In a discussion that ventured into IDW’s publishing philosophy as well as a behind-the-scenes look behind licensing issues, IDW’s Chris Ryall (who just last week left the publisher, but this was recorded before then) and John Barber joined New York Times Senior Editor George Gene Gustines at the IDW Publisher’s Panel to provide a sneak peak of forthcoming titles.
Ryall and Barber updated fans on the rollout of their Smithsonian comics series. First announced in January 2020, the collaborative venture with the Smithsonian aims to build a library of non-fiction graphic novels around the cultural and scientific knowledge of the world’s largest museum. Coloring books will appear this fall, followed by the first of the line’s graphic novels.
IDW’s North American Spanish language books are expected later this summer. Locke & Key and Sonic will be among the first wave of titles to debut.
Speaking of Locke & Key, Ryall and Barber also announced a new three-issue offshoot that will debut in August. The setting of In Pale Battalions Go by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez is World War I, and the series will start in Canada and go global before ending at Key House. In Pale Battalions Go serves as a prequel to a two-part crossover with DC’s Sandman, with direct ties to the latter’s “Season of Mists” storyline.
The duo also announced two untitled Star Trek titles that will be based on the Deep Space Nine and Voyager franchises, along with an untitled Brian Ruckley-helmed Transformers book. Ryall also teased the second volume of the Parker Martini Editions, collecting Darwyn Cooke‘s adaptations of Donald Westlake‘s Parker novels. The second volume will include Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, a new tribute story to Cooke and Westlake by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and will street sometime in 2021.
In the Q&A session concluding the IDW Publisher’s Panel, Ryall and Barber answered fan questions related to a potential Sonic and TMNT crossover, saying that such a story was plausible, but that the ideas would have to pass muster through IDW’s licensing partners. A deeper discussion followed about the relationships forged with their licensing partners such as Star Trek and Hasbro. In reflecting on how licensee and licensor work together to approve and advance story ideas, Ryall had this to say about the process:
“Rules and parameters are what makes stories and universes interesting. If everything is a variation of ‘plausible’ at all times, there would be no storytelling drama.”
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