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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

It's the question on everyone's lips: How can YOU be as cool as posters to the Bendis Board? Let's ask Mike Storniolo:

"A buncha liefeld hate thats getting out of hand. Lets see what they say once I swing by. http://newsarama.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=366410#post366410 towards the bottom."

Someone gives him "props" - "Go Mike! You tell them fanboys!" - to which Mike responds:

"Oh I am. I'm sick off all this Newsarama shit with a buncha geeks that have nothing better to do than bitch and whack off to cyber images of psylocke. fuck them!"

Four minutes later, he posts:

"By the end of tonight I WILL GET KICKED OUT of Nerdsarama! Mark my words!"

What's that? You think Mike is being just as geeky as those he seeks to mock? Why, he's already thought of that:

"before anyone says it, yea I know I'm pretty hypocritical and being just as much as bitcher but they deserve it. It's about time someone starts to step up and dish it back! we should all sign up and post! have a mass Bendis Board Invasion!"

Simply JD feels that he should chime in on his distate for Newsarama:

"Mike...even I didn't get banned from there... I guess they're THAT desperate to have a certain amount of memebers. That matt brady couldn't kiss my left nut if I allowed him to."

(JD later starts a thread to boast that he WAS banned from Newsarama, despite Matt Brady telling him repeatedly that, really, he wasn't: "As I said, your account was fine when I checked it. I mean, I can understand you saying that you were such a badass that you got banned, given the impression it would give folks, but you weren't banned. That's the fact. I mean, if you'd like me to, I could, I guess, but I don't see the point.")

Mike strikes back:

"I hope Brady posts warning me. He's gonna get a nice little LMB, GFY, ad KMA"

When someone posts that Mike's trolling doesn't come back on the Bendis board, Mike has an answer for that, too:

"I dont give a shit. It's fun. Matt Brady and Newsarama can go fuck themselves for all I care [...] whatre they gonna do, whine me to death[?]" (and in another post) "I'm not stopping till I get kicked out of Newsarama. It will happen. Not tonight but it will."

Thankfully, others understand Mike's passion:

"I know it's been said before, but you are the man, Mike. If you need any backup, let us know. Those fucking nerds won't know what hit 'em!"

Sadly, even Mike can be stopped. But does being banned slow him down? You know the answer:

"THIS IS GREAT! My Account On NERDSARAMA is dissabled! I cant post anymore! that's right you no life talentless hackes! eat my shit!!"

For those who may have thought that he was banned because he was being an arse, Mike can set you straight:

"Now they got a little taste of Bendis Board Vengence. and they dont like it."

For those wondering just who this mysterious Mike Storniolo is, thankfully his sig file tells you (twice): "Mike Storniolo! He's the Man! Motherfucker!" So now we can all bask in his brilliance. Motherfucker, indeed. Amusingly, Travis Howard (Cth of the Bendis Board) posted to the Bendis Avengers preview thread at Newsarama today (scroll down) about the quality of posting there:

"You've got every right to say you don't like it, but at least be smart about it and not what's become the cliched angry fanboy that's starting to become synonymous with Newsarama. I'm sure Matt and gang aren't thrilled about the name being dragged down by you guys."

You have to wonder if Mike Storniolo is the level of poster that Travis feels that Newsarama posters should be aspiring to, don't you?

The V dedicate a thread to Marvel's most popular bald writer of comic books:

"This thread right here is the talk-like-a-Bendis-character thread."

"Like a Bendis character?"

"Yeah like a character, a Bendis character."

"Right."

"The thing is... This thread, okay? That's what it is."

"I can't tell. This seems a lot like a talk-like-a-Mamet-character thread. A lot. Shit."

"Mamet? Right. Mamet, it was Mamet there. Bendis? Yeah."

Rob Liefeld versus Kurt Busiek! It all starts with Nat Gertler clarifying Liefeld's comment in the Youngblood: Imperial Newsarama story that Busiek wrote Youngblood: Genesis (Scroll down towards the bottom of the page):

"Rob's promoting Kurt as the writer of material when that credit is inaccurate is deceptive marketing. It makes Kurt look bad by tarring his reputation with work that was not his. And it does a disservice to the person who did script the work. You may not agree that it's important, but after using the term 'writer' to describe Kurt's involvement with Genesis before, Rob was moved to apologize and to promise that 'it will not happen again'."

Mr. Busiek? You can step in now:

"To expand on Nat's post, here's what Rob said at the time: 'I apologize to Kurt Busiek for any ill will created by my mentioning him as writing the Genesis book. While I certainly didn't intentionally mean to create a stir or defend him and I don't entirely understand the intense feelings in the situation, I am sincerly sorry for casually tossing the term writer instead of plotter or plotted by especially considering that Kurt has stressed in the past that this as a particular point that is important to him. I am a big fan of Kurt's work and have no desire to offend him now or in the future and I apologize for being careless. It will not happen again. Kurt will continue to be credited as 'plot by Kurt Busiek' throughout Youngblood Genesis and I promise to be careful in referring to his work on the series.'

"http://www.millarworld.net/index.ph...ndpost&p=717483

"This was March, so Rob managed to go almost four months of being careful and having no desire to offend me now or in the future."

Mr. Liefeld? I think this is the time to apologize calmly and try and make the best out of the situation...:

"As far as Mr. Busiek goes....2 words. Fed up. Can no longer be good boy. Of course after asking his fans to not purchase the series and lying about the extent of his involvement, I think I was quite patient. I guess this means we won't be collaborating in the near future. Too bad, so sad. I'm over it."

Busiek:

"Patient enough so that in between your promise to be careful and not to offend, I said nothing on the subject. That nothing was apparently enough to make you decide you were fed up. I've never once lied about the extent on my involvement in the series, though you can't manage to stop, claiming even here that I wrote four issues of the series. As for asking people not to purchase YOUNGBLOOD GENESIS, I'll happily do it again: If anyone out there was considering buying this because of my involvement, I'd prefer you didn't. Rob has every right to use the three plots I wrote, and I've even offered him the notes I had on what would have been the plot to #4, which were never fleshed out into anything more or paid for, but since Rob can't seem to keep a promise to save his life, I'd prefer not to send any business his way.

"And since the apology Rob issued that I quoted above came after I originally made that request, it's not as if he wasn't aware of it when he once again promised to be a good boy. So the turnaround is all Rob. [And as to Liefeld's "I guess this means we won't be collaborating in the near future"...] Not ever, Rob, as I told you the first time you broke your word on the subject and then insulted me for bringing it up."

Liefeld:

"Kurt, Where there is no desire, there is no opportunity. I will not be inviting vampires into my home. BTW, I loved Salem's Lot 2004...great flick. Original is still preferred, but new one is quite good."

Busiek:

"Heh. I suppose we could argue about who first decided he didn't want to work with the other again, but since you're on record as asking me repeatedly to come back and finish this, I think I'd win that one. Still, glad you enjoyed SALEM'S LOT. I haven't seen either, but liked the book just fine."

From there, the two stop fighting, but the thread gets weirder...

(Thanks to Chris for pointing this out).

Chris Ryall takes over: Official:

"IDW Publishing, the comic book publisher that won Diamond's Gem Award for Publisher of the Year in 2003, has announced that Chris Ryall of Movie PoopShoot.com will replace Jeff Mariotte as Editor-in-Chief. Mariotte, who spent a decade at Wildstorm Productions before moving to IDW, is leaving his post in order to devote full time to his writing. Mariotte has just published the first book in a projected four-book series of teen horror novels. Mariotte's replacement, Chris Ryall, is currently working as an advertising copywriter as well as Editor-in-Chief at Movie Poop Shoot.com, Kevin Smith's pop culture Website. Ryall was recommended to IDW by Steve Niles, the writer of many of IDW's most popular comic books including 30 Days of Night and Wake the Dead."

Tim Rocks at The Comics Journal board ponders deeper meanings in Spider-Man's multiple media lives:

"Peter Parker's nerdiness doesn't bother me in the comics, where it seems appropriate to its readership of outcasts and misfits, but it takes on disturbing overtones when projected on the big screen before mass audiences. He's the same nerd, more or less, but the meanings have all changed. General audiences can only indulge him, or pity his awkwardness. They'd have to get in touch with their 'inner nerd' to watch the movie straight, which, since it's a big event movie and certified normal, many of them may do. But watching it as camp seems a more likely reaction. Thus Peter Parker is no longer a stand-in for the reader/viewer, as he was in Stan and Steve's day, but the Other: a side-show freak, an envoy from the strange and pathetic world of comic-books. It's a bit twisted, is all I'm saying. Joe Blow and his girlfriend don't need Peter Parker, the way some kid reading the comics does. At the movies, Peter Parker evokes a cheap sentimentality; in the ghettoized superhero comics form, where we find his ideal reader, he serves a purpose, like Clark Kent, Charlie Brown, Jimmy Corrigan..."

Bendis talks Avengers (again):

"I hear a rumor that the first 24 pages of this are going on line tommorow [Today; this post was made yesterday. The preview is here].. in color and lettered. boom! i'm telling you, preorder avengers, it is not too late. don't come bitching to me like you did on secret war. i told you. this is the stuff. shit happens all over the place."

Robert Kirkman chimes in:

"I guess it's okay for me to admit that I've gotten to read these scripts since I'm working on Cap. Bendis does not lie. This stuff is amazing. I can't wait to see what Finch does on the pages. You guys are going to love this stuff. It's SOOOOOOO not talking heads."

David Finch responds:

"Man, this is pressure! This means you'll be able to see all the places where I went off script and screwed up!"

Douglas Rushkoff talks about his graphic novel to Patrick Neighly at Newsarama:

"I guess what they can expect is an argument for open source reality; for the idea that we are creating the reality we are living in. I see comics as a safe haven for mythic constructs – for stories in which we can create allegories for really big ideas. They’re our society’s equivalent of the Bible, really, or of shamanic storytelling. It’s a freeflowing dreamspace, where very iconic and symbolic things can take place. So I’ve ended up using the medium to tell a story about reality as a dreamspace."

Proof that I should've been paying attention to Millarworld in their new temporary home comes in the form of my missing Warren Ellis's plug for The Apparat Singles Group:

"Apparat Singles bear a PARENTAL ADVISORY that the Work is considered by the Author and Publisher to be Not For Children. The Apparat Singles Group further advises that Parents and Guardians may wish to purchase the Work for younger persons to read with Appropriate Supervision in an Educational Atmosphere, or else said younger persons may pay or otherwise engage adult Crack Dealers to buy the Work from your local Singles Vendor, that they might read them without permission in The Woods where persons of Bad Character dump Pornography, Used Needles, Exploded Condoms and other Social Poisons."

The response is nice and nostalgic for those who remember the WEF:

"I'll be picking these up."

"So very looking forward to this."

"Want this now."

"Looks liek more money will be given in November to Avatar and Warren Ellis. Would you like my soul now while were at it?"

JH Williams goes exclusive with DC:

"I’ve been doing lots of covers and little tidbits if interior stuff for some the competition [...] But as for why now...I had been approached to go exclusive about six months or so ago but didn't want to do it then without knowing what the next project would be. I wanted to keep my options open for the right thing to come along. Now that it has been settled I figured I might as well take advantage of some of the perks to going exclusive since my next large amount of work was going to be with Wildstorm anyway and I have always been treated with the utmost respect from DC and Wildstorm in particular. It just feels like home."

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

If you're interested, full issue previews of District X, Spider-Man, Iron Man, She-Hulk and Captain America, amongst others, are available here. Be stunned by the going through the motions of Spider-Man (I can't say more without spoiling it for those reading the title, but two of the main plot points are horribly cliched)! Be confused by Iron Man! Be amused by She-Hulk! ALL FOR FREE!

Don MacPherson loves the first issue of the new series of Sleeper. He gives it a 9 out of 10, and says:

"The action is exciting and the plotting clever, but what makes this a compelling read is the emotional factor. [Artist Sean] Phillips reinforces [writer Ed] Brubaker's efforts with artwork that dark, mature and brooding in nature."

But then, the Fourth Rail rivalry kicks in. In true Emeril Lagasse style, Randy Lander kicks it up a notch, giving the issue full marks, saying:

"The funny thing is, for all that Sleeper had to suffer in sales because it was new and different, it really is like a lot of the popular books on the market right now. It's not hard to make comparisons to the supervillain conspiracies and dark tone of Wanted, to the intelligent examination of the spandex set in Bendis's Daredevil, to the slick fast-paced pop thrills of the Ultimate books. The difference is, where some of those books have flaws ranging from minor to major, Sleeper has yet to really make a misstep. It's dark and yet fun, full of intriguing characterization and dialogue but not light on the action and morally complex instead of just wallowing in evil for its own sake. Brubaker's whole point with Sleeper seems to be to examine the notion of good guys and bad guys, and to show that maybe it's impossible to fully be either one, and that neither life is easy."

Next thing you know, Don will say that he made a mistake earlier and he meant that the book was an 11 out of 10, to which Randy will shout that he thinks it's infinity out of 10, and then shout for mom. Nonetheless, Sleeper is great and I know all of you will buy it tomorrow, right?

Youngblood returns! AGAIN! Rob Liefeld, take it away:

"I really wanted to produce a Youngblood monthly title and when Robert Kirkman agreed last year to do it, it was a no-brainer [...] I want a regular Youngblood title on the stands and assembled a team that could deliver it. Simple as that."

What's that? Waiting on the second issue of the Mark Millar-written Bloodsport?:

"Bloodsport is one issue away from completion – the second issue will ship this summer."

And what about Genesis, another unfinished miniseries?:

"The two issues that Kurt Busiek wrote have been available for one year and four months, respectively. While I have the original issues #3 and #4 that Kurt wrote, they can't be produced as is simply from the standpoint that they heavily feature prominent supporting cast members from Spawn and Wildcats, as well as Lynch from Gen13 and Team 7. The series focuses heavily on the politics of Youngblood's rise against the agendas of Spawn’s Jason Wynn and Lynch and obviously, that’s impossible to incorporate now. A new Youngblood: Genesis series, vol. 2 will begin shortly, but the two Busiek issues read as a completed volume, telling a complete first chapter in the Youngblood saga."

That's right - a complete first chapter! Next up: Rob tells those waiting for him to complete a series to shut up, as they've already got MANY complete pages, so what are they whining about?

The Joe Quesada board faces up to a few home truths:

"I have been reading a lot of comments lately that joequesada.com is an elitist community and that newer posters feel like they are not welcome and are treated with hostility. This is probably true... Longtime posters at this board have dealt with their fair share of trolls and sock puppets. Trolls anyone can deal with, because they are obvious to everyone. I think where a lot of newer posters run into problems is with sockpuppets. Because we've had so many here, we always think that any new poster is just someone else creating yet another on-line identity, and that probably comes across in our initial treatment of all new posters... Let me be the first to apologize to any new (or old for that matter) posters who feel that they have been less than welcome here. Sometimes it's hard to see the forrest for the big, stupid, ugly trees right up front."

"What Laiana failed to mention it's the it's the apparently 'non' eltist members on here who decides who are trolls. Bashing another poster for non conformist views is allowed and will be overlooked. Having none conformist views actually isn't. ANyone who tells you this board isn't like that is dreaming. I'm not saying everyone bashes the Marvel or comics detractors but everyone allows it. But god forbid u mention Nu Marvel mentality and they all jump on u like a ton of bricks. Not to have a discussion but to personally attack you thus they think undermining what may have been a very valid point. Anyways enjoy your time here new posters. If you share their opinion they may let u stay."

"See, I've never considered these boards 'elitist.' Elitist implies a person thinks they should be treated better because of self-perceived superiority, and that's not the case here. What is at the Joe Q. boards is generally the opposite--people hiding behind screen names and starting threads that appeal to the lowest common denominator. Oh, and they end most threads with exclamation points. Looking through the boards, I see far less 'versus' and 'casting' threads than I used to, but that element is still here. Maybe I'll look around and see if things have improved. But for the most part, when people think of the Joe Q. boards, they think it's 1 step removed from Newsarama, which isn't saying much at all."

Millarworld examines a popular phenomenon:

"You ever buy a comic book... that you sooooooo desperately wanted to get into (Hell you might've even bought the next issue to try to understand the story more) but you just couldn't really get into it....with me? Hellblazer...no matter how much I loooooooooove Tim Bradstreet's covers I just can't really get into the recent version.....maybe the Garth Ennis one since I'm a fan of his and have yet to get the tpb of issues he's done..."

"Yes. Used to happen all the time; I might've liked the concept, or the writer, or the artist or been pumped up by other people's enthusiasm for it, but the product itself did nothing for me. All of Warren Ellis' sutff after Transmet. has disappointed me, no matter no how much I wanted to like it. Maybe it was just Transmet's weak ending that left me cold on him as a writer after that, but I was bored within the first three pages of Global Frequency."

Ah, the problems with being an anal fanboy:

"So i lone my cubical co-worker my copy of Starman Vol.1: Sins of the Father because I like to try and get people interested in comics. Now I've only had this book for 3 days, I've read it (awesome by the way). And when he gives it back at the end of his shift? He's pulled the cover away from the spine glue!!!! ARG!!! Why do people press the book flat on the table when they read? is it so hard to hold it in your hand? This isn't about collectors value, this is about keeping a book intact for a good long time. GRRRRRR this is not the first time this has happened but it still urks the Heck out of me"

"i got one better... i have a sw book on the coffee table with a bookmark in it.... my friend looks at it... opens it to the page with the bookmark.... then folds it creasing the spine right down the middle and sets it back on the table.... i was like DUDE.... what was that for... he didn't even know what i was talkin about!"

"I let a co worker borrow Daredevil 1-8(smith and joe q), and you do you know where they are now? Do you know? No, really do you because I havent seen them since. IF YOU SEE THEM CALL 976 OH EFF ME, IT'S A TOLL FREE CALL."

John Romita talks about his days on Spider-Man at Newsarama:

"I made them all a little bit too good looking for Stan, I remember that... Stan wanted them a little bit offbeat. Spider-Man was supposed to be the offbeat hero, and everyone was to follow along those lines. Every time I made Peter Parker handsome, Stan got mad. He wanted it to not be like the classic super-hero and alter ego. No matter what I did, I couldn’t help it - I told him that my heroes had to be fairly good looking. He finally threw up his hands after a year, and said 'The hell with it, do it the way you want.'"

Monday, June 28, 2004

Jim Henley on the precognitive powers of Steve Englehart at the American Spectator:

"The comics of [the 1970s] were full of stories 'torn,' screamed their covers, 'from today's headlines!' But Avengers 113 was something different. Suicide bombings were not common features of real life back in 1973. Terrorists tried to get away. There had always been suicide operations in wartime, however ad hoc, finally systematized in Japan's kamikaze program. But there is a qualitative difference between flying a plane into a warship during a battle and walking up to someone on the street and blowing you both up. In 1973, suicide bombing as we know it existed purely in the imagination of a comic book writer. The real world waited until 1980 for the Tamil Tigers to use it as a terror tactic. I'm not stupid enough to waste effort trying to find out if some Sri Lankan kid paged through Avengers 113 and grew up to put his reading into practice. Save that blind alley for some latter-day Frederick Wertham. I was more interested in whether Englehart was drawing on some concrete real-world example that had somehow escaped notice."

Rich Johnston breaks the heartbreaking story of the week:



Millarworld... no more!

Well, until Mark remembers to renew the domain name, apparently.

John Jakala has the winners of the Street Angel contest up at his blog. In related news, I now want to see Scott Polite Dissent write a novel.

Spinning from Paul O'Brien's most recent X-Axis reviews, a thread at Joe Quesada's board discusses reactions to Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men:

"I'm surprised at the number of people who are seemingly wanting Whedon to fail. I know it's tempting to hold him to a different standard than every other comics writer, but it's not exactly fair. While he's had extensive writing experience, his comcs experience is still somewhat limited (Fray, some Buffy stories, Astonishing 1,2). I didn't expect him to reinvent comics or even the X-Men with this series. I did expect a fresh perspective and some great character interaction, and I feel he's delivered on that."

"Who wanted Whedon to fail? Personally, I'm enjoying Astonishing X-Men so far, and I really didn't expect much from it, because I'm not much of a Whedon fan. But I never wanted it to fail. If anything I hoped for it to succeed and to give me what I've been wanting in an X-Men comic. Although, I do think a lot of people (who are most likely either Buffy/Angel fans or Morrison haters) are making this book out to be the best thing since sliced bread, and I don't necessarily agree. It's good, but it's not great."

"I kinda want to see whedon fail. i'm not sure why."

"I would like to agree but I feel it would hurt Marvel if he failed."

Bendis board poster Simply JD offers up his own rumour column. The Bendis board isn't convinced:

"If you loved us, you'd just write it down here, and not make us click links. Links take us away from the sweet, sweet bosom of the Bendis Board."

"Use a light grey or white text on the BG. Only thing worse than green on black is fraking yellow on red."

"But with no little traffic lights... I don't know what to believe!"

Newsarama constructs a "shrine to Heroes Reborn":

"This is a shrine to that which was Heroes Reborn. For those who joined post-90's, there was a huge story called Onslaught in which everyone and their brother got together to fight the mega villain Onslaught. The heroes sacrificed their lives to end the Onslaught, but Reed and Sue's kid Franklin didn't like that much. He created a pocket world for them to live in. The legends were restarted, and in my own unimportant opinion, they were great! The art was lovely and the plot very deep."

"Oh yes, Captain America Reborn was a true classic. Fury: 'As it turns out, your brain was wiped for 50 years against your consent because you disagreed on the atomic bomb by the orders of the highest levels of government. I knew this, I just didn't bother telling you.' Cap: 'W-what? That's it, I'm getting on my cycle and leaving to discover the real America' - 1 week later - Cap: 'After fighting some guys in snake outfits and having a roadtrip in the South, I forgive the government for their unspeakable crimes against me and go back to unquestioningly serving them' The end."

"You forgot Cap's newest weapon in his fight against evil: Breasts."

Friday, June 25, 2004

The Pulse continues to be where bullshit press releases aren't tolerated. Look at the reactions to Marvel's announcement of the "Director's Cut" variant of the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man:

"a couple of extra sketches and the script...no thanks. between marvel's THREE variant covers for AXM #1 and AXM director's cut, and now ASM director's cut, marvel has no right to criticize anybody's business policies. another cheap and shameful gimmick to get more money out of people."

"em... doesn't a director's cut have to have either (or both): a)extra scenes or b) re-edited scenes? This seems to have neither. This in no way seems to be a director's cut - it is more like one of those "full of fucking shit and filler" special editions that hollywood churns out."

There's also this one that's going to probably be deleted very soon...:

"Quesada? Cunt. Buckley? Cunt. Arad? Cunt."

Now, don't hold back...

This Monday, pick up Time magazine. James Sime tells you why:

"Read about Bill Clinton, new details on bin Laden's original 9/11 plans, the new 1.4 billion dollar Saturn satellite, best selling true crime author Ann Rule's dealings with Ted Bundy, what's up next for the Wayans Brothers, and San Francisco's very own Isotope - the comic book lounge... This is truly the coolest shit. Carolina Miranda (the Public Affairs Manager at Time) was so excited about the event, and what I'm doing with the shop that I wouldn't be surprised to see the Isotope in future issues as well. She was the greatest, and such a sweetheart. If people tell you that they think non-comic readers aren't into the funnybooks, they're dead wrong. Carolina thought it was extra exciting that the event featured a political action comic book, and had me FedEx her a copy right away."

Quote of the day:

"When your regular message board bellyacher starts to recognize the difference between 35# Abibrite and 50# Astrobrite and 70# coated maybe I'll start listening to the inherently-flawed price-per-page douchebaggery. But probably not, because talking about a commercial art like cans of beans is for bitter old men in the desert and otherwise unhappy people."

Possibly the greatest Newsarama post ever:

"OK, I preface this by saying I barely no shit about Wonder Woman. Pretty much I know that she's all about woman power, and believes in women not being victimized, etc...

"So, I figure that at her worst, Wonder Woman believes that women are better than men. But I'll give her the benefit of the doubt (hey, she has saved the world a few times) and say that she believes no man is better than a woman, and that all men and women are equal. Then there's Superman. Is Superman a constant reminder to Wonder Woman that no matter how good she is, there will ALWAYS be a man who is better than she (and every woman)? I mean, no matter what, she can't beat Supes. No one can. He's freaking Superman! note: I know the logical retort is, "No, Superman isn't a man, he's an alien." I don't think that matters. Wonder Woman isn't a human being really, she's a clone or something of an island inhabited only by women. If she's a woman, he's a man.

"So, in a weird way, does Wonder Woman secretly resent the fact that there will always be a man who's superior to her?

"btw, PLEASE don't turn this into a "men are better than women" thread or anything."

Brian Augustyn writes to tell everyone that Metron Press is still alive:

"It's true that there are discussions and negotiations underway to determine the exact make-up of our publishing line, but we are moving forward. We are continuing to learn how the graphic novel form can most effectively carry out the American Bible Society’s goal of making Bible stories, themes and ideals accessible to a new generation. Some of the material previously announced may yet be published under the Metron banner, but the exact disposition of those projects will be announced as soon possible. Beyond that, we're in the process of envisioning a wide range of great new projects to take us into the future."

Translation: I have no idea what we're going to be publishing or when, but we're definitely going to maybe publish something sometime.

Warren Ellis's most recent Bad Signal mailing muses on the lack of comics professionals writing about comics these days, and ends with the following:

"I've said for years that what I'd like to see is something like PROJECTIONS: an annual magazine about film written exclusively by filmmakers but accessible to the interested layperson. If you're interested in film beyond a superficial level, then you're going to be interested in how filmmakers think, and often beyond what they have to say about film itself. That's the essential attraction to me of comics journalism by creators -- seeing their thought processes. I think it's a shame that that time seems to have passed. I'd've liked to have seen some books next to COME IN ALONE and TRUE FACTS from the last few years."

This reminds me of filmaker Wim Wenders, whose films I enjoy despite their (sometimes too obvious) flaws. He also writes books about movies, though; collections of essays about film, short pieces about his creative process he wrote while working on or preparing to work on his own projects, and interviews that he's given. The books are fascinating things, able to stand even if you haven't seen his movies. I'd love to see a book like that from someone like Grant Morrison or Ed Brubaker or someone: Proposals and pitches for series, interviews, things they've written for their websites and elsewhere...

Matt Maxwell on Manga:

"Most manga, based on its trade dress (which gives Greg Horn a run for his money in the fetishization department) makes me want to run away screaming at the top of my lungs. But then I’m likely too old to be in most manga’s target market, too. Hell, I’m probably old enough to disqualify myself from most western comics’ target market. And I will note that there’s plenty of western comics that make me want to publicly avow myself as a member of the comics-hating-society, but there’s a lot of good stuff out there, too. I’m sure that’s the case with manga, too. I just need to do a little more digging."

Jesse Baker, possibly the patron saint of this blog, is on a roll at Micah Wright's forum:

"Am I the only one here that seriously thinks that Marvel should pull Hank 'Giant Man/Yellowjack' Pym and Wasp from ALL Marvel books (including the Ultimates) and ban any future writers from ever touching and using the characters again? It's an absolute pathetic thing with how the characters have been treated and I have to put the blame on Jim Shooter for it. Thanks to his "Hank goes nanners" arc, every writer who touches the characters alternates between two modes: having Hank and Janet yell at each other over Hank hitting Janet (with every writer over-exagerating the so-called 'abuse' Hank inflicted upon Janet as well as totally ignoring the context of exactly why Hank hit Janet) or having the two engage in convoluted make-up sesssions where they apologize and make up and forgive each other for the death of their marriage.

"That being said, I would especially like to see this done in the pages of the Ultimates, where Millar himself has stated that Hank being a poster boy for 'abusive husbands' is the only thing good about him. And given how he fucked up beyond belief the Hulk/Betty Ross relationship (with Betty loving psycho-killing canibal murderer Hulk who's all but outright said how he wants to basically rape Betty to death) that Millar should quit while hes' ahead and send Janet and Hank out of the book before even he further convolutes such a god-awful situation."

The Dabel Brothers skidaddle from Devil's Due, less than a year after they scrammed from Image. What's the story?:

"'We don’t see this so much as an end, as a new beginning,' Les Dabel, Vice President of DBPro stated emphatically. 'We have so many new things to announce to our fans over the coming weeks and months that I am truly excited!' As is the case with all great tales, the end of this chapter in the DBPro story also marks the beginning of the next. The studio is currently engaged in negotiations with several potential partners for their future publishing needs, while also exploring avenues that would allow them to publish under their own impetus."

If I didn't know better, I could swear that they're trying to tell us that this isn't an end, it's more a beginning for the company. If only they weren't being so subtle, then we'd know for sure...

Jason Pearson talks about his return to comics:

"The thing was, the market had changed [since the early-to-mid '90s]. A lot of the editors that I had come in with were gone, and the mindset was gone – it was no longer an artist’s market, where you could be egotistical, blow off deadlines, and basically not work more than you wanted, which we saw in the early ‘90s. Now, it’s a writer’s market – now all the big-time writers over commit and blow deadlines, and it’s the artists who have to maintain the schedules."

For those wondering, the comic industry is in great shape! Just ask Mark Millar:

"I remember everyone saying they had five years left... and that was six years ago. I was just really breaking into the American market at the time and everybody's books were getting cancelled. It's great that we're all looking forward to hearing numbers every month because we're wondering how GOOD they books are doing; in the mid to late 90s we used to sit by the phone and hear whether or not they were cancelling us because they were losing too much money. As someone essentially born in the comic-book depression of the 90s you've no IDEA how much I love this news."

Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Joe Quesada board are wondering what's happening with the X-Books:

"I guess Morrsion's New X-Men was not all that import to anyone at Marvel. Morrison's Magneto was an imposter? The real one is now in Claremont's X-Calibur? And I hear Xorn has even returned from the dead...
What were they thinking?"

"They're thinking that Quesada is pretty pissed at Morrison for going exclusive with DC. This is clearly one big 'fuck you'."

"I dont have a problem with what marvel is doing. Its a comicbook and im enjoying the ride so far. Morrisons magneto was too much like the movie for me. To go through all he went through and then become i drug addict at the end. Just diidnt fit."

The Bendis board think about decompression, padding and writing for the trade:

"Dude... in all seriousness read a DC Comic or something if you are looking for fight scenes galor. Or wait for 2010 when Bendis, Millar, & JQ all Jump to DC and tear the house down over there."

"The funniest thing to me about this whole writing for the trade thing is that everybody's bitching about it making stories longer whereas I think writing for the trade has actually made stories shorter. I want storylines that go on for years. I realize that they'll still be broken down into storyarcs, but I think we're losing some of those long running subplots because people like their stories more self-contained. Are we ever going to see another 60 issue story like Church and State? What about something like Akira which is pretty much just one 2000 page story?"

God bless Gail Simone. Not only does she write Birds of Prey which is great despite the artwork, but she's also set up threads at CBR where you can try and out-trivia Kurt Busiek and Mark Waid. Geeky fun for all the family!

With issue 2 of Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men out, it's obviously time to start speculating who's going to replace him:

"Maybe that's Gaiman's other project? Any of the names on that list would be great."

"Garth Ennis. Just because it'd be completely insane."

"I think if they don't have somebody godlike lined up--that is, one of the VERY top writers, or somebody very hot from outside the field--then they should just give it a rest until they do. Gaiman. Moore. Tarantino. Somebody on that level."

What is Newsarama's reputation?:

"You know, it seems like every message board has a 'reputation'. The Joey Q boards have a reputation for elitism (you either fit into the group, or you're thrown out - this isn't true, I don't think, but the reputation is still there for some unknowable reason). I remember being told a few times how horrible Newsarama posters are. How they're mean, have no lives, spout off lies by the bushel, etc etc etc. I'm happy to report that in the time I've been here, I haven't found any of those in noticable quantities. I actually think the guys here are nicer than the Joey Q folks are."

"I've checked out a bunch of comic message boards, and this is the only one I've ever stayed with. They all have there share of stupid/ aggressive posters, but this one is pretty balanced. I enjoy a pointless fanboy thread as much as the next guy, but there are thoughtful, and THINKING people here. Newsarama is by FAR the least nasty of the sites I've seen. We discuss everything from the most mundane to the most 'fantastic' here and I love it."

"This place has a certain level of immature douchebaggery(like I can talk), but at least there's not much in the way of elitism here. I went to Millarworld for about 3 posts before I was overtaken by noxious fumes of smugness."

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Comics have a new voice of outrage:

"OK so Ive heard from my comic shop guy that Marvel and Joe Q have shelved this project.....WHY?.....Is Joe too busy? Does he have too many titles he's working on currently? I dont mean to sound angry but Oh well I am....Marvel constantly gets into these situations were Mini series get delayed or not finished period.... Maybe my son whos 9 months old will be able to finish Kevin Smiths Spiderman and Daredevil Mini's... Anyway has anyone heard anything as to Why, how long, and again Why?"

"My question is why release it without some issues in the bag if the creator is known for delays?"

"Joe being EIC, who's exactly gonna tell him that he needs to have some issues in the bag to begin with?"

"The publisher, doing his job correctly. Of course, the direction Marvel's taken so far under Buckley, well, I'm not the only who thinks Marvel's headed backwards after a somewhat promising turn of the century..."

"The point is that this is the guy that runs the company, if anything, he should be setting an example. And, actually, he is. The example being that if you're a slow creator working on a limited series, don't worry about getting a few issues in the can, we'll just hold up publication during the run if you fall behind. How is this logical, especially if it's a stand alone story? If the story is not ralated to anything going on in other books at the moment, where is the harm in waiting longer and release it complete on a timely basis, as opposed to letting the people that buy it hanging for months? Obviously, by reading the posts here, there are people already worried about that happening, one guy is even proclaiming that he is going to drop it. Some people are afraid that what happened to Daredevil:Target is going to happen here. And who was it that approved Target going out without some issues in the bag only to come back and bite him in the A? Joe Q, right?"

Letter columns. Whatever happened to the integrity of letter columns? I know that's what you're asking yourself... or maybe it's just the Bendis board:

"When you read the letter pages for usm,uff,and ultimate xmen it seems to be all positive with not one complaint. I know the books are all doing really well but there has to be some complaints about them."

"Who is truly honest with oneself?"

"Almost all letter columns are nothing but gushing fan boys. That's why I never bothered to read them before I read Bendis's saracstic ones..."

"Don't worry. Bendis is coming to town, and with him all the dick masterbating bald jew jokes you can handle. ICON baby!!!"

The comment about letter columns being nothing but gushing fanboys from someone who posts on the Bendis board is too obvious to make fun of, isn't it?

Those Newsarama posters and their crazy rumours:

"I wish I could give more details or substantiate this rumor, but I heard it from a (non-comic book collecting) friend who knows someone who works at Marvel. Supposedly, an artist or writer (I forget which) at Marvel with a Japanese name is actually non-Asian. The Japanese name is only a pen name. It's a pretty strange rumor because I can't figure out why someone would care to use a pen name in that way."

"Its that damn Stan Lee [...] Finally someone has broken the 40 year old lie"

"The Suspects: Akira Yoshida: writer of Thor: Son of Asgard. Has worked in the manga, anime and video game industry. Takeshi Miyazawa: artist on Mary Jane. Got his start in comic books on Sidekicks for FanBoy for which he was a 2000 Harvey Nominee. Mizuki Sakakibara: artist on Exiles. Was the original artist attached to the Tsunami Namor, was billed by Marvel as 'Japanese manga sensation.'"

"It's UDON! As a matter of fact UDON isn't even a person! I am the Sherlock Holmes of the 21st Century!"

Mark Millar on Wanted's schedule:

"Issue four ships next week and issue five is out at the end of July or thereabouts. The series finishes with ISSUE SIX two months later. I can't remember the exact dates, but I started a thread somewhere. That's be six issues in nine months. Not bad, considering JG is so meticulous."

Ah, only in Mark Millar's head can a monthly book taking nine months to do six issues be "not bad". Especially bearing in mind his comments back when the book was launched:

"[W]orking on The Ultimates has taught me a great deal about the importance of getting your book out on time, and I’m now somewhat paranoid about it. So much so, in fact, that I made sure I started this stuff a year before it was published and have scheduled most of the books in such a way that the artists are completing the final issues before the first books are even published."

Now, let's see... Unfunnies seems to have disappeared, Chosen is running late as well, and Wanted will finish three months later than originally planned. Guess Mark had reason to be paranoid, considering how long all of his artists seem to be taking on completing those final issues...

John Jakala also provides two non-entries in his Street Angel Vs. Squid contest, a jokey one from me, and the much more exciting Fantabulous Rap Battle by Ed Cunard. "BE THERE!", as anyone who's heard Deltron 3030 will tell you.

Newsarama report the official announcement of the launch of CMX, but let's all remember that John Jakala had it first yesterday:

"'There's tremendous enthusiasm for manga in the States,' said DC Publisher and President Paul Levitz in a press release. 'New readers, particularly girls and women, have rushed to embrace new talent from abroad, which we're excited to bring to American audiences as part of DC Comics' commitment to publishing diverse and exciting works from around the world.'"

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

John Cassaday is known for being a well-loved comic book artist and a manly stud-muffin for those who like that kind of thing. What's less known, however, is his talent for deadpan sarcasm, which he demonstrates for us at The Pulse, talking about X-Men Reload:

"They don't launch a new on-going X-Men book every day and the other X-books have some amazing talents involved. It feels special. And not like just another X-thing happening."

Oh John, you kidder.

Clamp produce Marvel.

I've never heard of Clamp, but I just like the way the above sentence sounds:

"Anime on DVD is reporting that the Japanese all-star manga collective known as Clamp is working on a project for Marvel Comics. The information was posted on a manga forum and didn't receive too much attention until it was discovered that the person who posted the message was C. B. Cebulski, the former manga publisher turned Marvel editor. Cebulski did not reveal any information about the project except to say that it involved a character that most people wouldn't tend to associate with Clamp."

Posters to The Pulse can smell bullshit at 100 paces. It starts with the following Marvel press release:

"Marvel is pleased to announce that THOR: SON OF ASGARD - previously solicited as a six-issue miniseries - is now an ongoing, monthly series!
Details on the upcoming story arc are available in Marvel Previews #10, on sale now. Thanks to popular demand, the adventures of young Thor, Balder & Sif will continue with the same creators, writer Akira Yoshida and artist Greg Tocchini, with covers by Runaways cover artist, Jo Chen!"

And then the posters have their say:

"Is it selling well as a trade paperback? 'Cause it sure isn't selling well in singles. There must be more to this story."

"Popular demand from WHO? I'm not trying to be funny here. THOR: SON OF ASGARD sells appallingly. It's at number 99 on the May charts, and four cancelled books are outselling it! At the time they decided to solicit issue #7, they couldn't have known what the trade paperback sales were going to be like. There's something very odd going on here."

The John Byrne board has a fanfic section. Good Lord.

The Bendis Board realizes that it needs to raise the bar even more:

"Marvels poorest selling book... is Runaways! It is being outsold by SPIDER-GIRL. What is wrong with that! C'MON PEOPLE. This just isn't right."

"It's crap, I agree. I'm more worried about Spider-Girl though, since Runaways is already 'cancelled' and aiming for some kind of relaunch in 2005. Somewhat odd that Emma Frost is rumoured to be axed (Yellow light in yesterday's Lying In The Gutters) when it's got several comics between it and the lowest selling mark, including Mystique and Venom. Hmm. Could a mass cull be coming?"

"Please don't let Emma Frost get cancelled. Please."

"I have a strong feeling that Emma Frost is going to get relaunched, as a present day book, by a different creative team at some point. She is one of Marvel's leading assets... maybe nearly as popular an X-character as Wolverine."

"If they do, and its not a Max book, I won't buy it."

"yeah, just those awesome Greg Land covers alone, are reason enough to keep this book going!"

"Those covers are quality, but I thought it was Greg Horn or is that an alias or am I completely wrong?"

"No, I'm just half awake right now, you are quite right, they're by Greg Horn! D'oh! But they are truly awesome, thats the point."

Do delays hurt a series? Newsarama ponders:

"Do any of you read The Ultimates on a monthly basis instead of waiting for the trades? How enjoyable was the story in a periodic format? Did it have less of an effect due to the waiting, the same effect, or more of an effect because of the wait?"

"'Do any of you read The Ultimates on a monthly basis' [...] Is that a trick question?"

"I started with The Ultimates from #1. The delays between each issue got to be pretty annoying. It got worse and worse with each book that came out. By the end if I didn't read the issue before the new one that just came out it got pretty confusing remembering everything. The books were still enjoyable though and I looked forward to each new one that came out."

Newsarama poster Layters appears to be upset about something:

"This is such bull. [She-Hulk] is getting excellent reviews and word of mouth and what are Marvel doing to support it? Nothing, zero, nada. It seems that despite Jemas not being around anymore Joe seems reluctant to push a traditional style comic book. We are talking cram packed full of story and in jokes. Thunderbolts is also getting a good reception so and is also lacking any kind of support. Where is the ongoing? Apparently a none seller like Thor Son of Asgard gets to be one. So what about Thunderbolts which ranked fairly high by todays standards. Looking over at Mile High, the books 7 of the previews are Spider related, three are Ultimate related. Marvel Knights, Ultimate books, the revamped Spider books and other NU Marvels style projects seem to get plenty of support even when they are poor sellers. When poorly selling Nu Marvel style books are getting support and great quality traditional style books are getting ignored. Isn't it time Marvel started to wonder wether the tastes of it's editors and this pet project attitude are in line with the tastes of the customer base and the needs of Marvel as a company."

Marvel only pushing pet projects by pet writers? Say it ain't so!

Robert Kirkman talks about the Marvel Knights 2099 stunt, celebrating the fifth anniversary of a line that started six years ago:

"There are no Avengers, there are no Fantastic Four, and all of these superheroes are very much behind the scenes. Somewhere along the lines the Baxter Building became the Baxter Center, a huge complex in the heart of Manhattan that houses a mall, business offices, high-end apartments, and a high school... Reed Richard's living brain is in stasis in a sub basement far below the building that nobody seems to know about."

Disembodied brains of dead geniuses! It's like Futurama... with superheroes!

Monday, June 21, 2004

Shawn Hoke has come up with a simple yet brilliant idea for a contest. Want free comics? Make your own:

"It’s no secret, here at The Wall offices we love mini-comics. We also think that some of the most exciting and groundbreaking work in comics today comes from the ink-stained hands of the under appreciated self-publishers and creators toiling in near obscurity. Now, to get this work into the hands of comic readers, The Wall and Broken Frontier have teamed up with the mini-comics distribution site Bowzizzer to bring you the 'FREE MINI-COMICS CONTEST 2004!' How can you win these photocopied gems? We're glad you asked. In order to be eligible for the contest... you must create a page (or more) of your own new work and send it in to our offices. Email us at shawnhoke@brokenfrontier.com for the address to send your comic page(s). We don’t care what you choose to make your comic page about or how you create it, just do it. Even if your grasp of anatomy is limited to stick figures, we want to see what you can do. Creating at least a page of your own original comic will give you an idea of what it’s actually like to make a comic."

As if trying to live up to his reputation, Chuck Austen talks Worldwatch, his creator-owned superhero series, at Newsarama:

"I began to think about how a world of superheroes would react to one another if they were more like the people at my job. Someone's having an affair with the boss. Is she getting special treatment? Is she going to get my job? The survivalist guy in the cubicle next to me with the stutter who always talks about guns and his cabin full of field rations in the woods where he plans to live after the coming economic collapse, and from which he plans to kill all the lawyers? He and I have to work together, but it isn't very often pleasant. What if we both had super powers? I would be good, or mostly good with the occasional foray into 'badness', and he'd be biding his time to kill all the lawyers, and maybe doing it on the side. Or what about the guy who thinks he's smarter than the owner of the company? And imagines himself running the show better than the owner of the company? Or he's jealous because his boss took one of his ideas from him and claimed it as his own? What about the boss's wife? What if she had super powers and found out about the affairs? The Born Again Christian? The Cuban refugee? The militant homosexual? The bondage girl? The sports buff who sexually harasses every female? The married father of five who is always missing important meetings because one of his kids is always sick? All of them have a very different world view, and all of them believe themselves to be correct, and heroic in their own way. But would they get along?"

He also brought pictures:


Stan Lee on his contribution to DC Comics Presents, the Julius Schwartz tribute line of books:

""I was happy to do that Superman story in the DC tribute to Julie because I had such fond memories of him from the many times we had met at conventions... I was asked to do a story based on a cover drawing I was shown. After seeing the drawing, it only took a few minutes to dream up the idea. I really wasn't all that familiar with the Silver Age Superman. In fact, I couldn't tell you the differences between the Silver Age Superman, the Golden Age Superman, the Tin Age, the Brass Age, or any of the other ridiculous ages that people keep coming up with when discussing the comics."

Nice Darwyn Cooke art, too.

Newsarama tells you who's owed what by Crossgen:

"The total debt listed to the above creditors is stated to be $3,404,996.48, with over one million dollars owed to Quebecor."

John Byrne launches his first webcomic: You Go, Ghoul! Yes, that's really what it's called. Be warned: Maybe it's just my computer, but the download time is ridiculous.

The American Bible Society planned a graphic novel line called Metron Press. And then they changed their mind. Former Creative Director Mario Ruiz tells all:

"ABS got nervous with the content and how it was being told... It's very easy for religious organizations and churches alike to criticize and complain about how society is running amok and is out of control. But when it comes time to put your money where your gripes are, indifference and non-commitment are the end result. ABS worried how they would be perceived in the religious community and what affect it would have on their donor base. When they saw what it would take to reach this market, and how it would ruffle the feathers of some in the religious community, it was better to play it safe and not serve the secular market and save face in their own community... As far as the fate of these books, I don't know. Prior to me being let go by the ABS, I was in negotiations with their management for joint-authorship and proprietary rights to these books. I was originally hired by the ABS to work on their website. Creating Metron Press was my idea. So there are certain legalities that have to be addressed. I kick myself in the butt for not getting a lawyer sooner when I first started developing these products for them. They told me that they would honor a contract and would give me a proprietary stake in the books through verbal and email agreements. I believed them and why not? It's the American Bible Society we are talking about."

Some interesting creative teams in the planned line-up: Christopher Priest, Barbara Kesel, Bill Sienkiewicz, Kyle Hotz...

Ladies and Gentlemen, everything you ever wanted to know about Brian Michael Bendis that he was willing to put into a FAQ list for you:

"HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED HAVING THE ULTIMATE AND REGULAR MARVEL UNIVERSES COLLIDE AND CROSSOVER?
Ew, no. What is this, DC?"

"DOES IT RAIN MORE IN DAREDEVIL BECAUSE ALEX MAKES RAIN LOOK SO COOL?
YES!!"

"IF YOU COULD WRITE ANY DC BOOK WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS, WHICH WOULD IT BE?
No joke, Plastic Man with Alex Maleev. Dark noir stretchy guy."

Jim Starlin on his reputation in comics:

"[E]ver since THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL everybody wanted me to kill somebody off for them... It really took off after WARLOCK and CAPTAIN MARVEL. They wanted me to kill Shang Chi at one point. DC was going to have me kill off somebody…it didn't work out."

Doesn't poor Robin count? *Sob!*

As everyone knows by now, Crossgen has filed for bankrupcy. Luckily, Newsarama posters are philosophical about the whole thing:

"CG created some of the best damn books of the last 2 or 3 years with Negation and Route 666. To see them end like this, is just.....crap. *raises a glass* To the Crossgen that might have been."

"Never paid much attention to CG, but it's been interesting to see them fall apart. Alessi always came out like a jerk. Still when it affects the creators and their families, I think we all agree it's bad. At the least, five years from now, Newsarama will do a retrospective on this story."

"Hey, maybe Marvel can purchase some of these and put them under their new ICON line. Abadazad is AWESOME!"

Friday, June 18, 2004

What with all the negativity in the world, I think it's important to remember the good things... Think about the good times... and thank those responsible:

"I notice there's a lot of negativity toward the industry now days. For every one fan that is excited about a new project, ten others are saying it's utter shit and will fail in six months. Well I'd just like to take a moment out of my busy day and say thanks. Thanks for saving this industry. I don't think those naysayers realize how close we were to the end there in the mid nineties. Thanks for raising the bar on what good comics should be. Thanks for making me care about the characters again. Thanks for proving once and for all that a great writer can make even the most minor of characters unforgetable. Thanks for continuing to put out quality material on a weekly basis, despite the critics. Thanks for making character development as important as the next big punch up. Thanks for pouring your heart, soul, and blood into these stories with such little reward. Thanks for getting me to love comics again. Thanks for inspiring myself and others to realize if you want anything in life you have to want it bad enough. Thanks for hosting this crazy place we call a message board. Thanks for making me anxious to get the next issue of a book. But most importantly Thanks for all the great stories. Looking forward to years more guys, and gals. Thanks."

I... I think we should all just take a moment.

Spider-Man goes international:

"Indian comic book fans will be able to see the legendary American hero Spiderman in a new 'jaali' good local avatar soon. Marvel Comics, the makers of the marvellous comic book hero, plans to Indianise the webmeister, who, like Superman, has had kids in thrall for generations. The net result is that Peter Parker of Queens, the hero under the classic Spiderman mask, will be replaced by a young, Indian boy named Pavitr Prabhakar, a Mumbaikar. As Spiderman, Pavitr leaps around rickshaws and scooters in Indian streets, while swinging from monuments such as the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal."

(Via The V.)

Paul Gulacy goes off into his own little world:

"At first Ed [Brubaker, Gulacy's writer on Catwoman] was on me about making [Catwoman] appear too sexed up... I always drew her really sexy, maybe even too over the top, but that's what people expected. She was this kind of slutty cat burglar. Who are we kidding? [laughter] Every artist wanted to take a crack at her. We all know that this new Catwoman is different. Ed pointed out that the outfit is like something a biker chick would wear. Not so form fitting. I disagree to some extent. I feel she should reveal her body form a little more in the outfit. I know what my readers expect of me and I wasn't born yesterday that the rise in sales you mentioned just might have a little something to do with the fact that the readers want to know what Gulacy is doing with that woman's body month to month."

Okay, now that last line's just... icky. Well, now we know who to blame for the shite T&A quotant for the book recently.

Seth and Matthew are gone! Billy somehow survived! Comic Book Idol continues!

Ed Brubaker on Sleeper:

"[I]f the new season of Sleeper gets some of that crazy advance reorder action like Ex Machina is, it could go on longer, and if it performs like the previous run did, it'll probably just be the 12 that're planned. As I said, the trades are performing incredibly, but if the monthlies don't pick up too, the company will eventually look at the bottom line. I'm optimistic, though. I think our first issue is gonna move like crazy once it gets out there."

Mark Millar hits a new low:

"Is it just me or does this child-killer [Marc Dutroux]... look a lot like you-know-who?"

You-know-who being Paul Levitz, as clarified later in the thread. Mark, seriously: LET GO ALREADY.

(Of course, this was so funny, he had to tell more people.)

Newsarama posters are a bit concerned about Ultimate Fantastic Four:

"So this title is now 7 issues in and I'm kind of getting the feeling that it's just, well, 'blah.' The first 6 seemed to move at a snails pace, and now Doom is related to Dracula? What the hell is that? It's not that the book is bad, I just don't feel any excitement from it. I dunno, maybe it's just me."

"I sorta agree, it's lacking 'oomph'. All the other ultimate titles have amazing cliffhangers and characters that are similar yet different. UFF hasn't shown any of that."

"I think what people are forgetting is that the Ultimate line is a re-imagining of the characters. Look at how Ultimate Spider-Man was done, the first five issues are what was covered in Amazing Fantasy #15 in a short story. It's going to take a little while longer to get things moving but the Ultimate line is meant as a new start."

Chris Staros from Top Shelf talks conventions at Newsarama:

"The ‘big boys’ like Marvel and DC don’t sell books at conventions, as they don't want to compete with the retailers that are their bread and butter. And even though comics retailers are our bread and butter as well - and we love them for it, retailers know that we wouldn't survive if that was our only revenue stream, so they don't mind that we're out there selling as well. Also, in the case of the small press, where branding is always a giant hurdle, selling at shows actually helps retailers, as we’ve found that it builds a local following that will start to request a publisher's books at the local shops. The goal here is never to upset retailers, but to help them promote our titles locally for those two to four days a year. And retailers tend to benefit in other ways by publishers being present at local shows: they can actually see the books, understand the pitch for them, and score some really good wholesale convention discounts as well. And since Top Shelf stands behind the retail community with returnability, there's really not much risk for them to get behind our line, especially at shows."

Thursday, June 17, 2004

What would it take for posters at the John Byrne forum to stop calling Marvel "M*****" (The explanation for doing so, by the way: "Spelling it that way began on an old MB a lot of us used to participate on (the Magnus board). It began with taking out just a couple letters to signify that the Marvel of old had changed such that it was starting to become unrecognizable. In their eyes, as Marvel has strayed further and further from beloved characters and concepts, people have taken out more letters such that it's now generally spelled M*****.")? Byrne himself answers this one:

"I suspect the majority of people who post to this forum would be brought closer to satisfaction... if something more than lip service was paid to the long and proud history (as distinct from 'continuity') of these characters. If, as noted elsewhere, the latest flavor-of-the-month artists and/or writers tried to build on what was there, instead of proctising this half-gassed 'deconstructionism' that's really just another name for 'too lazy to do my homework'."

The Comics Journal board discusses comics bootlegging online:

"I noticed a lot of comics (mostly mainstream) available for download on suprnova.org. Do you think this is going to become a problem? I suppose the average underground comic artist would be the last one worried about it. However, considering the small amount of money there is to be made in comics, something like this that could force even LESS money to be made from it is....disturbing. But then... the free distribution, the instant availability of your work to complete strangers who might become fans.. There are positive sides to it as well."

"Soon, there will be no such thing as copyright. Everything will enter the public domain as soon as you create it. (Essentially, this is true already, in practice if not in law.)"

"Question about this downloading stuff: What do the crooks get out of it? Are they charging you for the privelege of downloading comics from their websites, or are they offering this as a public service in an effort to get some friends or something? Are they fans of the books that they put online, and they're hoping to get more people to go out and spend money on the books? One more thing--let's stop calling this stuff 'Piracy.' Pirates were bad-ass, pillaging marauders, and were the scourge of the seven seas. This is nerds stealing from talented people who offer something to the world. How about 'comic felching' as the official label for this?"

The Bendis board aren't happy that someone forgot to thank the entire Academy...:

"So I'm watching the MTV Movie Awards and the kid who played Iceman in Xmen won some award and I couldn't help but notice that the guy didn't thank MArvel or better yet Stan Lee for creating the character."

"Because he is an ungrateful motherfucker and should be shot."

"Comics still lack the respect they deserve... and probably always will.."

Daniel Nova at Millarworld wonders why John Byrne has so many anti-fans:

"I just dont understand it . It almost like people go out of there way to insult the man without buying anything he may be working on . They keep saying that his work whether as a writer or artist seems to continuously be negatively criticized.
The Doom Patrol. Characters we have not seen since Crisis are making a return trip to Dc Universe proper and all we hear is how dated the concept is .... so are most works in comics these days. I hera complaints about a four armed Gorilla and why are vampires attacking the doom patrol and about Changling and how he does not respect the continuity. Hey Crisis ret conned the whole universe we really dont know the Doom Patrol. Its not like John has nt had respect for the chrtacters . he used them well in Super man and general I m Mortus in wonder Woman . But instead of hearing about hey this might be good . we hera this is horrible and not one issue is published [...] Why the Negativity"

Luckily, the rest of Millarworld are there in his hour of need:

"Byrne suffers from a huge ego, which detracts a lot of readers. I enjoyed a lot of his work in the 80's and 90's (X-men, FF, Superman, Alpha Flight, Hulk, Next Men, Avengers West Coast, Wonder Woman, etc) but he has a habit of treating comic books readers as a lesser form of being, especially internet fan boys like us. He thinks we are the bane of the undustry, unless of course we post on his board then we are intellectual kiss asses."

"I've never thought much of Byrne's writing, but yeah -- the fact that he comes off as such an ass online probably does make people more critical of his work than they might be otherwise."

Zeb Wells talks about his new Doctor Octopus mini-series at Marvel:

"For better or worse Marvel continuity has sort of become a matter of survival of the fittest. If the story rings true it will resonate in the core books, while if it turns out lame it will soon be forgotten. I know that my marching orders from Axel and my goal was to create something that would define the character from here on out, so if it doesn’t then I’ve failed on some level. Luckily for the readers I only fail 85-90% of the time."

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Random thought. I wonder what the reason was for the latest issue of Adventures of Superman featuring this cover by Doug Manhke -



- instead of the one originally solicited by regular cover artist Gene Ha?:



Censorship at the final second? Someone realising that Superman should be inverted in the Ha pic because he's meant to be in the mirror? Doug Mankhe sneaking into the DC offices at the last minute? Inquiring minds want to know.

Chuck Austen talks about writing the X-Men:

"Reload evolved into less of an event than I expected, at least for me. I think it's been very successful for Marvel. I wound up losing some characters I really wanted to keep, including Xavier, who I loved, and I had serious mixed feelings about undoing so much of Grant's stuff so quickly, what with Xorn in my first issue, and Magneto in Excalibur's first issue. But at the same time, these are Marvel's characters. Work-for-hire. Marvel saw value in Magneto not being a mass-murderer of New Yorkers, and in keeping Xorn and other characters and ideas Grant had created during his run, so they made that choice. Grant was such a fountain of creativity that they wanted to keep a lot of what he originated. It'll happen when I leave, too. They'll undo a lot of what I did, or the next writer will, depending on what the company considers valuable at the time. As I said, it's work-for-hire, and you have to accept that aspect of it, or go nuts. They're not my characters. They're not Grant's. The toys belong to others."

Mark Millar has just completed another of his Millar Hour question and answer sessions, bringing with him his usual hype and grudges. Quote Machine Go!:

"New X-writer is the best writer in comics since Alan Moore and not called w Ellis."

"Elektra, FF, the X-Men, the Hand, Hydra, SHIELD, ninjas, sharks, Daredevil and Black Widow ARE in [Millar's Wolverine run]. Plus lots of new guys I've created including a mutant splinter group that's formed a deal with Hydra called The Dawn of the White Light. First six issues of called WOLVERINE: ENEMY OF THE STATE. It's fucking BRUTAL!!!"

"Punisher is plotted but put back to late 05 so I can do Wolvie and a crossover I'm planning with McNiven (NOT what you expect). The artist has already been chosen, but FQ is drawing that rabbit/ animal thing for Morrison and doing DC stuff for the next year. I'm banned from DC-- as I was told again last week"

"DC... put out a dictat to their editors not to speak to me and two editors contacted me from their home accounts to ask me not to email them because they could get into shit. One guy who DID keep in touch, quite interestingly, was fired (Mike McAvennie). I've sent out group emails and had other DC employees again freak when they're publicly copied and been told by a friend in the DC hierarchy that I would never, ever work there as long as Paul and his inner cabal were in charge."

"Issues 2 and 3 [of the Ultimates relaunch] are a huge Hulk story. Really huge. Issues four and five are the complete explanation of Thor. This is not what you expect. Thor is NOT what you probably think. This is the biggest twist in the series. You won't be expecting it, I guarantee it... We also see Cap underwater in Iraq in his new costume and the new Iron Man armour will have Stark fans wanking like Leslie Grantham."

"I was away in West Kilbride today and on trains for four hours. I just sat and worked out 9-12 [of Spider-Man] in the most intimate detail. Huge, huge stuff happening to Venom in issues five through eight... The final arc will have everyone talking. I'm really pleased how this is going and sat down and wrote all the huge things happening in this first year: Osborn outed and jailed, Aunt May kidnapped and Spidey history turned upside down to some extent (you'll see what I mean), Brock gone, a new Venom, big deal with the Black Cat and lots of stuff I can't even tell you about. Huge, huge thing happening I can't even tell you about because I want you to be surprised. This, Wolvie and Ultimates should be the the three best books I've ever done and if I don't win any awards next year I'm going to shoot the President."

The Marvel September solicitations have disappeared from Millarworld. Mark Millar explains why:

"Marvel PR guy emailed me last night and asked if we could take them down. Apparently, they aren't supposed to be up to next week or something so we've suspended the thread like Walt Disney himelf until then. No biggie."

Rich Johnston can't resist:

"See? That's what happens when you go exclusive..."

DC offer fans the chance to interact with editors at the DC site:

"Remember the days of letter columns in the back of your favorite comics? Well, we're bringing 'em back, and taking them online! To send a letter to the editor of your favorite title, click the envelope icon below. Every two weeks, we'll post new replies to your letters in our News Section."

(Via Millarworld.)

Ex Machina is free to you if you register to vote, courtesy of James Sime, Wildstorm, Apple Computers and Rock The Vote:

"Fan favorite author Brian K. Vaughan, of Y The Last Man, The Runaways and now Ultimate X-Men fame, announced today the first annual Ex Machina Voter Registration Day, a nation-wide campaign to give free copies of Wildstorm's Ex Machina to comic readers who register to vote. Vaughan, a creator known for grand promotion and his passion for the political process, has out-done himself with this first of it's kind comic industry promotion which has found national partners in both Rock The Vote and Apple Computers."

As someone who can't register to vote in the US (Pesky immigration laws!), I feel discriminated against, dammit. Meanwhile, other comic creators would like to see you registered as well...

Friends of Lulu and Russ Manning award nominations are both announced. Eric Wright should get the Manning, if y'ask me.

Gail Simone, whose name I can't read anymore without thinking of the Scissor Sisters' song "Laura", talks to Devin Grayson about Nightwing over at The Pulse:

Simone: "I always wanted to be Robin growing up, not Batman. I made my poor brother be the damsel in distress. As for creative legacies, I'm in the same boat you are, as a writer following the hugely popular Chuck Dixon on a book he'd formed since the beginning. But I'm not familiar with how the book came to be under your management. Was it something you'd been looking for? Was it difficult giving up the Gotham book you had created for NW?"

Grayson: "I had never actually actively sought Nightwing because I knew Chuck was right for it and you don’t mess with that. I was having fun doing the side gigs he didn’t have time for, and doing Titans while that lasted, and then, yeah, creating Batman: Gotham Knights for Denny O’Neil was amazing. It also gave me plenty of opportunities to work with Nightwing, so when Chuck left DC for CrossGen and all of these Batbooks opened up, I didn’t even bother contacting the Nightwing editor initially. I just figured everyone in the Bat Office knew that I was physically incapable of saying no to that book should it be offered. But then Greg Rucka started playfully taunting me with the names of other writers who were up for the book, and I think I practically hung up on him to call Michael Wright."

Newsarama looks into Carmine Infantino's lawsuit against DC. It's not just about the Flash and Batgirl, kids:

"[C]overing his bases, in the complaint Infantino alleges that he retains the rights to the work created given that comic books do not fall neatly into one of the nine categories of works which qualify as 'works for hire' under the definition of the Copyrights Act of 1909 (under which the work would fall - although the Copyright Act of 1909 did not define nine categories. The nine categories were established in the 1976 Copyright Act and forward). As Newsarama has reported on several occasions, this has been seen by many observers for some time as a possible means for comic creators to lay claim to works created for publishers. But again, it's unclear why Infantino's complaint alleges that comic books do not fall into a work for hire category under the 1909 law, when the 1909 law did not list work for hire categories. As it stands, Infantino is seeking over $4 million from DC, a declaration that Infantino owns what he claims, as well as an injunction preventing DC from using the characters, and the impounding of works which infringe on the copyrights."

Marvel is debt-free (in terms of money, at least. I'm sure there's still a moral debt for inflicting The Call of Duty on an unsuspecting public):

"As of yesterday, Marvel is debt free, a goal the company had set for itself since emerging from bankruptcy in 1998. Marvel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December of 1996, after being driven to the brink of ruin, in the views of many analysts, by former owner, Ron Perelman. Today’s news comes as Marvel redeemed all of the principal from its outstanding 12% Senior Notes. The deal cost Marvel approximately $169 million, which it paid in cash."

Apparently the debt was not only paid in cash, but said cash was in a really big suitcase, and the deal was done underneath some bridge somewhere with no-one around.

DC's kids line gets new Johnny DC branding:



Rian Hughes, you fucking rock.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Brian Michael Bendis likes the Spider-Man 2 movie, unsurprisingly:

"it is a better movie in every conceivable way. from the acting, writing, lighting, villian, structure. conflict, special effects. everything is better than the first. even bruce campbell is better in this movie. it has a go for broke attitude that i appreciate and aspire to so much. my friend who came with me, who is not a spidey guy like i am, was floored at what was happening in the movie. the kids in the theatre, and there were many, leapt to thier feet at the end as if they were yanked out of thier seats."

But as if the man who seemingly has trouble with spelling and the shift key could read my cynical mind, he added:

"and for those of you who say: sure bendis, you're marvel's bitch boy. well, guess what? if i didn't like it, i wouldn't have said anything. and you'll see in two weeks or so, this IS what x2 was to the original x-men movie. bigger, better, stronger."

So that's me told.

Working Title Comics, an online comics anthology, needs help:

"I hate asking for money, but I can't afford that bill to sit on my card. So I need to know if anyone here can help us out. For those who don't know what the site is, Working Title Comics is something of a gift from us to the comic community. It is an absolutly 100 percent free comic host. Zero ads. No charge to host. No charge to read. The single reason we exist is to let creativity flow and give people a chance to do something that we'd all like to do- make comics. Sure, it's for free, but that happens. And we're happy to do it."

Millarworld has the September solicits for Marvel. Of interest:

* Dr. Strange returns, seemingly retconned: "Brash young surgeon Dr. Stephen Strange is on a collision course with destiny – a journey that will force him to search the deepest corners of his own heart…and the outer reaches of the cosmos!"

* Elektra returns as well, in a mini-series that will apparently "change the Marvel Universe... forever." Or until it gets changed back, anyway.

* Bullseye is also returning, in a mini-series written by Daniel Way, which probably means it'll be cancelled before too long. As it probably should be. I mean, a Bullseye mini-series?

* Also returning, because Marvel is nothing if not recycling friendly, is the 2099 universe. But wait! It's not your father's 2099 universe... This is MARVEL KNIGHTS 2099! Five books, all written by Robert Kirkman, who must have lost a bet or something.

* The X-books try to stay exciting. This month it's "Reload: Another Clip"! No, really. Meanwhile, the solicitations themselves sound as dull as dishwater, and spoil the current arcs. Take Excalibur, for example: "Professor Xavier has now assembled his ragtag team of Magneto and Callisto, with youngsters Wicked, Freakshow and Shola under their tutelage. Already struggling to keep the peace in Genosha as well as between themselves, will the team have the strength to get to the bottom of simultaneous terrorist attacks on X-Corp offices around the world." Oh, great. Another ragtag team? Meanwhile, Jubilee, Gambit and Nightcrawler all get ongoing solo books.

* Two new Marvel Age books: Spider-Man Team-Up and Hulk.

* The Avengers' solicitation does its best to remind you what book they're talking about: "There's been a lot of buzz around this big Avengers event and this issue is what everyone is waiting for. Who will fall at the hands of the Avengers' greatest enemy? Guest-starring: every Avenger in the history of the Avengers!"

* Adam Warlock gets a new series. Yes, Adam Warlock. Has Marvel lost its mind?

Axel Alonso talks about Frank Cho's guesting on Mark Millar's Spider-Man book:

"Frank's artwork looks great... The action sequences are fantastic, and Mary Jane has never looked more delectable."

Surprisingly, the next line wasn't "In fact, if you've seen any other female character that Frank's drawn, just imagine her with red hair and that's exactly what she looks like. No, really; exactly what she looks like. It's Frank Cho, remember?"

Mike San Giacomo on Phantom Jack, surprisingly not only still running at Image, but with an extended run planned:

"There is so much I want to put into the stories that I get frustrated. That's when there have been so many extra scripts and stories in the later issues. There are two side scripts in issue #4 and a huge script in issue #5. These are all original stories featuring Jack and supporting characters... I'd love to keep Phantom Jack going, but it will depend on sales... We're going to see how it sells between now and #9 and make a decision later on. As far as other media goes, I've been talking to some people about other media exploits for Jack, but nothing serious yet."

Monday, June 14, 2004

If it's Monday, then it's DC's solicits for September. Of interest:

* Chuck Austen introduces new Superman villains: "Introducing Sodom & Gomorrah, a new husband-and-wife super-villain team prepared to give Superman a sound beating!" Oh, God.

* As if doing it once wasn't enough, Superman takes over the world again with the help of his buddy Batman, while Carlos Pacheco just takes over the art chores for Superman/Batman. Both happen in #14.

* Andy Diggle and Pascul Ferry's Adam Strange mini-series starts, while Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier finishes.

* The Flash ties into Identity Crisis: "The Flash has a personal crisis when he discovers that not everything he believed about the legacy of Barry Allen is true!" Famous Flash Friend Green Lantern, meanwhile, gets cancelled in favour of the Rebirth mini-series that revives Hal Jordan next month.

* Kevin Nowlan covers Hawkman #32! Eeeeeeeeee!



* Chuck Austen runs amuck with the JLA: "Wonder Woman faces a manic battle with a new villainess, only to be left with concerns about her own mortality. And Superman – who has died and lived to tell the tale — offers the best advice." Hasn't Wonder Woman died herself? And isn't she just made of clay, anyway?

* In the world of licensed work, Michael Moorcock and Walter Simonson launch an Elric mini-series and Will Eisner gets a hardcover Companion retrospective on his career.

* Doom Patrol trades! A new version of Crawling From The Wreckage, as well as The Painting That Ate Paris! BUY THESE or your life will be much sadder.

* Peter Milligan does Mark Millar's Chosen in Human Target: "The new Messiah has arrived, and he’s dressed like a pop star. But does the teenaged Paul James really believe he’s actually the Second Coming?"

* Dave Gibbons' The Originals gets released. Did everyone else get their ashcan last week?

Josh Middleton on his new DC exclusive, and his Marvel experience:

"Technically, the way [the Marvel exclusive contract] worked it was only a year deal, but it was based on the amount of work produced... So the contract goes both ways. It had already been violated a long time ago when it was not possible for me to fulfill my work because I didn’t have enough scripts. I was supposed to do a certain amount of issues a year, but if I sign a contract and six months later, I don’t have a script to start, there’s no way I can fulfill it."

How many words should there be in a comic? The Image Comics board consider:

"One impression i get with comic book readers is that there´s some kind of un-written rule about the ammount of dialogue/captions in a comic. Everytime comic fans see an issue with little dialogue or overall text filling the 24 pages, one of two things seem to happen: a) They consider it a "gimmick" issue [or] b) They feel their didn´t get enough for their money and complain... Now, maybe it´s because i read both comics and manga, but i personally never considered that a barometer for how good/bad a comic is. I personally prefer the slow-paced and sometimes almost 'nder-written'feeling some comics have."

"When I read a comic that has minimal dialogue, oftentimes it feels like it's that way because the story is being stretched to fit the issue. For example, while issues of the excellent Planetary have frequent uses of single and double-page splashes, the rest of the comic is often dense enough, and the plotting tight enough that I never feel there's less story than there ought to be. Issue 19 is a good example of this. Ellis drops a lot of storytelling in a little dialogue. By contrast, issue 18 (the gun club, which I read afterwards), while a neat story, felt stretched to fit the comic, leaving me a little dissatisfied."

"My general barometer is that if it takes less than 10 minutes to read a comic, it does feal like I didn't get my moneys worth. Manga can get away with sparser dialogue because they average about 200 pages for 15 dollars(cdn), that changes what is needed for me to get my money's worth. When I'm dropping 4 dollars on something that I've read in 5 minutes, it does feel like I didn't get my 4 dollars worth. The exception is if that 5 minutes blew me away. So the standards are higher for comics that are a quicker read. And generally speaking, it's more full issues that are capable of blowing me away with one issue."

Larry Young loves Philip Bond and I want to see a collection of Wired World, goddammit:

"I've been telling Phil for years I'll do [a collection of his Deadline strip] WIRED WORLD. I love him, I love his work, I love WIRED WORLD. Anyone who wants WIRED WORLD collected is invited to post a pointer to this message on their blog and/or send Phil an email telling him that Larry Young loves him, loves his work, and loves WIRED WORLD, and will collect it anytime he wants."

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