" as well as bringing back familiar faces, including covers by Ian Wilson. Ryall discussed a variant cover feature coming in the autumn including animation style art. IDW will be doing Mars Attacks Judge Dredd after a concept cover developed into a series. Al Ewing and John McRae are doing an "insane" gangster story with martians and Dredd.
Douglas Wolk and Ulises Farinas will also be bringing in Mega City 2 in their work that still exists in the IDW timeline. Some interior art showed that Dredd is working in a California-like landscape on his own with plenty of humorous contrast. Other upcoming released include a big oversized hardsized books of past work in black and white, The Complete Cam Kennedy.
IDW made its first US announcement that Sinister Dexter will be hitting the market. Because 2000AD is an anthology series, and Sinister Dexter has been running in the magazine for ages, this series will now take on its own volumes collected in the US for these "pulp fiction hitmen of the future".
Rogue Trooper, which originally included a juggernaut of excellent creators in the 90's, a future war style comic, will, as with IDW's Dredd, begin with classic material in a monthly comic, but also be introduced as a new ongoing series.
In other news, as Slaine reaches its 30th anniversary as a character and strip, many of its original comics creators will return this summer to work on the strip. Brass Sun, by I.N.J Culbard and Ian Edginton, set in a "clock punk solar system" that's winding down, will start in Prog 1850 in September. Damnation Station II will also start in the same Prog and month as a "space opera action adventure story" returning. Dredd Underbelly, a movie comics sequel, will start in Megazine 340 in September. Drawn by Henry Flint, the series will have stripped down text and have a story that's told quite like the movie with more of a viewer experience.
Strontium Dog: Dogs of War will be kicking off in Prog 2014 in December, and Ulysses Sweet, originally created by Grant Morrison, featuring a "brain damaged psychopath" for hire will be another new winter return. The IDW miniseries Judge Dredd: Year One has spawned a prose novel called "The Cold Light of Day" at the end of July as an e-book. John Higgins, working with Pat Mills, wanted their series to be "political", the first collection of which is available, and Higgins spoke about the upcoming second series for Grey Suit.
"Make a Dredd Sequel" campaign artwork displayed in the panel prompted cheers and shouts, and the panel encouraged fans to go online already and support the campaign. 2000 AD officially announced today that they will be supporting the campaign through print ads, and setting up an official petition. Michael Molcher said that they've been very supportive and happy with the first film and are delighted to put their weight behind getting a new film made.
The energy in the panel was pretty high, with applause for nearly every slide shown and series discussed, showing that fans of one series are as likely to be fans of the others as part of the 2000AD universe. It's become a transatlantic conversation in world-building with so many varied strips and series possible building on established strips or branching off from them, and their new incarnations as IDW are certainly turning heads in the American market.
Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress. Find her bio here.