Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Millarworld comment on sneak peaks of the first NewXMen issue, post-Morrison:

"Oh my. That was dreck. Utter, utter dreck. Not only is the dialogue just...mbleargh...but it's not even pretty to look at. I guess Larocca's under the gun, because this is way below what he's normally capable of."

"I read this a few weeks ago...man, it's horrible. Did you know that they still have Cassandra Nova kept in their mutant holding cells? Oh yeah, and I think Weapon XV attacks them near the end of the issue."

"OH JESUS NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH Cassandra was not in a fucking containment unit. Gah, they reprogrammed her into a child and she became Ernst. FUCK. I hate this man."

(They also look at previews of the first Uncanny issue, post-Morrison-era: "Austen is a great man. He's making Claremont's third run on Uncanny seem like a God send by writing Xavier as a complete idiot 'You know I'd rather not use my psychic gifts to intrude like that!' Ugh.")

Ian Edginton on Crossgen, at Waiting For Tommy:

"I kept working for CrossGen because I knew if I quit, they'd never pay me what was outstanding and I needed to pay everyone back what I borrowed. In the end, I simply refused to turn in anymore work until they paid me. Within about ten minutes of my sending the email to Bill [Roseman], I had Mark on the phone playing both good cop and bad cop. He told me that they wanted me to stay onboard, that I was an important part of the CrossGen family, that they thought I was a major talent and that they'd gotten rid of writers such as Ron Marz to keep me. The latter wasn't even true since Ron left of his own accord! It was pathetic."

Lots more in the article, including a nice dig at American Power. There's also a surreal hype piece with Joe Quesada that has to be seen to be believed.

Diamond announce the winners of their Gem Awards:

"Gem Award nominees were selected by a panel of Diamond product specialists on the basis of their overall impact on the industry, while comics and related merchandise were chosen on the merits of their quality, creativity, and sales performance in 2003. Retailers were able to cast their votes with ballots contained with their February Previews Order Forms, Previews on Disk, Previews on Windows, and Previews Fax Order Forms, as well as via Diamond Online's Retailer Services Area."

DC get 9 awards, and the rest are pretty evenly split amongst other people...

Tasha Robinson gives some more background info on her Dave Sim interview at The Onion:

"When I initially contacted him to request an interview, he was dubious about the entire thing, but he agreed, under the condition that we agree, in writing, not to edit him, and to print exactly what he submitted. I consulted with my boss, wrote up an agreement, and we started the process; I sent him 10 starter questions. What I got back was a mixture of concise and interesting answers, dismissals of my questions, rewrites of my questions, and a two-page transcript of a fictional game of Jeopardy, with The Onion as a contestant. I was initially utterly baffled; I had no idea if he wanted us to print it, or he was just making fun of me. So I asked."

Robert Kirkman on his upcoming Captain America run:

"I'm doing a superhero book. This medium is all about escapism and I really don't want my run to be as horrifying as the six o'clock news. I'm bringing back the Serpent Society... I'm putting color into this book. I'm trying to have fun here. If you want a break from reality and a chance to relax... my Captain America arc offers that... I'm not touching on the higher themes of Cap and patriotism. It's been done before and been done better than I could ever do it. My story is about a guy that dresses up in an American flag and does his part in defending this country from crazy people that dress up in Halloween costumes. I'm trying to keep it simple. In light of where the books been for the last couple years, I'm hoping that will seem like a fresh take."

Catwoman wins GLAAD award. Ed Brubaker responds:

"...[I]t's great to see a depiction of a normal, loving couple who just happen to both be women getting recognition. Holly and Karon are two of my favorite characters to write, and I'm glad they've struck such a chord with readers, hopefully because of how real they are."

Mike Avon Oeming talks Thor:

"They knew I wanted some Thor work and Bendis kept bringing my name up at meetings. So when the time was right, it happened. So far, working with Marvel has been super smooth; Tom Brevort and Andrew Schmidt are great help and good guys. Plus I get to read Jurgens’ Thor scripts before they hit the stands, and that’s cool... I know I’m playing with their toys, so it’s their rules- but so far none of them have gotten in the way of being creative. I think I have it easy though with one story arc, plus not having to deal with picking up someone else’s story."

Heidi McDonald and Steve Bunche review the Hellboy movie:

"It’s worth seeing on the big screen for the abundant eye candy, but that’s about it. And at two hours and twelve minutes in length it’s a bit of a long haul without a few bong hits in you. Not that I know about that kind of stuff; I’ve, uh, read about it in exposes…Yeah, exposes!"

More retailers talking about Free Comic Book Day:

"Yes, we have sold out by moving the date away from the previous times. Take a moment to look at Jim Schifeling of Acme Comics' great success with a second FCBD he ran by himself. He proved that (at least at his store) people love free stuff. The time of year doesn't really matter. It is one of the constants of the universe -- make it free and they will come! Sure the 4th of July will take some people out of town. So what. Advertise the heck out of FCBD. Use Spider-Man 2 to your advantage. TV crews and newspapers love to tie in comic books with comic book movies. Add some comic creators for them to interview, have a party, and provide a fun shopping atmosphere. If you put in the time to talk to libraries, schools, singles groups, and anyone else that will listen to you I don't think you can go wrong."

"The innovative series of short films featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Superman and soft selling the American Express card made their debut on the Web today, and both Seinfeld and the Man of Steel were on hand at the Today Show studio for an interview with Matt Lauer. Lauer, Seinfeld and an animated Superman (voiced by the Tick's Patrick Warburton) were sitting on a couch discussing the new spots when several comic book-related topics were addressed. The Man of Steel indicated that he was no slacker, pointing to his participation in a new and different Superman comic book that hits the store shelves every week, a sentiment that Seinfeld seconded. Superman also indicated his discomfort with the entire 'Death of Superman' episode, but stated that it was all in the past."

Okay, now I want to see these commercials.

Newsarama considers Marvel branding:

"Marvel already has Ultimate Marvel so why bother with this 'Marvel Age' stuff? Ultimate Marvel was to bring in new readers, right? So why use the exact same story and plot from the past with new art?"

"The point is to bring in new readers, younger readers. They are retelling of the original stories, aimed at younger readers."

"What about the essentials?"

"Ok...one more time, Marvel Ages are specifically to target the younger audience. Sure kids can buy Essentials and shit, but what 8 year do you know wants to read a black and white book that ISN'T a kids manga?"

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Dave Sim, interviewed in The Onion:

"Leftist reactions are always histrionic. If it becomes necessary to renew my attack, I'll renew my attack. At this point, I think history will do most of the dirty work. Feminists are in an untenable position, defending something they no longer believe in, and which history will force them to recognize was destructive of most of the central pillars of civilization. I'm just the first one to point it out publicly. Everyone ignored Winston Churchill's warnings in 1937, but the question for Churchill wasn't, 'What are you going to do to convince people you're right in 1938, 1939, and 1940?' If you perceive reality accurately—and I think I perceive reality a lot more accurately than feminists do—then ultimately, history will prove you right."

(Thanks, Chris.)

This could be my new favourite message board post ever:

"Hi I'm looking for a comic publisher and before you mention it I know that DDP isn't taking any new submissions for comics, I would like this pubisher to create my comic. That's one of reasoms why currently I'm putting together a submission kit of my comic. Oh if anyone is interested in my comic idea it's a new Iron Age comic set in the Silver Age timeframe,"

How does that work? "It's takes place in the sixties, but the 760s BC!" Not to mention the great "I know you don't take submissions, but I would like someone to create this comic, that's one of the reasoms [sic] why I'm putting together a submission kit" bit.

(Thanks, Augie.)

Ian Feller, late of Crossgen, offers a comics consultancy:

"813 Services & Solutions offers solutions for any problem. We can help you complete your project or bring you a completed project based on your idea... 813 Services & Solutions represents some of the best and most professional artists and writers in the world. If you’re looking for that missing piece, or a complete team, we know creators that are right for you and your project... If you are considering translating your licensed property or great idea into magazine or graphic novel format, let us do the work for you. 813 Services & Solutions can handle all aspects of creation and production and will provide you with a high quality product that you will be proud to put your name on."

Return of the Librarygoing, Gun-totin', Man-Ape. Mr. Peiratikos Blog, I love you:

"And so 'Secret of the Man-Ape!' is a tragedy, a cautionary tale of the peril of acting on insufficient information. It is happy that the aliens are willing to jump to conclusions based on suspect intelligence, since we certainly don’t want Earth falling to the aliens. If only, though, Hal and the prof had not allowed themselves to be ruled by suspicion! They give in to paranoia, and the sad result is the prof’s violent death and Hal’s looking like an idiot for losing some library books to a gorilla."

Yes, it's the plot to the comic that had the cover of an ape that had to get three library books or else. Go and enjoy the genius.

(Via Shane.)

Millarworld consider Identity Disc:

"Other than Peter Parker...who in the MU has a secret indentity?"

"Um . . . Dar--no. Capt--no. Profe--no. Iro--no. The Hul--no. . . . Ghost Rider?"

"I'm just thinking this idea would have worked better in DCU."

"Yeah, if only DC were doing some sort of Identity-related event too... :)"

"Maybe some sort of...Identity...Crisis???"

Bob Greenberger responds to readers' comments about DC's collected editions. Of interest:

* Josie Mac's solo stories may be collected: "First of all, the good news is that our first GOTHAM CENTRAL: IN THE LINE OF FIRE collection will be out in the spring. Josie doesn't enter the series until later so we're still considering what to do with her introductory serial."

* "More Jamie Delano HELLBLAZER is on the drawing boards as are two projects designed to support the CONSTANTINE movie coming in September. HELLBLAZER fans will be in good hands through 2004."

* "'Can we see a Flash/Superman race TPB that collects all of their races?' This one keeps coming up and given the success of other recent Silver Age collections, this is more likely than not to happen although nothing has been approved."

"We should band together and battle evil in all its forms... um. Also, 'shite'."

From Neil Gaiman's blog, the Secret Origin of Vertigo.

Jamie Rich speaks the truth:

"How did we get here? How did we get from the creative excitement of twenty years ago to stagnation and boredom? Sure, back then Frank Miller did Dark Knight and it was a Batman book, but he preceded it with Ronin and followed it with a long run on personal projects at Dark Horse, most notably Sin City--and it was all according to Frank’s plans, he set the course. Could he get away with such things today? Wouldn’t people be asking when he’s going to stop doing these stupid crime comics and get back to what matters, like Daredevil? Would he be allowed to do something as amazingly outlandish as Dark Knight today? Probably not. I don’t think they’d have even let him do the sequel were he not Frank Miller; superhero innovation anymore requires that you have a tear in your eye, to remember the good old days. Just make sure they’re the right good old days."

Dan Evans, who really should take over this blog for a day when I'm away, brings the Rom love:

"Dan Evans: OK this needs to be settled
NickLocking: No sir I have not
Dan Evans: HA!
Dan Evans: SO
Dan Evans: you cannot truthfully say as to whether it is in fact a good or bad comic, CORRECT!?
NickLocking: Well, I suppose, in theory
Dan Evans: AHA!
NickLocking: Why?
Dan Evans: I just tire of people clowning a comic that was actualy really good for a large part of it's run
NickLocking: I never clowned it!
Dan Evans: Everyone clowns it but it never gets the love"

Tokyopop and Diamond come to an... understanding:

"Diamond Comic Distributors and Tokyopop have announced an exclusive distribution agreement covering comic book specialty shops and hobby stores in North America. CDS will continue to distribute Tokyopop manga to bookstores, but comic shops and hobby dealers will now only have one source for Tokyopop titles. Diamond is raising the discount it provides retailers on Tokyopop products to a maximum level of 50%, starting with orders placed via the March 2004 Previews and reorders placed after March 31, 2004... Tokyopop Vice President of Sales & Marketing Steve Kleckner told ICv2 that Tokyopop will be shipping Diamond directly from the printers and that retailers ordering through Diamond 'should all get their books first.'"

Takeshi Miyazawa on what his favourite thing is about Mary Jane:

"She's a hot redhead – isn’t that enough? Seriously, though. I think the fact that she doesn't possess any powers and abilities is the best thing about her. No gimmicks. She deals with problems by thinking about them, talking to her friends and asking for advice. It's what anybody else would do and it's real. This all goes back to being able to relate to and she most definitely is easy to relate with."

Rob Rodi talks about Identity Disc:

"We wanted a roster of A-list villains -- or rather, A-list villains of a certain street-level type... You can’t realistically put Magneto or Dr. Doom into a story like this, so popularity was certainly one of the things driving our choices. And it’s funny how many of the really hot villains are certifiable sociopaths. But it’s even funnier how there are degrees of sociopathy. I mean, Bullseye’s as crazy as a rat in a coffee tin, but when you pair him up with Deadpool, he seems almost laid back. So it was enjoyable seeing how these guys’ various pathologies interacted."

Good Lord, you lose your internet connection and have deadline horrors, and suddenly it's been a day since you blogged something...

Monday, March 29, 2004

Pete Goodrich, I salute thee:

"I am not trying to say that everybody should think what I think, or like what I like. I know that everybody is entitled to their own opinion. So here's mine. The art of Jim Lee or Michael Turner? While debatably exciting or cool ('kewl'), but beautiful? You who think this: soulless, little tools."

A retailer comments on Marvel's deal with Source Interlink:

"Marvel's decision to sell to Interlink to rack comics at major book store chains like Barnes & Noble and Borders is another signal that Marvel has absolutely no interest in supporting the current specialty market model, and has in fact SOLD US OUT in their continuing effort to boost their sales, and more importantly to executives, their STOCK PRICE. I find it ridiculous that we as an industry decided to move Free Comic Book Day to time with the release of Spider-Man 2, a Marvel movie, when Marvel is willing to take the bread and butter of comic book stores away and pass it off to the corporate chains."

More toy fun. Secret Wars!:

"As far as getting accurate representations of the Marvel characters, this line failed miserably. The weapon choices were a little off, but could be forgiven considering the premise behind Secret Wars. The costume omissions were simply unforgivable. No palm repulser’s or boot jets on Iron Man were the least of the concerns. No cape for Dr. Doom? And what’s all that machinery on his chest? No cape for Magneto? Unforgivable. And the shield provided for Captain America was the standard Secret Wars decoder shield included with all the characters, and it was a far cry from character-accurate. I loved the line, but it hurt to have so many incongruities."

Rich Johnston on Crossgen's upcoming American Power book (Scroll down to "Corrupts, Absolutely"):

"I've heard comparisions made to that monstrosity of bad taste and bad thinking, 'Civilian Justice' and there are some internally at CrossGen who aren't best pleased. Even artist Greg Land has been heard to voice displeasure at the work he's now been given to write. CrossGen are going for controversy on this one, this isn't intended as an ironic piece of comment. The content of this book is intended to be read as-is, and more in line with Chuck Dixon's political thinking. The first issue of the ongoing series was to have been given a publicity push by coming out very close to the Free Comic Book Day prequel, but its schedule has slipped."

Millarworld discusses when it's best to say goodbye to your friends for their own good:

"This is just an open question - are you willing to let go, of your favorite characters, comics, concepts in the chance that they will be taken over by another voice/vision and that it becomes popular again even though you will hate it? Would you let go so that the rest of the new readers/viewers can experience it for the first time but leave you in the cold?"

Posters respond:

"SMALLVILLE... i had t let it go. the stories are really not going anywhere, and if they are they arent going there fast enuff... the character developement is slower than the plot. they rehashed the kryptonite as the focus of more and more stories, as well as the 'villian' of the week method of episodic stories instead of being series oriented. im tired of the lana/clark relationship.... lex being in the dark about clark is getting tired. i think the first season and the second kind had a nostalgic feel that is currently lost to the series, and was really going to be impossible to keep up. adding additional powers, and symbolism has lost interrest to me. i had to let it go."

"I think the Teen Titans cartoon is disturbing only because of it's use of Robin. And I don't like how they scream and their mouths get bigger than their heads. BUT, up until recently Teen Titans was an almost unrescuable property, and it's enjoying a big comeback thanks to the animated series and a nice, slick couple of new comics. So that's alright."

Marvel split their stock:

"As a result of this stock split, which was announced on March 2, 2004, Marvel's common shares outstanding have increased to approximately 109 million. Marvel's stock split was in the form of a dividend of one additional share of the Company's common stock for every two shares held at the close of business on March 12, 2004. Fractional shares will be paid in cash."

I'd be lying if I said I really understood what this means.

Chris Claremont writes Wolverine/Witchblade, which seems to start with them getting married. Which is novel:

"The premise is quite simple: we start the story at the moment in Las Vegas when they say their ‘I do’s’ and the Minister pronounced them husband and wife,” Claremont said. “They’re young, apparently in love and set to passionately consummate their wedding pretty much on the spot! The question is, how they got into this situation and what do they do about it? Should be fun."

I want to see more intercompany crossovers with this kind of domesticated thing. Lois files for divorce from Superman, with Matt Murdock as her lawyer. That kind of thing.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Bill Rosemann responds to the Broken Frontier article:

"Many false statements printed in that column.

"I'm not talking about the opinions expressed by those who are quoted. Opinions are opinions, and people will always have different views on events...that's fine...and that's Free Speech. But there are many other statements made as fact which are just false.

"I've contacted the reporter, and if he's interested, I'll point out which items simply aren't true."

(Thanks, John.)

Either I've missed something, or this is a bit of a scoop:

"...Broken Frontier has learned that Andy Smith, a former CGE-exclusive employee, is suing CGE for money owed him. Earlier this week, Smith entered Small Claims court in Florida to approach CGE about payment due him. Originally, the court date was in February, but due to other legal matters for CGE, it had to be postponed. When the court date came, CGE’s attorney and Alessi’s fiancé, Jennifer Hernandez, attempted to have the case automatically dismissed because Smith made a small technical mistake of filing against Mark Alessi, DBA CrossGen Entertainment instead of CrossGen Comics, LLC. But the judge awarded an on the spot amendment to Smith."

Cameron Stewart on Seaguy:

"What also appealed to me about the project was that it was the chance to create something new - at the moment I'm afraid I don't have much interest in, or feel that I can bring anything new to, Green Lantern or Daredevil or any of the big hero books, and I think that the toys and cartoon shows of my childhood are best left there rather than being in my comics. Maybe some time in the future you'll find me back in the corporate-trademark arena but right now I find it far more creatively satisfying to invent new characters and stories - not only am I drawing things that I've never drawn before, but I'm drawing things that NO ONE has ever drawn before, which makes it all the more exciting.

"And I wanted to draw a talking fish who smokes."

Chuck Austen talks about his X-Men run:

"We've gained a lot of new readers – many who say they never read comics before, a great many of them women, coming in because of the movie, and staying because of my and Mike Marts's approach. Marvel likes that. They want to keep broadening the market, and appreciate what I'm doing, even when certain fans don't. God knows I wish I could be more like Mark Waid or Geoff Johns and make the die-hard fans happy at the same time I appeal to newer readers, but I seem to be geared for newer people, casual readers, and can't seem to change the way I do things."

Rik at Millarworld asks which creators have peaked, and when it happened. To which I say, From Hell was better than Watchmen.

We interrupt this broadcast with a couple of requests. Firstly, Mark Peyton, could you email me? I have a mysterious proposition. Secondly, Kate and I are off on vacation in the middle of April, and I'm wondering if anyone wants to fill in on Rampage duty for a week while we're driving around the place. If anyone's interested, email me; the link's on the left there.

Now back to your regularly scheduled bastardry.

Mike San Giacomo looks back at the long, strange trip that was the making of Phantom Jack:

"So, what have we learned from all this? Damned if I know. In many ways I'm more confused now than when this whole thing started. I thought I had figured out how to break into Fortress Marvel. Everyone seemed to like my work and we were talking about other cool projects. But The Big Chill that followed when Bill Jemas left the building made it clear that I (and a bunch of other fledgling writers and artists) were back to square one. Square one? Heck, the gameboard was closed up, put back in the box, and we were told to go home."

Barb Lien-Cooper says Don't believe the hype. But don't take her word for it, either:

"Sadly, comics like Rex Mundi -- comics that ARE telling great stories for the sake of great storytelling -- are suffering because the hype machine has lead us down so many blind alleys and bad paths that we no longer trust the hype. Maybe the people we should be trusting are ourselves. Don't believe the hype. Believe what your eyes and mind tell you. Don't be a zombie. You have a mind! Use it!

"Yes, Rex Mundi is a great comic. It's great because it ISN'T written as a one-sentence pitch, but as a real comic that can't be summed up in one "high concept" sentence. The focus is on a memorable story. But, don't believe me about looking for comics that tell good stories instead of make good pitches. After all, I'm an "internet personality", a possible member of the hype machine myself, as well as a woman who writes comics. I'm a suspect device, just like any part of the hype machine."

In other news, don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters.

Shawn Hoke reviews recent mini-comics at great speed in his latest column over at Broken Frontier:

"Over the last few weeks, my 'to be read' comics pile has been growing and almost every day, new comics have been arriving. I’ve ordered minis from some people and then others have sent their comics to be reviewed in this column. Some of the best surprises are the ones that are sent by people who fall into the latter category. Rest assured, if you send your comics to me, I will let you know what I think of your work. If I don’t talk about your comic in a column, I will let you know in an email why I didn’t. If you are considering sending your work to me, please keep in mind the theme of this column. If your book is a super hero or fantasy book that simply mimics what the big companies are already doing in their books, tell me that up front and I’ll advise you to save your postage. I might enjoy the book, but I would have a hard time fitting it into the spirit of the column. If you send your book in and I like it, I will do my best to spread the word to others."

Clifford Meth pays tribute to one of Marvel's unsung heroes (well, heroines, really) - Marie Severin:

"If Marie Severin had been a man, you’d be saying her name with John Buscema and Gene Colan. You should say it that way from now on. But Marie’s never been one to play the sympathy card, nor characterize herself as a victim. Usually, she puts on an aw-shucks, self-effacing tone when discussing her work—I’ve heard her do it—but today, when we spoke, she got serious."

Hawaiian Dick's B. Clay Moore explains why Kansas City is the new cool place for comics kids in this week's Open Your Mouth:

"The past couple of years have seen a new spirit permeating the area comic scene, and Kansas City talent seems to be emerging right and left. With the founding of the Kansas City Comic Creators Network (now known simply as the Comic Creators Network) a year or so ago, the area seemed energized. Even those who didn't actively participate within the group were aware of the group, and comic creators at all levels of experience (and, quite frankly, talent) began to find outlets for their creativity, and support from fellow artists."

Marc-Oliver Frish looks at the DC numbers for last month:

"DC Comics's approach of choice in the year 2004, apparently, is to beat the competition silly with an onslaught of multiple crossovers, revamps and creative team changes. The results of that strategy have been mixed so far. On one hand, gains of books like the Superman titles, the Eye of the Storm books, GOTHAM KNIGHTS or HAWKMAN seem to have profited immensely, so far. On the other hand, it's doubtful whether these are anything but short-term increases. And, in spite of those increases, DC only has two books in the Top Ten, one of them barely, and only four in the Top 25.

"What's curious this month is the number of reorders DC titles are receiving. 13,000 copies of BATMAN #623, 9,000 copies of SUPERMAN/ BATMAN and 8,000 additional copies of a single HAWKMAN issue are pretty spectacular."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Spider-Man 2 release moved up. Also, the release date of Spider-Man 3 is announced.

Mark Brooks off Cable/Deadpool:

"Cable Deadpool #2 will be my last issue on the series and a new artist will be taking over after that. I was told a few weeks ago that I would be moved to the newly relaunched Amazing Fantasy to help helm the new series with Fiona Avery but it would mean leaving my current title. I would love to think I could pencil both at the same time but there just aren’t enough hours in the day and I think both books would suffer quality wise not to mention my wife feeling like a widow for the last few months while I locked myself in my office 24/7."

Regie Rigby considers comics' place in the classroom:

"Are there any good educational comics anyway? Although there’s a Graphic adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest by the people who brought us Fool Britannia’s small press/self published comic of the year which I rather liked, most comic strip adaptations of 'great' literature tend to be a little turgid, or over simplistic. Even the ones that stick reasonably closely to the text are generally ruthlessly abridged – if they weren’t, many would be a thousand pages long and unless Dave Sim fancies a new challenge now Cerebus is over, there are few writers or artists who are prepared to take on a work of that size. But if I accept that my principle objective is to provide good, entertaining examples of the form I’m suddenly faced with the whole cannon of the most versatile medium of communication in existence. What kind of comics do I want? Should I eschew the Spandex brigade, or is a collection which excludes Watchmen unthinkable? Should I focus on 'mainstream' themes, or are the complex themes in Morison’s The Invisibles relevant to some of the Advanced Level Literature students? Where do cartoons like Mutts fit into all of this?"

Retailers discuss the date of Free Comic Book Day 2004:

"You know, the amount of grumbling I hear on this subject leads me to wonder: are all the grumblers the ones who voted against this date to start with? Or are they the people who actually voted for this date and now regret it? The only thing certain is that we have foolishly tied an event that was supposed to be about comics to a movie -- and although it may be a comic-based movie, it's a movie. One day there won't be a movie to hitch our star to. I wish we'd had the courage to stand on our own two feet this year instead of doing what we did -- and possibly mucking up what could have been the best day of the year for comics for many years to come."

Top movie becomes comic book shockah:

"MIG.Biz has announced the April release of a 56-page full color, magazine-size comic book adaptation of the new Dawn of the Dead movie from Universal... The Dawn of the Dead comic book adaptation features artwork by Miguel A. Insignares, who has worked on numerous Hollywood films doing set dressing and storyboards, and comic book industry veteran Dick Giordano, a longtime DC Comics Editor and more recently a key member of the Future Comics team."

In light of the Warren Ellis thread at Millarworld, other creators are getting their own Q+A threads. There's Cameron Stewart, who admits to having a letter published in Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run:

"In my defense, I was only about 16. But I do think it's kind of cool that Rachel Pollack made a reference to it in one of her followup DP issues..."

(I had letters published in Books of Magic, Cam, so my shame is greater.)

There's also Mike Weiringo:

"I think that the way I drew SUPERMAN was influenced by several factors. One, Eddie Berganza hinted to me that he hired me at the time because he felt my work was similar to Ed McGuinness's stuff, and that was the look he wanted for the books. FROM that, I kind of felt a bit of pressure (probably mostly self imposed) to try to tailor my work to resemble Ed's as much as I could. I'm never happy in a situation like that-- but it was how I felt editorial preferred things. I'd love to have another crack at SUPERMAN now. I'd be much more apt to draw him in a way that makes me comfortable."

Who's next?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Millarworld has preview pages from Claremont and Davis's Uncanny X-Men. Note the Tom Orzechowski-style lettering (all caps, too) by Chris Eliopoulos... it really is very retro, isn't it?

Eddie Berganza talks about Superman's revamp:

"Superman as I've said concerns the human spirit and of course the American Way... After 9/11 both took a major beating. It was hard to get a grip as to what Superman should be. We were all lost, maybe a little afraid of what to do next, and the fans know when you blink. We actually needed a real Superman, and the books (most obviously in art) were very removed from reality: A futuristic city of the future, weird villains and not much Clark.

"So this year, Superman will be more grounded. Not so much in terms that all the books will be about flushing out world terrorists, but in attitude, motivations and his actions. This is the year were we get a more proactive Superman that you don't want to mess with. If you're a little lost girl, he'll be there to save you, but if you're a guy with a gun or an alien armada attacking Earth, then look out because he's not going to go easy on you. This is not like Batman's revenge scenario, but more of an empowering fantasy. We all want to have the power to make a difference. Superman does, so he should. This year, he will."

Joe Kelly on Enginehead:

"I feel that DC is really got a creative drive on - if they feel that they’re really hitting all the marks in the superhero genre, which it looks like they are, then by all means, they should start exploring other avenues than what’s come to be seen as the standard superhero comic... That’s really encouraging – when we put down the pitch for Enginehead…Ted and I still laugh about it. There are some people who look at it, and think we’re doing something really bizarre, but we think it’s a pretty mainstream book. It may have a little more grit to it, and have some more adult themes to it, but it’s still a superhero – he’s still this guy with a crazy science fiction origin who comes to smack sense into the bad guys, and do the right thing. So in a lot of ways, it’s very mainstream. It’s just not dressed in the same colors. Hopefully, people will give it a shot – at the very least, it’s compelling – you know that something is evolving and coming out of all of this. It’s definitely got a slow burn to it."

Dan Buckley and Mackenzie Cadenhead talk up the new Mary Jane series:

"We knew we wanted to create a comic that revolved around a focal female character and, because MJ is a very popular one, she seemed like an excellent choice... But the opportunity comes with the fact that she is a popular character whose story has most often been told secondarily, through someone else's perspective (Peter Parker/Spider-Man). It's a chance for us to learn about how MJ views the world, not just what she does in it. Peter will be integral to Mary Jane's story... How could he not be? But with Mary Jane as the focal character, Peter will exist to readers through MJ's eyes. Similarly, Spider-Man is, to MJ, the icon he is to the rest of us. He's not just a super-hero but a superstar. And that's someone who will always hold a special place in a teenage girl's heart."

AdHouse releases cover images for their first three comic books, announced yesterday.

Erik Larsen addresses fans who want to see Paradigm return at Image (scroll down):

"You REALLY want to see the book published? Pay the printing bill--because promises of support don't cut it. Image Comics has to pay that bill--and readers simply aren't purchasing enough copies to make that worthwhile.

"Is that a crappy situation? YES! Yes, it is--we don't LIKE to have titles come to an end any more than you do. It frustrates the hell out of me that so few Image books make it past issue 10 (and that only two titles have made it past issue 100). I think we've got some great titles coming up. I hope readers will support them. But the situation at Image is that EVERY BOOK needs to make it on its own merit. EVERY book kicks in a flat fee to support the Image office and help pay for ads and such. We CAN'T take money from Spawn to pay for Paradigm. ALL of our titles are creator-owned and it's not fair to take money from one creator to subsidize another. The money HAS to come from somewhere and that SOMEWHERE has to be from YOU.

"I WANT you guys to get the books that you want to get. I'm on your side here. I'll do all I can to help--but there are limitations to what I can accomplish. I can green light a project but I can’t force you to buy it. If you want titles to stick around you NEED to support them--you need to rally support and tell your friends and total strangers what a swell book it is. I’ve known of readers that had their stores order 20 copies of a book they love and GIVE THEM AWAY to readers that they thought might be interested in reading them. This is a bear of a market and the big two are pumping out product by the ton in an effort to bury the little guys. We ARE the little guys--and the ONLY WAY to fight back is to get readers to support the books we put out."

A great look at Grant Morrison's NewXMen run by Gardner Linn:

"Cyclops--Scott Summers--is the X-Men's prototypical super hero, their leader and all-around stick-in-the-mud. He's married to Jean Grey, a telepath and telekinetic who every once and a while plays host to the destructive cosmic power of the Phoenix. But Scott's not happy with the marriage, and he can't tell Jean--but he can tell the seductive Emma Frost, with whom he begins a telepathic affair. So begins Scott's descent from super hero to human being (mutant, actually, but you get the point), from boring cliché to screwed-up, vibrant, living person."

For some reason, I didn't know that the collected edition of Skidmarks would have a Tim Sale cover or a Joe Casey introduction... but all of that is gravy, as the comic itself is fucking great. Go and buy, all of you.

(Active Images are also going to be rereleasing Glenn Dakin's Temptation, which is another great book. I don't know if Rich Starkings is just working his way through his favourite UK comics from the 80s, but if he collects all of Nick Abadzis's Hugo Tate, I will love him forever...)

The Panel, at SilverBulletComicBooks, ponders whether comics "needs" more ethnic characters. The most interesting reply (to me, at least) was Alan Grant's:

"Once, at a Batman script-meet, then-DC President Janette Kahn announced that Batman's new doctor/potential girlfriend would be a black American. Each of the assembled editors, writers and artists (all male, all white) was given a book on the Civil Rights struggle and sent off to create a modern, strong, black female doctor. I don't think we succeeded--I can't even remember her name, or whether we killed her off at the end of the series. I'm not saying it can't be done. Just that we couldn't do it."

DC offer retailer incentives for the relaunch of Sleeper:

"Retailers who place an initial order for SLEEPER SEASON TWO #1 (APR040357) in quantities of 100% or more of their initial orders on COUP D'ÉTAT: SLEEPER #1 (DEC030299) will be eligible to the SLEEPER VOLUME ONE: OUT IN THE COLD TP (STAR20357) and the SLEEPER VOLUME TWO: ALL FALSE MOVES TP (APR040358) at 70% off their cover prices."

Now, the question is, how many retailers are going to order that high on the book when there's no Jim Lee involved this time? Hopefully I'll be surprised.

(They're also offering 50% returns on Identity Crisis if retailers order it above Batman #618-level...)

DC Dill talks about the effect that DC's Super Powers toyline had on him:

"Now that I think about it, I should talk to my mother about her discovery of my ‘secret stash’. Think about it… My mom was no dummy and probably checked our rooms for signs of drug use regularly. And me, I am a dummy, hid my Super Powers action figures in a SHOE BOX UNDER THE BED! What an idiot. Just picture it, a mid-eighties mother in the midst of Nancy Reagan’s War on Drugs tiptoes into her son’s room, pulls back the bed sheets, looks under the bed, and finds an unmarked shoebox that clearly doesn’t belong there. This shoebox is clearly hiding something not meant to be found. Would this be the moment that one of her babies broke her heart? She pulls out the shoebox, and with trembling fingers and pursed lips slowly opens the lid.

"And she finds a complete set of Kenner’s DC Comics Super Heroes Super Powers Action Figures lying in a row. Joker probably wrapped up in a small net I had found for Batman. All of their weapons and accessories in a small plastic box in the corner of the shoebox. And underneath that, the comics they came with stacked neatly. She probably shrieked out loud: 'Oh the horror! My son has fallen to the dark disease of toy collecting!'

"I am such a dork."

Dynamic Forces start their own convention:

"Rather than taking on a 'convention' style set-up, Dynamic Forces’ FanFest is modeled after the more intimate gatherings such as those seen in country music, NASCAR, sports, and other pastimes/media with large fan followings. Instead of publisher booths and/or panels, the creators at the FanFest will simply be at tables, accessible to all fans who attend the event. The FanFest will be held from 10am until 6pm on the 24th, and will actually be a part of a busy weekend for conventions/gatherings across the country, one of seven different such affairs nationwide, reflecting the increasingly tightly packed convention season."

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

As if more reason for me to love Eddie Campbell was needed, The Pulse interviews him about his upcoming Batman graphic novel and two-issue stint as Captain America artist:

"You know, Iron Man's in it too and it's great to spend time with these old pals of mine. I almost feel that any minute the Lava Men are going to turn up, just like they did in an issue of the Avengers I illustrated way back in 1965 when I was nine."

ADD on The Ultimates:

"Personal problems, time-intensive modern artistic techniques, blah-fucking-blah. DO THE GODDAMNED WORK, or don't be surprised when people no longer give a flying fuck about what was once one of the most-anticipated and talked-about comics on the stands."

(While I'll accept that the ridiculous delays in publication have contributed to the lessening of buzz for the book, am I the only one who thinks that another, and maybe more important, reason that people are now no longer talking about the book outside of complaining about its lateness is because the second storyline didn't really build on the achievements of the first in any way? It was just more of the same, only less so.)

AdHouse bucks the trend:

"After two years of creating books with spines (aka trade paperbacks), AdHouse has made the decision to publish in the traditional comic book format (aka 'floppies', 'pamphlets' or 'comics'). Current plans are to have three saddle-stitched comics debut within the year."

Fiona Avery and Mark Brooks talk up Amazing Fantasy:

"'There sure are a lot of Spider-Mans already, huh?' Avery joked. 'But I suppose if Marvel's putting out that many Spider-Men and they are going home with lots of folks, then that's a good indicator of a strong market.'"

Okay, so this was surprising:

"Sources at Tokyopop have confirmed to ICv2 that the U.S. manga publishing powerhouse is teaming up with a Japanese publisher to create a new manga series based on Paramount's Star Trek property. The project, which was revealed at Wizard World LA, is currently in the final approval phase at Paramount, and more details will be made available in the near future. Current plans call for the series to be written by U.S. and Japanese writers, with Japanese manga-ka providing the art."

Is DC racist? Millarworld investigates:

"I was talking to a friend who used to work at one of the two majors in comics and he informed me that racism is alive and well at 'That Damn Company' as he referred to it. He said African Americans and latino members of the company could only rise SO high in said company and that he himself was passed over by newly hired white employees time and time again, which is what drove him to resign from his editorial position. He went on to explain that the 'minority' staffers (this includes writers and artists alike) were often humored by the executives and were seldom taken seriously when they tried to introduce new ideas on re-vamping white characters. The suits tried to placate some of these creators by asking them to create a similar hero and put him / her in an urban environment, something hip and now, to coin a phrase... Now mind you I have asked non-minorites as well as minorities (a term I personally loathe but will use it for simplicity’s sake) and they chalked it up to sour grapes on the part of a black or Spanish guy who wasn’t good enough and got shot down time and time again. I’ll admit that this is possible, but how many times can this be applied before it’s untrue?"

"Anyway, I hope what you're talking about isn't true, but it wouldn't surprise me, either. It should be remembered that it only takes a few jerks in key positions to effectively steer a company into this kind of shameful behavior. Doesn't mean everyone in charge is like that. This is the kind of thing that I think isn't talked about all that often, but should be. I think of the accusations made by Colleen Doran against a deceased DC editor which have only recently come to light since his death."

"Well...You have to figure that up until recently the comics industry was an old boys network..i can definetly see a lot of sexism happening...as for outright racism..sure i can see that too..But then again lets keep in mind DC did publish the Milestone line which featured characters of ethnic origin and was founded by ethnic creators... Its also strange when you think that comics were founded by primarily jewish creators who at the time were being discriminated against in other fields..."

"I will say this however. Marvel in recent years has been pretty good at getting minorities into top spots. Their executive editor Axel Alonso is hispanic. Also, Captain America, arguably Marvel's most iconic character is being written right now by two minorites which I don't think alot of ppl realize. You got Priest on CA&F, and then Morales on the Knights title. Also, Oliver Copiel, black guy, is drawing Cap over on Avengers. You also got Sacasa on 4 as well that you could throw in there. And then I just think about the ballsiness of the Truth mini-series and what that did, and I'd say Marvel at the very least is making some attempts... Now over at DC, well, that's a different story. I don't think we'll ever see a minority write a monthly Superman or a Batman. Sooo...."

EDIT: The original source has been revealed to be Joe Illidge, ex-editor at DC. As Rich Johnston points out in the thread at MW, Illidge has previously spoken about discrimination at DC: "The machine is aware. The only Black person now in DC editorial is Harvey Richards, assistant editor to Andy Helfer and Joan Hilty - hardly the most high profile of positions. It just makes me wonder and helps me perceive a pattern in mode of behavior."

(On a related tangent, Mark Millar denies a charge of racism in Wanted: "How can I be racist when I'm an African Scotsman???" and "What are you talking about? I'm black. Anyone can see that.")

Newsarama posters start a thread that is going to end in tears: "Who is Matt [Brady]'s favorite poster?":

"No matter what you parents tell you they always have a favorite, it inpossible not to. So kids, I think time to find out who Matt loves best. Matt's wife is not included becasue I wouldnt want her to get upeset when he says its Deathlok."

"how in the world would we know? i mean .. we could count PMs from him and his wife or something ... I think I have kept most of mine. although -- does it count when they're 'business' related .. like about moderating type stuff? well, anyway, I think Xaraan's right -- only Matt can say for sure, and I doubt he'd say"

"You have PMs from him and his wife??? LOL, well that takes me out of the running!!!"

Marvel finally admits what we all know: Ultimates is a late, late book:

"Marvel has announced that it has offically pulled Ultimates off of its schedule, following the release of #13 later this month. All orders placed by retailers for #1 have been cancelled by Marvel. When v.2 #1 is resolicited, all retailers will need to place new orders. The chronically late book started as a monthly, and then moved to bi-monthly, and then an occasional book. Despite its irregular schedule though, the series enjoyed both huge numbers and critical acclaim- when it did come out, and did not seem to suffer, sales-wise, from chronic lateness, as many pundits felt that it would."

The Marvel press release is great:

"Marvel & the creators behind the best-selling Ultimates series have refocused and retooled the first issue of ULTIMATES VOLUME 2,#1 to make it bigger, badder, bolder and, most importantly, regular! To accomplish these goals, the brash series has been removed from the schedule, with all original orders cancelled. The blockbuster title will be resolicited at a later date, when it can be guaranteed to ship monthly... Offered artist Bryan Hitch, 'With Marvel's continued and unprecedented support, they are allowing us to step back and stockpile a whole arc before release which is just fantastic. That's not to say we are resting on our laurels here, we have realistic, workable schedules and are 100% committed to giving the fans the best we can, every single month!'"

Monday, March 22, 2004

Bill Sienkiewicz heads to Tinsel Town:

"According to the Script Sales website, Bill Sienkiewicz's Stray Toasters is heade down Hollywood way, with Sienkiewcz teaming with young filmmakers Jeff Renfroe and Marteinn Thorsson."

Jim Henley on superheroes:

"It is certainly true that, with few exceptions, 'People don't dress in funny costumes and run around on rooftops beating each other up—they don't gain superpowers and devote themselves to the common good—they don't form clubs and societies to combat evil scientists and giant purple starfish.' But would they if they could? If people gained superpowers (our speculative extrapolation), would anybody dress up and fight on rooftops, devote themselves to the common good, or try to take over the world? I can't see why they wouldn't.

"Here's a core truth I've noticed about the Real World: people are as outlandish as they can afford to be. No, not everyone. Not even most people, most of the time. But did you watch the Super Bowl halftime show? Seen Croc Files? Made a casual study of rapper aliases and street gang names? Noticed the proliferation of volunteer fire departments and neighborhood watch groups? Browsed the latest fashions on the runways of Milan? Heard about the guy with the beard in Central Asia behind some globe-spanning conspiracy to restore the glories of 'The Caliphate' with himself at the head?

"We are an outrageous planet. If some of us could fly or shoot rays from our hands, I wouldn't put anything past us."

Darwyn Cooke answers a question many seemed to have had about New Frontier #3:

"Regarding the man from Tennessee..... He is NOT and existing character. He is a character I created to deal with an important issue that NF couldn't afford to ignore. What we see is this man uses cultural legend (John Henry) to fashion his personna. The idea was what if the legend of John Henry was used by a man for inspiration during this era. If anything, he is a retconned forerunner to Steel.

"As for his look, you've all made wonderful guesses, but no one has pinned the source of inspiration. The first thing I had was the notion of the hanged man who returns for vengeance, a la 'Hang 'em High' et al. In Kanigher and Kubert's immortal Enemy Ace, there is an issue where he faces a nemisis known as the 'Hooded Hangman'. He looked incredible with the hood and noose. When designing a costume for 'John Henry', the first thought was to contrast the white hoods.....Kubert's hangman leapt to mind. As for his relatively costumeless look otherwise, well, I don't think this man has the money or inclination for such things. He's not John Henry Irons retconned, or Black Hood, or anyone, for that matter. He's a new character, created for the series."

The Pulse has a preview of Marvel Age: Fantastic Four. I'm not sure the art works with the story for the first few pages, at least...

As has been noted in the Comments section of the previous entry, Peter David confirms Captain Marvel's cancellation, announces a Hulk limited series that he'll be working on, and hints at another limited series featuring "a mutant character of my acquaintance"...

Still waiting on Peter David's official comment on Captain Marvel's again-rumoured cancellation, but while we wait, he's replied to this comment on his blog: "A cancellation would sadden me, but I have to say that the title got as much PR as you can possibly get--a relaunch as well as a publicity stung (stupid as it was). Not sure how much more you could ask." His response:

"A penciller who lasted past four issues? An official declaration as winner for U-Decide? Publicity that was more than bi-annual? An inker? Since you asked, I mean."

Yeah, sounds like he's fine with the way everything went down...

Brandon Thomas admits his secret Marvel ambition:

"This time last year, I would’ve said Luke Cage, but right now…hmm…still Luke Cage, but I’d throw in Danny Rand too. Make it this weird superhero buddy movie. Think Lethal Weapon, expect with crazy obscure updated Marvel villains in it. Like Modok or something…"

Somewhere, John Jakala is as excited about this idea as I am.

Allen Jacobsen talks Invaders:

"Here's the core concept: The Invaders: Soldiers, Super-Heroes, Sentinels of Liberty since the Second World War. Beyond borders, beneath the seas, behind enemy lines, they hunt the hidden terrors that threaten civilization... The team exists to battle threats that are virtually impossible for other super-humans to battle. Not to suggest that our team is 'better' than any other, but the Invaders unit are privy to some information that most of the world's superhuman population is unaware of. Basically, this is a story about a group of Idealists who are willing to go beyond borders to do what they believe is right. That being said, I want to be clear that this isn't a book about hate, and it isn't about disrespecting any real-world culture. It's about breaking down barriers the barriers that we've built between ourselves and inspiring disparate cultures to unite against a common threat."

Mike San Giacomo on Wonder Woman:

"Greg Rucka said he was going to make Dr. Veronica Cale the premiere Wonder Woman villain, but to get the picture you have to read this issue. There's very little Wonder Woman presence in this issue, Cale gets all the face time. She explains her history and her philosophy of Wonder Woman hating to a captive audience. As Rucka promised, Cale has a point."

Sadly, however, I'm with Newsarama poster Blind Assassin:

"Am I the only one who thinks that issue #202 of Wonder Woman is just....well...ridiculous? ...Veronica Cale (which lots of people on message boards have been loving) is supposed to be WW 'archnemesis'..(so people have said in their reviews of the book) is nothing but a jealous woman?Sorry, but that just seemed silly to me. Veronica Cale is all bent out of shape and wants to take down WW, because she is jealous. That's it."

Rich Johnston reports on, amongst other things, the fact that Marvel's Witches series may have been solicited with incorrect creator information:

"Mike Deodato's drawn-for-ages comic book, 'Witches' is solicited this month (just as DC's remarkably similar 'The Witching'). Originally planned for publication a couple of years ago, it looks the same except for one tiny difference. The writer, Bronwyn Taggart seems to have had a sex and name change, to Brian Walsh... I understand Walsh was hired for rewrites, dialogue changes and a juggle about of the work, and that Will Conrad may finish the art on the series."

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Millarworld on Quesada's phone stunt (From Newsarama: "At this point in the panel, Quesada’s phone rang. Keeping within earshot of all attendees, Quesada said, 'I know, I know…don’t cry. It will be over soon.' He then hung up, and told the crowd it had been DC’s Dan Didio on the other end of the line"). Ethan Van Sciver started off:

"Dude, I thought Jemas was gone. I'm glad I work for a company that doesn't do classy things like this."

He later clarified: "It's just tacky. Paul Levitz never responded to the barrage of bullying that Jemas threw his way during his time at Marvel. Paul looked dignified, and Jemas got the fans calling him 'Jem-ass', remember? It makes the whole company look flimsy and silly. DC just sort of pretends Marvel doesn't exist, and does it's own thing. I admire that." But by that point, others had started to comment on Quesada's - and, by extention, Marvel's - attitude towards DC:

"It would have seemed more harmless without Quesada's history of making snide remarks about DC. He usually seems to come across as a nice guy I think, but just seems obnoxious and childish when he makes his comments about DC. He does so poorly what Lee did so well. Way back when Stan Lee was doing it, it seemed like friendly jibes at the competition, a friendly rivalry."

"I just don't get the 'phantom war' between Marvel and DC that the former likes to pretend it's a part of. And I don't understand the mentality that the business will do better if it's set up as if Marvel and DC are locked in some kind of bitter struggle. I don't WANT one to 'defeat' the other. I read books from both companies, and so I want both companies to flourish... Did a war or poorly-chosen words boost sales and renew interest in Marvel over the past 5 years? No, it was the desire on Jemas and Quesada's part to take chances with their creative teams and the directions of their comics. If Quesada thinks that he can dial back the content of his books to the early 90's (see: X-Men in spandex, X-Force returns, etc.), and increase interest instead by goading Dan DiDio and Paul Levitz into a petty street fight, he's probably mistaken."

"Maybe Joe sees it as a kind of hypercharged Stan-Lee-ism. Whatever he thinks, it just feels tasteless. While I agree with him that DC and Marvel had gotten too friendly during the 90s (which seem to be very in, otherwise, at Marvel right now, alas) and that a bt of competetive spirit will bring both companies into the mood top produce better books, JoeQ is often dangerously close to schoolyard mobbing. Fun to read, absolutely, but somehow not fitting with his Good-Cop image. It's a bit weird to see him try to do Quesada AND Jemas these days."

Peter David writes about something else DC are planning to set up in memory of Julie Schwartz:

"The notion will be to provide a fund (in conjunction with a college yet to be determined) which will pay for an annual lecturer of note (a different one each year, of course) to come to the university and talk about the popular arts, comic books, science fiction and fantasy, and their impact on our culture... Anyone else interested in contributing can send donations to the Julius Schwartz Scholarship Fund (that's what it's currently called; it will likely change, but I figure, why confuse the people in the mail room), c/o DC Comics, 1700 Broadway, New York, NY 10019."

He also promises commentary tomorrow on Joe Quesada's announcement that Captain Marvel's cancellation is, again, on the cards.

Newsarama posters aren't happy about Identity Disc:

"Avi Arad's Marvel has sunk to a new low--reduced to ripping off the plot of DC's Identity Crisis. Hell, they're not even being subtle about it---they're releasing it the same damn month."

"OK, let's say it's not a joke. WHO THE HELL WOULD BUY THAT? It seems so lame, I can't imagine them selling more than, say 100 copies of this."

"Well, yeah, they're starting it two weeks early, but if you think about it, orders start getting placed around the first of the month...a little after Diamond catalog is released...near-perfect timing for an APRIL FOOL at all of us (and by us I mean you all) Seriously, if this is real? I'm going to be very depressed."

At Wizardworld LA, Marvel show off their forward-facing attitude that makes them number one! First off, we have Rob Liefeld and Fabian Niceza doing a revamp of X-Force, which, God knows, everyone's been asking for for years now. Also on the "Haven't they done that before?" tip, we also find out that the upcoming Avengers revamp sees the launch of a second ongoing Avengers title (which I want to be called Solo West Coast Avengers West Coast Force Works Spotlight), this time written by a writer of TV hit The OC just so that someone can say "This is how we do it in the MU, bitch." Oh, yeah, and Identity Disc was originally to be called Sinister Six, but it was decided that that may be confusing in light of Ultimate Six, so it'd be much less confusing to rename it with something almost identical to DC's big title that happens to be launching in the same month (Joe Quesada calls the similarity "serendipitous", which is certainly a generous way of looking at it). So, that's all right then.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Marvel's solicits are up. And with them, the question: How much milking of Astonishing X-Men are Marvel planning? The existance of three solicits for the title this month - for #2, "SPECIAL COLLECTOR'S EDITION ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 VARIANT" and a Director's Cut version of the first issue ("Now, go behind the scenes of X-MEN: RELOAD with this expanded edition of ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 - featuring never-before-seen character designs and cover sketches by John Cassaday!") - suggest that they're planning on milking this cash cow very dry. Not that Marvel aren't also planning to milk the Spider-Man cow dry, either - The hopelessly addicted Spider-junkie will find over 20 different Spiderbooks to buy in June...

Marvel release more covers from upcoming books, which - amongst other things, shows who's on which X-Men team. And surprise, surprise, Wolverine is on all of the main teams!

DC pays tribute to Julie Schwarz with a series of new comics based upon classic covers from his editorial reign:

"The specials will each contain two 11-page stories, all inspired by the respective classic Silver Age covers the books will carry. Artists and writers who either worked with Julie or were inspired by his work. Each issue will also contain Harlan Ellison’s tribute to Julie, along with the original covers the tribute covers were patterned after."

Books in the first release include Adam Strange by Grant Morrison and Green Lantern by Brian Azzarello, with more to come from people like Darwyn Cooke. Me likee.

Neil Gaiman posts Alan Moore's rememberence of Julie Schwartz:

"And now we hear that Julie has been…discontinued? Cancelled? But they said the same about Green Lantern and the Flash back in the early 'fifties, so we can't be certain. This is comics. There'll be some way around it, be some parallel world Earth-Four Julie, born thirty years later to account for problems in the continuity, and decked out in a jazzier, more streamlined outfit.

"A funny, brilliant, endlessly enthusiastic twelve year old got up in an old man suit, Julie spent his life mining the gold-seam of the future; is too big, then, to be ever truly swallowed by the past. He was a friend, he was an inspiration, was the founder of our dreams. He ruined my reputation as a gentle pacifist by claiming that I'd seized him by the throat and sworn to kill him if he didn't let me write his final episodes of Superman, and how, now, am I supposed to contradict a classic Julius Schwartz yarn? So, all right: it's true. I picked him up and shook him like a British nanny, and I hope wherever he is now, he's satisfied by this shamefaced confession."

Brian Hibbs doesn't wait for the trades, he writes about them instead:

"There are a couple of cardinal rules that need to be observed. The chief among these is that numbered series need to be perpetually stocked. When volumes 4 and 5 of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men are out of print (as they currently are), sales velocity plummets on 1-3 and 6. There also needs to be a consistency and a plan when it comes to numbering. Placing a 'volume 1' on the cover or the spine is only a good plan when there is going to be a volume 2 and beyond. Readers are attracted to numbered TP series because they believe, if they like it, there will be more for them to read – but this means that like must be placed with like. Organizational plans like Marvel’s 'Legends' collections almost certainly become failures because there isn’t a consistent 'through-line' of quality and style. Wolverine: Meltdown is so far in content and tone from Wolverine: X-Isle that calling them 'Wolverine Legends' volumes 2 and 4, respectively, is counter-productive."

Millarworld is running a Q&A thread with Warren Ellis:

"The three-issue minis: I think most of them found their audiences, and all of them had elements I'm still fond of. I think a lot of people approached them like they were three-act pieces, which none of them really were -- they were short stories broken into three parts each. Some of them worked better with the breaks than others. Everyone involved gave them their all, no-one phoned it in. I don't think any one reader could be expected to like them all, because they were all pretty different in execution from each other, even given some thematic overlaps.

"I'm glad I did them."

Mark Millar updates the status of Millarworld:

"Run and those other related one-shots are all completely cancelled. I was thinking about getting another artist, but it's complicated and it wouldn't feel right to Ashley. Frank and Cass are both under enormous deadline pressures too so these four single issues are just being canned outright. It's a shame because the orders were nice and I was very fond of the project.

"My Marvel exclusive, however, allows me to do something in its place and I'm going to start working on a replacement project that's got nothing to do with Run, Pow or any of the others this summer. No details until around May or June, I'm afraid, but this will be a short series (either 3 or 4 issues) with a superstar artist, publisher as yet undecided. Haven't really started thinking about it yet, Wolverine being my priority right now."

The Free Comic Book Day comics are announced at Newsarama. As with last year, the indies come up with the more interesting selections...

24 becomes a comic, from IDW:

"Two pages of printed story will equal one hour of time elapsed in this 48-page one shot. Handling the clock and the story will be J.C. Vaughn and Mark L. Haynes of Battlestar Galactica fame. Art will by by noted CSI: Miami artist, Renato Guedes. The story is called 24: One Shot. In it, CTU agent Jack Bauer has to protect a beautiful and deadly terrorist for twenty-four hours, but after an attack by her former friends, he has only one bullet left in his gun."

Unless Dan Evans does recaps for it, then it won't be real 24 in my eyes.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Publicity ploys pay off for Rich Johnston!:

"While Rich Johnston’s Holed Up #2 will be in the upcoming issue of Diamond Previews, there’s a bit of a snag…in a first for a book from Avatar, Diamond refused to show the text on the cover."

Tom DeFalco attempts to clarify Spider-Girl's status:

"As far as AMAZING FANTASY is concerned, the entire creative team of SPIDER-GIRL and I sincerely hope that Fiona Avery and Mark Brooks have as much fun with their title as we still have with ours. It’s not an either/or proposition, people. You can actually buy and enjoy both SPIDER-GIRL and AMAZING FANTASY and you might be glad you did!"

Non-comics note: After email troubles recently, there's a new email address for the blog. Click the email link to your left and send all manner of shit if you feel the desire.

SBCB has more on the Marvel / Cockrum settlement:

"Marvel Comics and artist Dave Cockrum have reached an agreement on a contract that will allow Marvel to continue to fully own the many characters Cockrum created for the company, while compensating Cockrum for his years of service and the seminal characters he created. In an undisclosed agreement today, author Clifford Meth accepted a deal for Dave Cockrum that, combined with other industry events, will help get the Cockrum family back on its feet after months of financial burdens resulting from Cockrum's hospitalization."

Reggie Rigby's in full flow again:

"Before sitting down to write this edition of Fool I took a trip down to my local branch of WH Smith. (The UK’s biggest purveyor of newspapers, magazines and sundry periodicals, amongst other things.) Were I interested in buying comics from them (and I confess I’m not, having deserted the high street for the safety of specialist comics shops over a decade and a half ago) my choice would be limited to the following: A large selection of cartoony stuff aimed at pre-schoolers and the under tens. Batman. Spider-Man. The X-Men. 2000AD. Commando. (a digest sized war comic, mostly aimed at the young male market.)

"So, we’ve got lots of kids comics, some superheroes, some Sci-Fi Fantasy and some war.

"If variety is the spice of life, then your average punter must imagine that we have a very bland diet indeed. But how the hell would anyone who didn’t hang around in comics shops know that there was anything else out there? All the other stuff, the From Hells, the Cerebus’, the Hellblazer, the Transmetropolitan, the Alec, the Strangers in Paradise, the Maus. All of it is hidden from view. Why is nobody marketing this stuff? If the Trades and Graphic Novels of this stuff make it into bookshops they are generally hidden in some unlovely corner of the store. Such stuff never makes it onto the news stand racks. Don’t the publishers want to sell more copies? Don’t even get me started on the distribution system!"

The Joe Quesada forum consider the Current State of The Industry:

"Classic comic characters have become unrecognizable to the people who grew up reading their adventures. The history has been discarded and the characterization has been warped to fill whatever direction the writer wants to take the story. Comics have become desperate with creators who do not respect the art form and whom want to conform it to those that they feel are more respectable. Comics have attempted to be so shocking that nothing about them can shock us anymore. As so, we drift from one title to another and comics have become as faddish as other pop culture junk forms with the hot picks of the month replacing quality. Occasionally someone gets it really right, but it’s harder to enjoy with the sense of wonder and amazement removed from a lack of consistent characterization. Mainstream comics no longer have much to say except that we can dissect the comics themselves, which really overstates how important these icons are in terms of literature."

"A year ago, I would've found plenty to complain about in comics. Now, there are just too many diverse, good comics out there, especially at Marvel, for me to complain. Things are looking very good from where I'm sitting."

"There should be ONE Spider-man title- cowritten by Byrne and Stan Lee and drawn by John Buscema. EVERYONE knows Stan Lee, so even people that don't like comics would be more tempted to try it out, just because Lee is representative of the entire genre. In much the same way, Claremont should be given X-Men Editor-in-Chief status. While his stories are faltering, his ideas are quite sound still. Marvel still needs a Vertigo-like imprint. MAX and Knights are doing nothing. As for DC, kudos to them."

Marvel releases preview art for Astonishing X-Men #1 to go along with the already released script preview. It's nice, but also oddly underwhelming.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Silver Bullet breaks news concerning Dave Cockrum. According to SBCB, Eli Bard, Senior Litigation Attorney at Marvel, released this statement this afternoon:

""Marvel has stepped in to help Dave Cockrum, and it is clear that he and his family are satisfied with Marvel's actions, and appreciate its assistance in this matter. While the terms are confidential, Marvel is pleased that it could help Dave and his family, and wish him a speedy recovery and the very best."

Updates are apparently on the way, including details.

Fanboy meltdown: Man Of The Atom gets banned from Newsarama for, well, completely losing it in regards to Gail Simone. Some examples (all to Gail, who appeared after the thread again turns to discussion of the time MOTA called her a whore because she didn't read something he'd written. No, really, you did read that correctly):

"WHY would I want the opinion ofsomeone who I don't respect, someone whoI think is lower than dog poo? STOP bringing the fan fic, my hatred for you has nothing to do with fan fic and everything to do with you being a bitch. There, you got me banned from another board for being a bitch, hope you're happy..."

"...Bitchy Gail, because she writes comics, can come here and lie, take one thing and ignore another. Since I don't write comics I can't insult her for being a liar. Go check CBR, her board. She's obssesed with me for some reason, she keeps opening threads to attack me for no reason other than she can..."

"I never asked you to read my work, I dont'give a fuck what your opinion of it is. You're the fucking bitch that gets off provoking me., you're the fucking bitch that came here to fight. It's yourfucking personality that I hate, not what you do for a living..."

Kind of scary...

Dan Jolley talks Firestorm:

"It's funny, I've seen a couple of people on message boards make comments like, 'If they wanted a Black urban character, they should've hired a Black urban writer!' And, 'How the hell is a white guy from the South going to write an African-American teenager from Detroit?' And, I guess, my answer would have to be, 'the same way I wrote a forty-year-old undead ex-Nazi in 'Obergeist' [laughs]. Writing a character who's not just like you always involves a combination of research, observation, and imagination. You just create the character, and then see where he takes you.

"And, while the issue of Jason's ethnicity will not be ignored, it's also simply not the focus of the story. 'Firestorm' is not about an African-American guy. It's just about a guy. The guy in question is indeed African-American; he's also shy, likes to read, and is trying his damnedest to grow a convincing moustache."

Jay Faerber is interviewed at the increasingly smaller (Length-wise, at least. What gives, Rich?) Waiting For Tommy about reviving Strykeforce, the old Top Cow book starring a man with three arms:

"First of all, I'm writing this book specifically to appeal to multi-limbed individuals such as Stryker. I think this readership demographic has been overlooked for far, far too long. Plus, my upcoming Stryker 12-issue maxi-series is designed to explain exactly why he isn't constantly losing his balance, and ... Okay, I give up. Yes, he's got three robotic arms on one side of his body, and yes, that can tend to look quite silly. But it's a big adventure comic. It's all about crazy characters and visuals, so just go with it, y'know?"

The Beat!, snarky journalistic Ms. Hyde to Heidi McDonald's Dr. Jekyll, turns its eye to Marvel's annual report, released last week:

"For those who like to know what other people make, Marvel has been bringing on a number of execs of late. For instance, John Turitzin, Exec. VP and General Counsel signed on for $350,000 + a 50% bonus. Licensing man of action Bruno Magliore (President of Marvel International) will make $370,000 plus 50% bonus. Of course the big money is in Hollywood. New Marvel Studios prexy and COO David Maisel will pull down a cool $500K (plus – you guessed it -- a 50% bonus). It's great to see that the Marvel which once made employees stumble around in the dark to conserve power, and subsist on a single pot of coffee a day can now afford to bring high-powered execs on board to drive the business into the 21st century and reassure the stockmarket. Perhaps next up they can afford $40K to hire a publicity person, or scrape together the money for a wee booth at San Diego – or even pay for editors to take talent to dinner once in a while."

You've had Spider-Woman! You've had a second Spider-Woman! You've had Spider-Girl! You've had a third Spider-Woman! But are you ready for... Amazing Fantasy?:

"She's fierce, she's sassy...she sticks to walls! Amazing Fantasy #1 is where it all begins: Meet an all-new, all-different heroine! Fiona Avery (Amazing Spider-Man) and Mark Brooks (Marvel Age Spider-Man) launch a surprising series of teen-friendly adventures set in the current Marvel Universe!"

All-New! All-Different!

Akira Yoshida talks about his new I Was A Teenage Thor (oh, alright: "Thor: Son of Asgard". Happy now?) miniseries:

"My biggest influence is still what Stan and Jack did in the early days. I really want to channel what they brought to life in those original Tales of Asgard stories. My stories are the "untold tales" from that time period, about some of the other adventures young Thor had before he got the hammer in Journey Into Mystery #102. But I also love the characterization and dynamics that Walt Simonson set up between the older Thor, Sif and Balder in his run. I am trying to bring some of that more relaxed sense to their relationship here in its younger years in this series."


"A while back I saw the trailer for 'Star Trek: Insurrection' and saw a cool stunt where a Federation tank/APC raced off the edge of a big cliff and into the back of a shuttle. At least it would of been cool if Mark hadn't written the scene already in Ultimate X-Men (issue 3 I think) when Wolvie drives a car off a cliff and into the back of the blackbird!! Anyone else seen any blatent rip-offs of comic book scenes in the movies or on TV?"

Of course, a quick check at IMDB shows that that Star Trek movie was made two years before Ultimate X-Men even started... which makes the follow-up post even better:

"Yeah, comics probably steal from movies more than movies steal from comics, but I was so shocked when one of my fave Ult. X-Men seuquences got ripped off in - worst of all - a Star Drek movie . . ."

[EDIT: Turns out the guy got the movie wrong, and the movie in question did come out after UXM. Which means the humour is gone. Le sigh. Never mind. Go about your business...]

There's a Newsarama thread where the posters end up talking about Bendis saying "its too bad that newsarama has become so surreal. i do believe a couple of those kids got themselves a quote of the month in the new powers". Matt Brady pops in to lend some perspective:

"sorry all you surreal guys and gals...
But I'm figuring that no one who's a regular Nrama poster who sent info in for the Powers v2 #1 letter column in order to get laid will be eligible anymore. You guys are just too surreal...c'mon...let's have some nice, normal, putting your personal info in the back of a comic so you can get laid...reality. Focus people, focus.


I keed because...well, irony always strikes me as ironically ironic."

Someone's translated the Kryptonian (Kryptonese?) in the latest issue of Superman/Batman, because they obviously had a lot of time on their hands that day. Now, as much as I love S/B, this dialogue is really painful:

"Father, why have you forsaken me? I told you once! I don't want to hurt you!"

(Via Newsarama.)

Over at TCJ, they're thinking about bad times for good people:

"Even as a young teenager, I always knew that Marvel's stated policy that 'good shall always triumph over evil' was total bullshit - not to mention very limiting in a story sense. It gave me a certain respect for writers who had the guts to have their hero losing at the story's end. My favorite example was from Shade: The Changing Man #50 (not sure why people don't like this series) where Shade has allied himself with the 'devil', condemns his homeworld, sees his true love get shot dead and has his baby stolen from him. The only mistake the writer made was not ending the series right there. Who's got other examples of a heroic or noble character (Jimmy Corrigan doesn't count) going down to a miserable defeat?"

"I challenge you to find an adventure story in any medium where the hero loses. It's not often done because it enrages the audience, who like adventure stories mainly as escapist power fantasies. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) That being said, my favorite superhero story is Alan Grant's origin of Robin 3. Because Batman loses, and everything is fucked up, and the triumphant origin story readers have in their mind (the handshake, the swearing in, the unveiling of the costume) becomes a wretched tragedy. I love that."

"Come to think of it, I suppose you see less of this in comics just because of the continuing series format. I mean, Spiderman's got to beat Doctor Octopus eventually."

Tim Pilot 84 (for that is his name) continues his predictions for Marvel's summer push on the Joe Quesada board:

"Oeming will be taking over writing for THOR (don't know if it's ongoing), and he will be joined by Andrea Di Vito (Brath)... There is a 5 issue miniseries called IDENTITY DISC to coincide with DC's Identity Crisis. It is written by Robert Rodi with art by John Higgins & Jimmy Palmiotti. Covers by Tony Harris. Basically, Sabretooth, Bullseye, the Juggernaut, Deadpool, Sandman and the Vulture are forced to work together by a mysterious agent who somehow knows every dark and dirty secret about their lives. Their mission: to retrieve the nearly priceless Identity Disc! It is located in the bowels of an impenetrable A.I.M. terrorist base and is purported to contain the true identities, the home addresses and even the credit reports of every hero in the Marvel Universe. The best part--'But how long can these psychopaths work together before chaos begins?' ...Witches #1 & #2 are due in June, written by Brian Walsh and pencilled by Mike Deodato Jr. This appears to be solicited as a new ongoing...Mike Deodato Jr. will be the new penciller for Amazing Spider-Man after JR Jr (don't know if it's just to fill-in while Romita Jr. is on Wolverine)... Paco Medina will be doing an FF arc called 'Dysfunction' which deals with the FF meeting a 'cracked' version of themselves from an alternate dimension..."

Stan Lee has been sold for just $810. Which seems kind of low, to me.

Larry Young celebrates five years of AiT/Planet Lar:

"I always like to do the new thing, to invent new categories, and the like... We did the script book because, at the time, if you wanted to read a comic book script, there was only Alan Moore’s From Hell script and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman script available in print. If people wanted to talk about comics scripts, you had to say 'Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Larry Young' in the same sentence, and that’s nothing but good in terms of bringing attention to your company. Then, forward thinkers like Warren Ellis were touting graphic novels as the natural evolution of keeping work in print. AiT/Planet Lar jumped in feet first, and for a year or two there, you couldn’t talk about graphic novels and trade paperbacks without mentioning my company’s name, too. Also good, for the spotlight on our comics. It’s an old marketing trick; if you invent your own category, you can rule it because you have no competition, and when others get wise to your success, you’re already entrenched as a category-leader. You see this all the time in the real world."

What is this 'real world' of which he speaks of? Is it where The Ultimates takes place?

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Newsarama reports that Peter Milligan and Rob Haynes' JLA: Kid Amazo graphic novel has been postponed with no new publication date set. Ladies and gentlemen, start your conspiracy theories.

(Psst, Jen (or Heidi, whoever sees this first)! It's not Kid Amazon!)

DC sign Ian Churchill to an exclusive contract. I refuse to believe I'm the only person who's wondering what DC are playing at. I mean, Ian Churchill? He's not even done anything recently. Next: DC signs Tony Isabella and Mike W Barr. At the very least, they should sign Stan Lee exclusively for the cheap PR.

Ed Brubaker talks about Sleeper, Catwoman and Gotham Central:

"[Holden Carver is] a good man pretending to be a bad man, and wondering if there's any difference between the pretense and reality. I think that appeals to people, because most people do things they're ashamed of, but still think they're good inside. Plus, Holden's dilemma is just really compelling. It's been said a billion times by now, but he's like Donnie Brasco as a super-hero. He's down in the underground, making real friends, and having to betray them. He's losing sight of which side he's on."

Micah Wright asks why mature readers books don't sell. This could either turn into a good thread, or something that makes me want to alternate between hating modern day fanboys and "the industry" and beating my head off the desk:

"I mean, if Marvel weren't printing The Punisher and Supreme Power (and if those creators weren't who they are, and hadn't signed their deals before the Fall Of Jemas, we all know Marvel WOULDN'T BE printing them), that means the #1 Mature Readers comic on a monthly basis is "Y The Last Man" selling 23% of what the #1 superhero comic sells. For an industry which caters almost exclusively to 25-50 year old men, that's fucking pathetic. These customers are mostly well above the 18-years-old that it takes to walk into an R-rated film... why aren't more R-Rated comics available for them and why don't the customers read the ones which ARE available?"

Dave Sim is apparently posting over on the Cerebus Yahoo group:

"Well, all I can say is, when I read the front page story on the Arts & Life section of the NATIONAL POST with a big colour picture that Superman was going back to his home planet and would be riding a cool motorcycle, I thought, DAMN! Why didn't I think of that? If I'd've just had Cerebus go back to his home planet and ride a cool motorcycle as the ending of issue 300, I COULD'VE BEEN ON THE FRONT PAGE OF CANADA'S OTHER NATIONAL NEWSPAPER!"

Matt Brady looks at the Avengers rumours so far:

"In addition to what Newsarama.com reported yesterday - that both Iron Man writer John Jackson Miller and Captain America writer Robert Morales will be leaving their respective series with the June issues, Newsarama has also learned that long-time Thor writer Dan Jurgens will be leaving that title around the same time; and that May’s issue #8 of Hawkeye will be that series final issue... Also, according to sources, Captain America - a title that never seemed to find its creative footing under the Marvel Knights banner after the departure of artist John Cassaday, will take the creative team change as the opportunity to move back to the Marvel Universe proper to again be a core part of the Avengers family... With their MVP writer lined up for the event itself, speculation (unconfirmed at this point) has centered on Bendis 'assembling' a Grant Morrison-eque/'JLA Big Guns' type line-up for the Earth Mightiest Heroes, featuring Marvel’s biggest, most enduring solo stars like long-time founding Avengers Cap, Thor and Iron Man, possibly standing alongside Marvel’s other solo and licensing superstars like Spider-Man, Wolverine, the Hulk and Daredevil, or in others words, a regular monthly line-up not completely unlike the characters Bendis has assembled for the hit quarterly Secret War limited series."

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