Welcome to the August IDW Pubwatch! I’m thrilled to present you with this month’s findings. It’s been a busy month at IDW, and I’ve got all the interesting news coming out of the publishing house, as well as tons of IDW comic book reviews. George Takei’s eagerly anticipated They Called Us Enemy is a particular standout. Plus, I have a selection of my favourite covers from this month!
News and Announcements
IDW at SDCC
The WWAC team managed to stop by the IDW booth at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), and we got a quick glimpse of Jim Zub at his signing session. Here are a few pictures from our intrepid Editor, Wendy Browne.
IDW Claims Four Eisners
The Eisner Awards are the biggest honour in the world of comics. At the 2019 SDCC, IDW and its imprints, Top Shelf and The Library of American Comics, won four awards at the prestigious event, including Best Archival Collection/Project for both Comics and Strips, Best Publication for Early Readers, and Best Lettering. You can read more details here.
Return to Vader’s Castle Announced for October
Writer Cavan Scott and artist will be continuing the success of 2018’s Tales from Vader’s Castle with Star Wars Adventures: Return to Vader’s Castle, set for the month of October. The five-issue series will focus on five of the biggest villains in the Star Wars universe.
Sunday Press Books Joining IDW
IDW recently announced that Sunday Press Books would be joining its ranks. Sunday Press Books specializes in reprinting classic American comic strips. The collaboration will preserve the current run of books with IDW boosting distribution and publishing new works. You can read more about the partnership here.
New Addams Family Comic Coming Soon
IDW will be publishing a one-shot comic, The Addams Family: The Bodies Issue, to coincide with the release of the highly-anticipated animated film. Writer Zoë Quinn and artist Philip Murphy are in charge of bringing the quirky story to readers, which will focus on Wednesday Addams’ quest for ultimate power.
Star Trek: Voyager Heading to the Mirror Universe
IDW’s Voyager: Mirrors and Smoke will see Captain Kathryn Janeway’s crew face off against their counterparts in the Mirror Universe for the first time. Writing duties for the one-shot will be undertaken by Paul Allor, with J.K. Woodward, a stalwart in the Star Trek comics-verse, taking on illustration duties.
King Family’s Sleeping Beauties to be Adapted as Comic Series
Stephen King and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties is set to be adapted as a ten-issue limited series in early 2020. Writer Rio Youers and artist Alison Sampson will be bringing the story to comics, with the Kings supervising. Sleeping Beauties is a provocative thriller which sees the women of the world fall into a deep slumber of idyllic dreams, leaving the world to be ruled by men. It should make for interesting comics material.
Power Rangers and TMNT Teaming Up
In a first for comics, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are going to be teaming up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a crossover event that is sure to delight ’90s teens. The series is set to be written by Ryan Parrott, who has a wealth of experience in the Power Rangers universe. Illustrations will be done by Simone di Meo, who has been working on the current Boom! Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series.
Care Bears: Unlock the Magic #1
Matthew Erman (writer), Agnes Garbowska (artist and colours), Nadia Shammas (writer)
July 10, 2019
The Care Bears are supposed to have the day off but when they learn that the Whiffles have stopped working on their crystals—instrumental in creating new territory for the Care Bears’ home, Care-A-Lot—they go to investigate. And walk straight into a trap.
I remember watching Care Bears as a child, and I was surprised to see that they had made it into the realm of comics over thirty years later. This is definitely a fun little book, with a lot of the Care Bears mythos that children will be familiar with, but with a healthy dose of suspense, which will appeal to older audiences. It does make me wonder who this book is aimed at, but I really don’t know what children read these days, so they may find this book easy to follow. An enjoyable read, though you won’t find me picking up more issues.
Ragnarok #1: The Breaking of Helheim
Laura Martin (colours), Walter Simonson (writer, artist, and colours), John Workman (letters)
July 17, 2019
When the great war killed all the gods, Thor was MIA. Now he’s back, and hearing his dead father’s voice in his head. His enemies are closing in, and he has no allies. How is Thor meant to avenge the dead?
Delving deep into Norse mythology, this book is a dense read. There are a lot of characters, a lot of scenarios, and a great deal of background. There isn’t enough time to delve into all of it within the span of one issue, which can be disorienting for the reader.
The book also switches between language styles to portray the passage of time. While Thor and his contemporaries speak in a kind of modern English, Odin’s shade speaks in an ancient version of English. Neither quite work within the setting of the story; it’s jarring to see Thor and his companions use slang.
I want to like this book but it’s quite alienating. Perhaps the next issue will be better?
Sons of Chaos TPB
Ale Aragon (artist and colours), Pablo Ayala (letters), Jordan Beckett (writer), Hi-Fi (colours), Chris Jaymes (writer)
July 17, 2019
The Ottoman Empire terrorizes Greece with the help of its ruthless leader, Ali Pasha. Can one man stand against such villainy and save his country?
The Greek-Turkish War is a fascinating and horrifying period of history that not many get to read about. In comic book form, it should have been a sprawling epic. Unfortunately, this book places its focus on a protagonist with no charm, and relies heavily on tropes that have been overused throughout comic book history. Ali Pasha comes across as a cardboard cut-out villain, and everything he and his family do, seems ludicrously over-the-top and historically irrelevant.
The art is confusing, with most characters looking interchangeable. The layout of the pages makes it difficult to understand where your eye should go. This should have been a better book than it was.
They Called Us Enemy
Harmony Becker (artist and colours), Justin Eisinger (writer), Gilbert Lazcano (letters), Steven Scott (writer), George Takei (writer)
July 17, 2019
Geek icon and activist George Takei takes readers through a devastating retelling of the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. This book is every bit as horrifying, devastating, and inspiring as one would expect, and the fact that it was real and still has a lasting impact on the people of USA and around the world, is enough to make you weep.
“It will make you hug your loved ones and look for ways to stand up for justice.”
Published at a time when ICE is rounding up U.S. citizens, including children, and keeping them in cages—which the book calls out—They Called Us Enemy is a startling and revelatory work that shines a spotlight on the follies of political power. This is not an easy read for anyone who has ever been an immigrant, and it should hopefully act as an eye-opening work for those in privileged positions.
Books like this capture the power of comic books and I can’t recommend this enough. It will make you hug your loved ones and look for ways to stand up for justice.
GLOW Summer Special One-shot
Triona Farrell (colours), Devin Grayson (writer), Christa Miesner (letters), Lisa Sterle (artist and colours)
July 24, 2019
The ladies at Chavo’s Boxing Gym are working hard on their latest fight. It’s USA versus USSR, the threat of nuclear winter, death for everyone! Or maybe not. Bash goes through several iterations of the story, but on show night, they realize that the audience aren’t feeling the narrative. How are the fighters going to win them over?
Full disclosure: I haven’t watched Glow yet, nor am I interested in wrestling. Despite that, I found this story incredibly fun. The characters have so much personality, and the story was simple to follow, yet deeply layered. A really fun one-shot to enter the universe.
Red Panda & Moon Bear TPB
Jarod Roselló (writer, artist, and colours)
July 24, 2019
This was a fun little children’s book. It’s aimed at really small children (I think), but still manages to incorporate a number of fascinating concepts. The art is cute and relevant to the audience. I can imagine families sitting around reading this book before bedtime.
Star Pig #1
Delilah S. Dawson (writer), Francesco Gaston (artist), Sara Richard (colours)
July 24, 2019
What a delightfully bonkers story! Teenager Vess is headed to space camp when unexpected turbulence tears the shuttle apart. Vess survives, because a Tardigrade swallows her. Well, space camp is all about making friends. Big space pig friends, apparently.
I loved the tone of this story—it’s irreverent and funny. There are pop culture references thrown in for sci-fi fans. And the big villain of the piece has definitely caught my attention because it’s interested in … hot dogs? I can’t wait to see more of these characters.
Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 6: Flight of the Falcon
Arianna Florean (artist), Mattia Iacono (colours), Tom B. Long (letters), Sara Martinelli (colours), Adele Matera (colours), Michael Moreci (writer), Philip Murphy (colours), Michele Pasta (artist)
July 24, 2019
What a fun little collection of stories. Bazine Netal needs to find the Millennium Falcon for the First Order. But it’s easier said than done. She encounters a number of people who have crossed paths with the Falcon and her command crew, but none have ever obtained it. Can Bazine break the cycle?
Through Bazine’s quest, we get to meet heroes and villains we love from the Star Wars universe, including Han, Chewie, Leia, Luke, Lando, and Maz, as well as IG-88 and Lady Proxima. This galaxy-spanning story is enjoyable at every moment and encompasses the adventurous spirit of Star Wars.
Tangled: The Series: Hair-Raising Adventures TPB
Katie Cook (writer), Rosa La Barbera (artist and colours), Eduard Petrovich (artist and colours), Diogo Saito (artist)
An adorable book for Tangled fans, which sees Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder go on new adventures. The art is gorgeous and incredibly cute. I loved the layouts of the pages that invoked the storybook concept of fairy tales. The colours pop off the page, capturing the magic of Disney on the printed page. I can imagine many happy families owning this volume.
TMNT: Rise of the TMNT: Sound Off! #1
Heather Breckel (colours), Matthew K. Manning (writer), Christa Miesner (letters), Chad Thomas (artist and colours)
July 24, 2019
A new gang of thieves are swooping through a small block in New York. Their trademark: muting all sounds around them. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are on the case. But they may have bitten off more than they can chew.
My thoughts while reading this extended from “Oh dear” to “Aww, hell no.” The plot itself maybe half-decent but it is also painfully cringey. The book tries to incorporate humour but ends up catering to the lowest common denominator. Master Splinter is meant to be wise; here, he loses his head because his ice cream shop closed down. And that’s just one instance.
I dislike the art, as well. I don’t like the square faces and the oddly-angled bodies. Nothing about this book is going to make me read more. Sigh.
Thanks for joining me on this Pubwatch!