IDW PUBWATCH: September and October 2018

IDW Pubwatch January 2020

Welcome to the first IDW Pubwatch here at WWAC! This month we’ll be looking at some new announcements and mini-reviews of comics published in September and the first half of October.

I’m excited to kick off this new column for a few reasons, starting with the fact that IDW has been putting out comics for properties that I love for a while now. Most notable are Star Wars and Star Trek, but there have been so many others throughout my comic reading years. I also love the abundance of kids’ comics they release. I think comics for kids are so important as they can be a gateway into a love of reading. IDW has been publishing great comics for kids, like their Disney comics, and now they’ll be taking over the Marvel kids comics as well. I’m looking forward to covering some of those collaborations in this column when they kick off later this year. Finally, it’s not all about the licensed properties and the children’s content. Through some of their other imprints, like Black Crown, they’re publishing some really unique and interesting work—which doesn’t get the attention it deserves (spoiler alert: we’ll be looking at one of those comics further down).

News and Announcements

NYCC has come and gone for another year, which means we have a whole list of upcoming comics to be excited about. Here are three from IDW that I was intrigued by.

IDW 20/20

IDW is turning 20! And they’re celebrating with a new weekly event, starting in January 2019: IDW 20/20.

Illustration for Jem and the Holograms, IDW 20/20, Siobhan Keenan, 2018 - A rocker with the Holograms' long hair and eye makup sings in front of a mic on a vinyl album cover titled Outrageous Hits

For this event they’ll be releasing special issues from some of their more iconic comic properties, including Ghostbusters, Jem and the Holograms, My Little Pony, Star Trek, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But these won’t be like any other issues. Instead, they’ll be exploring some of our favourite characters twenty years in the future OR twenty years in the past. Experience a Jem and the Holograms reunion twenty years from now, or find out what kind of captain Picard was twenty years before he joined the crew of the Enterprise… and more.

Star Trek Crossover

IDW 20/20 isn’t the only event scheduled for the near future. We’re also getting a six-issue Star Trek crossover event.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen various Star Trek teams joining forces, but it is the first time we’ve seen the crews of The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine AND Voyager come together in one event. They’ll be facing off against one of the franchise’s classic villains, Q. (Semi-related fun fact: I went to a Star Trek-themed event at the Canadian Museum of Aviation and Space and John De Lancie was standing only a few feet away from me but I was too nervous to say hi.)

Illustration for Star Trek The Q Conflict, David Messina, IDW, 2019 - The casts of Star Trek TOS, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager are pictured standing on a grassy field looking up into space, where the face of Q looms menacingly

Comics events like this can be gimmicky at times and are difficult to pull off. But as a Star Trek fan, I’m going to hope for the best because an event like this is an opportunity to see some of our favourite Starfleet crew members in unique situations that will (hopefully) challenge their characters in new and interesting ways.

Star Trek: The Q Conflict, written by Scott and David Tipton, with art by David Messina, will start in January 2019.

Latinx Heroes for Kids

Hispanic/Latinx kids make up 25% of US schools, and that number is always growing. Despite that fact, there are very few kids’ comics with heroes that look like them. And we should all know by now that representation matters, especially for kids.

So I’m really looking forward to the upcoming book from Cuban-American cartoonist, Jarod Roselló, Red Panda & Moon Bear. These two adorable siblings work together to defend their community. At first they start with bullies and solving mysteries, but then the mysteries begin to grow and they find themselves faced with some supernatural threats, like super-villains, alien invaders, and more!Cover for Red Panda & Moon Bear, IDW, Jarod Roselló, 2018 - Two kids, one in a red panda hoodie and the other in a blue bear hoodie, jump excitedly across the background of a city

Unfortunately, we have to wait for March 2019 for this to hit shelves, but hopefully we’ll get some additional previews of Roselló’s adorable art before then.

Top Picks

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #70

Toni Kuusisto (artist), Jeremy Whitley (writer)
September 5, 2018

Cover for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #70 Toni Kuusisto (artist), Jeremy Whitley (writer) September 5, 2018 - Rainbow Dash flies triumpantly above a quartet of older ponies who bear some resemblance to the Golden Girls

IDW puts out a lot of My Little Pony comics each month. In the weeks covered for this Pubwatch, they released two issues of the Friendship is Magic series, a Ponyville Mysteries, and a newly launched series, Nightmare Knights. With so much content in such a small window, the quality can be a little hit or miss. But My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #70 was definitely a hit. In this issue, we meet a group of senior ponies, known collectively as the Golden Apples. The four ponies aren’t ready for a life of peace and relaxation quite yet though, so Rainbow Dash designs a game of extreme Bingo to add a little excitement to their day. This issue was genuinely charming and fun to read. I loved that it was an homage to the Golden Girls with a bit of a twist and that you get to see some different ponies having an adventure instead of the regular cast. This is a stand-alone issue, so even if you’ve never read a My Little Pony comic before you could pick this up and have a delightful time.

Euthanauts #3

Eva De La Cruz (colorist), Tini Howard (writer) Nick Robles (artist)
October 3, 2018Cover for Euthanauts #3 Eva De La Cruz (colorist), Tini Howard (writer) Nick Robles (artist) October 3, 2018 - A skeletal figure in a white toga looks down at a helmet in their hands

Euthanauts #3 is not a standalone comic, so you will need to go back to the beginning to catch up but trust me, it will be worth it for this series which is a little bit Saga, a little bit Sandman. The story follows a young morgue receptionist, Thalia Rosewood, who is obsessed with death. Then one night she meets a dying woman in a restaurant bathroom and her life (and death) is changed forever. There are some intriguing and complicated ideas being tossed around in this series, and at first, it can be difficult to make sense of what exactly is going on. But I felt like issue #3 is where the story finally starts to crystallize and you get a better grip on who everyone is and the role they’ll be playing in this adventure. As an added bonus, there is some gorgeous artwork—the splash panels and pages in particular—to enjoy while you try to make sense of the otherworldly situation Thalia has found herself in.

Panel from Euthanauts #3 Eva De La Cruz (colorist), Tini Howard (writer) Nick Robles (artist) October 3, 2018 - A chaotic carnival scene colored in gradients from cool blue to magenta and red

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Macro-series: Donatello

Paul Allor (writer), Cris Peter (colorist), Brahm Revel (artist)
October 3, 2018

Cover for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Macroseries: Donatello Paul Allor (writer), Cris Peter (colorist), Brahm Revel (artist) October 3, 2018 - Donatello in a workshop, holding a propane torch

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are getting back to basics with a new “macro-series.” In this series, one issue will be dedicated to each turtle, digging deep into who they are, starting with Donatello. I have to admit I’m not the biggest TMNT fan. I must have watched the cartoon when I was younger because the theme song is burned into my memory (how else would I know Donatello “does machines?”) but I could tell you very few details about the characters and the world outside that song. This new macro series seems like the perfect opportunity to get to know these classic characters a bit better and it succeeds in that endeavour, to a point. We meet Donatello as he’s beginning work on a new and potentially dangerous invention and you get a close look at what makes him tick, but ultimately I still felt like this series expected to me to have a basic understanding of the TMNT universe, so some parts were more confusing for me than they will be for other readers.

This issue still makes my top picks, though, because of the art. There is a rough style to the characters and their movements, but it worked with the high energy storyline. There are a lot of action sequences in this issue and the art was fluid and easy to follow, setting it apart from some of the other action comics I read this past month. The colour palette was also different than I would expect to find in a TMNT comic. Chris Peter did the colours for this issue and chose a bright palette of greens, blues and purples that really jumped off the page. I will happily continue on with this series if the art team stays the same.

Honourable Mentions

Looking for some additional recommendations? Here are some other IDW comics I read and enjoyed this past month:

Christa Seeley

Christa Seeley

Books Editor. Maple Flavoured Darth Vader Fangirl.