Jason Borelli writes from New York Comic Con for Bleeding Cool,
As IDW Publishing continues to compete with the independent publishers, they introduced a panel to two new imprints: Black Crown and PDX.
Black Crown forms around the lead of Shelly Bond, the long-time editor for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. While the comics under that banner are creator-owned, they share a common landscape styled after St. Mark’s Place in New York City. Bond’s concept of the imprint was to bring in hardcore talent with “punk neophytes.” Those joining Bond at the panel included writers Tini Howard, Peter Milligan, cartoonist Bob Fingerman, artist Cassey Kuo, and vice president of marketing Dirk Wood.
Peter Milligan talked about writing Kid Lobotomy, due for release later this month. Paired with artist Tess Fowler, Milligan went over the book he called “Metamorphosis meets King Lear, by way of Young Frankenstein.” The titular character is stuck with a crumbling old hotel by his father, who is known as “Big Daddy.” The Kid has had multiple lobotomies, adding to the offbeat feel of the book. Milligan talked about how the series is one of the better things he was written. Bond chimed in, calling the hotel a “Haunted house on crack. She was also “blown away” by Fowler’s outlook. Howard felt glad to be a “smart cookie,” though the panel agreed that anyone could pick up the series. Bond added that Kid Lobotomy would be “The perfect book for our times.”
The next book in the spotlight was Punks Not Dead, from David Barnett and Martin Simmonds. Due out in February, the book follows a schoolboy who has attracted the ghost of legendary punk rocker Sid Vicious.
Up next was Assassinistas from Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez. Howard expressed surprise at getting top billing over the legendary storyteller. The book is split in two eras: “Then” and “Now-ish.” One of the titular assassins is Octavia, mother of Dominic, a student who is kicked out of college for unpaid tuition. This is because she spent $40,000 on black market assassian equipment while preparing to rescue a colleague’s daughter. Octavia takes her son and his boyfriend Taylor as assistants in her quest. Howard expressed the book as a “Kill Bill story in The Venture Bros. world.” She added that she saw how conflicts parents and adult children are usually slanted by the story’s author, and she wanted to avoid that. “They’re baddies who fight baddies!” she summed up. “They’re my girls!” Howard felt that Hernandez was perfect for the book, being an artist whose characters could convey a relationship with a glance. Assassinistas is due for a release in late December.
Rounding out the starting lineup is Black Crown Quarterly, an anthology premiering on October 25. The anthology takes place in the neighborhood connecting the separate books. One of the stories is written by members of CUD Band; William Potter and Carl Puttnam, with art from Phillip Bond.
Wood took the panel towards PDX, from IDW’s new office in Portland. PDX will be putting out Full Bleed, a Kickstarter-fueled quarterly magazine coming in at 200 pages. It is backed by Wood and IDW CEO Ted Adams. The cover art was created by Kuo, who got her start as a medical illustrator. She made the move in part because she prefers pencil and paper to 3D printers.
The first issue of Full Bleed includes an interview with Stephen King with art by Sebastian Gomez; a story from Jarrett Melendez on the time with his boyfriend in Japan, a 16-page story (“San Diego and/or Bust!”) from Gideon Kendall; a Cuban travelogue from Adams; and a story from Jon Lansdale with illustrations from Tim Truman.
Also contributing to Full Bleed is Fingerman, who is solicited to go on a “political rant of epic proportions.” This includes watercolor illustrations of various denizens of the White House, which took 15-20 minutes to complete. “They’re barely caricatures,” he noted, before expressing his unhappiness with the current administration.
Wood added that he wanted Full Bleed to be for comics what Rolling Stone was for music. He also expressed excitement in a “lost story” focusing on Alan Moore.
The panel took time to answer questions from the audience. Bond restated how Black Crown would be like a neighborhood, with each book having a different space. She added how Mike Allred would own a record shop there. She also shot down the notice of Black Crown books mingling with other IDW properties. Howards chimed in about pitting the Assassinistas against Jem and the Holograms. Wood added that the Kickstarter goal had already been reached, and there were five more days for people to contribute money for it. In addition, Full Bleed will be the first Kickstarter book to be distributed by Diamond, and the magazine would not need advertising in it, noting how Kickstarter is the modern equivalent of the subscription service.