Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Scott McCloud talks Making Comics, his new book coming in 2005 from Harper Collins:

"The first, and perhaps most important [topic that the book will deal with] is just the fundamental principles of writing with pictures, which is that comics are all about. There will be a lot of space devoted to the principles of clarity in comics – what makes for clear storytelling? How do we effectively put the reader inside of that world and make sure that they aren’t just looking at pictures on the page? ...That’s one of the most fundamental goals in most storytelling in comics – for the reader to lose themselves in the work, and to be in the world of the story and in the minds of the characters, and forget that they’re looking at lines on paper. That doesn’t describe every kind of comic on the stands, and it doesn’t describe some of the more artsy, more experimental works, but I think that understanding how to do that straight storytelling first – that’s the foundation upon which other sorts of comics can be built. That’s job one – learning how to tell a story most effectively. I think that’s one of the reasons that manga, as a category, is kind of kicking our ass right now. They really have the storytelling down, and the idea of reader involvement is a very strong component of manga. There will be a small section of the book called Understanding Manga – it’s about time I put all of those ideas in one place as well."

With the return of Hal Jordan and rumours of Kyle Rayner being the murderer in Identity Crisis, you could assume that Kyle fans would be somewhat unhappy with the current happenings in the world of Green Lantern. Thankfully, they're trying to put their collective best foot forward and not be petty about the whole thing:

"As loathe as I am to say this, being a Kyle fan myself, I think it's time we all step back and admit that unless DC has grown a set in the past ten years, they'll likely punk out Kyle to appease those rabid Hal fans, the ones who think he can do no wrong, can never corrupted and other such nonsense. If they surprise us, great, but I'm not going to waste ten years of my life b****ing and moaning until they pacify me like the crybaby I'd be behaving as. Let the Hal fans have their golden boy back, flawless and incorruptible in his vigilance . I'm not going to lose sleep over it. I will say this, however, to the Hal fans, particularly those rabid fans who delight in their apparent victory. Enjoy it while you can, because there's always the chance that good old Hal will become boring again in ten years, and we all know how DC handled that..."

From there, the thread becomes a surreal environmental discussion, over whether it's more important to protest the dumping of nuclear waste or the dumping of Hal Jordan. No, seriously.

Augie takes a stand over at Pipeline:

"DC has published their collection of Humanoids' THE HOLLOW GROUNDS, with magnificent artwork by Francois Schuiten. By packing all three books together into one trade paperback, they've created a package at a much more affordable price than the $15 each album used to be from Humanoids. Unfortunately, this rush to economize the series has completely destroyed the reproduction of the art. Shrinking Schuiten's art is like printing JLA/AVENGERS in digest format. Imagine watching an IMAX movie on a 13 inch computer screen from ten feet away. Picture an Escher drawing at very low resolution. Trying finding Waldo on a postage stamp-sized reprint. It's worse than all of that combined. The artwork looks muddy. The rich brown colors run together, and the fine linework of Schuiten's intricate cityscapes is lost. It's a damned shame. Find the original Humanoids albums on eBay if you want to read these stories. Do not give DC any money for this collection. It's not worth the money, and DC should not be rewarded for this travesty. As big a fan of Schuiten's as I am, I have to say that you're better off in simply not reading this stuff than in reading it in this form."

Of all the things I never thought I'd see on the TCJ message board, even in jest, this was probably top of the list:

"So I was talking to a buddy of mine the other day, and he was telling me about a class he wanted to teach on the topic of 'Male Virginity.' His class got shot down by the ladies, but he gave an example that got me thinkin on comics, and that was: 'Peter Parker is too HEROIC to give up his cherry.'

"And he's right, WHOAH! Spiderman is way too heroic to fuck! I never thaughta that before. Anyways, I was thinking about this theme as it relates to other superheroes. Like: Superheroes with powers that actively prevent a sex life, like the Thing or Beast. For Rogue, fucking would be like fucking her own corpse. Shadowcat's superpower would permit sex but prevent rape. Sweet! And then my friend mentioned Emma Frost, and I had to agree with what he said: 'When it comes to sex and super-powers, though, wouldn't you just rather be super-rich like Emma Frost? She gets her cake and eats it too. There's a trannie if I've ever seen one. Check out that jaw-line. Plus the telepathy thing. No more "was I good?" More like, "Repeat after me. 'You were FANTASTIC!''"

"All dick strectching jokes aside, Mr. Fantastic must feel like he has to hold back when rolling around in the sack. Bruce Banner can NEVER get laid. Once his heartbeat gets a goin'... BOOM! He's the Hulk. Embarassing. MODOK... what a trainwreck. As we've seen with recent issues of the Avengers, Ant-Man and the Wasp have a great sex life ripped from the pages of 'Small Favors'. And lemme tell you about the Green Lantern... oh God, I've said too much already."

"Superman couldn't have sex with a human woman, as Larry Niven pointed out in 'Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.' If you haven't read it--well, firstly, do. It's funny. But still, the title kind of says it all. And I can only imagine what might have happened in the Ultimates had the Hulk ever gotten to Betty, as this was very much his aim. Sue Storm must be the happiest woman who ever lived. Also probably by now has exotic tastes even the most jaded s/m or toys afficionado can only dream of. I mean, well, Reed could become ANY shape, any size... Alan Moore was right. Plastic Man would have been the greatest male prostitute ever. Doll Man on the other hand would have suffocated. Poor Dane. I hope you like it rough if you date the Thing. One hint: VATS of lube. It would be sad for Peter Parker if he never lost the cherry. I can just picture some imaginative girl exploring the positions he would be capable of. I imagine he has though. Though at the end of SPIDER-MAN 1 I certainly shouted, 'Sir, are you gay?' Captain Marvel on the other hand--really, it'd be as creepy as that part of BIG, wouldn't it? Poor Billy, no puberty for him. Gar Logan can't not be a complete perv. And as Grant Morrison once pointed out, if Kryptonians can't do it with humans what are they left with? Well, who knows what aliens get up to? Certainly Kara always loved her trusty horse Comet very, very much..."

The Comics Journal, ladies and gentlemen.

Newsarama posters discuss DC's recent creative decisions:

"DC has really been disgusting me of late with its gratuitous violence. Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude. I have no problem with sex and violence in comic books, but I don't want them there in a gratuitous way strictly for shock value. Rape, murder and depression should only be used in pursuit of a good story, not as an end in and of itself to prove that your comics are mature and cutting edge. I mean, let's review: Nightwing, raped. Sue Dibny, raped on-panel, then murdered and burned. Flash's wife, attacked while pregnant and caused to have a miscarriage. Atom's wife attacked and hanged. Now Green Lantern's mom has been killed and stuffed in an oven?!? I can't believe the same onlne community that was crying for the heads of Jemas and Quesada can somehow stand behind what DC is doing to these iconic figures! What hypocrisy!! Oh but wait, as long as the creators are 'true to continuity,' everything else is forgiveable, right?"

"I love what DC's been doing lately. They're getting intense as hell, slapping us upside the head with hardcore events that yeild to dramatic consequences, all the while staying true and sticking to the core of their superheroes -- as they're not 'decostuming' or revealing everyone's identities in the process. Here's to hoping that they keep tearing down the house and burning up our superhero-addicted brains with unexpected shocks and with their own, excellent brand of superhero madness for many years to come..."

"It’s consequence. I suppose the heroes should do battle of little to average consequence with a no-too-vicious villain as to not upset sensitive readers and call it a day with their capes flapping in the wind on the edge of a tall building. That’s not interesting. Let's just focus on making all comics more palatable for kids. Screw spirit of the characters crap. Heroes who never enter the gray area and are not put through the paces for what they do, do not typically make for interesting reads. I’m sorry the balance traditionalism is upset, but there are some great stories coming out right now. By the way, I haven’t seen any 'hand wringing' in any of the aforementioned stories. This is the second time I’ve seen the Watchmen being a limited series argument used when talking about current DC comics and I think it’s hogwash. So Watchmen upped the ante for future stories, but an ongoing universe can’t afford to have consequence, character depth and realism? Right. There are tons of comics that kids can read and I don't think a shared universe necessarily means that all books take on the same tone at the same time."

Josh Blaylock of Devil's Due talks about the company's career post-Image:

"You won't find me giving animation studios half million dollar jobs, or building million dollar convention set-ups or what have you. We can analyze why CrossGen failed all night long, but in a nutshell, if they hadn't paid such extravagant creative rates and ran the company as if it didn't have such a huge financial backing, they could have been profitable instantly. That's what's the most encouraging about this for me - if we achieve CrossGen sales numbers? Forget it - we're golden. Their main titles sold very well for a new company. I also believe that if they had launched a Super-Hero universe rather than the off-world fantasy titles, those sales would have been even better. Despite a much smaller nest egg to start [Devil's Due's superhero line] Aftermath with, Devil's Due is in a much better position to earn the trust of fans and retailers. They spent millions to convince customers how big and 'stable' they were. Our three year track record does that for us. If a retailer orders these books from us, he or she knows they'll arrive. If we pull this off, we'll achieve the same buzz that CrossGen did without spending a penny beyond smart creative choices and some guerilla promotion."

Monday, August 30, 2004

Johanna over at Comics Worth Reading puts her contest where her mouth is - okay, that sounds odd, but you know what I mean - offering copies of Fallen Angel trades and back issues to those who can explain why they want to read them. Huzzah!

How DO you pronounce those comic creators' names? Millarworld offers a helping hand:

"Kaare 'CAR-ee' Andrews. J. Michael 'STRUH-zin-ski' Straczynski. I always think 'STRACK-zin-ski' when I write it though. I didn't know how to pronounce John Byrne's last name either until someone said they were a 'Byrne 'Burn' victim.' I think that 'YR' combo just throws people. When X-Force first came out, I remember over-hearing a couple of fans debating Liefeld's name. 'LEE-feld' vs. 'LIE-feld.' And whenever I tell someone I visit Mark 'Mi-LUR's' site, they always tell me it's pronounced 'Mi-LAHR.'
Once, a store guy told me what a big fan he was of Jim 'Muh-FOOD.' Emphasis on the 'Food.' For the life of me, I couldn't figure out who he was talking about until he mentioned Grrl Scouts."

My favourite post is this one:

"What's the difference? Moor is prononced more. As is Moore. It's not moo-er, if that's what you think!"

As the son of a speech therapist, I can definitively tell you that if you're pronouncing "more" the same way that you pronounce "moor", then you're pronouncing at least one of them incorrectly...

Randy Lander isn't too impressed with the latest issue of Avengers:

"Really, Bendis on Avengers never sounded like a good fit, but even in my most cynical moments, I never thought his story would make me wish that Chuck Austen had stayed on the book instead. Because at least the damage Austen was doing was contained to a few characters, while Bendis is writing a version of the Avengers that bears no resemblance to the characters I know and then using that out-of-character behavior to justify a destructive overhaul of the team... Bendis has created any number of new things, and in the past his destruction of characters or relationships has been balanced by a creation of something new, but so far, it looks like this is just a deck-clearing exercise for something completely different that probably could have existed without the destruction of this team. Which, combined with the 'Who will die next?' scoreboard on the Marvel website and the way the book is being hyped, by both company and creator, makes this look like destruction for cheap shock value. And really, everyone involved should be better than that."

Bendis isn't going to stand for THAT kind of talk:

"randy is out of his mind lately. but because his review is SO assinine i am going to tell you something he told me in confidence not a week ago- randy hated the episode of the shield where whats his face killed the cat. he thought it was the worst tv he had ever seen and he almost stopped watching the show because of it [...] i told him then that right there that theres the inhereant difference between us. i thought it was the best hour of tv i had ever seen. i also told him to his face that he was on crack when he wrote his identity crisis review and i still think he is."

I can't wait to see what happens if Randy doesn't like the next issue.
"Brian, normally I love your work, but I don't think this Avengers thing is really your best stuff." "Hey, everyone! RANDY DOESN'T LIKE CHRISTMAS! And he told me once that he used to wet the bed!"

It all goes wrong at the last minute for Even More Fund Comics' John Gallagher:

"Just as I was preparing to back up my computer (and More Fund for the printer) to an 80gb drive, my computer crashed--I mean CRASHED! Major hardware damage, I'm told, but supposedly the files are still intact. I had to send the hard drive away to DISK SAVERS, a very expensive (but reliable) service, with 95% retrieval rate-- but I might not have everything back until past the time the book needs to go to press, in order for it to premiere in Baltimore. I am committed to burn the midnight oil to redesign and set up the book so it can make it to the printer (who will work on the shortest timeframe possible), so if you can resend your story in any way, it is much appreciated.

"What was lost was essentially the last month of files (life with the new baby, and a death in the family had made me lazy in backing everything up every day)-- and almost all of Even More Fund. The back ups, due to previously undiscovered problems with the drive, are incomplete, so I am unsure of what I have and what I don't. Many creators contacted have already resent some stories and art, but I unfortunately lost many e-mail addresses and phone numbers with this crash, so please pass on the news, and this e-mail!"

Rich Johnston runs a rumour that, if true, shows that DC never learns:

"The rumours doing the rounds is that Kyle Rayner (I actually just typed Kyle Baker there... ouch) is to be identified as the killer in 'Identity Crisis.' Apparently there's a flaw in his ring that has turned him crazy. Apparently thenew Kyle Rayner action figure has been cancelled, or renamed Black Hand, and the character's situation in 'Green Lantern: Rebirth' has been shied away from at convention panels..."

Friday, August 27, 2004

Marvel, as I'm sure you remember, hate variant covers. That no doubt explains why the first SIX issues of New Avengers are going to have them. It also probably explains the following:

"Shop owners need only order within 95% of their total order for the previous issue to qualify for each new variant cover. Say you do not meet or exceed 95% of your order for the previous issue - then your order will be filled according to this example: Order 100 copies of NEW AVENGERS #1 and you will receive 95 copies of [the regular edition and 5 copies of the variant]. If you order 95 copies [of New Avengers #2], you will receive 91 copies of NEW AVENGERS #2 REGULAR EDITION, + 4 copies of NEW AVENGERS #2 YOUNG GUNS VARIANT EDITION. If you order 90 copies, your order will be fulfilled as 90 copies of NEW AVENGERS #2, + ZERO YOUNG GUNS variant covers. To be eligible for the incentive for NEW AVENGERS #3, you must order 95% of your order for issue #2. If you ordered 100 copies of NEW AVENGERS #1, 95 copies of NEW AVENGERS #2 and 90 copies of NEW AVENGERS #3, your order will be fulfilled as 86 copies of NEW AVENGERS #3 REGULAR EDITION, +4 copies of NEW AVENGERS #3 YOUNG GUNS VARIANT EDITION. If you order 89 copies, your order will be fulfilled as 89 copies of NEW AVENGERS #3, +ZERO YOUNG GUNS variant covers."

Thank the Lord Marvel hate variant covers, otherwise, this would look like a shitty way to boost sales for the first six issues of this series!

Millarworld seem confused about whether this is a good thing or not:

"Dan Buckley is turning Marvel into a joke."

"For retailers maybe, but how does this hurt consumers? If the retailers work hard and actually MARKET this book in their individual locations, everyone wins!"

"But retailers are the cornerstone of the industry, especially given the direct market that Marvel/DC have set up and not allowing any returns like every other published medium. Therefore, they have a responsibility to make things nice and easy for the stores. Just my opinion."

"The cornerstone, and also the biggest obstacle in the path to expansion. Sigh."

Jessica Abel puts her Guide To Making Comics online:

"When I started inking comics (and when I started using a ruler to rule panel borders), I would ink the borders with a technical pen, running it down a ruler that was lined up against the border line. Frequently, the ink's surface tension would catch the ruler's edge, and would quickly run under the ruler, creating a big, fat blob. If you've ever tried inking with a ruler, you'll have experienced this one time or another, and will agree with me that it is very annoying. One day, several years after first encountering this problem, someone told me that there is such a thing as an "inking edge" on certain rulers. It's a beveled edge, and you run the pen along the top of the bevel, with the result that the ink, below the bevel, doesn't touch anything, thus resulting in a clean line! Eureka! I mean, the inking bevel was only probably invented about 1000 years ago...Jeez. This kind of thing happened to me repeatedly in my early years of comics, and was mostly a result of being isolated with my art - not having a community of peers with whom to share new discoveries and innovations."

Ed Brubaker leaves Catwoman - "Yeah, leaving around #50 was the original plan... There were a couple of things that I wanted to do on the book – ideas that I had for stories, as I got closer to them, I could see that they weren’t going to pan out, or that they weren’t going to work with the character stuff that I was doing. So I had these character’s stories mapped out through what I thought was going to be issue #50, and as I was working on them more and more, I was starting to feel a sort of burnout on the book in a way – I was starting to feel less enthusiastic than I had initially and that I felt towards other books. I didn’t want that to pass along to the readers – I didn’t want to give them less then what they were paying for." says Mr. B - and is replaced by Scott Morse, who has come up with a great name for a new villain (Wooden Nickel? Come on, that's wonderful) and plans to stick with the Brubaker template:

"What I’m going to be doing will be very close to what Ed had established... We’re going to add a little fun to it for this storyline – to make it a little more lighthearted, but still sticking to what Ed created and established for the characters. She’s still kind of on that fence of being good or bad – she’s good for her own reasons."

In proof that there is still no justice in the world, Paul Gulacy and Jimmy Palmiotti are staying with the book as artists.

Millarworld reviews Chuck Austen's creator-owned Worldwatch:

"If you thought his women were bad before...jesus, I think I was offended by this book! I would highly recommend not buying it."

"I was expecting the JLA combined with a weekday afternoon soap opera, but what I got was the JLA combined with Penthouse Comix. There are more pages in the book that featured bare breasts than there were pages without bare breasts. The dialogue was poor and the story was hard to locate, but overall I have to say this book was well worth the price of admission. It is pure cotton candy for the (dirty) mind and the only thing missing was more action. This is low brow fare at it's best, but I don't think it is trying to be much more than that. Again if Jason Pearson's Bodybags can feature Clownface stabbing a pregnant coke addict in the stomach, Ellis' Authority can include Jack Hawksmoore kicking someone's jaw off and Remains features zombies chewing off people's faces there has to be a niche for minimal story meets gratuitous nudity."

"I'd say it's safe money to bet that most people who buy this book will be spending some quality time alone with it, whether they actually read it or not."

"Awful. Miserable. Worst of all, juvenile. The ironic thing is that the book should, officially, only be able to be bought by people 17 or so and older, but it's obviously written at a straight 12 year old level. 'we walk around here naked most of the time anyway' Jesus. I don't want to bash Austen here, but the book feels like he was beating off while writing it."

A Bendis board poster has an idea:

"If I get the comic shop job (which, according to the owners wife, I already have if I want it) I want to try something. Once a week, EVERY week, order heavy on an indy book. Put a stack of them next to the register with a 'Jeffery says you have to try this book' sign and sell them for cost. It's just like giving away the first hit of crack for free... they'll come back for more... it'll help OUR sales in the long run & the books sales right away. Right off the bat... if I make this months order... either Western Tales of Terror or The Gift... hell, or both. I could pimp Eclipse & Vega, Dead@17, Hero Happy Hour etc... get the comics into the hands of people who wont take a chance on ordering them... Any major flaw in this idea?"

It's the new "The first hit is for free. Well, okay, it's not, it's for cost. Which, you know, is kind of like free, except that you have to pay for it." theory of sales.

Bart Sears talks about his new Sabretooth series, and his way of drawing:

"I hear tell most of my critics speak of my 'overblown musculatures...' For me, depends on the character, more importantly, how I see that character. I'm not from the smooth, realistic school of comic art... I'm more of a meat and potatoes comic kind of guy. Heroes, to me at least, are bigger than life. Not me in spandex... not even Arnold in spandex. Bigger than life. That's what I draw. Maybe it's not what you'd see, if they were real, but how you'd remember them."

"I always think that superheroes would have curiously flat faces and big lips," he went on to say.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Warren Ellis is on the set of the pilot for Global Frequency:

"Each day's shooting is burned on to a DVD within hours, and then shot down a T1 line to the network offices for review. I'm watching Jenni as Katrina Finch, throwing up with hideous gusto upon encountering her first dead body. It's quite disgusting. She wanted to hold fluid in her mouth for the full power-vomit effect, but that was nixed by the network. Nonetheless, it's outstandingly sickening. They got it in a couple of takes -- any more and she was running the risk of blowing out her voice with the Method Super Retch. In real life, Jenni's dad was a pathologist who would bring 'bits' home to work on. She remembers the day she was finally tall enough to see over the lip of the dissecting table. Nonetheless, I find it amusingly easy to gross her out. Nice girls bring out the worst in me. And, apparently, Rogers. Rogers started out as a stand-up comedian -- Tristan recognised him from Just For Laughs festival shows on TV re-run -- and this is his Act Two, screenwriter and producer. He's looking at semi-retirement at forty, moving to Canada and writing one script a year for a long and comfortable Act Three. We kill a night alternately teaching her about electromagnetic pulses and explaining the hideous world of Fanboy she's about to enter. Jenni says, 'Stories about Kirk and Spock having sex? You're making this up.'"

Spinning off from The Pulse's "Why I Don't Read Independent Comics" essay, the Bendis board ask themselves the same question:

"If too many people bought alternative comics, they would no longer be alternative but would become the norm. So by default an alternative comic cannot be bought in too great of numbers without betraying its alternativeness."

"The honest answer is most of them suck. I love books from AIT and Fantographics and Top Shelf and all those small publishers but the majority of the independantly published books I have seen are just poor quality. I went to the Aternative Press Expo last year and was really dissapointed. I was hoping to run accross the next Stray Bullets or Teenagers From Mars but the majority of the stuff I saw was crudely drawn stoners or crudely drawn kung fu fights. Maybe I was just looking at the wrong booths."

Bendis himself steps in to mediate:

"Why did I beg Wizard to give me Secret Stash for a month? Don’t I have enough things to do? Well, yes, I do. But, lately, as Marvel and DC gun for each other with bigger and better product, I have noticed that there are a lot of Indy books getting tossed by the way side. I can’t help but cringe a little as it gets harder and harder for Indy guys to convince retailers that their book is worth whatever time and money is left over. And I know you’re thinking. ‘But Bendis, aren’t you one of the architects of all the mainstream nonsense?’ Well yes, kind of, but boy do I remember what it was like to be on the other side of the fence. It wasn’t too long ago that I was trying to sell you Jinx and Torso in a cyclone of bad girl booby books. And frankly I think now that I have gotten your kind attention in this crazy world of comics its kind of my responsibility to spotlight some of these other books. Responsibility! See, you can learn something from Spider-man."

He then goes on to recommend a bunch of Indie books, including Love Fights, Pogostick and Scrapbook (Mind you, am I being too suspicious by thinking that his post is a literal reprint of his Wizard column?).

Spoilers for Astonishing X-Men #4 if you haven't read it yet, but the Joe Quesada board isn't happy with what happens in that issue:

"so, one of joe's biggest points since taking over is that dead means dead. and he even specified, saying that the important deaths, those that meant something, those that had serious impact to the universe and characters, would be held up on high. they would be treated as special events and these characters would not be coming back. ever. and he always gave an example - colossus. well joe, i'm calling you out to explain yourself now. because peter is back. and i don't like it. not only that, but since peter is still alive, does that also mean the legacy virus is as well? if you remember, he died administering himself the antitode, which needed to be fatal to become active and release as an airborne cure."

"Joe might 'explain' himself if the title of this topic were a little less 'in your face'. You come off as aggressive which will probably result in you being ignored."

"Calling Joe a liar is completely out-of-hand. Marvel in Fall 2004 is much different than Marvel in 2001...deal with it."

Roberto Sacasa talks Nightcrawler:

"One of the things Mike [Marts, editor] I talked about when we were first getting started—and then Darick [Robertson, the artist on the book] and I talked about and have continued to talk about—was how there’s never been one definitive take on Nightcrawler... There’s Nightcrawler, the religious guy... Nightcrawler, the swashbuckling pirate guy... Nightcrawler, the suave ladies’ man... Nightcrawler, the self-conscious-about-his-appearance mutant... Nightcrawler, the philosopher... And on and on... What we’ve ended up doing in a weird way is taking elements from all those different incarnations—the ones we liked, I mean—and made them individual traits of a whole character, not substitute them for who the character is, if that makes sense. So I guess our take borrows a little bit from all those versions without being limited by any particular one... Character is action, after all, so hopefully we’ll get to know Kurt—and what kind of person he is—by what he does, as opposed to by seeing him brood and meditate and pray and be introspective a lot... I mean, Kurt’s a truly decent, thoughtful, sensitive guy—apart from his spirituality, you know?"

Mark Millar talks about his experiences with the Millarworld titles. Note the subtle way he drops in possible movie deals:

"Experience has been a great one. I finished most of the work before Christmas and it was a great re-charge for the Marvel stuff after three years of being a good boy. Only three of the planned four were published and two of these have been snatched as movies before the series were even completed so I'm really happy about that. Critical response has been great too and sales for each title had us way ahead of anything else the publishers had coming out. Wanted has sold big name Marvel kind of numbers. I'd have been happy with 35K (original Authority numbers) but we ended up doing more than double that so we're very chuffed.

"The downside is that they took longer than expected. First four issues of Wanted were out in five or six months, which isn't bad, but JG started to slow after this and now we're looking at 10 months or so for the whole six issues (still not bad). Peter's fast, but had his day job at Vertigo which had to come first and he really slowed on the final ish. Underdstandable, though, given that Vertigo is the bulk of his income. Unfunnies had legal problems (now sorted) which weren't our fault and Ashley just couldn't afford to draw for free.

"What I've learnt, therefore, for Phase Two in 06 is to get as many issues in the can as possible before launching because artists are twice as slow as they anticipate being. Everything else went really well. I loved the projects, people bought them in huge numbers, the trades look set to sell in huge numbers and I had two movie offers together inside five or six months. It also allowed me to get a better deal from Marvel afterwards and probably went some way towards Icon being formed, proof being there that is was possible to make more cash OUTSIDE the big characters than within. Marvel are now very keen to keep their writers and artists in the fold, one or two of the Phase Two concepts coming out through Icon as part of my new set-up.

"As regards the new books, I won't have details until this time next year, but the artists I'm talking to are Hitch, JRJR, Quitely, Cassaday, Tim Bradstreet and a fifth guy for the fifth book I'm still negotiating with. Everything will be three or four issues long. The Chosen sequel, DAMNED, might also come out then too, but only if it's in a shape that Peter and I are happy with."

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Over at Millarworld, Chad Nevett and Richard Basey ask "ten questions about comics you always wanted, but were too stupid to ask". They are:

* How Much Longer Will Quesada Be Marvel's EIC? (28.36% of those asked say "Another three years" at time of writing...)

* When Will The Next Comic By Kevin Smith Be Out? (Evenly split between "HA! Fool!" and "In the year 34,721...the evil alien empire that's just subjugated the human race finds Daredevil: Target #2 in a pile of rubble. It still only sells 45,000 copies" at this point.)

* Has Every Superhero Comic Written By Mark Millar Since "Nativity" Really Just Been A Remix Of That Arc? (Responses include: "I said no, but certain elements do keep repeating themselves throughout his stories (IE someone's always gay or bi)" "Yeah, and he always uses women, too, instead of just men. What's with that?")

* Do Black And White Comics Suck? ("They all suck, as they lack color. I would say all except The Walking Dead, but that's technically gray scale.")

* Don't You Find Alan Moore's Writing Pretentious, Faux-Intellectual, And Just Kind Of Sucky? (One of the possible options: "FINALLY! GOD YES!")

* Doesn't Spandex Make Comics Better? ("Don't let John Byrne hear you ask that," someone offers.)

* Do You Think Grant Morrison Understands His Comics? (Unsurprisingly, "He wrote them, so yeah" is winning currently.)

* Does Warren Ellis Say Things Just To Say Things? ("Lots of people talk a lot, and Warren is one of those people. Most of what he has to say is interesting, thank god.")

* If You Could Buy Just One Franchise Obsessively, Which Would It Be? (X-Men is leading, unsurprisingly...)

* Who Do You Think The Ultimate Titles Are Really Geared Towards? (Common sense seems to be prevailing, as "Old fanboys" is by far the leader in this poll so far...)

More Charles Schulz soon to be available. I am happy:

"Charles M. Schulz is the most famous and most influential cartoonist ever, and his Peanuts comic strips have been reprinted in hundreds of books. Yet few people know that during the late 1950s, during a period of great creativity, Schulz was also doing another newspaper comics series. 'It’s Only a Game' took a look at people and their pastimes, showing us how we win, how we lose, and how we play the game. This long forgotten work is now being put into a book for the very first time, as About Comics publishes the complete collection It’s Only a Game... Schulz created the series himself and initially did all the work on it. After the series had run for a while, cartoonist Jim Sasseville to do the finished artwork based on Schulz’s sketches. Sasseville provides the book’s commentary, as well as access to some special materials. 'Working with Jim was great,' explains Gertler. 'Not only do we get a lot of insight into how the strip was put together and what it was like working with Schulz, he also gave us access to some of Schulz’s roughs for cartoons that were never used.'"

Mark Millar responds to yesterday's edition of The Basement Tapes:

"It's bollox of the first order. Anyone who has ever spent ten seconds in my company or read a single thing I've ever said will know that mainstream superhero books mean more to me than creator-owned stuff. This isn't the case for some people, but it's pretty well known that this the case with me.

"I got into comics to write Superman, Spider-Man, Batman and so on. Wanted, Chosen, etc, have been a delight and a nice battery-recharge, but I only plan to do that stuff six months out of every two years. I've never said 'one for them, one for me' in my life. They're both for me. What I said was that I wanted to OWN a few projects among all the things I'll never own. This gives me creative freedom and a pension plan just as working on company-owned characters can give me a genuine thrill and faster, usually better royalties. I have and always have called this the holistic approach to writing comics. It's ALL good if you're into it and I am.

"This mainstream = trash thing strikes me as very immature. It's the most common argument heard among people just before they sign their Hulk/ Iron Man/ Avengers contracts, after which point they normally change their tune pretty rapidly. Watch this space."

Apparently I missed the point where Fraction and Casey made any "mainstream=trash" comment, but maybe I was asleep or something.

Patrick Neighly reconsiders what he's doing in his Paper Curtain column:

"There is another issue, one that generally remains unspoken but tends to bubble away just under the surface of every conversation about the industry. And that is this: we’re a small, incestuous bunch. I’ve been self-publishing graphic novels for about a year now, and I can already Kevin Bacon myself to any other industry figure in one move. Two tops. We’re just not large enough for a dedicated split between creation and criticism. This is an industry where major publishers heckle their competitors at professional venues and trade barbs through fan websites, after all. Glancing through the bulk of the industry’s notable columns reveals a tradition of creators large and small writing columns that survey the scene and comment on specific comics. Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, Tony Isabella, Steven Grant, Peter David, Donna Barr and Larry Young spring to mind. Jim Lee and Brian Wood have had stints controlling coverage here at Newsarama. Rich Johnston, Mike Sangiacomo and John Jackson Miller straddle both sides of the fence, along with J. Torres, Lee Barnett and others. Hell, Roger Ebert wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

"It gets even murkier. We’ve got retailers writing columns – for Comics Retailer, for Newsarama and more. Beyond opinion, these represent the views of people whose buying decisions affect creators’ livelihoods and readers’ access to material. Vampirella Magazine publishes comic reviews for books its publisher is in direct competition with. Even Wizard publishes comics now, calling into question the fairness of its industry coverage and price guides. But does the presence of conflict of interest – real or imagined – mean that we shouldn’t at least try to look at books objectively?"

DC back down on the issue of promotional materials that cost the retailer money, like the recent Sky Captain polybagged CD promos. Well, kind of back down:

"It took a while, but DC listened, and yesterday announced it will offer a $0.02 rebate per shipped copy of all the books shipped for initial orders only. 'In the future, DC will offer a freight credit on all comics that include unbound promotional materials not connected to DC Comics' properties or that of Warner Bros. and other Time Warner affiliates.' Translation: If Paramount wants to do it again, retailers will get a freight credit, but if Warner Brothers wants to do it with Batman Begins, start saving pennies now for shipping."

Rich Johnston versus Newsarama... to the death!:

"Last night, Newsarama posted their Punisher Prequel Preview Page, as part of a promotion involving a lot of websites, each getting a page each, and linking to the next website in the chain. But that wasn't enough for Newsarama, who had this story before many other websites. They decided to make their territorial claim clear. The current article says 'To kick off the countdown for the September 7th release of The Punisher on DVD, Lion's Gate has released pages of the exlcusive 28-page prequel comic by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion across the internet. We broke the story earlier this month, and now Newsarama is the internet host for page 10 of the comic. For page 8 at IGN DVD, click here. The full index of the comic and locations of the pages can be found at Lion's Gate's Punisher DVD homepage [...] To read Newsarama's original scoop about the exclusive comic, click here. To discuss the page, click here.'

"I posted in the Talkback to point out that, actually, Lying In The Gutters had the story well before Newsarama - they neither scooped or broke the story. I also suggested an amend they could make to make the piece accurate. The post was deleted and the article not changed. Cray_ws posted 'If you got issues with credit with Matt's articles or reporting business, then try and be profesional about it and keep it off the board so you don't turn this into some petty squabble I don't want to hear about, thats what email is for.' I disagree. I've responded 'I'm just reporting an error in the article. That's hardly inappropriate for the responses to an article, is it? Common practice on Newsarama. As, indeed, are petty squabbles. Currently it still states: 'We broke the story earlier this month' and refers to 'Newsarama's original scoop' when in fact Lying In The Gutters broke the story last month, right here - www.comicbookresources.com/columns/ index.cgi?column=litg&article=1951 [...] I understand if Newsarama wishes to take more credit for this story, when they did print the story before most people, and when all the preview pages have been shared around the internet, including links to possible competing sites, with agreements not to reprint each others pages. But no deleting my posts to this message board alters that Newsarama has given itself an innaccurate credit. All I'm pointing out, is an error in the piece.'

"So! How many similar posts will Newsarama delete? At what point will they admit error? How long until they change the original article? How long can I keep this immature behaviour up? Stay tuned..."

Millarworld isn't too impressed:

"Haven't you been over this before (on several occasions) with Matt ? You broke a rumour, he broke the official story."

"Far be it from me to get involved in this... but that's precisely the song Matt (and before that Mike) would sing. If I whistle, you might know the tune."

Oh, and hi, Eduardo!

Want to see what the Bendis board looks like? Look to this thread, where Alex Maleev makes them an offer they can't refuse:

"Here's the deal. I have little space in a panel to draw a random person from the crowd [for Daredevil #66]. Wanna be the one? Post me a picture, nice resolution following the sketch provided below. Notice that it's 3/4 shot a little bit from above. If it doesn't fit the perspective it won't do."

As might be expected, many pictures follow, most not following the above guidelines.

You know, if there was ever a perfect writer for Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys comics, I've always thought it would be Scott Lobdell. Oh, no, wait. That's the Bizarro World version of me. Editor Jim Salicrup, back from Topps limbo, explains:

"The fun part of pretending to be a Hardy Boy is -- let's face it, at the end of the day you're not going to bend steel in your bare hands or outrace a speeding locomotive. Chances are there aren't that many vines around your neighborhood or apes that you can wrestle. But Joe and Frank? With a lot of studying and hard work you and I at least stand a chance of aspiring to being a Hardy Boy! The Hardy Boys have been thrilling generations of kids since they first appeared back in 1927. And just as super-heroes have changed with the times, the Hardy Boys are changing as well. I can't tell you exactly what those changes will be, that will be revealed in the new Hardy Boys novels coming in 2005 from Simon & Schuster, but I can say that it creates a whole new level of adventure for Frank and Joe Hardy. If Hardy Boys fans want to know how Joe and Frank get to where they're going to be in their new series of novels, they'll have to read the Papercutz comics. In other words, the comics will fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle! The stories are all-new, but feature all the classic characters from the original series. The Simon & Schuster Hardy Boys novels, by the way, is still an ongoing series. So, while we're tied into the same world of the original novels, we're not planning to adapt or update any specific original stories. We feel the fun is in presenting new stories that involve Frank and Joe in adventures they couldn't possibly be involved in either 5 or 50 years ago... Nancy Drew was just recently relaunched by Simon & Schuster in an all-new series of novels, the first landing on the New York Times bestseller list. The Papercutz Nancy Drew graphic novels feature this new exciting and fun version of the world's most famous girl detective. Like Superman and Batman both being owned by DC Comics, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew are owned by the same publisher, so the characters have met each other several times in the past and no doubt will again. It's just too hard to resist!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Today's "rather gorgeous, looks like a screenprinted version of Tim Bradsheet's stuff but in a more organic way that sidesteps the obvious photoref quality of Bradsheet's work, and jeez, those are nice colours bringing the thing alive, too" image comes from Larry Young and Jon Proctor's upcoming The Black Diamond...

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction reflect on fuck fame and the importance of creative vision in comics in this week's Basement Tapes:

"Yeah, your breakdown of the 'one for them, one for me' career path is pretty right on. It's also inherently flawed. An artist's job is to put his or her own artistic sensibility out into the world. The job is to be singular in some way. If that sensibility happens to perfectly fall in line with a wider, commercial sensibility, great for all involved. One thing I've learned -- and I'm pretty sure a guy like Millar knows this -- is that it's worth it to at least pick the commercial properties that you have an affinity for. Properties where you feel you can bring your own artistic aesthetic to it and something new comes out of it. I really do think Mark loves Spider-Man from when he was a kid... but, of course, then he turns around and refers to his Marvel Knights series as something akin to 'the Spider-Man version of HUSH'. I mean, c'mon... we all know Mark has a hankering for Fuck Fame. I'm sure he'd admit to it himself. God bless that little Scottish tomato..."

Don't call it a comeback... well, not yet. Peter David reports on the possible return of one of comics' most missed characters:

"Ages ago, around the time of U-Decide, Glenn pointed out to me that Bill Jemas had, shockingly, not locked up www.billjemas.com. 'Ohhh, Glenn, get it for me, would'ja?' I asked. And Glenn did. And after having some giggles at Bill's expense, I publicly stated that if he wanted to take it off our hands, we wouldn't cybersquat on it. Never heard from him.

"Until recently.

"So just to let you guys know, with any luck www.billjemas.com will be undergoing new management and will be the launchpoint for...well, for whatever Bill Jemas is going to do next."

Indy Magazine returns to chart, as editor Billy Kartalopoulos puts it, "the 'secret history' of the graphic novel:

"The history of original, book-length graphic narratives is generally a list of isolated incidents. There are occasional trends, such as Töpffer's imitators or the followers of Masereel and Ward, but more often these books tend to be idiosyncracies (or idiosyncratic bodies of work, like Edward Gorey's). The book length graphic narrative is re-conceived each time according to a particular artist's concerns. As such, the books become difficult to classify, especially vis-a-vis any definition of 'comics' ...These books all emerged from a period after the birth of mass-market book publishing but before the 'comic book' as we know it fully adapted to the book format — a period before the book-length graphic narrative collided with the comic-book-straining-beyond-its-bounds."

Artblog at Artbomb has the covers to Warren Ellis's Apparat series of books. Quit City looks like my favourite right now...

Nick Barrucci talks about the American Flagg collections due from Dynamic Forces and Image. Besides the Howard Chaykin strips, there's an all-star team working on the book:

"When it came to Jim [Lee], we were doing a signing with him, and I asked if he would do the foreword... Jim is the gentleman of comics. He is probably one of the nicest people in comics today. He agreed to do it. Next, I was at one of Michael Chabon’s lectures, met with him, and asked if he would like to do the afterword, which he was more than up for. Again – this is A Few Good Men all over – a great script, a great cast, do you need Tom Cruise and Nicholson? You don’t necessarily need them, but if they can do it, and they’re willing to be part of it, why not? So Michael had agreed to do the afterword, and when I mentioned it to Jim, he jumped at me, and told me that he wasn’t doing the foreword if Michael Chabon was doing something with the book. He said he’d do the afterword, and Michael had to do the foreword. Jim felt that having Michael write the foreword would be better for the project as a whole, so he stepped down, and took the afterword instead. What can I say to that? It shows what a great guy Jim is, and his character. Chip Kidd was a great addition as well. We ran into him a year ago at San Diego, and asked if he’d be interested in it. I saw him next at a signing with Alex Ross, and asked again, and he said he’d be all over it. Howard followed up with him, and he’s designing the covers and dust jackets."

Chaykin and Kidd collaborating on the covers makes the graphic design geek in me giddy.

KevinO at Millarworld wants everyone to know that comics RAWK right now:

"I think this is the best comics have been in a long time. Everyone is talking about them, from Identity Crisis to Astonishing X-Men to the Avengers to Amazing Spider-Man to Spider-Man to Green Lantern: Rebirth to Superman and so on. The bottom line is, there is a lot of great product out there with awesome storylines. Add some independent stuff like Queen and Country to Sleeper to Wanted, and this is the best comics have been in a long time. Sure, there is a lot of sucky product out there, but the good is really good! Everyone bashes this and that, but imagine someone coming on these boards who may not be into comics, or is coming back to them. And all they hear is all this complaining about this character or that. Not that complaining is bad. God knows I've done my fair share of it, but lets try to increase sales, not minimize them."

Everyone is talking about them! Well, everyone on comics message boards, anyway... And with "some" independent stuff like Queen and Country and Wanted (and, oddly enough, Sleeper, which is published by DC but is independent because it... is about supervillains... and... okay, I have no idea why it's in with the independents) as well as all the big events from the Big Two, who can blame them? And while next-to-no-one else at Millarworld agrees with poor Kevin, Mark Millar is always on hand to offer a note of optimism:

"You can never judge a period until it's over, but I think the end of the year should top Summer (based on the number of books I'll be reading). Right now I'm reading Bendis and Warren and the occasional other book like Identity Crisis. However, by December I'll be reading Ultimate Spidey, Ultimate FF and Ultimates (oh yes), DD, Cap, Wolverine, Iron Man, The Avengers, Planetary, Black Widow, Amazing, MK Spidey, Powers, Ultimate Secret, Supreme Power and a ew other bits and pieces. Still mostly Bendis and Ellis, but I'll be reading almost twice what I'm reading now (which is twice what I was reading last year)."

The preceeding piece of optimism was brought to you courtesy of Marvel Enterprises, Inc.

In today's edition of Sock Puppets and the Message Boards that love them, Millarworld invades The Pulse. Well, it was a Danny Donovan interview, and you know how much MW-en-masse loves him...:

"Hey Danny, I notice you didn't mention Danny's Divas in this interview. Whatever happened to them anyways? I hope they haven't been disbanded!
I remember back in the day even Gail Simone was counted among that crew! Or maybe she was an official inductee into the Hottie Hall of Fame. I always used to get the Divas and the Hotties confused. But anyway, just wanted to say keep dreaming, man! They'll let you back onto the X-Men someday. I mean, it took Chris Claremont over 10 years to get back on that book! LOL And like Becky said, don't ever let the haterz get you down. They're all just jealous anyway. HUGGYLOVES!!!"

"OMG! Danny that'z SOOOOOOO sad that you're not working on MArvel or DC. Why do hack writerz like Mark Millar and BKV get work but someone who really good can't? My youth pastor said that it's because Millar and BKV sold thier soulz to the Devil. I think Millar is the Devil. Did you read Chosen? I gave it to my youth pastor and he got really angrey (i'm not supposed to read comix, but I love them). Good luck, Danny! Jesus loves you!!!!"

"Mr. Donovan, I heard on another site that you were not instrumental in the 9-11 book and actually weaseled your way in to someone else's idea and have been taking credit for it ever since. Do you have a response?"

Newsarama are concerned with Joe Quesada's job stability:

"The men most often mentioned to replace Quesada as EIC are Alonso and Breevort. I see these two men as the Carlin and DiDio of Marvel in that Breevort/Carlin represents the traditional comic book approach and DiDio/Alonso seem to have a more aggressive/edgy style. Strangely enough, while I think DiDio's approach at DC has been more successful than Carlin's, at least with respect to Batman and Superman, I feel like Alonso might have lost his golden touch at Marvel. The last time I really loved the Superman books was when Mike Carlin was editing them, but prior to DiDio taking charge over at DC, Carlin's final years as the top dog under Levitz weren't pretty. Quesada has basically gone back on nearly every publishing strategy he once opposed, i.e., relaunches and renumberings without end, 'dead is dead', alternate covers, the so called 'return of continuity', writing stories about stories(Sins Of The Past in Amazing Spider-Man). It seems like desperation fueling their approach to publishing. The fact remains that the latest attempts to reach out to kids(Marvel Age) or girls(Mary Jane) have been rotten sellers in the direct market, and if the bookstore market is the primary target of Tsunami and other books, why were they all cancelled? They didn't generate sufficient money in the direct market to continue publishing them but the bookstore market didn't embrace them either."

"So well put. When Morrison and JMS first came to Marvel is when things were picking up. The ditched the code, started releasing trades, told wolvies origin, revamp x-men (without renumbering, I HATE the renumbering. Unless it is a completely new book. Where the didnt do that with X-Force and Thunderbolts when their orignal stories ended, something else I HATE.), revamp amazing spiderman... And now marvel is just going back to everything that they did so well. Just because they want people to take notice. I am not huge on DC titles but they are very consistant. Something marvel consistantly lacks. All they care about is money and by renumbering titles everyone rushes to get issue number one. I recently found out Emma Frost was being cancelled which I am very upset about. I encourage everyone to support it. I saw the numbers on Comicon. and it is number 71. And it has only decreased in sales since it came out. Which made it seem reasonable to get cancelled. however, after looking other marvel titles series generally have a constant trend to loose numbers, generally until a big arc comes along. The series is still way high is charts for a marvel age series. Marvel needs to work on getting big artist and or writers for these smaller titles that come out. X-Men will always be a high seller, but the big guns somewhere else."

"I can't say that I would like to see JQ replaced as I really can't see anyone in the medium right now that could do anything better. The obvious progression for EIC at Marvel is Bendis or Millar. Hopefully not though - I think both writers know they are better writers than they are businessmen."

IVCi interviews Dan Buckley:

"[Signing creators exclusively] has more to do with stabilizing our plans and our lines. It makes it a little bit easier to plan out a year to two years in advance for projects, and allows us to have a little bit of a market lever. Because we can elevate names, we can match up creators with projects and help manage things. It's been a fairly good strategy. It's been one of the biggest dynamic changes in the comic book publishing business over the last ten years. How publishers have been managing that has been one of the biggest changes in the last two or three years. When I was here the first time, I don't think Marvel did a very good job of that. The creators and the publishers seem to have a pretty good relationship, and see the value of it for both sides. Will we have creators stay exclusive for the next ten years? I doubt it; people will come and people will go, but hopefully both parties will be the better for it at the end of it."

Monday, August 23, 2004

Over at The Pulse, reader Joe Kaposta offers up his reasons why he doesn't read Independent Comics:

"What defines the term 'independent'? You may smirk at my ignorance, but I really do have at least two perceptions of the term. One, it means a small group of people, or even only one person, who produces a single title, or maybe two or three. This kind of independent is defined by small size, relative poverty, and by NOT being one of the big companies. My other perception of 'independent' has more to do with attitude. The purpose of some, though I'm aware not nearly all, independents seem to be to present a more personal, often self-centered vision, less confined by editorial or societal restraint than is possible at companies with large distribution and a market share to protect. This vision is often snide and cynical toward society, government’s and other people’s motives.

"This is not the world as I choose to see it. I do see evil in the world, and greed, and selfishness, and pettiness, and much else that is negative. But aside from my own existential angst and despair I want someone to show me some positivity. That's where my comics preferences come in. Where my comics reading is concerned I prefer, as the saying is, to light a candle rather than curse the darkness. To me, the independents of the darkness-cursing school seem more interested in navel-gazing, and maybe even engaging in a little self-pity. I don’t have the time or desire to indulge them; I have enough of my own problems to deal with without borrowing theirs."

Paul O'Brien looks at Marvel's July numbers at The Pulse:

"[Starjammers was r]etroactively declared to be a six-issue miniseries, though that's not how they solicited the first issue. This seems to be the latest Marvel strategy - launch a new book and try to avoid saying whether it's an ongoing title or a miniseries. To my mind, that results in the worst of both worlds. It amounts to saying 'Hey, here's a new title that we'd really like to be ongoing. But we're kind of expecting it to bomb.'"

Brian Michael Bendis... he just wants people to be happy:


"real. honest little ads that explains who you are and what you want out of life and what you want from someone else... be honest, be funny, be needy, whatever you want... email address only, no phone or cell. A good forty thousand people will see it. i love you guys and if i can get you a little laid, that would be great. of course no one involved in powers or at icon and marvel comics has any responsibility for anything that happens because of the ad or is responsible for what it says in the ad. this is a free service with no binding promise of legal whatever. But I want to make this perfectly clear, if any of you get anything off of anybody because of this, you HAVE to buy every book I put out forever!! This is on negotionable. You have to!!

"Now I have met not one but TWO couples that successfully met off these stupid personals. And I have met some lovely women who you guys have totally screwed up with your lame ass email.s"

It's like those ads for eHarmony.com, but kind of scarier.

Millarworld aren't happy with one of the spoilers in this week's All The Rage:

"POTENTIAL BIG SPOILERS FOR READERS OF ASTONISHING X-MEN!! Don't even click on the link if you like to avoid that sort of thing."

"GAH! GAH GAH GAH! I clicked before seeing your spoiler warning, and it's staring at me before I have the chance to scroll!"

"Yeah, man, that's just unreasonable. And using the first looks as your rumour source, that's just cheating (and makes it all the more obvious of how lacking the column is in content). I wonder if I should ever read this column again."

"that image shouldn't have been posted there, it's just ruining the upcoming story in astonishing. and even if you had to run it, you could have done it a s a clickable link, so people wouldn't scroll past it to read the column..."

"Yeah, but people weren't even CONSIDERING [thing that gets spoiled, which I won't reveal here, but they do in the thread itself, so be warned] until seeing that pic. It's taken away a big portion of the fun. If it were a quick blurb about how Marvel might bring the character back in a few months, fair enough. But blurting out this stuff so close to the actual book being out... it's like waiting months to read something, buying it, then having your neighbor burst in and say 'hey, you reading that book? You know the butler is the murderer, right?' Totally ruins it."

Grant Morrison's The Filth to hit movie theatres, movie fans expected to be both confused and depressed:

"Chris Weston's appeal a few months ago, initially through this very column, then repeated across the net, seems to have paid off. Well, according to a couple of journalists I speak to, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, writer/star and writer/director of 'Shaun of The Dead' (Region 2 DVD out in a few weeks, US film distribution in place) are currently working on the script of 'The Filth.' They plan to film in March, and 'Spaced' co-writer and co-star Jessica Stevenson has already been cast."

Friday, August 20, 2004

You know, I'm beginning to feel sorry for Allen Heinberg, writer of the upcoming Young Avengers. In his interview at Newsarama, he shows that he obviously knows what he's up against in terms of reader expectations, but the odd need that Marvel seems to have that nothing's allowed to be revealed about the project apart from the fact that it's apparently great isn't really helping to counteract any cynicism:

"I felt obligated to tell Joe -- as politely as possible - that, although I was incredibly flattered by the opportunity, I actually had no earthly idea how to write a book called Young Avengers. I also confessed that I would probably never even buy a book called Young Avengers unless it was written by a writer I knew and loved. And, let's be honest, nobody in comics knows or loves me. So, we talked about it. I presented all my reservations about the book. That it sounded to me like a blatant rip-off of Teen Titans - a book I love written by Geoff Johns, who's a close friend. Then, even if you figure out a way to do the book that doesn't rip off Titans, there's the problem of who are these young Avengers? Where do they come from? Marvel has no established teen sidekicks from which to build a team. And if you create a team of all-new heroes, why should anyone care about them? And furthermore what right do these kids have to call themselves Young Avengers? ...I kept bumping up against the fact that the Titans were a group of established teen sidekicks the audience was already invested in. Apart from Bucky and Toro -- both of whom were long dead -- Marvel had no teen sidekicks. In fact, I'd read an article online talking about how Stan Lee hated the idea of the teen sidekick in comics. I don't know if that's true or not, but it got me thinking about the whole concept the teen sidekick. Personally, I love them. I do. I have a soft spot for the teen sidekick. I've been a devoted Titans fan since I started reading comics. I have a real affection for Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl. And, cynically, yes, they were originally somewhat ill-defined demi-versions of their adult counterparts, though people have been wrestling with the question 'Who is Wonder Girl?' for years. But it's tough to deny their wish-fulfillment appeal. Teen sidekicks are in many ways the ultimate fanboys -- super hero fans who've literally earned their wings and become full-fledged heroes in their own right. That said, I still couldn't figure out a compelling premise for Young Avengers. I'd get frustrated, thinking, 'If only the original Avengers had had teen sidekicks...' I kept having this terrible vision of readers at comic book stores across the country - myself included - seeing a book called Young Avengers on the stands and rejecting it out of hand, saying, 'Who the hell are the Young Avengers?' And, without giving away anything, that question became the soul of my pitch... I can't say much without spoiling the story, but new characters are introduced, old characters are reinvented, Avengers continuity is honored, and new readers won't feel left behind. I know there are cynics online who are already saying that Young Avengers is a desperate attempt to capitalize on the success of Geoff and Mike McKone's Teen Titans. The truth is, I don't know how you can do a book about a team of teen super heroes and not be compared to the Titans. So, as a huge, lifelong Titans fan, I want the book to acknowledge its debt to Teen Titans even as it reveals itself to be something entirely its own. In the end, though, it's always comes down to characters and the storytelling. I'm hoping readers will give us a chance and allow themselves to be surprised."

Greg Pak talks about his upcoming Phoenix series:

"I don't want to give away too much -- in particular, I don't want to imply one way or another whether or not we'll see Jean Grey in the flesh in this series. But I can say that the Phoenix character is enormously compelling as one of the best examples in comics of the notion of superpowers gone awry, of the idea that maybe human beings are simply not meant to handle superpowers of this scale. With the Phoenix, the stakes are enormously high, which makes for good drama. Add to that the complicated and moving emotional history the Phoenix shares with Jean, and you have a great combination of high stakes action and high stakes emotion."

Chris Arrant talks to the creative team behind the amazing Rock'N'Roll:

"We made the entire story to be told without words, or any understandable words, for that matter, so the reader could make their own minds on what was going on just by following what is told in the art. If you think that is what’s happening, then that is what’s really happening."


Goodbye, Sean... Come back soon...

Although the first set of Marvel Young Guns has just been announced, Millarworld are already considering who the second set should be, just in time for Rob Liefeld to interrupt:

"...um, are Young Guns supposed to be veterans of the industry by, like 11+years like Dave Finch, Dustin Nguyen and Sean Chen? or 8+years like Jimmy Cheung? While I agree that this is a very affective marketing directive, it's also very humorous. This takes nothing away from these guys talent, it's just sort of far fetched... True Young Guns would be Ryan Ottley, Cory Walker, Tony Moore, Cliff Rathburn and the previously mentioned Travel Foreman. By this measure, there are no old guns, or balls fer that matter, in the business."

It's an odd world when Liefeld talks sense, but there you go...

Brian Hibbs speaks the truth, and all should listen:

"Do you want to know why it is so hard to launch new books into the market? Why we need 'comics activism' for She-Hulk or Fallen Angel ? It’s precisely because we get weeks where there are 9 X-Men books and 5 Batman titles, and that is when those books ship. Of course, that’s also the week that someone at DC thinks it’s a grand idea to ship two of the struggling 'Focus' titles. 'Uh, but why doesn’t this sell?' they then ask. Rocket. Science."

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Newsarama has a preview of the first half of Uncanny X-Men #448. Feel the nostalgia!

Larry Young gives me an excuse to post an image by my new comic book artist idol, Fabio Moon:

"A book about hot girls with guns in costumed gear selling illegal cigarettes written by a sexy blonde American woman and drawn by a smouldering Latin gentleman covers so many fetishes, I probably won't have to do any marketing at all."

Over at Joe Quesada's board, regular poster Matt Adler can't keep it in anymore:

"Ok, I couldn't even go through the other thread [about New Avengers], 'cause I knew there would be a bunch of apologists for the current goings-on, and I'm frankly not in the mood to argue with them. Not that they won't show up here too, but oh well. No, I'm not going to 'give it a chance'. Avengers #500 sucked, the idea of making the Avengers a showcase for Marvel's most commercial characters sucks, and the idea of killing off Avengers mainstays like Thor and Hawkeye, along with a host of supposedly 'expendable' minor characters sucks. This is the ultimate triumph of commercialism over storytelling. Way to go Marvel. You're not bringing back the '90s; you're merely outdoing the worst of its excesses.

"Now that we've established that this is total garbage and is going to ruin the Avengers, the only question is, how lasting will this be? I fear the fanboys will eat this *** up, and it will become an entrenched status quo. Whereby Bill Jemas Version 9.0 in the year 2040 will be telling some schmuck of a writer who proposes removing Wolverine from the team and reviving Hawkeye, 'Don't you know what the Avengers is? This isn't a team for some D-list character from decades ago. These are our premier characters! Remove Wolverine? Are you nuts? Fanboy writers are what's killing this industry. This is going down as my next chapter of How To Write Comics; 'What the Avengers are all about'.' On the other hand, it's possible that the novelty will quickly wear off and real Avengers fans will be able to reassert themselves and get this *** reversed. Just as they were able to get Peter Parker back as Spider-Man and undid the whole 'Iron Man is a murderer, now here's Teen Tony', and any other number of horrible storylines Marvel's perpetrated over the years in the name of a short term sales boost. But I'm not optimistic, because this pandering may be right on the money for the fanboys."

Other posters bring a different perspective on the issue:

"I understand what you are feeling, Matt. My favorite team (the New Jersey Nets) have been dismantled this summer, too. I have written them off, sworn never to cheer for them again. That's just the anger and shock of the immediate news. But, when my anger subsided, I decided to give them a shot. Let's see what rag-tag players they can acquire, hope for break-out years and good chemistry, and pray for lots of luck. It is unfair to myself and to the team to judge them without seeing them play. Will the Nets ever recover? Well, sometimes teams are in the cellar for years, like the Clippers, and sometimes they make miraculous turn arounds like the Grizzlies. The best you can do is stick by your guys and hope. So, that's my take on the Nets situation. Does this really relate to you and the Avengers? I dunno, I'm very tired."

Micah Wright on being mentioned during the Bendis/Wayne spat:

"So now the DC Marketing chief is name-dropping me as a diss. I still get checks from these people... where does he get off insulting ANY creator, past or present, in public? Does he seriously think I'll never see him again? Or that people wouldn't point it out to me? Or that this type of 'Hey, lookit me, I'm the King of the Fanboys' behavior is in any way professional? Hell, given the turbulent nature of this industry, there's every chance I may work with him again. Look at DC's relationship with Alan Moore over the last 30 years.

"More shocking, though, is the complete unprofessionality of Bob Wayne's comments about Joe Quesada. What did Joe do to deserve that other than not be a button-down executive and to outsell DC in monthly comics sales? Marvel has a different promotional style and company identity than DC does... big deal. I think most of what was said at that panel was tacky, and not just the stuff about me. I know no one at DC will care, but this is EXACTLY the bullshit that I mean when I use the derisive term 'Comic Book Businessman.' Petty personal attacks on creators and executives from other companies are what I expect from people like Jesse Baker, not the Vice President of Marketing."

And then, once he'd heard the audio at CBR:

"Bob sounds even MORE unprofessional and jerky when you have to LISTEN to him demand that the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics be fired... He's coming across as the 'bad guy' here because in no other industry on Earth would a Marketing Vice President of a major corporation go to a public forum and demand that the CEO of a competitor be fired because he said bad things about his company. It's silly. It's childish. It makes comics look like it's run by overgrown fan boys who like to take cheap shots at one another like they're still ten years old. Sneering about the demotion/firing of Bill Jemas is fine if you're a dork on a message board, it's tacky if you're doing it in public at a panel being held by a guy who Bill Jemas gave a big chance to."

On The Comics Journal board, Ed Gauthier suggests that creators rise up and rail against their shackles, man:

"For years companies have simply held that 'nobody forced the artists to sign [Work for Hire] paperwork, so should have nothing to complain about later.' Shouldn't they complain, though? Were they given any alternative if they did NOT want to sign away all future rights to their creationr/revamping of characters? It doesn't look like it! And it's not like a comic company is the same as a huge science braintrust, wherein if a chemist discovers a pill to prevent hiccups it belongs to that particular company because that's who the chemist was working for at the time. Comics don't cure things (except maybe boredom) and their artists have sure never gotten paid any high salary like scientists and doctors do! So why not just boycott all work-for-hire practices in the comics field? They're the most notorious business associated with it, after all. It seems to have ruined hundreds of creative lives, and the negative effects upon the artists' families will also echo down through the generations. So how about it? Pass a law against it or something - there must be some way we can get the greedy comic companies to knock it off, already!"

Evan Dorkin then appears, playing the voice of reality:

"Freelancers can't even get together on who inked Kirby best or what dingus should wear the Green Lantern costume. You think we'll band together to shove it down the man's throat and cut ourselves off from what is, by and large, our only real source of income? More to the point, even if we all woke up linking arms and marching against work-for-hire with Neal Adams at the lead (and loudly letting you know he's at the lead), all it'll mean is stalwart company men like John Byrne and Brian Michael Bendis will be writing even more books next month. And then there's the exclsuives, they're not jumping the gravy train. Mainstream work-for-hire comics are like McDonalds, you can fire the entire staff and the next day have it re-staffed, there's a ton of kids out there willing to take your job. So I was told by my manager at McDonald's, so it's been told to folks in comics when someone makes a stink about pinko organizing. This boycott idea, if not a gag, is only possible in the Bizarro World, where DC sues Siegal and Schuster to take their undeserved millions and their unprofitable stupid character Superman back."

No less an authority than the BBC gets in on this comic thing. 2000AD strips, audio versions of Judge Dredd stories, interviews with creators... More fun than you'd expect, really.

Lamp Post Productions announces The Comic Book Digest, essentially a Previews book with a new Mike Miller strip thrown in for good measure. Sadly, that last point is what Newsarama posters choose to concentrate on:

"Man, this sounds like a GREAT idea! It's just too bad Mike S. Miller's running the show. His reputation proceeds him and is enough to keep me away from supporting anything he is associated with."

"And what exactly does he have a reputation for?"

"Mike's a Christian and unapologetic about his faith. That scares a lot of people these days. And he will actually defend his values without bending. THAT infuriates a lot of people these days."

"I personally believe there's a difference between being a Christian and being a homophobe. That's just my opinion."

"Correct. One is a follower of the teachings of Jesus. The other is a fictional mental illness used to 'name call' anyone that disagrees with the radical end of the gay community. It's usage against Christians is quite similar to how any black Republican is called an 'Uncle Tom'."

"It's funny how, whenever Miller's name comes up on one of the news sites in connection with actual, honest-to-goodness comics work, the ensuing thread always degenerates into a...um...'discussion' about the man's beliefs. I wonder if, in retrospect, Milelr regrets making certain online statements, or if he feels secure in sticking to his beliefs vocally. For what it's worth, if anyone cares, I doubt I will ever again purchase anything he works on."

"I'm not religious, but I have no problem buying material, even rekigiously themed material, from someone who is. But I wouldn't buy anything by Miller for one sole reason: he's a prick. Not met him personally, but I've seen him on enough message boards being a prick. I seem to recall him telling people on an AOL board years back (the Byrneward, I believe) that they were going to hell for believing in evolution. That's just not right. Of course, not long after he took a job working on X-Man. And we know those X-Men books have nothing to do with evolution, right? The homophobic crap doesn't fly with me either. But I'd be glad to pick up the work of other religious types, provided they aren't morally repugnant to me, like this guy's views/attitude are. That being said, good luck to him anyway."

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Gardner Linn has had enough of normal reviews. He's more interested in review haikus:

"Identity Crisis #3:
Another wife dies
It sucks to be married to
Lame superheroes"

Mark Millar responds to those going "whuh?" at the end of Chosen (Spoilers to those who care):

"Yeah, Peter and I are including all our little clues in the commentary at the back of the first trade. The first story sets up the Antichrist and shies away from the BWAH HAH HAH idea, trying to make him as human and sympathetic as you and I. Book Two is DAMNED and shows us the real Jesus and book three is SALVATION which is basically the finale, the apocalypse and all that jazz.

"As for those clues, take a look through the book for all the names, the times, what happens when you count thirty-three panels in from each issue, Jodie's horned shadow throughout, the latin on the school blackboard, etc, etc, etc. You'll also notice little things like what sounded like a VIRGIN BIRTH was actually a raped and traumatized mother who never wanted to have sex with her husband. What seemed like a priest losing his faith (Doubting Thomas O'Higgins) was actually the one man who sensed what was really going on. The whole series was worked out carefully with double-speak, right down to all the little miracles coming together and making this priest believe the one thing he was actually right about. We wanted to do a DaVinci on this in terms of detail and really had a lot of fun.

"Thanks for all the support, guys. Trade looks set to be huge after this first ish sold out and-- v good news-- the movie's now in the works :)"

Starring Eminem, apparently.

Actually, hasn't the movie version of this already been made twenty-odd years ago, back when it was called The Omen?

What was once Working Title Comics is now Pulp 21:

"Pulp 21 embraces the same philosophy that Working Title Comics did. Free online comics for everyone. Everyone produces these comics for free. Experimentation is the key here. Diversity is more than welcomed. Show us your ingenuity and invention, so that we can share it with the world. And if that’s not enough to get you interested, you – the creator(s) – retain the rights to your material. Pulp21 owns nothing. We just provide a place for your work to be seen. We’re looking for material in all genres, whether it be horror, crime, sci-fi, or even… superheroes. If you’ve got a means to throw together a script and some art for a story, can get all of that onto your computer to send to us, then, by all means, get cracking."

One fan's dreams... crushed:

"Look at this four issue arc at the start of [Chris Claremont's return to Uncanny X-Men]. 'The End Of History'. What does that even mean? They find a villain, they fight a villain, thats it. No big dramatic world-endangering event. And to see The Fury defeated so easily and quickly. It doesn't make any logical sense, within the world its set. Much like Excalibur doesn't. I'm praying Magneto over in Excalibur is a product of Xavier's fevered mind, or else it simply negates the previous 3-4 years of work spent on New X-Men by a write so bursting with ideas that he threatens to explode with them... I grieved when Claremont originally left X-Men, and stopped reading for a long, long time. I cannot, however, lie to myself and ohers and claim to be glad he's back again, as he simply can't write very well. He had it once, but it's gone, and I don't think it's likely to come back. Uncanny X-Men will continue to sell well, purely for the reason that it always does: it's Uncanny X-Men. Other than that, Chris, give it up man, you don't need it, we certainly could do without it. You've done for share of great comics, but its over now. There are plenty of great writers out there that could do a much better job, and could do something interesting and new with the characters, but you simply can't pull it off anymore."

Thankfully, he's not alone:

"I was trying to figure out why it's called 'The End of History' also ..."

"I thought they just mixed the titles up and this should have been the title for the first EXcalibur arc. 'The End of History'. And plausibility. And continuity. And character. And dramatic tension."

If I paid any attention to sports, I might know who LeBron James is. As it is, I'm therefore probably not the target audience for his new comic, co-produced by DC and Powerade:

"To commemorate the launch of POWERADE FLAVA23, POWERADE commissioned DC Comics, home to Superman, Batman, and other great comic heroes, to create a story about LeBron James that featured his superhero-caliber basketball skills. The comic, entitled 'King James', will be available free with the purchase of three 32-ounce bottles of POWERADE at participating retail locations while supplies last. LeBron fans can also receive a comic via mail by sending three labels from 32-ounce POWERADE bottles to the address shown on the label. Redemption details can be found at www.POWERADE.com."

Cross-marketing powers, activate!

How to crash CBR again: Augie has audio of the Bendis/Wayne showdown.

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction continue their Basement Tapes:

"I don't think there's anything you can't ask of the reader-- or shouldn't. From the most simple, formulaic pulp hackery to the grandest and sprawling heights of FROM HELL to the postmodern brain-bashing of something like STRAY TOASTERS, there's no such speed as too fast or too slow, at least, not one that anyone should honestly concern themselves with. I would like to think that my obligation is to the work, first and foremost. I don't think anyone ever went wrong overestimating an audience's intelligence; smart and challenging work is a rarified commodity these days-- be it SLEEPER or EIGHTBALL. And, if anything, the mainstream is guilty as sin of underestimating its readership to the point where, at its worst, there's a sect of whipped dogs that have come to love those simple patterns that have strangled the genre and loathe anyone that dare tries to change it. Or to suggest, ha ha, that it needs changing."

The Bendis board decides that it's time for their traditional Newsarama-bashing thread:

"Newsarama posters... Yeah, its been said before, but I want to say it again: they suck."

"Be Fair they don't suck...They are fuckin idiots."

"Why do they suck? Just general principle, or did they do something specific?"

"Well, the big reason Newsarama is bad is that a lot of them are like those wrestling fans who gets lots of spotty, often-planted and usually just rumours 'behind the scenes' information, and they grow from just liking certain wrestlers for their talent, on-screen character and so-on to harbouring grudges against the people behind the wrestler persona for 'office politicking' or back-stage conduct or 'holding back' their favorite wrestler from winning a belt or something. You know, 'smarks'. It grows to the point where they don't even care about the medium itself or cheering and booing the faces and heels, but just go on to boo the employed talent and so on. Sucks all the fun right out of it. Newsarama is a lot like that, only with comic books."

"if they were cool, they would be posting on this board!!!!"

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

If it's the day after DC's solicits were announced, then it must be time for Millarworld to leak Marvel's solicits. Of interest:

* New Avengers launches, with "the first of a proposed 500-issue run".

* As much as I love Ed Brubaker, the solicit writer must've been taking the piss with the blurb for his new Captain America book: "It's a new beginning as four-time Eisner-nominated Best Writer Ed Brubaker makes his Marvel debut, joined by white-hot artist Steve Epting! As the new regular creative team, they will take Cap's life in directions fans will never see coming! In just this first issue, the Red Skull lays the groundwork for his most devastating attack ever on Captain America and the land he holds dear...and with the Cosmic Cube in his possession, how can Cap hope to stop him?" Because we've never seen Cap versus the Red Skull before... And while I'm at it, can we stop having solicits that end with variations on "Find out in the shocking twist-ending that will have everybody in the industry talking!" Because, you know what? It SPOILS ALL THE FUN KNOWING THAT THERE'S A TWIST ENDING BEFORE YOU EVEN START THE THING, bastard. It's like NBC's trailers: "Don't miss the last five minutes! It's INTERSPECTACULAR!"

* More solicit greatness for the launch of New Thunderbolts: "And it may look all-new, but longtime fans can relax -- these are the same creative schlubs who brought you the rollicking Avengers/Thunderbolts Limited Series!" (The solicit credits Kurt Busiek with writing the book solo, something he clears up later on in the thread).

* From the blurb for Marvel Team-Up's launch issues: "When Cerebro detects Paul Patterson, a student attending Peter Parker's school who has developed mutant powers -- it sets Wolverine and Spider-Man on the same path. But with competing agendas, will they work together? Will they be at odds? Hard to say... but the title doesn’t say 'Super Friends,' gang!" No, but it does say team-up, brainiac.

* Apparently, November's issue of Cable/Deadpool is "positively X-citing!"

* NYX is cancelled. No-one is surprised.

The Bendis board reacts to Paul O'Brien's recent Ninth Art article about the Daredevil/Batman stunt:

"I have huge respect for Paul O'Brien's reviews on his site, thexaxis. I also love his detailed analysis of the comics industry with his ninthart column. However, he's reading way too much into the DD/Batman 'event'. He certainly lays into everyone involved (except Brubaker)."

"Yeah, THAT clearly helps make things right. I started typing a huge email to him in response... go to the end and realized that he doesnt care what I have to say... he WANTS the attention, hits and feedback... so screw him."

"What really irks me about the column is that he clearly wrote it in a knee jerk type reaction to the news breaking over the weekend. He's usually a very thorough writer but in this article he doesn't do any investigation into the matter. Everything in his column is speculation, bad speculation at that bordering on tabloid trash reporting. I expect better from the lowest of online writers, much less someone that has the respect that he does in the on-line community."

"I think its something that noone is on this board which is objective. Everyone wants to take sides but he didnt in this article. I like that. No assssss kissing on either side."

"[I]n considering the two options (stunt / stupid mistake) he gives the advantage to the well advertised stunt, which he might have realized now being wrong, cause I don't think that anybody here can question Brian's genuineness when he apolgized about the outburst, admitting it was a mistake and that he should have done that another way. Therefore, he might have jumped to conclusions a bit fast, which is not in his usual style (but I hear that the weather was terrible lately in Scotland, maybe he was in a bad mood)"

Millarworld, meanwhile, had issues with O'Brien's tone:

"It's more of a time-wasting overanalysis with a holier-than-thou tone. I don't know how you can take the time to write something like that and still act like you're too good to care about any of it."

"Paul O'Brien was much too condescending in his article and obviously missed the mark with his hoax theory. Paul was correct however in pointing out what a bad idea it was to take this public in the first place which Brian Bendis says he now regrets doing. After reading about this all weekend, all I can think to say is that it just seems like a really trivial thing for anyone to get worked up about."

"Paul O'Brien's 'analysis' was slightly holier-than-thou, but it was also dead on accurate, especially when he says everybody would have to have a mental age of 12. Did Bob Wayne, Bendis, Queseda and Levitz all just turn into morons this weekend??? Because it sure seems like it."

To put some of this in context, that same Millarworld thread is in response to Bendis's apology for the stunt in the first place. Some of the replies to Bendis go like this:

"Brian first of all I think you need a congratulations for the idea of the panel. Itself the plan had been well planned. Bob Wayne threw a spanner into the works turning the panel into an appeal to comic fans into a debate about the two pubblishing houses which really didn't need to happen."

"I don't really think you have anything to apologize for. The situation on DC's end is immature. If you felt that statements you made were immature, it's only fitting for the situation. I'll continue to support DC, but I will always hold this against Paul Levitz."

"Brian, you are the better man in this situation. If anything, Bob Wayne was the one who came and started stuff and went for the throat."

"You shouldn't have to apologize Brian, you didn't ask Bob Wayne to show up to your panel to escalate matters to where they did."

That's obviously where Paul went wrong in his article. He didn't realise that the whole thing was so classy until that bastard Bob Wayne appeared and "started stuff".

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