IDW Editor-In-Chief Chris Ryall Speaks With

IDW Editor-In-Chief Chris Ryall Speaks With

Sunday, June 12th, 2005 8:48pm CDT

Category: Comic Book News
Posted by: Maximus Prime   Views: 24,787
After big news is announced it's usually pretty hard to get in touch with the people who can give some sort of insight as to what is going to be happening. And if you can get ahold of them they're usually to busy to be able to answer alot of questions.

After the announcment came that IDW Publishing had won the rights to the Transformers comic lisence we were amazed to see Chris Ryall, editor-in-chief, post on Transformers fan sites to say hello. What was even more amazing was that after contacted Chris not only did he respond but he did it with amazing speed and even more amazing friendliness. He was very accomodating to us and he didn't have any hesitation about being asked some questions about IDW and what's in store for the Transformers comic series.

Our own KingMob had a chance to talk with Chris not only about Transformers but about some other sides of IDW that people may not know about. Chris, can you tell us a little about IDW to kick things off, like how long the company has been around and where did you start with regards to your first publishings?

Chris Ryall: We’ve been around for five years now—we started as a creative services
company but began publishing comics in 2001, with 30 Days of Night.
Since then, we’ve built the company in three areas: with our successful
horror titles, our licensed properties like CSI, Angel, Shaun of the
Dead, Metal Gear Solid and others, and as the home of pretty much
everything Ashley Wood wants to publish. I gathered that you were doing the adaptation of Shaun
of the Dead, which is one of my favourite films of recent
years. Have you done any other projects we should check out?

Chris: Shaun of the Dead (four parts, starting at the end of this month) is my
first published comic as writer. For the past three years, I’ve been
working for filmmaker Kevin Smith, and then joined up at IDW a year
ago. And for my next trick… I’ll be doing an extended 5-part adaptation
of George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead. I also have a chapter in the
recently published book Superheroes and Philosophy. I’ll also start
really pushing this new horror magazine we’re doing in October, where
I’m adapting short stories from people like Richard Matheson, Robert
Bloch, F. Paul Wilson and David J. Schow. And there’s a big Clive
Barker project looming next year, too… and maybe at some point, I’ll
feel confident enough to take a crack at Transformers myself. Many Transformer fans appeared to be slightly in the dark about IDW
when the license announcement was made. Many people seemed to know IDW
primarily as a horror-comic publisher; another query was if you have a

Chris: Not at all. We’ve tried to go more for a “European” feel in our horror
art, to set more of a mood than typical superhero-type art, but we
don’t have a house style at all. I’d point to not only work by Ben
Templesmith, but also guys like Andy Kuhn (Easy Way), Igor Kordey
(Smoke), David Messina (Angel), Gabriel Rodriguez (Land of the Dead and
CSI) and Zach Howard (Shaun of the Dead) to really show the diverse
styles we look for. kind of Transformer comic can we look forward to coming from IDW?

Chris: Damned good ones! I think everyone will be very please with not only
the story Simon’s writing, but also with the art from EJ Su. And
there’s lots more to come next year, too. It's been mentioned that the initial Transformer title will be
somewhat inspired by Marvel's 'Ultimate' titles.
Is this just in the context of a modern setting and updated concept,
or will there be a sense of 'widescreen' storytelling, or

Chris: I mentioned USM only in the context of updating the book and
essentially “restarting” the continuity, but in regards to story, we’re
gonna pack an awful lot into each issue. I’m very wary of not padding
out stories for the TPBs. Not that USM is doing this as far as I know,
but I’m just not one for the whole idea of “decompression.” That word
should maybe be switched with “meandering” in a lot of books that say
they’re doing decompressed storylines. I like when things actually
happen in an issue. On Comic Book Resources it was reported that IDW were interested in
making some "unique mini-series" for the Transformers.
If these minis went ahead, would they be stand-alone from the
continuity in the main book?

Chris: They would, yeah. The issue of Wizard that’s due out right before
Comicon will have more details about this plan. You've said we can expect some Beast Wars comics to celebrate that
series' 10th anniversary next year - cheers for that by the way -
would this, and other Transformer titles have the same creative team
as that announced for the initial title, or do you have other artist
and writer combinations in mind?

Chris: I have people in mind, and Simon, who was set to write a Beast Wars
mini for Dreamwave before the… well, before, is definitely going to be
involved. I’ll hold off on announcing any artist just yet. One thing about IDW books that stands out is that you seem to capture
the look of a product really well, and have artists that use different
media - thinking of Silent Hill, CSI, Metal Gear Solid, 24 for
example. It'd be neat to see these kinda styles applied to the
Transformers anthology book featuring different
interpretations would be really cool.

CHRIS: Or if not an anthology book, maybe some cool miniseries or one-shots… Speaking of different takes, I noticed that Angel: The Curse will be
shipping with variant covers by some great artists, Tim Bradstreet and
Jill Thompson to name but two. Are there plans to do anything like
this with the Transformers?

Chris: Probably. I figure, as long as the covers are offered in equal
percentages so there’s no price-gouging going on, it’s fun to offer
different interpretations of the characters on the covers. Some artists
don’t have the time to do an entire book, but it’s still fun to see
what they’d do with a cover. There are a lot of good TF artists out
there, and since we don’t want to flood the market with too many TF
books, this is a nice way to give a lot of people a chance to take a
crack at the characters. Still on creators, we understand IDW has been in touch with Don
Figeroa and Andrew Wildman? Have there been any other contacts with
previous TF creators you can tell us about?

Chris: We’ve talked to Guido Guidi and James Raiz, among others, both of whom
are doing some work for us now. With more to come. Stopping briefly at the Dreamwave material; do you know if there's any
timeline available at the minute for the unprinted (and any other)
items to be freed up from the legal issues and ready for you?

Chris: Unfortunately, no. This is all between Dreamwave and Hasbro. I never
really see court cases resolved quickly, so while I’m hopeful this one
will be, you never know. I think it was Igor Kordey that said IDW are about "fresh creative minds
and creative freedom". There's some great talent in the TF fandom, are
you happy to take submissions?

Chris: Igor said that? That’s cool. I love the guy. I’ll do everything I can
to get a TF cover out of him. At the moment, we can’t really take any
more outside submissions, simply because there isn’t the space—we only
have one monthly TF book right now, and until some of the other plans
firm up, there’s not other openings now. But as we get into the TF
launch in ’06, there will definitely be other opportunities. I’m
looking at a couple other options to get fans involved, too. You've been doing a lot of publicity and popping up on messageboards
recently, which is're you finding interacting with the

Chris: Equal parts really fun and really scary… it’s great hearing from
everyone and seeing the level of passion that so many fans still have
for the Transformers. I love being involved with a project that helps
return a property to fans who still love it and have had to do without
it for the past half-year or more.

I do feel like every single TF fan has definite views of just what
these comics should or shouldn’t be, and I hope they’re willing to give
ours a chance and see how close we’ve come to what they wanted to see.
Ultimately, we’re taking on this license because we love the
characters, so we want to do right by them as much as any fan wants to
see them done right. Sometimes I think you'd need to do an Ultimate Secret Crisis on
Infinite Cybertrons to try and please everyone...will the internet
break in half when you launch the TF book?

Chris: I hope so! It’d be fun to know we broke the Internet. But I don’t think
so. I think, like with any comic, there will be people who like it and
there will be others who wish it was something else. But I do think the
people who like what we’re doing will far outweigh the naysayers. How's interacting with Hasbro working out? Have they made any requests
for a Cybertron book?

Chris: Not yet. They did show some footage of the show when we were there, and
it looked great. I liked the look and feel much more than Armada, I
have to say. We’re all waiting to see how the show’s received by fans,
and to see if Hasbro decides they do want a comic based on the show. I
hope so—I really like the story behind the show and think it could make
for a great comic series. We've heard a little about alt-mode changes for the Transformers cast,
but they all seem to be about the Decepticons. Is there anything about
the Autobots you can tell us?

Chris: All I can really say is, whatever you’re used to seeing the characters
transform into won’t be far removed from what they’ll be in our comics.
We might freshen some looks a bit, but we’re not doing anything
arbitrarily, nor do we want to change up what the fans are used to
seeing. And are there any issues with car companies not keen on their images
being used?

Chris: We’ll avoid that altogether, I think. Any info on plans for the human characters you can tell us about?
Should we be looking forward to some interference in Transformer

Chris: Well, the Transformers have been on Earth a lot longer than any human
character in the books have been alive, so it seems to me that someone
or other would’ve discovered them along the way. Tough to keep anything
that size hidden forever… so I’m sure that certain people in various
countries’ governments know of them, and have their own plans. They
might even be working with them… and also working to discredit the
average person who reports a sighting. But I’m sure there are Web sites
and conspiracy sites out there that talk about these sightings… which
is a small tease for something we’re going to drop on everyone between
now and when the 0 issue launches. Cheers for taking time to
respond to us, it's cool of you; I'd get you a pint and a packet of
pork scratchings in return anytime.

Chris: Deal! By the way, you've got red on you.

Chris: It’s not mine, though, it’s Phillip’s.

Thanks, man!

Again we would like to thank Chris for spending some of his valuable time talking with us, and for generally being a stand up guy.

Check out IDW Publishing's website at, and remember that Transformers #0 will be released in October for 99 cents.

Be sure to check out Chris Ryall's own comic, Shaun Of The Dead, June 29th for $3.99.

Credit(s): KingMob, exclusive to

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