Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Preview-ing Comic Books 101

After what seemed like forever (to me, since I started writing the book in January 2008, and probably to you, since I started talking about it here and elsewhere soon after), COMIC BOOKS 101, the prose-with-tons-of-illustrations book I co-wrote with Scott Tipton and have been pre-order hawking through the sidebar ad here, is finally being offered in Diamond's Previews catalog as of tomorrow (page 317 of tomorrow's catalog--details below in the text of the official press release we sent around tonight). Sure, check out what IDW's got to offer in the catalog for June release, but I'd also ask that you dig a bit deeper into this one, to check out what we have to offer here. Or just read on...


The Book, Due in June and co-written by Chris Ryall and Scott Tipton, features Contributions from Many Entertainment Luminaries

(San Diego, March 31, 2009) – Chris Ryall, IDW Publishing’s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, and Scott Tipton, comics101.com’s founder, are proud to announce the May release of Comic Books 101, available for pre-order in Diamond's Previews catalog being released to comics shops tomorrow, April 1.

Comic Books 101, coming from IMPACT Books, is a 288-page prose-with-illustrations primer to the comic-book industry. The book serves as an overview to the industry, discussing:

- the history of comics
- the top publishers
- most popular characters
- pioneering creators
- a full rundown of Hollywood movie and TV adaptations.

The material is presented through prose chapters, personal asides, anecdotes and sidebars, and contributions from comic-book luminaries, and features over 100 full-color illustrations detailing historic moments, characters, covers and creators.

Comic Books 101 is the natural outgrowth of the long-running Comics 101 column run by Scott Tipton at the Web site of the same name. The weekly column has been running since its launch at Kevin Smith’s Movie Poop Shoot.com site in 2004. Prior to joining IDW, Ryall served as that site’s Editor-in-Chief.

Comic Books 101 features an all-new introduction from comic-book great Stan Lee, and includes all-new sidebar contributions from Clive Barker, Joe Casey, Paul Dini, Joe Hill, Brian Lynch, Gene Simmons, Mark Waid, Marv Wolfman, and many more. Harlan Ellison contributed a brand-new, 1,500-word recollection detailing the first comic book he ever read as the book’s "outroduction." The book also features many all-new chapter illustrations and cartoon images from artists like Mark Engblom, David Messina, and Nick Roche, dozens upon dozens of images of classic covers, characters, and creators, and a cover by Locke & Key artist Gabriel Rodriguez.

“It’s been a pleasure to assemble Comic Books 101 for many reasons, not least of which was the chance to get recollections and remembrances from so many creators we’ve long admired,” said 101 co-writer Chris Ryall. “The book offers plenty of entertaining stories for longtime fans as well as offering new fans or comic-curious folks an easy, illustrated intro to all facets of the industry. If you want to know who Western Publishing is, where Superman—and his creators—came from, the different types of manga, the differences between a comic and a graphic novel or which TV and movie adaptations were the best and the worst, all of that and so much more is right here in this book.”

“The motivation behind the column has always been a simple one,” asserted 101 co-writer Tipton. “Introduce new readers to the world of comics with entertaining history lessons that celebrate both the grand and the goofy, the silly and the sublime. Comic Books 101 allows us to take that philosophy to the next step, with both a more detailed historical approach and 'Guest Lectures' from some of the biggest names in comics and popular culture.”

Comic Books 101, ISBN: 978-1-60061-187-2, is a 288-page, 8” x 8” softcover book with a retail price of $22.99. It is available for pre-order through the April '09 Diamond Previews catalog (page 317, Diamond order code APR09 1125) or at Amazon.com.

Complete Comic Books 101 PDF or galley available upon review request.

The Spotlight finally shines on Cliffjumper

A TRANSFORMERS SPOTLIGHT on CLIFFJUMPER written by Shane McCarthy has been a lone time comic. The last--and I believe only--time the character was seen in our comics before Shane came along was in the background of an issue of MEGATRON ORIGIN. The standalone issue is coming this summer and features art from Robby Musso, also too long absent from the TF world. So here's a look at his cover:

as well as a variant cover by Casey Coller:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

IDW's new releases for April 1

Click the below links for 5-page previews.

Angel: Blood and Trenches #2
Fallen Angel, Vol. 6 TPB
G.I. Joe Movie Prequel #2: Destro
G.I. Joe #4
Skate Farm, Vol. 2 TPB
Star Trek: Countdown #4
Star Trek: Crew #2
Transformers: Best of UK: City of Fear #3
Transformers: Maximum Dinobots #4
Transformers: Spotlight: Jazz

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tetsuwan Atomu #2

As I prepare to fly off for the weekend, it seemed appropriate to show a new image of Astro Boy doing the same. This is E.J. Su's second cover for the coming ASTRO BOY movie adaptation.

Back Sunday with a list of IDW's releases for April 1, along with 5-page previews of titles like ANGEL: BLOOD AND TRENCHES #2, G.I. JOE #4, STAR TREL: CREW #2, TRANSFORMERS: MAXIMUM DINOBOTS #4, TF SPOTLIGHT: JAZZ, and more.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Tony Lee and Paul Grist's DOCTOR WHO: THE TIME MACHINATION one-shot--one more in a coming series of solo WHO issues--is coming in May, although some bigger news involving both creators in July is on its way soon, too. Until the larger WHO plans are revealed, here's a page of Paul's very well-suited WHO art from the issue, as colored by Phil Elliott.

ComicMix Tape

We announced today that we partnered with former First Comics founder/current ComicMix.com founder Mike Gold to bring to print the various titles Mike's released over at ComicMix. The news makes sense to us since we originally brought back JON SABLE FREELANCE and GRIMJACK with Mike back in 2005. But beyond that, it makes me personally happy since SABLE, E-MAN and other original First comics were my first real foray into non-superhero comics when I was a kid. Loved 'em then and I'm happy to be continuing this venture now.

And since it never takes much prodding for me to risk embarrassment and post old pictures I drew as a teenager with felt pens, this seems like the right time to show my ancient tribute to Joe Staton's E-MAN below the text of the press release itself. We'll be leading off with new SABLE, GRIMJACK, and HAMMER OF THE GODS projects among many others to come, but you never know about E-MAN himself, if I get my way...

IDW and ComicMix Join Forces

Renowned comics publisher to distribute online comics in print form

SAN DIEGO, CA (March 25, 2009) – IDW Publishing, a leading publisher of comic books and graphic novels, has begun an innovative partnership with ComicMix.com, a free website offering new and classic comics. Through this multi-year agreement, IDW will publish graphic novels, books and comics for ComicMix.com properties, enabling both companies to expand their offerings to customers and retailers, and combine their audience reach.

“ComicMix has a great line up of original and classic brands that are currently only available online, and despite the shift to the virtual world, there is still something unmistakable about reading a real-life book” said Greg Goldstein, chief operating officer of IDW. “IDW is known for producing some of the highest quality books in our industry, and we are looking forward to offering this to fans of ComicMix properties.”

Beginning in the fall of 2009, IDW will release trade paperbacks of ComicMix comics, as well as monthly comics, including many new stories that have previously been only available online at ComicMix.com. Initial titles will include GrimJack: The Manx Cat by John Ostrander and Timothy Truman, Jon Sable Freelance: Ashes of Eden by Mike Grell, and Hammer of the Gods by Mark Wheatley and Mike Avon Oeming, among others.

“This is a bit of a homecoming for many of us at ComicMix, because we have had a professional relationship with IDW Publishing over the past several years,” ComicMix Editor-In-Chief Mike Gold noted. “We’re honored to be among such first-rate comics and graphic novels. Quite frankly, I don’t think the ComicMix properties could find a better publishing home than IDW.”

The partnership with ComicMix allows IDW to distribute comics via mobile devices, increasing the company’s growing digital, downloadable publishing program, which already includes several major titles such as Star Trek: Countdown and Ghostbusters.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tribbles, Tribbles, everywhere

Today's USA TODAY has a piece on STAR TREK and the various projects associated with the movie. They talk up our own COUNTDOWN prequel and talk about its availability on iTunes (issues 1-3 up now, with the final issue in stores and at iTunes or for the Google Android on April 1). They didn't mention the fact that COUNTDOWN will be available for the Kindle II, too, but it'll be there as well, one of the first Kindle-ready comics. But they do also talk about some coming Tribbles toys. Which reminds me to mention that our own TRIBBLES project, a solo Spotight issue, is in stores today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Dru Talkin' About, Willis?

Once and future(?) Druzilla, actress Juliet Landau, is co-writing two issues of ANGEL, 24 and 25, with Brian Lynch. The two issues will look at what was going on with Dru when Los Angeles went to hell. Juliet recently did an interview about the project, the first public chat about these issues. So along with a link to her interview, it seems a good time to join her in showing a bit more about the project, in the form of Nick Runge's variant covers for the two issues. Franco Urru's covers will be forthcoming...



Trek and Trek again

The cover to John Byrne's final cover for STAR TREK: CREW #5, colored by Lovern Kindzierski:

And this little tease for another book coming in July, courtesy of David Messina:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Grooming Templesmith

Sure, this interview with Ben Templesmith is good, but really, I should mention that I'm really running a link to it here for the GROOM LAKE #1 review that follows the interview. How can I not run a piece that states:

"Chris Ryall’s writing is nothing short of fantastic. Ryall’s timing is impeccable, and creativity boundless, two characteristics usually attributed to comedians but certainly appreciated in the world of comics. It is clear that IDW has the right guy running the show, who better than someone who clearly understands the medium so well."

But I'm sure the book's New York Times best-selling artist also said some interesting things in the interview, too... full link is here.

The book got reviewed at Newsarama.com's Best Shots column today, too:
"Groom Lake is an exercise in paranoia and horror. It is lushly illustrated, with a punchy script. Truth be told, read this issue and you might laugh. Funny stuff goes down when humans meet the otherwise. But Chris Ryall and Ben Templesmith did better than make a funny comic, they made a damn good one."

And finally, the book got a nice review at the Girls Entertainment Network, too. GROOM LAKE--strong enough for a man, entertaining enough for a woman.

Wizard magazine now realizes what we've long known

In the new issue of WIZARD magazine (#211, May 2009), they have a feature entitled "Rising Stars" that looks at 25 hot new artists. One of whom will be very familiar to readers of LOCKE & KEY, CLIVE BARKER'S THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW, BEOWULF, LAND OF THE DEAD, CSI... and even the book cover for COMIC BOOKS 101 that's shown in the clickable link to the right. Way to go, Gabe. Or is that "way to go, Wizard," for finally catching on to the great work Gabriel's been doing for pretty much our entire decade of existence?

Under the Gunn

Let's start the week off with Nick Runge's variant cover art for ANGEL 23, the special Gunn issue by Brian Lynch and Franco Urru:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

IDW's rew releases+previews for March 25

Click the below links for 5-page previews of those issues.

Desperadoes Omnibus TPB
G.I. Joe: Origins #2
Spaghetti Bros, Vol. 3 HC
Star Trek Alien Spotlight: Tribbles
Star Trek: Mission's End #1
Star Trek TNG: Last Generation #5
Terminator: Salvation Movie Prequel #3
Transformers: All Hail Megatron #9
Transformers: Beast Wars Omnibus TPB
Transformers: Alliance #4

Friday, March 20, 2009

That's now "NY Times Bestselling Mr. Templesmith" to you...

Ben's WORMWOOD GENTLEMAN CORPSE book made the New York Times Graphic Books Best Seller List for the week of March 14.

The Waiting is the hardest part

Before writer Sean McKeever went on to acclaim at Marvel and DC for books like BIRDS OF PREY TEEN TITANS, he produced a more personal series called THE WAITING PLACE for Slave Labor Graphics. The series, a teen drama, ran from 1997-2002 and got lots of acclaim but has never been fully collected into one volume. Come this fall, we're going to change that, with a trade paperback collection of the entire WAITING PLACE story, including some new pages from Sean and artist Mike Norton. Mike also produced an all-new cover for this volume, shown here. The book's coming in September.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yo, Co...bra

The reviews for the first issue of our G.I. JOE: COBRA miniseries have been alternating between glowing and outright raving, too. Here's a sampling:

"G.I. Joe fans get a peek behind the curtain of the world’s deadliest terrorist organization in this, the third book in IDW’s relaunch of the franchise: G.I. Joe: Cobra #1. Unlike the other Joe titles, this book isn’t all about crazy high-tech weaponry and state-of-the-art anti-terrorist tactics; it’s down and dirty undercover stuff. Seedy locales and even seedier people. It’s about Cobra!

It turns out this was the G.I. Joe comic I’d waited my whole life for and I didn’t even know it. At no point does this book feel like a tie-in to a toy line. Actually, it doesn’t even feel like a G.I. Joe book! It felt more like something along the lines of 24 or The Departed. The issue had a lot of personality and backstory packed into it."


Issue 2 is in stores on April 15.

Caught in the TrekWeb

STAR TREK site had glowing things to say about both of our new STAR TREK releases this week.

First up, about John Byrne's solo tour de force on CREW #1, they said:

"The best compliment I can give to this book is that it made me want to watch its source material as soon as I was done. This feels like original Trek... I felt like I did when I first discovered Star Trek in the early 1970s. If you like the orginal series, you're going to like this. Thank you, John Byrne and everyone else! Overall grade: A+"

Read the entire STAR TREK: CREW #1 review here.

And about the third issue of our STAR TREK movie prequel, COUNTDOWN, they said:

"Gorgeously executed and horrifying at once. After going through this issue, and Messina's previous work, shouldn't there be an Eisner Award for best licensed artwork not orginating in comic form?"

Read the entire COUNTDOWN #3 review here. And then go pick up the entire issue for $0.99 at iTunes right now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hooking 'em when they're young is the other half of the battle

In New York, we showed a few quick slides of an upcoming G.I. JOE children's picture book/graphic novel hybrid that were doing in July, but that's really been the extent of images we've shown. So here's a more detailed look at the book, which is aimed squarely at early readers (4-7-year-olds. Those kids love their guns-n-grenades, so who are we to deny them that? Even if the grenades might not make it onto the final printed pages).

This book, like the TRANSFORMERS: I AM OPTIMUS PRIME book coming in May, take the format of a typical childrens' picture book, a square, hardcover-with-dustjacket book with lush, colorful pages, and merges it with comic-book sensibilities, adding in panels and dialogue and telling a fun story for kids. It's timed to hit ahead of the movie, and since many of these kids will find their way into the movie, this is a good introduction for kids. The story's written by IDW editor Andy Schmidt and illustrated by our ASTRO BOY movie prequel artist, Diego Jourdan and Gaston Souto.

The cover image and art is still being finalized so there could be small tweaks to all of this, but the characters are all based on the Combat Heroes toys so hopefully they look familiar to the kids.

Locke & Key swipe file?


From last night's COLBERT REPORT on Comedy Central:

Hmm... perhaps Colbert, who's always been comic book-friendly, is a big fan. Or did he somehow get his hands on the Locke family's Head Key itself? He did just had Neil Gaiman on his show, now it's time to get Joe Hill on there to talk about open skulls, magic keys and other such things.

Star Trek: Countdown teaser trailer

David Messina, artist on our STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN movie prequel series (and artist of an as-yet-unannounced follow-up project launching in July), put together with a friend this unofficial trailer for the comic book. Issue 3's in stores today, and if you scroll down, you'll see a bit about the first three issues now being available for download at iTunes. Now, enjoy the multimedia skills of David and friends:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's only sold out if you don't own an iPod

Just made available today at the iTunes App store are the first three issues of our sold-out STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN movie prequel comic. Issue 3's out in comics shops tomorrow, too, so if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch and missed the first two issues, you can grab them for a buck each and then be caught up by the time your LCS opens tomorrow. Incidentally, this is the first time a new comic has been available on iTunes the same day as release in comics shops.

Groom Tweet-review Contest #1

GROOM LAKE #1 is out tomorrow, March 18, and I decided to have an easy contest for anyone who reads the issue and is also on Twitter. Tomorrow, I'll post an official entry Tweet at my Twitter page. The rules will be simple:

1. Buy GROOM LAKE #1*
2. Post a reply to my official contest tweet coming in the morning
2A. The reply should be the most interesting review of the issue you can muster.
3. The most interesting Tweet, as judged by me with no more criteria than I'm looking to be amused in less than 140 characters, will a copy of the Signed Edition signed by Ben Templesmith and myself.

*Don't ask me how but I'll know if you skip this step and just try to review the comic without actually reading it. Also, you must pretend to be at least 18 to win.

Update 3.18.09:
The contest is now over, but out of it came a nice longer review of issue 1, right here.


Monday, March 16, 2009

The Cooke of Last Resort

In July, we're launching a new series written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray and featuring painted artwork by Giancarlo Caracuzzo. Details about the story will follow, but for now, let me just tease the series by showing issue one's variant cover by Darwyn Cooke (Jimmy's better half Amanda Connor provides the other cover for each issue. That image is forthcoming).

July should be a nice month for Cooke fans since that's when his first PARKER graphic novel, THE HUNTER, is due, too.

Savoring Savior 28

ComicsRelated.com posted a long piece about the debut issue of THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAVIOR 28 by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Cavallaro, saying, among other things, that:

"It's brilliant. So far, The Life and Times of Savior 28 is easily the best new superhero book of 2009 and a quantum leap forward for IDW..."

Read the entire piece here.

Issue 2 is due in May. We went bi-monthly between issues 1 and 2 so retailers could really have a chance to see how this new series looked and how it sold through, but issues 2-5 are being released monthly and will further feature variant covers by guys like Shawn McManus, Kevin Maguire and Mike Ploog.

Magnum Opus

We recently announced that we'd be doing a complete collection of Berkeley Breathed's masterful BLOOM COUNTRY strip in a series of deluxe hardcovers. The final design for the books is now done, courtesy of designer/editor/Eisner-winner Dean Mullaney. And Breathed supplied all-new artwork for the center image on this first cover, too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

IDW'S New Releases and 5-page Previews for March 18

Angel: After the Fall #19 (click for 5-page preview)
Angel: After the Fall Vol. 1 HC -- 2nd Printing
Fallen Angel Omnibus TPB

G.I. Joe: Cobra #1 (click for 5-page preview)
Ghost Whisperer: The Muse #4
Groom Lake #1 (click for 5-page preview)
Jungle Book HC
Michael Recycle Vol. 1 -- 2nd Printing
Michael Recycle Vol. 2 -- 2nd Printing

Transformers: Defiance #3 (click for 5-page preview)
Star Trek: Crew #1 (click for 5-page preview)
Star Trek: Countdown #3 (exclusive preview at AintItCoolNews.com)*

*Formatting question: I'm trying something different with the previews today. Do you prefer seeing them all right here in the blog like last week or is it less cumbersome to have them just as clickable links like in this entry?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

First Rule of "The Cult"...

...you talk as often as possible about being interviewed at Chuck Palahninuk's official Web site, The Cult. A long interview with me just went live at Chuck's site.


It's the weekend, so what better time than to use this space in a more self-serving fashion than usual. First of three self-plugs:

The print ad for my coming COMIC BOOKS 101 book. The book itself'll be in the Previews catalog that hits stores in April, for late May/early June release.

Next up is the title page from the FRANK FRAZETTA'S NEANDERTHAL comic I wrote, also coming in April:

And finally, the opening credits page for GROOM LAKE #1, being released this Wednesday. Let's see if I'm the only one who remembers the old TV show I reference in the opening text...

Coming tomorrow, a 5-page preview of GROOM #1, too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Number three is so close, I can smell it

February Market Share numbers:

Our best February ever and the closest we've been to #3 before, too. So, thanks, everyone. This is great to see.

Groom in progress, part 2

Following up on Ben's blog post where he showed the process of putting together a cover, I thought I'd give a side-by-side comparison of my original script page for GROOM LAKE next to Ben's finished art. Issue 1's in stores on Wednesday, March 18. I'll be running a full 5-page preview of the issue this weekend, but here're pages 1-2 alongside the script.

Page 1:

Page 2:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Groom in progress

Ben Templesmith posted on his blog today images and a description of the different stages his art takes on the way to the finished piece. Go here and you can see how a cover idea goes from sketch to completion. All of which is another nice way to remind the world that GROOM LAKE #1 comes out next Wednesday, too.

AHM and S-28 Reviewed

From this week's "The Buy Pile" column at ComicBookResources.com:

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #8 (IDW Publishing)

Whoa. This series has always kicked things up a notch, but this month, this month writer Shane McCarthy stepped up his game so dramatically in scale that it's like watching somebody go from Pop Warner to the NFL. This issue leans on the IDW internal continuity but never actually makes you think, "wait, did I see that?" Everything you need for this flawlessly presented issue is held within these pages, from Kup's wonderful characterization ("That's where you think this is? That's where we are? Jokes? Pallin' around?") to the wonderful interplay between Bombshell and Starscream, to the brilliant elements called back from this series and previous ones ("I'm trying! It's too slick!") and a denouement involving Sunstreaker that's so big, so well developed and so striking a change that your TF fandom may never be the same. All with Guido Guidi, John Wycough, Josh Burcham and Kris Carter bringing the visuals in a way that's both so wonderfully composed and also so skillful in its visual storytelling that this issue sets a new high water mark for a series that was already kicking butt with both feet. Wow.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 #1 (IDW Publishing)

A very pleasant surprise, as J.M. DeMatteis uses a very crafty framing device to depict this impossibly powerful man solely through the memories of others, showcasing a man who spent his life trying to find the right way only to be killed when he finally believed he'd discovered it. If you liked the art on "G0dland," you'll like this as well, a less whimsical style but still very old school (with an indie spin) in its sensibilities thanks to Mike Cavallaro and Andrew Covalt. The scene in the nursing home is a wonderfully subtle moment, the disgust and surprise on the title character's face at the Times Square rally was well depicted and the pacing on this issue is so perfect that you could set a clock to it. Fantastic work here.

Transformers swipe file

When ALL HAIL MEGATRON launched a year ago, Apocalypse Comics in the U.K. commissioned an exclusive cover for issue 1. Artist Casey Coller produced the cover, which was inspired by Brian Bolland's BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE.

Now, as the series winds towards its conclusion in issue 12, Apocalypse is offering another exclusive cover, also by Casey. This one is inspired by an even more classic cover, John Romita's iconic image for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 50. No spoiler here, either--the cover is a tribute but doesn't necessarily foreshadow the ending of this series.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ashtro Boy 2

Ashley Wood's second cover for ASTRO BOY: UNDERGROUND, our movie-prequel comic launching in May.