2:25pm PT by Graeme McMillan
IDW to Collect 'Mask of the Red Panda'
Having kept the Internet safe for almost ten years via the Decoder Ring Theater and MonkeyBrain Comics, the Red Panda -- the fearless protector of Toronto in the 1930s -- is making the leap into the analog world with a new print collection from IDW Publishing in 2014.
The pulp-influenced character -- described as "Canada's greatest superhero" -- was originally created by Gregg Taylor for a radio project that never made it to broadcast, before finding a home online as part of the faux-radio show Decoder Ring Theater podcast in 2005. Since then, the character has gone from strength to strength, appearing in a series of Tales of the Red Panda Novels and, as of earlier this year, Mask of the Red Panda digital comics by Taylor and artist Dean Kotz, through MonkeyBrain Comics.
It's these digital comics that will be collected in print next year, as the series becomes the fifth MonkeyBrain title to be published by IDW. "Because these characters started out in the radio serial, they've literally just lived as voices in my head for years now," Taylor said in a statement accompanying the announcement. "To actually see them spring to action-packed life in Dean's beautiful artwork has been a tremendous joy, and to have them find a home with Monkeybrain and IDW Publishing is absolutely a dream come true."
The Mask of the Red Panda collection is described by IDW as "the story of “the two-fisted masked guardian” set in Depression-era Toronto where gangsters, gunmen, and even super villains run rampant…or they would be if it weren’t for the city’s protector, the Red Panda and his trusty sidekick, the “fearless fighting female”, the Flying Squirrel." The publisher calls the collection "essential reading for fans of the Golden Age."