IDW Publishing Recaps NYCC 2014

The eyes of the world were watching New York Comic Con 2014 for major announcements and this year IDW Publishing took the stage to reveal an impressive array of projects that are coming soon!

IDW & Disney Publishing Collaboration

Beginning in early 2015, fans can expect to see the first wave of classic Disney masterpieces featured in an array of award-winning and innovative publications from IDW.

  • Monthly Comic Series – This monumental collaboration kicks off with multiple monthly series featuring some of the most iconic characters of all time: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and many more!
  • Artist’s Editions – The award-winning Artist’s Edition line will feature collections from the immense talents who have contributed to many beloved Disney comics over the years starting with the legendary Carl Barks and Don Rosa.
  • IDW Limited – With original art, signature plates, and unique display designs, IDW Limited will offer a number of Disney series in deluxe limited editions.
  • Micro Comics Fun Packs – Packed with a mini-comic, stickers, posters, and more, the Micro-Comic Fun Pack has been captivating new comic audiences on a mass-market scale and IDW will expand this successful line with multiple Disney properties.
  • Library of American Comics – Beginning in 2015, the LOAC will begin collecting the various newspaper strips that have featured iconic Disney characters.

IDW & Marvel Partnership Expansion

  • Artist’s Editions – IDW and Marvel opened NYCC 2014 with the announcement they will partner once again to add titles and creators that will rightfully take theirs places among an already illustrious list of Marvel related IDW Artist’s Editions. Stay tuned for supporting announcements!
  • Library of American Comics Spider-Man Newspaper Comics – IDW and Marvel continued to amaze NYCC conventions goers and fans across the globe with the announcement that are teaming up to bring the world’s most popular super-hero, the Amazing Spider-Man to IDW’s Library of American Comics imprint. Launched in 1977, the Spider-Man newspaper strips feature the kind of fast-paced action and genuine human emotion that have made Peter Parker a star in movies, theatre, TV, video games, and the comic books that started it all back in 1962 with Amazing Fantasy #15.
  • Avengers Micro Comic Fun Packs – In one the more fun announcements of NYCC 2014, IDW and Marvel revealed they are giving Avengers fans one more way to keep up with their favorite superhero team, in the form of Avengers Micro Comic Fun Packs!  Look for them in both comic shops and mass retail spring of 2015!
  • IDW Limited’s Marvel Artist Select Series – IDW and Marvel concluded NYCC 2014 with the announcement of an all-new series that will celebrate the most iconic Marvel characters and fan-favorite storylines in an all-new, deluxe, limited-edition format produced by IDW Limited.

Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Comic Series
In partnership with Ideate Media, IDW Publishing announced that Douglas Adams’ beloved fictional “holistic detective” Dirk Gently will be appearing in his first-ever comic-book series. The series launching in spring 2015, will be written by Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief and creator/writer of series such as Zombies vs Robots, Groom Lake, and The Hollows. The series artist will be Tony Akins (Fables), and Chew co-creator Rob Guillory has contributed a first cover image, too. Full story details and release information will follow soon.

G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes

The fan-favorite G.I. Joe ninja is set to strike out on his own in an all-new series, G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes: Agent of COBRA! Debuting in January of 2015, this series builds upon the acclaimed new G.I. Joe series, released last month. With an exciting creative team and a secretive mission, the stakes have never been higher!

Other exciting comic series announcements made during the week were Jem & the Holograms with Hasbro, Millennium with Fox Entertainment and Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash Up! with Cartoon Network. For developing news on these projects and more visit www.idwpublishing and follow IDW on Facebook and Twitter @IDWPublishing.com.

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Justice League Dark: Futures End

Set five years in the future, this Justice League Dark one-shot introduces us to an almost entirely female version of the New 52’s occult superhero team. Zatanna, Nightmare Nurse and Black Orchid are joined by two new teammates: the blind prophetess Cassandra Craft and the demon Etrigan, the latter being the sole male member.

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While they are trapped in the House of Mysteries as it drifts between dimensions, the relations between the members are strained by mistrust. Zatanna and Etrigan are in love – but Black Orchid and Nightmare Nurse resent this horn-headed addition to their group.

Justice League Dark’s regular writer J.M. DeMatteis provides the story for this one-shot, while Len Wein handles the script. The presence of old hand Wein goes a long way to explain just how vintage the comic feels, with Zatanna’s purple-prosed narrative captions (“How long has it been – two years? Two thousand years? Since I plunged us all into this insane place between places? Since we fell into this nameless nothing?”) recalling seventies horror comics such as Wein’s own Swamp Thing.

In some ways, the artwork from penciller Andres Guinaldo and inker Walden Wong also suggests this era. The comic’s illustrations are hardly subtle, but they are solid and squeaky-clean depictions of a serviceable if familiar fantasy world. Perhaps Justice League Dark: Futures End would have benefited from the old school four-colour process, rather than the now-standard digital gradients; that would be the final touch in making the issue feel like a seventies comic that fell out of time.

The old-fashioned ethos of the issue has some less endearing manifestations, however. Such as the comic’s clodhomping ineptitude when it comes to character motivations.

The team discover a turn-of-the-century mystic who has been trapped in the void between worlds; although they rescue him, several team members feel that he is not to be trusted. Black Orchid even suggests that they chuck him back into the void. Why such hostility to the poor chap? The script never explains.

DeMatteis and Wein opt to vindicate Black Orchid’s callous reaction, however, by revealing that the man is the vessel of a demonic being called Non. This character does not get any kind of actual development beyond being given a loud of cod-magical tosh to spout (“Had I been able to absorb the powers of your Justice League Dark, I would finally have had the power to project the entirety of my being”).

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The entire Futures End event is based on the tried-and-true premise of superheroes being forced into bleak situations by a dystopian disaster. The Justice League Dark one-shot seemingly forgets this until the very end, when Zatanna coldly orders Etrigan to kill an innocent person on the grounds that this unfortunate soul may, possibly, be used against his will by evil forces. Black Orchid responds to this brutal scene with a jaunty quip; Zatanna then orders her teammates to tidy up the decapitated corpse as she strides away hand-in-hand with Etrigan.

This last-minute sop to all that is grim and gritty is meant to be horrific, but it is so tacked on that it comes across as merely unpleasant. As we are never given an insight into exactly how Zatanna became such a ruthless person in the five years since we last saw her, the scene serves little narrative purpose.

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Somewhere amidst all this clunkiness is a potentially engaging tale in which the reader is kept guessing as to which characters – both in and out of the team – should be trusted. It is worth mentioning that one of the most intriguing plot elements is skipped over almost entirely: as Nightmare Nurse gets into a row with Etrigan, Black Orchid whispers tenderly into her ear that “we don’t need Zatanna, love. We don’t need Etrigan or Craft.”

“Love”? Are Orchid and Nurse involved in a same-sex relationship? If so, neither of the writers felt the need to mention this outside of a single panel.

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As a series, Justice League Dark has a good concept but is still struggling to find an identity: half superhero comic, half occult horror, it has often failed to satisfy on either level. Justice League Dark: Futures End attempts to solve this problem by turning the main characters into sociopaths, with unpalatable results.

Information

  • Story: J.M. DeMatteis
  • Script: Len Wein
  • Penciller: Andres Guinaldo
  • Inker: Walden Wong
  • Cover: Juan Ferreyra
  • 32 pg
  • $2.99 US

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