Whale tales, Santa Claus, more lead Bad Idea's first wave of titles

(Image credit: Bad Idea)

The launch titles for the upstart new comic book publisher Bad Idea has been revealed, with new work from Matt Kindt, Marguerite Bennett, Zeb Wells, David Lafuente, and more.

The publisher will begin in March 2021 with ENAIC by Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite, followed by Tankers from Robert Venditti and Juan Rose Ryp in April, Whalesville by Kindt and Adam Pollina in May, and then The Lot by Marguerite Bennett and Renato Guedes and Slay Bells by Zeb Wells and David Lafuente in July.

Launched by former executives of Valiant Entertainment, Bad Idea bills itself as "dangerously unruly and equally experimental…" To that end, Bad Idea is aiming strictly at the comic book store market, with no plans to release its comic books to bookstores or even digitally. Instead, it'll be available at select comic book stores (called 'destination stores' by Bad Idea), with the publisher aiming for an air of exclusivity and rarity to its titles.

Here are the upcoming titles:

ENIAC #1 (of #4)

ENAIC #1 credits

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Colorist: Diego Rodriguez
Cover Artists: Lewis Larosa and Laura Martin

ENAIC will serve as Bad Idea's flagship title - a Neal Stephenson-esque alt-history series documenting the growth of a supercomputer into a self-operating system out to destroy Earth.

"77 years ago, the United States unlocked the key to defeating the Axis powers, but, in their desperation to end the war, created a far more powerful threat: ENIAC (Electronic Numerator Integrator and Computer), the world's first supercomputer," reads Bad Idea's synopsis. "ENIAC's calculations proved vital to turning the tide against Germany and Japan – until it ordered the second atomic bomb to be dropped on Nagasaki without any human order or approval. America had inadvertently created the first artificial intelligence without ever realizing the full extent of its abilities...or its ambitions. 

"For the more than 50 years that followed, ENIAC manipulated global affairs from the shadows, waging a cold war that pitted spy against spy, nation against nation...until it went dark and disappeared from view," the description continues. "Now, years later, an encrypted countdown has just been detected in Earth's satellite network and mankind only has three days left before ENIAC executes its endgame. With few options and even less time, the Secretary of Defense has just given two covert operatives the most important mission in human history: kill ENIAC…before it kills us."

Here is a preview:

ENIAC is scheduled to run monthly beginning in March 2021.

Tankers #1 (of 3)

Tankers #1 (of 3) credits

Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

Bad Idea's second title, Tankers, posits an interesting solution to the civilized world's dependence on oil and its impending scarcity: time travel.

"The CEO of global energy conglomerate Greenleaf Oil has just discovered a terrifying secret: the planet only has a decade or less of petroleum left before it's gone forever. But he has a plan to make sure his great-great-grandchildren can continue to generate maximum shareholder value – and secure his own legacy in the process," reads Bad Idea's synopsis. "Rather than develop a game-changing renewable energy source through the power of corporate innovation, Greenleaf has perfected the next best thing – time travel (duh) – so that a team of six field-rat contractors armed to the teeth in individually customized mech suits can go back to the Cretaceous Period, tweak the trajectory of the meteor that killed the dinosaurs, and give mankind another 500 millennia worth of oil reserves. What could go wrong?"

What goes wrong is that those time travelers come back to their home time period to discover they inadvertently caused the dinosaurs to not be decimated, but thrive, and evolve.

Here is a preview:

Tankers #1 is scheduled to debut in April 2021, with three double-sized issues coming out every two months.

Whalesville #1

Whalesville #1 credits

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Adam Pollina
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth

Breaking from the more sci-fi oriented work, Bad Idea's Whaleville is a Hayao Miyazaki-esque one-shot about the son of a whaler finding a unique village of sea creatures living within a whale who swallowed him.

"When young Wawae – the seaborn son of a whaling captain – is thrown overboard and swallowed whole by a whale, he knows his father will relentlessly pursue revenge against the creature that stole away his boy," reads Bad Idea's description. "What he didn't expect, however, is what he's about to find inside: the town of 'Whalesville' – a colorful, cobbled-together village inhabited by an astounding collection of talking sea creatures, including a crab named Caleb, an angler fish called Angela, and a seadragon that prefers to go by Lilly. 

"But, to Wawae's new friends, Whalesville isn't just their home, it's the whole world – and they don't understand the danger that now pursues them from above the waves or that they are even inside a whale at all," the description continues. "To rescue his new best buddies, Wawae will have to convince them of the truth…and save Whalesville before his own father sends them sinking into the inky depths forever."

Here is a preview: 

Whalesville #1 goes on sale in May 2021.

The Lot #1 (of 4)

The Lot #1 credits

Writer; Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Renato Guedes

The Lot is a four-issue series mixing classic Hollywood with classic horror.

"In 1970, legendary filmmaker Oliver Larsen began production on his latest horror masterpiece on the lot of Los Angeles’ famed Cloverleaf Studios," reads Bad Idea's synopsis. "Obsessed with bringing authenticity to the genre, the director insisted on casting real-life occultists to perform a genuine Satanic ritual live on camera – until something went horribly wrong. In the bloody aftermath, the production was shut down, the footage was confiscated, and the soundstage was forever shuttered. Until today."

(Image credit: Bad Idea)

In The Lot, a new studio chief takes named Aviva Copeland over Cloverleaf in the modern-day and their plan to revive the film company's flagging image is re-open that storied soundstage.

"But, as Aviva will soon discover, this corner of the lot may have been closed for a half-century, but it’s far from empty…and the evil that lives within its haunted walls will soon seize its chance to kill again," the synopsis concludes. 

The Lot #1 is scheduled to debut in July 2021 and run monthly for four issues.

Slay Bells #1

Slay Bells #1

Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: David Lafuente
Colorist: Ulises Arreola

And Bad Idea's first wave of titles culminates with a Christmas-themed black comedy, Slay Bells. 

"Every Christmas Eve, little Bobby Hamilton and his father rise at dawn for an early morning hunting trip. It was their favorite tradition – until they accidentally killed a certain red-nosed reindeer," the synopsis reads. "They should have known better. They shouldn’t have tried to cover it up. Because Santa Claus knows that they’ve been naughty – and, now like so many fragile Christmas ornaments violently shaken free, the yuletide peace of a quaint Midwestern farming hamlet will forever be shattered as Old Saint Nick comes to town to reap the sweetest gift of all: vengeance."

Here is a preview:

Slay Bells #1 goes on sale July 2021.

While Bad Idea hasn't (yet) expanded into the superhero genre, there are many that have - besides just the Big Two. Here's our list of the top non-Marvel and DC comic book superheroes.

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)