Late last month, IDW Publishing announced it had received a license from Topps for a comics series tied to the 50th Anniversary of Mars Attacks. to be released in the last-Spring of 2012. The company will be one of many releasing products tied to the anniversary. Already announced are books from Abrams, bobble head dolls from Funko, and t-shirts from 10 Again Clothing. And we’ve just got confirmation from Topps that a Mars Attacks series is expected for next Summer. For now, the company is keeping mum on particulars but if you check back here tomorrow, we’ve got some additional news on Mars Attacks licensed products.
So just what are IDW’s intentions for our beloved Mars series, voted best set of all time in a Non-Sport Update poll? After all, in a hobby filled with properties licensed from Hollywood, Mars Attacks is one of a very few to actually generate licenses, and just one of two to be made into a movie. And speaking of the movie, think what you will about it (lets just say it was not many critics’ favorite), a lot of people know what Mars Attacks is as a result, even beyond the hobby realm.
To find out what’s in store, we went to IDW Chief Operating Officer, Greg Goldstein. Goldstein has a long career in cards and comics and has worked with Mars Attacks on several other occasions. Goldstein has previously published a magazine for sports card collectors, worked in Topps’ Entertainment division on both Mars Attacks Archives and the Mars Attacks comics, been a Senior Vice-President at Inkworks and a VP at Upper Deck, and has held numerous other positions in the business of licensing pop culture. Not too shabby, huh?
Goldstein is very enthusiastic for the project. ”None of us can remember getting as many emails, particularly from comic book veterans, as (we did on) the day the (Mars Attacks) press release went out” says Goldstein. He continues ”compared to all of the other great things we have announced, all of a sudden, everyone checked in on Mars Attacks.”
You told me the series has been percolating at IDW for a while. Can you tell me about that?
We wanted to do Mars Attacks for a long time. We talked about it as early as I got here, more then three years ago. I think it was something that Chris Ryall, our Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer wanted to do prior to my landing here. I think Topps was initially reluctant to do much with it without a full program behind it. We had some conversations a few years ago and ultimately decided there was nothing to do at that point but Mars is getting ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary and Topps does in fact have a nice program starting to build and underway and so the timing is right. And Mars Attacks needs comics….Good ones….
So tell me about IDW’s comics
It’s early. We haven’t firmed up the creative team or even necessarily the final creative direction for our initial series yet. As we suspected, the announcement of Mars Attacks coming back to comic books has gotten the interest and passion of the creative community. Quite a few people have asked if they can be involved in some way or another. We’re evaluating all the initial possibilities and thinking about how it all makes sense.
Are any names going to be on board from the old days…. besides Greg Goldstein?
(Laughs)…I don’t want to rule in or out anyone at this time. There was a tremendous creative talent on the original Topps comics that we did, whether it was Keith Giffen or Charlie Adlard, who’s now become a star in the comic industry; Len Brown, the original creator of Mars Attacks; Simon Bisley, who painted some of those great covers. Honestly, by naming three or four names, I’m probably leaving out 10 or 12. So again, it’s a little too early. We’re talking about a late-Spring book so it’s a little too early to say who’s in and who might not want to be involved. But I’m sure they’ll be a lot of fan-interest in the talent that comes on-board.
I’ve heard that the licensors for the new Mars products must be cautious not to draw martians that look like the martians in the movie. Is that correct?
That’s correct. We can’t either. We are basing ours on what’s been done in the trading cards and we may indirectly reference some of the (previous) comic book material but ours will be our own take on it.
Speaking of the previous material, I’ve read that IDW Publishing is going to reprint the old Topps comics?
Yes, there will be a nice, complete Mars Attacks library when we’re done.
So how will the reprints work?
They’ll likely be published as trade paperbacks.
When this is all over, you’ll collect both the old and new?
At IDW, we pretty much collect all our individual comic books as trades, so there will be collections of both the original and new series.
Do you think the new comics might come with cards?
I’m not going to rule that in or out at this time. As loyal IDW readers know, we have done cards from time to time and we are doing Magic the Gathering variant gaming cards with our Magic comic books.
What other cards has IDW released?
We’ve done President Obama cards. We may have done something else that predated me. IDW has a long history in cards, having helped Upper Deck create a variety of gaming and some non-sport cards.
What else can readers, and those new to IDW, expect?
IDW has done a lot of great relaunches in the last year or so….Magic, Godzilla, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…. Mars is another classic property that deserves a great relaunch. We have a great editorial team here, and I expect the Mars launch will be one of our best.
How far do you see it going? How many issues?
Difficult to say this early on, but Mars can go on in one form or another as long as there is consumer interest. The bottom line is if you start considering possible story lines for Mars Attacks, given the context of science-fiction stories, there’s a lot you can do that never got done in the early series. Think about it….with only 15 or 16 issues of Mars Attacks ever published, we are pretty much starting with a clean slate.
Like Goldstein, we’re also excited at NSU to see the return of Mars. You can be sure you’ll see more Mars Attacks news in upcoming issues of Non-Sport Update magazine, as well as on this site. If you’re on Facebook, you might also checkout Topps’s Mars page. The company already has an astounding 50,000+ likes and is posting frequent updates. Be sure to check back tomorrow for additional Mars Attacks news.