IDW PUBWATCH: December 2018 and January 2019

IDW Pubwatch January 2020

Happy 2019 and welcome to the first IDW Pubwatch of the new year!

I was one of the round one judges for the Graphic Novel category of the Cybils award, and now I get to catch up on everything IDW has been up to while I was reading for the Cybils. It was an incredible opportunity with a lot of comics to read—including some great IDW titles like Star Wars: Forces of Destiny and Violette Around the World. You can check out what made the final shortlist here.

Now I’m back and ready for a year of reading and discussing great IDW comics with you all, especially since it’s their twentieth anniversary this year and they have some excellent plans in the works!

News and Announcements

Love is Love Raises an Additional $51,000 for Charity

The Love is Love Anthology was originally published by IDW and DC Comics in December 2016 to raise money for the OneOrlando Fund, to support the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting and their families.

Batwoman pin-up from Love is Love, showing Batwoman holding an American flag whose back side is the rainbow Pride flag. Art by Rafael Albuquerque. DC/IDW.

A different LGBTQ charity is chosen every year, and this year the recipient was The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. $51,000 was donated to the charity during the TrevorLIVE Los Angeles gala in early December.

I am so happy to see that this anthology is still finding new readers (it’s currently in its sixth printing!) and finding a way to support the LGBTQ community. All that being said, as Alexis points out in her review of the anthology, there was a missed opportunity here to boost even more queer and diverse voices. So given the continued success of this anthology, maybe it’s time for a Volume 2?

Transformers Relaunch

I’ve been reading some Transformers comics for the first time since starting this Pubwatch and I am the first to admit they are hard to get into. The Transformers universe is just so vast, with so many characters and multiple series on the go. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Search ‘transformers comics’ on Twitter and you’ll find many others with the same problem.

So I was pretty excited to read that IDW will be re-launching the comic this March. This new series will start on Cybertron, the homeworld of the Transformers, and will be told through the eyes of a young Bumblebee (and some of his friends). New and old readers will get a look at what life was like on Cybertron before everything went wrong and the Transformers came to Earth.

This new Transformers series will be available twice monthly and will be written by Brian Ruckley, author of the Godless World fantasy trilogy, and illustrated by Angel Hernandez (Star Trek: Discovery—Succession) and Ron Joseph (Micronauts: Wrath of Karza). Check out some of the covers now over on Twitter.

Step into the Ring with the Ladies of GLOW

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are making their comics debut! IDW will be publishing a four-issue series, based on the popular Netflix TV show.

An illustration for GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), featuring Ruth and Debbie posing back-to-back and the other wrestlers in an ensemble pose, all wearing their wrestling costumes or workout gear

If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about a group of women in 1980s Los Angeles in an emerging wrestling league called the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, or GLOW. It’s funny, with a great cast and fabulous hair and costumes. This new miniseries will provide a glimpse into the action between the scenes of the show, as the women get ready for a fundraising match against real women wrestlers. I think this should be a fun premise for a limited series, though I do wish it was a tad longer than four issues.

The series has a great creative team behind it as well. The art is by Hannah Templer, who recently worked on Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions (another series about fabulous women in the eighties). And the series will be written by Tini Howard, whose Euthanauts series I raved about in an earlier Pubwatch. When asked about the series Howard had this to say:

“I’m more than just a GLOW fan, I’m a wrestling fan, too. I’ve written wrestling comics before, and I adore it… Wrestling and comic books are a natural fit for more than just tights and fights. Each of the gorgeous ladies has either developed her own character or adapted to one thrust upon her, and making that identity her own is not dissimilar to, say, putting on a bat costume.”

The series will kick off this March, which still gives you time to get caught up on the show beforehand!

Top Picks

Rick and Morty Dungeons and Dragons #3, Troy Little, December 5 2018, IDW Publishing - Rick, in a green medieval-looking robe, opens the doors on a small, old, red-robed figure; Morty looks delighted and laughs while Rick looks annoyed

Rick and Morty vs Dungeons & Dragons #3

Leonardo Ito (colourist), Troy Little (artist), Patrick Rothfuss (author), Jim Zub (author)
December 5, 2018

Potential unpopular opinion here but I do not like Rick and Morty. I’ve had multiple friends and family members try and get me into it and it has never clicked with me. I’m not surprised since I was never a Community fan either (but that’s an unpopular opinion for another time). This comic, however, has been the one exception I’ve found so far.

In this issue, Rick, Morty, and the rest of the family find themselves in an alternate dimension that mirrors the Dungeons & Dragons rules set. And it turns out Jerry (Morty’s dad) is really good at D&D, much to Rick’s chagrin. After helping everyone set up their characters, the family sets off on an epic quest together. I love a good sword & sorcery story and this hit all the right buttons—no big surprise as one of the authors of this series is Patrick Rothfuss. It also included just enough D&D pieces to make sense to the world but not enough to turn off those unfamiliar with the game. It’s an action-packed, humorous comic and, best of all for me, Rick, my least favourite character, takes more of a secondary role in the story which lets the other characters’ personalities shine through. Plus, there is way less burping. Though I still don’t see myself becoming a Rick and Morty fan anytime soon, I will definitely be continuing with this series to see where their adventure takes them next.

Cover for Star Trek Waypoint Special #1, Josh Hood, December 12 2018, IDW Publishing - Characters from different Star Trek series in an ensemble pose across a red galaxy background

Star Trek Waypoint Special #1

Dave Baker (author), Thomas Deer (colourist), Brandon Easton (author), Nicole Goux (author, artist), Josh Hood (artist), Collin Kelly (author), Jackson Lanzig (author), Sonny Liew (artist), Miquel Muerto (colourist), Matthew Dow Smith (author, artist), Shaun Steven Struble (colourist)
December 12, 2018

This oversized annual contains a number of stories from across the Star Trek universe, from The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and more. Many of them are a lot of fun and feature great characters or revisit beloved plot lines from the television series. But I’m really including this issue in my top picks for one story in particular: “My Human is Not.” This story is told from the perspective of one of my favourite space felines, Spot. Through her, the reader gets to experience a day in the life with Data: what her favourite and least favourite moments are, and everything that makes their bond so strong. Through Spot, we really get to see Data’s humanity shine through, and the question of what makes someone human is not a difficult one in the eyes of a beloved pet. The simple storyline and the unique artwork by Liew really make it stand out in this collection.

Panel from Star Trek Waypoint Special, Sonny Liew, IDW Publishing, 2018 - Spot the cat reaches out to touch Data's nose

The other stories are fun too of course, but this is a story I could see myself revisiting whenever I need something to lift my mood.

Cover for Star Wars Destroyer Down #3, Derek Charm, January 9, 2019, IDW Publishing - Rey helps up a scared figure in a mask and marron robe, while behind her a tall, menacing silhouette with glowing red eyes reaches out for her

Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down #3

Scott Beatty (author), Derek Charm (artist), Matt Herms (colourist), Sean Parsons (inker), Jon Sommariva (artist)
January 9, 2019

In the sands of Jakku lies the Imperial Star Destroyer, Spectral. It has been lost for two decades, and over time rumours began to develop about it: not only that there may be buried treasure inside, but that it was haunted as well. But when Unkar Plutt issues a challenge for scavengers to bring back the plunder of the Spectral, Rey isn’t about to let any rumours stand between her and her payday.

This short series, set before the events of The Force Awakens, comes to its conclusion here in the third issue. Though not the strongest Star Wars comic coming out of IDW right now, it is an easy way to jump into the universe for a quick hit of action and adventure. What I found particularly clever about it as well was the way it split the narrative. Half of each issue is about Rey’s adventure with the so-called “Ghost Ship” on Jakku. But the second half of each issue is about just how that ship came to be there and the rebel fighter and droid who went down fighting with it.

I’m sad to see this story come to an end. Though it was enjoyable, three issues don’t really allow for any time with the characters themselves. I am always happy for more time with Rey, especially to see what her life was like back on Jakku. Hopefully there will be many more stories to come!

Favourite Covers

I wanted to add a new feature this month to give some additional recognition to the cover artists that work on these books. Most of my reviews and honourable mentions are for the story and the internal artwork, but the cover art deserves some love too! After all, that’s often what causes us to even pick up a series in a comic book shop or click to find out more while browsing Comixology. This month my favourite IDW covers are:

Cover for The Lodger #2, David Lapham, December 2018, IDW Publishing - An upside-down woman's face behind what looks like a box fan, with cockroaches crawling towards her; minimally colored in white, black, and pale blue

Lodger #2, Cover by David Lapham

Cover for Sukeban Turbo #2, Victor Santos, December 2018, IDW Publishing - A group of young girls in various red jackets look at the viewer from various poses on the ground or on electric scooters

Sukeban Turbo #2, Cover by Victor Santos

Cover for Transformers: Bumblebee: Go For the Gold!, Nicoletta Baldari, December 2018 - A cartoony Bumblebee points forward against a backdrop of a city in bright primary colors

Transformers: Bumblebee: Go For the Gold!, Cover by Nicoletta Baldari

Honourable Mentions

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

Lodger #2
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3
My Little Pony: Nightmare Knights #3
Impossible Inc #3
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #73
Star Wars Adventures #16
Transformers: Bumblebee: Go For the Gold!
Atomic Robo & the Dawn of a New Era #1
Euthanauts #5

Christa Seeley

Christa Seeley

Books Editor. Maple Flavoured Darth Vader Fangirl.