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Updated: 9 min 34 sec ago

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Categories: Newspapers

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WonderCon: IDW inks Gabriel Rodriguez; Buscema’s Silver Surfer, more

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 11:00
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Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez's "Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland," based on Winsor McCay's landmark newspaper strips, begins in August. (IDW)

Gabriel Rodriguez's cover for "Locke & Key: Head Games" No. 2. The artist has signed an exclusive deal with IDW. (IDW)

"Monster Motors" is written by Brian Lynch with art by Nick Roche. (IDW)

The Artist's Edition "John Buscema's Silver Surfer" is set to arrive in October. (IDW)

The Artist's Edition of "Walt Simonson's Manhunter" is due in September. (IDW)

Tony Waltz and Case Maloney's "The Last Fall." (IDW)

The "Star Trek" series' "The Gambit" arc pits the crew seen in the recent blockbuster films against the seemingly omnipotent, mischievous Q. (IDW)

"X-Files: Year Zero" tells parallel stories of the origin of the X-Files and its effect on present-day Scully and Mulder. (IDW)

Ben Templesmith's "The Squidder." (IDW)

"Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi Division" is written by Matt Smith. (IDW)

Acclaimed “Locke & Key” artist Gabriel Rodriguez is now exclusive to IDW, formalizing a long relationship that later this year will bear “Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland” with Eisner Award-winning writer Eric Shanower.

The announcement came on IDW’s “Greatest Panel in the Known Universe” on Saturday at WonderCon in Anaheim, where the two discussed the previously announced miniseries alongside a slew of creators with announcements, including Brian Lynch and his wild, hell-on-wheels one-shot “Monster Motors.”

The Artist’s Edition “John Buscema’s Silver Surfer” is set to arrive in October. (IDW)

And, in a panel later that day on the publisher’s highly regarded Artist’s Editions, editor Scott Dunbier, recently nominated for an Eisner Award for his work on the oversize archival books, announced that a volume of Walt Simonson’s “Manhunter” will arrive in September and one of John Buscema’s work on “Silver Surfer” will be coming in October. Simonson is also the subject of a 22-page Portfolio Edition of his 1970s “Lawnmower Man” with Stephen King, which is set to arrive in time for San Diego’s Comic-Con International in July.

“Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland” is a new story set in the land created by Winsor McCay in innovative and widely hailed early 20th century newspaper strips, but the child in the series is from the present day — and not named Nemo.

“I can’t claim that we’re as great as Winsor McCay,” Shanower said, “but I know Gabe is great in his own way.”

Rodriguez had similar thoughts about his collaborator, who’s known for his L. Frank Baum “Oz” adaptations at Marvel: “I think it’s very unusual to find a way that a writer could match the sense of magic and wonder in the original strips from Winsor McCay … and also refresh it with the point of view of a kid from this time facing that kind of world.”

In announcing the exclusivity deal, Ryall noted that it’s an arrangement more typical of larger publishers Marvel and DC. Rodriguez has long been associated with IDW, where he started doing licensed books like “CSI” and then “Clive Barker’s Great and Secret Show” with Ryall writing before launching the original hit “Locke & Key” with writer Joe Hill, and said he was humbled and sees the agreement as formalizing a relationship that already existed.

Of having Rodriguez on an all-ages project after the horror of “Locke & Key,” Ryall said the latter is “not the kind of thing you can hand to every 10-year-old. So finally now Gabriel’s artwork can be seen across all ages.”

The Chilean artist was IDW’s guest of honor, and the subject of a new Portfolio Edition that includes original-art-sized prints of some of his “Locke & Key” work. Ryall gave individual prints to readers who asked questions.

The publisher’s chief operating officer, Greg Goldstein, touted its push toward more creator-owned work.

“IDW is primarily known as a company with license-driven titles, and we’ve had some great creator projects over the years, like ‘Locke & Key,’ ’30 Days of Night’ and others, but typically if you ask people what they knew the company for, they would probably focus more on the licensed work we’ve done. The presentation today is really about showing you what we’re doing in the way of creator-driven titles.”

Indeed, IDW, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, is staking out the coming months for such series, billing four as “summer blockbusters”: May’s vampire title “V Wars” by Jonathan Maberry and Alan Robinson, June’s “Winter World” by Chuck Dixon and Butch Guice, July’s “Ragnarok” by Walt Simonson (doing a different kind of Thor from his renowned Marvel run), and August’s “Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland.”

“Monster Motors” is written by Brian Lynch with art by Nick Roche. (IDW)

Also in the creator-driven arena, Lynch’s “Monster Motors” reintroduces famous monsters as vehicles. It’s about “a vampire car that sucks the gas out of other cars and kills the car for life … and his name’s Cadillacula,” the writer said to growing laughter. The Transylvania, Ky.-set story plays its humor straight and also involves a mechanic named Vic Frankenstein, his robot assistant iGor and his creation Frankenride. Minivan Helsing? You bet.

“The more Chris [Ryall] and I talk about it, the more we come up with, ‘What about this? Is this too stupid?’” Lynch said. “I’m like, ‘No, nothing’s too stupid.’”

It will be drawn by Nick Roche, and positive audience response to the one-shot could mean more stories to come.

Writer Tom Waltz and artist Casey Maloney’s creator-owned “The Last Fall” is a five-issue sci-fi military drama due in July. It follows Marcus Fall, who served “multiple tours in a questionable war,” Waltz said, and returns home, soon after which his family is killed by a suicide bomber. But “the true enemy isn’t always who you think it is,” the writer added.

Also coming up: “Chicacabra”by Tom Beland (“True Story, Swear to God”), which is about a 16-year-old girl who becomes inhabited by a chupacabra-like creature.

In IDW’s licensed titles, there are new titles coming in the “Star Trek,” “Judge Dredd,” “X-Files,” “Borderlands,” “Silent Hill” and “Mars Attacks” universes:

– The “Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi Division” miniseries by writer Matt Smith follows his recent “Judge Dredd: Year One.”

The “Star Trek” series’ “The Gambit” arc pits the crew seen in the recent blockbuster films against the seemingly omnipotent, mischievous Q. (IDW)

– “Star Trek: The Gambit,” written by Mike Johnson and drawn by Tony Shasteen, is a six-issue arc in the ongoing “Star Trek” comic that introduces the crew from the recent J.J. Abrams-directed blockbusters to powerful prankster nemesis Q, a fan favorite foe from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and later TV series. Johnson told the crowd that in the story, which starts in June’s Issue 35, Q is the same old Q and sees the Leonard Nimoy version of Spock travel over to the new timeline and decides to challenge the Chris Pine version of Kirk on his claim that “there’s no such thing as a no-win situation.” Also, Q “thinks it might be fun if characters from this timeline meet characters from the original timeline.”

– “Star Trek: Flesh and Stone” brings the six doctors from all the franchise’s TV shows into a July one-shot written by Scott Tipton. The book is being done in collaboration with XPRIZE, which is sponsoring a contest to create a real-life tricorder, the medical diagnostic devices the “Trek” doctors use. And Tipton said the doctors will come together without time travel.

– The five-issue “Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s Original City on the Edge of Forever Teleplay” miniseries, which tells the feisty writer’s whole story — one that was abridged for the much admired original series episode — arrives in June. Drug use and all. Ryall, who had been pursuing the project since 2006, said the painted interior art by J.K. Woodward moved Ellison to tears.

“X-Files: Year Zero” tells parallel stories of the origin of the X-Files and its effect on present-day Scully and Mulder. (IDW)

– “X-Files Year Zero” by writer Karl Kesel and Vic Malhotra looks at the start of the X-Files, and how it affects present-day Mulder and Scully.

– A new “Silent Hill” story reveals what happened to Anne Marie Cunningham, from the “Silent Hill: Downpour” video game, before she arrived at the titular location. It’s by Waltz, who has worked on the games, and artist Tristan Jones.

– “Borderlands” returns in the summer with the same creative team that worked on “Borderlands: Origins” — writer Mike Neumann and artist Agustin Padilla.

– “Mars Attacks: First Born” arrives in May, by Ryall and artist Sam Kieth.

To a question about IDW’s Godzilla comics and whether there would be an adaptation of the upcoming movie, Ryall said the publisher wasn’t affiliated with the film. “We’re canon,” he said. He added that a new series is in the works.

And in celebrating IDW’s 15th, several creators who were with the company in its early days are back with new projects: Ben Templesmith’s “The Squidder,” Ashley Wood’s “The Beautiful War” and Steve Niles’ “The October Faction,” which Ryall described as a “Charles Addams-y insane family kind of book.”

The Artist’s Edition of “Walt Simonson’s Manhunter” is due in September. (IDW)

In his Artist’s Edition panel, Dunbier said “Charles Schulz’s Peanuts” would be out in the next month and a half, and “Jack Kirby’s New Gods” is en route from China and will be released in May. “Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is still in the works (the goal is Comic-Con), as the iconoclastic artist decided to design the entire book, down to the chapter headings. “Mike Mignola’s Hellboy” is expected in late June or early July. The Artifact Edition (which doesn’t have complete stories) of “Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen” is scheduled for later this year. “Classic Marvel Covers” features about 130 pieces by artists including Kirby, Steranko, Neal Adams, Frank Miller, John Byrne and Jim Starlin.

The “Walt Simonson’s Manhunter” volume includes the silent story that ran after writer Archie Goodwin died, and tales of other characters including Batman, Doctor Fate and Captain Fear.

The 200-page “Hellboy” volume includes the first five issues of “Hellboy in Hell,” albeit without lettering.

“Some people were complaining about that,” Dunbier told the audience. “But it’s Mike Mignola. It’s so beautiful I can make an exception.”

In addition to several stories personally picked by Mignola, there are the three earliest Hellboy stories — two four-page tales in promotional giveaways and one in Byrne’s “Next Men” — which Dunbier had to persuade the artist to include.

“Mike was a bit antsy — he wasn’t sure he wanted to have such old stuff in it,” Dunbier said. “But my feeling is: It’s historically important work. It really should be in there.”

— Blake Hennon | @BlakeHennon | @LATHeroComplex

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Comic-Con: IDW features Taran Killam, Walt Simonson, more

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