IDW has announced a deal with Hasbro, Inc. to license its popular Magic: The Gathering collectible card game for a new line of comics, starting this fall. IDW has already licensed the Transformers, GI Joe, and Dungeons & Dragons properties from Hasbro, making Magic the latest pick-up in their ongoing relationship with the toy and game manufacturer.
According to IDW, the line will begin with an initial four-issue miniseries, written by author and game designer Matt Forbeck (The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game, Amortals, The Marvel Encyclopedia) and illustrated by Martín Cóccolo, which will introduce a new “planeswalker”, a staple of the Magic mythos. For those unfamiliar with the game, players “duel” each other in their roles as planeswalkers, mighty wizards with the power to command the resources of infinite worlds (which happen to come in the form of collectible cards).
But beyond the players themselves, the creators of Magic have told the stories of legendary planeswalkers through text captions on the cards, and through novels which have expanded on the mythos. The most famous of these planeswalkers are the warring brothers Urza and Mishra, and IDW is promising that popular Magic characters will make appearances in the comics as well. There are plans for collected editions, and the series will be distributed through comic stores, bookstores, mass market retailers, as well as digitally. There’s also something to pique the gamer’s interest, as special edition Magic cards will be available exclusively in select issues of the comics.
Magic got its start in 1993, the brainchild of mathematician Richard Garfield, who brought it to Peter Adkison at Wizards Of The Coast, a start-up game manufacturer. It quickly caught fire, starting the collectible card game craze, and today claims approximately 6 million players in over 70 countries, and a library of over 11,000 different cards. The cards are illustrated by the top artists in the business (many of whom have worked in comics) including Bill Sienkiewicz, Mike Kaluta, Jock, Geof Darrow, Greg & Tim Hildebrandt, Phil & Kaja Foglio, Esad Ribic, Trevor Hairsine, and Ashley Wood. In the ’90s, Acclaim also published a line of Magic: The Gathering comics, but there’s no word on whether the new series will have any connection, or whether IDW has plans to collect the Acclaim run.