SDCC 2011: IDW Announces Magic The Gathering Comic, Transformers and G.I. Joe News

Bi-weekly Transformers! Dead Joes! Dark Elves! Magic!

During their San Diego Comic-Con panel, IDW announced the upcoming slate of Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Dungeons and Dragons books for the next couple of months -- as well as an exciting new license, Magic The Gathering!

While listening to some of these announcements (and yes, I know this was Hasbro-focused) it just now occurred to me how much IDW is about mainlining the 80's back into the brains of their readers these days. Anyway, onto the panel!

First up, beginning this winter IDW will begin publishing Magic: The Gathering comics. Each issue will include a playable card which will be the basis for the cover.

Next, Transformers:

Starting this month, Transformers is going bi-weekly with this month's issues 22 and 23 with an origin story of Autobots and Decepticon leaders Optimus Prime and Megatron.

Next up is the "Chaos" storyline, which begins in 24; 25 begins the "Police Action" story focusing on Prowler, who has to investigate a mystery. "Chaos" will feature a clash of ideologies. Transformers Civil War, anyone?

This December, they'll release issue #125, "The Death of Optimus Prime," by NY Times bestselling author John Barber. Barber was brought on initially to write the books tying into the movie, and his affinity for the characters led to him being made the editor of the line.

In January, they'll be relaunching the line with More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise. The former will be written by James Roberts with art by Nick Roche. Both books will spin out the status quo at the conclusion of "Chaos."

They'll also be releasing a digital comic formatted specifically to digital screens. While it will be initially released digitally, there's still the possibility of a print version.

Next up: G.I. Joe:

Editor Tom Waltz talked about the current storyline with Cobra attempting to pick a new Cobra Commander by killing the most Joes as the latter attempt to protect themselves. He describes the book as "popcorn summertime action" that everyone should be reading.

Chuck Dixon and Javier Salteres are on the current ongoing with Will Rosado joining the art team in September. Dixon is also on Snake Eyes which is on issue 5.

Mike Costa is on Cobra in September. The new storyline begins in issue 5 with a focus on how the Joes are responding to the revelation that they have a mole. It's an inversion of Costa's first story where Cobra learned they had a mole.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero starts a new storyline in 170 with Larry Hama featuring art by Gary Erskine in September.

Next, there's Cobra Command, an event crossing over all three books, with art on all three by Alex Cal beginning in January. It'll be the culmination of the search for the new Commander.

On to Dungeons and Dragons:

Drizzt #1 will be written by the character's creator, R.A. Salvatore along with his son Geno with art by Augustin Padilla. It'll include a module edition which you can actually play.

There'll also be a Drizzt Omnibus in August for $25 collecting 400 pages of stories featuring the dark elf.

In September, they'll be wrapping up the current story arc for the Dungeons and Dragons ongoing. October's arc will focus on Cal, the dwarf paladin who recieves news from home. September will also see the release of the reprints of the DC Comics D&D comics.

Some other highlights from the panel:

There wasn't a lot of love for the Bay Transformers movies, with Costa describing the director as having "raped" the characters.

In response to a fan question, each editor spoke to the value of allowing new artists to go a little off-model in deference to evolving and developing the style of the characters and the techinique of the artists.

When a fan asked about some kind of checklist of the varying Transformer chronologies, the editors were hesitant to commit to something like that -- with fans often wanting to take those kinds of lists as canonical.

And there was a lot of love expressed for working with Hasbro, who the Waltz says allowed IDW to just tell their stories.

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