Welcome to the IDW Pubwatch. The world is still reeling from the pandemic but here’s something to distract you—a few exciting comics that will occupy your mind, at least for a little while. I’ve also got the latest news coming out of IDW, along with comic book reviews—including Life in the Stupidverse—and a selection of my favourite covers from the month. Wear a mask and be safe, readers.
News and Announcements
IDW Building Kids, Family, and YA Division
IDW has added Jeff Brustrom as Vice President of Kids, Family and Animation; Daniel Kendrick as the new Director of Animation; and Erika Turner as the new Senior Editor of Original Content of IDW Publishing’s Kids, Family, and YA division. Read more about the appointments here.
IDW Announces Behind the Scenes Changes
More changes behind the scenes were announced in September. IDW has appointed Nachie Marsham as Publisher. Veronica Brooks was promoted to Vice President of Creative Affairs. Blake Kobashigawa was named the new Vice President of Sales, with Joseph Hughes taking over as Director of Creative Affairs, and Marisa Stotter taking on the role of Manager of Creative Affairs.
Marvel Action: Origins Series for Middle Graders Coming Soon
IDW is taking middle grade readers back to the origins of beloved superheroes. Marvel Action: Origins will explore the stories of Spider-Man, Thanos, Hulk, Ghost-Spider, Venom, and more. The series will be written by Christopher Eliopoulos, with art by Lanna Souvanny, and the first issue will be released in December.
New Mini-Series Explores the Transformers Civil War
Transformers: Escape, a five-issue mini-series set for release this December, will explore the civil war on Cybertron. The series will be written by Brian Ruckley and illustrated by Bethany McGuire-Smith.
IDW and Top Shelf at the Ignatz Awards
IDW Publishing and its imprint, Top Shelf Productions, were nominated for three Ignatz Awards—Outstanding Comic for Cosmoknights, Outstanding Story for The Lab, and Outstanding Anthology for Be Gay, Do Comics. Of these, they won in two categories: Outstanding Story and Outstanding Anthology.
Life in the Stupidverse
Tom Tomorrow (Writer and Artist)
September 2, 2020
This collection of Tomorrow’s Trump-related cartoons is as amusing as it is terrifying. Employing a sardonic style, Tomorrow portrays just how bad Trump has been for the Oval Office and the USA in Life in the Stupidverse.
The cartoon format has often worked well as a tool of criticism—when you put a sarcastic spin on reality, that’s when you understand just how ludicrous Trump is.
Trump’s policies and his absurd reactions to events around him come across as over-the-top comedy, but the reality—as millions of Americans know—is that the farcical government they are forced to live under is all too real. If only people had realised that back in 2016.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Reborn: From the Ashes TPB
Sophie Campbell (Writer and Artist), Shawn Lee (Letters), Ronda Pattison (Colours)
September 2, 2020
Set six months after the death of Master Splinter—cry—the Ninja Turtles have all but split up. With the town ravaged by a mutation virus, Jennika is out helping the people. Raphael has gone full-vigilante, aiding people at night and protecting his little dinosaur, Pepperoni. Leo is lost in his greenhouse, while Mikey has devoted himself to his pet cat. Donnie is the only one trying to soldier on, but he can’t do this on his own. And when a new threat arises, the turtles need to combat it together.
This was such a sweet, yet sad, book and had some adorable mutant people in it. The text was a bit dense at times—not what I expected in a modern book—but it worked to transport me into the world of the story.
I love the characters and their relationships to each other. You can feel it in the way they speak to and about each other.
The art is stunning—so nuanced, and rich that I felt like I was walking alongside the turtles, not reading a book. A great experience.
Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1
Danny Djeljosevic (Letters), Yasmin Florez Montanez (Artist), Rebecca Nalty (Colours), Marieke Nijkamp (Writer)
September 16, 2020
Young gamer Blake is staying with her aunt in the middle of nowhere when she’s introduced to Lily, a rival gamer she’s been trying to beat. The two pair up to investigate the legendary local swamp, hoping to debunk the town’s belief that there are monsters hiding there. Have they bitten off more than they can chew?
This was a fun start to what will surely be a very engaging read. I love that the main characters are two gamer girls! Blake is a Black teenager with a disability—representation makes my heart soar. I can’t wait to read more of this story.
Glork Patrol on the Bad Planet
James Kochalka (Writer and Artist)
September 16, 2020
A sweet book for very young readers about a dad and son adventure team in space. The art is whimsical and colourful, which makes it fun to flip through. Not a very complex story but some moments may be a little disconcerting.
Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams: The Lost Year Compendium
Sam Kieth (Writer and Artist), Shawn Lee (Letters), Ronda Pattison (Colours)
September 23, 2020
The Maxx, a being inhabiting a psychic land known as the Outback, gets pulled into the real world and sent to Arkham Asylum. If he is to find his way back to his Outback, he will need to enlist Batman’s help.
An interesting concept but I struggled with the story. I don’t know who the Maxx is, so his world wasn’t familiar to me. There wasn’t much done with the Outback—it’s like a desert but with strange versions of real animals. A jungle queen rules the land—but she looks twelve and wears an animal print bikini, because reasons.
The art was detailed but the characters were distorted—that’s a style I don’t like so it took me out of the experience a bit.
I wanted to like this book, but it had too many elements that didn’t gel with me.
Thanks for joining me on this Pubwatch.