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Friday, April 29, 2005

The terrible secret of Mark Millar's Wolverine run revealed:

"Well, In don't want to tread on the toes of Brian [Bendis] and Tom [Brevoort] so I won't say too much, but Agent of SHIELD provides the foundations for Wolverine joining the [Avengers]. We never advertised it as such because I hated the idea of having all that copy on the front cover - it just looks too cheesy when we already have AGENT OF SHIELD plastered everywhere, but yeah, this is where Wolverine comes to the decision... or, more specifically, the decision is kind of made for him. Wolverine has become public enemy number one. He set mutant rights back 20 years with the bad publicity he gave the school. Thus, there's a great deal of atonement necessary... Our Wolverine run ends with a brand new Helicarrier, a very different Hydra, Wolverine in quite a new place, The Hand completely obliterated and a whole new set-up for Elektra. It's been a busy year. But the New Avengers tie-in was on the cards for a while. Of course, now it's selling like hair restorer in Brian Vaughan's neighborhood so I'm really looking forward to the little extra spike this gives us at the end of our run. It's something, quite stupidly, I hadn't anticipated."

It's like that Star Trek episode where Spock has a beard.

Something somewhat random and wonderful - Tom Spurgeon creates a page of links to online information and interviews about Marjane Satrapi:

"This page is intended for fellow journalists and otherwise interested people and will be updated as much as I can manage to do so. I welcome any and all e-mailed contributions additional links and corrections."

Tom Spurgeon: Making the comics internet better.

Still catching up on stuff, JH Williams talks Promethea collections and Grant Morrison collaborations over at Barbelith:

"just thought some of you might like to know that promethea volume 5 is being solicited. the book will contain the entire last story arc from the series. along with this collection there will be a bound in foldout poster version of issue 32 at a reduced size from its original format. this will also be double sided. issue 32 will also be printed in the book in its 'comic' format but for the collected edition all of the pages will be printed rightside up. from what i'm being told the poster will also be in the paperback edition to be made available at a later date. there is also going to be extra art in the form of a new cover, frontice piece, 7 chapter heads, and an end cap piece. also included is a 'how we did it section' written by todd klein and myself. this section should be interesting since it will feature some of the artwork before it was dramatically altered for the final product. hope all of this will interest some of you."

"i actually had a blast working on 7 soldiers zero and i think it shows. it has a lot of energy to it. i've had the opportunity to talk with [Grant Morrison] on the phone a few times now and found him very easy to talk to. i think we relate to things in a lot of similar ways. he very much liked what i did with his story as well and we have been mulling over the idea of possibly doing something creator owned together at some point down the road. it seems like we could really work well together creatively and i look forward to it."

"yes i am going to be doing the final book end [of Seven Soldiers] which i will be starting on very soon. i'm glad that you liked the diverse qualities of the first one because we are going to push that even more with my next part. it's gonna be a lot of fun and very challenging. from what grant has told me he wants to take full advantage of my willingness to try anything and see what happens"

"we are trying our best to get an absolute edition of promethea in the works but i'm not sure if it will happen. at this point the editor is telling me that we have an uphill battle on our hands because, from i can gather, is that the publisher isn't sure that they can sell enough of them to warrant doing it. personally i don't think it will be any problem because i am being asked about it all of the time from many, many people. and i have told the publisher this. are they listening? time will tell. but i do know that if we do get to do an absolute promethea it will be very impressive. the current idea is to have the entire series in one massive volume and reformat everything so every double page spread becomes a single wide page in order to take full advantage of the way its really meant to be seen. and yes it should have all of extra art and other touches that have come with the previous collections, including the unaltered artplus more. in other words this would be the book to end all books. it would showcase the story in a way that would literally reinvent the experience of reading it. which, taking the context of what the series is about, seems highly appropriate. don't you think? so send out your absolute vibes and lets make this happen."

This is what Ed Brubaker sends me in email. I think he's trying to say that the blog isn't sexy enough for him. In other Brubaker news, he talks about his writing method and lets loose his secret comics ambition.

Michael Lark posts to the Bendis Board:

"Who designed Wolverine's hairstyle... I'm drawing him, and I must know. Whoever it is, I hate them."

When someone suggests that it was John Byrne, Lark responds:

"If I was mean, I'd say that would explain why it's such a stupid hairstyle. But I'm not mean."

Of course, then the thread goes into the origin of mullets (Lark explains, which means that Gail may have some threat as the hair guru comic creator) and offers to be drawn into the background crowd scenes in Lark's books...

Those who say that Mark Millar has rape issues, how can you say that when he's so obviously well-balanced?:

"I pitched this to DC for a laugh years back. The idea was that, like Death of Superman, we had Rape of Wonder Woman; a twenty-two page rape scene that opened up into a gatefold at the end just like Superman did.

"They didn't even phone me BACK!!!!!

"Snigger,
MM"

(Thanks, LF)

Every Friday, Joe Quesada gets some space on Newsarama to sell his product:

"You’ve got questions, Joe Quesada’s got answers. Kicking off today, a new weekly feature at Newsarama.com: 'Joe Fridays' a weekly quick interview with Marvel’s Editor in Chief about the week’s news, Marvel issues, and... well, whatever else comes to mind."

(There is this small print at the bottom of the page: "As with any corporation, Marvel Comics does not discuss matters currently in, possibly close to, or potentially in, litigation. This week, Newsararama.com asked Joe Quesada to comment about the House of M/House of Spain issue, and he declined." Also: "Newsarama has offered DC Comics a smiliar opportunity to discusses topical issues and answer questions in a weekly format. The publisher has delicned the offer.")

So, Joe, what's on your mind?

"The concern from those we talked to was that they could sell more copies of Supreme Power if the rating was toned down. What made the argument most compelling was that looking at Supreme Power, there is rarely reason why it has the adult label as JMS and Gary only resort to over the top words or imagery from time to time. So in discussing it with the team, we felt very little would be lost by moving the book out of MAX and into Marvel Knights while improving sales and exposing the book to more readers."

Thursday, April 28, 2005

It's an AiT-PlanetLar PDF-fest, with previews of The Black Diamond/Smoke and Guns up at the AiT site itself, while neo-AstronautinTrouble Josh Richardson gives a preview of Joe Casey's upcoming (and Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture) graphic novel, Full Moon Fever.

Also on an AiT "tip": Matt Fraction presents the script to the never-to-be-seen AiT book Rex Mantooth/SkyApe.

And bringing everything full-circle-ish, Fraction and Full Moon Fever's Joe Casey talk about Frank Miller.

The internet loses its best source of Marvel news (hi Ryan), as Marvel tightens security, posting the following on their retailer e-newsletter:

"(Please Note: The information in this section is for retailers only,
not to be posted on internet news sites. Those posting without
permission will be removed from this mailing.)"

Millarworld reacts as one!:

"well that's a bunch of crap..."

"DOWN WITH THE MAN!!!!!"

"No sir, I don't like it."

"Awwwwww, one more way to endear yourselves to the online community, Marvel."

"But how will Marvel let their fans know about the 18 different House of M #1 variant covers?"

Holy crap, I'm nominated.

But you should all vote for Spurgeon.

Jesus, I go away for a few days and B. Clay Moore leaves Image (as PR Director only; he'll still be writing for them) and gets replaced by Jim Demonakos. Clay?

"Well, the first thing I want to do is refocus on my Image books, working to get things back on schedule. Writing full-time will allow me more time to do that, and will also allow me the freedom to develop more new concepts and ideas at Image, and elsewhere. Ultimately, I'm a writer. And I now have time to devote all of my attention to writing. I plan on publishing through Image for as long as I can do so, but I'll be branching out a bit soon, as well."

Marvel, Stan Lee, kiss and make up. Newsarama tries to join the dots between that and other recent Marvel news:

"Both the announcement of Lee's settlement, and that Marvel has entered into a production deal with Paramount which will see Marvel producing its own movies came hours before Marvel released it's Q1 2005 numbers, which noted a $10 million charge related to the matter. Trying to draw lines between the newsflurry, the deal between Marvel and Paramount, as well as the over $500 million in financing, allowing Marvel to produce its own movies means that movies just became much larger potential profit generators for Marvel than they were previously. With Lee's settlement for all past and future Marvel movies (as mentioned in the Q2 numbers), in place, one could easily assume that Lee will be effectively cut out of this larger profit pie from which Marvel's new role as movie producer could result."

Gail Simone. And Rob Liefeld. On Teen Titans.

God help me, I almost think that this might be fun.

Okay, so it's not Wednesday. I got stuck at the conference for a day longer than expected, at a hotel that had firewalled Blogger. What else do you want me to say? I've only had four hours of sleep, so I'll probably say anything. I'm very suggestable right now.

Friday, April 22, 2005

RAMPAGE!!! - NO MORE!

Okay, maybe not. But there definitely won't be any more blogging here until Wednesday, due to this little thing I have called a "job". So you'll have to supply your own snark until then, I'm afraid...

Ed Brubaker gets nostalgic:

"People talk about today's comics market being great for quality books, and it's true, the mainstream superhero comics are better on the whole than they've ever been, but the market is increasingly smaller and more crowded. Back in the mid-90s, a company could launch a line of books like Grimjack and American Flagg, and do okay, and the stores would actually carry the books. Now the market is so oversaturated that it's simply a crapshoot if a new book or a new company will succeed, even trying to publish genre fare. Back then, it was unheard of for stores to not carry every book Marvel and DC published, too, whereas now, the vast majority of stores only carry the top books, and the rest are left to subscription sales.

"So, I say, let's bring back the rest of the 80s, not just dark superheroes (which I have no opinion about, honestly). Let's have big name creators doing creator-owned books that are not super-heroes even tangentially. And let's have retailers give the stuff a try for a change. We had a more diverse market on a much wider scale back then, and now we just have more superheroes."

There's also a defence of Mike Mayhew and Marvel, praise for gutter space, and preview art to be seen.

DC point and laugh in Marvel's general direction. "House of M hasn't sold out yet, has it? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!" screams Dan Didio, wearing his new Checkmate t-shirt:

"The excitement of COUNTDOWN TO INFINITE CRISIS continues with the early sell-out of VILLAINS UNITED #1 more than two weeks before reaching stores on May 4! Now, DC Comics rushes this issue back to press for a new printing featuring a striking new sketch cover spotlighting The Secret Six by interior artist Dale Eaglesham."

Marvel - Licensing is good to us:

"Marvel Enterprises was the most dramatic gainer in the annual License Magazine list of the Leading Licensors in 2004, moving from #69 in 2003 to #4 last year. The worldwide retail sales of its licensed products rose from $189 million to $4 billion. In addition to building licensing streams around its movies, Marvel plans to develop sub-brands, including Spider-Man and Friends for pre-schoolers, and Marvel Babies for infants. Marvel is also targeting specific international markets for 05, including Latin America, Sourth Korea, Malaysia, and India."

Geek media meltdown:

"The 90-minute season finale of Smallville will also feature an 8-minute preview of Batman Begins. The program will air at 8 p.m. ET, May 18th, on the WB. The movie opens June 17th. This is an unusually long preview to be released so far in advance of the movie; it indicates a high degree of confidence that the footage will stimulate ticket sales."

It's very rare (as in, it's never happened before) that I get email from mainstream publishers, but some nice person at Harper Collins wrote to me today to direct my attention to Foul Play:

"Foul Play! celebrates the fan-favorite creators of E.C. Comics, profiling their artists -- a veritable who's who of mid-20th century popular illustration -- and describing how they came to work with Bill Gaines and how their careers evolved after E.C.. Among the comics art legends profiled are Al Feldstein; Harvey Kurtzman; Johnny Craig; Jack Davis; Graham Ingels; Jack Kamen; Wallace Wood; Joe Orlando; Will Elder; John Severin; George Evans; Al Williamson; Reed Crandall; Bernie Krigstein; and more! Plus, the book includes a special bonus: a lost E.C. Comics story 'Wanted for Murder!' originally intended to be published in 1956 but forgotten and unseen until now.

"When originally published, E.C. Comics titles like Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and Weird Science became best-selling titles, embraced by readers for their macabre wit and stunning illustration. Eventually, E.C. Comics ran afoul of a full Senate Subcommittee investigating (but never proving!) the link between comic books and juvenile delinquency, but not before winning a legion of fans that still treasure E.C.'s output. Foul Play! demonstrates -- in glorious, gory detail -- exactly why these are among the most beloved comics stories ever published."

Apparently, Grant Geissman, the author of the book, is going to be interviewed on a radio show called Comic Time next Tuesday at 5pm EST. So now you know.

Brian Michael Bendis announces a change for Powers #12, as a lack of change for his current sense of style:

"so i went to the eye doctor today.... and it aint good news. at least FOUR MORE MONTHS of healing time [from Bendis's kid poking him in the eye, thereby damaging the eye and forcing him to have to wear an eyepatch]. FOUR FUCKING MONTHS LIKE THIS!! how does this effect you? not much. i'm just bitching. only thing i'm not going to get to do that i wanted to do is full art on my powers chapter in issue 12. which i am so annoyed about. i can put he pages down in pencil but inking blows my eye right out of my head after a few hours, so mike is going to do it for me, so i did a story polish on his excellent chapter and hes making the book look like professionsls actually did it.

"basically it'll be this forty page powers story with consistant look instead of flipping back and forth style like we planned on. but i will hint that because we are on deena's first outting as an officer in this issue look for many many call backs including olympia and other heroes from powers yesteryear.

"oh and if you see me riding my bike on the sidewalk could you NOT YELL AT ME FOR DOING IT, I HAVE ONE EYE YOU HIPPIE MUTHER FUCKER!!! I CAN'T RIDE IN THE STREET!! ahem... thank you."

Warner Bros releases the first official picture of Brandon Routh as Superman. Noted Superman critic Mark Millar offers his learned commentary:

"I'm not sure how I feel about this at all. My first reaction was that he looked like an action figure. Why would Superman wear something that looks like kevlar when he's a million times more indestructable than kevlar? My second reaction was that the colours were too dark, but they've really grown on me and even the little 'S' and the weird belt kind of works because it reminds me of the Fleisher cartoons and those odd, forties toys where they never got Superman's costume quite right. After a couple of minutes, I really think I like it and I think his build is absolutely fine. Superman shouldn't be built the way they've drawn him in the comics over the last fifteen years. He's how going to pull of the klutzy Kent thing if he's built like Arnie?

"My only complaint is that his hair is a little long. I think Superman should have a short back and sides with a floppy fringe at the front where his curl is. The only other thing that chills me a bit is the belt buckle and why we have the redundant second symbol there on the costume. But then it struck me. It's so they can sell belts. It's so they can have the logo on another piece of merchandise and that scares me because it makes me think the black costume in space rumours are true for all the little toys they want to sell. we're lucky that the first movie predated Star Wars and such things weren't taken into account when they were lifting this stuff straight from the comic-book page.

"But he looks better than Dean Cain. And I like the subdued red and blues. And he looks a lot less like a rapist than he did in the publicity shots a few months ago where he was eyeing up even the most casual web-browser. I think I'm still cautiously optimistic.

"I just wish he'd get a haircut."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mark Millar wants you to read his Ultimate Fantastic Four:

"It's non-stop and probably the most unselfconscious thing I think I've ever written. It's just a good comic and will pretty much round out the rest of my Marvel contract. I'm up in the autumn and, if anything, would only have time for a short project after this. But there's a very good chance this'll be my last company-owned thing for a long time. Wolverine, Ultimates 2, Marvel Knights Spidey, and this one-year run on Ultimate FF are all books I'm really pleased with this year, but this is the only one I can really show to my kid."

Tom Spurgeon talks about comic critiquing:

"I'm not sure I have personal feelings against a style of comics, although I certainly have preferences and they might have been strong enough preferences when I was a teenager to manifest themselves as feelings. One great thing about being around for a bunch of years is that you can go back to stuff you disliked when you were younger and you may see them in a kinder light. In general, I think it's perfectly acceptable to critique a comic based on its use of a style you don't care for, as long as you have something interesting to say about why you don't like it and why others should consider sharing your opinion. Being a coward is good, too. There are some comics that I like and comics I dislike for reasons I haven't yet figured out yet, so I avoid writing about those comics. I've never understood Lil' Abner."

"Internet personality" Abhay on DC's current retcon fever:

"its a particular kind of embarassment-- the aging Baby Boomer comic fan who has decided that comics are 'important' not because they are but because they liked them and therefore, as a result, they must be important for them to have liked them. that's the impression i get off it, anyway. its an adolescent kind of urge, to me, that 'comics are all grown up!!!!' thing you only really get from teenagers or desparate middle aged single dudes (i.e. me in two years). grant morrison destroyed it beautifully in flex mentallo, but ...

"there's no need to explain why silver age comics are goofy. it's not even a bad thing that they're goofy. they just are. and even spending time addressing it-- who would care BUT FOR the aging, dwindling, decrepit fan base? why should the Average Person care? its not for them. its nerdbait.

"dc, its like-- it seems to be engaged in this weird purge of anything amusing or charming from its history in order to be the 'dark high stakes people' which... just be the 'dark high stakes people'!! just be that! the purge is unnecessary. its silly. and it undercuts their goal because... you're not going to be the dark high stakes people by killing/raping/mutilating d-list characters... and if you do dark high stakes stuff PROPERLY, by actually raising the stakes in some way, rational people won't be sitting there going 'this contradicts a comic from the silver age.'

"but noone's doing that because maxwell lord is the shittiest imagineable villain-- all superman has to do is go into outer space and cave his fucking head in with heat vision. the end. its an idiot stick plot-- the only reason he's all that capable-seeming is he's fighting idiots, all the other characters are carrying the idiot stick...that's not raising the stakes..."

The House of M - Brought low by the King of Spain:

"The news about the swipe of Juan Carlos I [A portrait of Magneto for House of M is very clearly ripped-off of/traced from a portrait of Carlos], the king of spain has been on TV and one of the main newspapers of Spain, La Vanguardia, published today: (I'll translate the best I can) The Royal house studied yesterday with its legal assistants how to get Marvel to withdraw the art from its webpage and rectify the character designs. How far will this go?"

"If true I guess they only have themselves to blame, if it hadnt been such a direct copy of the origional image this wouldnt have been a problem. Though I doubt they have much of a case, its not his face and the medals have probably been awarded to others, and the uniform looks military formal wear, probably used by many high ranking officials, they should have changed the background pattern though, thats just lazy."

"there you have it boys and girls. Marvel are now officially screwed. If those pics are copyrighted. Which they seem to be."

"It wasn't a great idea of Marvel to use the portrait and uniform of a spanish king for a mass murderer"

"I realy hope someone gets their ass handed for this. There's no excuse for the level of lazyness in that image, and both the original photographer (owner of the copyright?) and the Royal Family should sue."

The Brian K. Vaughan board faces its own mortality:

"Sometimes at night, I lay awake in bed and wonder what is going to become of my comic book collection when the fateful day comes that I shuffle off this mortal coil. I've been collecting comics for about 20 years now, and have amassed quite a staggering amount of the damned things, and have no idea what should be done with them in the event of my death. Be buried with them? Viking funeral pyre? Leave them for the kids? Donate them to charity? Shoot them into space? I have no idea!"

"Go to my kids with the threat that I'll come back and haunt them until death, if they try and hock them for beer money."

"No kids, so I'd split them between my nephew (anything suitable for him) and my friends (they can fight over the rest). Watchmen is coming in the casket with me though, same as American Gods. What? I'll need something to read while I wait around in purgatory."

"Mine will be turned into a giant papier-mache coffin, which I will then be buried in. So long as it doesn't rain at my funeral..."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Discussion about Young Avengers again turns to discussion about gay characters in superhero books, over at Newsarama:

"Let's see, over in Ultimate X-Men, Colossus has a crush on Longshot and comments on how nice his boots are. In Runaways, there was an old-fashioned love triangle, except the one girl wasn't pissed that a boy liked another girl, but that another girl liked a boy. And now hulking and thorling (or whatever) are boyfriends? Christ. It's a good thing the 616 amazing spider-man wasn't rebooted a few years ago, or else Peter Parker would be traumatized for life over Flash Thompson being thrown off a bridge by the Green Goblin"

"Gee. . .That's 2 books with Gay characters. TWO. Out of how many? How many gay characters are there in Astonishing X-Men? New X-Men? New Avengers? Did I miss the gay characters in New Thunderbolts? Phoenix: Endsong? X23? Fantastic Four? ANY of the Spider Man titles? How about Daredevil? The Pulse? Strange? She Hulk? Seriously. Your agenda is showing. You can start complaining when we get Gay scenes in comics on par with the stuff seen in Alias and Avengers #71. Ok?"

"So you're against young people in comics be presented as homo-sexuals? Or that's there's too many?"

"Personally I'm hoping Hulkling is either a girl or everyone is wrong and read into their relationship because it's so predictable these days in all forms of entertainment. The fact that so many people were thinking this even though he Heinberg didn't intentionally mean to put that out there proves my point about it being predictable."

"I can’t stand how gays are used in the media. I hope Hulkling isn’t gay. To me it’s used way to often for cheap shock value or they are presented as cartoony stereotypes (except Apollo and Midnighter. I love their relationship). You can bash me for my opinion and say I have an agenda or that I’m homophobic even though you know NOTHING about me or my life other than this one opinion, or we can be adults who disagree."

Marvel do Dollar Digests, figuring that it's time to let those little-known series get their day in the sun:

"Marvel Comics already has a successful high-end Masterworks program and an affordable phonebook Essentials program for fans of their classic early stories. But now readers on a real tight budget can get in on the action too. In July Marvel is offering six new dollar digests to the direct market with a suggesting retail price of $1.00. These b&w, newsprint 4-7/8 x 6-9/16 are not Marvel’s standard digest format. Each volume is 64 pages and according to the publisher contains approximately three classic Marvel Comics stories, some perhaps abridged to fit the format."

It's all the usual: Amazing Fantasy/Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Fantastic Four, yadda yadda yadda.

I genuinely love that Mark Millar is such a Superman fanboy:

"I was really excited about [Bryan Singer's Superman] flick, but all the info online has me nervous, I have to admit. Brandon Routh looks okay, though a little sleazy, skinny, young and, as my daughter says, his eyebrows are too bushy to be Superman. Lois, I think, is inspired casting. She looks like a Joe Shuster drawing come to life and is pretty much close to perfect if you're going for that particular look.

"What has me worried, though is the space-ship parked beside Ma Kent's house, the rumours of the black Superman costume for when he's in space, the bad hair and semi-kiss-curl in the photos we've seen on the banners outside the hospital, the possibility they're using some stuff from the Death of Superman story, the love-triangle swiped straight from Spidey 2 (where the hero's love interest is shagging the newspaper guy's son) and the fact that Superman and Lois both look twenty after being apart for five years (and they both looked forty when we last saw them).

"It's hard to get TOO worried because so much of this stuff is just internet rumour, but I do feel a little twinge of fear with every leak that I absolutely didn't feel with Batman Begins. Singer has a really good track record and his influences are impeccable, but I've got to admit my spider-sense is tingling a bit. Add to this the fact that Kevin Spacey hasn't made a decent movie in a long, long time and I just don't know. Any else feeling this way?"

It's heartwarming to see writers go all Newsarama poster, isn't it?

"I think [Kevin Spacey]'ll do the boring BUSINESSMAN Luthor that doesn't have the complexity of the Bates/ Maggin/ Red Son Luthor someone like Malkovich could have pulled off perfectly with that insectoid intelligence. I think he'll be smirking at the audience the whole time and playing up the least interesting parts of the character. Hope I'm wrong, but have my doubts.

"And you're absolutely on the money with Routh/ John Major-- right down to that odd flesh moustache he seems to have hanging over his top lip. He looks okay as Clark Kent, though needs to beef up a little for Superman. I think I'll feel better once someone disproves all the black costume for space crap, Superman parking his rocket at the Kent farm, etc. Batman, on the other hand, looks 100% perfect."

Wondering where Highway 62's Matt Maxwell is these days? James Sime has the answers:

"They say you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs and comic book self-publishing is no different. Industry personality and journalista Matt Maxwell has spent the past year and a half bashing his way through obstacles by the dozen to get his self-published western-horror hybrid Strangeways into the hands of the people, and he's taken his share of busted noses and blackeyes to prove it. But Maxwell refused to let the flurry of sucker punches, sharp left hooks, and knockout roundhouses deter him from making his dream a reality, and with the eventual solicitation of Strangeways a mere handful of months away he's standing strong where lesser men would have stayed down for the count. And in his wake he has left behind a path of knowledge that is more valuable than gold, with some of the most critical and important self-publishing information from members of the comic industry's wisest self publishers ever committed to the internet. If you're looking at getting into that self-publishing brawl... you're going to need to go through The School of Hard Knocks first. And Maxwell is going to take you through every stinking gym he knows of to get you there."

Neil Gaiman reveals the Julie Schwartz Memorial Lecture's home:

"I'm delighted to announce that the Julie Schwartz memorial lecture will be happening at MIT, and will be organised by the Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program (currently Prof. Henry Jenkins). According to the letter I just received on this, individuals wishing to contribute to the Julie Schwartz Memorial Lecture Fund should make cheques out to MIT, with a note saying it's for the Julie Schwartz Memorial Lecture Fund, and should be sent to Anne marie Michel, Assistant Dean for Development, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, MIT, Rm E51-257, 77 Massachusetts Av, Cambridge MA 02139-4307. (And it's always worth pondering what the world of media would have been like without Julie in it.)"

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

DC offers Ex Machina for free:

"Readers can sample one of WildStorm's most exciting new titles for FREE with the EX MACHINA SPECIAL EDITION #1 (PROM60067), scheduled to arrive in stores on May 4! This special edition reprints the Eisner Award-nominated debut issue of EX MACHINA, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Tony Harris & Tom Feister. It features a sensational brand-new sketch cover by Harris."

Rick Veitch spills the beans on possible editorial troubles within the Superman books:

"One of the odd things about doing the Question was that it was a Wildstorm book edited on the West Coast, but its set in the heart of DC continuity so the New York office should have been intimately involved... We had our original planning meetings in New York, but after that it seemed like there was a big disconnect. There was no coordination between the creators and publishing. Tommy and I didn't even know Superstorm was in trouble until the first issue of Question was ready to roll out! Right now the only other Superstorm book that I know of that is on track is the 'Luthor' mini by Brian and Lee that's just started coming out. It gets deeper into Luthor's plans for the Spire. There was also supposed to be a 'Vigilante' series by Micah Wright, but he got let go. I don't know what's going on with that. And originally Jim and Brian were planning a 'Superman' arc that would show Luthor trying to kill Superman with the Spire to cap everything. But whether or not that's going to happen is really a question for those guys."

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction feel sorry for Creator Q:

"I do think there's some pressure with being a Big Name in the mainstream. I've even heard a professional or two I respect verbalize it. But there's a pressure to stay on that treadmill. To keep feeding the machine. Pressure from fans, from retailers... hell, from the publishers and those in power there. What they want from Creator Q... as opposed to what's the most creatively rewarding to Creator Q. In practical terms... no one much cares that Jim Lee even attempted a book like DIVINE RIGHT, but they do fucking circus backflips when he does BATMAN. And with all the success he's had on the big franchise characters (not to mention the explosion that'll undoubtedly occur when Frank Miller is writing the scripts), I still say that if Jim did DIVINE RIGHT II or some other left-of-center, creator-owned endeavor... the response would be muted, at best. And, the majority of fans, retailers and even fellow professionals would be asking, 'When's Jim going back to Batman?' Hell, DC probably doesn't want Jim mucking around on creator-owned work. Why would they, when they can make bucket loads of money when he draws Superman or Batman?

"I don't necessarily think it's a broken system, per se. I'm just pointing out that it exists. Writing the big, franchise characters or spearheading some mega-crossover Event can definitely be good fun, if that's where your headspace as a creator is at that time. But to be somehow -- albeit subtly -- cornered into doing just that because Creator Q has worked his way up the ranks... I dunno. Seems a little... off to me."

Newsarama reports Fanboy Radio reporting Paul Jenkins talking about the start of another Marvel franchise featuring the same old characters:

"Paolo [Rivera] and I are working on a book for Marvel that's actually going to be a two or three year labor of love that's called Mythos. The idea was - Tom Brevoort, who is such a great editor, called me up and said that 'we'd like to do something along the lines of Origin - like Origin of Wolverine.' In Origin, we got to chance to make up the story but in this case the stories are already sitting out there - which is basically the origin of all of the major Marvel characters. Now, I'm not going to mess with them. Of course they've already been done and they're already been done perfectly because the perfect origin is the ones in the first appearance of the character... And then they have this contradictory set of information which is the films. And that is really, whether we like it or not, that's really where most people's level of awareness of the characters is... Well, more people have seen the movie than read the comic for any of those characters - the future films as well. So what I put on myself and Paolo was, we would take the origin that Stan had created and we would mesh that origin into a painted version. So we would do a painted version of the origin of the X-Men, a painted version of the origin of Spider-Man. And we'd stay very very true to what Stan had done, but we'd incorporate the better elements of the films and then we would throw in a piece of ourselves as well. It might be one of the hardest books I've ever written but we're pretty much finish with the first issue. Every time an issue is done they'd solicit it and come with it. We're going to do at least eight. If we get some success and people really like it, then we'll continue on with all the characters in the universe."

Millarworld concerns itself with why anthologies "don't work" in America:

"2000AD, Dredd Megazine, Metal Hurlant, etc - its obviously popular in Europe and was en vogue back in the 50s and 60s (Showcase, Tales to astonish, etc)...what happened? I mean technically you get more stories for your $$$ - a common complaint againts the current crop of north american comics. Is it because we have yet to see a modern day anthology book by our top creative talents. I got some Dredd Megazine back issue and they featured works by Diggle, Jock, Alan Moore, Davis, John Wagner, etc...a mix of new stuff and classic reprints..what more can you ask for? You also get diversity...various genres and characters...again this addresses a common complaint amongst comic fans. Liam Sharp is producing mam Tor..will it catch on? Why is the North American audience turned off by this format? or maybe it just hasent seen A-list talent in a while.. Thoughts?"

"The biggest problem is that in the states when anyone does an anthology, most folks construct them as a dumping ground for submission stories of d list characters. The biggest failure of books like Action Comics weekly, Marvel Comics presents, Showcase 93-96 and Batman Chronicles is that after the first year the companies hired assistant editors to write the books to fill space. Another problem is that there is not a lot of A list talent that want to do the anthology. You can get them when you start, but after a while Chuck Austen will have to show up with his file cabinet droppings. See his issues of X Men unlimited if you doubt this. The only anthology that had a better quality to crap ratio was Dark Horse Presents, which had Sin City, Hellboy, Monkeyman & O'Brian, Next Men, The Goon the Mask, and Concrete made their debuts or notable stories in addition to some of the early works of Steve Niles, Ed Brubaker and Paul Chadwick among others. Third problem, the editors of most anthologies do not make the effort to develop new talent during their time on the book. For every Devin Grayson, Jae Lee, Greg Rucka, and Sam Kieth, you had a lot of weak talent doing meaningless stories for a check. Also you need to have an A list Character as your common headliner for said anthology. Solo for all it's quality has a problem because the selling point is the creator, not the characters. The reason Marvel Comics Presents has Wolverine in almost every issue because it made the book last seven years and why Batman Chronicles lasted almost six years. also X men unlimited ran for 10 before it ended. So what it boils down to is that anthologies can work, but you need Batman or the X Men to make them work because the market has no interest in them otherwise."

"I feel that North American anthology titles are doing very well--perhpas not in terms of sales, but certainly in terms of quality. Regular anthology titles, including Drawn & Quarterly, Krammer's Ergot and Blood Orange, for example, always offer a diverse look at the best of new comics. 'Special occassions,' meanwhile, such as last year's McSweeney's #13, are often exceptional. So I think we have alot to celebrate with our anthologies! Why they're not more popular...well, that's a dilly of a pickle!"

"How about....MARK MILLAR PRESENTS!! Or some other A lister. You all know as was talked about previously you have to have a big name creator or character because of how the market works. You get a big name to headline the anthology and maybe even co-edit and get some of his cronies to do stories and we got a best seller!!"

The Bendis Board get nervous about Marvel's upcoming Defenders series:

"It's not secret that I'm a big Namor fan, and I'm also a huge Silver Surfer fan, and I love both of these characters in the best, most platonic way. I think they're two of the most interesting, and serious characters in the Marvel universe. Silver Surfer is the ultimate faux-philisophical character with a body as cold as steel, but a heart of gold. I consider him one of the major players in the Marvel universe, and have been utterly disappointed with his hiatus, and further disappointed with his most recent series treatment. It really fell flat, which is a shame, because I actually enjoyed the on-going that came before it, prior to it's cancellation. Namor, as everyone should know, was starring in the recently axed (and it's all your fault for not buying) New Invaders. He's a monarch, an absolute power house, and again, one of the most important characters in the Marvel universe. Somewhat mistreated here and there, but has had a pretty good run over the years. Dr. Strange and the Hulk, also huge chunks of the so-called, 616. Make no mistake, I'm also big fans of these guys, but Silver Surfer and Namor are where my heart is, so I've nailed them to my point. I'm just really concerned about taking these guys in the comedic route. Is this a safe option? Is this going to exponentially damage their characters? I mean, look what happened to Blue Beetle. Apparently history and breeding (Ditko) don't protect anyone from the marr of comedy. So, are my concerns founded, or even shared? I look forward to the series a great deal, and have done since hearing the announcement, but I can't help but feel extremely nervous..."

"piss on your namor... i bet the silver surfer becomes queen of antlantis..."

"I can understand your concern, but I disagree. These characters are vastly different from Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. They, like you said, are powerhouses and even when handled in a comedic manner, have returned in a serious manner. While I think that Namor would be better suited in a book with the calibur of New Avengers, or a solo series where he actually grows as a character, I still think this book will do well and do nothing but make the characters look better when it's all over."

"I'm cool with the comedy route.Their take on Namor is the one thing that could concern me."

Monday, April 18, 2005

CBR has the Marvel solicits, which start with a bang:

* From the House of M #3 solicit: "The last page of this issue will blow your minds and crack the Internet right in half!" Holy shit! Crack the internet right in half? Wow! Hopefully the split-in-half-internet will be able to deal with the next stunning issue: "The fate of the entire world rests on the shoulders of one young girl, the newest of new mutants, Layla Miller. She is about to become the most important person in the Marvel Universe and this is her first appearance." She may even be as important as Arana and X-23!

* The Pulse has a House of M special issue: "THE PULSE: HOUSE OF M SPECIAL EDITION is the ACTUAL newspaper from the HOUSE OF M! Your best source for late-breaking-survival! Packed to the gills with House of M secrets you can't get anywhere else. Contains exclusive art and text." Anyone remember when DC did a "real" issue of the Daily Planet to tie in with Invasion? Even at the age of 14, I realized that it meant that the Daily Planet may be the shittiest newspaper ever.

* Truth in marketing at the end of the latest Cable/Deadpool solicit: "(Part 3 of 3 - even though it really does continue into the next issue...)"

* The Formerly Known as the Justice League creative team's Defenders mini launches: "Wong possessed by Nightmare! Dormammu and Umar in unholy alliance! The Hulk and the Sub-Mariner at each other's throats! The Silver Surfer...uh...surfing. Can Doctor Strange reunite the Defenders and save 'Reality As We Know It?' Come to think of it, can editor Andy Schmidt save the Marvel Universe from Eisner-award-winning creators Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire? Only the Ancient One knows for sure!"

* Giant-Size Spider-Woman. Giant-Size Spider-Woman. "To know her is to fear her! In celebration of the original Spider-Woman's triumphant return in the pages of NEW AVENGERS comes this colossal collection of classic tales - plus a brand-new 8-page story by NEW AVENGERS scribe BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS and artist RICK MAYS (ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP)! Featuring the super-heroine sensation's nerve-numbing first appearance and origin in MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #32 (February 1977); the premiere issue of her solo series, SPIDER-WOMAN #1 (April 1978); and the first appearance of Siryn, featuring the X-Men and Nick Fury, from SPIDER-WOMAN #37-38 (April/June 1981)." Has the world gone mad?

* John Romita Sr. gets what's coming to him: "MARVEL VISIONARIES: JOHN ROMITA SR. HC... Jazzy John and Marvel's Mightiest together in stories that made them both famous! The coming of the communist-hunting Captain America! Peter Parker's parents in perilous predicaments! The first of the final face-offs between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin! The debut of the Devil's Daughter! Also featuring the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Nick Fury, Wolverine, the Kingpin and more! Includes rarely seen horror tales from the pre-Marvel era! Collects STRANGE TALES #4; MENACE #11; YOUNG MEN #24, 26; TALES TO ASTONISH #77; TALES OF SUSPENSE #77; DAREDEVIL #16 and 17; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #39, #40, #42, #50, #108, #109 and #365; FANTASTIC FOUR #105 and 106; CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON #138; VAMPIRE TALES #2; and UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN MINUS 1."

* John Byrne wins: "AVENGERS WEST COAST: VISION QUEST... See how one of comicdom's most recognizable talents remade the West Coast Avengers: The readjustment of the Vision! Ancient secrets of humanity revealed! The Scarlet Witch's first step into the descent of madness that disassembled the Avengers! Introducing the Great Lakes Avengers and featuring the triumphant return of one of Marvel's hottest golden age greats! Battles, betrayals and the bizarre as only Byrne could bring you! Collects AVENGERS WEST COAST #42-50." "Most recognizable"? Interesting choice of compliment.

* Combat Zone: True Tales of GIs in Iraq is solicited, as a TPB instead of an OGN. Because, of course, Marvel doesn't do OGNs.

* And finally, all those of you who have been waiting for Essential Killraven... this is your month.

In the words of Meat Loaf, "I would do anything for love... but I won't do that." Especially if the "that" in question involves, for example, jumping out of a moving plane. Call me a believer in science if you must, but I still have the fear that no parachute in the world is 100% guaranteed to bring me to earth safely, and anyway, I get scared going up too far in those glass elevators, I'm so scared of heights. Luckily, Larry Young has no such compunctions.



As if knowing how to guarantee that I'd never ever do anything similar to this, Larry relays the following story: "Mimi and her tandem jumper's chute was packed incorrectly, and their lines were briefly twisted causing the chute to inflate in three yanks instead of the smooth and expected one. 'What was that?' Mimi said. 'We're safe NOW,' came the reply."

That would be the point where I'd start screaming like a little baby, I'll tell you that right now.

Millarworld considers the possibility of an Ultimate/Regular Marvel crossover in Ultimate Fantastic Four:

"I'm all for Ultimate Reed meeting other dimensional Reeds, but hopefull not the 616 one, as I always thought of the Ultimate line being a seperate line and not part of the normal mutiverse."

"I don't think it's so much people are against Ult. Reed meeting an Alt. Reed, just so long as it's not the reg. Marvel Reed. Hopefully Marvel will *never* have the two meet up in any way, shape, or form. Also hopefully this won't be hyped up to the point where people are disappointed no matter *what* Reed it is a la the death in Wolverine #25."

"I'm going to whine like a fanboy so please bear with me. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO please GOD let this be a ruse. 616/Ultimate U. should never EVER happen. I DREAD the thought that this may lead to th dreaed Ultimatization of the Marvel U. A 12 year old Spiderman??? A 'we-are-the world' the X-Men??? Only redeeming quality of the Ultimate U. is the Ultimates, but still... I don't like this at all. We'll see."

"How is Ultimate Reed meeting a non-MU Reed any different really than him meeting the MU Reed? No, really, how is different? Because, you know, it's really not. Alternate reality is alternate reality. Besides, if it's been established that MU Reed has had contact with all sorts of other alternate Reeds why would this one matter at all any more than the others? Oh wait, it's because these involve ongoing characters and such. That makes sense. Or no it doesn't."

Greg Rucka is talking OMAC Project again:

"At the start you've got Checkmate and Max going 'we have a problem,'... 'He found us and we don't know who he told or who's coming for us and I'm not ready yet.' On the other side you've got people going, 'Where the hell is Beetle.' They don't know he's dead. There's an argument in the law that says you can't have a murder unless you have a body. In fact you can't even have a murder unless you have the head."

He also talks about the future of Gotham Central:

"What we're looking at right now is we have it planned out through about issue #40. We're going to see how things play out. I will say that Ed, Michael, and I worked on the book together for a real long time and loved it very, very much. And Ed and Michael needed to pursue the career choices that they have pursued; doing so for the best of reasons and I honestly believe for their benefit. I think they have made the right choices and changed the status quo. As a result of that were looking at 'Central' and going, 'Well, let's see how it works.' Right now it's going forward and right now we're doing everything we can to make sure it stays there."

James Sime's Comic Pimp returns, talking about the winner of the Isotope Mini Comics Award 2005:

"Winning the Isotope Award is all about grabbing the spotlight, holding it for an entire year, and representing the world of mini-comics as righteously as you are able. It's a heavy responsibility but one our previous winners have lived up to beyond all expectations and one look at the work of this year's winner and it's pretty apparent that Daniel Merlin Goodbrey is going to be representing for the world of mini-comics in a big, big way... Goodbrey's 'The Last Sane Cowboy' is something beautiful to behold. It's not the art, the packaging, or the bells and whistles that make Goodbrey's work so jaw-dropping. It's the sheer potential of mad ideas at work here that will leave your head swimming and your good comic nerve-center stimulated. 'The Last Sane Cowboy' is set in Goodbrey's Unfolded Earth, the surreal land of stretched, folded, and unfurled reality and of pure, unadulterated imagination, it's a place of fever dream high strangeness of the likes you have never seen before and it is a place that once you visit you will never want to leave. Into this off-kilter setting Goodbrey has set a western tale of a girl who must save her brother who is trapped in a fish bowl in a town called Insanity. Somehow with 'Last Sane Cowboy' he manages to pack an allegory of Orpheus' decent into Hades, a wild west yarn, the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, and a gigantic talking scorpion into the pages of a mini-comic with a sense of Grant Morrisonish fun. And most importantly of all, he also manages to entertain the hell out of you while he does it."

Somewhat oddly, Newsarama runs a story telling people that they can sign up to Newsarama:

"Want to be part of the one of the fast-growing and most active comic book communities on the Internet? Regular readers of Newsarama.com are reminded that registration to our message boards is free, fast, and easy. Not only can fans comment on the comic book news of the day as soon as it breaks and on the industry's timeliest interviews and previews, they can also create THEIR OWN topics and threads on the FULLY interactive Talk@Newsarama and Reviews boards. It’s ALL on topic at Talk@Newsarama, Newsarama’s version of ‘Open Mic Night’. Comic books, movies, TV, politics, pop culture … whatever is on the mind of YOU the fan."

Friday, April 15, 2005

DC would like to boast that killing Ted Kord apparently makes good business sense:

"The publisher has confirmed for Newsarama that The OMAC Project #1, the 6-issue monthly 'Countdown to Identity Crisis' limited series (and first of 4 'Crisis' related minis) by Greg Rucka and Jesus Saiz has already sold out through Diamond Distributors, this despite the issue not going on retail sale until April 20th and an 'aggressive' overprint by the publisher of nearly 50% above retailer initial orders. For readers still confused as to how an issue that doesn’t go on sale to fans for 5 days can be sold-out, this means comic book retailers have ordered all the non-returnable copies of the issue DC printed. The complete pre-release retailer sell-through is reportedly based largely on heavy reorder activity by comic shops in response to their customers' reception of the Countdown to Infinite Crisis 80-page special. Expect an official announcement of a second printing by DC early next week."

Richard Starkings talks digital lettering:

"When other letterers were predicting doom and gloom in the nineties, we caught the next wave and are already on the lookout for the next one coming in. Although I occasionally miss pen lettering, I can always pick up a pen and letter up a storm. And I heartily recommend that digital letterers keep their hand in, so to speak. There's nothing like warming type with the living hand. But digital lettering has undoubtedly revolutionized comic books and helped keep them affordable for publishers, independent creators and readers alike. And we're happy to continue to be of service!"

Johanna has some more thoughts on how creators should sell comics at cons:

"If I pass your book by, it's not because I hate you. I may have already thrown my back out trying to carry too many comics back to my room. I may have just enough money left to drive home. I may not care for the genre you're working in. Don't try to guilt or harrass me into giving you money."

Tom Spurgeon gives some of his thoughts on the Eisner nominations:

"Wait [shaking my head vigorously] I get their plan! These nominations are not just unimaginative, they're not very good, but they lull you to sleep so you don't feel particularly disapointed. Apparently, the leading light of the medium in its full flowering is a comic book about a superhero mayor. This is a perfectly fine comic book, clever and with stylish art, and one that I can read without having to keep picking it up where I threw it, but --- zzzzzzz. What? Shit!"

Neil Kleid discovers Blue Beetle's last email:

"After years of ridicule I finally got a featured walk on in BIRDS OF PREY which is like a good cameo on SEX AND THE CITY and they started to position me as smart again... until BOOM. Some shmuck in Chicago resurrected GI JOE and all of a sudden the eighties were hot and I was back to bwahaha country. I've been doing this not-quite-Batman song and dance for years and it shows no signs of getting easier. I'm tired, Joe. Tired and fed up.

"Last week, I got a call from Greg Rucka asking if I'd like to be in this spy thing he's doing. I read QUEEN AND COUNTRY. I know the score. So I signed on. But I'm hearing things, Joe. 'Last hurrah.' Walking papers for Mama Kord's little scientist. I'm not stupid. I ran a company, I know about forced retirement. I've heard the Jim Shooter stories.

"I won't be Defiant Comics, Joe. I won't."

Rebellion to take up where DC left off:

"While DC may have decided to stop their involvement in the publishing program, Rebellion is certainly not shutting everything down... The books will continue to be sold in the US, with Rebellion providing marketing and information to Previews etc. Given that DC's American marketing was almost non-existent, this should have no effect on the American presence. With Rebellion getting behind it, this could well increase the effect of the books on the marketplace."

(Via Heidi.)

Remember ADD's... um... dislike for Clifford Meth? Well, Mike Netzer - whose portrait of ADD was, until yesterday, gracing ADD's blog - has some words on the topic:

"First off Alan, your childish criticisms of Clifford's spelling and use of metaphors only reflect badly on yourself and are not worthy of the good enterprise you stand behind. Most people understand the difference between the words 'sighting' and 'citing', as I'm sure you do. Most people also don't need an explanation for a statement like '...And at home, I had two in diapers.' Most people understand the writer is speaking about children. The schoolyard tactics in this piece makes it smell like shit, right from the start... The bottom line here, Alan, is that Clifford Meth is a human being who expects to be treated as such, as we all do. His passion for this simple issue is what drives him to help his fellow creators in the comics. Clifford Meth has done more to make this industry better for the creators, than the collective career of of many good people in the industry, who can't seem to extend themselves with the minimal basic concern for the family they belong to. If Barry Windsor-Smith was so fucking concerned about helping Dave, he could've produced a book himself for Dave's benefit. It takes a little bit of true concern for someone to raise such a project, however. Sadly, Barry has not shown much concern other than for his own damn ego in this case. You have unjustly maligned a good and innocent man, Alan, and I believe you need to fix it. It's the least you should consider if my name and art continue to appear on that page."

Of course, as I said, Netzer's name and art is no longer on the page...

Diamond adds to the rumour that the Ultimate and Regular Marvel Universes are about to cross over:

"Put in place five years ago as a way to bring in new readers and update characters for the 21st century, Marvel's Ultimate Universe has revamped dozens of characters and has formed a continuity all its own... In its short 5-year run, many fans have speculated what would happen if the Ultimate Universe were to come into contact with the long-standing Marvel Universe. Now the wait is over. Ultimate Fantastic Four #21 begins a story arc that has the two biggest brains in the biz going head-to-head. The story acts as fuel to the fire, though, because it may bring up more questions than answers!"

Brian Hibbs is looking at the flooding of the trade market:

"If I’m counting right, just Marvel and DC alone are offering forty new TPs, GNs, or collections to the market in the month of June alone. Holy cow, that’s ten a week! At that rate of production, that’s another 480 SKUs a year! And, y’know, there are hundreds of other publishers involved in the Direct Market too. Even Marvel and DC seem to be feeling the pinch of trying to manage such voluminous backlists in a world of ever-expanding production – a significant proportion of both publisher’s backlist lines are out-of-print at any given time. Things that shouldn’t be OoP, like volumes of Preacher or X-Men. The wider your backlist, the harder it is to manage and budget it.

"This, also, I think, puts lie to the notion that the bookstores are a great salvation for Western comics – if anything, I think rack space for Western comics is shrinking in book stores – while certainly there are other issues involved, like marketing (the line had about…oh…none!), the muscle of Warner distribution should have gotten good penetration for this work in the bookstores, yet sales seem to have been minimal."

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Consumer rights move forward with the start of The Consumer at the Isotope Virtual Lounge:

"There are many important roles in the world of comics. Everyone has their part to play in this wonderful community of ours, but have you ever stopped and thought about who is the most important person in comics. Well, I know the answer and I’m going to share it with you. You may think that it’s the publisher - the companies that produce our comics, but it’s not. You may think that it’s the creators whose imaginations and talent fuel the fire of the industry, but you’re wrong. It’s not the press who shine their light on our corner of the pop universe and cover the news and events of our community. You could even make an argument for the comic shop owners across the planet - the ones who give us all a place to get our fix, but you would be wrong again. While all of those mentioned are irreplaceable players in the industry they are not the most important. The most important person in comics is the consumer. My name is Joe Rivera and I’m the consumer."

Along similar lines, Sean Maher is a consumer telling people how to sell him comics at cons:

"Look, you have to have some confidence and enthusiasm. There are shy, sensitive-looking people slouching at fifty other tables. I don’t want to share a cry with you. I want to have a conversation. If I come up and say hello, don’t look surprised! And try not to act desperate; that gets me nervous, and kinda creeped out. You want me relaxed. It’s okay if you’re a perfectionist and you don’t think your art is good enough. It’s okay if your book has a sad theme, or if it’s about something depressing or alienated. That doesn’t mean it’s smart to pitch it to me in the same way. Save that depression and alienation for your drawing board; when you’re actually talking to me, try to at least give the impression that you’re glad I’m there. You don’t have to tell me the funniest joke I ever heard right off the bat. You don’t have to launch into a prepared speech about your book. You don’t even have to impress me – that’s for your book to do. What you have to do is make me want to continue to stand in front of your table. It’s like Las Vegas. The longer I stay, the more likely I’m gonna leave my money with you. If you’re having trouble getting confident enough about your actual book – and I can understand self-doubt, believe me – then start simple. Smile or nod at me. Say hello. Take a deep breath, and go from there."

Congratulations to Brian, Becky and Mr. Young:


The Bendis Board considers "legacies":

"OK, I finally read Infinity Crisis #1, and it got me thinking about how characters used pass on their identity to new generations. Isn't that a good thing? Why does Bruce Wayne always have to be Batman? Or Peter Parker have to be Spider-man? I understand the Publishers don't want to let bankable characters grow up or have any significant changes - but isn't the Costume what's really important? Why not allow Parker to grow up? Grow old, have kids, hand down Spider-man to a new generation? Would it really be that bad?"

"You're joking, right?"

"Ben Rielly. Azrael. Need I say more?"

"The suit is NOT more important than the person and it's been proven time and again. The person is the character, he is the identity, he is the costume. You can't have DD without Matt Murdock. Peter Parker is Spider-Man with or without the suit. Even though some common complaints have been the lack of the 'costume' in the comics, but it's the person we care about and they are a hero with or without the suit."

Apparently, I'm missing lots of mainstream media:

"Terry Nantier from Papercutz tells us that The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys graphic novel releases... are gaining a great deal of positive press in mainstream media. In newspapers, one story recently ran in the Chicago Sun Times and another is expected next week in USA Today. Additional coverage is expected in the next few weeks in Teen Newsweek, Teen Magazine, Newsday and Parenting. A strong press campaign on top of these venerable brands can only help expand sales of the product and the category."

At least I saw the James Sturm interview in Print magazine... That counts for something, right? Shit. I'm no Kevin Melrose.

Mark Millar - He knows how to play his fans:

"3 HUGE top secret gossip things... for the mods in [secret Millarworld section for moderators only] Area 51. Go take a look. PS And keep this up for a day to drive everyone nuts. But this is great gossip."

The MW faithful take the bait:

"You are cruel sir."

"You sir are a cocktease!! Ya i said it, COCKTEASE!"

"damn you!!!!! if everything i type wasn't being monitored i'd call you a ******* **** (swearwords deleted by the army)"

Newsarama posters respond to DC's Crisis Counselling website:

"Rather sporting of DC to provide the summary. I guess when you've planned something this elaborate and far-reaching, you want everyone to be able to see the whole picture. Nice. You can stay caught up without shelling out a lot of dough. And if you're a little cynical like me, you can view it as a way for DC to toot their own horn about how Huge and Elaborate this latest Crisis is, and allow completists to easily keep track of all seven-hundred and sixty-three books they need to buy to have it all, thus helping DC sell more books. Either way, everybody wins. And the summary really is a nice thing for fans (like me) who are interested in keeping up without going broke."

"This is a great and smart move by DC. Even though I purchase all their monthlies, even I wanted a scorecard to keep track of everything, so I can imagine how great this is for people who only get a few of their titles but still want to be up to date on the overall storyline. Finally, a publisher is putting in the effort in making the story accessible to readers who can't afford everything. Hope it pays dividends for the company as some people may read a blurb and decide they want to get the issue they missed to see how it went down. Great stuff!"

"I'm certainly grateful for this initiative, since I'll be buying less than 25% of the comics tying into this (I really hate huge crossovers), this will make the story much easier to follow. Thanks DC!"

"Wow. When's the last time everyone agreed on something..."

"If DC needs to create a gigantic website so their readers can understand what's going on, something's wrong."

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

DC offers a checklist of the comics that have lead to Countdown to Infinite Crisis, as well as suggesting upcoming comics that tie into the ongoing ridiculous storylines. You have to pity the poor marketing person who has to write this:

"The Wizard Shazam, revealing an upcoming conflagration involving Captain Marvel, the Spectre and additional members of DC's magical community, revealed that 'for the first time in a thousand years' he was 'filled with questions' concerning the future... Now the countdown continues...and this week the fears of the Wizard Shazam rumble into ACTION COMICS #826!!

Matt Fraction and Joe Casey discuss "event" comics:

"I'm not privy to the inner machinations of DC Editorial, so I honestly have no idea where this is all going. But let's say your assumptions are correct. Then the question becomes (for me, anyway), does the end justify the means? I mean, this is no Joseph Campbell hero's journey... this is a Spider-Man derivative that just got shot in the head. Let's go one step further... if it is a move to take the DCU back to some shiny, happy continuum, then you have to ask yourself, 'why?' Who exactly is the audience that demands such a shiny, happy DCU? Let's say it's an attempt to get the kids back, the readership demo that -- theoretically -- is naturally attracted to superhero comicbooks (as I was when I was six years old). Is a fatal head shot shown on panel in all its bloody glory the appropriate dramatic device to getting those kids back? And if it's getting even more twentysomething and thirtysomething males back into superhero comicbooks... well, I'd have to ask what's the hell is the point of that?"

If you ask me - and nobody did - the creators want to do the shiny happy DCU, and the whole brain matter and dark DCU is one of their "This is what a 'realistic' DCU looks like, it's horrible, don't you prefer it when everyone gets along?" transition tricks (See "Knightfall" and sequels that I can't remember the name of).

An interesting fallout from the issue of who owns the Valiant characters - Priest and Mark Bright's Quantum and Woody may return. Priest explains:

"I’m not a lawyer, but I do have documents in my possession that tell me that since Acclaim is done with it, Doc and I can exercise our rights to reclaim the characters, images, and everything else... Now, the trademark is kind of out of our hands, as Acclaim corporate allowed that to lapse, and another entity has picked that up. But that said, the offer that Valiant Intellectual Properties has made to us is a very attractive one, and a very fair one, and something that I think we’ll consider. I can’t speak for Doc, as we haven’t locked him in yet, but I’m really happy about it. I’ve known him for 20 years. I’m 90% sure that he’ll find it attractive as well. He just hasn’t signed off on the deal yet, but I’m all but positive things will work out. I’m also very sure that what we bring back as Quantum and Woody will be very familiar to what the fans expect."

DC confirms that it is no longer publishing Humanoids and 2000AD. Newsarama reports:

"The alliances with the two publishers was seen as many as a bold move by DC, as well as one aimed at increasing their presence in bookstores, by looking to Europe, rather than exclusively to Asia for material to import. DC’s publication of Humanoids titles began in July 2004, while the publication of 2000AD titles began in September 2004... However, both the 2000AD and Humanoids lines - despite presenting some of the most acclaimed comics to come from Europe in the past two decades – failed to catch on both in the direct market, and more importantly, as Newsarama’s Brian Hibbs noted, in the bookstore market.

"In looking at the 2004 Bookscan numbers, Hibbs pointed out that of DC’s three imprints (Humanoids, 2000AD and CMX), only one title cracked the Bookscan list of top selling graphic novels for 2004, CMX’s Land of the Blindfolded. Hibbs said: 'CMX, 2000AD, and Humanoids are all putatively ‘book store imprints,’ yet of all of the 2004 releases, only one makes the chart – volume 1 of Land of the Blindfolded with a, frankly, pathetic 1270 copies sold. These non-existent showings for these imprints is nearly worse than embarrassing – it’s nearly criminal. One imagines this is one of the reasons new Senior Vice President Stephanie Fierman was just brought in. The Direct Market bought 2602 copies of Land of the Blindfolded v1 – more than twice as many, and that number reflects no reorders. Clearly, DC is doing poorly with new publishing initiatives in front of the customers these initiatives were aimed at, and that should be a very scary thing for them.'"

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Okay, now I'm confused. Not that I care that much, but still:

"The future of the Valiant characters has taken an interesting turn. While there’s been no confirmation of whether or not John Taddeo was successful in his purchase of the portion of Acclaim’s assets (Acclaim is being sold 'as-is') that included the characters that made up the Valiant Universe, the trademarks of many of the characters have seen action recently. In checking on the status of the trademarks of the former Valiant characters, Newsarama learned that 12 of them, as well as the term 'Valiant' have been acquired by Valiant Intellectual Properties, LLC, a Delaware-based corporation. Trademarks now owned by Valiant Intellectual Properties include: Secret Weapons, Outcast, Rai and the Future Force, Deathmate, Quantum and Woody, Harbinger, Punx, Dr. Mirage, Eternal Warrior, Ninjak, Bloodshot, and The Visitor. The bulk of the former Valiant trademarks (including Shadowman, X-O Manowar, Trinity Angels, Archer & Armstrong, Master Darque, Armorines) are still held by Acclaim, with apparent overlap in a handful – Ninjak, Bloodshot, and Quantum and Woody are listed as being 'Live' marks for both Acclaim and Valiant Intellectual Properties, LLC. While only a limited amount of information can be pulled from the US Patent and Trademark Office, it is a possibility that the system is slow to respond to the most recent changes in trademark status.

"Probing deeper, on the marks now claimed by Valiant Intellectual Properties, they expired over a period between August of 2004 and January of this year. The trademark for the term 'Valiant' in comic book use was abandoned in August of 1997. Acclaim filed for bankruptcy on September 1st, 2004. Valiant Intellectual Properties filed for the 12 trademarks on March 31st, 2005."

The Image Board consider selling out:

"Okay, I'm seeing all these titles that are 'selling out' at Diamond, before they ship to Diamond. That seems rather stupid to me. Seeing as supposedly Diamond orders solely to the amount of supply requested from their retailers, then EVERY title should 'sell out' accordingly, at least as far as Diamond is concerned, seeing as they generally do not take returns. So, somebody explain just what this whole 'selling out' of a title means."

"Usually, books are 'overprinted', which means anywhere from an extra 10-50% (it's usually around 20-30%, but there are exceptions in each direction) of the pre-ordered amount is printed and supplied to Diamond for retailer re-orders. When retailers decide after they've made their initial order that something is going to be hot they can put in 'advance re-orders'. When those advance re-orders eat away at the entire overprint stock, the book has sold out before it ships. When retailers order more after the book ships, it's just a normal 're-order' and as I'm sure you guessed, once those eat away at the overprint stock, it's a sell-out."

"The REAL nut to crack is: What constitutes a sell-out of a Marvel book? See Marvel has a no overprint policy so EVERY book sells out. Yet, we still see Marvel press releases hypeing certain 'hot' sold out books."

"Why does it matter how many are printed....? I just see these sell out press releases as saying 'make sure you have this book on your pull / standing order list' to make sure current readers get the next issue. and a 'hey, look at us' to people who aren't reading the comic. Its just Promotion."

Dave Lapham does Daredevil/Punisher. The Bendis Board reacts to the news:

"I'll bite. I'm very much looking forward to this. I have yet to check out Stray Bullets, but I'm planning on getting the trades at some point. His erratic schedule for releasing new issues makes it seem less urgent somehow, but it is absolutely on my list to pick up at some point down the line..."

"Eh. I have no interest in a Punisher that's not written by Garth Ennis, and my interest in that has worn off."

"Eh, I'll give it a shot. It's only two issues, might as well. But honestly, I don't think anyone can write the Punisher anymore besides Ennis and possibly Bendis (In UMTU). But Lapham's good, so I'll check it out. Haven't been blown away with his run on Detective, though."

Millarworld cares about Marvel:

"I don't know if this is the proper forum but in the DC JUly solicits Warren Ellis is writing a JLA Classified arc. Isn't he at Marvel or is he finished with them? Or did he write that before signing his Marvel contract? This Marvel Zombie wants to know."

"I'm sure he wrote this story some time ago. Guice probably drew it a while back as well, as he's currently working on something for Humanoids i believe.Either way, I['ll be checking this arc out. Guice's art is amazing."

"I am SO Stoked to have seen that. Awesome, Warren is the man. J. Guice is totally among my top three illustrators ever, as well...this has got my vote all the way."

"I don't want to seem like this won't kick butt. I WILL read this story no doubt, but hey I'm a Marvel guy. So I'm just worried about the House of Ideas."

John Taddeo - By the end of today, he may own characters that few in today's market remember:

"With the sale of the Acclaim assets including the Valiant characters being held today at 10:00 am EST, we will shortly know the new owner. As Newsarama reported in early March, John Taddeo, formerly of Marvel and Tekno Comics had placed a bid on the rights to the characters. According to sources, as of 4:55pm Monday, Taddeo was the only bidder on the rights to the characters, which include Bad Eggs, Armorines, Shadowman, Rai, Ninjak, Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Dr. Mirage, Eternal Warrior, and others, with an offer of $200,000. As previously reported, obtaining the copyrights to the properties will allow the winning bidder not only to resume exploitation of the characters in various media, but also allow for collection and publication of the original stories."

Monday, April 11, 2005

CBR has the DC solicits for July. Of note:

* All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder launches: "All hell breaks loose at the circus as millionaire Bruce Wayne and gal pal Vicki Vale witness a young boy's life shattered before their eyes. Orphaned, Dick Grayson has nowhere to go and no one to turn to - no one but Bruce Wayne and the shadow of the bat! Expect action, adventure, guest-stars and the unexpected as Miller and Lee deliver the ultimate tales of the Dynamic Duo!"

The what tales...? "Ultimate", you say...?

* The Superman titles cross over into Wonder Woman, for some reason. But the repeated image cover idea isn't that bad. The same storyline also crosses over into Greg Rucka's OMAC Project miniseries, just for fun.

* Counting down to Infinite Crisises, the awkwardly-titled DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy continues: "A cosmic commute to an otherworldly battleground brings the Teen Titans and the Outsiders face-to-face with their long-mourned friend Donna Troy. There's just one problem: She's not the Donna they remember!" Now, there's a surprise. Meanwhile, other series have possible Crisis-tie-ins. Doom Patrol, for one: "Robotman's attempts to alter his past have backfired, sending him through alternate realities where he encounters various Doom Patrols, a younger version of the JLA, and the evil Monsieur. Mallah and the Brain!"

* Geoff Johns continues to play the continuity card in Green Lantern: "There's a new Manhunter in town, claiming sector 2814 is under his jurisdiction. But when Green Lantern discovers the true nature of the android's mission, it's up to Hal Jordan to shut it down!"

* Warren Ellis takes over JLA Classified for six issues: "In Metropolis, Lois Lane and Clark Kent investigate a rash of suicides at LexCorp, while Batman tracks an assassin with a deadly weapon in Gotham City. And on Themyscira, Wonder Woman is playing host to newly arrived academics, when a massive explosion hits,destroying the tranquility of Paradise Island. These three seemingly unrelated events tie together in ways that must be seen to be believed!"

* This just in from the unexpected crossover department - JLA/Cyberforce: "When Cyber-Zombies invade Budapest, the JLA and Cyberforce teams arrive to answer the call for help. Now these two very different teams must work together toward a common goal: preventing the now-evil Ripclaw and his Cyber-Zombies from obtaining Godtech - an organic material that could make the Cyberforce immortal or even give life to the dead! But what happens when a member of the JLA falls in battle? Which group will get to the Godtech first - and will they use its unearthly powers for the ultimate good... or the ultimate evil?" Cyber-Zombies? Godtech?!?

* JSA Classified launches with variant covers for fans of Power Girl's breasts.

Thought Balloons shuts down; Kevin Melrose moves comics blogosphere closer to death:

"I just don't find Thought Balloons particularly fun any more. In fact, following comics industry 'news' day in and day out has diminished my enjoyment of the comics medium. My head's so full of nonsense about Countdown backlash, publisher misdeeds and monthly sales performances that when it comes time to actually read one of the comics or graphic novels stacked around my office, the interest just isn't there."

He's sticking with the blogosphere, thankfully. But still, fuck.

Mike Wieringo talks about his Fantastic Four stint and comics politics:

"Art monkey; Wrist-for-hire; Have pencil-will travel--- there's a ton of [terms for artist]. But I think these terms stem from the fact that the trend has been for quite a while now that the 'vision' for the comic book is strictly that of the writer, and the art team is simply there to make that vision real on paper. The 'Marvel method' of creating comics has gone the way of the Dodo, really. All scripts done for Marvel are now, like at DC, done in full-script form, so unless the writer is feeling generous enough to bring the penciler in on the initial writing of the story (and there's little or none of that happening), then the penciler is relegated to the status of 'flunky', in my humble opinion. And for someone like me, who spent his childhood writing and drawing his own stories-- and who has been in a very collaborative relationship on a creator-owned project as I was with Todd Dezago on Tellos, it's a bitter pill to swallow to have to return to being relegated to nothing more than (fill in the blank with any of the aforementioned terms). Frankly, it's taken much of the joy of drawing comics out of the process for me."

"Chuck Austen"'s blog. Some choice snippets of this short-lived miracle:

"When I was appointed the new regular writer for DC's Action Comics, just over a year ago, I set out with three very specific goals in mind. They were: 1) Skip ten years' worth of continuity involving Lana Lang. 2) Create a love triangle between Lois, Clark and Lana. 3) Get fired and have the next guy clean up the mess. I think I succeeded quite nicely, don't you think? What I didn't know, was that this would effectively end my career at DC. I have a better chance of getting work there if I'd change my name to John Byrne. Somehow, that makes me really, really sad."

"What's the big deal about Craig Thompson? So he wrote this book. Blankets, it's called. It's a blubbery blubfest about a nerdy guy who desperately wants to get laid with this girl, who desperately wants to do other stuff but humors the nerdy guy because he reminds her of a dying puppy or whatever. Then they break up and the nerdy guy whines about it for about six hundred pages. I write stuff like that in under thirty minutes. Every. Single. Month. And yet, you don't see people worship the ground I walk upon or beg for my love child. Really, I write stuff like that during breakfast. Only with more sexual innuendo in it. And big-ass fights. Every good comic book has to have big-ass fights. Craig Thompson's comics don't have big-ass fights. QED."

Top Shelf announce new books:

"Creator Rich Koslowski, who took on the Walt Disney mythos with Three Fingers, tackles the Elvis phenomenon with The King ($19.95), an offbeat tale of a masked Elvis impersonator, who fans are beginning to see as the real thing. Naturally enough Koslowski's 208-page, 2-color graphic novel is set in Las Vegas. Certainly one of the most eagerly awaited Top Shelf releases is Alex Robinson's Tricked ($19.95), a 320-page tour de force from the creator of the brilliant (and mammoth) 608-page Box Office Poison (which will be available in a new edition at San Diego, $29.95). Robinson won an Eisner for Box Office Poison, and Tricked, which combines well-delineated characters with a complex and innovative narrative structure, is a strong candidate to garner its creator some more industry kudos. The third new Top Shelf release of the summer is a debut graphic novel by Aaron Renier. Spiral-Bound ($14.95) is a 144-page, two-color graphic novel described as delightful tale of ambition, morality and self-discovery."

Any story that bills itself as a "delightful tale" of "self-discovery" automatically makes me worried about potential Lifetime Movie possibilities, but The King sounds fun...

Millarworld is still abuzz about Countdown to Infinite Crisis:

"As all of fandom is in shock over DC Countdown, let me say that his actions MAKE SENSE! I reread some old Justice Leagues from the 'Super Buddy' days, and in issues #11 and #12, it shows his origin. He was a wealthy playboy who only cared about power. He went spelunking with his boss, a chairman of a very large corporation, and Max dreamed of killing him during one of these outings. One time, his boss actually feel into a cavern and died, so Max didn't have to kill him. Max found a computer called the Construct, which was created by Metron. This computer helped Max take over the company and create Max Lord enterprises. In issue #9, they show Max wanting to recruit all these heroes into the Justice League, and he is looking at them with monitors. Included in these heroes is Superman, as Clark Kent! The construct wants to control the heroes, and with Max's ego and power hunger, he goes along with it. Max gets tired of the construct controlling him, so he destroys it. But the construct couldn't have done anything with Max unless Max already had the desire. Add a couple more times where Max is 'manipulated', and you have the base for Max becoming a villian. There are many scenes where the Justice League and other heroes are being monitored, so this really isn't a surprise in Countdown that he is doing all this. This is a man who would have murdered an old man, but fate already did that for him. So for him to murder a hero who uncovered his plans is not too surprising to me. Add to that his connections with Waller, the government, Apokolips and some tech heavy heroes such as Batman and the Beetle, and you have some potential for major damage there."

"I've bought into the idea the second I heard it. I just read the first 2 years of JLI about 5 months ago. This is SO in tune with the character. If ANYTHING, Giffen has played Max as much more HOKEY than ever in FKA. In that mini, he was a different character. Empty, soulless, comic relief. Re read the issue where Max hallucinates about his telepathic powers. And when you do, tell me the nose plugs and pink suit aren't gems! Shows a peek into Max's psyche. The guy hired terrorists to take over the UN so he could get his League formed. And we really only have Max's account of his past. Who's to say the computer and Max weren't in league together? Max says he was being manipulated, sets it up to save his skin."

"I could accept Max as a villain too(while probably not liking it still). But not the way it was presented. It was just to heavy handed. A little sad while being silly at the same time. There's a right and a wrong way to do these things. I keep pointing to the Chief's reveal in Morrison's Doom Patrol. Similar idea but done with much more impact and believability. Regardless a large part of the JLI series was Max's redemption due to being around the heroic Leaguers. That was written by Max's creators. So it's kind of a shame they are not only ignoring that...but making him far more foul than he ever was in the Justice League series. I mean that's comics for you. Anything that's done can be undone. I just think it's a shame as all."

Newsarama has Jim Lee's three Batman covers for July - Two for All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder (yes, that's the real title), and one for Hush - The Absolute Edition, or whatever it's called.

Friday, April 08, 2005

John Byrne lays down the gauntlet:

"Yesterday's memorial service for Will Eisner was underwritten by DC Comics. Paul Levitz was present to host and play Master of Ceremonies. During the many speeches made on Eisner's behalf it was noted that, in a career spanning seventy years he had never missed a deadline. Not so much as once. In fact, he had declined high paying gigs if he felt he would not be able to deliver on time. So, here is my 'challenge': If DC really wants to create a memorial to Will Eisner, and not merely pay lip service to the man and his career, it is time to fire all the prima donnas who cannot get their work in on time. It is time to boot the arrogant asses who are 'growing roses' and restore, as much as we can, the industry Will Eisner helped create. That would be a suitable living memorial to the memory of such a great man."

He goes on to explain:

"The industry -- mostly in the form of the Image boys -- has trained readers not only to expect books to be late, but to somehow think of late books as being superior, Much of this speaks to the basic ignorance of the consumer -- so many hardcore fans have no idea of the process by which comics are traditionally manufactured. Many are convinced that the whole thing happens in a very short space of time right before the book goes on sale. The notion of 'lead time' is unknown, and that lead time was once about six months between project commencement and project completion is forgotten... The ultimate foolishness of this is that they end up not making the money they have planned to make. As I commented yesterday, more money is made if 12 issues come out in a year instead of 8. Realistic scheduling would mean the books would ship when expected, and the companies would make the money that planned to make. No small part of that 'realism', of course, falls back on the writers and artists, who must make themselves aware of just how much work they can honestly produce in a given amount of time. Accepting more work than can actually be done is simply irresponsible, as well as unprofessional. That latter is a word I would like to see the consumers add to their lexicon, and use as often as applicable. The prima donnas have had their time in the sun. Let the professionals back in."

When someone suggests that the "prima donnas" are also some of the most popular creators in the industry, Byrne responds:

"This is exactly what Ayn Rand often goes on about, the 'looters' -- her word -- who expect to be rewarded for not doing the job they have been hired to do. Tell me if you hired someone to build you a house you would be happy if he left off the back wall, as long as he did a good job on the rest of it."

There's something oddly terrifying about using Byrne quoting Rand, isn't there?

Bill Willingham talks about Day of Vengence:

"Everyone working in comics has their list of what characters they would love to do if they ever got the chance, and mine have never been the Superman/Batman type, A-list characters... I’ve always looked at the characters that have never been handled in a way that their full potential has been explored. Ragman is a good example. Unfortunately for me, Blue Beetle was another one of those characters, because I felt I know how to handle him well, but it’s a little too late for that. So – Ragman’s on my list, as is Blue Devil and a few others. So part of it was that the Spectre was doing all this stuff, and now, we need some guys to go after him. DC told me to use this team concept that I was thinking of for the Vertigo series that didn’t go, so I was able to use all these also-rans, and second and third tier characters, and on their first mission, they get to take on the Spectre. It’s suicide for them, but after a few drinks at the bar, their courage is bolstered, and they figure that they can go take on the big guy. It’s possibly the first ever superhero team to be formed out of a bout of drunken desperation."

The Isotope Virtual Lounge is back. James Sime explains what happened and identifies those hackers responsible:

"With several dollars devoted each year to security, comic industry messageboards are known as some of the most secure websites of all but over the last several months these outlaw computer anarchists have been proving beyond a shadow of doubt that they are indeed as skilled and dangerous as their reputations would suggest by systematically taking down these unhackable websites with the help of an elite team of hip, smartly dressed, and rebellious anarchist computer prodigies with names like Lord Nikon, Cereal Killer, and Phantom Phreak."

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