Also published on this date: Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Tuesday, November 1, 2022: Dedicated Issue: IDW Publishing

IDW Publishing: Dark Spaces: Wildfire by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Hayden Sherman

Editors' Note

IDW Publishing

With the support of the publisher, Shelf Awareness spotlights IDW Publishing, an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels, art books and trade paperbacks.

IDW Publishing: Dark Spaces: Wildfire by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Hayden Sherman

Books & Authors

An Introduction to IDW from Publisher Nachie Marsham

Nachie Marsham

Nachie Marsham is the Publisher of IDW Publishing and has been working in the industry since 1997. Prior to IDW Publishing, Marsham was Executive Editor at Disney Publishing Worldwide, where he led the Marvel Press imprint from 2018 to 2020. Earlier, Marsham spent over eight years in editorial at DC Comics.

One of the great joys of working at IDW Publishing is knowing that there's a whole world of our fans out there, even if some of those fans haven't realized it yet--yourself included! Our friends at Shelf Awareness have given us a wonderful opportunity to present to you a brief look at the full breadth of our offerings, so you can see that IDW has something for everyone!

Throughout the years, we've been fortunate to have amazing partners who trust IDW to tell compelling stories with world-renowned brands that include Dungeons & Dragons, Godzilla, My Little Pony, Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Trek and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Always respectful of the legacies of such icons, our talented creators still find ways to leave an indelible mark on each franchise.

The Top Shelf imprint, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is one of the true graphic novel pioneers, championing distinct voices and changing the public perception of comics from a niche format to the mainstream. Top Shelf brings literary sophistication to graphic novels that readers of all walks can embrace. We've recently brought the multiple award-winning Artist's Edition format--once exclusively available to comic shops--to the book market. Finally, our newest publishing initiative has seen IDW reach out to the creative community, welcoming fresh ideas that span diverse age ranges and genres and offering audiences wild new worlds to explore.

New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones, author of the mind-bending new series Earthdivers, and our own Editor of Original Middle Grade and YA titles, Megan Brown, will elaborate a little more on those projects in this issue. We hope that you'll agree that, wherever readers are looking for projects that are bold, genuine and of the highest quality, they can turn to IDW!

IDW Publishing: Dark Spaces: Wildfire by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Hayden Sherman

Stephen Graham Jones and Earthdivers

Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of nearly 30 novels, collections, novellas and comic books. Most recent are My Heart is a Chainsaw and The Babysitter Lives. Jones spoke with Shelf about his new comic book series, Earthdivers, and what it has been like to move from novel to comic storytelling.

By the second page of the first Earthdivers, the premise is clear: a character is going back in time to kill Christopher Columbus. Would you tell readers a little bit about this graphic novel series?

What American Indian doesn't want to go back, keep us from getting "discovered," called the wrong name, then infected and enslaved and massacred over and over? Columbus wasn't around for the long history of bad relations and worse people, but there is the sense that--like Custer and the Black Hills--he's the one who kicked the door open. The dream is to go back, do away with him, but wouldn't it also be great to get to go back and show him that it didn't work? That, despite all the concentrated efforts, we're still here and creating comic books? That'd be great to throw in his face. And then get to the rest of the... mission.

Have you always wanted to write graphic novels?

Yeah, comic books have been where it's at for me since I was 12 years old and stumbled upon Secret Wars #4 in a rural gas station. I love the form, the grammar and syntax of pages and panels and how much you can do with and in a comic book. If when I was starting out I had an inroad to comic booking, I wonder if I ever would have written prose fiction. I love prose fiction--I live in those rhythms, those possibilities. But if I'd taken a sidestep into comic books and had some luck there? I honestly don't know. I'm fortunate to be getting to do both, now. I love prose fiction and I love comic books. I also love music, but no worries--complete lack of talent's going to keep me from playing in that field.

How was it switching to writing graphic novels? Do you prefer writing one over the other?

It's harder because, for each issue, there's a finite number of pages, and of course you have to stage things on page-turns, and then set up and get out of two-page spreads... It's fantastically fun, but it means I have to plan--I have to figure out beforehand what's going to fit, where it's going to turn and how it's going to end. That's completely opposite to the way I write. Juggling captions and dialogue, tiers and panels, that comes naturally. I've been living in the comic book page so long that it's second nature, moving like that. It's about 14th nature having to outline, though. Maybe 22nd, even.

The illustrations are fabulous. What was your experience with the art?

Davide's character sketches completely changed the development and direction of the comic book before we even got it going. So, from the get-go, his art has been vital. But what's amazing is working with someone with a visual sense, an ability to make layouts dynamic, an instinct for expression with nothing but lines. My favorite parts of this process have been when his art erases some of my words. Then I can scrub them from the script because they're, in the sense that matters, already there. It's been a magical process.

What is the publication schedule for this series? Is it following a comics model or a traditional publishing model?

Comics model: monthly, arc by arc. Which is another thing I'm having to learn: how to arc a character episodically, rather than giving them this long on-ramp to change and discovery. Serial storytelling is completely different. It's both liberating and confining, but in good ways. It's making me grow as a writer, and that's been a wonderful and surprising gift.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell Shelf readers?

I actually did research for this story. And I usually research nothing. I figure if I can't convince the reader of this lie, then I'm not writing well enough. I'd much rather make a fact up than find one that corresponds to the world. But, due to the historical nature of this, I had to choreograph with the actual first voyage in 1492. It was revealing how much of it is still guesswork--we're not even completely sure what language Columbus spoke. But, for that language? One of my sisters has a graduate degree in linguistics. I was able to call her up every time I hit that language wall, and needed some insight that... I probably should have researched myself. But research is so not-fun. This kind of research, though? I get to talk to my sister. That's the kind of research I like.

IDW Publishing: Codex Black (Book One): A Fire Among Clouds by Camilo Moncada Lozano

Megan Brown Chats YA and Middle-Grade

Megan Brown

Megan Brown is a Middle Grade & Young Adult Originals Editor at IDW Publishing. Brown has previously worked on licensed titles such as Marvel Action: Captain Marvel, Read Only Memories, Dungeons & Dragons and TMNT. Here she chats with Shelf about what she looks for in young adult and middle-grade titles and some upcoming IDW titles she's delighted to publish.

You are an Original Middle Grade and YA titles editor. Would you tell our readers a little bit about what your job entails?

Of course! Being an editor is sort of like being a combination producer/director--it's my responsibility to find projects, help get them off the ground, hire anyone who needs hiring, work with folks over here to make schedules, make sure creators are sticking to those schedules and... Whew! It can be a lot! The director bit comes in when you're helping to edit the story itself--essentially you want to be aware of the creator's vision and purpose and help shape the story to best suit that vision and purpose.

I tell people that mostly, though, I keyboard smash about the amazing people I get to work with. I'm very lucky to be able to collaborate with some fantastic writers, artists, colorists and letterers, so it makes the day-to-day job easy.

You previously worked on IDW Licensed titles--were you working with middle-grade and YA titles before? What made you excited about joining the Originals team?

I was working with a lot of middle-grade and young adult titles, yeah! I was lead editor on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic for the end of its 100-plus issue run and helped edit our Marvel Action line. Those stories were always super gratifying and fun to work on, not only because of the vibrant characters and the sandboxes we would get to play in, but because we were able to tackle a lot of important topics and themes.

Getting to join the Originals team was sort of an extension of that! I was very excited to have the opportunity to create a space for meaningful, diverse stories about the struggles and triumphs that kids and young adults face. Growing up is a tumultuous time, and if we can offer readers a bit of understanding during it all, then I'm doing my job right.

What is it you're looking for in books for teens and tweens?

Hook, heart and character! I'm always more drawn to stories that have a very clear path of growth for the main characters, whether I'm looking at slice-of-life middle-grade books or YA fantasy epics. I am most drawn to relatable characters that readers can see themselves in who have strong voices and characters who start in one place and end in another (hopefully better) place.

Are there titles that you're particularly excited about or proud of?

Everything! All the titles! But I really want to highlight Codex Black: A Fire Among Clouds, which is this kinetic, heartfelt project about a young girl, the god who lives in her poncho and her winged best friend as they set off on a quest to find her missing father. It's been such a joy to work on this book, and I've learned so much about 15th-century Mesoamerica thanks to author Camilo Moncada L.'s knowledge and meticulous research. On top of that, Camilo's art is so dynamic, and Angel DeSantiagio's gorgeous colors absolutely transport you. I can't wait for folks to get to read it!

Is there anything else you'd like to tell Shelf readers?

Just that this is only the start! IDW has put together a wonderful slate of original stories moving forward into 2023. I wish I could be more specific, but you'll just have to keep your eye out--trust me, it'll be worth it! In the meantime, you can check out samples from our upcoming titles in our Middle Grade and Young Adult Sampler.

Exciting 2023 Titles from IDW

Keep an eye out for these upcoming books from IDW:

Skull Cat (Book One): Skull Cat and the Curious Castle by Norman Shurtliff (Top Shelf Productions, $14.99 paperback, 112p., ages 9-12, 9781603095198, February 14, 2023)

It's Scully the Cat's first day at Le Dark Chateau and, even though the castle is eerie and full of dark secrets, Scully is excited to start his new job and prove himself to be a great gardener. But what happened to all his co-workers...? Scully must become the hero to uncover the truth. Middle-grade lovers of fantasy and spooky adventure should treasure Norman Shurtliff's debut graphic novel.

Cosmoknights (Book Two) by Hannah Templer (Top Shelf Productions, $24.99 paperback, 264p., 9781603095112, May 2, 2023)

Pan has finally escaped her dead-end planet, piecing together a new sort of family with the rebel gladiators Bee and Cass and the mysterious hacktivist Kate. The sensational "gays in space" webcomic/graphic novel returns with new faces, long-awaited reunions, higher stakes and more thrilling action! Hannah Templer's Cosmoknights follows a ragtag group of queer outer-space gladiators as they fight to escape--and possibly overthrow--the neo-medieval patriarchy that rules their universe.

Dark Spaces: Wildfire by Scott Snyder, illus. by Hayden Sherman (IDW Publishing, $14.99 paperback, 144p., 9781684059614, May 9, 2023)

Dark Spaces is a thrilling new anthology series that explores humanity's deepest fears, beginning in the smoldering hills of California. Six weeks into the burn of the Arroyo Fire, a crew of women from an inmate firefighting program work the frontlines. Their newest recruit proposes a plan to abandon their duties and hunt for riches, and the team must decide if they're ready to jeopardize their sure path back to normalcy for a shot at a life-changing score. Scott Snyder and artist Hayden Sherman craft an unforgettable heist for a new age in Dark Spaces: Wildfire.

Codex Black (Book One): A Fire Among Clouds by Camilo Moncada Lozano, colorist Angel De Santiago (IDW Publishing, $16.99 paperback, 320p., ages 13-17, April 4, 2023)

Navigate through monsters, mysteries, and the will of the gods with two young extraordinary adventurers in fifteenth-century Mesoamerica as they search for a missing father. Donají is a fearless Zapotec girl who, even though she's only fifteen, is heralded as a hero by her village. In Codex Black, Donají sets out on an adventure--accompanied by the god that lives inside of her poncho--to find her missing father. Along the way, she meets a 17-year-old winged Mexica warrior named Itzcacalotl, and over time their temporary partnership blooms into an incredible friendship.

Arca by Van Jensen, illus. by Jesse Lonergan (IDW Publishing, $16.99 paperback, 176p., 9781684059980, July 11, 2023)

The world burned. But the rich and powerful had a plan. When society fell apart, a select group of billionaires had an escape hatch: a rocket aimed at the nearest habitable planet and a ship equipped with many of the luxuries of life on Earth. Their every need is tended to by enslaved teenagers who agreed to the role in return for the promise of a new life. However, inside a sealed chamber a teenager named Persephone discovers that the promised future of comfort is a myth. With that knowledge she fights for her survival against the billionaires who would gladly kill her to protect the hidden truth.

Top Shelf Productions: Skull Cat (Book One): Skull Cat and the Curious Castle by Norman Shurtliff

Top Shelf Productions: Cosmoknights (Book Two) by Hannah Templer

IDW Publishing: Codex Black (Book One): A Fire Among Clouds by Camilo Moncada Lozano

IDW Publishing: Earthdivers #1 by Stephen Graham Jones, illustrated by Davide Gianfelice

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