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Friday, July 29, 2005

The Bendis Board does its best to fight the perception of comic fans as sex-deprived geeks with a thread about Spider-Woman's nipples:

"OK... anybody remember the whole Shanna fiasco with Marvel a while back where they went back and edited all the nipples out of the comics? Well, check out the cover to Giant Size Spider-Woman . Click on the thumbnail for the larger pc and you can ery clearly see a nipple pokin' out on SG's left breast. Now, I don't personally have a problem with this, but how is it that it's ok in this instance and not in the other?"

"Because it wasn't poking nipples but actual areola that was visible in Shanna."

"nipples are always good..... it's sad seeing just plain breasts.... although that's not bad either......."

This leads to someone thinking a little too much about comic book breasts:

"Basically, the breasts are drawn as if there were no shirt, nor bra. There are hardly ever stretches of costume connecting the too. Because the images are static, we never see a 'jiggling' of breats. But surely, if the character moves, the breasts don't stay in place? How practical is this? I mean, can you imagine Spider-Woman landing from a high jump and as she comes down, a breast pops her in the eye? Do they ever feel embarrassed of self consious about basically revealing their breasts to everyone? Why don't we see penises? ...So, seriously creators, how are we supposed to 'read' these images? I mean, when I see a car in a comic, my brain interprets it as a car. Or a space ship is a spaceship. But are we actually supposed to buy that Spider-Woman's boobs are hanging out and no one's ever gawking (good job with Elektra and Peter in the previous ultimate spidey, B)? I mean, anyone who's ever seen boobs will know how silly.. oh.. now I get it."

Luckily, the board rescues its reputation with a thread about... well, just read:

"I'm having this chat with a friend and he asks me if cons are just like a huge scene from Caligula. I said no but he didn't buy it so it got me thinking. Why aren't cons a great place to have dirty sex. Here is my thinking. Ok besides the who 'shower' thing why dont these guys that probably couldn't get laid anywhere else hook up with like minded girls at a con. In the last five years I have seen more sketchbooks with puppies with huge penis' and nude conan's etc. it is pretty clear these dudes want to get laid and I imagine the girls are the same. There should be evening 'key' parties hosted by a toy company or something. OK so it isn't a perfect idea but I think there is some merit here. Maybe Silent Devil could sponsor a 'mixer' or something [...] I know I would go!"

"You aint never been to a con where I was..."

"A story I heard from someone who went to DragonCon one year: My friend and a couple of his pals walk into a party to which they were invited. Upon enteringthe hotel room, they are greeted by the partygoers, and the sight of a guy in a Wonder Woman costume blowing a guy dressed as a Stormtrooper. Now the question is: Do you really want that?"

"Saul, m'man, it is true, cons pretty much ARE Roman orgies, they're just not talked about. There's a local con where a couple female attendees (one of which the girlfriend of a buddy of mine) was charging to watch them get down and get funky in their hotel room."

Ah, the Bendis Board.

Greg Rucka talks about Wonder Woman #219, and what happens afterwards:

"We’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – every one of the miniseries feeds into Infinite Crisis. Every one of the miniseries takes elements that are crucial to determine the Crisis. There is an uber-plot in Infinite Crisis that people will see when it comes out. But the crises are multiple, and this is one of the sources of one of them. This act by Diana is the core of the break between Diana and Bruce and Kal. From where she stands this is what those two are now alienated. Batman will have his own alienating act, as will Superman – they all have their guilts. But back to what we were talking about, I know there are going to be people who hope to see Diana tearing out her hair, rend her clothes, and smear ashes on her breast, but she’s not gonna. That’s not what the crisis for her here is."

The day after Jason Richards of Riot Comics + Culture posts this in his blog -

"As a lot of you may know by now (as far as my traffic count goes), RIOT was mentioned on Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter today along with the folks who are opening Rocketship in Brooklyn. I'm still sorta pissed that Newsarama ran Rocketship's press release and not mine."

- Newsarama posts the press release. The magic of the internet!

Newsarama has the latest on Wizard World Atlanta:

"Newsarama has learned that WizardWorld has not made the deposit payment to the Cobb Galleria (where WizardWorld: Atlanta was slated to be held June 30th -July 2nd, 2006). Likewise, sources close to Wizard speaking to Newsarama report that the current thinking within the company is that it will officially cancel its planned Atlanta show for 2006, while eyeing debuting in Atlanta in 2007, ideally on a weekend with no other show in close proximity. An official statement reflecting the change is expected from the company soon."

Shawn Hoke joins the blogosphere:

"I'll be covering mini-comics, but I'll be covering them at my own pace and put up new content on a more frequent basis. I won't stuff a handful of mini-comic reviews into a weekly post, but rather I'll load a review or two each day or every other day as the mini-comics roll in. We'll discover the best in mini-comics and sometimes the worst. We'll have reviews, features, interviews, and anything else fit to discuss. If you're new to this blog or new to mini-comics, I want to give you something unexpected when you click on the link that brings you here. I want to share the sense of wonder that I and many others find in this tiny corner of the comics medium. I hope you'll come back, because I'll be here regardless."

And before we close up this edition of Dear Fanboy Rampage!!!, Pete Goodrich provides something that we've all been waiting for - The solicitation for Liberality For All:

"It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 It is up to an underground group of bio-mechanically enhanced conservatives led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden's plans to nuke New York City...And wake the world from an Orwellian nightmare of United Nations dominated ultra-liberalism. Series concept: What if today's anti-war Liberals were in charge of the American government and had been since 9/11? What would that society look like in the year 2021? What would be the results of fighting 'a more sensitive war on terror' and looking to the corrupt United Nations to solve all of America 's problems? In Liberality For All , the reader sees a vision of that future where there is only one justified type of war…the war against Conservatives and their ideals [...] LIBERALITY FOR ALL #1 Is getting major publicity in the talk radio world, with much more to come. To our knowledge, no book in over 10 years will be made known to so many people, outside the comic community. WARNING: Expect this to sell out very fast. [Pre-order NOW]"

Not sold on it yet? Why not check out the five page preview? Or at least the cover, which has, I shit you not, a cyborg Sean Hannity, ready for action.

Pete Goodrich, for bringing this to my attention, I will always love you.

Steve Lieber, a man of (creative) wealth and taste, keeps up the "suggesting" theme, suggesting that I educate myself at Newsarama, as a thread on Oni's Banana Sunday spirals out of control:

"DAMMIT!!!!! First Bill Willingham's Detective Chimp, now this! Gorillas, Chimps, Bonobos and Orantutans ARE NOT MONKEYS. REPEAT AFTER ME: APES ARE NOT MONKEYS. MONKEYS HAVE TAILS. APES DO NOT!!!! Jeezus. Just because we love comic books doesn't mean we have to look stupid to the 'outside world.'"

"You also realize that monkeys, or 'APES' as you call them, can't really talk, right? What will these people try to pull next in their silly funny books?"

"I'm not sure what your point is. Correctly identifying gorillas and the rest as Apes has....what to do with your point? And while I know they can not 'Talk' there are plenty of articles about apes that can communicate with humans [...] http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003...ain568950.shtml [...] http://www.geocities.com/RainForest...WithChimps.html [...] All I'm saying is, educate yourselves before issuing a press release that makes you, your company, the product and the creators look stupid and uninformed. The industry already has a credibility issue with the 'outside world,' don't make it worse."

"Yes, the misrepresenation of monkeys and apes is why we look stupid to the 'outside world.' I'm sure it has nothing to do with the anal, obsessive compulsive nature of "fanboys," which is more the stereotype the 'outside world' has of comic readers. Look at our beloved Comic Book Guy. And is this any worse then referring to non-comic readers as the 'outside world?'"

"The 'outside world' doesn't know the half of it when talking about comics fandom, as bizarre threads like this demonstrate. If I were that worried about the outside world's image of comics fandom (which I'm not), I'd be more concerned about them seeing threads like this than about the monkey/ape confusion. The obsessive debates over trivia and semantics would probably strike many people as a little less than sane. There's a great psychology or sociology article in the whole HEAT/KELP rivalry, to name one notable example. Sociobiologists would probably say the obsessive arguing is a holdover from an evolutionary mechanism that made male hominids (they weren't monkeys OR apes) more effective rivals for female attention. I'm a theistic evolutionist myself (evolution may have happened, but under God's direction--our bodies are animals, but we're supposed to be more than that), so I think we ought to be able to grow up and put ourselves above that primitive arguing to the bitter end stuff. It's only comic books, after all!"

The wonderfully named Banks McDougall suggests a visit over to Comics Nexus is in order, as hype is being defended:

"The excesses we should concern ourselves with are often intertwined with hype, but they are not hype. I can do without yearly company wide crossovers. Variant covers, no matter how much retailers and fans seem to dig them, strike me as unnecessary and cannibalizing. I do think the stories are better now than they were in the 90's, but that just seems like all the more reason not to use those dumb covers again. Trust the work. Silly childish sniping in press releases and convention halls turns my stomach. I'd rather have a thousand 'crack the internet in half' comments than one more speech from [Jeph] Loeb about how The Pulse #1 was some sort of offense to DC's long and storied history."

Augie De Blieck, Jr., suggests that we all check out Mike Weiringo talking about the Heroes Con/Wizard World Atlanta clash:

"I have to be honest and say that I didn't share the same sense of blistering outrage at their attempt to crush Shelton Drum's long running and beloved show-- because I really wasn't surprised that they would try to do something like this. As they have been starting WW shows in the many different parts of the country over the past couple of years, I thought it was just a matter of time before Gareb Shamus would get around to trying to take over the South East. Y'see, I don't think that Gareb Shamus really loves comics-- if he ever did. I know that he CLAIMS to love the medium of the comic book and everything about it.... and he may very well HAVE loved comics early on when he started WIZARD MAGAZINE. But now, I'm of the firm opinion that the only thing that Gareb loves about comics anymore is making money from them. He wants to monopolize the 'collector market'-- which is why he's trying to squeeze out any other decent sized show with his own extravaganzas. If he TRULY loved comics his magazine would cover more than just the same massively over-hyped output from Marvel and DC every single issue. The world of comic books encompasses SO MUCH MORE than Marvel and DC; there's so many wonderful smaller publishers out there offering amazingly creative work-- publishers like ONI, FANTAGRAPHICS, DRAWN AND QUARTERLY, DARK HORSE, IMAGE.... the list goes on and on. But books from those companies are lucky if they ever get a brief mention in the pages of WIZARD. If it's not X-MEN, SPIDER-MAN, SUPERMAN, BATMAN, AVENGERS or the latest big budget superhero flick, forget it. Even their attempts at covering the indy and small press with WIZARD EDGE concentrated on Jeff Smith and Kevin Smith.... guys who get more than their fair share of press already. And they do this type of coverage in WIZARD to maximize sales."

Here at the Institute for Rampage, we get many emails directing us to many different locations on this here web. This morning, the first five posts will be dedicated to such mails from the virtual mailbag. Who said this isn't the Age of Mighty Marvel Interactivity, effendi?

First up, Leigh sends me to get the end of "Sacrifice", the Wonder Woman/Superman/OMAC crossover, spoiled for me - there are scans up of the shocking climax for those of us who haven't picked up the most recent WW issue yet, and then many hold court on said shocking climax:

"Um. DUDE. Also, 'He made me waaaaatch' automatically puts me in mind of the topless lesbian cop in Sin City, so seeing Superman say it was...strange, to say the least. The shock was quickly eclipsed, however, by [Go read the page if you really want it spoiled and have somehow avoided it so far]. I repeat: DUDE."

"Holy shit. Dammit, now I have to buy this, and I was boycotting DC."

"Haven't they been doing this overgrown grim 'n' XTREEM! stuff for a good 20 years now, though? You'd think they could maybe get the hell over it by now and stop making with the suck."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Brian K. Vaughan, huh? One of Bust's Men They Love, and now in The Onion. The man's a multimedia interviewin' machine! Talk, Brian! Talk!:

"I genuinely am sort of an emotionally stunted man-child, so if I just write to the top of my intelligence, it sounds like a teenager. I don't have to... I remember reading an interview with [Brian Michael] Bendis where he talks about going to the mall and listening to kids, and that just sounds sort of creepy, like a pedophile thing, to me. I don't do that. I like being around teenagers. It's good for drama; they feel everything much more intensely than we do, their lives are much more interesting than ours. They're mutants. They have these weird bodies that are rebelling against them and changing every day. Teenagers always equal good drama."

Not that he's alone in the Onion's comic love this week. Geoff Johns? You, too, have the floor:

"[T]he purpose of Infinite Crisis is to rebuild the DC Universe and try and propel it into the next heroic age. We're saying, 'Let's move it to the next level, deconstructing some of it now and reconstructing it within the story of Crisis.' ...We can look at the universe as in a spiritual and emotional mess, and because the heroes are going to be at such odds, and so fractured, and relationships are all over the place—it's almost like the mess is internal and reflecting on the external. It's a little more about the characters than I think the first Crisis was."

(Thanks, Jake.)

The House of Mouse expands its reach:

"Although the Walt Disney Company has been involved in graphic novel publishing for years through its foreign subsidiaries, it wasn't until 2005 that Disney-owned house Hyperion Books began publishing the W.I.T.C.H. graphic novels here in the States. Disney Comics, which exhibited for a second year at the San Diego Comic-Con, is planning to field a growing slate of graphic novel releases, both through Hyperion and its own Disney Press imprint, during the next nine months. In addition to continuing the W.I.T.C.H. series, Disney plans to release a full color graphic novel adaptation of The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a 'hybrid' prose and graphic novel continuation of the former CrossGen property Abadazad, and perhaps a full color graphic novel based on the ABC TV series Alias."

Also under consideration: A revival of Crossgen's Ruse, and Biker Girl, "a 112-page black-and-white manga by Misako Rocks!--a manga-ka with deep Japanese roots who currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin."

Bill Jemas is back, talking about 360ep's first book, Advent Rising:

"Way, way back when I was with the NBA my favorite ball players were Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and they both shared this attitude where they sort of walked into every basketball game fully expecting to win. So, I don't think it's a bad idea to approach every game or project that you're on and shoot for greatness. I think that's part of what makes it all fun... In the long haul we expect to do a significant amount of business in book stores. This book is being written and developed so that it works simultaneously in comic book, graphic novel and Manga sizes. We expect to do a large promotion in the book store chains. But, for now, as a start up company we're spending a significant amount of money to get the direct market to sample and try the book. Our experience has always been that comic book fans embrace ultimately what the mass market embraces as well."

Wizard has "Director's Cut Commentary" on New Avengers #1-6, by Bendis and Finch. Learn their creative secrets!

Bendis: "What kills me about that panel is that I remember originally having Luke Cage yell, 'Bitch!' when he hits him. And I couldn't get away with the 'bitch.' [Laughs] And looking back at it, it really did kind of devalue the power of the panel with the 'Chappelle Show' joke - it wasn't meant to, but it did come out that way. So I took out 'bitch' and replace it with censored swearing, which also devalued it. So finally, I just left it alone. But you still get the bitch hit!"

Finch: "I'm actually not very good at drawing scenes like this, just two people talking. It was very hard for me, to say the least. I don't work on facial expressions as much as I should. It's a weakness."

Millarworld is concerned that characters are being pushed down their throats:

"Over exposure of secondary or 'new' characters can spell the death knell of a character. I character popularity takes a life of it's own depending on the overall sensabilities of the readers..or collectors. Both Arana and X-23...no matter what happens will end up being WildChild before we know it. I think you need to play it more like Gambit(who I personally do not like) but can see how he took with alot of readers very quickly. I also think the Creator introducing or as the force behind the character also influences how much of him/her the readers and market can take."

"Jessica Jones. Obscurity to being a supporting player in how many titles?"

"And once Bendis goes ? how many titles do you think that will be ? Maybe she can go and work at Project:Peagsus....."

"UGH, Jessica Jones! God I hate her. She's just EVERYWHERE. Like some sort of virus on the Marvel Universe. If she'd just stick to her own damned book it wouldn't be an issue but she refuses to. Even worse are the people that insist that they make a Heroclix figure of her, when characters like Nova and Power Pack still haven't been made yet."

Marvel's profits drop:

"Marvel today released its Q2 2005 numbers, seeing slides downward across the board, resulting in an overall drop of 11% in its profits from this time last year. The biggest losers for the company during the quarter, a decline in the licensing net sales (though for the year, 2005 is still outpacing 2004), a sharp decline in toy sales, largely due to decreased demand (last year at this time, Spider-Man 2 toys were still fueling the company’s toy segment), and a slight decline in publishing... Net sales for the company came in at $88.1 million, down compared to $155.5 million of a year ago, and the analysts'-predicted $96.2 million. In terms of per-segment net sales, licensing dropped from $47 million to $43.9 million (7%); toys dropped from $87 million to $23 million (74%); and publishing slid modestly from $21.6 million in Q2 of 2004 to $20.9 million in Q2 of 2005 (4%). The decreases are seen by some as being indicative of Marvel's volatile nature, performance wise - doing well (often very well) if a property clicks with audiences, and taking it on the chin as the heat from a hot property fades, and a replacement property isn't waiting in the wings to take the place of the first."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Greg Rucka apologizes:

"I want to say, before anything else that we tried very hard to build OMAC so that you weren’t obligated to buy anything else, and we failed... We really did. I’ll cop to it – I won’t lie about it. And we did it by playing dirty pool too – if you were buying The OMAC Project, you really need the Superman and Wonder Woman books to know what’s happening in issue #4 of the miniseries. If you don’t read them, it’s possible to understand them, but you don’t get the emotional resonance. That was a little bit of dirty pool, but we didn’t plan it out that way – we weren’t looking to spring this on people, but that’s the way it happened, and again, we’re sorry. So instead of a six issue miniseries, you get a ten issue miniseries, and I won’t fault any reader for not picking it up. I’d still suggest them though, because they’re a good story and worth reading, but I’d suggest, if nothing else, you pick up Wonder Woman #219 at the very least – call it issue OMAC #3.5 if you must, because it sets up the events of OMAC #4."

Brian Wood has previews of Local, and also comments about visual continuity:

"I designed the first Previews ad for LOCAL yesterday, and look forward to people at large commenting on it's similarities to Demo. Already got a few comments from people at San Diego, and I gotta say, it doesn't count as a 'rip-off' or anything like that when it's me ripping off myself, ya know? From where I'm standing, its a continuation, and from where I'm standing is what matters in this case."

The San Francisco Bay Guardian has announced its 2005 Best of the Bay winners, and certain familiar faces are amongst the winners - Entertainment Weekly regular Ait/PlanetLar (Best Local Publisher), and Isotope - The Comic Book Lounge (Best Comic Book Store). Congratulations to both of y'all (Well, all of y'all, considering that neither is a one man operation... Hello Kirsten, Jared, Ian, Josh and Mimi, as well as Mr. Larry Young and Mr. James Sime).

Gossip hound that I am, I couldn't help but zero in on this small piece from the Andy Diggle interview up at Comic Foundry:

"Adam Strange taught me to always agree to the ending before you start. Having the goalposts move mid-game is never a good idea."

They brought you teenagers from Mars, and now they bring you cowboys from Lazarus. Bless Rick Spears and Rob G and their new graphic novel, Dead West:

"During the westward expansion, a small Indian village is wiped out to make way for the settlement town of Lazarus. Years later, a single surviving Indian child returns as a grown man to enact his revenge. He places an ancient curse on the town in which the dead rise from their graves to prey on the living. Into this inferno wanders a bounty killer on the hunt for a fugitive. He’s no hero, he couldn’t care less about this dusty town or its rotting problems. He has men to kill, even if he has to raze the town to do it."

Check out the gorgeous cover at the link.

The Bendis Board rebels against Wizard:

"personally, i dislike how it is so focused on superheroes. that isn't comics, that is superheroes. i dislike how they focus on certain people as 'superstars' of comics. if you ask me, there is no single bigger superstar in comics than craig thompson. i read good-bye, chunky rice and blankets. jesus christ. it is so exciting to be living at a time where these comics are coming out, and not looking back on great comics that did come out, and wishing you were there when it first came out. wishing you were on the ground floor with it."

"They are fanboy morons. It kills me that they are basically the voice and image of fanboys to outsiders."

"open it, flip to a page, thats why i hate it."

"The magazine is physically ugly. The humor hasn't been funny since I turned 16. Every few months there's an excuse found for a multipage spread of cartoon titties, and I find that creepy. The staff appear to have no interest in or knowledge of what makes comics work, or what makes comics an art form. It was created in the 90's speculation boom, and has never progressed from that mentality. Far more interested in creating 'hype' 'heat' and 'buzz' for shit that will sell anyway than actually promoting anything of quality or diversity that might otherwise go overlooked. There's page after narcissistic page of inside jokes about, and photos of, WIZARD magazine. Heavily Marvel-biased. Questionable business practices include, but are not limited to: the current con fiasco; pushing comics from WIZARD-owned Black Bull press; labelling as 'hot' back issues that happen to be overstocked in WIZARD-owned comic warehouses. There is no insight or information contained within. Hey, look another toy masturbating! It represents everything I am embarassed of in comic book fandom."

"I think if this board got together, we could put out a better comic book magazine than Wizard. and that's saying something, because we are some crazy mofos."

Newsarama has a preview of The Pulse: House of M edition, the "real newspaper from the Marvel Universe", in which we learn that newspapers in the Marvel Universe finish their stories by saying things like "Continued in Hulk #83-87". Postmodern.

Former Dreamwave creators Adam Patyk and James McDonough talk about the publisher's slide into bankrupcy:

"The thing that gets really nerve-wracking is that, on several occasions, we stated that we were interested in leaving due to the lack of quality control and the payment issues. Each time, we were begged to stay and promised that things would improve. The bottom line is, if at any time there was any real problem with us or our work, they could have easily ended the situation professionally by telling us that things weren't working out, paying us what they owed, and calling it a day. Instead, they kept asking us for more product and more ancillary assistance on projects we weren't even contracted to do. The only real problems started when we requested our money and told them we couldn't keep producing work for them without getting paid for it... Assurances were made regularly. It was a situation where we were constantly asked to stay aboard and promised that things would work out. They were talking about establishing a partnership with another company, and they had us working on a business plan for that. That was kind of the carrot they dangled in front of us, the promise that it would become a more professional enterprise if we just stuck it out a little while longer."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Courtesy of James Sime, may I draw your attention to the newest comic convention that isn't part of a media behemoth trying to put Sheldon Drumm out of business: Snap!:

"Katie and Dan Merritt owners of Green Brain Comics in Dearborn MI, are proud to announce a new showcase for small press and self-published comic creators in the Midwest. SNAP! The Comic Arts Festival... The goal of SNAP! is to showcase local, self-published and small press comic creators. By doing this we hope to build community for independent creators and encourage communication between creators and their potential audience, all while having a great time in the hometown of Henry Ford, Dearborn Michigan."

Mark Millar and Millarworld run an old joke into the ground. Mr. Millar, would you begin?

"Just because I like causing trouble, W.A.L.K. (We All Love Kyle) want to see the reintroduction of the one, true Green Lantern-- Kyle Rayner-- and will hound DC until death until the REAL emerald warrior gets some props again. Heh Heh Heh."

Millarworldians?

"You must mean Kyle Only Lantern Directorate [...] HEAT vs KOLD."

"You're all wrong. SAS - Save Alan Scott - the real true Green Lantern"

"Miller you are fucking awesome. Hell yeah. I'm drunk but you deserve everyone's respect. Hell fucking yeah. Kill off Hal and bring back Kyle (or a new GL doesn't matter just get rid of Hal). Millar I will buy any book you write (I already bought Wanted UFF, Ultimates and your X-Men run). Hell yeah Millar. This is the best comic news ever. Millar you rock. Finally someone with common sense. Yes, this is awesome."

"John Stewart is the baddest lantern. But I'd accept Kyle. What I'd really like is a Lady Lantern. That'd be much cooler than all these testosterone-fuelled monkeys we've had in the past. Plus, girls look better in spandex."

Mark? Look at what you have started:

"Oh God. I just checked back on this and this gag has become Frankenstein's Monster. Anyone who poster here gets the opposite of a No Prize for even CONSIDERING taking part in an online petition. Ye suckers!!!!!!! Johns rocks, as does the new GL."

The Comics Journal board can't help thinking about Image Comics:

"How Image Comics was formed in ’92 was a microcosm of every Socialist/Communist revolution in the world. Liefeld, Larsen, McFarlane, et al, sought to control their means of production, and set up a proletariat controlled state that eventually became a regime similar to what they originally rebelled against: Marvel. The early Image comics retain, in my opinion despite the criticisms of the Clement Greenberg-esque, Orthodox Church of the Comics Journal acolytes, an electricity and verve never seen since. Though 'formally' speaking, there are failings in the comics, but, like much art, the emphasis is not necessarily on the formal. The Image founders were not attempting a revolution of form, or even content. But of desire. Of intent. Of control. Of production. Of style. They sought to make comics that were inspiring to the readers of the day the way Marvel and DC comics were to them. They had no reason to be held back. The first few image comics struggled to be as badass as possible as fast as possible, and the result of that struggle, in my opinion, was a pleasure to experience. Critics reacted as if they should have taken the opportunity to make existential autobiographical comics. All these creators ever knew were superheroes. Creator-owned superhero comics that could compete for the loyalty of Marvel and DC fans was a revolution indeed. A young person making their own superhero fantasies now knew that their own creations could reach the audience that their big brother’s (and father’s) icons once exclusively commanded. These were not your big brothers comics. Image was seen, by many, to be our generation’s Marvel. This was Fantastic Four #1 and Amazing Fantasy #15 but with hindsight. This initial burst of energy flamed out quickly, as the revolution eventually settled into the same business practices that they originally railed against."

"I'd agree with your socialist/communist parallells, except that the sole factor driving McFarlane, etc., to start Image was money. Marvel was always going to be taking their piece of the pie, and Image simply cut out the middleman. Had Marx been out for a bigger paycheck instead of all that tiresome 'from each according to his abilities' stuff, there might be something to the metaphor. The fact is that the early Image comics are terrible pieces of crap that were marketed solely on the basis of how much money they were going to be worth to collectors at some undefined future state. These are the comics that litter the 50-cent boxes of failed comic book stores across North America - because, unlike early Marvels, nobody wants early Image Comics. They're literally worth less than toilet paper. I'd say they were a welcome return to comics' original state as disposable entertainment for children and developmentally-challenged adults; except for modern comic culture there's no such thing as 'disposable'."

"What irked me, and still irks me, is the effort to paint the original Image artists as the Rosa Parks of creator rights. Independent publishing as a viable arm of the comic book marketplace was well established long before anyone ever heard of Todd and Rob. Creators published by First, Eclipse, Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, Pacific or any of the other indie publishing houses at the time were well accustomed to working with little or no editorial input. Not working for Marvel or DC had been an option for a long time. That the core group of Image creators were superstar artists already shows how little risk there was in striking this supposed blow against Marvel's tyranny. The big difference between the Image guys and the other mass of struggling artists yearning to break free was that Todd and company were rich and famous when they started their creator-owned projects and got richer in the process. Sorry, but he rich getting richer isn't the same thing as throwing off the shackles of oppression. Liefeld and McFarlane traded an incredibly sweet gig drawing million-selling super hero comics for an even sweeter gig drawing million-selling super hero comics they created themselves. They're not exactly poster boys for tyhe independent spirit."

Matt Fraction talks to Joe Casey about Casey's new book Godland. It's not officially called Godland, of course, there's a strike through the "o", but I don't know how to do that because I am computer illiterate. Anyway, take it away, Joe:

"It's two mints in one, y'know. Yes, it's a cosmic superhero epic, but it's also a 'no rules' book, in so much as spontaneous inspiration dictates the stories as much as a set plan does. There is an overall plot, for instance... but the way we do the book allows for the exploration of those cool tangents that I love so much. Here's another little factoid that I might've already mentioned in the press I've done for this book on Newsarama... we're working in the classic 'Marvel style'. I write a plot (page-by-page, normally... but there have been times when I've written in 'page chunks'), Tom draws it, I get the art back and then I dialogue it. I haven't worked like this since my first year at Marvel. It's been good fun though. Seeing the art and having to put words in these characters' mouths... there's been an improvisational feel to the writing that I'm really getting off on."

ICv2 reports that Top Cow is previewing an OGN online:

"Top Cow Productions is offering a 22-page online preview of The Covenant, an original graphic novel by Aron Coleite and Tone Rodriguez. The Covenant is a full color 96-page graphic novel with a cover price of $9.99, which will be offered in the September issue of Diamond's Previews catalog (for November shipping). Veteran director Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, The Long Kiss Goodbye) is preparing to direct a feature film based on The Covenant for Screen Gems. Production on The Covenant movie is set to begin in October in Montreal."

The problem with this story? No link to the Top Cow website. The closest you get is "The preview is available on the Top Cow Website." Apparently, ICv2 supports Google. For those of you who don't like search engines, the preview can be found here.

Klaus Janson signs exclusively with Marvel. The interesting part of the press release for me was this line:

"New projects with Marvel will be announced soon but the prolific creator did report that he’ll be doing a mix of inking, pencilling, and writing."

I know Janson's done small pieces of writing for some anthologies and the like, but has he ever had a permanent writing gig anywhere before?

Monday, July 25, 2005

The most interesting part of this week's LiTG? This bit, headlined "Atlanta Attacks":

"(Article removed at the request of Rob Felton, VP Business Development, Wizard Entertainment / Wizard Conventions)"

Hmmmm...

Dan DiDio talks 52:

"The story of 52 begins the week after Infinite Crisis concludes and runs weekly thereafter... It answers most of the outstanding questions from the missing year, but more importantly it sets the tone for our world and the direction of the DC Universe for the years to come... We are well aware of the fan's financial investment in a series like this, and we are all working to find ways to make this as attractive as possible."

Brian Michael Bendis spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday responding to Newsarama readers' questions. Here are some of the more interesting answers, for those of you who don't want to trudge through the "Isn't Moon Knight cool?" questions.

* On "decompression":

"I have creative goals that I have set for myself and some of them aren’t exactly the way most mainstream comics are written or the way that some are used to seeing in books like Spidey or Avengers... I want to write scenes that shy away from garish exposition that has strangled mainstream comics. And, yes, all fiction has exposition but there’s, in my opinion, the right way- in which one character is telling another character something he and the audience couldn’t know without the first character’s unique perspective. and then there’s the bad kind which is just lazy ‘ I can’t think of a more clever way to tell my story’ exposition because I want to get to the fight scene asap that has been the lazy writers way of digging through a story for many years...

"I try with everything I have to write something I think doesn’t suck, it never gets more complicated to me than that. I sit with the script for months coming back to it and asking myself full out, would I buy this? If the answer is yes, I hand it in, if not, in the drawer it goes. But I really don’t think we have to just tell stories just one way and I don’t think there’s any law of comic book making that duly applies to everyone making them. Everyone follow their own path and make the kind of comics they want to make. And more importantly, you guys you should buy the kind of comics you want. And what kind of a sell out douchebag would I be if I changed my tune because a couple of my books did better than I had ever hoped they would?"

* On whether he'd ever be an editor at Marvel:

"No. years ago, Joe offered me Marvel Knights. I could not believe it, I was shocked and I gave it a lot of thought but my wife put it best. She said: 'Hasn’t all this been to not have a job?' Though being in charge of Marvel Knights is obviously one of the ten coolest jobs on the planet earth its still a job where you have to get up and put on pants. So, no, no editorship for me. And people who can’t spell should not be editors. Writers? Yes."

* On the internet cracking in half:

"I don’t take back the internet cracking in half comment but I do see there was a huge typo involved. Its issue #7 that will crack the internet in half. Its issue #7, not three. Sorry for the confusion."

* On the current state of comic creators:

"[T]he comic guys of today do not in anyway see themselves or act like ‘stars’. There’s no such thing, it doesn’t and never did exist. We all came up from the dirty ink stained indies and we know we’re damn lucky to be here. Also, and this is a huge difference, In the nineties I saw a lot of ‘super star’ artists working with people that were lesser talents or people they could lord over to make themselves look better. And artists who thought the art came first. It didn’t. None of it comes first. It all comes together. Equal parts. What you are getting today is full packages of talent. Today we tend to work with artists who are not only our equals but our betters. I work with people I genuinely think are masters of the craft because I want to work with people who make me work harder and because I want to buy books by them. Again, big generalizations, but I see that happening with a lot of us. And we all like the results and reaction."

Harvey Jerkwater tells y'all to pick your sides:

"Me, I think it’d be damn useful if folks on comic book message boards simply declared their allegiances to particular sides of issues right in their names. Like a party affiliation for politicians, knowing what a fanboy believes helps everyone place his comments in context. Not every fanboy has a side in each and every schism, and there are always qualifications to an allegiance. Yes, yes. But dadgumit, I’m out to ruthlessly simplify and strip away nuance! So can yer misgivings and pansy-ass equivocations and start affiliatin’! Grr!"

Apparently, I'm NOV, HKC, YS, Csch, NP/slightlyDP. Who knew?

Larry Young spoils Spider-Man 3 for everyone. Maybe.

Archonis, Millarworld's regular right-wing fitness fanatic who only types in ALL CAPS, has a problem with DC merchandising:

"D.C. MARKETING NEEDS TO CHANGE SOMETHING QUICK [...] 'This gray and black Batman Begins Dark Bomber backpack features the DARK KNIGHT and a stitched leather Batman Begins logo against a spectacular sunset filled with bats.' [...] http://www.batmanshop.com/catalog/product.xml?product_id=30996;category_id=5556;pcid1=2585;pcid2=2590"

"I'm not seeing your problem, no matter how much it's Caps Locked."

"People have been putting bombs in backpacks lately."

Archonis responds: "STRANGE HOW THAT SLIPS BY SOME FOLKS."

John Layman responds to the response: "Um... are you suggesting DC change their backpacks? If so, that is the dumbest fucking thing I have ever heard in my life."

Marvel releases post-House of M info to retailers:

"The core of our publishing plan for the next 18 months springs out of House of M and the events therein. Immediately after House of M finishes, you’ll see a number of projects, storylines, specials and one-shots that deal with the instantaneous ramifications of the climax of House of M while setting the stage for the big event of 2006."

Coming soon! Generation M! Son of M! No, I'm not joking, sadly. Also mentioned, some of 2006's trades, which in turn suggest what's happening for Marvel's monthly titles over the next few months. Is Nextwave the title of the new Warren Ellis book?

The WizardWorld Atlanta/Heroes Con story continues, as Wizard begin to back down from their Atlanta dates, and the guest list begins to be announced for Heroes Con 2006, drawn up from pros offering their support of the convention:

"Most conventions don’t start announcing plans or guest lists 11 months in advance of the event. But, as the past few days have shown, HeroesCon 2006 isn’t shaping to be like most conventions. As news of the debut of WizardWorld: Atlanta would fall on the same weekend as the 25th anniversary HeroesCon show in Charlotte, creators throughout the Southeast joined to show support for Heroes and its owner/organizer, Shelton Drum. Then the support grew…and grew – with creators from around the country and other countries joining in to say that they would attend HeroesCon in 2006. Currently, the list for the show (with is still over 10 months away) is impressive, promising to make the venerable Charlotte show one of the highlights of the ’06 season. Since the last updates to the list, Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, and more have signed on, with Drum telling Newsarama early Monday morning that he already has half a dozen more names to add to the list."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Matt Fraction offers up a call to arms about Heroes Con vs. WW Atlanta:

"Pro support is massively important in garnering fan interest in a show. Without publishers helping to create a solid backbone alongside the retailers on the show floor, HeroesCon cannot hope to stand its ground against WizardWorld, which will eventually smother HeroesCon to death with its infinite money and reach. It's the publishers that have the strength to take a real and lasting stand against these unsavory and unfortunate practices; it's the publishers that have a voice loud enough to make Wizard listen.

"Wizard certainly has the power, but it's Shelton, and those of us who owe him so very much, that have the passion.

"I'm not sure if Paul Levitz or Dan Didio have ever made it down to a HeroesCon or not, but hey, 2006 would be a great year for it. But you can ask Joe Quesada, who attended the first of many HeroesCons in 1992. Or Todd McFarlane, who made the 1995 show and signed thousands of books over the weekend. And there are countless others. Ask them what HeroesCon has meant to them, and to comics, in the past."

More at the link.

Newsarama has Marvel's October solicits. Of interest:

* House of M finishes: "On the heels of last issue’s revelations and the jaw-dropping action taken by a key player in the House of M comes the shocking conclusion that will rock the Marvel Universe for years to come. This is no hype, my friend, this is the real deal. How will the heroes of the Marvel Universe deal with the consequences of one person’s actions? How will the world react to the permanent damage that has been done? Find out here! Starring everyone!" Everyone? Even Batroc the Leaper? Meanwhile, not all of the spin-off miniseries finish. Bad scheduling, or intricate planning that we don't understand?

* Sad that one Marvel event is over? Don't worry - "The Other" begins in the Spider-books: "Haunted by unsettling dreams. Disturbed by a growing sense of dread. Convinced that people are out to get him. A portrait of someone on the edge of a nervous breakdown? Nah. Simply a typical day for Peter Parker, as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has to contend with a new and deadly opponent named Tracer, self-defense lessons with Captain America, and some disturbing news that will change his life in a distinctly negative manner." What, that's not enough for you? Well, Secret War finally finishes - "The FINALE of the limited series event is here! CAPTAIN AMERICA, SPIDER-MAN, WOLVERINE, DAREDEVIL, BLACK WIDOW, THE FANTASTIC FOUR, THE X-MEN—EVERYONE IS HERE! All this, and secrets are revealed." - and Amazing Fantasy, of all things, has a prelude to another event: "The return of Marvel’s most unique cosmic character -- Captain Universe -- in a two-part 8-page bonus story kicking off next month’s Captain Universe Event!!!" Yes, apparently even Captain Universe gets an event these days.

* She-Hulk returns, but she's not alone: "Get ready, True Believer! Because it’s NOT a dream, NOT a hoax, and NOT HOUSE OF M... HAWKEYE’S BACK! We kid you not! So why is Clint Barton giving Jen Walters such a hard time? And how is his fate tied in to She-Hulk’s latest case? Well...you’re just going to have to check out SHE-HULK #1 to find out!"

* Monsters invade Marvel, as Nick Fury's Howling Commandos - "When the supernatural proves too difficult and dangerous for SHIELD, Nick Fury fights fire with fire! Introducing the top secret weapon in the battle against other worldly threats, the HOWLING COMMANDOS, a special covert 'shock and awe' unit made up of Marvel’s greatest horror characters. Join Warwolf, the Living Mummy, Frankenstein, the Zombie, Vampire by Night and a whole army of the macabre in this fantastic first issue!" - debuts (and, apparently, it's a series that "will have far reaching ramifications in the Marvel Universe". What, again?), as well as the four Marvel Monsters titles that make me happy. But that's not all, as Seth Fisher brings the wonder and insanity of his work to Marvel, as the Fantastic Four and Iron Man team up to fight giant monsters in Big In Japan: "It’s an all-out romp with big monsters a-go-go as Droom, Giganto and Eerok, the giant ape, along with hundreds of manic ‘50s Marvel monsters, trample Tokyo’s first-ever Kaiju Museum and Celebration!"

* From the solicit for Ultimate Fantastic Four: "Locked away at the bottom of the ocean for 5,000 years, Namor the Sub-Mariner’s Atlantean tomb has been breached and now he’s back to rule a planet. This is a Namor you’ve never seen before with a vastly different agenda. This is Ultimate Namor!" Am I the only person who finds that amusing?

* Tom DeFalco and Ron Lim... together again! It's a book reprinting lots of random Spider-Man spin-offs, including (bizarrely) Spider-Ham, with a new story by those two aforementioned creators.

* Cable/Deadpool may finally get my money with the first line of their solicitation: "Power Man & Iron Fist vs. Cable & Deadpool! Totally `Nuff Said! (We know Power Man is known as Cage now, but it sounds better to say it the old way when you have the ampersand in there!)"

As Wizard confirms its rumored Atlanta show, and also confirms that it's due for the same weekend as Heroes Con, pros announce their support for Heroes Con. AdHouse's Chris Pitzer, on Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter weighed in:

"With Wizard World's announcement of doing a show in Atlanta on June 30 -- July 2, I really have to wonder if they looked at the con-calendar at all. Heroes Convention in Charlotte has been doing their show for over 20 years, and for as long as I can remember they have their show around the same time (Father's Day weekend or there abouts). Over the years, I've attended Heroes six or eight times as a Pro, Fan and Publisher. This past year was the best time I've ever had. I would hate to have another show impact their possible attendance for next year, especially after hearing some of the guests they have planned."

Tony Harris, on Brian K. Vaughan's board:

"There is a frightening trend going on I am not sure a lot of you are aware of. Seems Wizard is intent on OWNING the entire con circuit and driving out the smaller guys ALL together. Not cool. I have been an attendee of the HEROES CONVENTION for 16 years. From my days with Gaijin Studios, then on into the present. Shelton Drum( Owner of the show) is a Saint. Period. I have been lucky enough to become his friend over the years and I am simply asking folks to not go to Atlanta. Now Im sure things will work out( cause Shelton is a smart guy and he has options). But my concern is that people cant afford to do ALL the shows year round and they might choose the larger venue. Your choice. Im just asking that you make a smart one. We are in the process of contacting as many Professionals as possible asking them to Boycott Wizard in Atlanta. Hopefully they will all go to heroes instead and if you wanna see them, thats where you'll go. Thanks fer listening to my rant. By the by, Wizard was thinking about the same thing in Seattle and that would have killed Emerald City Comicon. Glad they backed off. I will be there this coming year too."

Cully Hamner on Millarworld:

"The problem here is that [Wizard has] chosen the exact same weekend as the long-running Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC. They've done this after being apprised of those dates months ago by Heroes organizer Shelton Drum, with an offer to support their new show in any way possible as long as they didn't try to run him over. WWA coud've chosen a number of other dates, but they've decided instead to try to shut down Heroes, one of the friendliest, most family-oriented, and now longest-lived conventions in the country. My opinion is that they know exactly what they're doing, and I think it's unconscionable and overtly hostile. They have have no reason to do this other than to try to crush the other guy. I mean, this is just low."

On the Gaijin board, Hamner also posted: "I just spoke to Shelton. This show is on the exact same weekend as Heroes. Shelton apprised them months ago of the dates for his 2006 show, with a promise to support them in any way he could as long they could stay out each other's way... They still chose the same weekend."

This has led to Gaijin Studios sending out a mailer to comics pros, asking them to boycott WW: Atlanta and support HeroesCon:

"We've never done anything even close to organizing a protest or a boycott before, but it seems to us that Shelton and his crew are our people, and we owe them at least our public support in the face of abject greed. We're all for Wizard in Atlanta, but not at the expense of Shelton's bread and butter. So, we propose a very public show of support on the part of every Atlanta-area comics professional that we can get in contact with. So, if you agree, please forward this to as many professionals and retailers as you can in and around Atlanta. Hopefully, we can rally enough attention to get them to change their dates."

Ed Brubaker takes on the X-Men:

"There were many things about the basic idea Joe pitched that appealed to me. One was that it was just the kernel of an idea, and that I'd get to flesh it out and take it in as many different directions as I wanted. The other was, honestly, that it was dealing with the X-Men from a time that I was a fan of them, the early days. I'm a sucker for stuff about characters reflecting on something from their past, and I liked the idea of doing something like that, with these characters. Also, they wanted me to bring my style to this story, not to mold to the way X-Men stories always go. So, that helped, too. And because of that, I think in a few major ways, this is a very different kind of X-Men tale."

Hey, Ed! Reflecting on something from their past? Sounds like Identity Crisis, right? Right?

"Yeah, we're basically just doing a big Identity Crisis rip-off, the real secret is Storm was raped by the Blob and Professor X mindwiped the entire Direct Market. That's why Storm is a chubby-chaser, she just doesn't realize it [laughs]. Seriously, though, I just want to take a moment to ask some people to stop jumping to conclusions. The second that Wizard solicit hit with its limited information, the internet was flooded with people claiming this story was an Identity Crisis rip-off, and I was really puzzled by that. I couldn't see a single thing in those two sentences that implied the slightest similarity. They hardly said anything, and then I realized it -- it's because it says there's a secret from the past coming back to haunt them.

"And I hate to break it to anyone who doesn't already know this, but that is not something invented by Identity Crisis. For one thing, it's one of my main themes -- Scene of the Crime, The Fall, Sleeper, hell, even Cap to some degree -- and it's one of the main tropes of all mystery and suspense fiction, as well as one of the oldest stories in the world -- just look at Oedipus, for example. And in the modern world, so much popular fiction is based on this theme, even in comics. Hell, Watchmen uses it, to a degree, as does V for Vendetta, and wasn't the entire plot of the first run of Runaways about an old secret being discovered and dealt with? And this is not meant as a knock against Identity Crisis, but just to point out that it didn't exactly invent the wheel on this one. So, please, until the actual comics come out, I'd hope people could keep the accusations in their pants a little."

Ohhhh, Wizard...!:

"For the second time this week, it appears as if a Wizard promotional effort may have led to major news from one of the 'Big Two' publishers inadvertently leaking out with less than optimum fanfare. In the bios of their Guests of Honor for next month’s WizardWorld: Chicago convention, Jim Lee and Frank Miller, Lee’s bio indicates that in 2006 he will pencil a relaunch of his original Wildstorm creation WildC.A.T.S., to be written (according to this Wizard bio) by Grant Morrison."

Brian Hibbs holds forth on hype:

"Some times it really seems to me that hardly anyone in publishing part of comics really understands their own audience and what they want and how they buy. Look at something like the new Spider-Man title, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, which is launching with a 12-part Spider-Man crossover. This, to me, isn’t putting your best, most inviting foot forward. There’s a kind of a calculus you can make when trying to figure out the audience for a given work. You add the character’s 'marquee' value to that of the creators, then you multiply that by hype and heat and word of mouth and whether or not the project 'sounds good'. I have x people who will buy any Spider-Man book, regardless of content, and I have y who will buy a 'good' Spidey comic, and I have z who are Peter David diehards, and q who will buy him doing an iconic character, and r who are Wieringo diehards and s who will buy him on certain characters but not others, and so on for the other factors. And you parse your way through the numbers and you place an order (hopefully) matching supply to demand, both in the short haul and in the long term. But the further you move from 'one creative team, one book', the more your calculus begins to morph. I know that I can sell (x+z+r) copies of a David/Wieringo Spider-Man comics, because that’s the diehards, the completeists, but the long term health of a book depends on y and q and s – the people who are fans, under certain circumstances.

"The calculus of Hype is that it deforms the base calculations you’re making. (x+z+r) people will buy Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, because they just will. They’re the core. But n number of people will buy issue #1 because it’s a number one, and m number will buy it because it’s a crossover, and o number will buy it out of curiosity, and so forth. But few of those people will still be buying it with #12, because they’re not actually potential long-term customers for the work. The problem is that an awful lot of the long-term maybes, the y who will buy Spidey under the right circumstances and the q for David, and the s for Wieringo, are exactly the people most turned off by cross-title events and being 'forced' buying things they don’t normally buy. I can more easily tailor a sales pitch to 'new ongoing Peter David Spidey book!' than I can 'First part of a line-wide Spider-Man crossover, continued by Peter David and Wieringo in Amazing and MK Spider-Man! Then they take 2 months off, and come back with FNSM #4!' One is a much easier sell to the people on the fence."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Brian Michael Bendis rules June's sales charts, as House of M #1 and 2, and New Avengers #6, take the first three places in the chart:

"One indication of the strength of the [House of M] event is the Diamond 'Index' number for House of M #1, which indicates the number of copies sold in relation to Diamond’s 'control' title, Batman (in this case issue #641), which always has an index figure of 100.00. While Newsarama leaves the challenging task of estimating actual sales figures to others, we can say House of M #1’s index of 347.82 (meaning it sold approximately 3 and ½ times more copies than Batman #461) is the highest index figure on any Diamond chart since New Avengers #1 and its four variant covers had an index of 395.29 last December. House of M #1 had three covers, including the Olivier Coipel gatefold cover, which is still available for order from Diamond (copies of which do not count towards the charts)."

Neil Kleid leaves us, temporarily:

"BIG POND, Neil Kleid's collaborative writing column, goes on hiatus this week until after the Thursday following Labor Day weekend. 'Honestly, it just comes down to time, accelerated deadlines and paying work' Kleid told Scryptic on Tuesday evening. 'The last few months, my work schedule has seen a steady influx of solicited pitches and paying assignments and I just can't juggle everything. The sad part is that POND is the most freeing part of my writing week, allowing me to pretty much say whatever I want about writing in an excellent forum offered by the good elves at Scryptic Studios. Between the pressures of a monthly comic book, overseeing the production of several projects and attempting to draw my second graphic novel, something had to give - and for now it's POND.'"

WizardWorld gets bigger:

"Wizard Entertainment has announced a new 3-day pop culture consumer show, which will be held in Atlanta from June 30th through July 2nd, 2006. The Atlanta show is Wizard's sixth, joining similar events in Chicago, Boston, Texas, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia... For its inaugural Atlanta show Wizard Entertainment has staked out prime mid-summer dates, which may cause some conflicts for game companies (because Origins 2006 is being held in Columbus, Ohio from June 29th to July 2nd) and anime/manga publishers (since Anime Expo 2006 runs from July 1st through the 4th in Anaheim, California)."

Lee Bermejo talks to Comic Foundry about his work:

"I guess my attempt at making people feel more intimate with the main character was to do this pencil-rendering technique that I’ve been doing with [the Lex Luthor book] during this whole project that allowed me to, instead of keeping stuff so stark with the contrast, like with Batman/Deathblow and my previous work, round things out a little bit and soften the edges more. I knew I needed readers to empathize with Luthor more, so in my head I guess I thought if I not necessarily made him more realistic, but almost sculpturally allowed people to feel the character more, that maybe in some way that would benefit the story in terms of seeing softer, seeing him more completely than I’ve seen him portrayed in a lot of comics."

Erik Larsen to write column for CBR, fans hoping that Larsen will talk about pies will be disappointed:

"Over the years, I've heard people say they're intimidated by me. I'm not sure if it's because I'm a creator or because I'm a publisher, but really I'm just a fan like everybody else. The idea here is just to show that I'm another fan who just happens to be in the business. Any topic that happens to come into my head is fair game. From the actual creation of comics, to just basic rants on stupid stuff, to really damn near anything."

San Diego - Tool of The Man:

"According to a report from Variety, San Diego Comic-Con wasn’t the weekend destination for comic book, manga, anime, and costumed fans – it was also the target of investigators from the Motion Picture association of America, who were looking into rumors of bootleg DVDs being sold on the convention floor. As Variety reported, the MPAA tipped off the San Diego Police Department, and vendors Chet and Gregory Szydlowski were arrested on felony charges. The charges the two were hit with carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The products the two were selling were not named in the Variety article."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dreamwave for sale, Dreamwave for sale, tuppence a bag...

"The Bankruptcy Trustee handling the sale of Dreamwave Productions’ assets is calling for tenders (offers) for the purchase of Dreamwave’s interest in trademarks and inventory of comics. The move follows the company filing for bankruptcy at the beginning of this year. The marks for sale in the Tender Sale include Dreamwave’s studio owned titles: Warlands, Neon Cyber, Shidima, Echo, Fate of the Blade, Garden of Blades, Limbo City, Arkaniumm, Necrowar, Dark Minds, Capsoul, and Sandscape. Other marks include those of the term 'Dreamwave' and 'DW & Design' (though Dreamwave published series based on Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and CAPCOM properties, those were licensed to Dreamwave by the owners, and their marks are not included in the sale)."

Gail Simone interviews TV's Captain Marvel, Jackson Bostwick:

"Fantasy, comedy and adventure are my milieus. This is what attracted me to Captain Marvel comics as a youngster. My Southern Fried Shakespeare (in the 25th Century) short that won the Gold Medal at Worldfest Houston (the largest film festival in the world for entries alone) is just such an outing. So yes, writing a comic book adventure involving the good Captain has crossed my mind. And, no. I've never even gotten a 'love note' from the mighty DC -- much less an invitation to the prom. But I must add, the late ingenious, C.C. Beck, and the mighty, Julius Schwartz, were good friends of mine, and the ever youthful, Carmine Infantino, is still a friendly acquaintance."

The retailer and his customer - a study, as related at ICv2:

"I've been very fortunate in my tenure at Bookery Fantasy to know many good people, to have many good friends. In my 18 years as Manager, I've met every imaginable kind of person, and feel that my life is richer for having known them all. I've seen rebellious teenagers grow up to be decorated war heroes, Christian rockers, and parents to beautiful children of their own. I've been invited to weddings, graduations, delivery rooms, funerals, and divorce proceedings. There've been tears, laughter, shouting, and silence. And, of course, intelligent, stimulating conversations that start out with phrases like 'That Wolverine -- I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley!'"

The Joe Quesada board talk about Deadly Genesis, the new X-Men "event" series by Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine, as leaked in the solicits for October's Wizard:

"The fanboy in me is happy but it does seem a bit crossover overkill following HOM and the Other, Didn't Joe say they wouldn't go overkill with the crossovers. It also sounds a bit of a rip of Identity Crisis. What happens now is people make a fuss about Marvel ripping off DC's ideas and Marvel deny. In the end it turns out they pretty much are though. YA, New Avengers, Bucky's return, Invaders etc.... Still im sure ill be all hellishluy excited about it when it comes round."

"Bucky's return was not a rip off. Brubaker and Winnick have both stated so. YA is not a rip off. That's just silly to think so. That's like saying any team book is a rip off of JLA..."

"I thought House of M was the biggest event book in 30 years!, I thought nothing would be as big for another 10? was I fooled? Might pick this up, 'cuz it's Bru."

Millarworld is out of ideas, and looking for some:

"Has anyone else noticed it's been a long time since the title 'comic creator' really made any sense? I know there are plenty of new characters outside of Marvel/DC but within the respective universes they seem few and far between. And when they do pop up (Breach, Young Heroes In Love, Gravity) they're thrown to the wolves in an ongoing series that doesn't stand a chance in hell of selling soon enough to avoid cancellation. Whatever happened to introducing a character in a successful comic, bringing them back often enough to build up a following, but not so often they're being shoved down our throats, then giving them a miniseries to test the waters. That's how two of the biggest post-silver age characters, Wolverine and Punisher, became successful. Gravity is a great example. Introduce the character in a storyline in Spider-Man, give him a few months then maybe he pops up again in New Avengers. Have him show up in the next big company wide crossover (not as a central character, but there) then test the waters with a miniseries. Marvel's much more likely to end up with the next Spidey that way than by putting him out with no advertising in a book on his own that is unlikely to sell well. Then you end up with another Xero or Damage-a character some folks like, but is veiwed by the company as a failure. Also, can we get some characters that aren't incestuously derivative of existing concepts? Sentinel, X-23, Arana, Manhunter, Firestorm, etc. There's nothing wrong with these characters, and I like some of them quite a bit, but enough is enough."

"There are tons, TONS of fresh, new, GREAT ideas out of the super-hero market. Why don't you try those instead?"

"I dont know, I guess it matters where you look, but I see and hear tons of new ideas all the time in comics. Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis are always bursting with new ideas. Most of them brilliant too. Alan Moore and Mark Millar are good for some great ideas too. Manga is a breath of fresh new ideas for us western comics readers, I think. And as already noted, independent comics have new great ideas every month it seems, from Craig Thompson, Rick Remender, Mike Mignola, etc etc...."

"What I've noticed lately (just from my own reading habits) is that most of the interesting stories are in superhero books. But when you consider it there isnt anything exciting in their origins. All the best characters started right into the action with very brief discussion of their origins. This is escapist literature after all, it just sometimes doesnt seem like it due to modern story technique in which they bring elements of realism into the story in order to draw in more sophisticated readers. As for non-superhero stuff, well most of it isnt very good. Either because the art is subpar or the concept is lacking."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rich Johnston reviews the V for Vendetta movie script this week - and why do things like that never end up in my inbox? Bah - but the more interesting story for me is the mention of something called "52", which may be a new weekly series from DC:

"Spread across the DC Universe, it will cover what happened in the [OYL] Gap, chronologically, week by week, using a number of creative teams-- which will naturally include Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and Mark Waid along the way. Should be a DC continuity fans' dream-- and an instant fillip for DC market share."

Okay, so Greg Pak signs an exclusive deal with Marvel a couple of weeks ago, and then Dynamic Forces announce that he's writing a Battlestar Galactica ongoing series for them starting at the end of this year. Huh? Exclusive deals really don't mean anything other than "You won't work at Marvel/DC" these days, don't they? Unless you're Warren Ellis, who now has two ongoing series at DC while under Marvel exclusive.

Jesse Baker, K-Box to fume:

"Marvel Enterprises, Inc. announced today that it has extended its contract agreement with Joe Quesada, Editor-In-Chief of the company’s Marvel Comics division. As part of the new deal, Mr. Quesada will also take on the added role as the Chief Creative Officer, Publishing. Widely considered one of the comic book industry’s most recognizable and acclaimed talents, Mr. Quesada has helped spearhead a new golden age for Marvel Comics and solidified its leadership position in the comic book arena. 'I’m thrilled to have Joe as a partner in this resurgence of interest in the comic book market,' says Dan Buckley, COO and Publisher of Marvel. 'Joe has been invaluable in taking Marvel Comics into new and inventive creative directions, and the fans are responding to that. Thanks in part to his efforts, Marvel Comics has seen four straight years of revenue growth.'"



Ethan Van Sciver announces that Jim Aparo is dead. Fuck. I loved his stuff, when I was a kid.

Brooklyn gets a new comic store:

"Rocketship is Brooklyn’s newest comic book and graphic novel store, opening in August at 208 Smith Street, with a wide selection of graphic novels, alternative comics, 'DIY' mini-comics, and original comic art. To help celebrate the grand opening, Rocketship will host 'Cartoon Brooklyn,' a gallery show featuring work by some of Brooklyn’s best local artists. Jessica Abel (Artbabe, La Perdida), Dean Haspiel (Opposable Thumbs, The Quitter), Matt Madden (A Fine Mess, Odds Off), and Josh Neufeld (A Few Perfect Hours, The Vagabonds) will all have work displayed in the store throughout August and September. An opening reception will be held on July 29th, from seven until ten in the evening, complete with an open bar that will be serving wine and beer in the store’s garden. (Please contact Alex Cox at 718-797-1348 to be added to the guest list.)"

I mention this because not only does that sound like a good show, but also, "rocketship" is one of my favorite words ever. I am so fickle.

AiT/PlanetLar moves towards World Domination (but not this World Domination, because they've already done that):

"AiT/PlanetLar Publisher Larry Young... told ICv2 at the San Diego Comic-Con International that all three properties in his company's preview comic, Black Diamond On Ramp, are currently in development for feature films... The three titles previewed in Black Diamond On Ramp, Black Diamond, Smoke and Guns, and Five Fists of Science are all in development, which Young proudly said is, 'All because of the sampler.'"

Tom Spurgeon writes what may be the greatest thing I'll ever read about SDCC 2005 - A running commentary on the Eisner Awards:

"8:38 -- Do the people at the tables have a special bathroom they don't want the people in coach using? Because I would totally use that bathroom."

The Joe Quesada board take on hype:

"Continually saying something will 'crack the internet in two' to the point were every comic site has four thread taking the ***, may well be what should be the textbook defination of too much hype. That or saying that a characters inability to remove his quiver from his back (because he's a fuckin' retard) is a 'classic heroic marvel death'. Or claiming that Northstar is a huge marvel character and you weren't sure if da Q would let you kill him."

"I kinda like hype. For someone who hangs about mostly cause I'm at work and bored and have a connection to the internet...it sure makes the day go by faster. I nixed my internet connection from home so I don't follow any other time."

"Hype can be good, but crazy promises in the solicitations like 'this issue will crack the internet in half' and following up with interviews saying things like 'this is the single best last page I've ever written- guaranteed!' just MIGHT set up some expectations that are hard to meet or beat. How about selling us the books without generating the impossible to live up to hype? People were knocked out by the last page of New Avengers 7, right? Little hype (well, about the normal amount) and people were shocked/impressed/whatever by the end. Even I, a firm anti-Bendis/anti-New Avengers thought it was, at least interesting. It had pretty good word of mouth... I'd much rather rely on good word of month from friends and acquaintances online than crazy promotional silliness that can't be lived up to."

"After 1602, I've completely lost faith in all company hype. After reading 'The Walking Dead' I've also lost faith in all internet-fan hype. I just pick up things that are done by people I like, have an interesting concept, or are recommended to me by close friends who know my taste."

The Bendis Board get oddly concerned about Ghost Rider continuity:

"I just got my comics in the mail today and the new marvel catalog was included. I was looking through the thing, and got to the Ghost Rider preview. I had high hopes for this, but after seeing the preview pages it looks like Garth ennis joins a long list of writers that don't give a fuck about the characters and are just doing it for a paycheck. I'm not a continuity whore, but when you ignore major plot points and powers it's like what the fuck... Blaze is ghost Rider/zarathos. Without any damn explanation whatsoever. WHY is blaze ghost Rider again? Don't get me wrong, I love Blaze, but he fucking despised zarathos when he was Ghost Rider. As a matter of fact when he was trying to get rid of zarathos it almost killed him and he said he didn't care. He'd rather be dead than spend another second as host to zarathos. I know this is to blame on that shit ass Hammer lane series they put out a few years ago, but they didn't explain it there either. Just wham blaze was Ghost Rider again. What the fuck happened to Dan? WHY IS GHOST RIDER BREATHING FIRE? Second of all, Ghost Rider doesn't have real fire. It's hellfire. It burns your soul and leaves your flesh untouched. Second why is ghost rider spitting out chains? Better yet, why is John blaze's ghost rider using chains? That was Dan's Ghost Rider! Blaze's GR was more of throwing around the hellfire and searing out the souls of whoever it got in contact with using said hellfire. What do you want to bet he also has Dan's Penance Stare with no explanation either. God damn this pisses me off. And I know some of you are going to say as long as it's a good story it doesn't matter. Or calm down it's just comics, etc. But what would you say if all the sudden in the new issue of X-men Cyclops started shooting optic beams out of his mouth without an explanation, or Nightcrawler turned out to be the son of the devil...wait a minute... My point remains, is I had faith that since this was Garth ennis maybe he would do his homework, or have some respect for the character. But looks like it's just another paycheck for him. FUCK."

"Ghost Rider is a demon. A monster so if he wants to spit chains, I don't care. But I do care if Ghost Rider is Blaze again and this is not some kind of untold story from the past. Marvel went through a whole lotta trouble to convince me that there was a new rider in town and it wasn't Johnny Blaze, it was another guy. And it was indeed another host and another spirit of vengeance. Sure it took them like 8 years to finally getting around to saying who it really was, but I was one of the 11 readers who was still there to see it. So if John Blaze is indeed shackled to Zarathos again, I need to know how that happened. I'm not as venomous as you are, but I do agree with the heart of what you're saying. If its a random tale from the past, I'm fine. And I understand that Marvel has got to re-establish the character as he's going to appear in his movie. There are ways to do that for a new audience without alienating the built in fan base. But if its happening right now, yeah I dunno."

"Garth is just doing this for the check. He likes PUNISHER because he can either ignore superheroes or have them show up to be mocked (similar to his HITMAN series for DC). Maybe he read the last mini (which I doubt) and went from there. Otherwise, he just went witht he famous name, or the one from the movie. It will be written way out of character, and he'll half-ass his way through it, but you may get a few funny jokes out of it. It's cool, though. Ghost Rider will still be a Biker-Gay Spectre."

Retailers United - Amanda Fisher and Joe Fields talk ComicsPRO.

Fisher: "[O]ur purpose is 'to promote the progress and development of comic book retailers, to help develop better marketing and daily business practices for comic book retailers, and to improve the condition of their industry by educating the public about comic books in general.' Comic book stores are small businesses, usually run with by a small number of people if not by the owner alone. There are many things we can do to help each other in business, and bringing us together is the purpose of ComicsPRO... Something that holds many of the stores in our industry back is a lack of business expertise and a lack of time -- when you're running a small business that you started because you love comics, you don't have a lot of time to learn everything about calculating the optimal sales per square foot for your store and whether or not your product is doing the work it should for you, about how your display affects your customer base, and an enormous amount of other necessary business knowledge. I've seen many stores run on the principle that packing as much inventory into a space as possible will yield the best results -- and many of us have a serious lack of healthy cash flow and profit margin. As an organization, we can invest in the business savvy of comic book retailers as a whole and share the burden of time and cost to improve our stores together."

Brian Michael Bendis and Paul Jenkins discuss the current arc in New Avengers, centering around the Sentry and Jenkins himself:

"The Sentry is a great comic creation and we've all, the writers in comics, have been talking about how protective everyone is of everyone else's creations. We have no problem using the sh__ out of every classic Marvel creation but any new character; everyone just assumes is only to be used by the person who created that character. And some of these characters, like the Sentry, are truly great, but they never bloom because everyone is scared to touch them. I had a similar feeling about Alias. When Allan Heinberg asked to use Jessica Jones, I was like, 'Please, yes!' I was hoping someone would, and I hit Paul up in a similar fashion for New Avengers. He had the same reaction. He said: 'God, I was waiting for someone to do something with him.'"

Monday, July 18, 2005

San Diego slightly large, says ICv2:

"It seems likely that attendance will be up enough to cross into six-figure territory this year, making San Diego the first U.S. comic convention to do so."

"Best scene of the night came early on as Arnold Drake sang his made-up Comic-Con song. He has a voice just like Henry Fonda's father in 'The Lady Eve,' and the song carried this hilarious out of left field slam about Stan Lee taking credit for stuff he didn't do."

Tom Spurgeon's SDCC coverage was probably more fun than the con itself, really. Meanwhile, Heidi was also on top form, when she was able to update:

"In nightlife news, the Chu-Fong may be gone, but the Hyatt's dual bar set up the first floor has created a swirling party scene, as people roam from one bar to the other. Unfortunately, the bars are so far apart that it's like trying to get from one side of the convention hall to the other, and adds deadly milage to already aching feet. Those who forgot to wear sensible shoes are truly paying the price."

Mark Evanier, however, is in thinkin' mode about the whole thing:

"The con was fast and fun, and I heard others today mutter that it seemed to fly by at record speed. Some of that is due to the way familiar things always seem to take less time than unfamiliar ones. Going to some location always seems to take less time than coming back, since on the way back, you're more familiar with the terrain and where you're going. Comic-Con International, though wonderful in many ways, has a tendency to look and feel the same each year. The crowds all look the same and the exhibit hall doesn't vary much. I didn't need to consult the map to find certain exhibitors. I just went to where they were last year...and maybe the year before and the year before. What was different for me was the mood, which seemed even more divorced from comic books than ever before. It's like what's in the comic book doesn't matter any more. It's what's in the movie that counts. And if it never becomes a movie...well then, the comic book really doesn't matter. I'll try to write more about this in the coming days."

San Diego broke CBR:

"Early Sunday morning the Comic Book Resources server suffered a serious crash. We are currently uncertain the extent of the data loss at this time, but we're doing everything in our power to bring the site online as soon as possible, although it could be as long as a day or two. To our visitors and advertisers, we apologize for the inconvenience."

The latest DC versus Marvel thread is at Newsarama:

"Love Marvel & DC, but since theres more DC love it seems around here, Gotta give some props to Marvel. Still think they got better stuff than DC"

"agreed, DC has been losing my money lately, while Marvel has been gaining it, i think it's because marvel has been moving towards the more lighthearted and humourous side of things which is what I prefer, plus marvel has the better artists"

"I think Marvel does have the better artists. Not to say that DC doesn't, because they have some great talent, and once we see some kubert stuff i'm sure it'll be cool. Also I noticed alot of people complaing about the house of M tie ins. What the hell do you think DC is doing? Theres like 6 minis that lead into issues that lead into crossover issues that lead into whatever the hell else. I dunno, I just read the last 2 issues of JLA and seemed corny and lame, but have affected me. I was surprised Johns wrote that cause alot of dialogue seemed stiff."

"Bullshit, you didnt read it. You want bad writing? Try the last page of HoM #3, Uncanny X-men HoM, and Iron Man HoM."

The Bendis Board finds a new figurehead:

"Ah,...Colleen Doran [...] you write great and original comics [...] you're a great comic's artist [...] you talk to us like we're human [...] you've got a great head of hair [...] you're like everything Bendis used to be.........."

"Hahaha!"

"yes yes, we get it. goddard thinks bendis is a sellout hack now. i think certain jokes lose their humor when they've been repeated ad nauseam. eventually they venture into the realm of meanspirited and trollish."

Comics Continuum has the DC solicits for October up a wee bit early. Of interest:

* Well, this little thing called Infinite Crisis starts: "It's finally here: the comics event so massive that it built over the first half of 2005, through Countdown, Day of Vengeance, Rann/Thanagar War, Villains United and The OMAC Project. Prepare for the dawn of the DCU's darkest day in Infinite Crisis, a 7-issue miniseries written. Surrounded by their most fearsome enemies, the world's greatest heroes are divided within and without. DC's icons -- Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman -- are joined by Nightwing, Supergirl, Donna Troy, Superboy, Robin, Wonder Girl, Green Lantern, the Flash and more as they face their most dire hour. What happens next will destroy friendships and lives, dictating the direction of the universe for the next generation! Years in the making, the greatest event to hit the DCU in over two decades is about to explode."

* Whatever happened to the Darwyn Cooke run on the Flash? "A exciting new creative team comes aboard as The Flash speeds toward . . . the end? The past always seems to catch up with the Fastest Man Alive, and as Infinite Crisis approaches, Wally West reflects on his life with his wife and kids and sees that the end may be near." Joey Cavalieri and Val Semeiks take over writing and art, respectively.

* JLA also hops on board the Infinite Crisis train: "There has been a great Crisis of Conscience, and the JLA as we know it is no more. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are at odds...now it's time for Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary to bring the League back to basics. But this World Without a Justice League may be just what an old villain with some new tricks has been hoping for!" An odd creative team, too: Bob Harras and Tom Derenick?

* Keeping up its recent winning streak, Solo showcases Mike Allred: "Join Mike Allred, the creator of Madman and The Atomics, as he takes a whirlwind tour of the DCU! First stop: Hourman, as we find out exactly how much super-heroing a hero can do. The craziness continues as two super-teams are pitted against each other in 'Doom Patrol vs. Teen Titans.' In 'Batman A-Go-Go!', the Caped Crusader is taken on a kooky psychedelic journey. Allred visits Jack Kirby's Fourth World as Lightray and Orion put Mister Miracle to the test in 'Fourth World Wager.' Can Scott Free really get out of any trap? And it's all capped off with "Comic Book Clubhouse," featuring just about every DC hero!"

* Two Seven Soldiers titles conclude - Klarion and Zatanna: "Zatanna and Misty search for the 7 Unknown Men of Slaughter Swamp, only to find themselves face to face with a menace beyond imagination! The unexpected return of an almost unstoppable Golden Age master villain could spell doom for the Mistress of Magic unless she gets her groove on fast. Will Zatanna regain her powers in time for the ultimate magical duel with the ultimate cosmic criminal? With a storyline leading directly into the epic Seven Soldiers #1, the answer may not be what you expect! A Soldier must die -- will it be Zatanna?"

* Loveless, Brian Azzarello's new Vertigo western, launches: "Wes Cutter is a wanted man running from a violent past -- the horrors of the Civil War, a brutal stint in a Union prison camp, and the savage fallout of Reconstruction. Now he's on a quest for the one thing in short supply: peace. Joining Wes is his beautiful wife Ruth, a woman who has been to hell and back herself -- and hides dark secrets of her own. The road they travel will be a bloody one, leaving a trail of bodies stretching from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean. This is a tale only Azzarello -- the mind behind some of the hardest-hitting comics of the last decade -- could tell."

* Okay, I really didn't expect to ever see this: "The World's Strangest Heroes continue their adventures in this third volume collecting Grant Morrison's career-launching run on Doom Patrol. Reprinting issues #35-41 of the series,Down paradise Way features the debut of Danny the Street, the first appearance of Flex Mentallo, and, through it all, an incredible saga of cosmic war and super-evolving consciousness!" That's right - DC seem to actually be reprinting the Flex Mentallo issues of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol.

* Darren Aronofsky and Kent Williams' The Fountain finally appears.

* Remember Vertigo's First Taste TPB, offering the first issue of six Vertigo series for $5? They're doing it again, with First Offences: "Vertigo: First Offenses is a special volume created to introduce new readers to comics' most provocative imprint. Collecting the premiere issues of five of Vertigo's signature series, this 168-page trade paperback is priced at a mere $4.99 US, allowing thrill-seeking ordinary civilians the chance to do hard time with some of comics' heaviest hitters. Included are The Invisibles #1 (written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Steve Yeowell), Fables #1 (written by Bill Willingham and illustrated by Lan Medina & Steve Leialoha), Preacher #1 (written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillon), Sandman Mystery Theatre #1 (written by Matt Wagner and illustrated by Guy Davis) and The Sandman Presents: Lucifer #1 (written by Mike Carey and illustrated by Scott Hampton)."

So, San Diego, huh? Was it just me, or was it a bit of a dull one this year? Especially for Marvel, who seemed to be holding everything back for the next Wizard World in three weeks. Of the vaguely interesting news, Vertigo are launching a lot of new books including the long-discussed DMZ by Brian Wood and some new Fables books, not to mention a new Douglas Rushkoff book. The creator of television's Oz is going to be doing Batman, while Mark Waid signs an exclusive with DC and gets The Brave and The Bold for his troubles.

Tokyopop had some interesting news, signing a deal with the Jim Henson company that allows them to do books based on Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's Mirrormask - who else thought that that deal would have gone to Vertigo? - as well as some other movies. And, not announced at the Con but during it, they're doing a Buffy The Vampire Slayer book, as well. Talking of deals, Slave Labor talked about their Disney deal.

Poor Marvel, meanwhile, didn't really have anything on offer aside from the return of Moon Knight, and Joe Quesada's panel, which more or less announced that they wanted to make announcements later.

Overall, then... Feh.

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