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IDW Publishing staged an online press conference for its upcoming Infestation 2 event with CCO/publisher Chris Ryall and editor Bobby Curnow.

Following are highlights:

* Ryall said the original Infestation took a year to put together and the idea worked with the licensors. "It's not only bigger as sequels need to be, but there will be a way for these characters to interactive and overlap," he said.

* Infestation 2 will be 13 total issues and will be set up as a standalone event, so readers will not need to have read any of the Infestation titles or the Outbreak story, Ryall said.

* Ryall said Infestation 2 will dive into H.P. Lovecraft territory. "They sort of amp up the threat," he said, noting that both bad guys and good guys alike need to face.

* Ryall said the story will go through April and will incorporate new characters such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Danger Girl and Dungeons and Dragons are also worked "in a way that made sense and doesn't feel contrived."

* The Transformers books will take place in the Heart of Steel steampunk continuity. "A lot of fans have asked for more from that series," Ryall said, noting it makes sense with story and Lovecraft.

* Curnow noted that Lovecraft's monsters are versatile for story-telling and different aspects will be shown in the various books.

* Duane Swierczynski is writing the two bookends and the 30 Days of Night tie-in. "He gets what makes horror work and an action-packed comic," Curnow said.

* The Transformers book was described as Lovecraft, Transformers and history thrown into a blender "with a terrific smoothie of fun." It is written by Chuck Dixon, with art and cover by Guido Guidi.

* The creative team of Infestation: Dungeon and Dragons is writer Paul Crilley and Valerio Schiti, with a cover by Menton Matthews.

It marks the first time Eberron has been explored in comics, and both Ryall and Curnow. "It's less swords and more sorvery," Curnow said.

The story focuses on Abraxis Wren, who is a case that puts him on the trail of creatures.

* Infestation Team-Up is written by Ryall, with art by Alan Robinson and will ship during the fifth week on Feb. 29. Archibald from Grimm Lake and Batboy from Weekly World News team-up in a humorous story.

Ryall said the characters kind of look a like and they were both ridiculous, and the story will have nods to previous comic-book events as the characters meet outside a bar.

Erik Powell and Bill Morrison provide covers.

* TMNT in March plays into the sewer aspect of the Turtles. "Something comes knocking on their door, that precipates a crisis they need to investigate," Curnow said.

Tristan Jones is the writer, with art by Mark Torres.

Mike Raicht returns from the first Infestation to write the G.I. Joe book, due in March. Cobra uncovers a hidden relic that drives people insane, and the only people who can combat it are those already insane. Crystal Ball, Storm Shadow and Interogator feel the Cobra asylum and take on the threat. "You may or may not see your favorite Joes, too," Curnow said.

Crystal Ball was created by Stephen King's son, Owen, and his current visual is patterened after Alan Moore.

Art is by Valentine DeLandro.

* Infestation 2: 30 Days of Night takes place in the North Pole. It is written by Duane Swierczynski, with art by Stuart Stayger. "It is straight pulse-pounding horror," Curnow said.

* Infestation 2 concludes in April. "Things are definitely going to change. We've got some twists and some turns and there are some surprise characters in there."

Ryall said there are thoughts of a trilogy for Infestation. He noted that all of the original Infestation issues sold out, and IDW is putting a major push for Infestation 2.

* The covers feature tentatcles that go across all of them in an interlocking fashion. There will also be temporary tattoos.

* Ryall noted that all of the original Infestation issues met their in-store dates, and the scheduled will also be meet for Infestation 2.

* Danger Girl will be involved to a lesser extent, as to not conflict with the upcoming Danger Girl series.

* Ryall said the Turtles books are now available in the UK.

Ryall and Curnow both emphasized they think Infestation 2 is better than the original. "It's more cohesive and darker and a much bigger story," Ryall said.

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