Saturday, February 27, 2010

Killing Mario Acevedo's Cobra

In May, we’re launching a new miniseries called KILLING THE COBRA: CHINATOWN TROLLOP. It’s written by novelist Mario Acevedo, who is bringing his vampire P.I. character, Felix Gomez, to comics with this series. Gomez has been the star of five novels by Acevedo: THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS, THE UNDEAD KAMA SUTRA, X-RATED BLOODSUCKERS, JAILBAIT ZOMBIE, and WEREWOLF SMACKDOWN (in stores next Tuesday, March 9, and reviewed by Publishers Weekly here).

Felix Gomez is, as mentioned, a private eye, as well as an ex-soldier who became a vampire while fighting in Iraq. In our series, KILLING THE COBRA, scripted by Acevedo himself and illustrated by Alberto Dose (with Dose and Pinturero on covers), the story spins directly out of THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS (which Barnes & Noble selected as one of the best fantasy novels of the past decade). In the series, Gomez takes on the ruthless heroin merchants, the Han Cobras, and has to bring his new vampiric powers to bear to protect his lover (the titular “Chinatown Trollop”) and himself from these vicious gangsters.

Most of that information will be available in the solicits, though. I thought that I’d do something different than just give show a few pieces of art here. Since this is Mario’s first comic-writing effort, and likely many peoples’ first exposure to Felix Gomez, I’d ask Mario a few questions that tell you a bit more about he and characters and give you a good look at the series.

1. Felix Gomez, the star of Killing the Cobra, will soon appear in his fifth novel, but for comic fans unfamiliar with the character, can you tell them a little about what makes him special?

Felix is an Iraq war vet turned vampire. Currently he works as an undead enforcer for the Araneum, the world-wide network of vampires. His assignments pit him against government assassins, renegade vampires, werewolves, and alien gangsters. Felix is a macho badass with a skewed moral compass.

2. Your novels feature slightly salacious titles—which I’ll admit is what originally caught my eye when I saw them in the Sci Fi Book Club flier—yet the books themselves have more of a hard-edged noir feel to them than the Cinemax soft-core book I was expecting. The subtitle of the comic series, Killing the Cobra, is Chinatown Trollop. But in the case of this series, that title is more than an attention-getter. Who is the Trollop, and how does she fit into Felix’s story?

The Trollop is the beautiful Qian Ning, the love interest in the story. She is a former prostitute who runs a shelter for refugees from the sex trade. Qian is also a chalice, the term given by vampires to the humans who serve them. Though she lacks supernatural powers, Qian is a tough cookie and can handle Felix.

3. You’re writing the full comic book scripts yourself, telling an all-new Felix story, rather than farming out the comic-writing like some novelists. What’s been the biggest challenge in turning from prose to a more collaborative medium like comics? Had you always intended to try your hand at comics or was me approaching you a big left turn for you

Here’s the big reveal. I’ve been toying with an idea for a graphic novel for many years. I like to draw and paint, in fact I was a soldier-artist for the US Army in Operation Desert Storm. But as I write full-time, I couldn’t make the opportunity to draw as I wanted to. I was in the process of finally knuckling down--studying a bunch of comic how-to books and Frank Miller’s Sin City series--and work on my graphic novel when IDW contacted me.

The biggest challenge has been conceiving of a plotline that carries well in the comic book format. It’s been interesting learning how to balance the visual, dialog, and exposition. I enjoy writing the scripts very much.

4. You’re gifted with Alberto Dose on art. My past experiences with Alberto shows me how fully he immerses himself in a story and its environment. He brought 1950s Cuba to life in our Scarface prequel, and he made the old west of Desperadoes feel dusty and real, too. And now he’s doing the same for Hong Kong with this series. What was it about Alberto’s style that initially grabbed you?

Alberto’s samples embarrassed me to think that I wanted to try a similar comic venue. He is an artist with few peers and can render faces, figures, and perspective with amazing skill. His style makes for expert use of choreography so that the reader’s eyes are led through the story in a compelling manner. Then when I saw how he interpreted my script into comic pages, I honestly felt tears in my eyes, his work was that extraordinary. Alberto has the ability to take my ideas and run a mile beyond my concept.

We need to also mention Pintu, the cover artist (seen above). His design and use of color make for real eye-grabbers.

5. Finally, in addition to this comic debuting in May, you’ve also got the fifth novel starring Felix Gomez about to drop, too. What’s this latest Felix tale about?

In WEREWOLF SMACKDOWN, Felix gets trapped between rival lycanthrope clans in Charleston, SC, and the impending rumble could doom the supernatural world.

6. Finally… STEAMPUNK BANDITOS. An all-new series that we're talking about now. Should we tease readers at all with a few words about this one…?

The year is 1902 in an alternate universe of distorted political geography, fantastic steampunk technology, and a world struggling in the aftermath of terrible plague. Gunslinger Ernesto Zaragoza is hired by the notorious Chinese crime boss, Wu Fei: the Dragon, to find his daughter. Zaragoza’s assignment takes him on a horrific journey filled with treachery, murky agendas, and bizarre medical experiments.

Stop by my Web site on March 23 for the special two-day promotion of WEREWOLF SMACKDOWN, as well as my blog, co-written by the fabulous vampire author Jeanne Stein. Happy fanging!

Alberto Dose's variant cover for issue #1:

Alberto's page 1 pencils:

Next up, his inked page:

And the finished, colored pages (colors also by Alberto):

Look for May's KILLINMG THE COBRA: CHINATOWN TROLLOP #1 (Diamond order code MAR10 1011) in the March Previews catalog!

And a little Mario/vampire bonus for you:

Friday, February 26, 2010

The plan, coming together

A couple pieces of John K. Snyder III's final cover for the A-TEAM: SHOTGUN WEDDING TPB. B.A. to come...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Once more, into the Transforming fray

For some reason, whenever I post anything Transformers-related here, it seems to incite people, leading to some heated discussions. I'm not saying this like it's bad, because I welcome it, and I like that people care enough about what we're doing and about these characters to be so vehement in their opinions. But this time around, I'm here to run what seems like pretty universal praise for TRANSFORMERS #4, at least if these four threads speak for most readers. You're welcome to post dissenting opinions or anything else, but at least for this issue, we do seem to be winning some of you over. Always nice to see that.

IDW Publishing forums

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Yes, wonderful things."

That quote from Howard Carter, uttered upon discovering King Tut's tomb and being asked if he could see anything, has always stuck with me. And feels very applicable here, when looking at Darwyn Cooke's wondrous cover for THE MURDER OF KING TUT #1, our adaptation of the James Patterson novel. The book weaves back and forth between Tut's life as a teenage ruler and Howard Carter's search for his tomb, and Darwyn did a masterful job of encapsulating all of that in a design-y and quite gorgeous first cover. He'll be doing covers for all five issues. Alexander Irvine is adapting the book, and Christopher Mitten and Ron Randall are splitting art chores on the boojk. They also co-illustrated a variant cover for issue one, which I featured here earlier this month.

Ashes to Ashes

Blog@Newsarama has a nice, long interview with Bob Fingerman about the collected edition of his FROM THE ASHES speculative memoir. Read the whole interview here. There's also a little bit of positive word therein about my WEEKLY WORLD NEWS comics from the interviewer, but go read the interview because Bob's produced a smart, funny book and is a smart, funny guy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On the Prowl

Let's all officially welcome artist E.J. Su back to Transformers, in the form of the SPOTLIGHT: PROWL issue coming soon enough. The first of two new TF-related comics that the now-father-of-three Mr. Su is handling for us. Colors on the interior pages courtesy of Andrew Dalhouse, doing his first work for IDW here.

I was reading some of the online scuttlebutt about this coming Spotlight issue, and the number of erroneous assumptions about what it is, what it means, and why we're doing it was impressive even for the Transformers boards. The nice thing about that is knowing how many "pleasantly surprised" responses we'll see after people read this one.

Here there be Dragons

Somehow online, erroneous word is going around that our DRAGON AGE comic with EA Games is going to be delayed until April. It's not true at all--it's a March title, and will be in stores on March. Sure, it's the last day of the month, March 31, but it's not delayed or late at all. Just in case you see this elsewhere--ain't true.

Meanwhile, here're the original inks for Humberto Ramos' first cover, as well as a page of interior art from issue 1, too.

Monday, February 22, 2010

God of Thunder

Well, God of Lightning, anyway. The Sharp Brothers' cover for May's PANTHEON #2, the Michael Chiklis-Marc Andreyko series about modern-day Greek gods:

The Devil You Know

One of the new series you'll see in Previews this Wednesday is a new Spike miniseries called SPIKE: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. It's written by Bill Williams, who's handling the "Eddie Hope" back-up strips in ANGEL now, with art by Chris Cross. I previously showed a couple of Cross' pages here, and below is another one, along with cover artist Franco Urru's first cover image for the series.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bon Voyage, Demeter

One of the new books we're starting in May is a book called BRAM STOKER'S DEATH SHIP. It tells the tale of the Last Voyage of the Demeter and leads right into Stoker's novel. So, you know, a prequel hundreds of years after the fact. It's written by PUMPKINHEAD co-creator Gery Gerani, and has covers by Cliff Nielsen. Interiors are being handled by Stuart Sayger, an artist Bob Schreck brought to the project. I wasn't familiar with Sayger's work before this but check out these pages below -- looks perfectly suited to this kind of material. Colors by Dom Regan.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Final Weekly

Since I have WEEKLY WORLD NEWS on my brain, having just finished recording audio commentary for the Sony PSP version of issue 2, here're the covers for issue 4. The B cover is by Comic Book Idol winner Jon Reed, paying beer-soaked homage to a classic SWAMP THING cover.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

'Pon Further Review

A couple reviews of this week's books:

LOCKE & KEY: CROWN OF SHADOWS #3 review at, which said, among other things,
There isn't a single person I wouldn't recommend this book to. It's the smartest and most entertaining comic you'll find on the stands. If you still aren't reading Locke & Key, you're missing out on one of the best series out there. Period.

WEEKLY WORLD NEWS #2 review/mention at Comics Grinder, where they said:
This one shows pride in workmanship and that makes perfect sense because the IDW publisher and editor-in-chief, Chris Ryall, is doing the writing himself. And, not only that, the art is in tune with the humor. My hat is off to Alan Robinson for all the care he put into making this comic so much fun.

WWN #2 review at Pendragon's Post, where they said:
Weekly World News #2 picks up the fun of the first issue, following the further adventures of Ed Anger as he crusades to show the world their beloved freaks are not what they seem. Alan Robinson's art and Chris Ryall's scripts make this one of my favorite new titles.

Short and sweet ZvRA#1 review at
ZvRA#1 and GHOSTBUSTERS: TAINTED LOVE reviews at Every Day is Like Wednesday.

GHOSTBUSTERS: TAINTED LOVE also got 4 out of 5 stars at
Blog@Newsarama talked to Dara Naraghi about writing GHOSTBUSTERS: TAINTED LOVE.

STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE #3 review at, where they said:
I feel as though I'm in a lost episode of the series as I read this.

Major Weekly World Spoilers

A nice review of this week's WEEKLY WORLD NEWS #2 is up at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The World News of the Day

WEEKLY WORLD NEWS #2 is in stores today, for everyone who's been clamoring to see a "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" parody morph into a DARK NIGHT RETURNS homage.*
(*Not to mention references to Billy Beer, a LOLcats gag and other cutting-edge bits of comedic brilliance)
Art and colors by Alan Robinson and Tom Smith's Scorpion Studios, respectively.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No, *more* Wire Hangers

Alan Robert, writer/artist/colorist of our upcoming WIRE HANGERS series, was featured in a nice piece at Comic Book Resources today. In it, Alan discusses the comic itself, studying art under Walt Simonson, the affect his 20 years in the band Life of Agony had on his art, and more. You can read the entire piece here.

And don't forget about the WIRE HANGERS #1 cover contest--you've still got a couple of days left to enter and have a chance to win your mug appearing on the incentive cover:

Exhuming Tut's cover

I thought I'd break down a bit more the cover art that was sent around for the piece about THE MURDER OF KING TUT project we're doing with author James Patterson. The adaptation is being written by novelist/comic writer Alexander Irvine.

The book itself is historical non-fiction, and tells two stories: that of Tutankhamun's rise to power and early death; and the discovery of Tut's tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter in the 1920s. Since the two stories weave back and forth, we thought it'd be interesting to treat the two stories differently, with two different artists. So the King Tut portion in each issue is being handled by WASTELAND artist Christopher Mitten, and the Howard Carter sequences are being drawn by Ron Randall.

And taking that one step further, we wanted to have the first issue cover be something that combined both stories, and both artists. First up was Chris Mitten's portion:

Next, Ron Randall contributed his part:

Finally, colorist Dom Regan colored the image and composed the two halves into the finished piece seen here:

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Joe Hill Horns-book

(with apologies to Harlan Ellison for the paraphrased blog title)

Joe Hill's got a nice hat-trick of releases this week, starting today with the release of his second novel, HORNS. Joe's also got a story in a new anthology edited by Christopher Golden, also in stores today. And the third issue of LOCKE & KEY: CROWN OF SHADOWS is out this week, too. At least, it is on the west coast. There was a horrific accident involving the truck transporting all of IDW's February 17 releases to the northeast, so shops in that region won't see most of our 2/17 comics until Feb. 24 (the TPBs and HCs) or March 1 (the monthly comics).

This issue of CROWN has a five-page excerpt of HORNS in the back, too, for anyone who'd like to take a look before grabbing the novel itself (page one should be enough to hook you). And since the book is out this week and now the comic will be delayed for some of you, I thought I'd give you page one of the HORNS preview here. (The illustration on the page is by Gabriel Rodriguez.)

And let's not forget about the comic itself: here're the final covers of LOCKE & KEY: CROWN OF SHADOWS #3:

Some of the links above take you to various blog entries at Joe Hill's site, but check for more, including a good playlist that fits the subject matter of HORNS nicely. And keep an eye out for this guy signing books at a bookshop near you soon:

Making comics with James Patterson

The USA Today news went live a few hours earlier than expected, but here it is: the announcement that we've partnered with the best-selling author in the world, James Patterson to create comics based on his books as well as some all-new properties being created expressly for comics.

Other details to come--along with some good visuals like Darwyn Cooke's covers for the TUT adaptation, Victor Santos' great pages for WITCH & WIZARD, Christopher Mitten's first IDW work on TUT, and much more. But for now, I'll show the same two covers in the USA Today piece. First is J.K. Woodward's homage to the W&W novel:

And then the variant cover for THE MURDER OF KING TUT. This one's a sort of jam cover, with the top half featuring Howard Carter illustrated by Ron Randall, and the bottom "Tut" half illustrated by Christopher Mitten (which is how the art is being handled in the series itself, too):

The Original Johnson takes a swing at multiple Glyphs

The graphic novel we recently released in tandem with ComicMix, Trevor Von Eeden's THE ORIGINAL JOHNSON, VOL. 1, received four nominations for TOJ, and five total.

The Glyph Awards are designed to "recognize the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year," have released the names of the comics and creators that make up their 2010 nominee slate.

TOJ received four nominations, in the categories of Best Artist, Best Cover, Best Male Character, and Story Of The Year.
"It's wonderful to see Trevor Von Eeden's life-work receive such recognition," ComicMix editor-in-chief Mike Gold said. "He's been working on The Original Johnson for 15 years, and we've been working with him for the past three. It has taken an extraordinary amount of effort to produce this book, and recognition from the Glyph awards makes every drop of it worthwhile. We are proud to be associated with Trevor and this amazingly intense work. My personal thanks and gratitude to Trevor and to all of those who have been involved in the effort."

The awards will be presented at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia on May 14th and 15th.

The cover to Volume 1, in stores now, and the mocked-up cover for Volume 2, coming this summer:

And if I can also stump for a book published by a competitor, it's great to see Josh Dysart's UNKNOWN SOLDIER comic, one of the best comics being published by someone else, also receive multiple nods. Congrats to all the nominees.

Digging the Hole

At Comic Book Resources, writer Scott Tipton and artist Elena Casagande -- the creative team on ANGEL: A HOLE IN THE WORLD -- run through the entire process of adapting multiple TV episodes to a comic miniseries, including Elena's look at the progression of her art. Read the entire piece here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010