IDW Pubwatch September 2019

IDW Pubwatch January 2020

Welcome to the September 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. Plus, I have a selection of my favourite covers from this month!

News and Announcements

IDW Earn Six Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Award Nominations

Logo for the Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Award, with portraits of the six nominees from IDW
IDW Publishing and its imprints, Top Shelf, Black Crown, and Oni Press, have been nominated for six categories at the Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards.

IDW has been nominated for Best Series and Best Presentation in Design. Top Shelf has been nominated for Best Letterer, while Black Crown has been nominated Best Anthology. Oni Press has been nominated for Best Cover Artist and Best Humor Comic.

IDW Teams up with CMON Limited for Rising Sun Comic Books Series

Art from the upcoming Rising Sun comic series from IDW, featuring a blue dragon being attacked by warriors
CMON Limited’s award-winning board game, Rising Sun, is set to be adapted into a three-issue limited series by IDW Publishing. The series will be written by Ron Marz and David Rodriguez, and illustrated by Martín Cóccolo.

The story will focus on a new character, Chiyoko, leader of the Koi Clan, as she tries to save Japan from dragons and monsters. The first issue will be available for sale in November, 2019.

Featured Comics

Gears Pop! #1

Georgia Ball (writer), Shawn Lee (letters), Nico Peña (artist and colours), Valentina Pinto (colours)
July 31, 2019

Cover for Gears of War: Gears Pop. IDW Publishing - Black-and-white illustration of chibi characters facing off with guns and other weapons
I haven’t played Gears of War, but despite my lack of knowledge, I didn’t feel lost in this book. It’s written as a comedy more than anything else, so you don’t feel like you need a lot of context.

I thought the art was adorable, and captured the cuteness and quirkiness of Funko Pops. The stories were really easy to follow and I found myself giggling while reading them. A fun way to spend half an hour.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle & Whisper #1

Ian Flynn (writer), Matt Herms (colours), Shawn Lee (letters), Evan Stanley (artist)
July 31, 2019

Cover for Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle and Whisper. IDW Publishing - Cute animal characters cheerfully flying into the center of the page
Ooh, a Sonic the Hedgehog comic book! How could I resist? There isn’t much Sonic in this book—we follow his fellow hedgehog heroes, Tangle and Whisper, as they face off against a shape-shifting villain.

I enjoyed this story a lot more than I expected. I’m obviously way older than the target audience for this book but I found it well-paced and suspenseful. We get into the action fairly quickly, and there’s enough mystery to keep readers interested. A great read that makes me want more.

H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 (of 2)

Ted Adams (writer), Nelson Dániel (colours), Robbie Robbins (letters), Gabriel Rodríguez (writer and artist)
July 31, 2019

Cover for Island of Dr Moreau #1. IDW Publishing - A human-leopard hybrid looks at the viewer with a tormented expression
HG Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau isn’t the kind of book I’d have expected to see in comic form but here we are. This opening chapter captures the mystery and horror of Moreau’s activities through the eyes of Ellie, who is shipwrecked and finds her unfortunate way to Moreau.

I’ve been a fan of Gabriel Rodriguez’s art for a while, and his work here is excellent. Rodriguez has the ability to pack in so much detail and depth in every panel that each page gives you more than you expect.

The story itself isn’t enticing, but I think that may be my own bias—I already know what happens and I don’t want to revisit it. But for new readers, this is going to be an exciting read.

Enemy of the People: A Cartoonist’s Journey

Rob Rogers (writer, artist, and colours)
July 31, 2019

Cover for Enemy of the People. IDW Publishing - A mug-shot of the artist holding up pictures of a caricatured Trump, also as a mug-shot
Political cartoonist Rob Rogers was fired from his job of twenty-five years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for his Donald Trump caricatures. In this memoir/comics collection, Rogers details the many political cartoons he has created over his long career, none of which got him fired. What happened at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and what did Trump have to do with it?

This massive collection is an interesting read, particularly if you want to learn about journalism and politics. The two have been intertwined for centuries but things have changed in recent years. It’s a disturbing read, in that sense—Rogers makes it evident that journalism is under siege, not only from outside forces, but from journalists and editors as well.

At what point do we put our own interests aside in the name of journalistic integrity? Which side is right and which wrong? This book is going to make you ponder, and feel a little bit terrified.

Sukeban Turbo TPB

Shawn Lee (letters), Sylvain Runberg (writer), Victor Santos (artist and colours)
July 31, 2019

Cover for Sukeban Turbo Volume 1. IDW Publishing - A ponytailed girl looks over her shoulder from behind with a grim expression
Shelby, a spoilt rich girl from Brooklyn, and her three friends have formed the Sukeban Tribe, a girl gang that deals drugs, beats up anyone in their way, and leaves havoc and terror in their wake. When their antics begin getting them the wrong kind of attention, Shelby takes drastic steps to regain control.

I didn’t like this book. It’s about a bunch of rich brats doing what they want, facing no consequences, and hurting innocent people. I can read the news for stories like this.

I’m curious why the lead, Shelby, is African-American. That doesn’t really hold true with the demographics of the United States—it does, however, leverage the angry black woman trope that everyone hates.

An all-female biker gang sounded good on paper, but the execution of this story leaves much to be desired. Reading over 100 pages of privileged people getting away with attempted murder is not what I call a relaxing venture. A solid miss.

Star Wars Adventures: Annual

Elsa Charretier (writer), Pierre Colinet (writer), Charlie Kirchoff (colours), Tom B. Long (letters), Mauricett (artist), Margaux Saltel (artist), Cavan Scott (writer)
August 14, 2019

Cover for Star Wars Annual 2019. IDW Publishing - A humanoid rabbit in an orange jumpsuit and Lando Calrissian fleeing pursuit
Following the Battle of Endor, the Empire has fallen. But pockets of Imperials still fight for control. The peaceful planet of Rekkana, known for its automated systems, has been overtaken. It’s up to Lando and his fellow smuggler ally, Jaxxon, to help the Chancellor of Rekkana retrieve a sacred totem and free her people.

In the second story, Breha, Queen of Alderaan, tells her young daughter, Leia, stories of another great queen and warrior. Amidala had a spark in her that Leia has too, and Breha needs her daughter to know it.

I loved this annual! Lando and Jaxxon’s story is fun and quirky, and packed with action. And it also makes some astute judgements about the Empire that will resonate for denizens of Earth.

But it was the second, shorter story, that I found so moving. This year has seen an outpouring of love for Amidala from Star Wars fans across the world, and this story is a fantastic ode to the Queen/Senator/Warrior who has had an impact on so many young fans.

The art is gorgeous, as one would expect from a Star Wars book, and it always surprises me how well the artists render the universe that we all know and love so expertly on the comic page. A thoroughly enjoyable read for all Star Wars fans.

Marvel Action: Captain Marvel #1

Sweeney Boo (artist and colours), Sam Maggs (writer)
August 21, 2019

Cover for Marvel Action: Captain Marvel. IDW Publishing - Captain Marvel wields two glowing fists while her cat perches on her shoulders
Carol Danvers has been more aloof than usual lately—and her best friend, Jessica Drew, has noticed. But when a horde of adorable kitty cats run amok in the city, Carol has to leave her worries aside to get to the bottom of the feline mystery.

This book has kitties and Captain Marvel—what more could you ask for? It is fun and irreverent and every moment is delightful. I do want to know why Carol is so down, and I hope we get to see her and Jessica team up to defeat the cuteness of the kitties.

This series is only three issues long, which is unfair, because the world needs more Carol, Jessica, and kitties (which we are going to get in upcoming issues, according to artist Sweeney Boo—look out for WWAC’s interview with Boo)!

Springtime in Chernobyl

Frank Cvetkovic (letters), Emmanuel Lepage (writer and artist)
August 21, 2019

Cover for Springtime in Chernobyl. IDW Publishing - A lone figure walks through a forest illustrated in moody greens and yellows
This book is a bleak but inspiring memoir about life in Chernobyl after the nuclear disaster. Writer and artist Lepage visited Chernobyl alongside fellow activists and creatives in 2008. Though he questioned his presence there, he found the place wondrous, and the people full of the kind of life many assumed would have been wiped out by the nuclear disaster.

It’s not an easy read, this book—I suggest taking breaks every so often. But it is an interesting, albeit unusual look at a place. Lepage’s perspective is different from someone who is from the area, who has lived there and breathed the air. It is also a far more objective perspective than I expected, which makes this a good read.

I liked the art—which is as bleak and pared-back as expected. But the infusions of colour are poignant and add gravitas to the story. An interesting memoir, though a bit heavy.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: Sierra Muerte TPB

Michel Fiffe (writer, artist, and colours)
August 28, 2019

Cover for GI Joe: Sierra Muerte TPB. IDW Publishing - The team in an action pose, brandishing various weapons
The G.I. Joes are sent to Sierra Muerte to stop Cobra from getting their hands on tech that could destroy the world. Will they succeed?

I haven’t read any G.I. Joe comics before, though I had my own collection and watched the cartoons as a child. This book is very much an homage to the classic G.I. Joe comics—the art is surprisingly similar and it took me a moment to realise that it was, in fact, a new book.

I was also surprised by the humour—it’s very irreverent and tongue-in-cheek, which is not the tone I expected from G.I. Joe. But it was quite enjoyable nonetheless. I might look for more G.I. Joe now.

Mountainhead #1

Doug Garbark (colours), Ryan Lee (artist), Shawn Lee (letters), John Lees (writer)
August 28, 2019

Cover for Mountainhead #1. IDW Publishing - A skinny figure wearing a mask wields a crowbar in a fighting stance, with dark red-eyed figures in the background
Abraham and his father, Noah, are constantly on the run, until they are finally caught. To Abraham’s surprise, he learns that his entire life has been a lie—can he adjust to a new life or is this all an elaborate fantasy?

I didn’t mind the story—it’s quite dark and mysterious. I assume that it will get more so, especially from what we’ve learned in the prologue.

The art, however, is not to my liking at all. The bobblehead characters and the dark outlines are jarring to look at. A different style would have been preferable. But otherwise, an interesting read.

Best Covers

G.I. Joe: Real American Hero #266. IDW Publishing
G.I. Joe: Real American Hero #266
TMNT: Urban Legends #16. IDW Publishing.
TMNT: Urban Legends #16
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #9. IDW Publishing.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #9

Honourable Mentions

My Little Pony: Feats for Friendship #1

Mickey Mouse: The Quest for the Missing Memories TPB

TMNT: Urban Legends Volume 1

Duck Tales: Silence and Science #1

Thanks for joining me on this IDW Pubwatch!

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books or video games. She always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media.