Thursday, September 30, 2004

Larry Young takes a break out of profiling the blogosphere to help those who'd like to pitch something to him:

"Believe it or not, I can tell you in the first two minutes of talking to you on the phone, rapping with you at a convention, or sitting around the Isotope with The Comic Pimp whether or not we will publish your book. But I don't want to hear, 'Hey, I got this project I wanna pitch you: In the future, the world's richest family hires an army to hunt vampires and bring 'em to a lab, with an eye toward distilling what it is out of their blood that makes them immortal, so they can be the world's richest family, forever. Time goes by, and they basically hunt vampires to extinction without ever figuring out immortality. But two old crusty guys remain vigilant, never giving up, never stopping their training, figuring that they must have missed one or two. And then one day, a vampire named Landon shows up, and they get back in the saddle, and chase down the last vampire, in hopes of giving their own wasted lives some meaning.' I mean, yawn. I got up and went to the bathroom and came back and you were still talking and I didn't miss anything.

"I want to hear, 'Hey, I want to pitch you something. Anne Rice meets The Fugitive. The last, reluctant vampire is hunted by rough dudes. This time, they're out for his blood. I call it 'Hemogoblin.'' See the difference? Sure, the first one isn't bad, per se, but it's much too involved for a quick pitch on the convention floor when I'm trying to talk twenty dollar bills out of the pockets of the passers-by. Look at the second one: if you can one-line it, tell me the title, and give me a marketing hook, chances are you can write a good comic book, too."

The Joe Quesada board takes a minute to stop and reflect:

"How do you feel the Ultimate line has gone? It was started off being aimed for a younger market but that never happened. We have three main books now - Spider-man, X-men and Fantastic Four. Ultimates is about to enter Volume 2 and then you have a couple of limited series. How do you feel as a package the Ultimate line is going? Is it being kept under control both continuity wise and also the number of books on release? How do you feel about the different books that are out there? Do you feel there is a sufficient difference between this line and the regular Marvel Universe?"

"I love the Ultimate Line. Ultimate Spiderman in the first arc made me care about the character more than I ever did with the 616 Spiderman. It developed Peter and all the other characters before the spandex even showed up which I liked. The art is top notch on all the titles and the stories are fresh and accessable to people no matter if they grew up reading 616 Spidey and X-Men or if they just jumped on at the onset of the Ultimate line. Never got into the team up either, I think the only one I ever bothered to get were the two issues that had the Punisher in them."

"It made sense in the beginning because it was supposed to be an attempt to tap into the younger market. Now that that's no longer the case, it just seems like a rehash of the real Marvel U. And honestly, at least IMO, most (if not all) of the concepts introduced by the Ultimate line could've just been incorporated into the real Marvel U and it would've been fine. The Avengers as a para-military group? Fine. The FF with a more sci-fi slant? Fine. And so on and so forth. But as for the quality of the books themselves? I'd say it's been pretty top-notch for the most part."

"I'm a big Ultimate line fan. Ultimate Elektra's the first ongoing of the line that I haven't cared for, but I'm not that intrigued by Elektra as a character. My only problem with the line is that each is less than 100 issues old, and each series has pretty much been about modernizing old Marvel U villains with every storyarc. Ultimate Nightmare is the first time that anyone's REALLY stretched into new territory, but if it ends up being Ultimate Galactus, I'll be eating my words. For Ultimate Marvel to survive, creators are going to have to take the characters to new and different places, not just contemporary versions of previously-written stories."

"I think the line in general is starting to wind down. Two years ago people were wanting everything Ultimaized but now the interest seems to be waning on the newer titles. FF is already losing steam and Elektra never had any. The mini's seem like they should just be included in the regular series too. Yeah, Spider-Man and X-Men are still going strong and I'm sure Ultimates vol.2 will be a top seller but everything else is falling below people's interest. Personally I just can't get into any of it no matter how hard I try. I lost interest in Spidey around issue 22 or so, X-Men just reads like another redundant alternate X-Men timeline to me, Ultimates is hit and miss, and FF is killing itself with a horrid pace. The line still has plenty of life left in it but overall I think the general interest is fading."

Newsarama fans react to the conclusion of DC: The New Frontier:

"And.... it's over, one of the GREATEST classic heroes mini series to come down the pipe in a LONG time. This is EXACTLY how I wish ALL super hero comics could be. This issue brings everything to head, the Silver Agers rally to stop an unstopable monster in such a way that totaly captivated me. Now THESE are heroes, heroes I want to read about. That 2 page splash in the middle, which everyone walking on the flight deck, that needs to be made a Poster ASAP, that was inspiring, I want it on my wall. This series is Tier 1 material, I'm talking Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns levels. If you havn't read it yet, do so. Don't wait for the TPB."

"This is probably the sleeper series of the year! Great art, great story....it feels like you're reading a book from the 50s."

"And while we're dishing out much-deserved praise, let's not forget the sublime coloring by Dave Stewart. His deft touch is the perfect complement to Cooke's art and is absolutely perfect for the tone of the story."

Robert Kirkman pleads with you to try Invincible over at Newsarama:

"I think we all like creator-owned comics, though historically they sell less than corporate owned comics. There are many factors that contribute to that, such as character recognizability, and things like advertising budget. One of the things I think is a major factor is perceived stability. We've all done it, we see an add for a cool book we think we'll like but we don't buy it because we're unsure if it will ever make it past issue 4, and it may take the book a year to get to issue 4. We think to ourselves, if it's good, and it lasts, I'll pick up the trade. Who wants to support a late book anyway? Then, or course, the book dies, just like we thought it would. It's just a fact of the business, some books just don't last. Invincible is not one of those books. Issue #16 was just released, our third TPB will be out in a matter of weeks. I'm making far-reaching plans on what to do in issue #50. We're here to stay, this book isn't going anywhere. Don't feel like we're going to leave you hanging, it's safe to support and enjoy this book. We're not teetering on the brink of cancellation. This is a healthy book and our sales are only getting higher every month... so please, give us a shot."

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Ed Brubaker talks about his upcoming Authority series (and in the process, sees Bendis's Kieslowski and raises him a Milan Kundera in the ongoing game of "Well, I didn't expect them to get a namecheck in a Newsarama article about a superhero book from either Marvel or DC"):

"Well, one of the things that I’m sort of examining, if I’m examining anything in this giant, over the top superhero storyline is the comic book marketplace, and what sells in the comic book marketplace, and what people who read comics want... It’s something that Joe Casey and I have talked about a lot - that there’s a recapitulation theme running through all of mainstream comics – let’s do something that’s sort of like something that was done before, but let’s do it our way. Instead of creating a new supervillain, let’s just do a new version of this previous supervillain. That’s what people like – the retailers want to buy a comic that reminds them of a comic that came before, the fans want to read the adventures of the Teen Titans, or the Justice League, or the X-Men, or the Avengers fighting something that they’ve fought before, they want to see the Dark Phoenix Saga again. They want to be reminded of what they liked about these books when they were kids.

"I was looking at that and thinking about all the recapitulation. To me, acknowledging that upfront, and sort of making fun of that while both doing it, and doing a good version of it – making it something that’s more profound to me – that was my goal... The reason I fought to get to use the word 'revolution' as a subtitle is because 'revolution' has more than one meaning. It also refers to things going full circle. That’s a statement about comics right there."

Newsarama posters discuss the latest print-comics-on-demand solution, this time offered by Lulu.com:

"It's hard enough to sell an established book for $3.00, so how do you form a fan base when you have to charge $5.13 for a 30 page black and white or $9.03 for a 30 page color? And that's without making a cent of profit? I guess these might be good for mailing to art directors, but still. It would have to be one hell of a creative team to get me paying $9.03 for a 30 page color floppy. I don't think I'd qualify for someone paying that amount yet, and if I did, I'd almost certainly have a publisher..."

"They're basically betting on a few things, here:
1- Some people just want to see their stuff published and Lulu produces some professional-looking stuff at a price that isn't all that bad (even if it can be a little pricey).
2- Some people can make the pricing scheme work by doing a larger work... individual issues may not be that great price-wise, but the more pages there are the better (I believe, as I saw a decently priced trade on sale there) the price is.
3- The higher quality materials that they use will make some people willing to pay the difference.
4- There are at least some variations in the pricing and binding models, which allows some more control over the final look and feel of the product.
5- EDIT... also, that's 30 pages and no ads.
I know for a fact that it's #3 (they don't use the cheaper paper that most comics do, and I'm not sure that they will be at any point as it would require some major changes. I know it took them a while to even get the comic-size printing down pat with the changes it required) that's got the price as high as it is comparitively."

"I don't know much about self-publishing comics, but just the fact that this is "on demand" seems to make a difference...... that you can get individual copies printed up. If you wanted to have a comic published some other way, normally wouldn't you have to spend thousands of dollars just to get them to do it at all? If I had some comic that I just wanted to see printed, maybe a really limited run, paying $9 each or something to have a few copies printed up to maybe give to friends or hand out wouldn't be so bad (compared with trying to come up with thousands of dollars to have a run of comics printed)"

While I'm talking about Matt Fraction, Larry Young posts a script excerpt from Mr. Fraction's upcoming Five Fists Of Science graphic novel, which looks to be much more fun that any comic about Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla has any right to be:

"ON TESLA, reacting dumbstruck. In all honesty this is probably the only time we’re going to see him not being the smartest guy in the room. TWAIN is behind him now, speaking almost directly into his ear.

TESLA: …what?



EDIT: Larry was kind enough to send me a page of art from the book. It's in colour, which surprises me, but I like:

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction talk manga onto their Basement Tapes:

"There's a reason why the explosion of the First Person Shooter into the lifestyle of males 14-24 parallels the decline of the comics market. Why read about The Punisher when you can be The Punisher? Girl neuroses are an internal, shameful kind of thing-- body and soul dysmorphia-- that's an emotional kind of burden. Internal, interior-- reading first person accounts of a Girl Just Like You resonates by embracing, by being inclusive, by having a subtext of you're not alone and you can find your happy ending.

"Boy neuroses mean hitting stuff. And there are ultimately better vessels than comics that can provide that. Manga has such diverse readership-- it's targeting the emotional and visceral subtexts of people outside of the 14-24 male demographic. There's the question for the comics mainstream as it gnashes its teeth over the manga invasion: whom are you serving? What are you trying to resonate with inside your audience? You wanna know why marauding hordes of girls haven't read comics until now? There weren't any comics for girls."

It's the last line that makes this perfect:

"Remember a few years back when Marvel was rising its price from 1.95 to 1.99 of from 1.99 to 2.25n it was like earth was shaking and Marvel was killing us. Back in those days, all prices were raised at the same time and th milked fan base was pissed. Today, Marvel & Dc have a whole new method : raise the titles one by one and to make sre fans dont see it ; RELAUNCH. I was scanning Marvel Preview and I saw that Ultimates 2 was going to cost 3 bucks !!! Volume 1 costed 2.25 each. That's a raise. Astonishing X-Men is 2.99 each when Morrison's New X-Men was 2.25 (it's the continuiaton). X-Men the end, X Force, Excalibur, Rogue, Nightcrawler... (new series) all cost 2.99. Hard to be new readers friendly. Captain America & Iron man are going to cost 2.99 (Cap got a raise when he moved to MK, he's back to te regular marvel U and seems to cost the same) The What if cost 2.99. etc... Comics are becoming like Golf and Polo, you haveto be a cousin named richy rich if you want to get your fix"

The Bendis board sure are confident that New Avengers will be a hit:

"My store owner wanted my opinion on NEW AVENGERS. He wasn't sure how popular it'd be since the team didn't have the heavy hitters, 'Spider-Man, Wolverine on the Avengers? Spider-Woman!' I said, if Bendis writes it you can guarantee a lot of interest and GREAT sales. So he had initially thought of ordering 240 copies, but decided to cut it to 200. I told him move it to 220 and I'll buy those extra copies, but if you need them I'd sell them back to him. I committed to do this for the first six issues to make sure he kept ordering significant quantities to meet demand."

"Now I kind of want it to suck so I can have a hearty laugh. But I know it won't because Bendis has yet to fail and never will. It's impossible. Bendis producing bad material is like the Ultimates being on time!"

"Hell yeah! Heck, we only had 15 orders for it, and I added 20 more for the shelf... which is unheard of for this store. They havent ordered 35 copies of anything since the Death of Superman... I told the owner that I'd bet him that I sell them all... he said he doesnt take loosing bets..."

Marvel plans to move into children's books:

"Meredith Corporation, the publisher of The New York Times bestseller Trading Spaces: Behind the Scenes and leading global character-based entertainment company Marvel Enterprises, Inc. [...] announced a multi-year agreement today to develop and publish a portfolio of children's books products ranging from sound storybooks and coloring books to picture story books based on some of the best-known Marvel Super Heroes. The products will feature many of the highly popular Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, The X-Men and Iron Man, as well as other popular Marvel characters, such as Captain America, and the pre-school property Spider-Man & Friends. The initial offerings in the new children's book products will be released next spring."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The internet! It's a terrible thing, explains Mike Bullock, possibly still reeling from the spinning of his LITG appearance yesterday:

"The real world fans aren’t buying enough copies of Spider-Girl to keep that series afloat. What happens? The online community starts a petition that gives Mr. DeFalco’s book a stay of execution. A group of fans in one store, or even a chain of stores, would be hard pressed to pull this sort of thing off. Why is that? Well, it might be the urban legend that one internet poster carries the weight of ten actual opinions. I’ve heard that myth voiced numerous times. However, if between one quarter and one third of the U.S. is on the internet, then why does one internet voice get the power of ten instead of two or four? Not to mention the anonymity of screen names, an anonymity that gives credence to the rumors of various publishers and creative teams enlisting groups of people who register on message boards with hordes of ‘clone’ screen names to sway popular opinion, or make their opinion seem to be more the majority. Example: publisher ‘X’ decides they want to sling mud a creator ‘Y’. X simply gets two or three individuals to create five fake screen names and viola; it appears that ten to fifteen people are now slinging mud at Y. Sound a little to John Grisham for you? Welcome to reality."

Brian Michael Bendis reveals an unexpected influence on his upcoming Daredevil work:

"I'm going to do a thing called Decalogue, which I've been promising for a long time. It's the Ten Commandments; each story is a commandment. They're little vignettes and short stories that tell a bigger, BIGGER story. And the bigger story is 'what was Daredevil doing for that year when he became the Kingpin?' We skipped over it; all of a sudden he was the Kingpin and it had been a year. This is what happened then and how it really affected Hell's Kitchen... The idea behind 'The Decalogue' is my love for the Polish filmmaker, Krzysztof Kieslowski. Good luck spelling that. He's one of my heroes. I just love him tremendously, and I'd found a book of scripts for his Decalogue (or Dekalog), which he'd done in Poland about twenty years ago. In the introduction, he discusses quite frankly that he wished a bunch of other writers and artists would do the Ten Commandments as a theme. He mentioned how he wasn't the first person to think of this, and hoped that more people would do it. I miss him a great deal, and I think it's my way of A) getting my story across about Hell's Kitchen, B) getting religion in but also being my valentine to him, doing something that he wanted to have done."

As someone who's never read Bendis's Daredevil and loves Kieslowski ("Three Colours: Red" is one of my favourite films), this may finally be enough to get me to try out the title...

Geoff Johns comes to San Francisco:

"Fan Favorite writer Geoff Johns (FLASH, JSA, TEEN TITANS) will appear at Comix Experience in San Francisco in support of the release GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH #1 on Saturday, October 30, 2004, from 4 to 7 PM. 'Geoff is one of the most versatile writers in comics today,' said Brian Hibbs, proprietor of Comix Experience, 'and we're wildly excited to have an author of his stature in for a signing on a book like GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH!'"

Alan David Doane was last seen running to his local travel agent to book tickets to SF, in a mood that - according to onlookers - could be described as "extremely excited".

The Joe Quesada board considers whether Hawkeye died for no reason:

"I mean seriously. If Hawkeyes series had not gone down so badly would he be dead now. Tom B aproved this series and it was panned by pretty much everyone.Now the character is dead. I mean if fan reaction prevous to ther series being launched was as bad as it was and this guy didnt try and make it work more according to the fans wishes then surely this guy is responsible for the character being on the kill list."

"Why would you blame the editor for the story? Would a 'good' editor have prevented the death? Probably not. It wasn't a case of bad editing, it is a case of a writer offing a character that people are upset about. Nothing an editor can do in that case, methinks."

"I hate to say this, but it might be time for more than just a new/better creative team on the Avengers. Let's remember that the current editor was essentially picked by Perez (Perez was asked what editor and scripter he wanted to work with). Tom B has done/overseen some great stuff in the past, but it might be time for him to hand over the editorial reins to someone else (who? I don't really know. Maybe Roger Stern could be an editor again). Avengers has had a lot wrong with it, pretty much since Busiek left. Some of that blame has to land on the editor's doorstep."

To confound any plans to buy Crossgen for my wife's birthday (Happy birthday, Kate!), the deadline for bids has been extended due to Hurricane Jeanne. The new date for the auction? My birthday. What is it with Crossgen and birthdays?

Millarworld find themselves concerned with the shock of the New:

"Has anyone pointed out that within the next six months, Marvel will have all of the following titles on the stands: NEW INVADERS, NEW AVENGERS, NEW THUNDERBOLTS, NEW WARRIORS, NEW X-MEN [...] I don't know that it's a BAD thing. It's just... weird. Is 'New' the new 'X'?"

"'Everything old is new again', the Marvel motto."

"that's something completely weird according to me but very usual at marvel. I mean, take a look at what they did with FF or Iron Man or Avengers.. they gave these series new numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. then when the anniversary thing arrived on one of them they put back the old numbers... something I never understood under the quesada reign... marvel knights same thing with daredevil... it's all about money, sales. no less, no more. and if the series are good I don't care about the number on the cover. what disturb me is the price with all those 1st new numbers.... that is ridiculous."

Luckily, they're also discussing that very trend of renumbering:

"Relaunches suck. I like the new Avengers line-up, and like the creators, but I think coming out with a new number one doesn't really do anything. Eeryone knows about the restart; why shove it down our throats by putting out a number one and adding 'New' to the title? On the other hand, if there's a huge gap between relaunches (like Ultimates or the various DC relaunches), it makes sense to put a new number one."

"I'd like to see books like Thor and Daredevil go back to their original numbering as well. And that 3 digit number in shadow that's 'supposed' to be the real number, even that's not correct sometimes. I mean, look at the Iron Man Disassembled issues, they skipped a number! Even Marvel is confused."

"Personal experience, low numbers are less scary. That's why I started Ultimate X-Men before New, because the 130 number made me think I'd be missing a lot."

Monday, September 27, 2004

Last week, Joe Quesada spoke about his years of pain that resulted from having a door slammed in his face by an unnamed "big haired singer" of an equally-unnamed "metal band". Unsurprisingly, Dee Snider's not going to take it:

"When I first heard the story a few years ago, I took full credit and said 'that's me.' But, then, when I hear the rest, I know it's [bandmate Mark 'The Animal'] Mendoza knocking someone down and then laughing. It wasn't me. I'm the big haired lead singer - I'll take full credit for that, and I'm not a one hit wonder Twisted Sister actually had two hits, but I didn't slam the door in Joe's face."

Marvel change the Ultimates 2 variant incentive:

"Marvel announces an updated variant incentive for Ultimates V2 #1. Thanks to an incredible outpouring of input from retailers, Marvel has decided to alter its previously announced 50/50 black and white (cover and interior) sketch variant to heed the demands of not only retailers, but of customers. The revised incentive will simply be a 1 in 10 ratio with the same black and white sketch variant. So for every 10 books retailers order, 1 will be the variant. This will give retailers a reasonable percentage of the variants to sell off to customers who enjoy the sketch books, while also keeping the quantity fairly limited. Dan Buckley, Publisher of Marvel Comics said 'It was obvious to us right from the start that we miscalculated the 50/50 variant. For the first time that I can remember, we heard from multiple retailers expressing their concern for how this type of incentive would hurt the sales of the books in their stores. We would like to thank our retail partners for communicating their concerns to us so quickly and concisely.'"

Mike Bullock, once of DBPro, isn't convinced with his mention in this week's Lying In The Gutters:

"Good thing he gave all this a yellow light... It might have rang a bit more true if he'd said I was secretly Santa Clause as well. On a serious note as I've said nigh a dozen times now, [Bullock's creator-owned title Lions, Tigers and Bears] was never going to be published by DBPro and is still coming soon."

Sadly, no-one appeared to have told DBPro that, as the book was announced (in a press release probably written by Bullock, then DBPro's PR guy) in August:

"Dabel Brothers Production is proud to announce our newest creator owned series, Runemaster Studios’ Lions, Tigers & Bears. Created and written by Mike Bullock with art by cult favorite Jack Lawrence, Lions, Tigers & Bears is set to join Mike S. Miller’s The Imaginaries and Lullaby in DBPro’s new catalog of all-ages books."

Bullock, however, is keen to explain:

"You are misinterpreting that announcement. It doesn't say anywhere in that that DBPro is publishing anything. At the time that went up, I was a member of DBPro, DBPro announced a new creator owned property. It never says DBPro is publishing it, nor does it say who is publishing it."

JP Dorigo wants to help save comics. He's offering to promote the offerings of any mini-comics creator that responds to a questionnaire up at his column over at Broken Frontier:

"Anything printed will be considered! Full sized comics, mini-comics or a picture you drew of Spider-Man on a Burger King napkin. I realize some of you will have multiple works, so please focus on one. Whether it’s the one you’re most proud of or the one you think will sell best, you decide. Now get cracking!"

For those following at home, despite Bryan Singer stating point blank that Jim Cazaviel will not be the new Superman, Mark Millar sticks by his story:

"Ah, but there's a reason my bet focused on who'd be wearing the costume on the day PP started. Like I said, there's a couple of big PR stunts planned between now and then (Frabruary, last I heard). Being a sport, I'll obviously shell up the dough if my source is wrong, but you know how tight the Scots are with money so I'm pretty sure about this one, Harry boy."

Mark Millar: The only professional writer that can't spell February.

Over at Newsarama, the latest incarnation of a common conversation rears an ugly head:

"Manga is just following a trend that seems, to me, to be a fad. It gained huge popularity very quickly (a sign in itself), and the numbers continue to climb. I think what will happen is that the bubble will burst, and a period of disinterest in Manga will occur. Which is sad because Manga has some incredible reads."

"I dunno about Manga being a fad. If you look at anime, I've been a fan since the late 80's where you had to locate a fansubber and trade through the mail and that mess to now where you can buy it straight from any store that sells DVDs. Anime is stronger than ever, and it's only becoming more popular. If Manga can follow suit, I don't see it going anywhere. I teach at a high school and am now a co-sponsor of a manga/anime club. I'm actually finding more students reading (and drawing) manga than ever before. Having said all of that, I don't think we're going to see adults reading 'phone book' manga on the train as you would see in Japan, but I don't think this 'fad' is going to die off anytime soon."

"[Y]eah......... regarding manga as a fad, I don't think so. I mean, certainly it is especially a fad from a technical point, but manga isn't in the same boat as, say, pogs. It's not like manga just popped up overnight too............... it's just grown in popularity (along with anime) and will continue to do so. It's been popular worldwide, and even if it dies out in the US, it's still popular in many other parts of the world, and of course it's huge in Japan."

Rich Johnston makes public the rumour about the Ultimates 2 variant:

"'Ultimates' volume 2 will ship half normal issues and half with uninked black and white artwork and cover. Designed to encourage interest in the book, and especially in Bryan Hitch's art (the reason we've all been happy to wait so long), but retailers who contacted me are a little concerned. From conversations I've had, they'd appreciate a variant cover, even if a 50/50 split might be a little much if it's black and white... but black and white interiors? Again, if it was a "chase" variant, that might encourage interest, but at half and half, the chase is no longer there. Some retailers fear they may be stuck with half their order in black and white... only selling colour copies. Expect an outpouring of concern heading Marvel's way."

Friday, September 24, 2004

Carmine Infantino pulls his complaint against DC:

"According to papers filed electronically with the New York Southern District Court, the complaint by Carmine Infantino against DC Comics which sought $4,000,000 in damages has been dismissed as of September 20th. The dismissal came not through a decision by the judge, but rather pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(ii), which allows the plaintiff to dismiss an action without order of the court by filing a stipulation of dismissal signed by all parties who have appeared in the action. That is, the plaintiff, in this instance, Infantino, has opted to dismiss, and the court has agreed. According to the filing, the dismissal is made without prejudice, that is, Infantino could revise his complaint and refile if he so chooses. As of the filing for dismissal, DC had not responded to Infantino's complaint."

Priest gets nervous and hopes that he's not recognizing the signs:

"It's perhaps too early to crank up the bells of doom, but I think it is fair to suggest if you like [Captain America and the Falcon] and want to see it continue, it'd be a good idea to be fairly vocal about it to your retailers and to Marvel. Nobody at Marvel has said or done anything that would suggest we won't be here next year, but unfortunately, by the time they DO tell us anything, it may be too late to do anything about it. From where I sit, out in Colorado, it's painfully difficult to know what's going on in New York, and lately Marvel has become extremely conservative about what they'll approve and what they won't. So I'm a bit clueless about which way the wind is blowing for us up there. Based solely on the work I've seen Joe do and the fun we're having, I'm hoping Marvel has some small appreciation for this title and wants us to continue. But it's getting late in the day and we haven't seen any white smoke from the tower yet. Which may mean nothing, but, maybe this time we get a few lengths out front and not wait until we're in trouble to let Marvel know our audience wants us to keep going."

Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka talk about what is probably my favorite book out right now, Gotham Central. Greg, would you like to say something about its appeal?:

"Central is, by definition, and I do realize the ludicrousness in saying this, it’s a more human book [than superhero books] in a lot of ways. So it’s going to live or die on the humanity of the characters, and on treating them humanely. Cris isn’t the Punisher, and he’s not going to treat it like he is. There’s a conversation early in #24 where [Montoya’s partner] Daria’s talking to Cris’ wife – Cris and his wife have two kids, and Daria’s asking how the kids are taking it. There’s a discussion about it – how do you tell your kids that your dad killed somebody today? Dad’s a cop, yeah, they know that, but dad had to shoot somebody. He was a bad man, yeah, but when one of the kids you’re talking to is 14, 'he was a bad man' isn’t enough... So there’s another element of the book. It’s one of the things that I think makes Ed and I like writing it so damn much. Most of the mainstream comics we write don’t allow for that, and if you’d try to do that in a mainstream comic, follow up in a meaningful way on the actions or events, the outcry is deafening."

What do Brubaker and Philips do once Sleeper ends? Hit the high seas, of course:

"Black Sails mixes high adventure and horror in a vampire tale like no other. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, the creative team behind the hit comic Sleeper, cast a three-issue tale of mysterious vampire pirates with an intriguing hook: these men are manning the very ship on which Dracula himself once sailed. In Black Sails, Depression-era coastal towns are terrorized by a mysterious ship that sails only by night, drifting in with the fog, and leaving bloody waters in its wake. Brubaker’s moody and horrific story follows a darker path than readers are accustomed to seeing from him, and Phillips’s textured artwork is again the perfect complement to his prose. The series should hit your port [from IDW] in Spring of 2005."

Thanks to Matt Maxwell for pointing this out:

According to Amazon, Mark Millar's soon-to-be-released "Red Razors" (a collection of his old 2000AD/Judge Dredd Megazine strip with lovely art by Steve Yeowell) is actually called "Red Razors (The Sequel to the Dark Knight Returns)".

Millar hyperbole infecting Amazon? Amazon just having completely lost the plot entirely? You be the judge.

Jim Rugg talks to Ed Cunard about Street Angel, street gangs, and comics in general:

"I think the coloring of most Marvel and Image books is insurmountable, as is the atrociously disgusting computer lettering that most of those books use. Decompressed storytelling techniques combined with derivative, amateur 'writers' results in comics that are far less interesting than watching paint dry. It seems like a vast majority of comic book creators rely on Hollywood for inspiration and direction, and if there’s a more creatively empty place on Earth than Hollywood, I’m unaware of it."

Millarworld rebel against their leader:

"Things are looking quite good for Marvel in 2005. As Millar notes in another thread, the number of quality titles from this publisher will about double by the end of the year. I'm looking at almost every staple character/team having some exciting developments over the next few months. Avengers, Wolverine, Astonishing X-men, Cap America, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Fantastic Four, Amazing Spiderman, Daredevil, and maybe Thor & Hulk are in good shape for the next year. This is good news to me. Takes me back to the glorious 80's in my mind. My question is, how long will this last? Will the titles live up to the promise? Will the creators pull out their best work, or will it be another let down? I am already jazzed by what's going on in Daredevil & Fantastic Four. Will These titles maintain their quality? I know there is no way of telling, but I am curious to see what other readers think. Excited? Cautious? If this is the beginning of a new era of greatness, how long will it last?"

"The problem is that Marvel corporate has chosen not to move strongly into the creator-owned/alternative arena (I think it's too early to judge whether Icon will change that), so they're playing with a much more limited deck than DC. Both the Marvel and DC Universes do the same dance: over-booking core characters, while trying to spur interest by reviving old/secondary/half-forgotten/fanboy-fave type characters. Genuine innovation is almost non-existent, and most buzz happens around favorite creators taking a turn with characters older than most posters here (Sieknewicz on Black Widow, Busiek on JLA, Brubaker on Cap, etc.), rather than anything really new. But at DC, this assortment is balanced with stuff like Astro City, Ex Machina, Fables, Y: The Last Man, The Authority, Planetary, etc. Even if the core DCU hits a bad patch, stuff like this will always make them look strong and diverse, while Marvel has to stand or fall with spandex."

"I agree. I actually am finding even less to be excited about. Marvel and their oversaturation methods are annoying."

"Marvel has some stuff I'm excited about, but they just don't take that many real risks. Marvel has Marvel. DC has Vertigo, Wildstorm, Humanoids, etc. DC's a much more exciting publisher as a result."

"I 'may' be sore that X-Statix has ended (no, hell, I AM sore), but I think Marvel is on a downward spiral already... They do have quality titles out there, but the ration of quality titles to absolute duds is not favourable for them. The 'throw shit on the wall and see what sticks' strategy isn't one I'm enjoying..."

The Bendis board stumble onto something odd. In the middle of an announcement of a Miracleman statue, this line appears: "Miracle Man (the comic) launched in 1986 and re-defined the way that comic stories were told. The series will be re-launched by Marvel in December." Needless to say, there is some confusion and excitement about this (not least because no such announcement has been made, and the December solicits are out and don't mention MM):

"that has to be a typo right? (or maybe they're talking about the series of Marvel statues)"

"Unless they bought the rights from McFarlane and no one noticed."

"WAIT! Isn't there supposed to be a character on the last page of Avengers #503 that's gonna knock everyone on their collective ass? Answer: Yes. Whoever writes the Marvel solicits wrote: The shocking double-sized conclusion to the comic event of the year! The Avengers come face to face with the enemy that destroyed them and nothing will ever be the same again. A story so big, a regular-sized comic could not contain it! The last page cameo will have the comic world talking for years! Guest-starring every Avenger... ever!! Holy shit, that would be so cool."

The only thing (besides the fact that it's rather unlikely) offering clouds on this horizon? This:

"so i wrote to neil gaiman. he was nice enough to write back. all he said was: No, someone is pulling your leg"

DC Comics to sue Kryptonite Bicycle Locks:

"DC filed suit in 2000 to block Kryptonite Corp from moving forward with its expansion plans, claiming infringement, dilution of trademark, and unfair competition, claiming that Kryptonite Corp, by using the words 'krypto' and other terms was attempting to confuse consumers into believing that there was a tacit connection between the product line and the Superman mythology. In response, Kryptonite Corp counterclaimed, asking for a recision of its agreement with DC, claiming that the purposes of the original agreement had been 'substantially frustrated,' and asked the Judge for dismissal of the case. Along with other summary judgments, Judge Owen refused to throw out the breach of contract claim filed by DC, and as such, leaves the bulk of DC’s case against Kryptonite Corp for trial."

That's right, dear readers. It's a slow news day.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ed Brubaker talks about Captain America:

"...I went back and re-read the Essential Captain America volumes, and what I loved, and this is pure Stan Lee, he brought Cap back in the ‘60s, which was not a high point in patriotism in the country. Here’s Cap running around in his own series, and there’s a page from one of Steranko’s first issues where Stan just hammers home who this guy is – he’s a man out of time. He’s a guy form a simpler, more patriotic era, living in this harsh world of today, where everything is shades of gray, not black and white. He’s lonely. He’s had these horrible things that he’s had to live with. He carries the weight of the fucking world on his shoulders. Remember too that Cap was supposed to be the first of a whole army of people, but now he’s the only one. Plus – he feels that he failed. His partner, Bucky died. He woke up, in the current continuity, in the early ‘90s, to find out that his best friend is dead. Everybody he grew up with is either very old or dead. He carries this immense amount of tragedy around with him, while at the same time, carries this tremendous amount of responsibility of being the only super-soldier that America created. He has to live in this world that’s so different, but still fairly similar – there was just as much political corruption in his day, just as much weirdness between government and industry and the military-industrial complex starting in the early 1900s. Cap has so much fertile stuff that you can do with him without becoming a political rant. Plus, it’s a superhero comic at the heart of it. It can’t be just about the politics anymore than it can just be about the icon. It has to be fun to read. But I love the tragedy of the character – I’m just that type of writer who grooves on him being alone, and seeing what he’s seen."

Warren Ellis gets deja vu:

"I must admit to faint amusement at the current spate of media stories about the DC comics serial IDENTITY CRISIS, most of which are of a piece: POW! RIP! SPLAT! Superhero Wives Get Raped And Murdered! The New Noir Funnybooks! All of which recall, fifteen-odd years ago, the shocked coverage of WATCHMEN, which largely went POW! SHAG! IBBLE! Superheroes Slip Each Other One And Go Crazy! The coverage really is remarkably similar -- like the Eighties comics-mainstream renaissance never happened, and everything old is new again. I wonder what would happen to arts journalism if all their practitioners suddenly 'discovered' summer tentpole movies like the field had never existed prior to this year."

Fabian Niceza on what Rob Liefeld is planning for X-Force:

"I know he mentioned something about Wolverine, Deadpool, an old friend in a new face, did he mention the Imperial Guard and the Shi'ar? I forget. He's such an enthusiastic lad, it's hard to keep up with him. Needless to say, with Rob plotting, expect the kitchen sink sent back from the future and disguised as a VCR."

Evan Dorkin is having trouble with a promoter:

"Speaking of anger, I had a miserable time at the Big Apple show this past Saturday (followed, thankfully, by a fun time on Sunday). More later, maybe, when I have the time and temperment (sp). Basically, the weather was crap, the garage door broke from the springs (which snapped and went flying off the track) and slid down on me el kabong-style , catching me in the elbow and knee -- and then I almost got into a fist fight with a crazed Boston convention-promoter at the show. And business was terrible, which didn't help (but when you do mainly local shows and don't put out new stuff often, you have to take that on the chin). But getting screamed at and being threatened by a rabid comic book slob was too, too much. I was already down on comics this past week (month...year...), and this putz really, really didn't help things any. People like this goon are why I created the Eltingville Club in the first place."

The promoter responded (and this is only a short excerpt, please click here for the wonderful full version):

"Wow! Another guy with an ego because he was born with a talent and will most likely never have to 'work' for a living. I called you unprofessional because that is my experience with you. That makes it a fact. You only giving your yellow version of events Saturday makes you a liar. You got up in my face, you self important ass. Maybe having a child will make you grow up. Maybe not. I have been in the business since you picked up crayons and I will be making a living at it when comic fans are saying Evan who? ...Post whatever you want as I also have a web-site and I will be posting this and forwarding it to interested parties."

Dorkin replied (again, only a short excerpt):

"I stand duly terrified of your powerful website. Really, both I and my modem are quivering in fear of your e-sword of justice smiting us both down with your version of the truth. I myself don't feel the need to forward copies of this around to anyone 'interested' because I don't feel the need to wage a campaign to prove anything. If you want to keep this going, fine by me. Unlike you, I don't have to work, I have all the time in the world, so I can endlessly spin this bottle around for all eternity while you waste precious man-hours that could have been spent professionally reading comics or getting worked up over five-year old unreturned calls."

Thankfully, the promoter didn't realise how much of an ass he looked, as he kept at it:

"Like I said the first time, I was sending an apology when I found the lies on your site. You sound like a pathetic little man who never had to grow up. Obviously the fan boys are more interested in sucking up to Evan than the truth. First the no returned phone call. Then the feigned interest when I approached Saturday. Thats two blow-offs. Then you attempted to bully me. That should go good with fatherhood. I wasn't going to apologize because you were right since you were wrong by any standards. I apologized to them for what I had done to them. Get it? You obviously have lost touch with how things really work. If Mike doesn't want me at the show after a 12 year relationship then that is his business and i will ot lose a penny. But nobody threatens me. Will you let this through your spam filter?"

I hope this goes on forever.

(Thanks, Milo.)

Stuart Moore returns to Newsarama for a special "election edition" of A Thousand Flowers:

"I think even our overseas readers have gotten some inkling, some vague sense that there’s a hard-fought, crucially important election coming up in the U.S. And while I’ve retired this column (look for a book collection next summer), I couldn’t resist poking my head out for a look at some of the year’s most politically charged comics. Let’s get one thing out of the way right up front, to avoid getting into the usual political arguments in the 'comments' below: Most of these books slant toward the left side of the political spectrum. That tends to be true of creative people. Why? It’s very simple: Creative people are smarter than others. They think more. Their brains are much, much larger, blessed with greater perception, more able to see clearly the genuine, transcendent, objective truth of life. There’s no point arguing about it; you’ll just find yourself outgunned by their superior, almost godlike synaptic abilities. Okay?"

Somewhere, Augie is rolling up his sleeves and looking for a fight.

The Joe Quesada board review the latest issue of Avengers. Spoilers for those who don't know what's happened yet but do care:

"ugh. just not good."

"My friend who only reads comics when he's over at my place said, 'Doesn't anyone have a fire extinguisher on hand? Or why doesn't Cap just smother it with his shield?'"

"your know, I just didnt see hawkeye as being mortally wounded. Although the look to Cap from Hawkeye spoke spades in desperation, I still didn't get him having anything more then a flaming quiver due to the art. (man, I hope it was more than that, it just would be silly for him not to take off his quiver as opposed to kamakazi style suicide)."

The Bendis board want to know who the mystery guy with the fishbowl head is in this newly-released cover to New Avengers#2. I'd rather know if Luke Cage wants his old bright yellow shirt back, because surely he's going to get cold eventually.

Hey, Mark! Mark Millar! Want to do some shameless hyping of your employer's books at your forum? Of course you do:

"Right now I read Ultimate FF, Ultimate Spidey, Amazing Spidey, Astonishing and something else I can't actually remember this early in the morning. I looked at the online solicits for Dec a second ago and I'm going to read sixteen [Marvel] books. Granted, I'm writing three of them, but that's pretty bloody good doing. There's also another four I think are good books, but I just have no interest in. I won't name because it's rude. Just not my thing, but I appreciate that some people will love them. Anyway, good stuff. Still way too many X-books (and all at the low end of the market). Still, nature has a way of weeding these things out."

And later:

"I'm lucky I get all these books for free. I pity the rest of you..."

Sadly, no-one replying in the thread asks how many DC books he reads. Or books from any other publisher at all, really. It's all Marvel in Millar's world, I tell you...

Newsarama reports on the latest in the Crossgen saga:

"At a hearing on Tuesday, the Middle District Bankruptcy Court approved of CrossGen’s request to proceed with the sale of its assets, with John Taddeo being the lead bidder, with an offer of $500,000 on the table. As a result of the Court’s approval, CrossGen is now able to solicit other, competing offers for the assets for a Sale Hearing on September 28th at 10:00 am. Objections to the proposed sale must be made before that time, and files with both the Court and the Trustee’s counsel.
All competing bids (following the earlier stated bidding process) must be submitted to CrossGen no later than 5:00 pm Eastern time on Septmber 27th. If competing bids are received, an auction will be held for the assets on September 28th. At the auction, CrossGen may opt to sell all the assets to one bidder, or parcel them out among a handful of bidders, depending upon which will be of greatest financial benefit to the estate. If no competing bids are received, then the assets will be sold to Taddeo."

September 28th is, incidentally, my wife's birthday. If anyone out there wants to buy her Crossgen, I'm sure she'd be somewhat confused, but grateful nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Greg Rucka talks about Wonder Woman, starting by answering those who find the book a bit slow:

"...I acknowledge that the run of #191 to #200 was a slow build, much like the first five issues of Wolverine were a slow build. It was very intentional. I wanted to get all my pieces out on the board, because I knew that a year later, things were going to start flying thick and fast. And in #208, things start flying thick and fast, and they don’t quiet down again until #211, and that’s only for a little bit. Then, #211, essentially through #218 just goes nuts again. So…I’m not going to apologize for taking my time to set it up, and for taking my time to define my characters and my take on Wonder Woman who, I had very specific feelings for how I wanted to represent her."

An amusing way to waste time at work: The DC Timeline:

"This is an attempt to list significant events in the history of DC Comics in as chronological order as possible. Most dates are the cover dates from the comics themselves. It should be recognized that these dates tend to be two months after the actual release date. Other dates come from various published sources and have varying degrees of precision. Everything is relative. No attempt is made to list everything that ever happened. More detailed information is contained in the various works cited in the bibliography. Non-DC comics events listed are included because of their relevance to the history of DC Comics, not to their own companies. An attempt has been made to refer to the company by the appropriate name in each time period. This is not an attempt to explain super-hero continuity. There are other web sites that do that. All opinions given are mine and probably can't be changed."

It gets fun in the 1990s, when the author gets cranky:

"Atlas of the DC Universe published by DC/Mayfair. Answers the eternal question of where all the DC fictional cities and countries are located. Fans choose to ignore it, so that they can continue arguing."

"Marv Wolfman’s Team Titans begins with one of the stupidest gimmicks of all time. 5 different issues all numbered number one with different stories in them. The book features alternate future world variations of the actual titans, which is a pretty stupid idea for an on-going series in and of itself."

"[Post-Hal-Jordan-going-mad,] Green Lantern Corps Quarterly cancelled (#8) because they’re all dead."

Joe Kelly talks about Justice League Elite:

"Essentially I wanted a book where I could put characters through the ringer without having to get permission... When [Editor Mike] Carlin took over the JLA, he suggested a tie in between the Elite and the JLA to be my 'darker book.' So the JLE was born - A book about 'undercover heroes' who are proactively going into bad places to take down threats before they explode... and trying not to be tainted by the darkness they're up against... What's more important? Staying 'clean' or crossing the line to get bad guys off the street? These themes and questions are much more interesting to me than how much stuff gets blown up or inventing a new alien badass. Having a good time is the primary goal, but overall I want to tell a good story about a group of flawed people who screw up big time, and have to choose to either suffer defeat or transcend their own weakness. A climb back up from the depths and a rediscovery of who they truly are. It's basically a 3 year arc."

Diamond polled comic book retailers about Free Comic Book Day 2004. Overall, they were happy:

"In general, retailers reported more gains in traffic than in sales on FCBD 2004. More than half of that traffic (53%) was made up of new customers (38%) and returning customers who hadn't shopped in the store in quite some time (15%). One of the most encouraging aspects of the survey was the fact that 70% of the respondents gained customers thanks to the FCBD efforts and 35.8% of the storeowners reported that sales increased significantly in the month following FCBD, with most of the gains reported in the 10-20% growth range."

Millarworld covers the cover situation:

"Why do all titles have 'pin-up' covers these days, rather than covers that hint at the story inside, or show a great shot of something inside. Covers that basically serve as a trailer to a really cool film? I can say that personally, Marvel is losing money from me. Why would I spend $3 to take a flyer on a book based on a cheesy pin-up picture, knowing nothing on the contents inside? Not that all pin-ups are cheesy. Some of them are amazing, in fact. but it used to be I'd see a cover with a character in a jam, and then buy it just to read it and find out how they got out of it. That sort of thing."

"Eh, I don't really have too much of a problem with pin-up covers. As long as they are featuring characters that ARE in the story. USM does mostly story-based covers, but sometimes has pin-up covers. I have no problem with that. I mean, if the art is good I'm happy really."

"Ultimate Spider-Man is the worst for that IMHO. How many times can you just have Spidey in a weird pose? Somebody throw a pie for god's sake!"

"I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, the pinup covers feel more open and accessible. Also, its is something different for Marvel and DC (early Image used to do pin-up covers all the time). On the other hand, its something that I think caters more to speculators and new readers as opposed to those who actually follow the book. An interesting mix of the two is Cassaday's covers for Astonishing. They're all pin-up covers that basically have very little to do with the interior stories... but they're not just heroes in poses. The covers to 2 and 4 in particular have a lot of, I dunno the term, 'personality?'"

"Except for issue #1, the cover of which was a f***ing hand! Jeez, what a ripoff. I can draw a f***ing hand."

Lee Barnett thinks about suspension of disbelief:

"Now I'm a grown up, despite what my wife and parents sometimes think. And I know that when I sit down to read a comic book, the odds are that what I'm reading didn't actually happen.... but the skills of the writers and artists create a situation that allow me to forget that for the time I spend immersed in the comic book. And, for the vast majority of comic books, I have no problem with this. But in rare circumstances, the book suffers a logic jump of such proportions that it's as if, in the middle of my son watching Recess, one of the characters was suddenly shredded alive by a rampaging Transformer, complete with the requisite blood and guts. Now, despite the argument that this would improve the show, an argument I'm not entirely willing to dismiss, it's so out of context that it would inevitably drive a coach and horses through any suspension of disbelief, willing or otherwise.

"Similarly, if Greg Rucka wrote a page in Queen And Country where Tara Chase was likewise, shredded alive by the same rampaging Transformer, it wouldn't seem as 'real' as the rest of the superb stories in the book. Comic books have their own generally accepted rules and regulations, whether or not they're explicitly stated. One, for example, is the convention about secret identities, and particularly the corollary that merely by putting a mask on, even a domino mask, or by taking off a pair of spectacles, workers, colleagues and friends won't recognise the super-hero as the fellow or lady they know in their usual lives. And usually, I can accept it, like I can accept that The Batman is an urban myth, despite there being previously confirmed footage of him. I can similarly accept that there are more aliens that speak English than people on this planet. But, as I say, sometimes the writer blows it."

Newsarama reacts to John Byrne's "Hispanic and Latino woman with blonde hair look like hookers" comment:

"Y'know... there's a fine line between saying you don't like hispanic women with lighter hair as a personal preference and calling them hookers. And that's all I'm going to say before I speak words that drop me down to that level."

"What do you expect of a man who compares music downloaders to rapists?"

"I've never seen so much negativity on one board as I have seen over there. And it's not really a point in saying anything to dissagree with Byrne or his moderators. If you do, you will be kicked out, after a verbal beating. I mean Byrne is a fine artist, and a good storyteller, but some of what he says is, well, not good."

Zeb Wells makes a million fanboys happy:

"[My] New Warriors project with Skottie Young got the green light. The premise is that the New Warriors have trouble getting work, and they hook up with a TV show, like 'Extreme Home Makeover,' and when people around the country get menaced by a Z-grade villain, the Warriors zip off in their van and save the day."

Did I say a million fanboys? I meant three.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Ed Brubaker talks Sleeper, and also a change in the way he's writing the book:

"I decided that I want Sleeper to read more like a story. So, I decided that’s what I was going to do. I’m going to write for the audience that’s actually reading it – the readers that are there every month, as well as the readers who pick it up in trade form. I’m not going to write for this mythical ‘new readership’ that’s not picking up the book. That new readership can buy the trades, and they’ll be in print for a long, long, long time. If people hear that Sleeper is good, they go and pick up the trade... I just feel like, especially with what I’m doing at WildStorm, my idea of doing a mature comic was to do a comic that demanded a mature amount of intelligence from the reader, which is not really the most commercial way to put out anything – to demand that they pay a certain amount of attention and maybe re-read something. But that’s what I would want as a reader – I want something that demands maturity on an intelligence level, not just because it has swearing and nudity. Well, I still want the swearing and nudity – I’m all over that, but that’s where I’m coming from. I’m respecting the intelligence of my readers. If you like what’s going on with this book, go buy the trades – get the back story, and the full story. Don’t expect me to hand it to you."

Because the V love me, John Byrne on the released photo of Jessica Alba as Sue Storm in the Fantastic Four movie:

"Personal prejudice: Hispanic and Latino women with blond hair look like hookers to me, no matter how clean or 'cute' they are. Somehow those skin tones that look so good with dark, dark hair just don't work for me with lighter shades. Like I said -- personal prejudice."

Unsurprisingly, only three people take offense at this racist bullshit. The rest fall over themselves to agree:

"I agree with the Master!!!"

"It's just his opinion. If he was trying to avoid offending anyone, he would not be able to speak. I do think that is a pretty popular opinion though. It looks as realistic (and flattering) as double D breast on a 102 lb girl."

"But you know? JB said: 'Hispanic and Latino women with blond hair look like hookers to me' He never said they were."

Via the V: The John Bryne forum tries to answer the question on everyone's lips:

"How is it possible for me to ask for, at least, a topless girl art from any comic book artists? How I do say 'please keep the nipples' in a proper manner and without sounding like an idiot?"

"I would think that the key would be to be clear and upfront about your desire and to accept graciously if the artist refuses."

"Just be honest and forward with them, I would think. Ask if they do nudes. I'm sure they would appreciate your candidness as much as you would appreciate theirs. ( unless they actually said yes. Then you might be a little more appreciative. heh.)"

Byrne himself steps in with advice:

"One word of advice --- check to see who else is standing by the table. I get the worst kind of drooling fanboys asking me for the most unimaginable drawings of female character (which I decline to do) and ignoring the young Mom who is three feet to the left with her 6 year old."

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction talk about the thrill of the (back issue) chase:

"Keeping up with what's new in comics is fairly easy. For me, it's just part of the gig to at least keep and eye out on what's showing up in the stores every week. But that's not the same thing as The Hunt. The Hunt is about finding lost treasures... things that have been around for years and we've just never seen them or read them. The proverbial Back Issue Discovery. So I thought we'd maybe trade info on a few recent finds. Stuff we've found that we didn't know existed (or, at least, we didn't pay attention to when it was new). Stuff that we've read and enjoyed either from an historical perspective or just for timeless entertainment value. In other words, no new releases. This isn't about hype. This is about the simple joys of discovery."

Shawn Hoke does a price comparison, showing you what you could be spending your money on instead of 12 Marvel books:

"Comics are like crack to some fans. They’ve gotta have them. And yet, the big two continue with the price increases, the crossovers, the special tie-in issues. I didn’t even mention the alternate covers. Astonishing? Yes, it’s both astonishing and mind-boggling. So come, weary readers- Past the Front Racks. Ignore the Greg Horn covers; she doesn’t even look like that in the book."

In possibly the greatest-named thread at Millarworld ever ("Killing superheroes (No spoilers), Is it ever okay?"), the board ponders fictional deaths:

"Death in comics seems to be rampant these days, what with Identity Crisis, Disassembled, Ultimated Spider-Man, etc. And it seems with each new death there's an outcry from a different segment of fandom. For the sake of discussion, and to avoid spoilers, we'll use Captain X as the victim. "Captain X is the reason I read comics! And even though I read dozens of books that don't feature Captain X I'm never reading another comic again!" Or, "Captain X died a stupid death just to sell comics. The only reason he was killed is because Writer X thought he was lame" And another, "They killed Captain X in a violent, gratuitous way which will scar the millions of children who read about the adventures of Captain X every month." Okay, so it's pretty obvious where I come down on all of this. I think people are overreacting. It seems like everyone is acting like this is something new, or just the pet fetish of certain writers (better not let Writer X near X-Lady, he'll have her raped, killed, and stuffed in a toaster!). Don't these people remember Gwen Stacy, Captain Marvel, Phoenix, General Zod, various and sundry Legionnaires, the JSA, etc.? Now, you can make the argument that most of those characters came back to life eventually, but at the time they died the death was intended to be permanant. Why was it okay then, but not now?"

"Alot of deaths are lame and pointless. You get the off one that fans accept because the stories well told(GA Starman, Barry Allen, 616 Gwen Stacy.). But then you get stuff that's just lame and silly like alot of the deaths in OWAW from a few years back. Do fans have the right to whine and not spend money on stuff? Sure they do. It's their money. With things like this you vote with your dollars. Is it taken to a silly point sometime? Yeah. But being a fan of anything leads to certain types of silliness. Like sports fans who go shirtless and wear face pant. Comic companies also the right to ignore their fans and do what they want. Stuff like bringing Hal Jordan back is made by higher ups. Same thing as leaving Ted Knight a corpse."

"Myself, I read for the stories, and death often makes a good story. Not always; I found the first issue of Identity Crisis to be painfully boring, but I certainly didn't have a problem with the fact that "someone was dying." Personally, I think the death of major characters like Colossus and Ultimate Beast are very good for the comics themselves, because they force the reader to take the story more seriously rather than viewing it as simply 'status quo' every month, which is what most superhero comics really are."

There then follows a list of "good" comic deaths and "bad" comic deaths.

Mark Millar continues his "I Know Something You Don't" tour, this time at the Bendis boards:

"In other news, HUGE Chosen news late last night. You'll hear about it in three months or so, but it's very good news indeed. I couldn't sleep last night. Seriously."

A Bendis boarder tries to guess:

"I am thinking that it is being adapted for the screen and called 'THe Passion 2' with Michael Moore and Mel Gibson co-directing."

Millar responds:

"Save this post. It's not accurate, but closer than you think. That said, there will be zero news for about three months. I'll explain why once they make the official announcement, but this is one of those occasions where I was asked to keep quiet."

So in other words, expect him to be going on about it and then saying that he really can't talk about it for a few months.

Brian Michael Bendis makes the big time, writing and drawing for the New York Times. Newsarama reports:

"Writing and drawing himself for the Times represented the first time Bendis had created his particular brand of autobiographical work in a while, and, as he explained, he was thrilled to find out it was still as easy as falling off a horse. Of course, his boss had a different take... 'Joe Quesada said, ‘Wow, you can draw a ball with two eyes on it. Good for you.’ But it felt really good to get ink all over my desk again. I snapped right into it.'"

Monday, September 20, 2004

Mark Millar creates Ultimate I Know Something You Don't Know with a thread called "Oh dear fuck!":

"As i don't post this stuff on the boards no more (I got enough grief to last me a lifetime with that shit), this is mods only. Go to our special secret place, boys and girls."

As he doesn't post this stuff on the boards "no more"? And you call yourself a writer, Mark. Meanwhile, the MW proles, they take the bait and act (somewhat understandably) not impressed:

"Oh man, Why would you do that? why?"

"Millar, you dobber, spill! Like you're not dying to anyway.. :) ...pretty please? even a wee clue?"

"this sucks...I hate being left out!! Millar- share it with the rest of us please!!"

"Fucking weak."

"Well at least Mark attracted a lot of attention to a secret that he doesn't want to share with others (except the mods). I sense a Rich Johnston now."

Remember, kids: Mark Millar is so cool, he knows super-secret stuff that he can't tell you!

Joe Quesada dodges having to give real answers to Jen Contino's questions at The Pulse:

"The Editor-in-Chief also couldn't get specific in terms of circulation numbers and why some series continue to be published while others, which might have been ranked around the same number or a little better, are cancelled. He said the amount of comics sold varied in determining which titles would continue or not. 'The number is different from title to title and on some occasions has nothing to do with numbers at all,' said Quesada."

Also: Daredevil Father is late because the issues are longer than usual, and NYX is being cancelled because it's so personal to Quesada.

In the first interview in Newsarama's Rucka-Brubaker week, Greg Rucka talks about his Adventures of Superman run:

"The way I write, and this isn’t the way everyone writes, is that I write from character. I don’t write from plot. I write from who’s the person, and how will they react in a specific situation. With Superman, with Clark, every story has to be a character story, because you have an infinite legion of people in power armor that he has to fight because nobody is strong enough to take him on. Those can be very dull stories – fight after fight after fight. There’s a reason Lex Luthor tends to end up in green and purple armor. That’s not the way into the character. The way into the character isn’t a bigger fight, a better fight, as much noise as possible. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing – I just finished an issue that is a great big fight, because that’s part of the joy of Superman – you can destroy whole city blocks. But he’s a challenge – he’s far more challenging than he looks. And I knew he was going to be difficult from the start, but he’s proven to be even more difficult than that, just because you want to get him right."

Milo George interviews Eddie Campbell for the newly launched Graphic Novel Review:

"I have felt that the concept of what comics is gets narrower as we go along. Each writer on the subject who defines comics wants to exclude something. McCloud excludes the single panel so Family Circus and Far Side are out. Blackbeard says there must be word balloons so Prince Valiant is out. Harvey says there has to be a visual-verbal balance. Somebody else says there must be no redundancy of information with words and pictures repeating each other. This is crap. Pictures have illustrated words and words have explained pictures since the beginning of time. Somebody reads a dull comic and extrapolates rules from it. Who do they think they are? There are all these people trying to be the rule-makers and the end result is bad for the art of Comics. Fuck 'em all, that's what I say."

Bill Jemas talks 360ep:

"Russ Brown and I are doing what we’ve been doing for almost 20 years now. We figure out how to turn valuable property rights into money – then we go out and get the money. In the past, we did that for our employers, now we are doing it for our clients... [I]n simplest terms, 360ep takes a property - a toy, a game, a novel etc. - creates a 'style guide' full of cool graphics and hot product concepts. Then we get out there and sell it the whole package to the entertainment produce manufacturing trade."

Millarworld react to Grant Morrison's criticism of the current comics audience in this week's LITG:

"I don't like how Grant Morrison acts like there's something wrong with people who don't get his work."

"Aaaaah, poor old Grant Morrison. Yeah, Seaguy didn't sell because the audience is too stupid to understand it - it certainly isn't because it was crap or anything! <_< Stop whining, Grant, and produce something decent - like We3, for instance!"

"Strange how I can pick up the metaphor and symbolism in significantly more complex works of literary fiction but failed to get seaguy. Perhaps because seaguy was just...well weird."

"It seems to me that Morrison just cant handle that he wrote an underachieving book in seaguy in regards to sales and popularity. So he has to come up with a reason that it must be the audiences fault through schizophrenia that the book was lacking."

Phil Hall reopens old wounds about the lack of praise for his online comics magazine, Borderline:

"Lots of self-important people hung around the WEF, many of them involved in their own projects and websites, all of whom felt what they were doing was far better than everyone else. One of the car crash elements of the WEF was the forum’s contributors’ ability to ignore the positive and accentuate the negative. This no holds barred forum (if you were a mate of Ellis, all holds barred if you weren’t) was by far the most popular comics place on the Internet (as far as US and UK comics people were concerned) therefore by virtue of the amount of people there the traffic was usually thick, fast and well read... Recently it was suggested to me by a mutual friend of both Warren and me that the general anti-Borderline behaviour on WEF might have been down to the fact the wrong person created the magazine!!!

"Borderline took a very trendy subject, world comics, and made it its own. The thing was (with the exception of Paul Gravett for two issues) no one working on the magazine was regarded as the right person. The WEF should have been the place where this magazine came from, it, after all, had all the right people on it (if not WEF then NinthArt). So instead of supporting it, they might have twisted it around and attacked the people who had the foresight to beat them to it. But that’s idle speculation (albeit, in my head, quite feasible)."

Proof that Chris Arrant is a much better interviewer than I could ever be comes in his new Newsarama piece about Mike Miller's Comic Book Digest. When asked to explain what Comic Book Digest is about, Miller answers "We’ve been trying to come up with a way to produce a new comic magazine that focuses on the quality of the comics medium, rather than on the hype of big-money-mass-market books. Not that we aren’t interested in things that make lots of money and are mass-market, but books like that already have a leg up in the industry, and cover-to-cover coverage in Wizard magazine. We wanted there to be a way that some of these fantastic titles from smaller or even virtually unknown companies can have a chance to shine -- to let customers take a meaty enough chunk of one of these books to really be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to plunk down their 3 bucks for it," before going on to name those "smaller or virtually unknown companies" that'll be promoted in the first issue:

"Comic Book Digest #1 will feature full 8 page comic previews of the following titles: Mike S. Miller's The Imaginaries #1 (DBPro), Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon #118 (Image), Transformers: War Within: The Age of Wrath #1 (Dreamwave), Transformers Generation One #8 (Dreamwave), Deep Sleeper (Image), 100 Girls #2 (Arcana), Point Pleasant #1 (Ape), Gun Fu #3 (Axiom), Raymon E. Feist's The Wood Boy #1 (DBPro), Quantum Mechanics #1 (Image)."

Showing incredible self-restraint, Arrant doesn't reply "Yeah, that Dreamwave is certainly a virtually unknown company. And don't get me started on Image! Why, if only those guys could get some attention..."

Rich Johnston has yet another suspect for the Identity Crisis killer:

"'Nightwing's' 100th issue is rumoured to be his last (though not officially confirmed as such). This has caused a number of people to see it as proof of the rumour that he's the killer from "Identity Crisis." He also follows the classic murder mystery trappings of appearing in the first issue, with a similar trenchcoat worn by the killer, and all the deaths start on the anniversary of his parents' own demise."

Meanwhile, Will Pfeiffer reveals the truth on his new blog:

"I'll talk a lot of comics in this blog (oh, will I ever), but I'm not gonna spill the beans about any industry gossip or secret revelations about upcoming books. This is my job, you know? That being said, I will share this little tidbit: The killer in IDENTITY CRISIS? Ozymandias.

"Now you know."

Newsarama previews Avengers Finale, the very special final episode before Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt join the team:

"For those riding the wave of sheer chaos that this story has been so far, and are waiting for the heart, this is the heart. This is the emotional ending to a very tragic story. This is the very special last episode. The surviving avengers get together one last time to decide what the fate of the Avengers is and how they feel about it... We got [the artists] that we did by a mixture of groveling by me, Tom Brevoort, and Andy Schmidt... Andy got Neal Adams, which was a shocker. Tom got George Perez, which was just incredible, because we felt that we needed both of them to make this a truly special Valentine, because that is what this is, it’s a Valentine to all that has come before us. The rest are artists that each wanted to be part of this, to express themselves here. For those who loved the Ultimate Spider-Man Super Special a couple years back, and are looking forward to the Daredevil Anniversary issue from the art they have seen, this issue is right up there. This is some of the nicest art I’ve ever seen in a Marvel Comic."

Friday, September 17, 2004

Newsarama have the August sales chart. Astonishing X-Men takes the top spot, showing that variant covers help sales, and X-Men: The End is surprisingly the #4 most-ordered book for the month, showing that apparently retailers are mad. I mean, what's that all about?

Brian Hibbs looks at DC and Marvel's ordering policies, and Chuck Rozanski's bias as one of the largest retailers in the country, in this month's Tilting At Windmills:

"I think variant covers send exactly the wrong messages to comics consumers (because, let’s face it, your comics are, in the main, actually worthless as a 'collectible'), and set up a have/have-not division in the market which is extremely unhealthy. Chuck has every right and obligation to seek more benefits and protections for his being one of the top DM retailers – but don’t try to sell that kind of program as being a panacea for the average small store, because that dog just don’t hunt."

Mark Millar tries his best to sell Ultimates 2.

On the title: "Not The Ultimates Volume 2 or V2 or, God help us, Ultimates 2.0. This isn't the second season or anything like that. It's the sequel. This is what X2 was to X-Men. We just want to improve upon what we did in the first year. And yes, I say year with a smirk on my face."

On the covers: "Ish 1 is everybody, issues 2 and 3 are mostly about Banner/ Hulk, issues 4 and 5 are the origin of Thor and issue 6 features an ex-Ultimate with The Defenders so all the covers are appropriate to that. It's great having covers that relate to the comics again, isn't it? What the fuck was all that about??"

On the prospect of his writing Ultimates 3: "I'll be taking six to twelve months off and doing something else for a bit. Just to catch up on oither stuff and recharge. I think I'll have said it all with the sequel. This is better than the original and I doubt I could top it. The ending is as good as I can do, really, so in Summer 06 it's someone else's baby."

Newsarama posters have had it with the spoilers:

"I can understand if the book has come out... but for books that havent even come out yet? This shit is annoying as hell. I think it would be cool if we had ourselves a spoiler section (MATT, YOU READING THIS?) anyway, too many spoiler threads, too much temptation."

"I think that's my problem right there. Not the the spoilers themselves, but the temptation. I am a weak willed comic fan."

"I agree the temptation is great... but I have stayed strong and I DON'T know who is dying in Avengers #502!! I don't know I started frequenting the message boards for spoilers/rumors but I know feel I have been checking out too many spoilers!"

"We need a support group: I CAN'T RESIST SPOILERS!!!"

The Joe Quesada board, noticing that Marvel Knights 4 rises in price to $3.50 in December, prepares to complain:

"Im standing my gorund on the $3.50 price rise. If we buy boos at this price were sending the signal that it's okay to keep on raising the prices . I will go to trade on the $3.50 titles instead. The price rises are getting out of hand now. They are gettign close to being double the price they were 5 years ago."

"Marvel is trying to really rape some folks' wallets in December. This is the month of reckoning for me, when a whole lotta books are gonna get dropped like a bad habit."

"Im dropping the book, I refuse to pay 3.50 for an average comic book and sales do not suck on the book it sells around 45,000 so sales cant be an excuse, honestly, I kinda liked the book, but without McNiven it doesnt seem as great. I am not boycotting Marvel or anything, but a 3.50 price will keep me away from a book, its keeping me away from Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Strange, and if Peter David's Hulk arc is 3.50 I will skip that too. I will drop 4 and spend it on the cheaper, Ultimate FF or FF, and if this is too make up for the poor sales of the Marvel Age books, cancel them, there is no real reason that we fans should have to pay for a companies attempt to try and get new readers in. Im sorry, I love comics, but as a high school student I shouldnt be charged extra for something else that is costing the company money. I dont see Pepsi rising sales on Moutain Dew because some other pop doesnt sell great numbers. Poor move Marvel, just poor."

How does the blogosphere define news? Larry Young asks the question, so that you can all look inside our minds.

Johnny California is feeling a bit proprietarial about his company-owned characters:

"Where is the REAL Superman and what have you done with him?! In the DCU, the Powers-That-Be want Superman to be a limited and easily manipulated factor in their political machine. He’s turned into some kind of adjunct to law enforcement and the military. Captain America isn’t Marvel’s Superman; Superman has become DC’s Captain America. His problem is that he has a reputation to uphold. He’s got to be an example. He’s stupidly let the public define him. If you want to beat Superman, forget about Kryptonite, just hire a PR firm. Superman has been felled by flattery.
Fuck that! Frank Miller had it right!

"His Bruce Wayne didn’t question whether or not it was “healthy” for Robin to fight criminals. He needed a soldier who would die for him. He SHOULD be looking for orphans and the disenfranchised, malcontents and turning them into uncompromising and expendable Caped Crusaders. Does anyone really think that Wonder Woman is a diplomat?!!! Bullshit! She’s a one-woman invading army who has no faith in any of the laws or governments of MANkind that have allowed their people to suffer through nearly perpetual states of warfare and famine and who continue to endlessly pollute the environment.

"Superman was better off when he was an 'urban legend' who did what had to be done and then leapt away before the news crews showed up. These heroes are outlaws who are above the law. They make their own law. WHY DO WE HAVE TO READ THE AUTHORITY AND SUPREME POWER TO GET THIS STUFF?"

Someone tries to explain:

"These characters are corporate trademarks. They'll be used in whatever way Time/Warner decides is most commercially advantageous at the time. If, at some point, they can make more money licensing the versions of the characters you've just outlined, they will."

But California is having none of it:

"For me, Frank Miller really got the essences of the characters right at the end of DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN when Superman asks his daughter what she wants to do with the world. Sure, it can be a little more complicated when telling a story, but the essential dramatic question for any superhero is 'Who do I hit?'"

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Yet more on the return of Bill Jemas:

"Contrary to assumptions and rumors floating around the Internet, 360ep will not be a new comic book publisher, although there may be comics in its future. 360ep is an entertainment property management company. The company will offer representation to intellectual property holders who are looking to license their property to different media and consumer product lines, as well as manufacturers and producers who are looking to license characters and trademarks in order to produce products and/or entertainment vehicles featuring said characters and marks... Boiling it down, 360ep will aid property holders/creators/owners in finding licensing opportunities for their property, while also matching manufacturers that are looking for the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or other hot, or up-and-coming intellectual properties."

"DeMatteis? Ploog? We will crush them like bugs, under foot or heavy machinery!" say Crossgen as they file a response to the creators' legal attempt to get Abadazad back:

"In its response, CrossGen asserted it’s percentage ownership of the property (at least 65%), and stated that according to the contract, the earliest the intellectual property could revert to DeMatteis and Ploog would be five years after August 25th, 2004 – the date of the last collected revenue, and only then upon CrossGen’s recoupment of all costs associated with the property from DeMatteis and Mike Ploog."

Brian Wood and Rob G say hi.

(It's the Fanboy Rampage exclusive - yeah, you heard me, exclusive - preview of The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker, the third Couriers book due at the dawn of next year. Thanks, Larry.)

The Pulse reports that next Tuesday is the deadline for those wishing to bid for Crossgen:

"September 21 has been set as the date for the CrossGen Entertainment initial hearing to determine: 'the deadline by which parties must object to the sale, the bid deadline, the auction date, and the final hearing date, according to CrossGeneration's Senior Vice-President and General Counsel Jennifer Hernandez... 'The sale is a sale of all of the assets of CrossGen except some specific contracts that will be rejected (e.g., our cell phone and server contracts). Once the sale is closed, the funds from the sale will be designated to creditors according to what the secured creditors (Blue Ridge Investors II, LP and Dee Gee Entertainment, LLC) have agreed to. Technically, until the secured creditors are paid in full (a sum of approximately $1.45M), all of the proceeds of the sale and any suits or other actions to recover CrossGen funds would be paid to the secured creditors. In order for unsecured creditors and administrative costs (court, trustee and attorney fees) to be paid at all when the secured creditors have not been paid in full, the secured creditors must agree to allow a portion of the funds (in this instance $500,000.00) to be paid to unsecured creditors and to pay for administrative costs. Typically this occurs, but we do not have an agreement with either secured party as of yet. The unsecured creditors (e.g., employees, freelancers, landlord, American Express, Quebecor, the IRS) are represented by a creditors' committee consisting of representatives of some of the unsecured creditors owed the most money and appointed by the Trustee... After the sale, the bankruptcy case will continue in an effort to obtain additional funds to be paid to creditors.'"

Courtesy of Heidi: Arthur Magazine has an interview with Grant Morrison (called "the 21st Century's Philip K. Dick", which seems oddly fitting) this month, and a Cameron Stewart cover to boot. Thank the Lord for buying things over the internet with Paypal, I say.

(Slightly offtopic: Arthur's edited by Jay Babcock. Am I misremembering, or is that the guy who was behind the original Barbelith annotations site for the Invisibles way back when...?)

The Bendis board gets activist on comics' ass:

"what's the best way to change the general public's idea that 'comic books are for kids and/or nerds' and that 'all comic books involved superheroes in tights'... ? cause this is really starting to get on my nerves... if people just understood that there are TONS of other stuff out there OTHER than superhero comics, stuff that they would most likely enjoy, it would really change a lot... i'm not against superhero comic books, i enjoy them, but i'm just saying that for the general public, superhero comics are probably not their cup of tea, but people need to understand that other stuff DOES exist out there...."

"I actually think the general public would be inclined to read superhero books...look what movies make a lot of money and cds are at the top of the charts."

"Yes, there's still a perception that comics are generally 'kids' stuff.' But you're never going to get to those people. When I worked at Borders, I helped a customer who was convinced I was giving him the wrong book when I showed him 'Maus.' That was a 'cartoon book,' he said; he was looking for a 'serious book.' It's the same sentiment that keeps animated films from being taken seriously by mainstream audiences. You're better off banging your head against a wall than trying to persuade them."

"Well, I haven't read the previous pages but just for the record, I wore my Daredevil shirt to school yesterday and am planning on wearing it regularly. I also started reading the Underboss TPB during break but people were talking about serious stuff so I put it aside. I always have some sort of TPV in my bag though should I am just waiting for that moment when noone has anything important to say and then BAM! Have you read this??? Oh you want me to help you with your English? Well READ THIS!"

MediaSharx takes a dip in the superhero nostalgia pool, comparing the Super Powers figures with the Secret Wars figures:

"DC licensed out the rights to its stash of characters to Kenner, who brought STAR WARS into the toyboxes of every household in America. Unleashing THE SUPER POWERS COLLECTION, which would run for three lines before Kenner killed the line, there were thirty three figures produced, including characters that weren't even in the show, such as Shazam! (Captain Marvel), Dr. Fate, and Green Arrow, plus a score of original characters such as Cyclotron and Golden Pharaoh. For full details of the Collection, including art and line up on the never produced forth wave, visit the extensive archive at Toy Otter. Not to be outdone, Marvel Comics was approached by Mattel to bring the other side of the super hero coin to plastic life (er...kind of a rubbery plastic at least). However, Mattel wanted only Marvel's biggest, guys like Spider-Man and Captain America. Taking it to a level beyond Super Powers, Mattel packaged every toy with a plastic shield and a lenticular image, and to tie it all together - since the closest thing Marvel had to a universe-expansive cartoon was SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS, and that had ended a year prior - Marvel Comics released MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS, a twelve issue maxi-series - the company's second after CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS."

All I'm going to say is this: Super Powers had two Jack Kirby tie-in comics. It wins.

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