Saturday, November 29, 2003

Millarworld plan what they'd do if they were to pick up NewXMen after Grant Morrison leaves (and in the process, display a pessimism that shows they are truly Mark Millar's children):

"I'd have mutant hate just absolutely explode. It would no longer be 'screw you because you're different' but instead would be 'screw you because you and your kind just tried to slaughter me and mine'. Xavier's school would be demolished, Mutie Town would become a slum. Anywhere that Mutants are, public love ain't. The X-Men would disappear, apparently disbanded."

"Wolverine would be a black ops agent for Nick Fury and SHIELD. This position would give him access to all sorts of government intel which he could provide to the leaders of the underground X-men (Phoenix, Beast, and Xavier). Storm would lead the field team (Uncanny X-men), consisting of Nightcrawler, Rogue, Iceman, Northstar, Juggernaut, and Shadowcat. Cyclops and Emma Frost are living at the Hellfire Club (which the public still doesn't know is a club for mutants), as is Archangel. The following have been killed by Sentinels (which are no longer the big, clunky purple robots; rather they are now elite special forces groups infused w/ Nano-sentinel technology): Husk, Gambit, Sage, Polaris, and Thunderbird II. Bishop and Cannonball were killed by Wolverine after they had been turned into "Hounds" by the Sentinels (basically some mutants are injected w/ Nano-sentinels and turned against their own kind; the process is irreversible). Logan killed them because they were responsible for the death of Jubilee."

"I'd do the counter of what Morrison did, and show change to be a horrible negative thing that can only do bad. I'd put the X-men into the position where they'd actually be forced into admitting that maybe, the continual mutation of the human species may be very bad indeed long-form for everyone involved. I know how i'd do this, and it isn't as crazy as it sounds. After that was done being kicked around, I'd continue what Morrison was doing, but in a completely different way. The X-men are teachers? Well... what have we all learned? That acceptance is a good thing? Well... dandy. What else is there? Imagine the Fantastic Four, without the shiny gloss. Down and dirty sci-fi told from a street level. And I'd reintroduce the idea of the X-men as terrorists into the book."

Friday, November 28, 2003

Sometimes Millarworld makes it too easy to make fun:

"What do you guys think about sexuality and sexual situations in comics? ...I'm pretty liberal when in comes to most things but when it comes to comics i'm divided on this issue...or hypocritical depending on your perspective. I think portrayal of sexual situations is Ok as long as it serves the purpose of adding to the story and isn't just a reason to put T & A on the page [which i like from time to time]... I'm also against making straight characters gay. Colossus in Ultimate X-men really gets under my skin for some reason. I always liked the relationship between Colossus and Wolverine in the regular Marvel universe but the fact that Ult. Colossus wants to pack Ult. Wolverines fudge is a little disturbing to me. Kind of makes you wonder what the Ult. "fastball special" could be. I'm all for being creative and putting a different spin on things but when you've got a character thats been around forever and is important to alot of people i don't think you should make him gay...especially when the majority of readers are heterosexual men who could care less about the idea of colossus wanting logans ass. If it were some supporting character i don't think i'd have a problem with it but....it's Colossus...he's one of the boys. I'm not into it....but thats just my opinion...

"I * * DO NOT WANT * * Wonder Woman to have a sex life... To me its just disturbing... I've been accused of taking things too seriously before and this very well may be one of them but to me it feels like Wonder Woman should be the ideal woman... The majority of long term WW readers are men and i suspect that those guys have a certain weird affection for her as i do. I know it's just a comic and everything and this may sound completly Psycho to some of you but I don't want to see Wonder Women get laid by some stupid supporting character. It's disturbing..... Like watching your girlfriend hump some dude in front of you. It makes me mad hehe I don't think I would like the male character very much after he put the moves on Diana. Superman i wouldn't have a problem with. Diana as a lesbian on the other hand makes alot more sense considering her upbringing and where she's from. I certainly don't want Wonder Woman to become a lesbian porno but like most male pigs if she were to become a lesbian i wouldnt be bothered as much. It wouldn't actually be too much of a stretch.... and it doesn't make my weird fucked up backwards fan boy jealousy act up as much ;)"

It doesn't even need a punchline, does it?

Rich Johnson advertised this week's Waiting For Tommy by announcing that he felt like Warren Ellis. The V wouldn't let him get away with this:

"What, spawning thoroughly redundant and pseudish phrases on a whim to legitimise your less-than-highbrow output?"

"d00d, you can get in trouble for visiting camgirl sites at work. Don't you have a firewall or something? :p And take those slippers off."

"You're a tossmonkey."

"This unpleasant spell will pass, Rich. In the meantime, I'm here to help you."

Now, I was looking forward to Back Issue, TwoMorrow's new comics magazine, but this quote from the editor makes me pause...

"First, Back Issue’s design is very graphics-heavy and reader-friendly in a hip, contemporary package."

Anyone that describes their magazine as "a hip, contemporary package" obviously is worried that they're not "hip". It's a zen thing.

Posters at the Joe Quesada board are worried about the schedule of The Ultimates, to the extent of making up disturbing euphamisms about it:

"it's like if a girl (or a dude) keeps telling you she wants to have sex with you...'next week' Next week comes, she's got cold feet, but 'i swear ill be ready next week' she says. And so on. In other words... Ultimates gave you blue balls. I am excited though cause I heard it has the best fight scene ever."

"The relaunch is stupid. I like Hitch's work but it's not worth the delays, no one can look at it and say he's actually drawing 22 pages everyday for six months or whatever an issue takes to come out."

James Sime recommends some comics to be thankful for, although someone should tell him that it's not a new story by Mike Oeming in the Catwoman trade, but one reprinted from the Catwoman Secret Files from last year...

Meanwhile, all you want to know about Grant Morrison is apparently forthcoming:

"I have life-defining moments every other month. If I listed them it would comprise a full and detailed biography of around 257 pages or thereabouts, a task I'm leaving to my biographer Craig McGill. Did I mention that this season's ultra-chic new comic creator accessories are a personal biographer and a life worth writing about?"

Grant's interviews are always wonderful...

One of the more surreal threads at Millarworld in a long time. Someone asks if Grant Morrison is acting mad or is generally mad, and things go downhill from there. Of particular note is Mark Peyton's clunky namedropping...

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Secret sneakback number three: God bless Michael Deeley and his column at Silver Bullet Comics for unintentional laughs:

He starts this week's column by saying "This week, I do an all-company review of Image Comics" and then, after reviewing seven books (and mentioning that he's reviewed Powers in the past), writes "And that is that for Image comics. I know, they make a lot more, like ‘Leave it to Chance’, ‘Invincible’, ‘Noble Causes’, and a dozen others. But I’m just one man! I couldn’t possibly read everything a company publishes."

So, it's not really an all-company review then, is it, Michael?

Secret sneakback number two: Trouble reveals that Aunt May is actually Peter Parker's mother after all. Millarworld is, alternately, bored and bothered:

"Aunt May can't be Peters mom can she. Isn't she too old (she would have had peter in her 50s), which doesn't jive with this book at all. Given the reception of Epic, I would imagine any potential retcon that this book sought to accomplish will now be long forgotten."

"Aunt May is way older than 50-60--she has always been depicted as old and feeble. In my mind that makes her more 70-80ish range. Assume Peter is 30 (which is alot, since the trend is to de-age him), that would put the girl in Trouble at being 35-40, which is impossible."

"Jesus. Fucking. Christ. edit: I'm displeased."

"Trouble, no matter what the names on the pages might be, cannot be about Spider-Man. Well, not the original iteration of Spider-Man, at any rate. Hell, it can't even be about Ultimate Spider-Man, for the simple fact that the age gap between Ben and May, and Richard and Mary has been preserved in the Ultimate Universe. They aren't the same age, unlike the characters in Trouble."

Secret sneakback: Gun Theory cancelled halfway through its run. Surely nothing else can emphasise the death of Epic now?

And that's it. I'm off. Have a good Thanksgiving, for the Americans in the audience, and for the non-Americans, have a good Thursday...

Joe Casey talks comics and says something along the lines of what I've been saying for ages:

"While we're on the subject, can we finally shitcan the term, 'decompressed storytelling' once and for all? Manga can afford to be decompressed because they have more than a hundred pages a pop to work with, but here in the good ol' U.S. of A. we've only got twenty-two per month. How about we get back to COMPRESSED storytelling? Another thing that Geoff and I agree on, I guess. Giving the kids more bang for their buck… trying to match the massive info overload that most civilized humans have accepted as everyday life, just flipping the channels on their digital cable. It's about stimulating the audience's imaginations, not putting them to sleep by 'writing for the trade.'"

Warren Ellis to write an episode of the animated Justice League series for Cartoon Network.

For some reason, this makes me smile. So much for The Old Bastard.

Newsarama posters discuss gay comic creators with "wit":

"If self love is gay, you won't find any gayer than John Byrne!!!! HAH!! Cause he loves himself so much...see, he's a man and he loves himself more than anyone and...well, it's like...self love might be considered gay (not that there's anything wrong with that) if taken out of context in a humorous form...no, I don't really think John Byrne is gay, it's a joke...."

DC announce Vertigo trades for the start of next year. No The Filth? Bah.

Brad Meltzer discusses Identity Crisis, DC's crossover project for next year:

"That’s exactly what I loved -- working with those characters -- and dealing realistically with their near-unlimited resources... How do you fool a man who can see through walls? Or a woman that has a lasso to force you to tell the truth? Or a man who is twenty steps ahead of you mentally? You'll see. In many ways, I hope that's why DC hired me -- if you read one of my novels, you'll see this is what I love. Setting up a disastrous problem -- and then pulling all the emotional juice I can out of it. If you can put the story down and walk away, I'm not doing my job."

As someone whose critical faculties almost completely disappear around DC Crossovers, I say nothing but secretly squeal like a little girl...

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Newsarama posters worry about Marvel's new Secret War project:

"Brian Michael Bendis has hinted that someone is going to die during the big Secret Wars event. I was just wondering what everyone's guess is as to whom it will be?"

"I don't care, as long as The Lizard and Klaw team-up again"

"My guess would be a C-List hero that we haven't seen in a while... Someone like Living Lightning or Rage. Another possibility is Moon Knight, as Joe Quesada hates him so much!"

"Mostly they kill a character that didn´t work! But No one should die.Maybe it is the Black Witch to bring Hawkeye to the next level??"

"Um...who? What?"

Time releases a list of 25 graphic novels and trades for "smart, sophisticated readers". Millarworld discusses:

"I've not heard of half of these, either, although I've read and own the ones I have heard of. Personally, I thought David Boring and Summer Blonde were overrated. Blankets is far superior to either of those."

"Fortunatly, I'm Smart coz I read many of them. Unfortunatly, I didn't like Epileptic. So I guess my IQ just fell from 1 to 10 points..."

"It is funny how not much "pulp genre" or manga got into the list. I guess it is part of the built in elitism built into the title of what 'smart people' read."

AiT/PlanetLar needs to get Ryan Yount on message:

"In order to simultaneously thank retailers, keep that DEMO avalanche rolling, and herald the next story in the already-acclaimed maxi-series, publisher Larry Young announced today that copies of DEMO #2 will be free overshipped to retailers... AiT/Planet Lar production co-ordinator Ryan Yount emphasizes this part, too. 'But this bit of the trick is not to just have the first issue available to everybody who wants it, but to have all issues available all throughout the year. That’s our commitment to the whole process: Brian and Becky are doing, basically, twelve individual original graphic novels. It’s not a maxi-series, like SECRET WARS or something; DEMO is a coherent whole with twelve distinct parts that rewards readers who are paying attention.'"

Hang on, so it's a maxi-series to everyone but Ryan?

Monday, November 24, 2003

Omar, professional message board troll, comments about Comic Relief's recent plea for help:

"Wow, it was bad enough when the Handout Patrol was telling us that we had to buy from this publisher or that distributor - but now individual shops are issuing appeals to Team Comics. Guess it beats learning how to run a business!"

Thankfully, it backfires on him:

"Thanks for bringing this to the attention of everyone here in the NEWS section. And nice reverse psychology to motivate folks to help. You da' man."

After the thread wondering about All The Rage going up late yesterday, now Millarworld wonders why Lying In The Gutters is late as well:

"I checked earlier and didn't see anything."

"It said it'd be up an hour ago."

Thank the Lord for Newsarama posters responding to news of Sentinel being cancelled:

"I never thought I'd say this, but bring back Jemas. This new Fuckley, I mean Buckley, regime just stinks on ice if you ask me. All the shit the New NuMarvel has done since he's taken over have not been the right moves if you ask me. You cancel the Tsunami trades (yet to be rescheduled in one form or another), put Epic on "hiatus" (re: cancel it), wrap all those stories approved for Epic into an anthology that won't sell enough to cover the costs of paying the creators on it, and now you go and cancel one of your most critically lauded series (and a title certain to be mentioned once award time comes around). Man, it's shit like this that just makes me wonder where people learn to run a business."

"Dan Buckley = ASSHOLE, but I'd never wish him harm."

"Now you know what all us Sigil-verse CrossGen fans feel like."

Marvel's solicits for February are up... and in them, Marvel really dip into accidental self-parody:

"4", the Marvel Knights Fantastic Four book, described as "edgy", features the creators pitting the Fantastic Four "against a challenge the likes of which they’ve never faced". Just in case you'd somehow missed the last two cliches, Marvel make it a hat-trick by ending with "This is the FF … the 4 … like you've never seen them before!" GREAT!

That said, it's not "the biggest ongoing series launch of the year!" (emphasis Marvel's) because that's apparently Ultimate Fantastic Four. Mind you, even Ultimate Fantastic Four isn't "the biggest comics event of 2004" (again, Marve;'s emphasis, not mine), because that honor apparently falls to Grant Morrison's last NewXMen arc.

Marvel is just so... big these days, isn't it?

Matt Maxwell talks about what's really needed to self-publish. Clue: It ain't lots of money. Although that probably wouldn't hurt.

Millarworld discuss the latest All The Rage column, including whether Hal Jordan is to return as Green Lantern:

"Kyle has always had a sucky costume (a decent costume is no-brainer requirement for any hero, let alone one replacing a legend), and has at best received a mixed response from the fans. I guess at the end of the day, people want their heroes to be a little more.... heroic! It's always just been a matter of time before Hal became GL again. Hell, DC couldn't even bear to kill him off properly, the character is that mythic."

Mike San Giacomo didn't enjoy the recent Las Vegas Comicon:

"I should add, before someone cries foul, that I was personally unhappy with the promoters because I was supposed to be on a writer’s panel. A few days before the convention, long after I paid for travel arrangements, I was told that the writer’s panel was full.

"It turned out that the panel had four guys on it, Jim Hudnall being the biggest name. Except for Hudnall, the guys were pretty green."

Of course, probably not as green as someone who still hasn't had his first comic book published...

Sentinel gets cancelled, according to writer Sean McKeever:

"Despite the sad news, I feel I'm lucky. Writing Sentinel has been a wonderful experience that I will never forget, and it has allowed me to achieve my dream of never having to use an alarm clock again-- er, I mean, becoming a full-time freelance fiction writer."

Friday, November 21, 2003

Oh, okay, one last thing (and this is actually via Kevin, so it almost follows on). Matt Brady at Newsarama, yesterday (scroll down):

"[A]ll remaining Epic submissions were shredded."

Is it just me, or is this the first time this has ever been announced? Did the people who submitted know this? And "remaining" submissions means what, exactly? Anything remaining after what date? When did Epic stop looking at submissions and start shredding them?


I've got the day off work, so I'm taking the day off blogging as well (It doesn't hurt that today seems rather dead, news-wise. Mike Wieringo is exclusive to Marvel, saying that they're "trying new things" - as long as they're superheroes, of course - and James Sime is still talking in-stores, if either of those things float your boat. Of course, now that I've said it's dead, something major will happen when I'm not paying attention). Go here for fun stuff, instead; although I haven't updated the links to your left in too long, Kevin is always a good read.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

This really is one of the better comic stores around, so I feel like it's my duty to spreading this further...

"Comic Relief needs your help. I hope at this time that you are able to further support a treasured community resource; the independent bookstore. Please when picking up your comics or GNs today, consider an additional purchase. An extra Graphic Novel a week is all we ask. I believe Comic Relief offers the largest and most diverse selection of comics and graphic novels in the US. Not only do we carry comics and GNs, but our selection of self-published ‘zines, Manga, Anime DVDs, Fringe Culture books, and Art books show our desire to promote the graphic medium in all its forms. Unfortunately, carrying such a massive inventory has a large cost associated with it. My optimism and zeal to offer such a selection has caused a bit of a cash crunch.

"What we would like is for you to buy an extra comic or GN today that you were going to buy tomorrow. Pick up those Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, or Solstice gifts today; avoid the rush! Also, as a thank you, every $100 purchase will be accompanied by your choice of a free tee-shirt, 30% off any statue or toy set, or 20% off DVDs! No, we are not going away, but we could use your help now. We’ve taken steps to correct our inventory excesses, and we’ll still have the books you want when you want them. Remember, we always special order as needed.

"I and the staff at Comic Relief would like to thank you again for your continued support.

"My Sincerest Regards,
Rory D. Root

That's Comic Relief:
2138 University Ave. @ Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, Ca. 94704-1026
V 510/843-5002 F 510/843-3137

Joss Whedon is the new X-Men writer, according to Millarworld.

Comicon asks: "Should super-heroes kill"? Comicon posters answer:

"Superheroes should not kill. Like any sane, decent person, they should hunt down suspected criminals and beat the holy living crap out of them."

"Put it this way: Do I like killing? No. Have i ever killEd someone? No. Would I do so if my life, or my wife's life, or a schoolbus full of children was at stake? In a fucking heartbeat."

"There should be more to a super-hero that a costume and some powers. They should be practically and morally greater than us. They should be something we admire and aspire to be."

"But what if we admire the ability to kill and aspire to operate outside the law?"

"As both a retailer and a fan, I love the fact that I can display my graphic novels and TPBs spine out in my store and at home and they look great! Try doing that with a pamphlet. White boxes filled with comics just do not fit in with my decorating scheme at home, or in my store. Also of great importance is the fact that you can successfully retail graphic novels and TPBs spine out, thus increasing your profit per square ft of retail space. Very few females purchase pamphlet style comics, but they buy lots of manga. Need I say more?"

I love the randomness of those last two sentences. Are we supposed to think that "very few females" buy "pamphlet" comics because they doesn't fit in with their decorating schemes at home, but do buy Manga because it looks great?

"Retailers who purchase five copies of The Complete Peanuts: 1950-1952 will receive a free counter display and promotional poster supporting the series. Every additional five copies ordered will earn one more free promo poster."

For some reason, I now want a Peanuts promo poster. I should befriend a retailer.

The Dabel Brothers announce that they want their comics to be licenced out, while also making interesting claims:

"One notable plus about DPG Vision: all of its founding members share a common Christian worldview.

"'There was a time where openly Christian men and women couldn’t find work in the entertainment industry,' said Ernst Dabel, Editor-in-Chief and President of DBPro. 'But times have changed, and people are looking for answers that go beyond what they can discover for themselves.'"

Of particular note is that the first follow-up post is announcing that the website mentioned in the press release doesn't actually exist yet. Now there's a good way to start off.

The guest creators for the 200th issue of Wonder Woman talk about the character:

"The only thing I noticed particularly is that the character became a lot angrier in recent years, and doesn't seem to have a steady man any more. Steve Trevor lasted for decades and was let go by Perez during his run on the character. Not that Steve Trevor was a particularly interesting character much, but the idea that Wonder Woman was spoken for was as much a part of the Silver Age version as Superman's relationship with Lois Lane. I'm not sure it's better or worse to have her single, but it's different.

"Of course, Aquaman became angrier and lost his wife. Atom got divorced and picked up a sword and got angry. Batman has a lot of reasons to be angry with all the tragedy that befalls Gotham City annually. I guess a lot of comics went that angry way, not just Wonder Woman."

Marvel unveil their latest new idea: Secret War. But, wait! This one's different! Brian Michael Bendis explains:

"There's this element of the marvel universe that always intrigued me, I've been thinking about it for years. A secret that might connect a lot of the villains of the Marvel Universe. Once someone like Nick Fury figures it out, what will the heroes have to do to fight it? Joe loved the take and told me that this could be a modern take on Secret Wars. A gritty real world take on the idea of a secret superhero war... This is an entirely different genre, that's how far from the Beyonder this is, but I like the idea that the words 'secret war' conjure; the mystery. The enigma of it is what captured our attention lo those many years ago when we first heard the words - the idea that there are secrets we don't know about these characters or a story that we the readers will get that civilians in the Marvel Universe might not is a lot of fun to think about."

A story that we, the readers, will get while the civilians in the Marvel Universe might not? So it's like practically every Marvel comic, then?

(Also, wasn't this an Ultimate subplot at one point?)

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Jumping to conclusions about the postponement of Marvel's Deathlok series, anyone? Yes, you:

"I love the 'new' Marvel.

"Get rid of almost everything Jemas has implemented and any books that could possibly be interesting because they're not straight up super hero comics."

Comix-Fan runs down Marvel's many upcoming movie projects, and the fans respond:

"I wanna know why Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, and Tales of the friggin' Zombie have movies in the works, but there's no plans for an Avengers film. I'd go see that in a second. But I'm not paying 6.50 to go see Mort the Dead Teenager. The ticket could come with a bucket of hot wings and a hooker and I wouldn't go see it... well, okay I would. But barring that? Uh-uh. My brand loyalty and good will only go so far."

"I did write up at another forum what I'd do for the Big 3, to then set up an Avengers movie. Cap would be set in Wolrd War II, and you COULD end it with him in Suspended animation (Wouldn't have to, though) Iron Man would be exactly what Marvel's doing, Thor would be a big mythological tale. Then, with the Avengers, I'd have the government contract Stark to get a group, then Thor would appear, cast out of Asgard, and they'd find Cap, and go from there. Might be really hard to do and would probably need a sequel to really work, ala X-Men."

"My only hope is that for the Captain America movie, they stay away from the Ultimate-version-who-is-not Captain America and stick with the 616 one. Using Ultimate Spider-Man was fine because there isn;t much difference, but if they go with the tainted Ultimate one, I for sure will stay away from it."

Grant Morrison's NewXMen considered:

"He took the X-men and made them into a Joke. There is not one thing his done with the X-men in he's entire run that i liked, execpted mabye the Xorn "revalation". He doesn't care about characterization or even writing good storys just writing his wierd ass veritgo style stuff which IMO sould stay over there. I recently was told that in a issue of X-men Magneto goes about ripping new york apart. WTF!?!? Why would magento do this? This is so out of charater for him it's not even funny. Magneto is not a soldier for mutants and waging war on humans is somthing he would not do anymore."

"I think that the problem though, is that this wasn't the case with New X-Men. With his X-Men run, it always seemed to me like he was seeing how far he could insert his personal eccentricities into the mutants that so many of us know and uphold. Rather than really concentrating on who the X-Men truly 'are,' he appeared to me to be trying as hard as possible to turn them into who they 'aren't.'"

Thank heaven for those who "know and uphold" the X-Men!

Is it just me, or is a press release by a coloring company announcing what comics they're working on a bit unusual?

"...It suddenly hit me, what can save the comics industry and bring back a big audience. Comics should be the new drugs... Which is another way of saying that comics, properly done, have the ability to take us to "alternate realities," to show us new ways of looking at the world, new experiences, whole new explosions of imagination."

Just when you think Steven Grant's gone all "buzz phrase" on you, he backs it up in fine style in this week's Permanent Damage.

"Marvel has notified retailers that presently, Deathlok: Detour has been cancelled, and all orders for #1 and #2 (slated for a January release) have been cancelled. Marvel’s statement said that the series will be resolicited at a later date.

"Miniseries artist, Darick Robertson declined to comment when contacted by Newsarama."

Hmm. Conspiracy wheels start turning in my head.

"COMIC BOOK ARTIST magazine is back! CBA Vol. 2, #2, featuring a celebration of Frank Cho, "monkey boy" artist/writer of LIBERTY MEADOWS, complete with comprehensive interview, color art section and sketchbook gallery hits the stands on Wednesday... Due to an illness earlier this fall, editor [Jon] Cooke also announces that the schedule for CBA #3 and 4 have been postponed until March and April 2004 respectively."

Although, in the issue itself (which also includes a completely grovelling apology about the fact that the issue was due to ship last July), Cooke admits that it's more likely to be April and May before those issues appear...

(The new issue's Frank Cho focus interested my wife, who was at University of Maryland when Cho's strip was running there, and who remembers him vaguely. When I was reading the interview, she kept looking over my shoulder and asking "Does it explain why he's obsessed with drawing the same woman and her big breasts over and over again?" Sadly, no...)

Interesting Jemas update from Heidi McDonald:

"Marvel's Sec filings are a treasure trove of info for those with a lot of time on their hands. The latest quarterly report includes the amendments to Bill Jemas contract as of mid-October. Among the specifics spelled out are the termination date of February 12, 2004, Jemas' resignation as an officer of the company, and a six-month no-compete clause for him to begin talking to former Marvel vendors. Of particular interest, however, is the following, itself an emendation of a change made in a 2002 amendment to Jemas' contract:

"7. Original Creative Writing. Sections 6 and 7 of the Employment Agreement shall not apply to original creative writing by the Executive provided that (1) the Executive writes on his own time (2) the writing is not about superheroes, and (3) the writing does not contain characters which would reasonably be expected to come within the Marvel universe of characters ('Executive Owned Writings'). A writing shall not cease to be an Executive Owned Writing solely because the Executive uses the Company's laptop computer or the writing has fantasy and/or science fiction elements. Section 7 of the Employment Agreement shall, however, apply to new characters and stories that Executive may create within the framework of any licensing arrangements the Company enters into (or prepares to enter into, or considers entering into) during the Term. The provisions of this paragraph shall apply notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in Section 6 or Section 7 of the Employment Agreement."

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Jim Starlin off Thanos. Marvel say "Fuck it, just cancel it, it's not like anyone else really cares."

Ian Feller, the Code 6 Managing Editor, has been let go from CrossGen:

"After four years, I've been downsized."

It had to happen. After Millarworld's "Why I don't read the posts at Newsarama" thread, Newsarama strikes back!:

"Don't forget that Millarworld is a creator owned website which expressly forbids "bashing" creators in its rules. Newsarama, on the other hand, is much more independant and allows more freedom in the posts."

"this is the net. jerks are everywhere. even on millarworld. i am a jerk and i am everywhere."

"Don't sweat it, Newsarama! You da bomb! Millarworld is just spiralling down into a big Millar-praise-fest not unlike the John Byrne message boards. We at Newsarama happen to have the freedom to express our like or dislike of any comic topic we choose, not just what ever MM deems worthy."

"Yeah, Millar don't care what my name is when I'm putting money in his pockets on wednesdays. Screw em. I was a little put out by the lack of freedom from a moderated environment; but that just put me over the edge. Commie bastards."

The greatest post at Millarworld ever. Possibly:

"I agree with Lex Luthor that SuyperMan is a threat to Humanity ...it always seems like he s looking down on us and Flying away ... Hes a Zen Fascist , ther is no way for people tobe certain that he is not sent to earth to conquer the human race .

"So this does eem like a good cvhance and atleast put him into context so that people see him as just old Lex luthor and not Supermans Enemy Lex luthor .

"I also like DK2"

Yay for the DC boards discussing JLA/Avengers!

"I HATE when people start to debate and get the writer into it, face it guys, IT happened, they made Thor loose.. Not the first time, not the last time, it WORKED for the story purpose, and there is NOTHING you can do about it!! NOTHING!! Go write a better script (doubtful) submit to both companies and go at it boys.. I was one of the peple debating back and forth before the issue came out of how Thor can beat Supes and the way was written makes sense to me, KB is a GREAT writer who doesnt have to give you guys any explanation on what he does or how he got to that conclusion because (follow me on this): YOU GUYS DONT SIGN HIS DAMN PAYCHECK!!"

"I don't accept the logic of your post. The fans do pay all these creators' paychecks, ultimately. Keeping fans happy should be a top priority. Obviously, there are a number of imbeciles posting "pro Thor" rants at an 8th grade (or lower) grammatical and cognitive level. However, I would think had Superman lost, then a similar genre of Superman fans would crawl from the woodwork to plead the case for their hero. Regardless, Busiek writes a story blatantly biased towards DC, and causes a storm of contraversy, and he should be able to walk away from it? Had the book been slanted so towards Marvel, then by all means Busiek would need to answer to DC fans for it."

Millarworld discusses yesterday's Lying In The Gutters:

"I hate Buckley already. If he`s there, let`s not have him smooth things up one way and piss other people from the other way. Trying to make The Ultimates less violent and the mention of Nicieza and Liefeld, the return of a few traditonal comics worries me very damn much. "

Augie De Blieck Jr. has gone mad:

"The Comics Blogosphere is the outlaw nation, setting its own schedules, timetables, and formats."

So what does he do? He pretends his column is a blog! Despite the fact that he already has his own blog!

Chuck Austen has a defender, and his name is apparently Asgards Ambassador:

"Anyways, what I like about Austen:

"- Combines fantasy and science fiction elements. Not that you want to overdo this, or else you'll have some wierd 1970's pulp story going on, but it's nice when you have that touch of magic. Like Angel getting the sword from one of the Exiles, or the whole Nightcrawler-demon, Angel-um, Angel story going on right now.

"- Handles the whole humanity-hates-mutants story in a human way whereas Grant handles it in a slightly more epic tone. Not saying one is better than the other, only that it's nice to get a balance.

"- Personal conflict and real emotions. Cain and Charles, for example, acting like real humans (well, mutants, whatever) and having a relationship. They may not like each other, but they're working through their hatred. As most of you know, as you grow older, you find that you're not the same person you were, and you realize that the hatred you used to have for someone was just as much your fault as it was his."

He also has those who are not so interested in defending him:

"He basically just throws together a bunch of ideas that one might consider "kewl" and figures the most expedient way to come to his desired story conclusion. But the result is invariably a feeling by myself and many others of having wasted 15 to 30 minutes of our lives, plus whatever the cost of the comic. I don't see Chuck Austen as having any redeeming skills as a writer, apart from the fact that he at least has more than a grade school vocabulary."

Go watch the battle!

ADD hates Geoff Johns (and others):

"Yep. The immediate effect on comics of such lousy writers as Johns, Austen, and their ilk may not be as obvious as the more egregious sins of Frank Tieri, but the end result is much the same -- readers eventually tire of the garbage and find something else to spend their money on.

"I'd like to see a healthy lineup of superhero comics coming out of DC and Marvel, if for no other reason than that that's how many readers discovered the artform throughout its history, soon maturing and moving on to more adult works by the likes of a Crumb, Clowes, Ware, and their ilk. But the foundation, appealing, quality adventure comics for kids, has to be there for that equation to work. The worn out crap being peddled by guys like Johns and Loeb is aimed at guys in their own age demographic, and encourages nothing but further declines in sales and interest in American superhero comics."

"Megacon has been sold. THE PULSE has just learned that Beth Widera has purchased the convention. Widera has been the con director of MegaCon for the last four and a half years. Widera has a Masters Degree in Education and taught for nine years before leaving Education for the comics industry. Now she combines her educational skills with comics for the Comics in the Classroom program. Prior to purchasing the convention, Widera was the manager of Mega Con. Widera told THE PULSE, 'I’m still working at CrossGen in their education department. I’m also taking my assistant Tiffany Moncada will still be here. There will be no difference in the way the con is organized or run.'"

"I'm also taking my assistant Tiffany Moncada will still be here". Does that sentence make sense to anyone?

Stuart Moore discusses trade paperbacks:

"Earlier this year, while visiting a friend in Syracuse, New York, I stopped into a small comic shop that had clearly seen better days. Its inventory was erratic, and its trade paperback selection was particularly odd, including a lot of battered, out-of-print books from the ‘80s and ‘90s. One set of books was so strange (and cheap) that I had to buy it: the original trade paperback collections, still shrinkwrapped, of the ‘60s/’70s Gold Key Star Trek comics, reprinted as The Enterprise Logs. Three volumes (2 through 4 -- volume 1 must have been snapped up, eons ago, by some prehistoric Trek fan). Total page count: 672. Total price: $5.85.

"This led to my new Axiom of Trade Paperbacks: If you’re paying more than $1.95 for one, you’re getting ripped off. Two dollars is just too much."

Monday, November 17, 2003

Thanks to Kevin at Thought Balloons, we can have a special edition of "Oooh, pretty covers" from DC's solicits:

(Meanwhile, you can tell Kyle Baker's writing the solicits for Plastic Man: "Woozy Winks continues to do stupid things because he's the comic relief! In PLASTIC MAN. How dumb do you have to be to be comic relief in PLASTIC MAN?" And a Losers trade, already...)

People complain about Archie comics?

Newsarama posters discuss Dave Sim (who is, for some reason, being called Dave Sims) with characteristic wit and understanding:

"Sims, who always had a rep as a pot smoking prick, has become a bit of eccentric recluse."

"I've been thinking about this recently and i must say i am rather fed up with creators blaming fans for their books not taking off or the state of the industry. Do Mcdonalds put out a press release if a flavour of the month doesn't take off, blaming the consumer.

"I mean taking a step back WTF. It is not our resposiblity to save the industry. I pay a $#!& load of money a month to read the comcis. Im doing my bit. Why do i have to spread the word and save the companies money on advertising. Marvel last time i checked were amking a h#&% of a profit. If they stopped feeding it back to the shareholders and invested it in adveritising then maybe the industry would be better off.

"I am going to refuse to buy a book from any writer who blames the fans for their books failing. If they don't have enough talent to be able to make a decent enough name for themselves that is not our fault. If they aren't writing for the right audience that isn't out fault. If their company doesn't give them enough support that is not our fault."

You tell 'em, Layters at Joe Quesada's message board!

Franklin Harris predicts the future, and he's probably right on all counts...

Oni rechedules Jingle Belle for after Christmas:

"At that point, Oni and the creators were faced with a myriad of options, including bringing other artists in to help finish the book. Ultimately, though, it was felt that option wasn’t the best choice for producing quality material, and postponement was decided on instead."

It's a Christmas book! If you're going to postpone it, why not postpone it until next Christmas, not New Year?

ADD on Previews:

"At any rate, the point is that Previews is a big, fat, gaudy, expensive slab of excess every month that absolutely no comics reader needs. With some major changes it could be valuable to retailers, at least, but in its current configuration it's good for nobody and ought to be fucking free, to boot. Hello, it's a goddamned catalog.

"So in addition to crossing off all the shit books from your monthly buys (there's no Geoff Johns comic you truly enjoy, and you goddamned bloody well know it), tell your retailer you don't intend to pay for a freaking catalog anymore. You're smart, you know where the good comics information is. By the time you get the hard copy of Previews in your hands, all that information is already available free on the internet, and if you're really sharp you already have a comics journalist or three who you trust to wade through its ugly, ugly pages and let you know what you should be keeping an eye out for."

Some of the responses to The Pulse's article about the cancellation of Namor are worth reading:

"As I write this, the Latest Headlines says Namor Ends at 12 and Total Sell-Out Again - Teen Titans #1[.] Namor was part of the Hype machine, while Titans is getting great reviews and has a solid creative team on the book. If either company can *Save the Industry!* it will be DC. Marvel's hype machine is out of ammo."

"Sorry, but the only reason DC even stepped up to the plate was because of all the major excitement and talent Marvel was generating after Quesada and Jemas took over. If not for them, DC would still have been stuck in the Levitz/Carlin era."

"Y'know, as much as one could criticize the Big 2 for not catching on with the TokyoPop manga stuff, I think it would be better to harass TokyoPop into putting out soem nice American comics. They have access to the book market, have an established fan base.."

"Namor resembled nothing more than a Crossgen comic in both tone and appearance, and such as they are never 'cancelled' (What a strange word.)"

Retailers are still going on about the death of the single issue:

"I can't sell Shonen Jump at my store to save my life. We get all of one or two copies an issue, and even those often wind up languishing on the shelves. My store is a *very* manga-oriented store, always has been. So one would assume that either the content or the "Japanese format" would suck in readers by the score.

"However... It is a format that the general American comic buyer is *not* ready to accept (I was going to say "jump into" but that would be silly), for the reasons that have already been commented on by a prior Talk Back participant. But aside from that, while it does have what appears to be a reasonable price for a large anthology magazine, its content is not as desirable to mainstream American buyers, not even kids, and not even the large number of Anime lovers we have going for us."

"I believe that as long as they're well written and produced with an eye to good quality, pamphlet-style comics will last a very long time. Although the graphic novel and trade paperback formats are gaining in strength, and I believe will help comics survive in the long run, the pamphlet book has legs, too. As John so rightly points out, it isn't the format that spurs sales - it's the content."

Newsarama posters discuss comic disappointments:

"For me it was Earth/Universe/Paradise X. i thought that Earth X was one of the greatest stories ever and a top 5 for me personally. I thought that Universe X started strong, particularly the Cap stand alone issue, then ended up OK. And I thought that Paradise X was a fucking cosmic joke directly solely towards me."

"Karl Kesel and Dave Taylor's WORLD'S FINEST maxiseries. A prime example of fill-in artists killing a comic book. They should have either let Taylor take his time and let the book ship late, waited to solicit the book when he had more issues done, or just found someone else to draw it from the start. Instead, the whole thing just turned into an ugly, spotty mess, despite Kesel's excellent plot and script."

Matt Brady tries to inject some sense into the conversation:

"Good as place as any to ask this - do you or anyone reading think that self-hype can kill a series/project/movie for you? I mean - "the origin of Wolverine" coming from Marvel will never (well, in rare cases) be as good as the story you have in your head, right?"

A new Lying In The Gutters this week seems short on rumours, but high on embarrassing quotes for Mark Millar. Huzzah!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Markisan from All The Rage is in a fightin' mood:

"I don’t care if he wears a funny hat, I don’t have to like Dan Buckley right now.

"Marvel’s new publisher is off to a fantastic start. In only his first few weeks on the job he has already decided to strap a tightwad tourniquet on Epic -- the imprint designed to give unknowns a shot at the big time -- by collecting the first issues of each formerly announced mini-series into an anthology book. Epic contributor Mike San Giacomo talked a little about the unsuspected twist in his Newsarama column, My Epic Journey, just a few days ago. According to Mike, Buckley made the change to save money. 'Marvel was spending far more to develop a line of relatively unknown writers and artists than expected and Dan decided to pull the plug.'

"...I have to tell you this is complete bullshit.

"If you start a venture and tell the parties involved it’s going to happen a certain way, you don’t go and change the deal at the last moment. Where I’m from that’s called screwing people over. Buckley, and whoever else was involved in this crap, you should have taken responsibility for Marvel's actions. You should have seen the first round of Epic through whether it cost you the green or not. After you fulfilled your promises a move to an anthology becomes an option, but not before. You should have stood by the people who busted their asses to write and draw those mini-series. What you’ve done instead is some cowardly shit."

Friday, November 14, 2003

Matt Maxwell, meanwhile, says Death To Floppies.

A retailer writes back:

"The pamphlet is what keeps the trade industry going. You can't have one without the other at this point. DC wisely picks out their most outstanding pamphlets and turns them into trade, whereas Marvel, sadly. Simply cranks it out in trade format for the sake of it existing, which if anything will only help to once again destroy the trade industry. The same thing occurred in the 80's when the graphic novel format was hot, Marvel and even DC to a lesser extent started to crank out anything that hit their desks in that format, whether it warranted it or not. Eventually destroying the format all together. I only hope Marvel wises up soon and backs off on this instant releases of trades that weren't particularly good reads the first time around to begin with."

Mike San Giacomo says goodbye to Marvel:

"But what happened to Epic?

"Why did Marvel backpaddle on Epic in the first place?

"No one is saying much about it, but new Publisher Dan Buckley said it came down to money. Marvel was spending far more to develop a line of relatively unknown writers and artists than expected and Dan decided to pull the plug.

"I guess it is just that simple from a business perspective, but it was not handled well.

"A phone call would have been nice, for one thing."

IcV2 discuss October's comic figures:

"While no book broke the 200,000-copy barrier like Batman #619 did last month (see "Hush Finale Tops Charts"), sixteen of the top 25 titles went up compared with their sales from the previous month's issue while only four titles declined."

A secret conspiracy exposed:

"It has struck me that I can't recall ever seeing a fat girl in any Marvel and DC comic except Gert in Runaways, and that's only been out a few months. Hell, I don't remember seeing that many fat people PERIOD (or people who don't have perfect fashion sense) unless they're cheap comic relief. There can only be one explaination. The Marvel & DC Universes have concentration camps and they've imprisoned the bulk of their fat people in them."

Alex Hamby of HeroRealm tells you about his Epic experience:

"Well, patience wasn't my strongsuit but there wasn't much choice. Waiting -- maybe sending an occasional email or two to check status -- was unavoidable. Of course the rumors started and I began to panic. Bill was leaving Marvel, Epic was closing and I was powerless to protect what I felt was a good story. It was dying but no one was telling me anything."

Brian Michael Bendis discusses the Ultimate line:

"If I ever leave Ultimate Spider-Man I will be like [West Wing creator Aaron] Sorkin on the West wing and fuck it up so badly that the next writer will be dizzy trying to put it all back together. I’ll chop off Peter's arms and go to the next guy: good luck fixing that".

James Sime discusses Joe Casey's recent instore appearance at Isotope, and instores in general:

"I love comic conventions but I never liked creator appearances at comic stores that had the same creator-behind-a-table and fan-standing-for-hours-on-end-in-a-line atmosphere. It's a creator at a comic store, for fuck's sake! I never understood why these things had to be such unpleasantly impersonal experiences. At my store I throw kick ass parties and let the creators and fans mingle freely and talk about comics… because after all, that's what we're celebrating. Comics."

I'm sure someone'll be along to complain soon enough.

If it's Friday, it must be time for reasoned arguments! The reaction to Paul Levitz's recent interview in The Guardian is in at Millarworld:

"Glad to see they've revised it for the web version - the printed article said that the Legion of Superheroes was 'the adventures of a super-powered team in the 13th century'.

"I can't fault it on a technical level any more - sorry.

"That said, Levitz is the man I hold responsible for screwing up 'The Authority', so he's still a raving twat."

Thursday, November 13, 2003

This is surreal. It's a press release from CrossGen:

"SIGIL #43 was originally announced as the series finale for the galaxy-spanning, space chase title. This week, readers learned the final issue had instead been moved up to issue #42. All of us at CrossGen are very sorry that we had to stop the party early, as we know how much our loyal fans had been looking forward to plot resolutions for the space soldier Sam as the invading Negation forces trigger the upcoming War. Especially since Chuck Dixon wrote such a great issue!

"But, then we thought, "Hey...since Chuck wrote it, can't we share it with the fans?"

"Of course we can!"

So they cancelled the title, then end it an issue earlier despite a script already having been written for the final issue? And then they offer said script online so that people will know how the series ends, as apparently they won't find out from the final issue of the series, which wasn't supposed to be the final issue anyway?


There's something about this -

"...if only DC would get their collective arses into gear and publish the collections faster - I stopped getting the singles after Stealing Thunder (JSA) - #37 and it's now up to #54. Hawkman has only had the one collection, collecting the first six issues and it's now up to #21. Do I just decide to give up on the whole thing or what? Don't DC want my money?"

- that sums up the egotistical nature of the modern fanboy. "How dare DC publish something I want to read in a format other than one I want? Don't they want my money?"


An oldie but a goodie. Christopher Priest's Editorial Style Guide:

"One Sunday afternoon in 1982 I received a phone call at home from a Very Big Name Artist. I was Larry Hama's assistant editor at the time. This guy was someone who's work I'd been reading for years. I was really floored to be talking to him. He was calling because the color of a pinstripe on a spaceship was wrong. It's not a red ship with a yellow pinstripe; it's a yellow ship with a red pinstripe! Awed by this luminary, I promised to give the matter my prompt attention first thing Monday.

"And, I did. First thing Monday, I had my phone number unlisted. It's been unlisted ever since.

"I'm not your mom. Not your guru or your shrink. I edit comics for seven hours a day, five days a week. The rest of the time I'm busy having a life. Believe it or not, the world didn't end because we got the pinstripe wrong. These things happen and, as the demands of the retail environment press upon us, they will most certainly continue to happen."

Best comment on Newsarama recently (Scroll down):

"It's things like this that make me think about cancelling my entire pull list and reading more actual books."

"This week, I’m going to review the cartoons 'Teen Titans' and 'Justice League'. Why those two? Because I forgot other shows were on. It completely slipped my mind that 'X-men: Evolution' and a new 'TMNT' series were also on the air. Also MTV, as its want to do, has put their 'Spider-Man' cartoon on hiatus. They’ll probably bring it back in 2004 for the new movie, or sell it on DVD. After all, the Music Television Network is dedicated to squeezing teens out of every last dollar they have. But I promise to update this column during the week with reviews of 'X-Men' and 'TMNT', along with another new column. So you’ll get a half column between updates. Promise."

He hates MTV! He says "God Bless Chuck Austen"! Go read.

Warren Ellis's current Bad Signal newsletter:

"From www.icv2.com:

"'Sales for "normal" issues of Viz anthology Shonen Jump have increased more than 60% since midyear, increasing from 190,000 to 305,000. The August issue (#9), thanks to being heavily promoted and the inclusion of a CD-ROM demo for a Yu-Gi-Oh! PC-based video game, sold a whopping 540,000 copies.'

"Just to head off the usual naysayers: Yes, newsstand-sold magazines are returnable. But if the orders are going UP, there's a fair chance not much is being returned, yes? And yes, #9 sold half a million because of special promotion and a CD, not on the sheer artistic merits of the comics within. Guess what. That's how people do business in the adult world. Cope.

"305,000 is effectively double the bestselling comic in the comics-store market. And that's after nine issues. Not bad."

Subscribe here.

In this week's episode of "A Retailer Writes":

"Hopefully this will finally get the American comic book industry to wake up to the fact that the pamphlet is dead. O.K., maybe not dead, dead, but it's not at all well. The analogy I like to use is, it's 1947 and anyone working in radio who has a brain in their head is updating their resumes and looking at television. Because, while the Golden Age of Radio didn't officially end until 1962, by '47 the writing was on the wall; the new thing is television, and while it'll take some time to get going, there's no way radio can compete with it."

"There's a reason that a "traditionalist" approach still works when it comes to super-heroes. Because people love super-heroes. I like to write super-hero stories in the more traditional style because I guess I like tradition."

Next, Geoff Jones breaks out his whole song and dance routine, singing "Tradition" from "Fiddler On The Roof", in this week's Waiting For Tommy.

"The Epic picture at Marvel continues to morph and change as Phantom Jack creator and Newsarama columnist Mike Sangiacomo has confirmed that he has pulled his series from the upcoming Epic Anthology, and will publish it through Image instead. 'With all due respect to Marvel, I didn't enter into the Epic agreement almost a year ago to be one fourth of an anthology,' Sangiacomo said... 'It's clear to me that Marvel's heart just isn't in it. I've been in enough bad relationships to know when my partner is just going through the motions.'"

Surprisingly ballsy for someone who looked as if he was letting Marvel walk all over him in his previous "Epic Journey" columns...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I love this discussion about Ultimate Black Cat:

"It's not the bewbs that concern me, it's that thin waist..."

"What, your ideal women isn't one without internal organs?"

"I guess I'm alone in this, but that's got to be one of the worst drawings of anything I've ever seen."

This looks like it could turn into an interesting, if surreal thread:

"O.k. I've been reading the threads where a lot of you are venting your anger over books being constantly late. The Ultimates is a perfect example. If the book was'nt any good we wouldn't care if it was on time or not. The book is GREAT so the frustration factor goes up... It only makes me long for the good ol' days when Marvel would strap it's artist to a drawing board and crack the whip on them."

"Chained to a desk? To draw a comic book?"

Holy reworking. You didn't like Sue here (And many didn't, I seem to remember...)?

Well, now you have a new Sue:

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The Pulse has the October chart from Diamond, and it can't just be me that thinks there are unusual things afoot... Does Ultimate X-Men usually outsell Ultimate Spider-Man?

Hellboy's teaser poster makes me think he's going to be in the third X-Men movie, for some reason.

(EDIT: Damn those Comix-fan people. Go here and click on the appropriate link to see the image. Cheers Ed, for bringing this to my attention...)

Two moments of true horror from Millarworld:

"In my experience, comics starring black characters tend to dwell upon the colour of their skin, up to the point of it taking over the entire story. This alienates the mainly white audience, and probably pisses off the black readers because they are bored shitless by the topic! They live with being black everyday, and more than likely read comics as a form of escapism...IMHO."

and the title of this thread discussing previews of Ultimate Spider-Man #50, which introduces Ultimate Black Cat: "One Sweet Pussy..."


(EDIT: They've changed the name of the thread on Millarworld to the surreal "Ultimate Catwoman" - Mistake, or commentary on the Black Cat's origin?)

Further to this: I read some stuff that I know is shit, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Am I responsible for the downfall of both the comics medium and the comics industry?

If so, sorry.

Michigan versus the world:

"This week’s 'haven’t we been here before?' moment comes thanks to the state of Michigan, where, on January 1st, it will become illegal to display, disseminate, or sell sexually explicit material to minors. The spirit of the law is good, but it always returns to the eternal phrase, as asked by George Michael: 'What’s your definition of dirty, baby? What do you consider pornography?'... Under the law, no minor could legally buy anything from Watchmen to Alisa Kwitney’s recent Sandman: King of Dreams hardcover to any number of other projects, such as Cloudfall by Robert Kirkman, or even a work with innocent nudity. Under the Michigan law, there is no such thing as “innocent nudity” (as the law reads: "Sexually explicit visual material” means a ... drawing...that depicts nudity") – all nudity is sexually explicit."

"As for the story, it's really gone downhill. It's very redundant. All the characters seem to do nowadays is talk about how famous they are and generally act like assholes. The jokes are cliched and tired, and there's nothing there to really hook me."

"Making fun of dead people is not good comics!"

"The book just doesn't do anything knew, they are still stuck on making the done to death "boy-band" comparisons (are boy bands even still around?). The book is milking this media darling angle to death, they need to move on from it. The current story-arc has been the worste so far."

Comicon discusses X-Statix.

I'm not sure how I'd score in Park Cooper's Role Playing Online Comics Journalist ratings, but I doubt I'd do half as well as he seems to do himself:

"Brains: 10
An important score for an online comics journalist (hereafter OCJ), we'll give our sample character a 10. He (we'll make it a he) can discuss semiotics in Barks' Uncle Scrooge comics over lunch and turn around and deconstruct Bachalo's panel layout in Shade The Changing Man all through afternoon tea.

"Wit: 9
One of the most important scores for an OCJ, this character has a dry, ironic, scathing wit which only occasionally fails him."

Ahhh, modesty.

John Layman, I salute thee for this end to an interview with Brandon Thomas:

"I bet you are just trying to befuddle me with more of your crazy teenage hip-hop lingo. Is this the some new comic you’re writing with Rob Liefeld? You’re shameless, Brandon! And what’s the point? I’m pretty sure nobody reads this little Ambidextrous column thingie anyway."

Bryan Hitch clears up the "Was Ultimates censored?" rumours:

"Before this gets out of hand, let me say again that there were only slight changes made to the issue. Mark had done some re dialoguing (which is not unusual) and there had been a change ordered to the art by our new funny hat wearing publisher which was not done by me and I only saw after the fact. I had it changed back and made a different, lesser change that seemed to cover the bases and cover concerns about the graphic content of the issue. New to the line, Mr Buckley felt that with the wife beating in issue 7 and the supposed violence in 12 and 13 we might be too graphic for an all ages book. Once it was discussed and made clear that Ultimates wasn't exactly all ages and we were working within the parameters set by Bill before him and that he could be accomodated without any drastic reworking of the material things were fine. His concerns were of course valid, and taken in isolation the image in question was grusome, however when taken in the context of the story it's actually pretty funny overall. My only objection was that initially these changes were made without any consultation with me and were not originally made by me. Once we got on the same page we were able to fix the problem without any fuss. As far as I can tell at this time, the issue went out pretty much as I intended."

So, wait... art changed without the creators' consent or knowledge because the Publisher disagrees with how far the creators have gone... Isn't that exactly what happened on The Authority that got Mark Millar so upset and screaming censorship every two seconds? Are you sure this isn't the same thing again?

"This sort of thing happens all the time, and I wouldn't get my underoos in a knot. This isn't the Authority (and the only editing I suffered from there was the removal of Angie's nipples) and this isn't a Millar/Levitz senario. It was an editorial concern that was delt with easily and isn't really newsworthy at all."

Phew! So that's alright then.

Bill Willingham discusses the future of Fables:

"While at DC in New York, at the Bat Summit, I was able to sign the Fables renewal for the third year – so Fables is going to at least run for 36 issues. DC did not give me my own jet helicopter as a third year signing bonus, even though I patiently explained to them that Kenny Rogers’ record label gave him one when he renewed his contract for the third time. In my mind, that makes it an industry standard – but DC thought otherwise... It looks like there is going to be a Fables original hardback graphic novel, and there will be at least another annual, like the Last Castle prestige book. The stories for each of those have been decided, but I’m not going to tell you anything about them yet."

Monday, November 10, 2003

On the terrible to read DC Boards, fans discuss why superheroines don't really seem to have love interests:

"Creators presume fanboys will want their heroines to be "available" and they are probably right."

"Most guys aren't secure enought to date or be with a woman that can snap them in half. Not only that, most guys that are written as supporting characters are written the same as the old modelf for supporting women, always in need of rescue. Most guys object to that deep within. We are raised to rely upon ourselves. We see a guy that needs to be resuced as wimpy, a wuss. Thus, we don't identify."

"I strongly doubt that most men would have an ego problem going out with a super-powered woman. Rather, it would be a massive ego boost for me at least. It's like going out with royalty."

(Cheers to Juan for helping me make sense of the boards)

Interesting. Bryan Hitch on why the latest issue of the Ultimates was delayed (again):

"...when it was all in the office and due to go out the new publisher asked for a modification of some content (which, oddly had already been approved in the writing, pencils and inks stage which he felt was counter to the tone he was after."

Two thoughts:

1. "Modification of some content"? Is The Ultimates the new Authority? How long do we have to wait before Mark Millar calls foul on Marvel?

2. Counter to the tone the publisher was after, so the book gets changed? Guess the new publisher will be more like Bill Jemas than people guessed...

I am a big geek, but Joss Whedon! Cameron Stewart! Together! On a Buffy spin-off book! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Andy Diggle, Adi Tantimedh and others discuss Superman:

"The only idea that has worked for me is Superman as the king-in-exile; as a kind of Arthurian figure, preferably sorting stuff out on the other side of the universe, and returning god-DAMN infrequently for universe-destruction-level-emergencies. Otherwise, he's just Jesus with laser eyes. You know he's never going to do anything you wouldn't expect, which gives the average Superman story the dramatic tension of a CAPTAIN PLANET episode."

"Yeah, there's absolutely ZERO dramatic conflict in the character. He's the toughest guy in the planet, but he's also the nicest, and just wants to, y'know, be lovely to everyone and help little old ladies across the street."

Grim Tidings is back again like a bad smell. This week, I discuss the worst comic ever.

Unlike yesterday's somewhat pointless All The Rage, this week's Lying In The Gutters is full of rumour goodness:

"I also got forwarded the Epic Anthology e-mail sent out to creators, that Matt Brady and Eric J Moreels also seem to have received. What neither of them mentioned was the line that asked that no recipient leak the information until Marvel had solicited the project… One wonders why, if Bob Layton is unconvinced of the survival of Image Comics, he was, weeks earlier, keen for them to publish his own comics... One of the more common rumours doing the rounds over the last fortnight is that John Byrne is doing a Green Lantern project - and so is Grant Morrison..."

All this and a Trouble hardcover (which boggles the mind, but there you go) and Gotham Central relaunch?

Mike San Giacomo on Epic:

"Way back in the beginning of this whole Nowhere Man/Phantom Jack experience, I said part of me was waiting for someone to say it was all a joke. It took just under a year, and now that it has happened, it’s not all that funny."

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Reactions to the Epic shift:

Comix-Fan speaks to the creators involved:

"After many many many unanswered e-mails, I finally got an answer about what the future was for those very few annouced Epic artists... were we going to work on the handfull of Epic projects, get other Marvel project consideration, work on the new Unlimited series, etc. In my case, I was told that I should resubmit to {editor} C.B. Cebulski. So being an Epic cover artist basically wasn't going to amount to anything."

Newsarama has the fans saying their bit...:

"hope, then nothing... and they wanted coherent editorial policies. After the U-Decide joke, the Who-Decides mess..."

...and Millarworld wants revolution:

"Only one thing we can do. Start a ban on buying Marvel comics until they reinstate the policies and plans as outline by Jemas. Who's with me?"

Friday, November 07, 2003

Epic: Well and truly being killed. All titles being folded into a quarterly where it's publicly known that there is no guarantee that there's going to be a second issue unless sales are good for the first? Despite the fact that there doesn't seem to be a common thread to said titles, and that each is a product of the Jemas school of decompressed storytelling, so essentially the title will be four entirely disconnected chapter ones that appeal to different audiences who probably won't want to pay for three stories they don't want in order to read the one they do... Yup. Sounds like Marvel are just trying to quickly forget Epic ever happened...

(Mike San Giacomo points out at Newsarama that no-one's been paid, yet... Hmm...)

(Thanks to Matt for pointing this out.)

I linked this thread yesterday, but the comments that have appeared since then really need wider airings, if only because we see another fucking example of people believing the "DC have money to burn" myth:

"I'm sure Marvel would be all for uber-creative freedom on small wildstorm-esque books if they could afford to produce them. Unlike DC, Marvel actually has to make money to stay afloat."

But hey! There's also this:

"I don`t think retailers are smart. I don`t think they have vision and they`re too conservative. Marvel tried to ge that point across but it did nothing to change their habits, so why bother? And those i`ve talked too always seem like former geeks that would be content to see more books like Brother Voodoo out. For instance at my comic shop the retailer almost always order from the number of reservations, meaning forget the comic racks, there`s a little one with almost no comics on it. Do you think they cares about getting new custumers? Are they ready to make the big step to change the industry? pfff"

(Those damn retailers! How dare they not let Marvel save the industry!)

Motherfucking yes.

In the middle of a very self-congratulatory thread at Millarworld about Newsarama ("I want to take this moment to thank everyone for making Millarworld one of the few bastions of intelligent and *civil* comics conversation on the net" "Newsarama may be the place to go to for news but Millarworld is the place to be at for intelligent conversation over the comic book medium"), Ethan Van Sciver goes mad:

"I like the sunny, light color scheme of these boards. It's nice, and makes you want to type. Watch me go! La La la la la laaaaa! That was fun, and it felt swell. NEWSRAMA is cold, dark blue, and while that may be hip, it's oppressive to look at for long periods of time, and I don't want to contribute. Sometimes I'm forced to contribute, like when I read something from a guy who says that he said 'hello' to me at Dragon Con and I told him to 'f*** his mother', and he assumes it's because he's overweight. I have to reply to something like that, obviously, because I wouldn't ask him or anyone to copulate with a parent no matter how fat he may be. He probably misheard 'Oh, hey.' Happens constantly. We all need love, I guess that's what I'm trying to say. Some of us reach for it through different means. I told him, privately of course, from now on, just say, 'Ethan? Could I have a hug?' What does this have to do with Newsarama? I don't know, except I don't want a Buddy Christ statue or poster, even if it's signed. So stop asking. Please, don't have Jae Lee or Sal Larocca do anything 'limited' and 'exclusive' because I'll feel selfish having it. Jay and Silent Bob InAction figures? No thanks, just stab me in the head. Millarworld. Man, this place really swings!"

(Of course, as someone points out later, it's a bit much to complain about ads when MW hawks signed Trouble #1s and Authority trades...)

You know what? I miss Jess Lemon.

Matt Maxwell offers up a post mortem on Epic:

"Originally, Epic was conceived as having little or no editorial oversight once things got rolling. I believe that’s a nice idea, but not particularly realistic. Particularly when you’re dealing with folks who haven’t written comics before (and it’s not as easy as the good ones make it seem). I’m pretty sure that this ideal went out the window in short order (at least it seems as if it did, judging from Mike Sangiacomo’s trials and travails in getting Phantom Jack to completion.) Minimal editing sounds attractive and keeps the costs down, but I don’t think it was ever going to happen."

Newsarama posters discuss "the biggest clusterfucks in the history of the medium":

"Number one, at least as far as the fans are concerned, is DC not publishing Alan Moore's Twilight of the Superheroes. Nothing even comes close to them snatching utter defeat from the jaws of what would've been a book that was mentioned in the same haedy company as Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns."

"Marvel ousting Shooter as EiC. Whether or not he was as big a bastard as people say he is(and considering John Byrne is one of his more vocal critics, I'm inclined to lean towards Shooter on this), the guy presided over Marvel at their most creative period in time."

"DC screwing up the deal with Alan Moore to produce Watchmen action figures."

Way to build faith in your own product, there, Bob Wayne:

"DC Vice President Direct Sales Bob Wayne told ICv2 that he was 'genuinely surprised' by the quick sell-out of Batman #620, the first issue by 100 Bullets creators Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. A 20% overprint sold out within three days of release. Wayne said that he anticipated a bigger fall-off from the final Jim Lee/Jeph Loeb issue, but that the 100 Bullets audience had apparently been added to a solid carryover from the hit Lee/Loeb run. A decision on a possible reprint will be made on Monday."

Diamond's Previews gets a lot of attention today. James Sime tells you how he approaches it as a retailer, and Mostly Wanted, Millarworld's new zine, do their version of The Shipping Forecast/Previews Review with A Preview To A Kill:

"Mark Peyton: The sequel one-shot to the dark and twisted Puffed limited series from this year. Whereas the original dealt with Fairground costumes, gangstas and a love story; this is a war comedy set in Iraq. How can you not want to see Weapons of Mouse Destruction and Udey Hussein's porn collection. John Layman needs your money to be able to afford psychiatric help.

"4th Man: Did anyone say porn? I'm sold!!!!!"

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I could be wrong, but read this thread and tell me: Doesn't it sound as if Tony Isabella may not have read the Green Arrow comic before he started complaining about it?

Newsarama interviews Alex Ross, and gets some interesting quotes out of him...:

"Like a lot of people I love X-Men and hated The Hulk. Actually I hate Ang Lee more than I hated The Hulk. If he wasn’t onscreen then it was a terrible movie. The fact that here is this director that could envision anything on this grand scale and the bomb origin of how the Hulk was created was discarded. You have cinema here. You could show the nuclear bomb going off and hitting this guy. But no lets have it happen inside a lab just like the fucking TV show. He missed the entirety of the Hulk. The point is that it is a Cold War warning story. Its not only a human story about internal emotions and rage. But that wasn’t where it came from. It was about a bomb maker that is turned into human bomb. You get punished with what you dabbled... Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was not that great of a film. There’s a million more just like him out of China. Screw him and the horse he rode in on."

"The fact is that Marvel, as a corporation, is truly a terrible place. There are no foreign royalties for creators. If I do work there and they sell five times more copies overseas then I will never see a cent of that. Even with a lot of my old deals that Kurt Busiek and I had it has still taken them years to come through with the money. they don’t choose to have the ability to calculate what they get back from their foreign printers. They are the complete opposite of what they tell people. When they get these guys who are big names like Mark Millar and Bendis they pay them so well with the work they do for them, those guys tend to look the other way when it comes to these other things. They built in various bonuses to keep these superstars happy. The basic creator that comes to them never see royalties because the books have to break either 40 or 60 thousand to make any royalty. It used to be a lot lower than that and they raised it two years ago. There has been no reign in Marvel history that has been more insensitive to the people working in the field."

A retailer rails at Marvel's lack of presence at the recent Las Vegas retailers summit:

"You would think that a publisher/vendor would jump at the chance to get their product recognized by the bgread and butter of the industry...retailers. DC thought it was worthwhile to attend and help underwrite the whole proceedings. As did Dark Horse, IDW, WOTC, WizKids, Viz, Tokyopop and numerous others. Notice what's missing from this list....MARVEL

"Seems that Marvel doesn't feel the need to meet with the 3500+ retailers that help drive their product. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of their product...but you think they could at least send one person or make a statement as to why they did not show up. It puts a retailer in a bad position though...Marvel sells and of course we are going to carry their product...it would be nice to lower our orders and show displeasure with them... but it would hurt us also in the long run because consumers WANT Marvel books."

(The first response is great: "The person Marvel used to send to the Chicago retailers meeting was Bill Rosemann but since he left I don't know if anyone at the company took his place as the person to talk to retailers (you would assume Michael Doran). Also, with Buckley just being named Publisher it probably never crossed their minds.")

Paul Jenkins on writing Wolverine: The End:

"'We’re going to get into some of the specific things about Wolverine – namely, the Weapon X area... When I was asked to do this story, they asked what would be my idea of the ultimate, final Wolverine story, and I told them that you have to look at Weapon X. At that point, they all groaned and pretty much came back with a unanimous, 'Fucking hell, not Weapon X…' But think about it - Weapon X was the ultimate question and the ultimate problem that this guy has always had. Forget the fact that he can’t remember, forget this and forget that. If you want to talk about the one moment that defined Wolverine, it was when he was raped – violated by Weapon X."

Interestingly, he doesn't go on to say "And, as that's the moment that I feel defined Wolverine, I thought it was important to make 'Origin' not come anywhere close to mentioning that at all."

When I saw ADD advertise his PayPal account yesterday, I wondered just how much money there would actually be floating around in this, the comics blogosphere. And then I saw this (Granted, Mark Evanier is more than just a regular comics blogger, but still...).

I needs to gets me a PayPal account.

This may be the greatest comic review ever:

"The Eternal: FUCK! I got tricked into reading this. I found the first issue, read it, thought "Hmmm... art's nice, story's not THAT awful, and the premise is pretty cool. Let's give Chuck Austen another chance!". And it's... dire. It really reads like Charles came up with a sub-par Eternals miniseries and the top bods said to Max it up a bit, so he added in some shitty gratuitous sex and nudity and some graphic violence. I only read all of it in the hopes that the Celestials might arrive, and now I just feel like I've read someone elses wank fantasy for four issues, and it's CHUCK AUSTEN'S WANK FANTASY. The art reminds me of Aeon Flux."

A surreal Newsarama thread. ManofTheAtom starts off complaining that Mark Waid isn't following John Byrne's continuity in Birthright with the weakest of examples - "My guess is that they're going to say that the Young Luthor takes place in Byrne continuity which would explain the hair.... but it wouldn't explain the age discrepency. Catch 22. For Lex to be young he'd have to be the Lex from the rebooted universe from BR... but for Lex to have hair at 18 he'd have to be from the Byrne reality. Conclusion: BR is a waste of time since it CAN'T be used as published after it's finished." - and then gets smacked down by Matt Brady:

"Regardless, you're eating up bandwidth to show pictures that really don't prove your case one way or the other, and going on and on about points that, as the threads show, only you can see, because of the baggage you bring in and the specific meaning you attach to them - which may or may not have anything to do with reality. But let's be clear. This ends now. You've taken up enough space here about Birthright - head out to one of the boards that still lets you post and bitch about it there."

For the second time in two days, we get this argument:

"Tp be fair, Karen Berger or no, the shareholders, upper businessmen [of Marvel] probably wouldn't allow it. I think a lot of thier downfall comes from not being backed by a huge corporation. If they were allowed to take more chances maybe they would. But the big ups only care about making money, and right now that's with movie properties. If a Vertigo movie was made(creator owned at least) DC gets zilch off of it, except some new readers and maybe a liscensing deal. So that's part of it. I wish that Sony would buy Marvel and they would get the kind of no holds backing that dc gets."

No holds backing? *Sigh*

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Jamie Rich, whose blog I found yesterday (and was amused to find is waiting to read Love and Poison, the new Suede biography written by my mate), discusses leaving Oni and other things with Rich Johnston...

Maxim, of all places, previews the new Sgt. Rock graphic novel. Interesting colouring...

Fanboy wankery threatens to eat its own tail: "Who would win in a fight? The Ultimates or The Authority?" And, of course, someone had to make this comment:

"You’d have the brilliant creative team of Millar/Hitch, and Marvel would produce books 2 and 3 of the part mini with DC doing 1 and 4. Before book four could ship Levitz would deicide it was too controversial and yank it."

The new Xeric winners are announced. But apparently, not to the winners themselves (Look at the first post after the announcement for what I think is Neil's joke).

What's wonderful about this is that it reminds you that some really fucking obscure characters have been members of DC and Marvel's "big name" super-teams...

Over on Joe Quesada's board, someone asks "Does Marvel have enough original comics?, Why let Vertigo get all the talent?"

Others respond:

"DC can lose money all year long on those Vertigo titles. Having the backing of the finically sound Time Warner* allows gives you money to burn. I hear they use it for tp in the offices. Never mind the fact that their goal, just like any other business, is to make money. Marvel's just not in the position to do that…… yet. Give Epic a shot."

"Pretty much what someone said above, its a case of resources. Typicaly an origional concept doesn't sell enough to be profitable for Marvel (whom has alot of expenses to cover)."

Someone really should tell DC to stop burning that money or using it to wipe their asses, shouldn't they?

The Pulse reports on the recent Las Vegas comicon, apparently as the result of a bet to see how many times it can mention the comic "Eclipse and Vega".

Millarworld sets out to save the industry:

"So, what now? What can the industry do to help promote comics and expand the demographic. I'm always interested to hear people's input, but we represent a dying breed and I was wondering if one of us know what's wrong and how to make it right." (Emphasis from original posting.)

"Superheroes are the core of this industry, but they don't appeal to everyone. As long as the spotlight remains on superheroes, everybody is going to think that all comics are about is guys and girls in tight lycra beating the crap out of each other! We need stories that appeal to a wider audience ... Things like Trouble or, on a totally different tack, things like The Hedge Knight which is a comic book adaption of a really popular fantasy story ..."

"Forget superhero comics as you know them and forget the comic shop and the daimond previews catalogue. They have proven time and again that they are not interested in the latest cosmetic change in Avengers. So what if Scarlet Witch has a new costume? The Future is already here and it's in the mainstream and kids are reading them. It's called manga and they are being sold in most major bookstores right now and they have nothing to do with Dad's floppy color comics."

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