Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Last post (unless something major happens between now and Friday) for the year, as Christmas is upon us, and then Kate and I are off to see 2004 in in Maui, of all places. I'll be back around January 5th or so. Happy holidays, all.

Hibbs and Marvel kiss and make up under the mistletoe:

"After nearly two years, a proposal is in the offing in the case between retailer Brian Hibbs and Marvel Comics involving late or different issues. If approved, the settlement will see retailers receiving a collective $1.5 million in credit from Marvel. 'It’s a great Christmas present,' Hibbs told Newsarama late Tuesday afternoon. 'This is the agreement that we worked out, and I think retailers will be quite happy with. We still have to have it approved by retailers, though, so at this point I need to point out that it’s still conditional.' ...The settlement still has to be ruled fair by the Court, and has issued an order that notice be served upon all class members by March 10, 2004."

Millarworld in moment of awareness shocker while discussing a Bryan Hitch cover for Ultimate Fantastic Four:

"Kirby rolls and rolls as comic creators STILL pick at his corpse. ...bastards."

"I wonder if Kirby came back from the grave, I wonder what he would think of what has been done to his characters."

"He'd wonder why they're still largely the same as they were when he worked on them, would be my guess."

"Either that or be stunned back into the grave over the fact that a lot of creators STILL aren't coming up with concepts of their own."

WHO... WILL... BE... The New NewXMen writer? Comicon consider the possibilities:

"M. Night Shayanalan: I`m not kiding. It`s Quesada`s dream that this guy works in comics. And it would be unusual enough to make the grade. And he has that recognition."

"The only choice is Tony Isabella. Turn Tony loose and let's see what he can do. In three months it will be 'Grant who?'."

Thanks to Duncan Falconer for pointing this thread at Millarworld out, where the difference between a comic being sold out at a distributor level and at a retailer level is sharply illustrated:

Mark Millar: "Just back online for a bit and had a pile of emails this morning from people within Top Cow and various retailers I've gotten drunk with over the years. Word is Wanted #1 is pretty much sold out already. Bendis was telling me Wednesday it had sold out in Portland that afternoon and this seems to have become a national and international thing. Got to admit I was worried when I heard orders were at JLA levels because, let's face it, this is an adult book featuring characters nobody's ever heard of so my great fear was that retailers were going to be eating a lot of unsold copies. However, the good news is that it's selling like absolute fucking crazy and this morning's chatter was to discuss the possibilities of a rushed second printing... Anyway, I thought we might do what we did on Red Son here and use this thread as a means of helping people whon can't find a copy. I know some stores still have some left so if you print their name, address and telephone number below then we can help out all the people who've been emailing us and weeping."

And the responses come in:

"I was in Gosh last night and they had quite a lot still on the shelves."

"My store had at least 15 on the shelf yesterday afternoon. He probably has more stockpiled."

"Plenty left at my local shop(s), all three covers, too."

"For those of you, like me, smart enough to live in Los Angeles, let me heartily recommend Comics, Ink. on Overland Blvd. in Culver City. As of yesterday, they were still well-stocked."

"Got off the phone with my friend's LCS and he has quite a few left."

"forbidden planet in glasgow ordered heavy, they had dozens left at 4pm on friday"

"My LCS, Time Warp Comics in Boulder, CO still has plenty of copies of each cover as of 2:00 PM MST."

"Austin Books has lots of them. All three covers."

"There are still HUNDREDS at Forbidden Planet Edinburgh. If anyone's after any then I dunno if it's just Edinburgh or if they all overordered. Seriously, they had a full shelf full this morning."

Ah, the weirdness of the direct market system...

I love Evan Dorkin's blog with mad abandon:

"The Cartoon Network, who I supposedly am working on a pilot for, sent us our copies of the Space Ghost DVD, along with a copy of the Aqua Teen thing. All three DVD's were smashed by the shipping company, thank you very much. The packaging was crushed and the plastic cases were in pieces. The discs are okay. I think. Ah, the glamorous world of television animation. Even the cheap-ass looking little clock thing DC sent out for the holidays was packaged so it wouldn't break. WHich would have been okay, if it did, because it's really a very useless little gift chosen from some usless little gift catalogue with the DC logo plopped on it. Sheesh. Save the money, DC. Even the poorest freelancers have some sort of clock at home. In the VCR or cable box, if nothing else. I'd rather they sent out some unsold DC Archives, if anything. They already paid for 'em and most of 'em are sitting around, if they weren't traded in to Jim Hanley's Universe or Midtwon Comics. Perhaps I should stop crabbing and simply appreciate the gesture.

"Ah, fuck it. I'd rather have a Spirit Archive."

Rob Liefeld, this is your life:

"You'd think when introducing a brand new Wonder Woman ripoff to an unsuspecting public, you'd want to give her some sense of a character design starting with her first appearance, right? That's where Rob Liefeld is a genius. He knew to confuse her visual identity by drawing her in a completely different costume in every fucking panel. She doesn't wear the same outfit twice throughout the entire issue! She's like the fucking Wasp or something. That way you can let other artists like Mike Deodato Jr. figure out all the hard stuff like what her costume actually looks like later on. It's that kind of relatable slacker mentality that keeps me coming back for more Liefeld comics whenever they get around to being published."

Millarworld discusses the new Marvel Age: Spider-Man book:

"No offense but, cmon MARVEL. Its almost like they REFUSE to take a chance on new property."

"The All Ages, new reader friendly, ready to cash in the movie fans- marvel- and i thought this is what the Ultimate Universe was for!"

"The kids that come in my LCS look for Spider-Man because that's what they know. They watch the cartoon, buy the ancillary stuff. So a kid's Spidey book is the right way to go. If they are using the same look as the toy line with Cap then he'll be next. I can't imagine any kid buying any book with Steve Ditko art."

"Even that guy who's still disappointed that Young Heroes in Love got cancelled probably wants a solid sculpt of Superman or Wonder Woman."

Um... what?

Denny O'Neil thinks about the JLA:

"As director Baz Luhrmann said recently, in the history of storytelling the audience, until recently, always knew how the story would end. Think of opera, folk tales, religious parables, and mythology. What mostly matters is the manner of the telling and I imagine that was what I was worrying about back then. I questioned my ability to come up with interesting plots/conflicts using so many powerful characters."

Jeph Loeb explains his approach to my guilty pleasure, Superman/Batman:

"Does every issue have to be about the end of the world? Nope... But wouldn't it be cool if you felt that way? It's something to reach for. And again -- not every book has to be like that. I really like Gotham Cental. Michael Lark is so talented. And that book is best when it's quiet and about the people. That's what Ed and Greg do so well -- those voices. But this is Superman and Batman -- the center of the superhero universe. We don't want them sitting around talking."

Monday, December 22, 2003

Ninth Art votes on the most stupidly decompressed comic of the year (and other, equally amusing, awards):

"First, ULTIMATES. A few issues ago, the Ultimates were blown up, and in the next issue it was revealed that - shock! - they weren't! Since then, we've had about three issues, none of which have progressed the plot any further. Second, ULTIMATE SIX. Five issues in and a bunch of bad guys have escaped and taken Spider-Man prisoner. Stan Lee would have done that in four panels, leaving 21 and a half pages for the final two issues of the miniseries, in which we're hoping something actually happens."

I should steal this gimmick for the next time I'm pressed for time on my Broken Frontier column; Brandon Thomas fills a column with random quotes from comics.

After comparing two issues of DEMO and NYX that have similar storylines, Brian Wood compares the covers of said issues. Becky Cloonan, Demo artist responds:

"woah, i think me and middleton are psychicly linked. that's eerie."

Wood is less convinced:

"you are far more gracious than I in this case."

So the full Marvel solicits are up, including this:

Plot by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, script by Daniel Quantz, cover and pencils by Mark Brooks. Not a 'retcon' ... Not a 'new universe.' Watch your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man battle his archfoe the Vulture for the very first time in this new, all ages, contemporary revisiting of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's classic story. Marvel Age: Spider-Man introduces new and young readers to some of the greatest stories of the legendary Marvel Universe with dynamic brand new art and a modern flair."

Because Steve Ditko and Stan Lee weren't dynamic enough!

Festive season = No exciting comics news. Can't someone start a blogging fight or something?

"When I first started lurking/reading comic boards online (oh, so many years ago), there was no higher insult than "fanboy", but it seems these days, even the most indy lovers of us all would call ourselves fanboys, and be proud. Has the snotty views of many comic readers finally gone away, and we can all admit we're just here to read some kick-ass comics, fucking have fun, and put our two fingers up to the world that looks down on us?

"I hope so."

"According to Top Cow Editor in Chief Jim McLauchlin, the second printing of Wanted #1, the 'Death Row Edition' will reprint the entire first issue with no ads, and will add eight pages of backup material, such as character designs, omitted panels, and unused cover layouts."

"This way, the fans who bought it first time around might be conned into buying it again," he continued.

Okay, no, he didn't.

Sean McKeever's other Tsunami series, Inhumans, is cancelled:

"Now, even if you really blow at math, I'm sure you can figure out that two minus two equals zero, meaning I got nothin'. So, you may be wondering, what's next for Sean? Working the local car wash? 'Paper or plastic?' Male model? No, no...like it or not, I'm gonna keep writing comicbooks. In fact, it'll be just like I never left. As far as what I'll be working on...well, you'll be reading about that in the next month or two."

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Superman fans, get ready to be sad/happy depending on how you feel about John Byrne and Mark Waid...

You've got to love Mike San Giacomo. After all, not everyone would start an article by saying "Art is such a subjective thing, it's almost impossible to argue about it" and then follow it up by trying to state subjective opinion as objective fact:

"I believe that different styles of drawing have their place. For example, we have 'regular' artists on comics and then we have artists on comics meant for kids like 'Powerpuff Girls' and the Justice League and Batman books based on the cartoon shows. It is less detailed, features exaggerated physical characteristics and is simply, simpler. This is not a bad thing, just a different thing," San Giacomo writes.

"We are saying that the art based on the cartoon shows is less than the 'regular' work. So, if we agree that these comics based on cartoons are simpler than we have established an art level. Up here, the 'regular' artists are for more discerning readers and down here, the animated stuff is for...others."

That's the good thing about art, you see. It's so subjective that if you don't like what Mike calls "regular" art, then you are less discerning and of a lower level than him and his kind. He is theoretically talking about why he prefers Paul Gulacy's artwork to Darwyn Cooke's, Cameron Stewart's and Javier Pulido's, on Catwoman: "That being said, I hope the Brubaker-Gulacy team stays around on Catwoman through the release of the Halle Berry Catwoman movie. I would prefer people who enjoy the film picking up a copy of the Gulacy illustrated work so they can get a truer picture of what comics are all about."

Because, obviously, there is only one idea of "what comics are all about", and it's definitely not something "cartoony".

Happily, the Newsarama posters generally disagree in various modes of intelligent commentary (Mike, it might just be me, but when less than five people agree with you in four pages of posting, and one of those people call themselves 'Web Hobbit', then maybe you should worry). After starting off a shitstorm, it'd only be fair for Mike to answer some of the criticism and back up his original comments in some way, right? Mike doesn't agree, though, replying only with this post:

Ah, the voice of dissent.
See, this is what's great about comics, you don't have to agree with one guy's opinion. I think it's fantastic that so many people love the simple art and so many love realistic art. There's something for everyone out there.
Merry Christmas to all.

I think we should start a petition for more cartoony art on Phantom Jack now.

(And go and see ADD go mad here.)

Friday, December 19, 2003

Newsarama gets invaded by Jim Lee...

Newsarama reports on Sabrina, The Teenage Manga. More interesting, though, is the second post in the thread following the story:

"This rocks and I don't know why!!! I remember back in Art School in the early 90's how Akira was a huge influence and none of the comics publishers wanted anything to do with manga influenced art. I remember a lot of my black friends at the time were totally into manga, again proving to be ahead of the curve in entertainment."

Matt Maxwell looks back at the year:

"Could 2003 be remembered as the year that imagination died (at least in the mainstream superhero realm)? Possibly. By imagination, I mean not simply the ability to tell new stories (or to recycle old ones creatively), but I mean raw imagination, the ability to utterly transport the reader to Somewhere Else. I know that I wasn’t the only guy to notice fantasy giving way to something more 'grounded.' For every Filth or Promethea or New X-Men, we got a hundred 'street-level' superhero stories set in the real world. When done well, these sorts of stories can shed some light on the relationship between humans and superhumans, between the mundane and myth. Mostly, though, we just get a sheen of grim and grit, no verve and nothing that plays up to the strengths of the medium."

"I was bored one day about bought WATCHMENto read because I had heard all these great and wonderful things about WATCHMEN and how it is the greatest series ever...and I have to ask are you guys on DRUGS?

"WATCHMEN is the most convoluted peice of crap that I have ever read! I am only half way through it and just don't get what the big deal is. It reminds me of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. I had never read CRISIS before this year either and I had to buy duct tape to wrap my head before I could read CRISIS. Comics are supposed to be enjoyable...they should never ever require duct tape to be read."

Random question of the day: Whatever happened to 15Love, Marvel's follow-up attempt to crack the teenage girl market following on from Trouble? It was supposed to be written by Andi Watson, wasn't it?

So wrong, but so right. Merry Christmas yourself, RAIDers.

While the "If I were in charge of DC" thread spirals out of control (although this amused me), someone at the Micah Wright forum starts the "If I were in charge of Marvel" thread...:

"1) Cut half the X-comics. 2) Eliminate Ultimate titles. 3) Mandatory Marvel Method for core books. And that's just the first day."

"Eliminate the Ultimate line? Are you nuts? That's a moneymaker."

"If the burden of continuity has become too great, ignore continuity! But REWRITING everything flies in the face of common sense: the only reason Spiderman still exists to be screwed with is that HE WORKS THE WAY HE IS--well enough to last 40 years. If you need to 're-imagine' something, re-imagine something that never made a blip. Re-imagine Codename Spitfire."

"Basically though, ABC is Alan Moore taking his Awesome Universe books and reworking them a bit and he seriously hit a homer in the revisions..."

The surreal Rob Liefeld thread at Millarworld has now started discussing whether Alan Moore is ripping off Rob Liefeld by using concepts in the ABC line that he [Moore] originally created for Awesome although they never saw print there due to the collapse of the line.

Newsarama interviews Chester Brown, and asks the tough questions:

"Firstly, you cut your hair?"

Look for me in the 6pm update of this, if I'm not camera-shy or overcome by flu by then...

So how bad are the Crossgen finances? The Comics Journal investigates:

"Despite CrossGen's public assurances that the company was merely going through a temporary rough patch, Serdar's letter clearly sends the message that Alessi is desperate enough to sell not only a portion of CrossGen but a controlling interest in the company, asking only that he be allowed a continuing involvement."

Worth reading.

It's the question on... well, not that many people's lips, really: Is Uncanny X-Men repairable?

"Claremont should have Warren wake up and meet Psylocke as she emerges from the shower. It was all a dream. The whole Austen run was a dream. Claremont would then continue where Casey left off."

"Wouldn't it be even better if the numbering just picked up after Casey's last issue. Then Claremont wouldn't even have to use the "it was all dream" cliche."

"A good way Claremont may get around the parts of Austens run he doesnt like, is reveal it as a plot by one of Magneto/xorn's supporters that was working on the other team..this character would have to be simuliar to mastermind in powers..and this way Claremont could keep what he liked and drop what he didnt..."

Neil Gaiman waxes nostalgic for the old days of bad journalism:

"I never thought I'd find myself actually missing 'Wham! Smash! Pow! Comics Aren't Just For Kids Any More!' as a headline, but there's something about the tone of the Cleveland Plain Dealer headline: 'Graphic novels get book world's respect and geeks - er, readers' - satisfaction' (I think it's probably the misguided conviction that it's funny) that make me feel nostalgic for the innocent elegance of the usual old 'Kerwhap! Spung! Comics Have Grown Up'. It's not a bad article, but that headline, sigh... "

Newsarama presents the ever-enjoyable sight of fans geeking out over stories that are, what, twenty-odd years old now?:

"I just finished rereading The Dark Phoenix Saga and noticed these inconsistencies.

"1) In #133 "Wolverine Alone!", Wolverine gets shot by a Hellfire Club flunky with a machine gun and thinks to himself "That was close...TOO close. If I hadn't spun away when this guy fired, his burst would'a cut me in two 'stead o' simply creasin' my side!" What??
If Wolverine has "Unbreakable Adamantium Bones" as he mentions in #137 "the Fate of Phoenix!", why would he be worried about a machine gun splitting him in two?

"2) In that same issue (#133) Cyclops is captured and his head is encased in a Ruby Quartz Helmet to prevent him from being able to attack, but in the next issue he is able to shoot it off of his face when Jean unlocks it! What?? If the helmet is made of Ruby Quartz, shouldn't it just absorb the beams?

"3) In that same issue (!!!) The Beast is on monitor duty when the N.Y.P.D. alarm goes off with a report that the X-Men are attacking the Hellfire Club. Hank erases the tape and goes to help the X-Men on his own. In #136 "Child of Light and Darkness" President Carter calls Jarvis, demanding to know why he hasn't been able to reach the mansion since someone is always supposed to be on duty. Jarvis wonders "Master Beast was on monitor duty. What happened to him?! Where could he have gone?!" The very next panel starts with narration that says "Answer: The Beast. answering Cyclops secret call for help, has returned to his old Alma-Mater, Professor Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters" What???? Cyclops made no call, no one made any call, the mansion was just hooked into the NYPD's alert line!!!!

"4) In #137 " The Fate of the Phoenix!" Wolverine throws Colossus at Dark Phoenix with instructions for Petey to kill her, because Logan wasn't able to earlier. "Colossus thinks to himself "You ask me to kill Wolverine, something I have never done." What?? In issue #128 Colossus killed Proteus, a very big deal was made then about how he had never killed before. In issue #129 "God Spare the Child..." the issue that starts the Dark Phoenix Saga, Pete is still coming to grips with this act, thinking to himself on the way back home "Mine was the hand that slew Proteus. I know that he was evil incarnate, that it was his life or Moira's...but does that make what I did...right?"

"That's 4 glaring examples in only 9 issues which all had 2 co-plotters and an editor!!!! So can somebody please explain to me how continuity was paid so much closer attention to back in the good old days?"

My favourite part is the three exclamation points in point 3, thereby exclaiming that that was, apparently, important.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

"Who's a man and a half? I'm a man and a half!"

Just in case you were doubtful, ask Randy Lander:

"Let there be no question in your mind: If you buy only one book this week, Sleeper: Out in the Cold should be it. And I say that despite this being a pretty good week. Sleeper is like a perfect recipe, combining a classic creative team, a great premise, fantastic characters and excellent structure to make one of the most compelling monthly reads on the stands and probably the best of the "Eye of the Storm" titles. It's also a title that is getting more critical buzz than sales, and it deserves better."

Buy Sleeper and Santa will like you more. It's that simple.

Vertigo announce a new ongoing series set in the larger Vertigo/DC continuity: The Witching. In a very un-Vertigo move, it seems to be aimed at goths.

Part of the previous sentence was sarcastic.

Newsarama posters are feeling nostalgic:

"Rereading some old comics, I noticed that books used to be full of *'s, which would tell you to look for a box where the editor would explain something that you might not understand or remind you which issue an event happened in if you didn't remember. Does anyone know when this tradition stopped?"

"Actually, John Byrne bought the rights to the *, so he could spell M****L on his boards. And since his good followers say it like that as well, they all use up the quota of * allowed used in a month."

Bryan Hitch discusses the Ultimates, and other things:

"I really don't think it's possible to produce an all ages book. By that I mean one which can appeal to all ages; you are either going to talk down to your older readers or go over the heads of the younger ones and falling between two stools is not where I want to eat my lunch. You could produce something which is potentially inoffensive to all ages, but that's a different thing all together and in that definition we might well be all ages after all."

Archie jumps on a bandwagon possibly for the first time ever:

"Tania del Rio, one of the winners of TokyoPop's Rising Stars of Manga contest, is the new writer/artist of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, beginning with issue #58, which will street in mid-June.

"Sabrina, entering her 42nd year in comics, will have a significantly new look in her comics for the first time. Del Rio, based on her award-winning story, Lovesketch, in Rising Stars of Manga Volume II, has been given the go-ahead by the powers-that-be at Archie to draw Sabrina in her favored manga style."

Newsarama reports on the latest Witchblade/Dark Minds crossover:

"'After a number of failed experiments, the Witchblade attaches itself to a young woman who actually uses it to exact revenge on people,' [Writer David] Wohl said. 'So unlike the in the Top Cow book, here the Witchblade ends up being used for bad deeds! Nakiko ends up being sent to track down the killer and ultimately stops her from killing, but not before the Witchblade shows what it really can do in the hands of someone truly driven.'"

Like, for example, completely mess around with their body so that it becomes out of proportion:

Scott Morse has a gallery show, which I'd like to see. More bizarrely, Don Cheadle is one of the celebrity quotes advertising it. Don Cheadle?

Brian Wood brings up an interesting coincidence about March's issues of Demo and NYX.

Who is killing the industry? Millarworld play Clue (or Cluedo, if you're British, like me):

"[W]hen I read Ed Brubaker in an interview tell somebody who's waiting for the Sleeper trade to come out before buying the book that he's killing the industry, I can't help but think two things.

"Number one, we're not killing the industry, we're supporting it far more than most. Most of the people I know who, like myself, primarily collect trades, spend WAY too much money on comics to be good husbands, let alone feed themselves.

"Second, while I fully understand Brubaker's (and every other creator's) point of view (ie, DC is going to cancel my book if the monthly number isn't X), the answer is NOT to blame or ask the consumer to change their patterns. The answer is to CHALLENGE the publishers to take a risk and publish what they believe is QUALITY REGARDLESS OF THE SALES NUMBERS. If you build it, they will come."


"Reflecting its goal to further expand the reach of its publishing operations within younger demographics, Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:MVL) announced today that it has recently acquired the business and certain assets of New York City-based Cover Concepts, a small company specializing in the distribution of free, sponsored materials to public schools across the U.S. Cover Concepts sells advertising space on those materials. Major advertising customers have included Gatorade, McDonalds and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Cover Concepts (www.coverconcepts.com) distributes materials such as textbook covers, coloring books, posters, bookmarks and other educational materials, free of charge, to a BPA International-audited network of over 43,000 public schools, reaching a universe of more than 30 million children in grades K-12. Cover Concepts' database enables it to target specific demographic or age groups with branded products and samples. Cover Concepts recently extended its distribution network to include daycare centers, public libraries and summer camps."

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Um. Wow.:

"Within the myriad of communications and education systems, divided and scattered upon the face of world cultures, one small beleaguered industry remains faithful to the message of hope and salvation. An industry and an art form that have fermented the greatest creative minds and the strongest and brightest hope for saving a dying world.

"Comic book writers, artists, editors and publishers will soon emerge as the Real Superheroes on the socio-political stage of world events. To this end, we the comic book creators - and you, the precious citizens of the world - must join hands together on this forum, in order to teach and thus remember what it takes to nourish the rose of hope from beneath the mudslides of futility which humanity has so bitterly sunken into.

"This is Michael Netzer's THE NEW COMIC BOOK OF LIFE, striding toward a glorious reunion of our civilization's peoples and faiths under The One Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Commencing with the unification of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam along with all other spiritual and moral belief systems, culminating in the sojourn of mankind into the outer reaches of space - the planting of the seed of humanity into the New Garden, awaiting us on the not so distant TITAN, the curiously Earthlike satellite of the ringed planet Saturn."

A strange experiment causes Michael Deeley to finally lose it:

"Day Five: I am struck by the notion to disassemble the comic. I’ve never done it before, so why not now? I remove the staples with a staple remover (a sure sign of over-specialization in society), thus transforming the book into 11 pairs of pages. I lay them down on the floor, like an auger reading the future from animal parts. I immediately realize that I can only see half the story at once. I buy another copy, take that apart, and lay it down with pages from the first...

"I discern a pattern to reading the story. But rather than read it the same way again, I read every page in the order it is laid out. And so, I read the last half in reverse while simultaneously reading the first half forwards. It is an experience. I know it’s all the same story. And yet, it now appears to be two intersecting storylines. Clark Kent dashes out of his room and sees The Creeper, then suddenly is drinking with a beautiful woman. Clark trades barbs with Jack Ryder when they board the ship, and then threatens to expose him as The Creeper. The simple act of arranging these pages in a new order creates a new story with a logic of its own. I think this is the art of collage."

"The 12th Printing of THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN TP features a newly redesigned cover, with art from the historic cover to SUPERMAN #75 by Dan Jurgens & Brett Breeding. The new cover also includes a blurb that reads, 'The Best-Selling Graphic Novel of All Time!'"

I can't tell you how much I hope that last bit isn't actually true.

Save Crossgen for Christmas.

The Micah Wright forum steps all the way into the geek zone by playing the "If I ran DC..." game with predictable results:

"I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League! Would be a regular, bimonthly series... JLA would be canned. The title as is has outlived its usefulness. I'd leave it fallow while I waited for the right pitch."

"Ludicrous statement. It's usefulness is to sell books. Make it work. Put the right creative team on it, or step down as publisher."

Carla Speed McNeil has a baby. If only I could put a crappy Finder reference in here...

Millarworld asks "Do people not want to be challenged by comics?" (which, to me, is a question that is almost too broad to be answered. It's like asking "Do people not want to be challenged by books?" Some do, some don't. It depends on the people in question, surely):

"[W]hilst it's great to see runs like Morrison's New X-Men, isn't it part of the medium that the most challenging and innovative stuff is usually going to be on the peripheries? (Isn't that part of most media?)"

"The majority probably want the same light entertainment provided by a Batman or Spider-man or Star Wars comic. However, everyone wants art. People just disagree on what constitutes art - Is it an experimental Chris Ware page layout, or a wickid Bagley Spidey splash page. (I count the former, for the record)"

"One of my favorite comics, Savage Dragon, although it embraces the conventions of the superhero genre, is unique in that it moves in real time and is not afraid of making permanent changes. After decades of accepting the Marvel and DC illusion of change, it's refreshing when you read a comic and honestly can't predict what's going to happen next."

This is one of the projects I'm most looking forward to next year:

"[Darwyn] Cooke rejects any notion that The New Frontier is an experiment in nostalgia. 'For me it’s is all about the same thing that I always run into when I’m writing and drawing a project: what is going to make for the absolutely best story? The original Justice League belongs in the era it was created for; it’s the place where they are most vital and pure as characters,' Cooke said This isn’t a retro tale, any more than Paul Dini & Alex Ross’s recent hit JLA: Liberty & Justice is a retro tale. 'Do we refer to Saving Private Ryan as retro? Or Unforgiven? No—they’re period pieces, not retro celebrations. That is the approach I’ve taken; that this is a historical drama with a rich period setting. The era plays into the series in a very grand way. The further I got into New Frontier, the more I realized the heart of the story was what was the nature of a hero? And further, to what degree does what’s happening in the world shape the nature and tone of that heroism? One phrase that gives me pause is ‘Silver Age’—it connotes a certain light-hearted or goofy tone, and New Frontier is as far from that as could be. It’s a period adventure, but the storytelling and approach is contemporary.'"

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Hey! Slave Labor have a Livejournal!

God Bless ManOfTheAtom, in this time of Holiday Cheer! Who else would write the following?:

"I agree 100% with what [Rob Liefeld] said about [Alan] Moore. Moore is one of the biggest rip off artist in the industry. What started with Watchmen continued on with Supreme and ABC and I doubt it will ever stop.

"Moore should try coming up with really original characters intead of ones based on what other people have done."

The myth of ADD grows. He advertises his "floppies of 2003" list (I hate the term "floppies", by the way. I mean, should we call trades "stiffies"?) on the V, and Nick Locking tries to get someone to start a fight with him for fun. The response to that?

"The last thing we need here is 'ADD Baiting' He's relentless. He keeps on coming. He won't slow down. He won't be stopped. He'll just keep coming and coming and coming."

This thread brings back memories...

Newsarama prepares for the event of the week:

"On the suggestion of ISW professional wrestler Count Dante, Ed's training consists of doing curls with his cinderblock barbell, pull-ups off the side of a Mac Truck, and a daily macrobiotic diet regimen. 'Yeah, I'm ready for this! So c'mon fanboys, get your arms on the table and show me what you got!' Brubaker said with a stab of the index finger and a snarl. (Reports of a post-interview Brubaker wiping his forehead and mumbling 'Oh god, I hope most my fans are a bunch of wimps…or girls…or girl wimps...' remain unsubstantiated)."

Nice James Sime/Don King joke, Matt.

Get well soon, Mr. Schwartz.

Joe Quesada Board posters reconsider The Dark Knight Strikes Again:

"I hated this book at first. Over the past year or two I sort of tolerated it's presence on my bookshelf. Then I started liking it. Now I finally understand what he was doing with this book and I love it. I hate the Story the coloring and some of the art but I love the book. it's genius."

"DKSA was basically, Frank Miller's way of saying: 'Fcuk you, you cold-blooded Batman fanboys. You keep demanding a sequel for Dark Knight, I'll give it to you -- in the worst way possible.' Then of course, Miller purposely produces the most poorly contrived plot, and garish art possible, and asks Varley to slop around with some digital coloring. He didn't ask Varley to add anything -- the whole point was to make the entire project a mess, and, to put it bluntly, everything that Dark Knight Returns isn't. Of course, then people picked up the slight jabs he took at 'bad girl' comics, superhero postering, the present state of politics etc. in a desperate attempt to make the work sound relevant. Go figure."

Newsarama poster "Strike" asks for nothing this Christmas but this:

"If you are drawing a comic featuring a male hero or villain, perhaps one wearing spandex, and especially if he's the type with rippling muscles and a chiselled jaw. If ever you are tempted to draw him in that special pose with his fists on his hips, his spine straight and his chest stuck out.


Monday, December 15, 2003

DC's March solicits are up. Not so much new of interest this month, although there's an "Afterword" special to the Wildstorm crossover featuring a preview of the second series of Sleeper, along with a new direction for Stormwatch as a result of said crossover. Some nice covers, too, as ever (Above: Darwyn Cooke's The New Frontier #3 cover).

Could this be the greatest post ever in Andy Diggle's Delphi forum?:

"Just want to let my guard down & ask this question: When are we going to see (female) nipples in comics, mainstream or otherwise? I can understand you can't show your penis or vagina, but what is so wrong with nipples? Even so called "mature" comics seems aversive to showing nipples. And anime, once was a haven for nipples, are showing less & less of it these days, unless it's hentai.
So again, what is so wrong with nipples? And when are we going to see it?

"Andy, if you are reading this, hope you show some Aishah nipples in Losers!"

"Powers volume 2, number one does not negate your purchase or enjoyment of the previous 37+ issues of Powers. I love you and your support of the book."

Bendis explains the reasoning behind the relaunch of Powers.

"You go to the movies to see the latest James Bond spy flick. At $9.00 a ticket, you expect to be entertained. Halfway through the movie, Bond and his beautiful female Russian counterpart are trapped by North Korean soldiers in an abandoned railroad yard. A gunfight ensues. During the shooting, Bond runs out of bullets. He turns to his Russian companion and signals that his gun is empty. She yanks a clip of bullets from her belt and tosses it to James, who reloads his gun, turns, and shoots the bad guy only five feet away. Everyone in the theater applauds. Except you. You stand up in the middle of the crowded auditorium and scream, 'That’s impossible! Bond was using a 7.65 mm Walther PPK, his favorite handgun. And she was firing an MR-443 Grach Russian Army pistol. The bullets aren’t interchangeable! That whole scene is impossible!'

"People sitting nearby tell you to sit down and be quiet. “Who cares?” they ask. After all, it’s only a movie. They don’t seem to understand that, by using mismatched guns, the film-makers have destroyed the credibility of the film for at least one person: You. And probably anyone else who knows anything about handguns."

In that case, you need to GET A FUCKING LIFE. You too, Robert Weinberg.

Brandon Thomas writes about the failure of The Crew, Priest's last series at Marvel:

"After 25 years in the business, critically-acclaimed scribe Priest almost quit comics…and it’s all your fault."

Not me. I bought all seven issues, and found a book that worked against new readers picking it up due to an dense writing style at odds with what the majority of comic readers expect these days, a plot that moved too slowly for its own good, and a cynicism that made the book joyless. Also, I think that Marvel could have promoted the book, or at least let Priest promote it the way he wanted...

Nick Locking renames the Batman classics:



Scroll down this week's LITG for the story about the Unlimited anthology books at Marvel possibly not having that long a future... Is Marvel trying to win awards for killing off ideas as quickly as possible?

Comics need The Spider-Buggy now.

Contender for the best Newsarama post of 2003:

"They got Saddam! Who is doing the comic book adaptation? Just like the BLACK issue of Spider-Man, who is going to weave this in to there continuity? I hope it is Strazinskie! (I am so Drunk Right now!)"

Paul O'Brien's review of Wanted comments on one of my problems with Mark Millar's writing:

"This sort of cynical, over-the-top black comedy is pretty much standard in Millar superhero comics, and Wanted is no exception. That said, it does work rather better here than it has in some other titles he's written in the last few years. On books like Ultimate X-Men, I could never quite shake the feeling that the main point of the exercise wasn't the characters, but the unutterable coolness of Mark Millar. He often seemed to approach everything with an unhappy layer of irony that resulted in stories a bit short of genuine emotion."

(John Jakala has collected reviews of Wanted from all over the net at the Grotesque Anatomy forum, for those who are curious how many people are in love with the book...)

Good Lord, but it's dull on the world of comics today. Can't someone start a fight about comic covers or something?

By the way, thanks to neilalien for fixing my permalinks...

Eddie Campbell returns and discusses his upcoming Batman book:

"I’ve enjoyed doing this book so much that I feel like a sap for not 'selling out' sooner."

Friday, December 12, 2003

Newsarama looks at Avengers/Thunderbolts:

"It's pretty basic: a group of former villains are performing world-saving acts, but they happily skirt international laws, national boundaries, etc. while doing it. The Avengers -- who have some bad history with these folks -- are in a bit of a quandary. Should they stop the Thunderbolts or not?"

That's right, folks: It's Avengers versus The Authority again.

From the site that brought you the Power Girl thread, the comedy guide to being an online geek. Illustrated with "ironic" pictures of scantily clad women.

(There's also a possibly meant to be comedy guide to how to act at a rock show: "Listen to the music of the band you’re going to see before you leave. On the car ride to the concert, you are NOT to listen to the headlining band. Listening to an opening band is acceptable, as is listening to a similar band.")

"The only other thing I can think of is a couple of years into the run, when Hal was still Parallax, I wanted to do a storyline in which he'd created a world that was essentially DC's Silver Age. Hal always wanted to set things right, which would include himself as GL, Barry as the Flash, etc. So he just created it. Eventually, the current DC heroes would have been confronted with the decision of whether to put a stop to what Hal was doing. It would have been a conflict of the current DCU and the Silver Age, a way to contrast the present and the past. You can see that's where we were originally headed at the end of issue #64, but the decision came down that it would have smacked too much of pre-Crisis continuity, so we had to drop it."

I always thought that's what Hal wanted to do in Zero Hour...

This may require concentration. Larry Young posts teaser images of his new book, Planet Of The Capes, all over the internet. Someone reposts the image in the V forum, and the posters there - unimpressed by the concept of another superhero book that (hey!) takes the piss out of superheroes - reply in various sarcastic forms, including parodies of the kind of posts Larry's pimping gets in more friendly forums, like Brian Wood's. Over in Brian Wood's forum, meanwhile, the thread started with the teaser image quickly turns into commentary of the thread over at the V (including the traditional "Someone's mad at Larry because they had a project at AiT/PlanetLar that didn't work out" post).

J. Torres suggests comic gift ideas for kids, because someone should.

The Pulse covers another of my favourite Christmas comics:

"In the line, Ginny asks her mother if that's the real Santa, and is told this is so. The child in Santa's lap is unimpressed by the crummy 'St. Nick,' who needs a drink real bad, and gets poked in the eye for his troubles! The child pulls the beard off, and then heckles "Santa," whois big and dumb, and who must be a super-villain... especially since no one else could be as big, dumb, and ugly as he is!"

Comics activism of another sort:

"The blood trade, announced shortly before the release of Issue 1 of SWORD OF DRACULA (see http://www.swordofdracula.com ), called for readers to send in proof of recent blood donation. In return, donors would receive original or production art. 'We’re still well under our goal of getting 500 Dracula fans to give blood, but we’re still waiting. The blood drive will continue as long as there is a Sword of Dracula,' said Jason Henderson, creator of the series. 'If you send us written proof from a valid blood donation center that you tried to give blood-so, even if they turn you down-we'll send you a piece of art from our SWORD OF DRACULA files. The first ten people to go to a donor center and send me a 'receipt' will get ORIGINAL art from Greg-the art we shoot for the final release. After the first ten and up to the first 500, we still have a treat-production art with our notes, scrawls, etc, signed by Greg or me.'"

A good idea, and from an interesting comic (I was sent the first issue by Jason for an interview I still haven't gotten around to doing with him yet. I should get on that right after the holidays...).

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Dynamic Forces produce an exclusive bust to benefit the charity ACTOR. The character the bust is of? Undead Spider-villain Morbius.

Yeah, I know. He would've been my first choice, as well.

While I wouldn't go as far as to say that ADD's sketch of himself as Aquaman is the "bestest Aquaman drawing ever", I will say that the fact that he's gone so far as to put "Aquadoane is (c) 2003 Alan David Doane" on the bottom of the pic is one of the funnier things I've seen recently.

Ohhhhhh boy. If ever a message board thread deserved to be on a blog called Fanboy Rampage, it's this one from Millarworld about Power Girl. Some of the choice comments:

"She's hot, I love everything about her. Her costume, her hair, her boobs, everything."

"i think johns is supposed to be clearing up her origin soon, tho. all i know is, she's got nice boobies."

"She was a longtime member of the 80s Justice League (Europe, I believe) and that's when they decided to make her really stacked (if I recall)"

"A no prize goes to the man (and yes it has to be a man) who posts up the absolute sexiest picture of Power Girl." (Someone tries to take him up on this offer, so be warned).

"Power Girl's history is as screwed up as Donna Troy's. She was supposedly Kryptonian then she was an Atlantean then she wasn't then she had powers then she didn't then she owned her own company then she had a mom we'd never seen before then she had regular tits then Balent sized ones and still has them but may be Kryptonian after all. Damn, now my brain hurts and I need a nap. Maybe Power Girl will let me use her breasts as a pillow."

"My first (of many) encounters with Power Girl was in the pages of J.L.E. Great rack even back then."

"Is it just me, or does the presence of massive freakin boobs inherently imply a sense of power? She does look very powerful, much more than she would with only a peasant pair o' peachy perkies. Supergirl doesn't look that powerful with her pair. I think they're the equivalent of big muscles in male heroes."

"[O]ne of the reasons why I love the whole sex appeal angle in comics is that it grabs your attention. Sorry, I picked the Silvestri cover of wanted today with Fox and her huge, gorgeous black tits over the other two, for simply that reason."

All of this despite constant warnings from the mods to tone down the thread...

Michael Deeley reviews "Adolf" by Osamu Tezuka:

"Adolf Hitler was fucking nuts! I know that’s not news, but if half the stuff Tezuka wrote about him is true, I can’t imagine how ANYBODY could’ve followed this guy!"

Only on Newsarama... This from the thread about Cloak and Dagger appearing in Runaways, which features a redesign of Dagger's outfit covering her up a bit more:

"Gah! This doof has obviously never heard of double-sided costume tape. He needs to take a damn theater costuming class before he tries to redesign a costume that doesn't need fixing."

Brian Vaughan then replies:

"I'm the "doof" who suggested a costume tweaking, so I deserve your ire, not Takeshi. If our mail is to be believed, Runaways is read by many more young female readers than dirty old men, so I didn't think our audience would mind two extra strips of fabric. Sorry I didn't attend theater costuming class. I think I was getting laid that day."

Millarworld discuss Tsunami:

"Approx 9 months after the big Tsunami launch, some title have deseapered, some have remain, some will survive, some other sunk (namor, sentinel...). Is it a success ? Is it a flop ? What will remain in 10 years from now ? ...Tsunami is a try Marvel did to gain younger readers, using manga influences. Not all the titles were success, a very few sold over 30,000 copies an issue. I think you have to think Tsunami as a Movie in the Movie Business. Every weekend, around 4 new movies (over 10 in France) open in theaters. They're not all meant to success. Same thing with the TV. Every new season, you have tons of new series, just some of them remain for a second season. Tsunami is one of this kind. 6 to 8 titles were launched, Mystique sold well, Runaways is a promising title, those will remain... Same thing with the upcoming 6 new series coming in March. Not all of them will remain, but if Marvel never tries, they will never succeed. If they ahd not tried with Ultimate Spiderman, The Ultimates would not be one of the best selling title these day... Tsunami should have a second wave in 2004, with 10 new series, that's what the industry needs. new blood."

Someone on the Joe Quesada board decides to spoil next week's Fantastic Four and NewXMen issues. He says so quite clearly in the thread title, and people still complain.

I guess they're hoping that the Superhero movie fad renews after Spider-Man 2:

"According to Variety, DC has announced the hiring of Greg Noveck as Senior VP, creative affairs, a new position within the company. Noveck’s primary responsibility will be to get DC properties moving to Hollywood and television... 'DC Comics is an unexplored jewel in the Warner Bros. crown,' Kevin Tsujihara, executive VP of corporate business development and strategy at Warner Bros. Entertainment told Variety. 'We have charged Gregory with fully exploring and appropriately exploiting the thousands of DC Comics characters in the company's vast library.'"

Newsarama reviews one of the greatest Christmas comic books ever:

"Welcome to the Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer, following the adventures of Ambush Bug during the holiday season. Except Christmas doesn't play a huge part here as Ambush Bug tries to solve the mystery of where Cheeks's coffin has gone. Ambush Bug has also decided that going forward in a comic is not for him, so he leaves his book by page 33 to go back to page 19, totally voiding pages 20, 22, 23, 24, and 32."

I loved Ambush Bug.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


Millarworld love Rich Johnston's new Ban Comics idea:

"It works on a reverse psychology level too. The market we need to get reading comics again is kids, and what's the perfect way to get any kid to do something? To tell them not to do it! Tell them not to buy comics, that comics are bad for them, and they'll be beating the doors down of their LCS."

I can't be the only person who thinks that if you told a kid not to read comics, their response is more likely to be "Okay" and go off and do something else, instead, am I?

A random question:

The third Ultimate X-Men hardcover was solicited as having an intoduction by Sir Ian McKellen (scroll down). Because it turns out that the introduction isn't actually an introduction at all, but instead a reprinted interview from a X2 promo magazine, does that make the book returnable for not being as solicited?

Rich Johnston tries too hard this week, in Waiting For Tommy. But then, I've always thought that the "I'm really edgy, me!" thing was kind of embarrassing in general. And the last time Rich tried to get some outrage going, Princess Diana got cut from X-Statix and no-one was happy...

Is it wrong of me that, after reading Steve Englehart's following description of his own series Big Town, I really want to read it to see how bad it can be?:

"It was approved as six issues, plotted as six issues, and then cut to four. The first issue was printed with pages out of order and characters dumbed down. The title was changed to FANTASTIC FOUR: BIG TOWN, even though it featured all the major groups. And then #4 had non-sequiturs edited in for no reason anyone's ever been able to explain. (My favorite is a caption, 'The very core of the earth,' as the Silver Surfer soars into New York.)"

While we've been wanking on about comic covers, Comicon argues about something a lot more important: Is Jim Lee the artist of the year?

The second edition of Mostly Wanted, Millarworld's self-proclaimed "must-read publication for any true, intelligent comics fan", is going up this week, and while it's an improvement on the first issue, it's still a strange experience.

Some of the articles are interesting, but the subjects are seemingly entirely random - Beer, Chick Lit, a somewhat overblown retrospective on David Bowie, and a frustrating article about "Cities and Secrets" that plays more like "Look at the books I've read and the movies I've seen" than a real look at the subject. The columns still seem out of place (Ladies? Want to know how to accessorise?), and in general the whole thing lacks a focus or an idea on who it's really playing to. It's like a strange lifestyle magazine wannabe... But the potential is there, somewhere.

Warren Ellis puts paid to a rumour in his latest Bad Signal:

"Since I let you know I'm no longer exclusive to DC, I've received a zillion emails that all read pretty much the same. So much so that I suspect collusion among the class. The basic model reads: 'Are you going to take over NEWXMEN after Grant, and what would you do with it?' Well, I'm not. And putting in three or four years on any company-owned book is not exactly my gameplan. Although, you know, the gameplan is changing all the time. These are weird days for comics, and I may talk about that soonish. Plus, well, I've been in the X-Office before, and the idea of all that continuity and soap-opera and group coordination is just a nightmare, one I lived through. The time I spent on EXCALIBUR was one of my least favourite experiences in comics."

He then goes on to offer a glimpse of what he would have done, and it's enough to make you wish he was doing the book.

Crossgen announce their new crossover series, Negation War:

"[B]y merging it with Negation, we're hoping to in a small way 'validate' loyal readers' investment with us. They've been reading Negation all along; they know that the creative team is amazing…so now the 'home team' gets the gig! Those that aren't reading Negation have probably heard that it's really good, and may have been looking for the right place to try it out. And for those who have never read a CrossGen comic before, this team is talented enough that they can craft a tale perfectly clear - and compelling - for the uninitiated."

Didn't CG once comment about how crossovers were bad because they forced people to read books they might not want to? And now it's "If they weren't reading it before, they probably really want to and just couldn't find a good place to start"...

Millarworld list their comic surprises of 2003:

"A DC comic was the best-selling comic for the better part of the year... Bill Jemas was fired...and we miss him... Somehow, after all the insane delays, Ultimates still managed to remain the most relevant comc on the shelves."

The comics sphere o' blog has gone nuts about covers, and whether ADD is an asshole, apparently. For his part, he offers up more examples of "covers that undeniably highlight elegance in design, impact the reader's eye and comment in some way on the post-superhero era" (including the Promethea cover tribute to a 1970s Spider-Man/Superman cover that, while cute and clever, is entirely reliant on the original cover for impact). The Chris Ware cover's nice, but I don't see what's so great about the Crumb or Boswell ones, apart from the indiehipness of the artists...

Still, while I'd love to see ADD actually try and explain or back up why these covers "undeniably" highlight elegance in design, etc., instead of just state it and run away, I think we've all learnt a valuable lesson here and should shut up about the whole thing before it gets boring.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I love this quote:

"The first piece that Paul and I did together was for Escape magazine, here in the UK... That was the story, 'Absent Friends' that opens the book. I originally tried drawing this myself, getting no further than the first page, but after seeing Paul's self-published comic, Short Stories, felt that maybe he could handle drawing the story. One thing led to another and we collaborated on quite a few stories, with me providing the scripts. I think our best scoop was getting a short piece in Taboo, which, bless Steve Bissette, is one of my most hated comic books ever."

Because Matt thinks these may be superhero comics, more entries:

Another cover that's better than the Coober Skeber one.


"You'll note that both of them disagree with my correct assessment that Seth's Coober Skeber cover is the best superhero cover of the past decade, but neither has put forth anything that can even begin to approach Seth's fine tribute to the superhero era."

For your consideration...

From a similar static approach to Seth's:

From a completely different approach:

And that's literally without thinking about it for more than half a minute. If we get into the design as well, then some of Rian Hughes' covers would come into play... Everyone, suggest your own ideas!

GLAAD comic nominees are out. DC pick up three: Authority, Catwoman and Gotham Central. The others are indies: How Loathsome and Strangers In Paradise. Marvel must be wondering what it was about Rawhide Kid that didn't fit the bill...

Kyle Baker's PR aims low:

"Kyle Baker CARTOONIST is Kyle Baker's funniest book ever. That makes it the funniest book of all time!"

Kieron Dwyer has a website. I like Kieron Dwyer. That's all.

This thread is wonderful:

"The typical persons vision of a comic book fan is of some pimply faced geek living in thier parents basement. So dispel the myth or reinforce it who cares !"

There then follows lots of people posting stories about whether they are, or are not, a nerd.

An extremely dry, somewhat humorless article comparing the first five issues of Avengers with five of the first six issues of The Ultimates, which ends with this interesting quote:

"[T]here has been accusations from older, conservative readers that the Ultimate version of Cap-America portrays America in a negative light due to his harsh, narrow mind set and that this was inspired by the socialist leanings of the writer (who grew up in a communist household)."

Considering I think Ultimates is one of the most conservative comic books out there, this kind of seemed surprising to me...

Comicon, what has become of thee?

"I don't know why this popped in my head, but has Captain America ever had sex? I'm guessing he hasn't because I don't think he was ever married. And you know how moral Captain America is... No wonder he's beating people up all the time."

"Wouldn't this deplete him of his vital fluids?"

One of Millarworld's odder posts:

"I was thinking about the stock market the other day, I guess that truly makes me boring, but I thought about something that helped me realize why I was so disturbed when Bush thought about handing America's retirement funds over to the stock market. The stock market is Wizard Magazine. It list prices on goods based on an intangible product. Wizard in turns has a vested interest in the success of its market to ensure its survival. The big 3 or 4 (Marvel, DC, Image, etc.) are the major corporate conglomerates that make up Wizard Street. Each individual title is a smaller division of those conglomerates. Pizza Hut is Pepsi's Xmen. When a writer gets fired, it is essentually a CEO getting fired. Remember the Silver Surfer CEO conspiracy where he incorrectly forcasted revenues and revealed the secret recipe in the first quarter? There is a difference. When you buy a stock you are buying an intangible item. A piece of paper based on the belief that the company will turn a profit and pay dividends. When you buy a comic you buy something that you can read, mop up your floor, or frame and put on your refrigerator. I personally put Mark Millar's comics on the fridge, I guess I feel if I post on his board, I must show him that he is my Honor Roll student. Anyways, at least with a comic your are buying something aesthetically appealing. What do you get when you buy a stock? Has anyone noticed that you can still by JLA/ Avengers #1 at your local comic book store? Dispite Wizard Street touting it as the next "big thing", I can't help but believe its another telecom scandal. Is Busiek really Bernie Ebbers? At my local store, I can buy all issues of Trouble. Wizard Street prices issue number 1 at $5, but my store still sells it at cover price. Say Mark Millar isn't Ken Lay!

"I hope I haven't bored you, I could go on, but I'll stop here and maybe add more later if some people actually give a damn. I just noticed the slight jabs at Bush, while deserved, I just think its funny that Bush probably could have more impact if he invested our retirement savings in comics instead of the Stock Market. At least if his buddies ripped me off, I could read for the rest of my retirement."

Newsarama Poster Self-Awareness alert (The second sentence in parenthesis):

"I know it's popular to say, 'wait till the story is done' lately, but it's poor business. if you release 6 books, at $3 a pop, you can't expect to present a slow building story for 5 issues and then have it 'tie together' or some shit in the 6th issue. all you've done if anger the people who bought those first five issues.

"the current arc in Uncanny is a good example. everyone is saying, 'just wait' and shit like that. (i'm angry because it's three in the fucking morning. i need a life.) what happens if a person DOES wait all 6 months and it still sucks? they got fucking fucked the fuck over. comic books are a SERIAL format, and should deliver every month. a person should NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER buy an issue and say, "What a waste of my fucking life." because the potential new comic book reader will not come back. some of us might, but not john Q. public."

Monday, December 08, 2003

Christopher "Previews Reviews" Butcher tries to talk people down from the Claremont/Davis Uncanny X-Men ledge:

"'While Claremont's last run on Uncanny did suck something fierce, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until I actually see the book.'

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Seriously. There are five good books a week that crave your hard-earned money? Why would you blow even one-fucking-dollar on a book:

a) You expect to hate.
b) Is mathematically designed to suck.
c) Is the writer's third return to the property in as many years, and all of them have gone fucking terribly?

Honestly, just give me the money. All of you. If you're tempted to buy this book which is so-obviously going to suck, send me $3. I will do scans of the book, hi-res so you can see the pretty Alan-Davis art and print it out. No one will buy the book, and I'll donate the money to Charity or buy a copy of LOVE & ROCKETS or POWERS or SOULWIND or something for a library."

Vaguely off-topic, but not entirely: In this week's Justice League on Cartoon Network (Spoilers for those who follow the show but didn't see it), Green Lantern and Hawkgirl kissed. The response, according to co-writer Dwayne McDuffie?

"I got five 'I am not a racist but' and two 'how dare you show that to children?' (an argument that also showed up in a couple of the 'I am not a racist' e-mails). They were all carefully filed in my trash."

For fuck's sake.

The V weigh in on the new Marvel titles:

"Captain America And The Falcon: Marvel unaware it is no longer 1976. Will this be a rotating title where Cap is paired with a wide variety of no-mark ethnic superheroes?"

"I've come to the conclusion that Marvel's publishing policy is Quick, quick, publish everything! Do it now! More books! More books! Lot's of shit-selling comics is better than a few shit-selling comics! Who do we know who could write these shit-selling comics? I know, proven shit-selling comics writer extraordinaire Scott Lobdell! We will surely rake in those tiny margins, HURRAH!"

"It's a bit worrying - the Marvel Quality Increase of 2000-2002 looked like it'd last forever and only a total fucking retard could fuck it up, but it looks like total fucking retards are in abundance at New New Marvel."

This week's great Paul O'Brien quote:

"[Chuck] Austen has always seemed to have a highly questionable attitude to women, with his female characters seemingly doomed to eternal stories about sex and their relationships with men. With some artists, you wonder whether they've ever seen a woman; with Austen, you wonder whether he's ever spoken to one. This issue provides a compelling example of that, with Ms Marvel reinvented as an evil slut. And trust me when I say that the words 'evil slut' imply far more dimensions to her character than she actually has."

Is Grant Morrison annoying? Some reasons given as to why he may be:

"His works are notoriously difficult to understand. He gets angry when people tell him that they can't understand his work. He sticks to publishing and being interviewed in obscure media, which is vexing to new fans."

People take pictures of each other... Rich Johnston comments on a piece at All The Rage this week about a piece in Lying In The Gutters last week:

"I'm also a little surprised to see comments I made to Markisan privately on AOL Instant Messenger printed as comment in ATR without asking permission or in any way suggesting he was writing an article on the situation for ATR when we were chatting."

(These comments are now gone, edited out by a mod... Curious...)

ADD continues his defence of Seth:

"For another example of the same thing, there's more entertainment quality and sense of wonder in this Seth JSA drawing than in every issue of the current DC series combined."

Now, I like Seth a lot. And I like this drawing a lot, too (I agree with ADD that his depictions of these characters capture "the lost innocence of the Silver Age [or Golden Age, in this case] with grace and an appealing sentimentality")... but I just don't see a sense of wonder in them. They're mundane, and human, and that's something I like about them, but I don't get the sense of wonder at all. Anyone fancy using that there Comments function to educate me?

Brian Wood previews the cover to Demo #6. It's pretty.

Is Dave Sim crazy? Micah Wright's message board discusses.

All The Rage this week features an item suggesting that there might be a MAX imprint book for Wolverine coming soon, to accompany the "regular" book. Is Marvel planning on turning every successful book they have into a franchise?

Epic may be dead, but Mike San Giacomo is still telling you about creating Phantom Jack...

Marvel announce Anti-Tsunami, six books appealing to existing fanboys launching in March that will probably all be cancelled within a year: Iron Fist, She-Hulk, Alpha Flight, Captain America and The Falcon, Cable/Deadpool, and Avengers vs. Thunderbolts. Thankfully, the ghost of New Marvel is still around. She-Hulk is described as having a "more real-world take".

(Priest writes more about his Captain America book here.)

Friday, December 05, 2003

Warren Ellis no longer DC exclusive. Reaction at Millarworld misses his point:

"DC will throw more money at him - especially with FREQUENCY getting optioned - and hell be right back there."

(Ellis wrote "There are a whole bunch of things I want to try that I can't do at DC. I'd like to try an online comics serial. I'd like to work in Europe, and create books specifically for the bookstore market. There's anthology work I've been offered that I've been unable to do over the last two years. I want to get the novel done, and think about another one, which means I want less comics work, or at least less deadline-intensive work. I'm not fleeing DC for another gig. I just want the space to consider new things.")

For John, Nick Locking on this week's comics:

"Amazing Spidey: Er, what? This has been getting boringer and boringer recently, and now I'm just not really interested. Spidey writers need to learn that the reader really doesn't give a shit about Ben Parker and Peter's parents, so doing full-page spreads of a ghostly vision of them hovering over their depressing grave has no emotional impact whatsoever. It's not called THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN for no reason, for fuck's sake. Spider-Man is AMAZING, and here are some EXAMPLES OF HOW HE IS AMAZING. It's not called THE AMAZING AUNT MAY. Meanwhile, Spidey fights a one-note new villain in a scene we've all seen a hojillion times before and didn't need to see again. When JMS was using the formulae of Spidey Fights Ace New Villain And Nearly Dies While Being A Bit Bummed About Mary-Jane, it was ace. Now the formulae is Aunt May and Mary-Jane Love Peter Parker And Support His Spider-Hijinks, I feel like nothing is happening, and I'm right."

"Ultimates: Good. Slow, need more. When Iron Man goes all cowardly and looks at the soldier guy who's urging him on, telling him to get back up there, I was sure he was going to say "Hey, you get in this fucking thing", and then we'd have NEW AND INTERESTING IRON MAN! But Millar missed out."

"Hulk: Interesting and good, until it turned into SHOW YOUR TITS, BETTY ROSS! SHOW YOUR TITS! What the hell was the point of that?!"

Gail Simone on Gus Beezer, her all-ages book from Marvel:

"I know eventually someone who wants to be Bendis but isn't as talented or imaginative is going to do a story with Gus on crack or something. It's just the most obvious thing in the world, so of course, someone's going to think it's brilliant. Hopefully I'll still be able to walk erect so I can hit them with a frying pan."

Ooh! Ooh! Now I'm curious:

"I will not be drawn on this, but one of last months - maybe the month before that's - comics is full of some rather dodgy and quite blatant insults directed against specific readers. It's a little pathetic, and a lot disappointing. But I won't say which comic it's in."

Does anyone have a clue what this is about?

An interesting open letter to Mark Millar over at Millarworld:

"...I'm really stating to take exception to the way you,an a lot of other writers portray "Grunts" in books. I guess it wouldn't bother me so much if your stories weren't so good and grounded with realism. O.k. to the point. It seems like every agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is just there to be killed. They seem to offer little more than abundant targets or as the punch line to a joke. I didn't like the boy being shoved to the ground especially. I servered in the U.S.M.C for 4 years and fought in the 1st Gulf War. Most guys who sign up to serve thier country are not selfish jerks like I see them portrayed. The are men and women who time and time again sacrifice their life for the life of people the have never met. This happens daily not just when you see it on the news. This goes for military personel from every country not just the U.S. ..."

Interesting responses, too:

"...[R]eally, you can't expect a sensible writer to have a nobody character come in and save the day unless such that serves a particular purpose in the story. The book is called The Ultimates and that's who the readers want to read about."

"...[T]he SHIELD characters aren't the focus of the story, they're little more than scenery with the odd speaking line. And when you want someone to do a nasty thing, which wouldn't suit any of the regular cast, you can easily stick a soldier in to do it, as with the medic and the guys on the helicopter with Banner. I think that in issue 12 the asshole characters are there to contrast against the Ultimates transformation into heroes. I think it's handled a little clumsily, but it does work overall."

"Yeah but look at the story the only time you see the Shield personnel, is with them either getting killed, or shoving the boy down. There's a good portrayal for ya. Basically it's saying that the 'Grunts' are only good for dying and being assholes."

I'd like to see Millar (and other writers, as well, for that matter) respond...

Newsarama poster cut to the heart of the matter: "Should the costumes return [to the X-men] along with Claremont and Davis?":

"I prefer the current look. Its versatile and functional. They can wear it on the streets without looking stupid. And spandex is for sissies."

"The New X-Men look as if they are background dancers for Britney Spears. They would not blend in on the streets."

"Bring back the oldies or some version of them for everyone except wolverine,emma, and cyclops. It would be waste of Davis if they didnt."

"Sure, the "leather" X-Men may make more sense in a movie, but a movie is a movie. These are comics. And we are the readers of those comics. And I think those movies were made to appease the masses much more so than the true comic buyers of time and testament. Personally, I could care less if the masses think costumes are "cool" or not. If they're not comic readers, then let them have their movies..."

A nice interview with Andi Watson, including his pleasant experiences working on Namor with Bill Jemas. No, really:

"I guess it all depends on your expectations, going in. I figured these aren't my characters, aren't my situations, this isn't my plot so when the inevitable notes came in I didn't have any problem making the changes, there was no moving away from my 'original vision' because it wasn't my vision. If it was a story that I had a much closer relationship with it might be different. But, I figure it's a job and act as professionally as possible. That means I try and write to what editorial wants out of the book and get it in on time and generally do the best I can within the parameters of what that particular book is.

"If they want an Andi Watson book then cool, let me write, draw and own it without any reference to the Marvel U and leave me alone until it's done. Realistically they just want someone to work on their property."

James Sime tells you how to pimp to Comic Pimps. Also included: Pimping the mini-comics award, and pimping the upcoming Ed Brubaker Over The Top Armwrestlethon at Isotope. James knows his stuff.

Millarworld dissect the "the whole pissing contest DC and Marvel have going on at the moment of trying to snap up every creative talent out there to them exclusivly" by trying to see which company "wins":

"I must say that personally I think Dan DiDio is kicking Joe Q's ass and that with the range of talent DC have not only is writers but artists as well I think the future is DC's for the taking, the only thing Marvel have is the Ultimate line and I think if they keep adding titles to it like the rumoured Ultimate Daredevil series it will quickly lose it's appeal."

"DC has Morrison's handful of miniseries in preparation for whatever mind-altering thing he's got planned for the DCU first, Simone and Rucka kicking my ass every month on Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman, and Jim Lee getting ready to blow us all away on Authority and Superman. Marvel has Brandon Peterson doing covers for a book I don't read and Kevin Smith "writing" a miniseries I gave up on after the second issue shipped a few years ago. In my book, this round easily goes to DC."

And, as is traditional, there's the old "DC has Time Warner backing, poor Marvel can't afford toilet paper argument":

"The problem is, DC can ALWAYS outbid Marvel, due to the TW backing. DC can afford to put Simone on a contract. If Marvel did Rucka/Loeb/Morrison, they probably wouldnt be able to get any more for ages. Marvel will survive. They found Simone before DC didn't they? WHo's to say they wont find the next big things too?"

Didn't Bongo find Simone? And then Oni? And then Marvel?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Interesting job listing, no?

Astoundingly, that really is Ed Brubaker's arm.

Ray Penthotal, you got the quote wrong (scroll down):

"As Ringo Starr answered to a journalist :
- Ringo, are you a mod or a rocker ?
- I'm a joker !"

He said he was a MOCKER. You know, part MOd, part roCKER?

Good Lord. How to kill a good joke.

As video killed the radio star, so (argues Kevin Dooley) the internet kills the comic star:

"My point (remember my point?) is that the Internet gives the ultimate escape. Escape is entertainment’s raison d’etre, after all. The Internet is more of what comics can be and want to be. People on the Internet watch it grow, and grow with it, because it’s still such a relatively new medium. Faster and faster download times mean no waiting a month for the next comics’ installment. Get your fandom fix 60/60/24/7/365."

Gail Simone exclusive at DC:

"[T]hey've made it very clear that they wanted me for these books, and have offered tremendous freedom and support... It's not really a question of the financial issues--it's much more about personal treatment and the fantastic level of support they've given me and my stuff. Rose and Thorn, which comes out this month, is a perfect example of them encouraging a different approach and standing behind it."

Did I miss something, or is this news from Marv Wolfman's blog?:

"I've been working on a full length Escapist story based on the Michael Chabon Pulitzer prize winning novel."

I thought the writers for the comic were Chabon and Howard Chaykin?

Robert Weinberg tells you that, if you don't like the story, don't blame the writer:

"Ever wonder why Cable # 85-86 seemed like it was missing a few pages of explanations and background? That’s because it was originally going to be a four-part story arc, not two. As the writer of the series at the time, I was told two because editorial decided the X-books needed a crossover to kill off Senator Kelly. So much of the plot and action of the House on the Borderline was cut to fit the story into two books instead of four."

ADD proclaims the best superhero cover of the last decade. If, like ADD apparently, you like your superheroes devoid of dynamism, wonder or anything that made you like superheroes in the first place.

(Don't get me wrong, it's a nice enough drawing, but come on.)

Anyone want to name the upcoming Grant Morrison biography?

Com.X: Cursed publisher.

Peter Milligan is interviewed via email at The Pulse:

"THE PULSE: What's coming up in Human Target?

"MILLIGAN: Oh God, it’s a breathless toboggan ride of excitement and contention. There’s going to be more plastic surgery and Chance is going to try to get it together again with Mary White, wife of the dead Frank. But things are not going to go to plan, and she’s going to have a dark secret or two. There’s also going to be someone who claims to be the new messiah, whom Chris is going to have to impersonate."

Good comments below, too:

"Michael Allred is the best heir of the school of Jack kirvy." A typo, you say? Not unless the exact same typo is repeated at the end of the message: "I am the fan number one of the work of Michael Allred. Live forever the school of Jack Kirvy." Good old King Kirvy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Marvel confirm the Claremont/Davis team on Uncanny and name the relaunch of the franchise: "Reload". Because, you know, The Matrix isn't a tired cultural reference by now at all.

(Yes, I know the word was around before Matrix Reloaded, but nonetheless, I would lay money on that title playing a large part of the decision making process behind naming the relaunch...)

"Rich Johnston: Now that you've worked on your first genuine line-wide company crossover, does it feel like you're really working in comics?

Micah Wright: No... because no one IMPOSED the storyline from above. If someone had come to me and said 'Okay, the Authority are all Clones and Aunt May has always known Midnighter and Apollo were gay and not just good friends who couldn't afford to live separately' THEN I would feel like I was really a comic book writer."

More fun here.

From Newsarama:

"my old library keeper person is looking for some tpb that would be suitible for kindergarden-8th grade. i have reccomended Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, and maybe the Ultimates. are there others that would be good? keep in mind, the parents at the school lodge complaints against kissing. Thanks!"

The Ultimates? Ultimate X-Men? For kids with parents who have issues with kissing (and what's with that?)?

Apparently, Dynamic Forces have kidnapped Brian Michael Bendis, locked him in a room and forced him to sign lots of comics.

Batman is a batfink:

"Batwoman remained a steady presence in the books until 1964, and the relationship between Batman and Batwoman actually saw some advance, culminating in this scene from BATMAN #153 (February 1963), in which Batman, convinced he and Batwoman are facing certain death, finally confesses his love for her, and the two kiss. After Batman and Batwoman escape their perilous straits and solve the case, a smirking Batwoman reminds Batman about their romantic clinch. Batman backpedals furiously, claiming that 'I thought we were going to die -- and I wanted to make your last moments happy ones!'"

Michael Deeley praises old comic books, in his usual understated way:

"Remember “Bruce Wayne: Murderer”, when Bats let himself be framed for murder for 6 months so he’d have an excuse to stop being Bruce Wayne? Compare that to a similar story in ‘Detective Comics’ #444-#446 (and possibly beyond). Batman is seen shooting a woman in the back. I mean you, the reader, see Batman, with the gun in his hand, shooting a woman, who turned out to be Talia, his greatest love. Claiming his innocence, Batman runs from the law to clear his name. Turns out he was set up very nicely by Ra’s Al Ghul, who kills himself and frames Batman for his “murder”! Our hero is on the run, his every thought and move dedicated to solving this crime! Sadly, I don’t have the concluding chapter to this story, but I can safely guess Batman does eventually prove his innocence. So to recap. Old Batman: Accused of murder, got off his ass, and proved his innocence in about 4 issues and 4 months. Drawn by Jim Aparo. New Batman: Accused of murder, runs away, lets former sidekicks do all the detective work, comes back, pulls answer out of a hat. 40+ comics in 8 months. Drawn (partly) by Scott McDaniel.

"If you think the latter really is better than the former, you are an idiot. Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you clearly have no taste. There’s no middle ground or debate on this point. Aparo is a better artist than McDaniel, and Batman is better when he’s doing his damn job solving crimes! You disagree? Stop reading comics. Just stop it right now. You’re making us look bad."

Has anyone had a nice word to say about the Catwoman art change?

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