(CBR) IDW Publishing titled its Saturday afternoon panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego the "Panel to End All Panels," and judging by the sheer volume of announcements made they may have been right. New projects were announced for "Locke and Key" co-creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, "SNL" star Taran Killam, "The Maxx" creator Sam Kieth, legendary artist Walter Simonson and more.
IDW Publishing EIC and moderator Chris Ryall kicked off the panel by introducing everyone on stage. The packed panel included editor Sarah Gaydos and Darby Pop Publishing E-i-C David Wohl, SNL-alum and "The Heat" star Taran Killam, "Manhunter" writer Marc Andreyko, special projects editor Scott Dunbier, legendary artist Walt Simonson, writer Eric Shanower and "The Maxx" creator Sam Kieth.
A picture of IDW's "Doctor Who Special 2013" by writer Paul Cornell came onscreen and Ryall immediately pulled up writer Cornell, who was seated in the audience, to briefly describe the story.
"The Doctor lands in the real world, meets Matt Smith, goes to a 'Doctor Who' convention and discovers all his adventures are available on DVD," Cornell said. "It's 40 pages of glorious Jimmy Broxton art with lots of back-ups. IDW have done us really, really well... It's my farewell to Matt Smith and it's my celebration of the show, which I still love desperately as the heart of everything I do."
Ryall then pointed out a mysterious silhouette between the eighth and ninth Doctor Who in a lineup of the Doctors on the issue's cover. "There's definitely something big going on," he said.
The panel then moved to "Locke and Key: Alpha" #2, the finale to Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's epic, six-year-long saga. Ryall described the book as "one of the best things that I've ever been involved with."
"In every way this book has become a big and important thing," said Ryall. "It really resonates with fans. I don't think I've been to convention in four or five years that I haven't seen a ['Locke and Key'] tattoo on somebody's arm or their back or their neck. It's really meant a lot to a lot of people."
To help celebrate the ending of the book, IDW will be publishing variant covers by Bernie Wrightson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave Sim, Glen Fabry and Michael Kaluta.
Ryall revealed that Hill and Rodriguez would be doing a couple more "Locke and Key" stories after the finale of the main series in a book called "The Golden Age." "They've done a series of one-shots over the years, some of them have been Eisner nominated, but they haven't been collected," Ryall said. "So they're gonna add a few more to that and we're gonna collect that in one more book called 'The Golden Age.'"
"In fact, if you saw Joe [Hill] on twitter this week," continued Ryall. "He found these old keys from the 1800s that are actually guns. They have littler triggers and fire a shot. Joe said, 'There's no way I'm not doing a story with these keys, guys!'"
After "Locke and Key," both Rodriguez and Hill have new projects coming out through IDW. Hill and artist Charles Paul Wilson III are putting out "Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland" in November. The book tells an early tale of the child-stealing Charles Talent Manx III from Hill's best-selling novel "NOS4A2."
Rodriguez is teaming with writer Eric Shanower for "Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland." When Ryall put the gorgeous cover of the first issue onscreen it elicited audible gasps from the audience.
Shanower described the book's basic story, saying, "Little Nemo is going to be a new child from modern day, but Slumberland is going to be the same as it was back then. King Morpheus of Slumberland is going to send the Candy Kid to get Nemo to come and be the princess's new playmate just like the original Little Nemo was sent to become.. But unlike back then, this Little Nemo doesn't really think becoming a playmate for the princess is such a hot idea and conflict ensues."
"I don't think we're going to be able to match the original 'Little Nemo' by Winsor McCay," sad Shanower. "It's a classic strip and I don't think it's been matched much in 110 years of comics history. We're not trying to redo 'Little Nemo' exactly as it was and beat Winsor McCay. I think that's a losing proposition."
IDW special projects editor Scott Dunbier added, "Eric makes great all-ages stories. They work for younger readers, they work for older readers, they work for everybody."