Saturday, July 31, 2004

Courtesy of Dave Potter, the greatest eBay auction ever.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Park Cooper makes an impassioned plea:

"In the Hollywood movie Gigi, the guy loves Gigi because she's so sweet and natural and doesn't act like a mistress. He comes back later and they've taught Gigi how to be a first-class ho for him and he's appalled. (So my wife tells me-- wouldn't have thought of this metaphor myself.) This, right now, is Hollywood and comics. Everything magical and breathtaking is being destroyed because we're now trying to write comics in anticipation of what Hollywood wants instead of focusing on good stories. They loved us in the first place because we were something a little different and now we're trying to please them by being just the same. How can they cannibalize us if we're trying to cannibalize ourselves FOR them, with no faith in good storytelling or a bit of complexity? And comics acts like the lucky youth that Hollywood has decided to take to the prom. You dope. What they love you for is your originality, friend... they love you for your mind and heart. Don't go under the knife to change into 'the swan' you think your partner wants. It'll make Hollywood look elsewhere... Maybe you should start asking yourselves how long the Hollywood ride is going to last when we lose what we all loved about comics in the first place. Maybe you should vote with your wallet and take a stand for what made us great in the first place."

To which I say oh God, yes, and wonder if this ephiphany will change the reverential tone Park and Barb's column usually has for Mark Millar, one of the worst offenders of "wanting comics to be movies instead of comics" these days (if you ask me...)

Dave Dorman loses it spectacularly at Newsarama:

"Back Story: Renowned illustrator Dave Dorman, Alien and Predator are old friends, dating back 15 years ago to the days when Dorman was painting Alien v. Predator pieces to please the Dark Horse fans…today the threesome reunite for a chat for Newsarama. POV: We see the famed illustrator and two of his favorite creatures lunching at a local White Castle."

It gets odder. Go and see.

Cameron Stewart, the floor is yours:

"Over on the DC/Vertigo message boards someone posted a link to an online petition asking DC to greenlight the second (and eventual third) volume of Seaguy. It's kind of crass for me to solicit signatures (sorry), and I'm pretty skeptical that petitions, online or otherwise, will convince anyone - but hell, it's worth a shot, huh?If you want to read "Slaves Of Mickey Eye" as much as I want to draw it, go add your name to the list! Thanks!"

That Bryan Hitch backlash that no-one's really been waiting for? Seems to be here:

"I've been a huge fan of Bryan Hitch since I picked up issue one of The Authority many moons ago. In quick retrospect he is probably my favorite artist right after Planetary's Cassidy. But after hearing about volume 2 of The Ultimates being delayed until 2005 I'm beginning to (finally) lose patience. I'm all for a consistent artist working on a book, especially since I enjoy picking up all the harcover editions, but I think it's time for Marvel to search for a new star. Steve Micniven, Chirs Weston or even Stuart Immonen would be wonderful additions to The Ultimates. Allow Hitch to dram these Ultimate mini-series. Perhaps 4-6 issues is more in his league."

"I loved Hitch's stuff in Ultimates V1 - but I don't think that he's worth the delays. There are too many good artists out there who would probably give their right arm to draw this series....I just hope that they aren't right-handed if they do that. I agree - put him on mini-series. Give the Regular title to someone else."

"Nope, not worth it. I don't care how damn good he is, but the inconsistency and excuses ruined Ultimates for me, I can't even bring myself to read the already available issues. What I have read doesn't give me that same jacked feeling that I got from this book. I think MIllar is starting to get played out for me and I tend to prefer different writers now when Millar was one of my favorites for damn near two years..."

"Not worth the wait in my opinion. All the lateness of Ultimates vol 1 made me loose interest in the book so much that I was really disapponited in the way the last issue was wrapped up. After waiting for ever my expectations were to high and the pay off just wasn't there. I really could care less now if the book is ever gonna come out again. They are cool characters and I loved for the most part all the issues so far, but having to wait like this is just stupid, and I don't care about The Ultimates anymore."

Robert Kirkman talks about his upcoming relaunch of Marvel Team-Up:

"I like to think of it like a one stop shop for the Marvel Universe. I'll also be using it as a platform to use characters that Marvel might not think are strong enough to carry their own book, but are still cool enough to pop in from time to time. I'll be using damn near everyone in the Marvel U by the end of issue #25... [Artist Scot Kolins] and I are spring boarding on most of this stuff, and his input is invaluable. Between him, [editor] Tom Brevoort and I we're coming up with lots of cool stuff to do here. I'm trying to create some new villains with this series, so keep your eyes peeled with that. I don't think Marvel's had a good reoccurring villain come on the scene since the early eighties. I really want to put some more toys in the sandbox, new villains, new characters... I'm giving this book my all. Also, nothing is going to be contrived. We're doing big arcs, using large corners of the Marvel U, so each arc is going to seem like a massive Marvel event. I'm also going to be having subplots and layers upon layers of side stories going on in the book. So readers can buy issue 1 and follow along from month to month and get a rich, detailed tapestry of Marvel goodness month after month. I don't want people skipping issues when Speedball shows up. No matter who is in any given issue, if you've liked the book so far... you'll enjoy every issue. There's going to be a lot of stuff going on. Needless to say, I'm having a blast."

Millarworld get business-minded:

"What is the primary difference between the focus of [DC and Marvel] and their organizational structure in regard to producing the books? Can you describe their ideal consumer? Do they have the usual corporate ideals as far as mission statement and values? How similar/different are they? How do they maintain their core audiences and how do they build new audiences from a marketing standpoint? Is either group expendable in the future? Who does management answer to: parent companies or stockholders/investors?"

"This is a discussion I can get behind. As I told Johnny via PM, so long as this doesn't become a retard magnet, I won't delete posts or lock this. Don't post a list of what titles you're buying or start Marvel/DC pissing contests."

"One reason that Marvel's currently structured publishing empire could still go away is that the editorial/creative/publishing side of the company remains a large, costly bracket of staff that they have to keep under one roof, paid and fed and insured. And why should a company in these perpetually out-sourced times have to do that? They could easily sublicense to another publisher (anyone from Simon and Schuster to DC) and just reap the cash from that set-up. Joe Q and Millar and Bendis would all still have jobs, they'd just be getting their checks from a manufacturer/licensee instead of the licensor. If the comics growth spurt doesn't pick up the pace, though, you can bet the checks will be smaller. The entertainment industry is grow or die, just like anything else. And they could easily leverage ownsership in any concepts that come out of that kind arrangement. It's what Lucas does with his (comparably popular but privately held) character empire.

"I think the only reason Marvel still publishes their own stuff is the growth Jemas brough to the publishing side -- realizing huge gains because of a product gap in the trade paperback world. The 'font of intellectual property' side of the company has yet to pan out: barring dramatic change at the House of Ideas we'll never see another burst of 15-or-so industry dominating wholly new properties the way Stan oversaw in 62-65. There's just too much of a chance that something like that would fall flat eventually, giving way to the same old re-branding tactics (Ultimate, Marvel Knights, 2099)."

"To me, the largest difference seems to come from each company's ownership. DC is, as mentioned above, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., and so has - relatively speaking - extremely deep pockets, because if DC gets into any trouble, the option is (possibly) there to dip into WB funds. Marvel is it's own beast, however, and sinks or swims on its own. This is why, as far as I can tell, Marvel is so much more conservative with its production schedule. A Marvel book that sells 25,000 copies is in danger of cancellation; a DC/Vertigo title doing the same is perfectly safe."

"Marvel's burrent business model seems highly short-sighted to me. It comes accross as 'throw as many ancilliary concepts at the audience as we can, and sell the popular ones to hollywood' Anyone doubt that if Starjammers sells, we'll see a space opera movie with the Marvel branding and everyone's 'favourite' space pirates in short order? Problem is, Marvel aren't generating new characters - there's a great editorial in this week's Ninthart about how we're gonna see barrel-scraping Movie/TV projects - I personally can't wait for FORBUSH MAN VS WILLIE LUMPKIN THE MOVIE [...] Problem number 2 - the bulk of Marvel's audience don't want new characters- they're happy to see the latest iterations of Scott and Jean, or Peter and Mary Jane, or Steve and whoever his girlfriend (and for christ's sakes, the man's in his 80's at least- he should settle down), and don't bother picking up anything else. At least Marvel HAVE been trying new things of late - but for the most part it's just attempts to squeeze their current wares into the Manga niche."

Joe Quesada returns to his message board to get his house in order:

"My tolerance for stupidity is at an all time low so expect warnings to come quickly and bannings to come even quicker. I think compared to other boards we've done an okay job at keeping the trolls off or at least making them work hard to get in, but now the biggest problem we have is hostility, lack of tolerance and zero understanding. So, I'm going to ask this of all of you, STOP IT, stop it now. Please grow up and treat each others decently. I know that there are a few trolls out there who think it's cool be smart ass with me because they see me as the EiC, an authority figure, someone whose attention they normally wouldn't get outside of this board. But here's the breaking news, I could give a d@$% about them, so let them keep doing what they're doing. I'm kicking back drawing my comic, running Marvel and having fun with my family while they're obsessing away on my board thinking they're irritating me. Life is too short and they're wasting their hours away trying to bother someone who doesn't care or ever thinks about them.

"For the rest of you long timers. You know I love you all, I don't care if we always agree, just as long as we can talk civilly about our differences. That's cool, that's what these boards are all about. I think it's clear to all of you that when I make a move at Marvel you may not like, that I'm doing what I feel in my heart of hearts is best for Marvel, its readers and the industry at large. Just like I know that when you cast your opinion, however quietly or loudly, it's because you love Marvel, it's characters and the books it produces. We all want the same thing, there will just be times we disagree about it and like I said, that's cool."

The Bendis board consider a complaint by Mr. Bendis himself:

"Dusty asked this: What do you see as the biggest problem with comics today? This was bendis's reply: FANS REWARDING BAD BEHAVIOR OF CREATORS AND PUBLISHERS. When asked for specifics, he said: LATE BOOKS, BAD RUSHED COMICS, SOLICITATION LIES [...] So, let's start a discussion. What do you think he meant, specifically? Like what comics? And what creators/publishers do you feel we reward for bad behavior, more importantly?"

"I'm going to have to name Kevin Smith as Public Enemy #1 here. How many people are going to buy the next issue of Target or Spidey/Black Cat whenever it actually comes out? How many people will snap up whatever his next book is? How about his lies about being the writer on Amazing Spider-Man, or his new Brave & the Bold series over at DC which never happened?"

"thats who i would think of. probably wont buy anything of his anymore. unless it is collected into one volume. plus the whole toothpick into the breast feeding mother seemed a bit too much for my tastes. how about battle chasers? i outgrew that phase of my comic enjoyment before he 'finished' that one up."

"Aye Kev has been a bit of a poster boy, well he would be if the design hadn't been late. NYX is another one for being a pain, and let us not forget The Ultimates, particularly as it looks like vol.2 has now been pushed back until early 2005."

"Okay, so late books I guess we can pinpoint. But can anyone think of any of the others? Solicitaion lies? I guess i can't think of any. What about bad or rushed comics. I mean, I can think of some, but not some that are rewarded, except the obvious choice of the main X-titles, but those are my opinions."

Mark Alessi lends CrossGen money. No, really:

"Founder Mark Alessi has been granted permission by the court supervising CrossGen's Chapter 11 bankruptcy to lend the company $75,000 as a partial advance against $150,000 in proposed debtor-in-possession financing. The DIP financing will receive a priority lien against CrossGen assets. The financing is described as critical to preserve the value of the assets for CrossGen's creditors. A final hearing on the full $150,000 proposed financing will be held on August 3rd."

Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg talk about Street Angel over at Newsarama:

"I hated the superhero comics that I saw every week at the comics shop and decided to make a book that would depict how wretched superhero comics are. But after giving this some thought, we realized that if done right, it would be indistinguishable from any bad superhero comic. So instead, we started discussing what we liked - and especially what we remembered liking but couldn’t find any more - about superhero comics. The book developed out of that. It went from being a hate filled rant against the genre to being a bit of an over-the-top love letter. The stuff in the book is either there because I hate its opposite or because I like it a lot - surprising how often these things coincide. Jesse is a 13 year-old, homeless, malnourished tomboy, because I hate every T & A book that is a T & A book for no reason relative to the story. Of course, without a story, it’s hard to create story-related artwork I suppose and certainly there’s a fair share of T & A books without a story or any developed characters.

"Another influence on the book is pop culture’s current obsession with reality - reality tv shows, street authenticity of celebs like Justin Timberlake, and movies like The Matrix. We created a character and setting that is the absolute opposite of our experiences and who we are in life. Oddly enough, some early reviews and emails actually commend us on the authentic street feel of the book."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Chris Weston interviews a hero of mine when I was a kid, Ian Kennedy:

"I put [a sign reading "It doesn't have to be a bloody masterpiece" that hangs above his drawing board] there about 35 years ago. One day I was working on a cover and I struggled and struggled, and still nothing went right. I laboured away until, eventually, I just flung my brush down, grabbed a pen and wrote down those words. I hung it above my drawing board, to catch my eye and remind myself that as long as you are doing a good job, competently, professionally, the fact that it hasn't turned out the way you had hoped doesn't matter. As long as it satisfies the requirements, then the editor is happy and the customer is happy… and that's all that's important. You can flog yourself to death, Chris, (you've probably done it already), and get nowhere."

Brian Hibbs has a blog (found thanks to the wonderful Johanna Draper Carlson), where the Savage Critic thankfully lives on...:

"JLA #102: The 'Everyone Cries' arc continues. This issue: the Flash cries! It's not *bad* per se (Actually, it's well told), but I can't take 4 more issues of this -- wake me when it's over."

Hibbs is easily up there with Paul O'Brien and the aforementioned Johanna in my trinity of critics that I love reading, even if I'm not interested in the books they're reviewing... Go, read, adore.

Peter David responds to rumours about a possible return to regular Hulk writing:

"I'm getting lots of queries about the fact that Rich Johnston has reported in his column that Marvel is considering offering me the Hulk again. This is based upon Joe's soliciting fan reaction, getting huge cheers, during one of his panels on the notion of my coming back on the series, and then giving a cryptic, Cheshire cat response. Now, honestly, I've been to such gatherings, and while it's great that people cheered when Joe asked what they thought of me returning full-time to HULK, my guess is that if Joe had said, 'We're thinking of tearing up the carpeting at the Marvel offices and switching over to linoleum, whattaya think?!' he could have gotten thunderous applause. So, y'know...

"That said, No, Marvel has not approached me about the prospect of returning to an ongoing HULK series. For one thing, with Bruce leaving to go off to DC, I don't even know if there IS gonna be an ongoing HULK series, do you?"

Frank Tieri on Weapon X's cancellation (including Comix-Fan's censorship):

"Wow. I knew people would be ****** when it got out that we got canned... but I didn’t think they’d be THIS ******. All the talk on message boards, all the support from the websites, all the emails I’m getting—all I can say is thank you. Books come and go in this industry, sometimes with little to no reaction, so the fact that the cancellation of a so-called 'cult book' got a rise as big as this is really and truly appreciated. So with that said—what now? We go quietly into that good night and that’s that? I would think by now you guys know me a little better than that. FT don’t do 'quietly'. This title needs an ending. You fans deserve that at the very least-- and I’m going to do my damnedest to see that you get one. I’m not so sure Marvel would be willing to save the entire series, but I figure I can tie everything up comfortably in 6 issues, so that’s what I’ll be asking them for. And I’m going to need your help to get them."

I love that he mentions that the cancellation got a big reaction, when I didn't even know that it'd been officially confirmed the book was cancelled... Anyway, he's looking for people to write Marvel and ask for 6 final issues to tie the plots up. FT don't do "quietly" but he does, apparently, do "asking the fans to help".

The V respond to the full-issue preview of The Invaders #1, at Mile-High Comics:

"Good lord. They might as well have not bothered to take Chuck Austen off the book. The art's far too flat for my tastes, and the writing is indefensible."

"Wow... this is rubbish."

"I understand their problem on the writing side. I mean, there's such a deficit of talented English writers in the comics industry that they'd have to settle for an American who doesn't know his arse from his elbow."

"It's just a load of bollocks, isn't it?"

"That had absolutely no redeeming features."

And the sad thing is, they're being too nice about it.

There is, for those of you interested, a weblog dedicated to the new Vertigo series Books of Magick, complete with incredibly comprehensive annotations for the first issue:

"Bollocks, a British term literally meaning 'testicles,' here used as equivalent to 'bullshit.'"

Tim O'Neill on where and what he sees when he looks at AiT/PlanetLar:

"At the end of the day it comes down to this: if you want to find the New Mainstream in comic book publishing, look to wherever Larry Young is. He publishes a lot of crap but he also publishes some real gems, with an entire spectrum of quality in between. He publishes something for everyone, and that’s is something I cannot say for anyone else in our entire industry. If there is any justice in this amoral business of ours, he will die a rich, rich man and it is not without a small smattering of professional jealousy that I say that."

I find this particularly interesting because I wrote my column for Broken Frontier yesterday and mentioned, in passing, my happiness at AiT's new wave of books like Ursula, Demo and future things like Tales from Fish Camp because - in my eyes, at least - AiT had previously been focussed more on comics that read like great action movies at the expense of other genres (not that they ignored them altogether - they do the fucking incredible True Story Swear To God and Electric Girl, after all), but I saw a (perhaps fictitious) move towards a widening of focus with the new stuff without a loss of quality... Maybe it's just something in the air right now that we're all thinking "AiT/Planet Lar = Publisher Everyone Should Be Paying Attention To".

Marvel update their Avengers Deathwatch list, and need someone to tell them how to spell "berserk".

Heidi Macdonald blogs SDCC for The Beat:

"Was it all only a dream? The giant robots, the movie stars, the spaceships, the giant battleships, the monkeys, the pirates, the fireworks, the dinosaurs, the superheroes? It certainly can’t have been real. And yet I look back on the photos, the tattoos, the blisters…something must have happened. The dream was real."

Well worth reading.

And since I'm mentioning other blogs, Matt Maxwell has a nice take on Mark Millar's waiting for the trade comments over at the newly-launched Highway 62.

Warren Ellis's Streaming includes a (fictional?) email exchange between Ellis and Joe Quesada about Iron Man:

"... I mean, I've got half a take on what to do with Iron Man, which is the only fucking thing you CAN do with Iron Man -- deal with the fact that he used to be an arms dealer and get into exactly why he'd try and make a working bioelectric enhancement suit and keep wearing it, and how far that goes. Let's be honest -- arms manufacturers tend not to be paragons of humanity. In fact, there's only one who we ever name without spitting -- Alfred Nobel. Who tried to put his bloody money back into something that'd elevate the human race. Tony Stark, on the other hand, pretended to be his own bodyguard so that people would like him (when he was invisible inside the Iron Man suit).

"But what if he decided to be Alfred Nobel? What if he is now, through the Iron Man technology, roadtesting the future? Using himself as a human testing ground for redemptive technology? Funny that Cruise is interested -- it's the same character arc as JERRY MAGUIRE. Total shit taken to redemption."

Comic Book Artist wins another Eisner. Editor Jon Cooke is rather pleased:

"I couldn't have been more surprised and delighted to garner such recognition from both the Eisner Award judges and those wonderful folks who took the time to vote. It was a highly competitive category and an honor for CBA to be nominated alongside such dignified magazines as COMIC ART, ALTER EGO, and THE COMICS JOURNAL. When I heard the award announced, I was stunned, to say the least, and remain humbly grateful to everyone who has contributed to CBA in 2003, including Managing Editor Barbara Lien-Cooper, Senior Associate Editor George Khoury, Associate Editors Christopher Irving and Chris Knowles, and my faithful contributors Fred Hembeck, David A. Roach, Michelle Nolan, and Joe McCabe. There's just no way this honor could have come to light without you people!"

He then went on to say "Now all I've got to do is get it to come out even vaguely close to the bimonthly schedule it was supposed to be on, once upon a time." I mean, weren't we due another issue a couple of months ago?

Newsarama looks at Marvel's Q2 numbers:

"Something that’s eyebrow-raising though, is the company’s statement that it’s selling fewer copies of more titles, which did increase overall circulation by 10% from Q2 2003. While the increased circulation does reflect well, selling fewer copies of more hedges on the razor blade-waling side of things, considering that series live or die based on sales numbers, and if Marvel loses 15 titles per month, bringing it back down to the number roughly equal to how many it was publishing in 2003, its performance in Q2 of 2004 would be much less than it was in Q2 2003."

Millarworld points out an unusual quote from Joe Quesada in this week's Marvel Mailer newsletter:

"This is from this weeks Marvel Mailer... 'One additional point we've heard from you: AVENGERS #500 has fans fired up! This first issue is completely sold out now, and we're seeing crazy reorder activity – and none of this demand will be met; as you
all know we're printing to order.' What good is saying this? 'Look! Avengers #500 is hot, and no one can get it!' Is it time for Marvel to rethink their print-to-order policy?"

"Even Joe Quesada isn't THIS stupid. I mean, they ARE a business, right?"

"Well, sold out at Marvel. My shop still had plenty of them left."

"My shop had underordered Avengers #500 (only about 25 copies), and there were still quite a few left."

"it's probably the same as with Ult Fantastic Four #1, didn't Marvel say they sold out yet pretty much every store still has this on the shelf or in the back issues? my store has a stack."

Rich Johnston's LITG is finally up:

"Dan Didio has the reputation for squeezing every drop he can out of each talent on a DC exclusive. Marvel, however, have a reputation for allowing exclusive creators to get away with less work than they were doing before they went exclusive. Nevertheless, amongst the hoi polloi of non-exclusives, they seem to prefer DC's methods of operation, citing a number of Marvel employees as hell to work with. As the Cold War of exclusives continued at the con, could this be the establishment of a two-tier system? Exclusives go to Marvel, non-exclusives go to DC?"

The Bendis Board consider how important their figurehead is to the House of Ideas:

"i have been pondering over this for quite some time...if bendis were to leave marvel would marvel be effected more or would bendis be at a loss?"

"leave... SHAME!!! shame on you for even thinking such a thing i thought you were one of the coolest people here, but now... now i'm gonna have nightmares"

"That's kind of a silly question. You don't think there would be myriad other companies jumping at the opportunity to hire Mr. Bendis as soon as possible? Meanwhile, he's responsible for the majority of Marvel's current comics. I think it's a pretty clear cut case of Marvel being left holding the severed penis and the bloody gardening sheers."

"I don't think either would blink. Bendis might a little because of his distribution deals with Marvel with his creator owned stuff. DC would snap him up quick, and Marvel would replace him quick."

Newsarama talks Sin City:

"The bulk of the movie will be black-and-white, like the graphic novels, but spots of color will show up here and there, again just like Miller’s comics: a red dress, crimson lipstick, the Yellow Bastard, etc. Filming in color and then processing the film into black-and-white makes this possible. Some other interesting effects will include white silhouettes and even white blood against a black background. When Rodriguez says he’s sticking to the books, he means it. Perhaps the most amazing quality about the Sin City movie is that Rodriguez and Miller are capturing the graphic stories shot-by-shot and frame-by-frame, using the graphic novels themselves as storyboards, reference sheets, and scripts all in one. Miller’s exact dialogue will be the dialogue in the movie, and the angles, backgrounds, and lighting are all coming directly from the comic pages."

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Mark Millar? You have the floor:

"People who wait for the trade... are like people who wait for the video. This comment was brought to you by Jerry Springer's Thought for the Day."

My favourite reply?:

"...is this because of the MK Spider-Man/Superman thing?"

It's funny because it's true.

The trailer madness for Batman Begins begins.

After Dissembled, is the main Avengers title going to be renamed Avengers Deconstructed? That's the rumour over at the Bendis board, started by this post by Mark Bagley:

"Avengers Deconstructed #1 [...]I just read Brian's script. Spoilers ... Just kidding, Brian would have my nuts. But it is AWESOME."

"What's Deconstructed #1? Do you mean #500? Or is this something else?"

"He means the first issue after Disassembled. I read it too. Good stuff."

"Guess Bags just let the title of the New Avengers book slip."

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "I, who was not in San Diego or at least not in any of the panels or presentations, wish I had seen DC's slide shows of upcoming series and things!" Now, thanks to the wonder of this thing we call technology, you can! The DC Universe "Taking It To The Limit" slide show can be found here, the Wildstorm "Comics Untamed" slide show can be found here, and sadly the Vertigo "Really taking it to the Untamed Max Limit, Dawg" slide show (oh, okay, it's really called "Breaking Boundaries") can't be found anywhere due to some kind of glitch. Thanks, Dr. Science, for inventing the internet!

So you want The Complete Bone? Time to sing that Rolling Stones song, perhaps... Jeff Smith, take it away:

"We wanted to debut the book at San Diego... And that meant that we had to set our print run before the numbers came in from Diamond. That way, we could get them printed and have them, and Diamond would have their copies as well to sell the week after. We figured out how many copies we wanted for San Diego, and then guessed at how many the rest of the market would handle. Even considering that this was a $40 book, we thought we ordered really generously, and figured we’d be able to cover all orders. We ordered right around 5,000 copies, and everything started processing. A short time later, the numbers came in for orders – it was 10,000. That just blew us away. When the orders came in, we were caught completely flat footed, and then, demand at the show was completely unexpected... I really apologize for the inconvenience to everyone who got caught short with this, but like I said, I thought I’d ordered really high. We’re trying to rectify this as quickly as possible, and have already gone back to print on the book to make up for the copies we’re not able to ship based on initial orders, and an extra 8,000 copies on top of that. The copies should be in stores by the end of August. While we’re delighted with the response and the demand, and we’re working as fast as we can to get everybody their books."

Alex Toth! Alex Toth! Alex Toth! He's The Man, motherfuckers, but the good The Man, not The Man who keeps everyone down. That's a different The Man. Toth is The Man whose art I worship from afar, man. The Tothfans website has just put up both parts of a 1970s Black Canary 2-part back-up strip he illustrated and lettered, with new annotations from the man himself. Go, see, be impressed by the work.

Grant Morrison steps up to blow the collective DC Universe's mind. On "Seven Soldiers":

"The current vogue in superhero comics, post-'Hush' is for the 'definitive' take, which tends to manifest itself as creators playing it safe by cherry-picking and re-packaging all the best and most popular elements of an already successful feature. It's a commercial strip-mining kind of approach to a given property that seems to make a lot of sense until you realize it can really only work once before you find yourself in the awful position of having to make up stuff again. Seven Soldiers is an attempt to clear some new ground and make stories for people who want something a little different from 'greatest hits' reworkings of books they've already read."

On his return to JLA:

"Except for Batman, the JLA don't appear at all until the second issue - I figured that people have seen me do the JLA before so they might just be willing to let me away with the novel idea of a JLA comic which doesn't have the main characters in the first issue at all. Most of the opening act concerns the Ultramarines team I introduced back in JLA #24. They've come back for a brutal ass-kicking as a kind of cheeky analogue of the best Avengers/Ultimates team you could hope to imagine. I hope readers will have fun matching up the Ultramarines characters with their marvelous counterparts... Aquaman has no beard and John Stewart is Green Lantern so it's pretty much set in some kind of current continuity but I’m afraid it's not the gloomy 'adult' world of Sue Dibny's shredded lycra pants so keep well away if it's attempted rape you crave. Cannibalism, yes, rape, no. My DCU is a day-glo, non-stop funhouse, where the world is threatened every five minutes and godlike beings clash in the skies like fireworks."

Ever sensitive to touchy issues in light of what happened earlier this week, Millarworld looks at the Spider-Man child abuse special:

"The book was a giveaway called... erm... Power Pack/Spider-Man, I think. Anyway, there're two stories with - you guessed it - Spider-Man and the Power Pack. In the Power Pack story, a girl runs away to escape her molesting father. However, like Mark said, in the Spider-Man story Spidey tells a kid who's ashamed of being molested that he was once molested too. When Spidey was just Peter Parker, lonely high school student, he met an older boy, Whitney (I guess, I don't remember his name) who acted as a sort of older brother figure. Everyone liked Whitney, even Aunt May thought he was a positive influence on Peter. One day, W invited Peter over, showed him some porno mags, and told him that they should touch eachother like the people in the magazines. STRANGE, BUT TRUE."

"The guy was Skip Westcott, and he gave Peter the nickname of 'Einstein'. It made me puke."

"In all honesty, that story freaked the hell out of me as a kid. The fact that Skip had white hair might be the single weirdest element: is he a boy or a grown man? Either way, it's disturbing."

Thankfully, Mark Millar comes in to calm the waters:

"Skip must come back, but with a costume. I vote he calls himself THE BUGGERNAUT and tears his way through the asses of the entire Marvel Universe. What a crossover that would be. The SM/PPCA special is my all-time favourite comic. I was a kid when I read it and when Power Pack's hot babysitter demanded sex before they watched Star Wars it just seemed like a dream come true to me. I DEMANDED a babysitter like that!"

Congratulations to Comix Experience, Isotope and AiT/PlanetLar for winning categories in the San Francisco Bay Guardian's annual "Best of The Bay" awards. In terms of shopping, Isotope wins "Best Comic Shop in Which to Be a Girl":

"The Bay Guardian has a surprisingly high number of lady comics nerds on staff. We've leafed through countless ratty issues of Octopus Schoolgirl Tentacle Gangbang to find the issue of Oh My Goddess! that our little niece has been begging for. We've been shamelessly macked on while grimly thumbing through haphazardly chronological issues of Doom Patrol, while some clerk goes on and on about how The Crow was based on a comic book, and did we know that The Crow was based on a comic book, and so on, until we've finally wanted to scream, 'Yes! We know that it was based on a comic book! Go back to your cash register and sit there, flunky boy! Read that issue of Concrete and pester me no more!' Even in progressive S.F., the chick-friendly comics emporiums are few and far between. But when we saw a 12-year-old girl in Isotope Comics curled up on the sofa reading Archie, we knew this was a quality joint. Plus, owner James Sime has an 'only the sexy nerds with the good social skills' hiring policy, which makes for a much better shopping experience."

Comix Experience wins "Best Comic Book Bargain Bin":

"We've had fantasies of decorating our apartment like Pow!, that old comic book bar in SoMa, where the tables were covered with laminated comic pages and life-size prints of anime characters plastered the walls. But we could never slice scissors through our prize collection of early-’90s X-Men spin-offs (X-Factor, X-Force, and the charming but ultimately pathetic Generation X). Not only can we relive those glory days in Comix Experience's front-of-store bins, but there's also some just-released titles and some old-school books that are only slightly falling apart. New issues of Buffy, old issues of 100 Bullets, ripped reprints of X-Men No. 1, and plenty of others are just a quarter each. It's a great way to redecorate a room, catch up on the history of the Justice League, and buy doubles to spread around to friends who still argue that comics are for kids. There's even a bargain-bin bulk rate — 10 comics for a measly buck. The most damage will be suffered by your apartment as you figure out how to store all the new finds."

Meanwhile, in the Readers' Poll, Isotope wins best comic store and, more unexpectedly, AiT/Planet Lar wins Best Local Publisher:

"When a company devoted to graphic novels wins best overall publisher, you know things have changed on the comix front. With titles such as Brian Wood and Brett Weldele's Couscous Express; Joe Casey and Charlie Adlard's Codeflesh; and Rick Remender, Kieron Dwyer, and Harper Jaten's Blackheart Billy on the roster, AiT/Planet Lar has gained the respect of our readers — and lots of other folks — for putting out works whose story lines are provocative and intelligent and whose illustrations are equally compelling."

Huzzah to all!

Your Manga Minute at Newsarama concerns itself not so much with manga this week as with Identity Crisis#2, and rape...:

"True, many people batten onto the stories of the Silver Age as a beacon of a more hopeful time. Maybe they seem them as a loving memory of childhood or innocence. They’re welcome to that. I think that it’s also incumbent on the new and curious writer to re-examine old notions and push them into the unexamined light of new times. Watchmen, anyone? Dark Knight Returns for 100, Alex? This series seems to be the tale (although it’s only two issues old) of how good people with power went a step too far because of something horrible, and how it’s possibly jumped up and bitten them in the ass later on. Regardless of circumstances, that’s a worthy idea to examine."

The Temporary Bendis Board is still dealing with the fallout of what happened over the weekend:

"Whether you believe it or not, I just now decided to check out JDs site about this 'list.' My calmness/okness about things is starting to waiver..."

"What's on the list?"

"Pics of some of them and things that were said. My name is in there in a context that scares me."

"well, now I guess you guys can see why I'm still pissed at people who posted under those threads on the board. Thanks to JD you can see the names of people that contributed and didn't do anything to stop... but instead just posted along with them. And I'm glad that there are pictures included."

"I just wish JD had responded to my THREE attempts at finding out how my name was involved (since Alysha sent me a PM telling me I was) [...] I think it's a HORRENDOUS idea to start posting pics of people though. Here's what I sent via PM: 'Now that I find a little disturbing. How do you know that those are their pictures? We had Felicia pull that stunt on us a while back. I also know that THIS IS NOT THEIR JOBS TO DO. This is what the police is for. This is what convention security is for. To do otherwise is to engage in vigilante activity and risking potential legal problems. Consider that someone was unfairly lumped in with the other AA members, and their picture got circulated.. and now they're known everywhere as a potential rapist. And that guy commits suicide. Who's going to be responsible? What if he doesn't commit suicide and sues the person who publically slandered him to multiple people? Do you see how this is a VERY VERY VERY bad idea?'"

"I just read the messages. Those were even worse than I thought they would be."

"how do we know who to trust. words on a screen full of lies. who are all of you. anyone could be using any name they wanted. theres no way to tell. this is so bad. everything is bad and there's no knowing whats what or who is who or whos lying. no faces means anybody could be anybody. i'm not making sence. i don't care. this is just so bad. my head hurts and i'm going to bed."

Newsarama has a thread called "Bendis ... I love your writing ... but you fucked up!" which surprisingly isn't about the recent death and rebirth of his forum:

"In the current issues of Daredevil you have Jigsaw running around looking like Arseface with stitches. Only one slight problem with that ... JIGSAW IS DEAD! He got killed off in the second Punisher ongoing series (the one John Ostrander wrote), and it wasn't an ambiguous death either! He got his brains blown out the back of his head and fell to a rather loud splat afterwards. He was deader than a doornail."

Luckily, the poster in question has a suggestion on how to deal with this problem:

"I recommend in a future issue you just have Jigsaw slap himself on the forehead, exclaim, 'Fuck! I'm already dead!', and then promptly die again."

Problem solved!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Everyone in Berkeley (that means you, Ken Kniesel), get yer arses to Cody's Books on Friday night:

"Adrian Tomine has been writing and drawing the internationally acclaimed comic book series Optic Nerve for over a decade, earning a reputation as one of the country's preeminent young cartoonists. For nearly as many years, he has pursued (and was pursued for) a variety of side projects both inside and outside of the comics industry. The best of this extracurricular work - including rare and unpublished strips, illustrations for such notable magazines as The New Yorker and Esquire, album covers, posters, advertisements, and private sketchbook pages - is collected for the first time within SCRAPBOOK. A comprehensive survey of a professional career in progress, SCRAPBOOK is a revealing, visually impressive document of an artist's versatility and evolution. Tomine's previous books include Summer Blonde. Joining Adrian this evening is Eli Horowitz, managing editor of McSweeney's."

Matt Craig looks at patriotic superheroes in American comics:

"[I]n her debut story, the New Captain Britain is attacked by Arthurian sorceress Morgan LeFay. Kelsey [the afore-mentioned new Captain Britain] discovers that injuring Captain Britain results in a sympathetic injury to England. (This is stated quite clearly in the dialogue: England is the source of Captain Britain's powers, as opposed to the whole British Isles. Once again, 'England' and 'Britain' are shown to be interchangeable concepts.) The truth, of course, is very different. Britain is far more than just England, and Captain Britain has several million more people to defend than Marvel Comics would have you believe. And as if to add insult to injury, once she finishes her first fight, Britain's great defender signs on with the big boys and fucks off to America. She's not a superhero: she's Catherine Zeta-Jones!"

James Kochalka talks to The Onion:

"Normally, in one of my graphic novels, I start off with a ruler, and rule off the shapes of the panels. And even before that, I'll do a thumbnail sketch of the whole page, figuring out what's going to go in each panel, and then I'll draw it carefully and ink it carefully. In my sketchbook diaries, I do pencil it first, lightly, and then ink it, but I allow myself to be as free as I can. It's really a struggle. My ambition is to make something great enough that it will affect people for hundreds of years and be remembered. But in order to do that, whatever that magic thing is... Who knows? I usually feel like I've got to push myself harder, to go deeper. But sometimes it's the opposite: to not push at all, to let myself flow in whatever direction the wind might take me. I'm willing to try anything to help me unlock something new. If great concentration is going to help me unlock something fantastic, then I'll try great concentration. If it's absentmindedly doodling, I'll do that."

It's back:

"thanks to all of you for the overwhelming support to each other. that is the real reason we're back on line so soon. it really was a fantastic display. i would also like to say that as far as i am concerned millarworld and jinxworld are officially one big community. the support and warmth that came thier way was amazing. i will be posting in both places. big thanks to allen for dealing with all of this and to denny for cleaning house and to millar for putting on his batman costume, oh sorry, moonknight costume. i forgot we were exclusive [...] and a very special thanks to craig for the temp board- that was really generous of you. to craig!! you all better post the shit out of this place [...] I WANT DUMB POSTS AND I WANT THEM NOW!!"

Remember Mark Millar pledged in January that he wasn't going to do any more online interviews this year? Well, he made it six months:

"Well, I kind of see my career starting with The Authority back in 2000. This was when I started to get really serious about doing this for a living and when I had my first hit book. It's also when I started doing interviews and, right from the beginning, I told everyone that Johnny [Romita Jr.] was my favorite artist. I just love his stuff. I've always wanted to work with him and, like some shy girl at the school disco; I've been dropping his name in interviews in the hope that he notices me and asks me to dance.

"I finished most of the Millarworld stuff before Christmas and we've been working in advance for The Ultimates volume two which means that Spider-Man is pretty much the only monthly I've been working on lately. I had a little room in my schedule to do a new project and so I pitched Blade. I came up with this really nice blade idea and Johnny would have nailed it perfectly. Editor Jenny Lee called me up and said that everybody loved the project, but I couldn't have Johnny as he'd been reassigned to a Wolverine relaunch. She offered me a couple of great artists, but I'd come this close to working with Johnny and so ditched Blade - a project I'd worked out in insane detail - to do Wolverine with him. I've always really liked the character and, when we spoke, we realized we both had an identical vision for how the book could go. It was a pain to drop a project I'd put a lot of work into, but I made the decision in a heartbeat. I really just wanted to work with Johnny that much.

"I'd also been friends with Jenny for a few years and, now she's back in editorial, this seemed like a good place to do something with her. Jenny's Marvel's secret weapon. There's a whole coven of female editors who arrived in the last twelve to eighteen months and Jenny seems to be their spiritual leader. She'd worked at Vertigo prior to this and also worked in the business side of Marvel with Bill Jemas, but I think she's about to become the next superstar editor. She's editing Wolverine, revamping Black Widow with Bill Sienkiewicz and the brilliant Richard K Morgan and has so many wonderful projects up here sleeve that she's actually quite scary. She's by far the most attractive woman ever to work in comics - a striking resemblance to the young chick in Crouching Tiger, runs a martial arts class, can kick your ass and is an editorial genius. She's going to be huge."

I love the line about Jenny Lee being "by far the most attractive woman ever to work in comics", because, you know, that's obviously important. To be fair, later on, Millar does go on about the most attractive man ever to work in comics*, so it's not like he's being sexist or anything.

(* - This may be untrue.)

In light of the temporary death of the Bendis board, Millarworld does a quick rendition of The High Fidelity's "Ithanku" to the people who keep things running there:

"I dont know whether this belongs here or not. If it doesnt im sure the admins will move it but I put it here because I feel this is where it will be most seen and I wanted ppl to see this. I was thinking about what happened earlier with the Bendis posters( I read Bendis' post that it did not occur on his board but unfortunately his name was associated with it and i am sorry for the trouble it caused Mr Bendis). Does anyone remember the saying sometimes it takes the worst thing to happen in order to appreciate what you have? Well, This is true for me. After that incident I realized how a GREAT a job the moderators do here at Millarworld and I wanted to tell them that and thank them for the great job they do. Personally I recently wrote a very spoilerish post and failed to make it in spoiler text. I got a lil heat for it but i also noticed it had been edited by Eduardo. This isnt on a magnitude of the incident described in READ THIS but i appreciated the help. Thank You Eduardo and thankyou to all the MODS for the great job you do to make the Millarworld the best board I have ever been to"

"Agreed. From post editors, to thread merger-ers(?), link listers, wardens and straight up conversationalists, the mods here do a a remarkable job (it DOES take a village :P), best on the net."

"you are completely right there, they are really friendly guys"

"Some of them are even nice in person. (Edit: I say some of them because I haven't met them all, NOT because I've met some that aren't.)"

Bendis Board refugees aren't happy with Warren Ellis's assertion (yesterday at Millarworld) that "Bendis boarder" is going to be synonymous with "rape-o" for awhile:

"Warren Ellis has lost my future purchases. Oh I will read them in the store, but I will never buy again."

"If you read what he said like that, then he probably doesn't want you reading his work..."

"Oh, I'll read his work, because Fuck Him. What I won't do is put any money in his pocket."

"what he said was that people will label being a bendis boarder with a broad negative brushstroke. he didnt say he was going to. BTW what happened w/his board to make him so bitter?"

"I think Ellis' problem was that he did use his real name! Now he's lost fans."

The Joe Quesada board continue to feel the fallout of the closing of the Bendis board:

"Should it be banning time? If yes, who?"

"No, I don't like the idea and never have. However, I am more open to it than I have in the past (I did have to ban someone on the Crumb boards who was threatening to kill Jesse Crumb especially after I found out he had a record of pointing a fire arm at a police officer). I am more sympathetic on the reasons to ban people. However, with a board this size with this much traffic I think it's unnecesarry. People can ignore posters they find annoying. I think it's more mature and less escalating to just ignore them. If everyone did it they'd soon get bored and find someone else to harass. However if it does become necessary to ban someone might I suggest that Joe do it by IP address as well as username and email address. Since the Crumb board uses Ikonboard as well I know this is possible and could make it a bit more difficult for people who are banned to get back on."

"After reading about this Bendis-board stuff, my brain skipped banning and went straight to more violent things."

"It's always a few assholes who screw things up for everyone else."

The kids, they seem to want to read that Young Avengers book:

"Is it just me, or are we in for a new era with this whole Avengers debacle? I love it! Younger versions of the Avengers, that aren't the same characters in younger form but are completely new characters?! If indeed thats what this is.. then YES! Marvel is finally following in DC's footsteps of having different levels for their heroes ala Flash/Kid Flash, Superman/Superboy, Wonder Girl/Wonder Woman.. etc."

"for real? SWEET!!"

"I will try this no doubt but man the idea of a teenage Hulk is gonna have to be really really well written for me to like it. Hulk get 1000 on SAT's?? RARRRRRRGH HULK SMASH PUNY SCANTRON MACHINE!!!!"

"I think the number one reason people are cringing at the sound of this title, is the title itself. Young Avengers, sounds just like Young Justice, making it sound like a rip off. Next you have clone characters... lil' Thor Iron Boy etc. Just sounds lame, like they were all sitting around drinking one day and said, we need a new teen group... how about Young Versions of existing characters... ok. End of meeting. Just sounds so unoriginal. Third, we aren't givin much information to go on as far as the concept, so our imaginations are left to run wild, and we are reminded of all times this was tried in the past and failed. Marvel seems to want to turn the Avengers core titles into DC books, which while I like plenty of DC books, I would much rather see them come up with they're own ideas. With plans that sound like they want to make the Avengers more like the JLA... with an Invaders book coming out, that seems like Marvel's attempt at the JSA, and with Young Avengers coming out to match the Teen Titans, MK Spider-man doing an arc reminsent of Batman's Hush storyline, these things just start to add up. But I am willing to give Marvel a chance, because just because your copying a base idea, doesn't mean you can't come up with something better and even more orginal in the long run."

The Pinis paid Peter David to get a tattoo for charity:

"Although my support for the fund has been unwavering over the years, I've felt as if I've had a more personal stake in what the CBLDF fights for ever since Fallen Angel started coming out. At the convention, both Dan Didio and Paul Levitz of DC (the company that's also publishing Elfquest), met with me for an hour, telling me how much they like the series, want to see increased fan and retailer support, and how they want to develop a major marketing push for future issues (so kudos to them and their desire for a long run of the series). But, y'know, marketing's a double edged sword, because the more you draw attention to a title, the more you draw a target on it for Those Who Want to Decide For You What You Should Read.

"So as the initially flip, kidding comment about the tattoo quickly spun into a full blown hare-brained scheme (Me on the phone: "Kath? Honey? I think I may have gotten myself into some trouble..."), and as the Pinis gave me every opportunity to back out, I figured, Y'know what? I gave my word. If I don't stand by my word, I got nothing (even though I'm deathly afraid of needles). If I can ask retailers to stick their necks out for my 'mature content' title, the least I can do is stick my arm out (after saying I would). FYI: Anyone who wants to see it, you have to fork over $10 to the CBLDF to have a look, either in my presence or show me a receipt."

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction talk comics both as an artform and as an industry in their new column, The Basement Tapes:

"From what I've seen over the past few years, the Internet -- despite the best intentions of the best comic newsmen who work almost exclusively in that arena -- is driven by content first. These sites need hits, and to generate hits you always need something new, to keep people coming back. And so, the Hype Factor takes over. Hence the Net's association with the mainstream and its constant barrage of 'breaking news.' It's always easier to go into Stan Lee-inspired PR mode than it is to delve deeper into your own creative impulses. It's all about spin. I've certainly done it. And, to be perfectly honest, I don't know if the Net should attempt the kind of in-depth stuff the JOURNAL can still accomplish. I don't know if casual browsers' attention spans are long enough to stand for it."

Monday, July 26, 2004

Brian Michael Bendis posts "rumour control":

"For the record, nothing illegal or criminal was posted on my image comics message board, it was another message board, one I have never even visited, that were posting threats to people who are frequent posters on my board. I shut own my board to protect these victims and because I was very angry. I see that already people think it was my board that was posting criminal content. It was not, my board and its members were victimized in the worst way. the people on my board, who also are frequent posters and fine members to many other comic boards in this big community, mean the world to me. With the help of long time board members of both my board and Millarworld, including mark himself, most culprits have been identified and are being dealt with.

"I want to make it 1000 per cent clear that . I do not find any of this to be funny. i hold everyone involved responsible and I hope that if charges can be pressed that they are, [...] To the culprits I want to make it perfectly clear- I do not want your business anymore. I don't want you buying my comics anymore. I don't want to hear from you. i don't want your apology. I don't want anything to do with you.

"I have never made jokes about hurting other people. I do not find it funny. I have never in the body of my work, in jest or in dramatic license, said that victimizing people was OK or funny. it is not.

"I realize now, after the billionth email telling me so, that shutting down my board was punishing a lot of people for the acts of a few. but for the respect of the victims of this i have asked them to decide amongst themselves if they want the board reinstated. if they do, i will reinstate it. with many bannings held in place. if they do not want the board to exist anymore, I will respect that as I hope all of you will as well."

As could be expected, we may be witnessing the start of a board invasion of Millarworld:

"mark millar? aren't you the guy that writes that comic called Wanted? you know, the one that glorifies rape? seriously, i thought of all people that you would understand the difference between writing about rape and harboring the actual intent to rape. i guess the big difference is that the posters on AA made it a joke while your comic just made it look cool.

"i am a moderator at AA. it is a private forum. posting about rape on a private forum seems to pale in comparison to publishing its glorification in a mainstream comic. i work at a comic store and ive had several people drop millar's books from their pull lists because of the portrayal of rape in Wanted. now i get to tell them that he is a hypocrite too. awesome. i also want to hammer home the fact that my fellow posters on AA are not in any way affiliated with Bendis. he is a true gentleman and the only connection the forums had was concurrent members. something this board shares as well. but this one isn't shut down...

"oh well."

ICv2 reports on more that I missed this weekend:

"According to the Hollywood Reporter, Paramount Pictures will produce a film based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's groundbreaking superhero comic Watchmen, which first appeared as a 12-issue mini-series that began in 1986. Darren Aronosky (Pi) will direct from a screenplay by David Hayter... Given the potential of the property, ICv2 will endeavor to monitor the progress of this latest and most serious attempt to make a film of the one graphic novel, which could become a perennial bestseller along the lines of The Great Gatsby."

You go away for a couple of days, and suddenly Alan Moore is the next F. Scott Fitzgerald.

To lighten things up slightly, the V have started announcing their own fictional news that should've come from SDCC this year:

New six issue mini teams patriotic super-heroes CAP AMERICA & FALCON VS Scottish miserabilist singers BELLE & SEBASTIAN. Because you (Frank McMillan, 33 Dunkirk Drive, Aberdeen, Scotland) demanded it!

The DCU is to gain much-needed publicity by having a gay month. For one month, all the characters who are not gay will come out (Only to be changed back next month) and all the gay characters will just stand and mock them.

In a move that will surely set legal precedent, Chris Claremont will wed the X-Men's Storm this Winter. He believes that despite her being a fictional creation only present in the form of 2-dimensional paper, there relationship will be 'consumated'."

The owner of the board where the WWChicago rape threats originated, NeilFarted, has it out with the poster who made everything public:

NeilFarted: "You fucking people disgust me, and that's why i made this forum somewhat private, cause i knew that if any lurker could get on here and read shit, and then they'd have their pretty little internet egos hurt and then they'd run and cry to daddy denny, and try to hurt those people who hurt their little egos by getting them banned on a DIFFERENT forum. You want to defend yourself? do so here. you got questions? i'll answer them as bluntly as possible. but one thing is sure, i'm not going to let you stupid fucks destroy this place."

JG Godgun, the poster who apparently let the cat out of the bag: "what did I do to get YOU banned? Posted links to your forum, as you told me i could and have done yourself? personal responsibility [...] bendis had a problem with what YOU all posted and it bothered him enough to not want you in HIS place"

NF: "and YOU did it because you're retarded enough to think that a joke about raping some stupid person on the internet was a serious threat. people like you make me fucking sick. THE INTERNET IS NOT REAL FUCKING LIFE. people who treat it like it is are like all these fucking cosplay idiots who like to dress up and pretend it's real."

JG: "there is a real person typing that shit neil [...] how the fuck do you know if they are serious [...] maybe you should wake up and realize that [...] everyone does not share the same intent or sense of humor as you [...] wake up son and come to that realization [...] you are just as responsible for the shit posted here [...]you could find your ass in hot water over some of it LEGALLY"

NF: "nope. i can't be held liable for anything in this forum. you know why? CAUSE THESE THREATS AREN'T FUCKING REAL. THIS IS A GODDAM MESSAGE BOARD. NO ONE IS SENDING EMAIL THREATS OR LETTERBOMBS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT YOU MINDLESS TWAT. real people have relationships outside of the internet. real people know how to distinguish the two. real people grow up and realize that words are FUCKING WORDS."

An interesting (and now closed) exchange at Millarworld:

"All this indignation and upheaval over the disgusting rape 'jokes' over at Bendis is pretty hypocritical considering a few weeks ago people at Millarworld were praising and laughing at a 'joke' Spider-Man strip where Peter talks about paying Mary Jane back in 'rape dollars.' Millar was so blown away by it he wanted to give the guy a job. So, if people are so worried about women in the comics industry not feeling welcome you can't laugh like hell at a rape joke in a Spidey comic strip but get all righteous when real names are involved. Yeah one is worse than the other because real names were used but rape is NOT funny in ANY context."

"Here's the bottom line: Spider-Man is fictional and the girls are real (two of them are friends of mine). Mary Jane is in no danger. These girls had given their hotel information on a public site in good faith and these guys were talking about breaking in and raping them for the weekend, one prick asking others to do so and send him pics. I don't think I need to explain the difference. Murder also happens regularly in comics. I enjoy reading some stories where people are murdered. I also find murder to be very funny in certain fictional situations. If your name was mentioned on a site where some asshole was calling for someone to murder you in a hotel you had booked it wouldn't be funny. For fuck's SAKE!!!"

"How does this not deserve a reponse. Mark was talking about how women aren't made to feel welcome in this community. Yet he unduly praises a strip where Peter Parker threatens to rape Mary Jane? How does that make women feel welcome?"

I can see both points, which is why it's interesting to me. I didn't really find the rape dollars joke that funny either, but know that senses of humour vary (And surely the rape dollars joke gains its humour from the overstepping of boundaries in the first place? It's a nervous "Oh my God, I can't believe they said that" over the topness that makes some jokes work, after all). It's blindingly obvious that there's a big difference between the Spider-Man detournment and plotting/threatening to rape real people even as a joke. But do both speak to an underlying misogynism in comic culture...?

Bendis Board refugees piece together what happened to make Bendis shut the board down:

"Okay, it all started out with Trillan making a post about people wanting to rape her and wanted the link to the other board, Neil's board. This whole conversation started up about it with people truly upset when Jeffery posted a link to the board and then started a new topic where he apologized about having two kids who were autistic, etc. Turns out that about eight plus people were at this board, and were talking about Jeffery's children, wife, and inking. They were talking about killing and raping the female members at Chicago or just in general and they identified these women by names. They were talking about people behind their backs on this board but were coming off as a somewhat nice people. These people were reputable people who were extremely active posters on the Bendis Board.

"People were upset and pissed of while some people offered apologies for the entire event. Bendis came on and said that this won't be tolerated and then made another thread where he didn't know what to do anymore. Things were starting to get calmed down after people said they were leaving or threatned to leave. But things were generally calming down around 1AM EST last night. Woke up this morning though to see the board gone. Bendis closed it and has told Millar that he may not open it again. We will have to see."

"Those guys were really well known and very long around. And now, something like this happens. I just don't get it. Those guys were around for ages on the board... That's what Bendis is bothering, isn't it? Because you really can't trust anybody as long as you know him... good enough. And you don't know a person as long as the person just shows one side of him/her."

"Yeah, someone threatened Alysha with kidnap and beheading.. that I needed to be bitchslapped.. trashing Ronin, etc... Like I said, cliques have been forming, and this is the ultimate result of it."

"they also said Jeffrey's kids are retards and that said some nasty things about his wife and him as well... and about a LOT of other members..."

"jonny z, colton, graves, papercuts, paul sckrowski,wookiewombat, mark--and a handdul more including neil... were all these guys involved in the raping thing??!!!!...if they were...damn!...never...never,,,did i think they would be involved in this shit...they were scuh fuckn senior posters..."

[It's since been pointed out that not all of the above names were involved, just that they belonged to the site where the thread was posted.]

"As I've said before (in a slightly different context), post count doesn't mean shit. Neither does how long you've been posting. Posting to a web board a ton doesn't magically transform anyone from an ass into a prince."

Heidi Macdonald wants something in return for a change:

"BTW, this is what The Beat hears all day: 'Heidi, lovin’ The Beat!' …'So glad you’re back!'…'Thank you for wasting my time at work!' …'Your hair looked great on Catwoman!' and on and on and on. That’s great. But when the time comes for one little women in a Betsey Johnson cocktail dress and high heels to walk .7 of a mile from Hall 20 to the Hyatt bar carrying a 20 lb computer…is anyone there? Does anyone want to help? Oh no it’s all “Excuse me, I must go discuss ebaying Pogs with my agent.” Or “Why it’s George Clayton Johnson…I haven’t talked to him in eons!” Oh yes, the Beat noticed. Nothing escapes The Beat. Shoulder welts do not go with Betsey Johnson cocktail dresses. And giving The Beat a shoulder massage later doesn’t make up for it. I do and I do and I do for you and this is the thanks I get. It’s all going on your permanent record."

The last line of this quote is easily Augie De Blieck Jr.'s best line this entire weekend:

"[The Wildstorm panel at SDCC was] one of the most For Mature Readers Only discussions I've seen on a DC-related panel ever. From Howard Chaykin discussing tickling his thigh to the multiple use of certain foul four letter words, part of me cringed for the children. I don't think there were any children in the room, but as a matter of principle, I cringed for them."

Former Bendis boarders commiserate about the loss of the board:

"I'm ready to just quit the fuckin internet now"

"Damn, now Im feeling guilty for my part in bringing all this out in the open... should have just kept my mouth shut and my head down..."

"This is a clear and shut case, I dunno why Bendis is making it so complex.

Just permanently BAN all the guilty parties, no matter who or how many there are. THE SHOW MUST GO ON!!! No reason why the other thousands of posters who frequent the Bendis Board should have to suffer because of a few fucking commie retards."

(Yes, he really said "Commie retards". Because, you know, obviously they were communists.)

"I can't say how pissed I am to wake up this morning and find my home gone. And to find out why just kinda disgusts me. So I have a lot of emotions running through me at this time."

Mark Millar reports on something that, hopefully, is a sick, fucked-up joke, because otherwise it's even more fucked-up:

"I just had a link sent to me this morning by a friend who's girlfriend (also a friend) is on a Rape List for the Chicago con by a bunch of frat-house pricks who run a website. Their whole site is clearly bullshit and I'm 99% certain this isn't serious, but given that some girls who post here and on the Bendis board and targeted and mentioned by name pissed me off so much I'm trying to get more details on these fucks to be passed along to Wizard so they can be banned from the Con and also any other comic boards. There's few enough women reading comics without this bullshit behaviour. I also think it's possibly criminal and have asked Wizard to pass the details along to the police. If you know these people or recognize their faces post below so we can pass along the information. Also, if you see them at the con they need their asses kicked. If I see ANY of these people I will glass them. Seriously."

The thread gets (possibly justifiably) ugly soon after, including Bendis appearing to say that he's shut down his forum:

"i am so angry about this i don't even know what to do with myself. i have closed my board till further notice. probably for good. i had no idea anything like this was going on and i can't apologize enough to those who were offended by it."

So Wildstorm announced lots of new things, including Alan and daughter Leah Moore working on the return of lots of old UK superheroes from publisher IPC (Anyone who's read the third series of Zenith, that's them), and Howard Chaykin back up to his old tricks again:

Joe Casey also talked about his upcoming new series "The Intimates":

"DC told me 'it's time for you to sell out' and I said 'what about some teen superheroes?'"

Somewhere, Joe Quesada is crying in his hands, clutching a promo poster for Young Avengers and muttering "Nobody understands..." over and over again to himself.

Warren Ellis's exclusive deal is explained:

"This is a work-for-hire-only exclusive: it means that if I do company-owned work, I do it only for Marvel... 'Planetary' is exempt from the deal, as are two other small WFH jobs I'd begun at DC. And, to reiterate, it affects my creator-owned work not at all -- I'm free to continue generating new work in that field and placing it anywhere I like."

So it's an almost-completely non-exclusive exclusive deal, really... Also, Joe Quesada on exclusive deals in general:

"Quesada said that he’s thrilled that fences were mended with Warren Ellis, allowing him to be comfortable enough to sign an exclusive contract with Marvel. Still, Quesada said, he doesn’t like to see so many creators signed to exclusive contracts, but feels that, since DC began the practice wholesale, Marvel had to answer in kind with exclusives of their own."

I love this "Don't blame me, they started it" rationalization for all of almost everything Marvel do these days. Coming up next: Quesada on why Marvel have been more aggressive than DC in terms of using variant covers to boost retailer orders: "They pull a knife, you pull a gun."

You know, it's kind of depressing to go off for two days at the same time as SDCC, and find out when I return that the most interesting thing that I've missed is the naming of Peter Milligan as Chuck Austen's replacement on X-Men:

"I enjoyed a lot of what Grant Morrison did with New X-Men, though it's probably not a state secret that I am not the world's most avid follower of all things beginning with X. I want to be able to get some real dark deep emotional stuff in there among the humor and the lightness. My theme, if there is one, will be the balancing act between the big, global missions and issues these guys deal with, and the emotional, interior lives they lead."

On the plus side: It's Milligan. On the minus side: X-Men is the book full of Wolverine and the characters that Whedon and Claremont didn't really want. I'll probably give it a look and then feel nostalgic for the kind of stuff Milligan was doing in the early days of Vertigo, as I've done with practically everything he'd written since his return to comics (apart from Vertigo Pop: London, which had patented Philip Bond magic, and was therefore ace).

Friday, July 23, 2004

As if to make my last blog entry before I fly off to Washington for the weekend an important one, CBR has the Avengers panel news... Besides the announcement of the post-Dissembled creative teams (Warren Ellis and Adi Granov on Iron Man, as rumoured for a long time (The Newsarama blurb for this story mentions Ellis being exclusive to Marvel, which isn't followed up on the story itself, bizarrely), with Captain America's new team as Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, which may be surprising to some), the main announcement was about that new Avengers title that will blow people's minds. And it's... um... not exactly what you'd expect:

"The next announcement was of 'Young Avengers,' the second Avengers series and it drew a collective 'huh' from the audience. Written by [OC writer Allen] Heinberg and illustrated by newly exclusive Jimmy Cheung, Quesada urged 'It's not what you think. It's nothing like you're thinking, it's one of the most inventive series we've come along in a long time and Al has such an incredible take on the characters you'll be excited.' Expect the project in early 2005... Heinberg said Geoff Johns' 'Teen Titans' inspired the book, with young versions of Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and thor showing up in the wake of 'Avengers Disassembled.'"

That's right: Teen versions of regular Marvel characters (Teen Iron Man! AGAIN! It really is a rehash of '90s Avengers crossover The Crossing, ladies and gentlemen). Mind-blowing... in its crapness, perhaps. If you ask me, when Quesada has to say "It's not what you think" following a "collective 'huh'", then I'm guessing that the announcement didn't really take the world by storm as planned...

The Pulse has some more from the panel, for those who want to know that Black Panther is getting his own series again next year...

And with that, I'm leeeeeeaving on a jet plane, off to the East Coast for a wedding-filled weekend. For those who want the latest on SDCC news, CBR, Newsarama and The Pulse are there for you (The Pulse is quickest, but Newsarama and CBR's joint coverage is probably more accurate and in-depth). I'll be back on Monday with a round-up of news and snark from the con, and if anyone wants to email me rumours, I'll have those, too...

Still can't find this on Newsarama, CBR or The Pulse but I've seen it on enough message boards to consider it more than just a random mishearing, so here's more on the announced-yesterday JL: Classified series:

"Grant Morrison's long-awaited Justice League series was announced, entitled 'Justice League Classified' and Morrison will be on the series for at least one arc with 'Superman/Batman' artist Ed McGuinness. The series is to be an outlet for more 'arc oriented' stories, wherein various writers and artists can tell tales of the JLA in any era of their history. Carlin said it was possible that writer Gail Simone's JLA arc with legend Jose Garcia-Lopez may be folded into that series, as well as the 'I Can't Believe It's Not Justice League' mini-series, of which artist Kevin Maguire has completed three issues."

Apparently "I Can't Believe..." was completely written pre-Identity Crisis, and so the entire thing may be seen once Maguire has finished drawing it...

The Pulse adds to the already existing Vertigo coverage from SDCC. Of most interest is probably this:

"The last new story announced is the Gilbert Hernandez original graphic novel, Sloth. The story features a teenager who wills himself into a coma, wakes up a year later, and is physically slower than everyone around him. Now he has to adapt to his world and relationships with the people around him."

Okay, this is an interesting mistake in the Pulse's coverage of the Marvel Universe panel at SDCC:

"Another project mentioned, without revealing a ton of details, was Black Widow. Bill Sienkiewicz is doing the art while Philip K. Dick and Richard K. Morgan will be writing the Widow's adventures."

Philip K. Dick: Comics' first zombie writer.

Also revealed at the panel, the current Daredevil team will be doing a new series called Daredevil: Golden Age, which features early adventures of "ol' hornhead". Apart from that, nothing new (at least, nothing reported at the Pulse): Elektra has a new series, Bullseye has a new series with art by Steve Dillon, Dr. Strange has a new series by JMS, and Frank Cho is doing two fill-ins on Mark Millar's Spider-Man title. All sounding kind of dull, huh? Guess they're saving themselves for the Avengers panel.

Pat Lee announces busts and "collectables" based around his weird-ass fetishes:

"Get ready for Pat Lee’s Rave: Cyber Punk, a new signature series of Dreamwave collectibles slated for release in 2005! Today at San Diego, Diamond Select Toys and Collectibles, LLC. (DST) announced that the toy manufacturer is unleashing an exciting new line of collectible busts and statues based on original concepts from Lee and Dreamwave. Besides being incredibly detailed, fully painted, and ready for display, the all-new releases will also be based on original concepts from the imagination of Dreamwave co-founder Lee, and will boast a Japanese hyper-punk feel to them... 'The world of Rave is set in the far future (2060) in Neo Tokyo. The concept is based around a series of girls who go to nightclub raves. It will be futuristic, fun, hot and totally retro! Our concentration will be more on the statues and we will be doing full body shots of these designs. So look out for them, it's gonna be wild!'"

That's right. It's going to be futuristic and totally retro. At the same time. Look at the first image from Lee:

It's just... shit. It's trying to be sexy with the cleavage and, I guess, the tongue and the drool (if that's not Lee trying to be sexy, then I have no idea what's going on. "Rave: Drooling Idiot Girl"? Then again, do that many people find drooling to be sexy in the first place?), but it's just crap and kind of offensive. Am I getting old that I don't find it hot?

Gail Simone has some good news:

"Sorry for the hype, but this is cool news for me... The kids' series I did for Marvel has apparantly been collected in a MARVEL AGE PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN'S PAL, GUS BEEZER! oversized magazine. A lot of folks have wanted this collection for a long time, so I'm getting the word out. However, this book (priced nicely at $4.95, I believe), is a TARGET Store exclusive, not available in comic stores, I'm told. So you'll have to scoop it up if you see it. People have told me it's on the stands now, so I hope you'll pick it up...kids and adults have really enjoyed the series, and I hope you will, too."

Huzzah for the release, but why only a Target exclusive? Not that I have anything against Target, mind, just that this seems like a good book to release more widely...

Heidi Macdonald blogs from SDCC:

"While Dark Horse and DC have big, impressive booths, Marvel and Image…don’t. TO be fair, Marvel has it’s best booth at SD in 5 years – a small kiosk in the middle of the Activision booth. But it’s still a rather disappointing showing, to say the least. Image has an even more haphazard appearance, with a smattering of loosely organized booths. Image doesn’t even have a panel this year."

(She also reports on Scott McCloud's new book, Making Comics, as broken a few days ago by Chris Butcher, and followed up on by no-one, surprisingly. Okay, I know that Reinventing Comics was kind of disappointing and disjointed, but no-one was interested to see him attempt a third book in the series?).

The Pulse reports that Brian Azzarello is exclusive to DC for three years, as announced at SDCC. Wasn't he already DC-exclusive?

Gary Philips has a new Vertigo period crime series coming, called Angeltown:

"If your thing is cats solving crimes and the action happening off stage, then 'Angeltown' is not for you. On the other hand, if you dig finely etched characters who clash emotionally and, at times, physically, and where detection involves knowing the human animal and not just fisticuffs and finding cliché clues (there are no names written on handily found matchbook covers or all-knowing bartenders who provide crucial information), give 'Angeltown' a go."

Mike Carey! Neil Gaiman! Glenn Fabry! TOGETHER AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME!:

"As previously kind of announced by Neil Gaiman on his webblog, and officially announced at today’s Vertigo panel at San Diego, Vertigo will publish a nine issue adaptation of his novel Neverwhere, scripted by Mike Carey, with art by Glenn Fabry. The miniseries is slated to begin in November."

Carey is also doing a Hellblazer graphic novel with Leonardo Manco:

"What's it about? It's about a guy who plays poker with the devil on a regular basis - and that's a game that makes the odd chess match with Death seem like a relaxed and civilised pastime. It's about the magic of the old world and the magic of the new, and what happens when you get caught in between them. And it's about the different ways in which Hell can erupt into people's lives. To give more of a teaser, John promises to help Chas out when his granddaughter falls prey to a mysterious illness - but then that careless promise gets him mired deep in a whole lot of very nasty shit. There's a demon who's setting up micro-hells on Earth, and when John runs up against this demon he has to recruit some even more unpleasant characters in order to defeat him. And every step he takes seems to get him in even deeper, until there's only one option open to him. But I'd rather not say what that is, beyond saying that it's very much a John Constantine sort of play. When you're all out of legal moves, change the rules of the game..."

Today's question: Now that the Bendis board are quoting (presumably) message board posts to make fun of them, does that mean that they no longer have the supposed moral superiority to protest when I link some of their posts here? Of much more interest is that fact that the thread includes Mark Millar talking about his "Eminem in the Wanted movie" "rumour":

"Wanted was sold to Univeral, right? Universal have Eminem signed for a few years. Do you really think they wouldn't have at least checked with THEIR OWN PEOPLE to see if Eminem was involved with this property before they bought it? Clearly this guy has no idea how a studio works. Nobody bought Wanted thinking Eminem was signed up. That's preposterous. JG and I just purposely picked Eminem as our visual cue (something most artists do when drawing a new character) and we created a splash in the mainstream media with the visual. Eminem was also the first person I went to when we were talking about the movie, but he turned it down and said he wasn't doing ANY movies for the next couple of years, focusing instead on the music. Where's the deceit there? We said we were approaching him. We said we were asking him. We had our people ask HIS people, etc, and he didn't want to do it, but he was our first choice. Learn some basic facts about the subject matter, the people involved and the situation before you come on and insult either pros or non-pros next time."

Doesn't the deceit come in linking a big star's name to a movie before he's expressed interest (and that's being charitable, because I seem to remember hearing that Eminem's people claim never to have heard of Wanted prior to being asked about Millar's quote that he was interested in the movie, so maybe his people were never actually asked by Millar's people after all, and Universal were denying that he was in talks from the start)?

I wonder which characters Mark Millar is planning to use in his Wolverine run?:

"Baron Strucker info needed, Is he dead? Well, IS he?? What was his last appearance?"


"Elektra Question, Is she dead? Okay, once you're dead and raised by The Hand you come back as an evil mo-fo and an unswerving agent of evil, right? How come Elektra's a goodie? She WAS killed and raised, right? Why is she on the side of the angels now?"

As someone responds in the Strucker thread, "Mark, shouldn't [you] have Marvel people to help with this stuff?"

AiT/Planet Lar's move to take over all media begins:

"Ait/PlanetLar publisher Larry Young told ICv2 at Comic-Con International: San Diego that Electric Girl, by creator Michael Brennan, is being developed by Cartoon Network to become an animated television series. Adam Beechen is currently working on the series 'bible,' with the number of episodes still to be determined... He also informed ICv2 that there are six Ait/PlanetLar titles currently in active development for live action feature films. The six are Astronauts in Trouble, Demo, The Couriers, Last of the Independents, Channel Zero and Codeflesh."

The Friends of Lulu Awards were given out last night, and the winners are named at The Pulse, if you're curious.

Steve Niles announces another new series:

"This October, Niles will present a different side of the hard-nosed detective story with 'Lurkers' from IDW Publishing. The series was officially announced today during Comic-Con International in San Diego. This is the second in a series of stories by Niles published under the 'Meednight Pulp' banner. The first was 'Secret Skull.' Niles spoke with CBR News back in June, describing the series. ''The Lurkers' is basically Cal McDonald in reverse [...] I always do these stories where it's like, 'Monsters exist! Yaaaay! Everybody knows it! They're all around us!' But in this, it's a world where monsters don't exist. It's based in Los Angeles and follows a homicide cop. The first story involves grave robbing. Fresh graves are being robbed and bodies are being eaten.'"

In a vain attempt to keep up with Niles, B. Clay Moore talks about his already-announced-but-still-upcoming new series, Battle Hymn:

"Basically, 'Battle Hymn' is my answer to the question, 'What would the government have done if super-heroes really existed during World War II?' I mean...it's a safe bet that if Superman or the Human Torch were flying around the States in 1941, the government would be more than a little interested in harnessing their power for the war effort. But how would they do it? And what would be the ramifications? So that's my starting point."

CBR has more photos from SDCC's second day, although it's called Day One. It's like "zero" issues, I guess. Remember them?

Augie, meanwhile, is still writing con reports:

"More importantly than anything else, though, I created a new verb this weekend that's sweeping through the con. (Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.) If someone screws you over or does you wrong, they just 'dibnyed' you. Or should that be 'dibnied?' I don't know. I'm making this up as I go along.

"Don't dibny your fellow man, either way. Be nice."

Upcoming Authority artist Dustin Nguyen had a panel all to himself at SDCC, hosted by Jim Lee:

"Asked by Lee what characters he liked as a kid, Nguyen said he dreamed of being able to draw three books when he was young: Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Pack. As he got closer to the industry, Nguyen said he found himself wanting to draw Wildcats more and more, an admission which earned him some good natured teasing from Lee, who accused him of just wanting to be like him – by drawing Wildcats and then Batman."

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