Looking into the future of IDW Publishing with Chris Ryall

Chris Ryall

2006 has been a big year for Transformers fans. One of the most exciting thing about being a fan has been IDW take on Transformers. IDW has been hard at work creating interesting Transformers stories. IDW has also enjoyed a lot of success in other areas also. They have been nominated for a number of awards this year including SPIKE TV's Scream Awards. I decided to talk to one of the people who has been making IDW a success, Chris Ryall. Mr. Ryall was kind enough to agree to do an interview. In this interview he let me in on some of what we can expect to see from IDW. Without further delay here is my interview with Chris Ryall. I hope you enjoy it.

Hotrod Hotrod: Before we begin, I would like to thank you Mr. Ryall for agreeing to do this interview. I know you are a busy person and I am glad you were able to take the time to do this interview.

Hotrod Hotrod: How would you classify this year for IDW in general?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: In general, it was a pretty great year for us. I think we expanded the focus of what we do here, had a successful relaunch of the Transformers books, got some Eisner- and other award nominations, and tried a lot of different things.

Hotrod Hotrod: This year two of the horror comics you have worked on, Shaun of the Dead and Masters of Horror are nominated for Best Screen to Comic Adaptation as part of SPIKE TV’s Scream Awards. How do you feel about that?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: And a third title of ours, Saw II, was also nominated. And how do I feel? I wanna win! With the Eisner nomination, it really took me by surprise, and while I didn’t expect to win, when it came right down to the award being announced, I found that I really wanted it to happen. Didn’t. So it’d be nice to see this one happen for a couple reasons—I’d love to see IDW get some attention on TV, since I think people who don’t regularly read comics have heard of Marvel or DC, but probably not us. So the exposure’d be nice, and also, I had such a great time working on Shaun of the Dead, I’d especially love to see that one get some recognition.

Hotrod Hotrod: Which nominee is your favorite to win?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: Guess I just tipped my hand above, but since Shaun was my first published comic, and it was so great working with Edgar and Simon on it, and Zach Howard did such a phenomenal job on the art, I guess I’m leaning more toward that one. However, I’d be just as happy to see Masters of Horror get the nod, and only minutely less enthused to see Saw II win…

Hotrod Hotrod: Which one is your favorite personally and why?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: I think I’m answering these questions one ahead, but Shaun is my favorite, for the reasons cited in queston 3.

Hotrod Hotrod: IDW has generated a lot of fan support over the past year from Transformers fans. What would you say attributed to that?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: I’d like to think a lot of it had to do with our willingness to listen to the fans, to talk to them, and to include them in what we’re doing as much as possible. And hopefully also from doing comics that they’re enjoying.

Hotrod Hotrod: In my opinion the Transformers Character Spotlight issues were a great idea. How were the characters for the issues chosen?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: This was partially fan-driven as well. When we’re only doing one real ongoing storyline, it’s impossible to work in everyone’s favorite character. Every character is someone’s favorite, so obviously there’re a lot of characters out there we hadn’t gotten to yet. So we saw the consensus online, and we also talked things over with Simon and went back and forth on who we’d all like to see as well, and who would work for these stories. All these stories set up future plot points that will be revisited, so the choices needed to make sense for the ongoing story as much as anything else. I think we have a good mix of characters in these books, which has allowed Simon to tell some really varied stories, too. His work on Shockwave is very different then the mystery tale he’s telling in Nightbeat, and so on. Sorry, Soundwave fans, maybe you’ll get yours on the next round of Spotlights…

Hotrod Hotrod: IDW has announced they will be doing Beast Wars Profile books. How did this come about? And what can we expect as fans?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: We’d talked about doing one before, after seeing the fan response to Dreamwave’s MTMTE books, and then the idea really picked up speed with our Beast Wars miniseries. After Simon and Don worked in so many unfamiliar characters and fans really started asking “who IS that, and what’s his story?”, it made sense to explore the idea further. We’ve got some great artists working on these, from the usuals (Don Fig, James Raiz, Guido) to some new guys as well. They’re going to look great, and Simon and Ben Yee’s text came out perfectly, too. Now if we can just assemble all the pieces in time for the proposed January release, we’ll be good to go.

Hotrod Hotrod: I hate to ask this next question because you are likely tired of answering it, but it pops up a lot on Seibertron.com also. Will IDW be reprinting DW’s profile books?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: We will. We’re planning one huge, deluxe, 600-page volume that collects anything and everything. That one certainly depends on when we can get all the material together, but it’s going to happen.

Hotrod Hotrod: As a follow up to the last couple of questions, is there any chance that down the road IDW will make profile books for other Transformers series such as Armada, Energon, Cyberton, or Robots in Disguise?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: There’s been talk, but nothing beyond that at this point. If anything, we might look to put out a profile book that looks at characters in our new continuity.

Hotrod Hotrod: Marvel, Dreamwave and Devil’s Due have both done Transformers and G.I. Joe crossovers in the past. Is there any chance of IDW ever doing one?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: Yes.

Hotrod Hotrod: Would you consider doing any other crossover comics involving Transformers?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: Yes.

Hotrod Hotrod: At Comic Con it was announced that IDW would be remaking the original movie comic, which I think is a cool idea. How did this idea come about?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: Well, knowing it was the 20th anniversary, it seemed like good timing, and I know some people hadn’t been crazy about the previous comic version. When Don Figueroa expressed interest in doing it, it was “game on.” And I’d been looking for a way to get Bob Budiansky back involved with the TFs, and this seemed like a great first way to do that. And not the last way, by any means.

Hotrod Hotrod: This is another question you have been asked a lot. With out giving up any information that you are not allowed to, what kind of role has IDW had with the upcoming movie if any?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: Hopefully the questions I answer very vaguely (10, 11, this one) tell you that things are definitely planned. And I’m being short and vague in my answers because I’m dying to say more and being careful not to. But when I can, I will. We do have an important role to play here, I’ll just say that.

Hotrod Hotrod: What can we expect to see from IDW in 2007 and further down the road?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: Well, in the ongoing story, you’ll see Escalation and then Devastation. You’ll see more Beast Wars. Origins of Megatron and of the TFs themselves. More spotlight issues. Guidebooks, art books, collections of some of the best TF tales from the past two decades, and… well, see questions 10, 11, and 13. I’m more excited about 2007 than this year, and I thought this year got off to a great start for the TFs. Oh, there will be more Evolutions, and you should even see the first “Ryall-written” TF project next year, too. I’m sure fandom has been dying for that…

Hotrod Hotrod: Last question. Is there anything you would like to say to the fans?

Chris Ryall Chris Ryall: Yes—if you think the idea of a Ryall-written TF project is bad, please keep it to yourself… no, but seriously, one of the best parts about doing these books has been interacting with fans in our letters pages and on message boards, so I’d like to just thank everyone for the input, and for trusting us to take the TF franchise in new and different directions.

Hotrod Hotrod: Thank you again Mr. Ryall for agreeing to do this. I wish you the best of luck with and hope you win the Scream Award!

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Posted: Monday, November 29th, 2021

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