The Forgotten Realms, the fantasy setting beloved by Dungeons & Dragons fans the world over, is the centerpiece for IDW’s all-new comic book miniseries, subtitled A Darkened Wish. Debuting in February 2019, the five-issue series will be written by B. Dave Walters with art by Tess Fowler.
In A Darkened Wish, years of hard-fought peace in the Sea of Swords are rent asunder, and legendary heroes must return to the region to defeat an unconceivable foe! Join Helene, a young wizard from the streets of Mintarn, and her friends as they grow from raw recruits to battle-honed warriors.
B. Dave Walters says, “I’ve been adventuring in the Forgotten Realms for a long time and having the honor of contributing to that world is incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to show the fans the power and intensity of a truly epic D&D story!”
“I have dreamed of making Dungeons & Dragons comics since I was twelve years old, but A Darkened Wish is beyond anything I could have hoped for,” says Tess Fowler. “Working with B. Dave Walters on this project is the coolest.”
Leading comic book and graphic novel publisher IDW Publishing announced today that it has acquired Top Shelf Productions, the award-winning independent publisher of graphic novels, including the #1 New York Times and Washington Post bestseller March by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (with Kevin O’Neill) and From Hell (with Eddie Campbell), Craig Thompson’s Blankets, Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole, and Jeff Lemire’s Essex County.
“The acquisition of Top Shelf is a milestone for IDW,” said Ted Adams, IDW CEO and publisher. “We looked a very long time for a company that would complement our own publishing line-up, and in Top Shelf we found the ideal match. The addition of Top Shelf’s library further positions IDW’s leadership role among the top powerhouses in comics.”
Top Shelf will remain a distinct imprint within IDW and co-founder Chris Staros will join the company as Editor-in-Chief, Top Shelf Productions. Top Shelf’s fans can expect the same independent editorial approach that has garnered industry-wide awards and made it an envy among its peers.
“IDW is committed to preserving and growing the Top Shelf brand, which we’ve long admired” said IDW president and COO Greg Goldstein. “Chris and his team have built a great working relationship with creators, fans, and retailers alike, and IDW will work diligently to expand Top Shelf’s publishing capabilities and market reach while further developing those relationships.”
Founded in 1997, Top Shelf Productions offers a broad library of comic books and graphic novels from dozens of the industry’s top independent creators. Following the acquisition, Top Shelf’s headquarters will remain in Marietta, GA.
“Top Shelf and IDW complement each other perfectly,” said Top Shelf Productions co-founder and publisher Chris Staros. “We both started around the same time, and when I would watch IDW over the years, as a fellow publisher, I’d see them making smart move after smart move. Now I’m extremely excited to combine their talents and resources with Top Shelf’s award-winning literary approach to comics. And believe it or not, the idea to join forces hit us both at exactly the same time. Last year, as I was about to pitch Ted and Greg this ‘crazy’ idea, they approached me to suggest the same thing! How’s that for a good omen? Together, we’re going to be able to publish some incredible work. I’m really looking forward to this.”
IDW continue to pull together classic series for release as Trade paper backs. Amongst others, this week sees Dungeons and Dragons Classics, volume four; the collected issues of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons magazine 1991/92. With a romping good story, reading it is utterly reminiscent of playing the 2nd Edition Game, probably over findus crispy pancakes, with pepsi, cheesy wotsits and your mum calling up the stairs, telling you its a lovely day, so why aren’t you outside. Just as it should be when one was fortunate enough to have a good dungeon master, the story builds the team from an individual in inauspicious circumstances, right up to a wonderful melange incorporating all the expected classes, races and ‘professions’ by the battle royale at the end. This collection sees that arc run from initial trap (murder/set up) to resolution taking in the quest for the Dragon’s Eye, some elves, the usual every issue sword fight, some more dwarves and a whole lot of magic without the need to use words. And being the early 90’s, a good mix of female and male characters.
Just as with volumes 1 to 3, and indeed in the games themselves, the same basic story line is adhered to, there’s a touch of the female gaze, there is surprisingly little sexism; and Yes, It does show that sometimes there is a lot of dross, but usually its the oldies that deliver the goods. The artwork is naive by current standards, and the colouring also that of the earlier pressure-based printing processes – no digital retouching here. Whilst its available in a digital format, I’d personally seek this out on paper, stick my nose right in for the smell of fresh print, and sink back into one of those secret pleasures from our teenaged years.