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Tag Archive: IDW Publishing


  

Review by C.J. Bunce

As you drift along through IDW’s new mini-series, Ghost Tree, don’t be surprised if the story evokes Japanese folk tales, like Momotarō or last year’s Oscar-winning animated short film Bao.  Unlike so many comic book stories today, Ghost Tree is not an action-driven spectacle, but a refreshingly slow supernatural journey into the past for a young Japanese expatriate.  His name is Brandt, and he is returning to the home of his youth because of a promise made to his grandfather a decade ago.  And that takes him to a meeting in the woods near his grandmother’s home.

Writer Bobby Curnow (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and artist Simon Gane (Godzilla) paint a delightful, engaging, and haunting snippet from Japanese culture, bridging two generations, with a tale steeped in the otherworldly realm of so many Asian legends.  Take Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo and merge it with something spooky that awaits in the forest–like something just this side of the dark of Kim Eun-hee’s Kingdom–and you’ll find the setting for Ghost Tree.  

  

It’s a journey of self-discovery for grown-up Brandt, but what more can he learn from his grandfather now that he’s gone?  Can he help the lost souls in the woods and take home lessons from his grandmother to solve his own problems?  Learning from mistakes and regret, a haunted tree, and an assembly of souls that are drawn to it, plus monsters, and disembodied samurai?  It’s no wonder the first printing of Issue #1 has already sold out in pre-orders.  What prompted the advance sell-out?  The description or that creepy character standing atop the cliff?  Whatever the reason, the first chapter matches the hype.  It’s coming to your local comic shop this week, and if you happen to miss it, don’t worry because the second printing is close behind.

Take a look at this preview of Issue #1 of Ghost Tree, courtesy of IDW Publishing:

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In the battle between kung-fu grip and the bionic eye, will life-like hair or better, stronger, and faster prevail?

We first previewed this crossover series here at borg back in February 2018.  Now the adventure series is available in a trade/graphic novel edition.  It’s a story that has been played out millions of times in the backyards of kids who grew up with both G.I. Joe and The Six Million Dollar Man.  It’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vs. The Six Million Dollar Man, last year’s crossover series from IDW Publishing and Dynamite.  Is this merely a crossover or also a team-up?  You’ll have to read it to find out, and you won’t want to miss it.  The villain is COBRA, and that infamous G.I. Joe threat and organization of evil has hacked Steve Austin’s cyborg circuitry to become a tool against Team Joe.

So it’s Colonel Steve Austin, COBRA Commander, Storm Shadow, Baroness, Zartan, and Major Bludd against Hawk, Scarlett, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Snake Eyes, Lady Jaye, Roadblock, and Ace.  But the good guys have more than one ace up their sleeve, as they introduce one of our favorite borgs, borg Hall of Famer, Mike Power, The Atomic Man.  Finally–a face-off between The Six Million Dollar Man and The Atomic Man!

This is as much about toys as comic book characters.  Pitting the famous 1960s-70s 12-inch tall Hasbro “fighting man” G.I. Joe team (or small-scale figures, or animated series, if you prefer) with Adventure Team member (and second cyborg hero) Mike Power against the first cyborg Steve Austin–who appeared on millions of TV sets and produced one of the best selling 12-inch action figures of all time.  This was a fantasy played out in living rooms and sandboxes all over.  Technically this story isn’t the G.I. Joe of the 1970s, but the reboot universe Joes from the 1980s–the animated series, the mini-figures, and beyond.

As recounted in the recent Netflix series The Toys That Made Us, G.I. Joe began as an action figure line in 1963 to fill an untapped niche for boys alongside Barbie for girls. The Six Million Dollar Man began in 1972 as the hero of Martin Caidin′s novel Cyborg (previously reviewed here at borg), and was adapted two years later into a four-season television series starring Lee Majors.  Cyborg Mike Power, The Atomic Man, was Hasbro’s response to the popularity of the Bionic Man on TV.

For anyone not following G.I. Joes in the 1970s, here is the original comic page meet-up and origin story with Major Mike Power and G.I. Joe:

The original Mike Power had a cybernetic “atomic” right arm and left leg.  The new iteration of the character has prosthetics on both legs.

Here is a preview of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vs. The Six Million Dollar Man:

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Crisis in a Half Shell is coming.

Nobody draws a tougher, more badass Batman than Freddie Williams II, and nothing shows that more than a trove of character images released this week from DC Comics and IDW Publishing for the next chapter in the artist’s series with writer James Tynion IV, the epic crossover Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  If you haven’t yet picked up the first two volumes, go out and get Volume One here and Volume Two here (then really dig into Williams’ work in the Director’s Cut here).  Nobody draws a better Batman in these 80 years of cowls and capes than Williams, and nothing will take you back like this series to Kevin Eastman′s first images of those crime fighting turtles introduced 35 years ago.

Thirteen new images by Williams provide a tease into what’s to come next month as Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Crisis in a Half Shell–the title disclosed by Tynion on his Twitter feed Friday–arrives in comic book stores.

  

Yes, that’s Splinter as Alfred.  And the Turtles become a league of Robins: Raphael as Red Hood/Jason Todd, Leonardo as Dick Grayson/Nightwing, Donatello as Red Robin/Tim Drake, and Michelangelo as Damian Wayne.  And it doesn’t stop there.  Williams merged Shredder with the Joker (complete with smiling minion goons, not as the Foot Clan, but the Smile Clan), Rocksteady into Clayface, Bebop into Killer Croc, and DC Comics super villain Anti-Monitor has been fused with TMNT supervillain Krang.

Take a look at these great character designs by Freddie Williams II:

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A beautifully drawn new fantasy series is coming this week from IDW Publishing and Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons: A Darkened Wish follows a new young wizard named Helene, as she and her friends meet up on the streets of Mintarn and soon become powerful warriors.  The popular Forgotten Realms will be changed forever when war threatens the Moonshae Isles, bringing forth legendary heroes to defeat dark forces.

The latest D&D comic book mini-series is written by B. Dave Walters (Geek & Sundry, The Rundown) with classic, high fantasy layouts and illustrations from artist Tess Fowler (Kid Lobotomy, Critter).  Fowler’s visuals reveal a fantasy world of adventurous places and strange characters that could easily be situated off the beaten path at the far borders of Middle-earth.  Interior colors are by Jay Fotos (Spawn, Godzilla, Transformers) and cover colors are by Tamra Bonvillain (Doom Patrol, Captain Marvel).

Readers will encounter Hoondarrh: the Red Rage of Mintarn, the Sleeping Wyrm of Skadaurak, and a Red dragon of legendary size, cunning, and strength–“none shall prevail against his might.”  It’s a fun ride and a story that could be found in Sword & Sorcery, Swords of Sorrow, or The Dark Crystal.  Best yet–look forward to plenty of cool new characters.

  

Here are some upcoming covers for the series by Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain, including a variant by Ibrahem Swaid, a character sheet cover, and a black and white retailer incentive variant all for Issue #1:

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A classic board game and TV show are getting new tie-in comic book series and a classic creator and character are all coming to IDW Publishing this year. IDW announced several new books this week to expand their line of monthly series. The Hasbro board game Clue/Cluedo is getting a new comic book mini-series. The Netflix award-winning TV series GLOW is getting a limited series.  And Stan Sakai is bringing his world of the swordsrabbit Usagi Yojimbo to IDW with stories old and new, including a full-color, three-part series.

The Sakai announcement is bigger than a single series, as IDW says it plans to bring all 35 years of his Usagi Yojimbo stories into new collected editions–the black and white comic will be in full color for the first time–and new stories are being prepared.  Beginning in June, a three-part story set again in the Edo period in 17th century Japan finds Usagi “embroiled in a puppet drama where the players are not quite what they seem.”  According to Sakai, “Bunraku (Japanese puppetry) captures many elements that make the world of Usagi Yojimbo unique: an adventure filled with Japanese culture, folklore, and history.  It also features the return of a long-awaited fan favorite character and Yokai (Japanese supernatural creatures).”  Usagi Yojimbo #1 will be released in a main cover by Sakai, plus variants by Daniel Warren Johnson (Murder Falcon), Kevin Eastman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and comics legend Walt Simonson.

IDW returns to Clue tie-in mysteries with CLUE: Candlestick, a three-issue comic book miniseries launching in May. “Rife with puzzles, secrets, and lies, and everyone’s a suspect,” the series will be created by animator Dash Shaw writing, illustrative, coloring, and lettering a new Clue mystery.  Check out a preview of the new Clue series below, courtesy of IDW Publishing.
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You may not remember it, but if you were a kid in the 1980s you probably heard of GoBots before you ever heard the word Transformers.  The Tonka transforming machine toys hit the shelves in 1983, a year in advance of Transformers, although Tonka (the classic truck toy company) was unable to give its characters and toys the success Transformers would achieve.  GoBots only were available as toys for a few years in the States, plus some book and animated series offerings.  With the legal rights to the toy designs later reverting back to the Japanese toy company Bandai, the character names and stories were assumed by Hasbro, merging with the Transformers family after business consolidation in 1991.

The return of GoBots for the 35th anniversary of the release of the toys was announced by IDW Publishing executives at the retailer panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.  IDW’s Transformers vs GI Joe writer-artist Tom Scioli has created a new five-issue series, and the first issue arrived Saturday for the annual Local Comic Shop Day.  It will get a wider distribution everywhere this Wednesday.  The new Go-Bots series (now with the hyphen) is both written and drawn in that “neo-Golden Age” style of comic books like those created by Matt Kindt and Ed Piskor.  The artwork has that blend of retro styling that rejects the latest comic book capabilities, a de-evolution from modern artistic mainstays and tropes built over the past 50 years.  It also reflects a bit of the style of the 1980s animated series.

 

As kids would see with Transformers, Go-Bots in the States were sentient robots, as opposed to the human-operated machines as seen in Japan.  Familiar characters Cy-Kill, Turbo, Scooter, and Leader-1–and more–make a return in the new series.  Go-Bots have some 1980s “cartoony” backstory bits to overcome, but in Issue #1 Scioli uses them to update the character origins and begin to forge a 21st century comeback for this 1980s franchise.  For many, the vibe of the series will reflect their favorite Transformers and GI Joe animated series from the 1980s.

Take a look at some interior pages and variant covers from Scioli, Dash Shaw, Ben Marra, and Diego Jordan Pereira (and a blank sketch variant) for the first three issues:

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Two tough guys from very different times.  Earlier this summer here at borg.com we first discussed the 88th birthday of Dick Tracy and the return of the famous detective just before Fall arrives.  Here we are with three days left of summer and that long-awaited first issue of his new comic book series arrives today at comic book stores everywhere.  Arriving beside Tracy you’ll find a different breed of determined hero, as John Wick’s story continues today.

Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive is a bit of a family affair.  Michael Allred writes and inks the series, co-written with brother Lee Allred, with coloring by Laura Allred–Mike’s wife and frequent creative partner.  Interior artwork is provided by Rich Tommaso.  The familiar hero you just haven’t seen in a while is back like you remember him, complete with his one-of-a-kind pantheon of criminal foes.

Written by Greg Pak with artwork by Giovanni Valletta, the story of John Wick’s first mission of vengeance continues in Issue #3 of his series, John Wick. On the streets of El Paso, Wick enters the world of the Continental Hotel, and threatens to upend the balance of power among assassins — and earns a new enemy.

We have a preview for borg.com readers of Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive, Issue #1, courtesy of IDW Publishing, and a preview of John Wick, Issue #3, courtesy of Dynamite Publishing.  You’ll notice each reflects a different style that fits its character and his times.  And both have a few cover variant options to track down.  Check them out:

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If you’re curious why a recent news story surfaced about Marvel Comics seeking to get John Byrne to return for some new projects, you need only turn to a new retrospective book arriving at comic book shops today to see why Marvel wants him back.  It’s yet another in IDW Publishing’s award-winning series of “Artifact Editions”–giant-sized 12″x17″ books printed at the same dimensions as original comic book art pages, with quality scanned reprints that appear nearly identical to the originals.  Today’s release features the art of John Byrne, focusing on his classic X-Men pages.

John Byrne’s X-Men Artifact Edition includes reprints of 169 pages of Byrne art in all–a rare opportunity to view images where the original set of these pages would fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.  Beginning with X-Men Issue #108 in December 1977, Byrne, along with long-time creative partner Chris Claremont, would gain popularity for their story arcs “Proteus,” “Dark Phoenix Saga,” and “Days of Future Past.”  According to Byrne, “Even after all these years, it’s the X-Men work I did with Chris and Terry (Austin) that still resonates the most with fans.  Hopefully when you all see the pages in this format you’ll still feel the same way!”  So what’s inside?  A few pages each from X-Men Issues #108-143 (except no pages were included for Issue #117).  No full issues, but you’ll find 11 Byrne covers (for Issues #114, 116, 127, 129, 133, 134, 136, 138, 139, 140, and an unpublished cover to #142), 148 interior pages, 23 splash pages (including Wolverine, Phoenix, Spider-Man, and full teams), 8 pages from the first appearance of Alpha Flight in Issues #120 and 121, 10 pages from Issue #137, “The Death of Jean Grey,” 15 pages from the Issue #141 and 142 story, “Days of Future Past.”  All-in that’s 35 original pages to marvel at from the “Dark Phoenix Saga” alone.  Plus 10 bonus art pages, including original Marvel corner box art.  The original covers to #114, 133, and 136 are pages you’re going to look at again and again.

Byrne stopped creating for Marvel in 2000 after a falling-out with editor Joe Quesada.  Byrne has continued with other publishers and personal projects since his Marvel days, going on to being named to the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2015.  Byrne co-created some major characters for Marvel, including the Scott Lang Ant-Man, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Sabretooth, and Shadow King.

Take a look at this preview from today’s release, courtesy of IDW Publishing:

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Berkeley Breathed, Mike Mignola, Lynn Johnston, Joe Jusko, Kevin Eastman, Freddie Williams III, JK Woodward, Scott and David Tipton, Marc Andreyko, Bobby Moynihan, and cast from Wynonna Earp, are among dozens of comic book and television creators to be featured at signings and panels hosted by IDW Publishing at next week’s 49th annual San Diego Comic-Con.

As you’d expect IDW will also be bringing to Booth #2743 lots of comic book exclusives and special edition hardcover format books.  You’ll find Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin, and John Byrne Artist’s Editions, plus comics featuring Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, DuckTales, Danger Girl, Judge Dredd, My Little Pony, Sonic, Transformers, Ghostbusters, Sword of Ages, and more, including several exclusive variant covers only available at SDCC 2018.

Get more information on all the SDCC 2018 exclusives from IDW at the publisher’s website here.

Here are the announced exclusives from IDW, followed by IDW’s signings and panels:

Jack Kirby’s Heroes & Monsters Artist’s Edition, Heroes Convention Variant
Cover by Jack Kirby
$150, Limited to 100 units
15” x 22”
Many of Jack “King” Kirby’s most iconic heroes (Captain America, the X-Men, Ant-Man, and Sgt. Fury) join seven of his best monster stories in this collection, plus a gallery section filled with covers and pin-ups.  Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring Tales of Suspense #98 — Captain America versus Black Panther.

Jack Kirby’s Heroes & Monsters Artist’s Edition, Monsters Convention Variant
Cover by Jack Kirby
$150, Limited to 100 units
15” x 22”

Jim Starlin’s Marvel Cosmic Artifact Edition, Signed Convention Variant
Cover by Jim Starlin
$150, Limited to 100 units, each with a bound-in signature plate signed by Jim Starlin.
12” x 17”
This Artifact Edition focuses on Jim Starlin’s beloved Warlock, Thanos, and Captain Marvel, stories that shaped the Marvel Universe for decades. Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 with Thanos fighting Spider-Man and the Thing.

John Byrne’s X-Men Artifact Edition, Signed Convention Variant
Cover by John Byrne
$150, Limited to 100 units, each with a bound-in signature plate signed by John Byrne.
12” x 17”
John Byrne’s run on the X-Men that introduced Alpha Flight and created the near-mythical storylines “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past!”  Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring X-Men #133, where Wolverine goes berserker-style on the Hellfire Club.

Joe Jusko’s Marvel Masterpieces Hardcover Convention Variant
Cover by Joe Jusko
$75 each, Limited to 150 units
Joe Jusko’s complete Marvel Masterpieces painted trading card art from the 2016 Upper Deck set is collected in its entirety for the first time — more than 130 never-before-seen masterpieces, including hard-to-find premium cards.  Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring a new painting of the Incredible Hulk.

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Charlie Chan, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Ellery Queen, Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Perry Mason, and Sherlock Holmes.  All are classic fictional detectives that, except for Holmes, emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, pulling in countless readers across the world and together forming the roots of today’s mystery and crime genres.  You can add another detective to that list, too, the straight-arrow justice seeker Dick Tracy, although his readers would get a new dose of him every day, thanks to creator Chester Gould’s daily newspaper strips.  Over the decades Dick Tracy was featured in monthly comic book series in the 1930s to the 1960s, and again in the 1980s.  After failed efforts to bring Dick Tracy to comic books, first in a series by Mike Oeming and Brian Michael Bendis, and most recently in a series from Archie Comics featuring creators Alex Segura, Michael Moreci, and Thomas Pitilli–both cancelled for licensing snafus–finally we’re about to see Dick Tracy back in the comic books.  IDW Publishing, which just released the 24th volume of Gould’s original strips in anthology format, is launching a new four-issue limited series this Fall.

Since he first appeared in print October 14, 1931, newspaper readers have been following Tracy’s crimefighting adventures.  Chester Gould created the character and continued writing and drawing him and his foes in comic strip form until his retirement in 1977.  The strip was taken over by Max Allan Collins and Rick Fletcher and later Dick Locher and Jim Brozman, who wrote the strip until 2011, when comic book legend Joe Staton became artist with writer Mike Curtis–they would take the Harvey Award for the classic series for best syndicated comic strip three years running.

“I am thrilled to try my hand at drawing this legendary, pulpy, hardboiled crime classic,” said newly tapped Dick Tracy artist Rich Tommaso in an IDW press release.  “Along with Roy Crane, Milton Caniff, Noel Sickles, Jack Cole, and Alex Toth, Chester Gould is a cartoonist that I am perpetually inspired by when I’m working on my own crime stories.  So this is a project that I feel is well within my wheelhouse.  The Dick Tracy cast of characters makes this comic so much fun to draw on a daily basis.  I only hope we can all bring something great to the comic ourselves while, simultaneously keeping true to its origins.  Not an easy feat to be sure, but I feel it’s damn worth a try.”  Tommaso has previewed some of his penciled panels on his Twitter account (shown above and below), revealing a story set in the 1930s or 1940s.  Michael Allred will write and ink the series, called “Dead or Alive,” co-written with brother Lee Allred, with coloring by Laura Allred, Mike’s wife and frequent creative partner.

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