Between 2001 and 2004, new Transformers comics were published by a Canadian company called Dreamwave. In 2005, they went into receivership in acrimonious circumstances having failed to pay artists and writers. IDW Publishing was amongst the companies that subsequently entered into negotiations with Hasbro for the comics license, and the accepted bid.
The company has expressed an interest in publishing conclusions to storylines that were left hanging by the situation, out of consideration for fans, and has reprinted some existing Dreamwave material to keep it in circulation — though presently it looks unlikely that much more will be legally cleared for reprint or continuation in any reasonable timeframe.
For their own new titles, though, they're going back to basics. Ultimate Transformers, if you will. For those unfamiliar with Marvel Comics' publishing lines, a quick explanation of that analogy: an 'Ultimate' title offers an updated storyline set in the present, without the baggage of old continuities and with an intention to not simply retell bits of existing stories.
The new continuity is being published as a series of miniseries and standalone stories, with the aim of making each story accessible to new readers whilst joining up into an overall timeline. This approach has encouraged retailers to stock further Transformers comics, itself no mean feat since Dreamwave burnt many stores with cancelled series, leaving them sitting on stock.
As a nod to those of us who like ongoing titles, the main story arcs (including Infiltration, Stormbringer, Escalation et al) have a secondary numbering on the covers, next to the barcode (see the illustration to the left for an example. It's from Stormbringer #1, or #7 in the overall continuity.) You can also keep track of the rough reading order using the guide you're reading now, and our Release Roadmap of dates.
As well as their own IDWverse, the company has already diversified to appeal to different sections of the diverse Transformers fandom. A series set in the US show Beast Wars universe was produced in 2006, with more slated to follow in 2007 after the new live action movie. The new movie is getting both a prequel series and an adaptation, there's been an adaptation of the original 1986 animated film, reprints of classic Transformers stories originally published by Marvel US and UK, and an Elseworlds-like alternate continuity story titled Hearts of Steel, setting familiar characters during the American age of steam.
License collaboration with other companies is also on the agenda. Devil's Due still have an arrangement with Hasbro to create G.I. Joe / Transformers crossover stories, whilst IDW themselves have worked with Fun Publications and the official Transformers fanclub to produce material featuring current TV show and toy exclusive characters. They're also teaming up with Marvel for a New Avengers / Transformers miniseries that will be released at roughly the same time as the live action movie. So there's something for most people in the mix.