Category Archives: IDW Publishing

Kickstarter for THE SILVER METAL LOVER by Trina Robbins

THE SILVER METAL LOVER by Trina Robbins

Jane is 16 years old and believes that she does not know how to live her life. We can all relate to that–but Jane’s world is far more complicated, set in the distant future where robots are capable of providing human companionship. “The Silver Metal Lover,” the 1981 cult classic science fiction novel by Tanith Lee, was adapted in 1985 into the highly engaging graphic novel by Trina Robbins. It has never been reprinted in any form until now. Drew Ford runs his own imprint at IDW called IT’S ALIVE! and he has a stellar track record for finding gems from the past and giving them a whole new life. A Kickstarter campaign in support of an exciting new edition is reaching its final stages, closing January 5th. Check it out right here.

THE SILVER METAL LOVER by Trina Robbins

This new edition will have a new cover and afterword by Colleen (A DISTANT SOIL) Doran, a new foreword by Gail (BIRDS OF PREY) Simone, and a new intro by Trina Robbins herself. All of this will be printed at 8.5″ x 11, full color, on glossy paper, all tucked inside a beautiful hard cover.

Drew Ford on this very special project:

“This cult classic science fiction romance is an important early example of ‘the graphic novel’ as a storytelling vehicle, telling an intimate story of a young girl’s first love…who just happens to be a robot! We are very honored to shine a light on the brilliant work of the late Tanith Lee. And we are thrilled to be working on our second book with the legendary Trina Robbins! Also, we must send out a huge THANK YOU to Colleen Doran and Gail Simone for coming along for the ride! We hope you will give it a look, and consider making a pledge.”

Many exciting rewards are being offered, including signed copies of the book, exclusive prints from Colleen Doran, sketches by comic book pros, and even original pages of comic book art by Trina Robbins!

This is a book that is sure to please fans of science fiction and comics alike. Visit the campaign right here.

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Filed under Comics, Drew Ford, IDW Publishing, IT’S ALIVE! Press, Kickstarter, Sci-Fi, science fiction, trina robbins

Review: IDW’s THE SHRINKING MAN

Matheson Shrinking Man IDW

IDW’s graphic novel adaption of Richard Matheson’s classic 1956 novel, “The Shrinking Man,” holds up very well. Ted Adams, IDW’s CEO and Publisher, has written a script that is faithful to the novel and to the unique pace of comics. Mark Torres (Judge Dredd) provides artwork that zones right into the stifled suburban living of 1950s America. Our main character, Scott Carey, cannot cope with his environment in an extraordinary way: Scott is regressing, reverting, literally shrinking away! No more life as husband, father, breadwinner, and symbol of masculinity. He is going, going, gone. Adams says it was a thrill to bring the novel to the comics page and it shows.

Ted Adams IDW Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson is an exceptionally vivid writer. He has you experiencing every detail, whether it is a man attempting to survive a vampire apocalyse as in “I Am Legned” or a man confronting a demented truck driver as in “Duel.” Whatever it is, you will believe and be on the edge of your seat as you read it. In this case, the Matheson meticulous attention to detail is focused upon Scott Carey, reducing in size by 1/7” per day. The story alternates between the early stages of Carey’s condition and once he’s near the end, stuck in a cellar, and easily food for a spider.

Matheson Shrinking Man IDW

This book includes an introduction by Peter Straub and an afterword by David Morrell. I read the singles which included Morrell’s afterword which explores the novel’s existential underpinnings. Morrell discusses the 1942 philosophical essay, “The Myth of Sisyphus,” where Camus compares daily life to eternally pushing a boulder around a dial. The essay was translated into English in 1955 and Morrell considers if Matheson may have read it. If not, then perhaps it was one of those concepts in the air. And, most certainly, existential ideas were not foreign to Matheson.

Ted Adams Richard Matheson

I believe that Matheson did not care for being labeled a genre writer at all because of how the term is lobbed at writers in a pejorative sense. What the Morrell afterward makes clear is that Matheson was working at a sophisticated level no matter what you call his writing. According to Morrell, Matheson was breaking new ground by including existential themes in a mainstream novel. On top of that, Matheson’s narrative structure, with its flashbacks within flashbacks, predates widespread use of metafiction techniques by some thirty years.

Richard Matheson Shrinking Man

I believe that to label Matheson as a genre writer is very problematic. The actual writing in the 1956 novel, “The Shrinking Man,” is not particularly elegant, per se, but that can be said of any number of so-called “serious” writers. That said, even at this early stage of his career, Matheson does reach lyrical heights. In fact, Matheson reaches a perfect hard-boiled, yet metaphysical, pitch with this novel. Ultimately, as IDW’s Ted Adams states, reading Richard Matheson is time well spent.

THE SHRINKING MAN has recently been collected into a 104-page trade paperback, priced at $17.99. For more details, visit our friends at IDW right here.

You can also get the complete 4-part series through Amazon right here.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, IDW Publishing, Richard Matheson, writers, writing

Review: DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY #1

Dirk-Gently-IDW

You have to hand it to Chris Ryall and IDW Publishing for creating a long line of heart-felt and artful tributes to books, movies, and television. Well, a comic book based upon Douglas Adams’s “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” is one of IDW’s best yet. Written by Chris Ryall, with pencils by Tony Akins, inks by John Livesay, and colors by Leonard O’Grady. It is a most vivid revisit to Dirk Gently placing him in new digs (San Diego) and a whole new challenge (copycat killers and ancient ghosts). The artwork is lively and it all adds up to be one of the most promising comics I’ve seen in quite a while.

dirk-gently-holistic-detective-agency

With Dirk Gently, Douglas Adams gave us a kaleidoscopic surge of reading joy. It was dapper wit and quirky hijinks. And it was far more than that as Adams played with a wide spectrum of ideas. So, for IDW to tackle Dirk Gently is ambitious–and IDW does not disappoint. The opening story for this first issue is very well paced and full of fun intrigue stacking itself one upon the other like a house of cards.

Dirk is like a whirling dervish right out of the gate. He begins by bolting out of the airport determined to make his way into San Diego with a stolen duffle bag. He bumps right into the owners of the bag and they pursue Dirk all the way to a mystery-themed teahouse, Gumshoes & Tea Leaves. The beautiful bold colors by Leonard O’Grady totally take over in the glorious use of green throughout the café. Our characters come to life in this space as our story unfolds. Dirk has a chance to introduce himself, all sorts of suspicious, dangerous, and supernatural things are already in play. And we know we’re in for something that Douglas Adams himself would have approved of.

“Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #1” is out now, 32 pages, and priced at $3.99. For more details, visit our friends at IDW Publishing right here.

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Filed under Comics, Douglas Adams, IDW Publishing, Sci-Fi, science fiction

ECCC 2015: Top Shelf Productions and Shannon Wheeler & Mark Russell

IDW Publishing at Emerald City Comicon this year brings a wide variety of comics goodness. I wanted to point out that Top Shelf Productions, now an imprint of IDW Publishing, will be at booth #1225, where you can meet the creative team behind the hit satire “God Is Disappointed in You,” Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler! The book is very funny and informative. Read my review right here.

"God Is Disappointed in You," by Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler

“God Is Disappointed in You,” by Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler

Shannon Wheeler is a cartoonist best known for creating the satirical superhero Too Much Coffee Man, and as a cartoonist for The New Yorker. Find him here. Mark Russell is a writer and a cartoonist. His writing has been featured in McSweeney’s, The Nib, and Funny Times, among other places, and his cartoons are featured regularly at Nailed. Find him here. And, of course, you can definitely purchase “God Is Disappointed in You,” from Top Shelf Productions, right here.

Top Shelf Productions

I have a soft spot in my heart for the ebullient quality of Shannon’s cartoons. I include above a video interview I did with him at last year’s Comic-Con International: San Diego. Seems like the perfect blast from the past to share with all of you. Below are the details on the panel with Shannon Wheeler and Mark Russell:

Saturday, 2:00 – 3:00 Room Hall C (TCC 301)
God is Disappointed in You (The Sequel), with Mark Russell & Shannon Wheeler—Last year’s standing-room-only hot ticket returns — now with even more Biblical bewilderment! God Is Disappointed in You, published by Top Shelf, is the tongue-in-cheek “condensed” version of the Bible you never knew you needed — hilariously modern, but surprisingly authentic — packed with cartoons by Eisner-award-winner Shannon Wheeler (The New Yorker, Too Much Coffee Man). Join him and author Mark Russell (writer of DC Comics’ upcoming Prez) for an hour of unforgettable irreverence, including Q&A, audience sketches, and the hilarious-yet-accurate “ten-minute Bible.” PLUS: a taste of the Audie-nominated audiobook, read by Dr. Venture himself, James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros), and an exclusive announcement about the upcoming sequel!

For more details on the IDW schedule at ECCC, go right here.

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Filed under Cartoonists, Cartoons, Comics, Emerald City Comicon, God, Humor, IDW Publishing, Religion, Satire, Shannon Wheeler, The New Yorker, Top Shelf Productions

Review: ROBERT HEINLEIN’S CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY #1 (of 3)

Citizen-of-the-Galaxy-IDW

Here we have the “dean of science fiction,” Robert Heinlein, in the pages of this new comic book limited series, “Citizen of the Galaxy,” from IDW Publishing. Welcome to Jabbul. We follow Thorby, a slave boy who has just arrived off a slave rocket ship. He is put up at auction. No one is impressed, except for, Baslim, a beggar who buys Thorby at a great bargain. This strange planet of Jabbul is not Earth and yet it’s not so different, not when you pause to reflect on our own history. Slavery officially ended in America only 150 years ago, right? That’s what you call less than a blink of an eye in a historical perspective. On Jabbul, slavery is very much alive. And if Thorby stands any chance of carving out a decent life for himself, he had best listen to Baslim.

IDW-Citizen-of-the-Galaxy

Adapted by Rob Lazzzaru and Eric Gignac, this is a great gateway to Heinlein. And the art by Steve Erwin, with colors and inks by Eric Gignac, provides a pleasing narrative all its own. You’ve got what amounts to an interstellar action/adventure coming of age tale. The pacing is nicely handled as we get to know our two main characters in this first act. Baslim, apparently a mere beggar, appears to have the best of intentions for Thorby, his new slave. For one thing, Baslim has a keen sense of where best to reside. Why not squat in what remains of an unfinished lavish amphitheater? And Balim proves to be highly intelligent. Before Thorby realizes it, he’s becoming something of a junior scholar under Baslim’s tutelage. This is all well and good as this tranquil period proves to be only temporary. Before long, Thorby must prepare for the next phase of his life away from Baslim.

“Citizen of the Galaxy #1” is a 32-page comic book, priced at $3.99, available as of March 4. For more information, visit our friends at IDW Publishing right here.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, IDW Publishing, Robert Heinlein, Sci-Fi, science fiction

Review: STAR TREK: NEW ADVENTURES VOL. 1

Star-Trek-New-Adventures-IDW-Vol-1

IDW Publishing has got the comics industry in quite a buzz regarding its acquisition of Top Shelf Productions, a relatively smaller comics publisher. So, what makes IDW special? Well, they do seem to have a geeky love for comics. And that leads to stuff like this collection of Star Trek stories. This is an IDW speciality so let that tell you something about IDW.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, IDW Publishing, Star Trek, Top Shelf Productions

Review: ‘Zombies vs Robots: No Man’s Land’

Zombies-vs-Robots-No-Mans-Land-IDW

“Zombies vs Robots: No Man’s Land,” a new prose anthology, edited by Jeff Conner, with illustrations by Fabio Listrani, and published by IDW, is deserving of a thoughtful review. Let’s get one thing straight. Zombies are definitely not for everyone. However, as more and more casual readers have come to find, the genre offers up some fun possibilities, and this book is a fine example of just that.

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Filed under Anthologies, Book Reviews, Books, IDW Publishing, Zombies

Star Trek: IDW Adapts Harlan Ellison’s ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’

Harlan-Ellison-IDW

My favorite episode of the original Star Trek series is “Man Trap,” by George Clayton Johnson. But there are certainly plenty to choose from. One of the crown jewels is by the great scribe, Harlan Ellison, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Ellison’s teleplay, much like Johnson’s, went through revisions to make it a better fit for network television at the time. Now, thanks to IDW Plubishing, this classic story will be faithfully adapted as a five-issue comics series, just as Ellison had originally envisioned it.

Press release follows:

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Filed under Comics, Comics News, Gene Roddenberry, George Clayton Johnson, Harlan Ellison, IDW Publishing, Sci-Fi, science fiction, Star Trek

Super Secret Crisis War – Cartoon Network Crossover Kicks Off In June

IDW-Cartoon-Network-Super-Secret-Crisis-War

IDW reports: Cartoon Network Crossover Causes Cosmic Calamity! Samurai Jack, The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Ben 10 And More Unite In The ‘Super Secret Crisis War’!

Sounds like a pretty big deal. It actually is and IDW is running with it!

Press release follows:

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Filed under Comics, Comics News, IDW Publishing

NEVSKY: A HERO OF THE PEOPLE Review

If I had one question to ask writer Ben McCool, I would ask him why he chose to write a graphic novel about the 13th Century Russian Hero-Prince Alexander Nevsky. But then I think I can come up with some good reasons why. One good reason is a somewhat similar venture: “300,” a successful 1998 graphic novel, also about a David versus Goliath type of battle, written and drawn by Frank Miller, inspired by the 1962 film, “The 300 Spartans.” Miller’s graphic novel went on to become, “300,” a successful movie in 2006.

In the case of “Nevsky: A Hero of the People,” McCool says his inspiration is the 1938 film, “Alexander Nevsky,” by the great Russian filmmaker, Sergei Eisenstein. And that’s all well and good but it is not a film that will ring bells with anyone. If you were to mention to staff at any comics shop, Eisenstein’s most well known scene in his body of work, the “Odessa steps” sequence in “Battleship Potemkin,” it would be met with blank stares. So, in that respect, it is a curious and hard sell. However, if you mention that the 1938 “Nevsky” film influenced George Lucas in some way, namely Darth Vader’s hat, then you’ve got sort of a viable hook.

Part of this is a waiting game. There is always the possibility that the relatively unknown  “Nevsky” graphic novel will indeed lead to a new “Nevsky” major motion picture. You can read all about those details at the L.A. Times’s Hero Complex site. And then it’s a whole other playing field.

Everyone loves an underdog. And an action story with a great battle. And a true story is a good thing too. Alexander Nevsky is one of the great heroes of Russian history as he was there to fend off the Mongol invaders to his territory of Mother Rus and then he went on to join a significant neighboring territory and, with a hope and a prayer, was able to lead a victory over the marauding Teutonic Knights. This is truly the stuff of legend. It was just the sort of legend that Stalin needed to associate himself with when he put Eisenstein to work. The end result, the 1938 film, “Alexander Nevsky,” satisfied Stalin’s ends but, as for artistic integrity, not so much. Like “Star Wars,” this film does well with the epic battle scenes, muddles through human interaction, and is blunt without a hint of subtlety.

The best thing about the original film is how Eisenstein was able to work with another legend, the composer Sergei Prokofiev. They achieved a magnificent synchronizing of action and musical score with the rushing into battle of the Teutonic Knights.

What McCool set out to do was work with the film company, Mosfilm, that owns the original film, and create a companion graphic novel. You can think of it as you would any other graphic novel that supplements a major motion picture. It is not at all a, frame by frame, tribute to the original film or really an interpretation of the film. It is a retelling of the basic script: Nevsky, against all odds, finds a way to defeat the German invaders in what was then a collective of states coming into their own as Russia, in the 13th century. In that regard, this graphic novel does an excellent job of providing a quick read of a significant period in Russian history. It would also serve to inspire readers to view the original film.

As a graphic novel on its own merits, the story is well paced. It is the art, and the role it plays in this story, that is really interesting. The artwork by Mario Guevara is a curious mix of mystery and understatement. I think that style worked really well in “Victorian Undead.” And it works in “Nevsky” too in an unconventional way. Whereas Frank Miller’s style is ballsy, Guevara’s is contemplative. You get a sense that all the characters, including the hero, are making it up as they go. They are not larger-than-life, none of them are. In fact, the characters rather blend into each other. So, in an odd way, it is leaning more toward realism and not evoking a hero’s tale. There are exquistely drawn scenes throughout to be sure. Overall, it’s the mood that is dialed down and that’s actually an improvement over the original film.

Given the desire to be flexible and experiment with having any and all subjects open to a graphic novel treatment, “Nevsky” is a welcome addition on the shelves. “Nevsky: A Hero of the People” is a 110-page graphic novel published by IDW. You can order your own copy through Amazon and you can check out the Nevsky site here.

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Filed under Ben McCool, Comics, Comics Reviews, graphic novels, IDW Publishing, Mario Guevara, movies, Russia, Sergei Eisenstein, Stalin