Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Aaron Lopresti and Frank D'Armata are the latest exclusive Marvel signings. I hope they're going to get some nice signing bonuses, but really, is anyone else really caring anymore?

This week, Matt and Joe find themselves burning every bridge that they crossed to find some beautiful place to get lost, ooh ooh ooh oooooooh (And a No-Prize to the first person to place that almost-quote):

"Halfway through writing JUAREZ-- not sure what issue will be out when this column appears, so I'll tread lightly-- I ran into a scene where two characters had a discussion so alien to my experiences that I ground to a halt. My editor was politely wondering where the pages were; the human dynamo that is Ben Templesmith was drawing a storm up behind me, and I couldn't make the pages go. Paul Schrader has a great quote about film noir and this predicament made me think of it: 'No character can speak authoritatively from a space which is continually being cut into ribbons of light.' Schrader's talking about the audience connecting with or believing a character but the same is true about the writers making the characters speak in the first place. The time came to write a serious conversation about a kind of reality so absurd that I couldn't connect with it as a writer; I may have well been writing about kryptonite or cosmic rays. Any underpinning in the real world as I understand it was gone and I was lost. All that was left was a dull and plodding conversation that was all tell and no show, all talk and no rock."

"As your humble servant and the official historian of Byrnerobotics, I’ve been asked to begin a thread where we all recap and recount the events that happened at the Mid-Ohio Con."

With those words start what can only be called a teenager's diary entry version of events:

"Let me note this important fact. It was probably one of the coolest times I’ve ever had in my life. John Byrne was just about the coolest guy I’ve ever met, and I think everyone had a great time with him. He was more than generous with his time, and he was charming and entertaining the whole weekend. It meant quite a lot to me, not just to get away for the weekend, or to see a lot of you guys from the board, but to find out that, despite what it says on the internet, John Byrne, a guy I’ve been a fan of for about a quarter of a century, a guy who is my inspiration and role model, is just as cool as I always hoped he would be. Gushing? I guess I am, but I was really blown away."

"I made it to the Hotel around 10:30, met up with Bob, Matt and Tim, (who were all nursing hangovers!), and we decided to clean up, shower, and go for a late breakfast before hitting the con-floor. We made it to the restaurant, and in the best non-California tradition, there was EGGS AN’ MEAT-A-PLENTY!! We all loaded up our plates and sat down and talked about how excited we were to meet JB, and get autographs, and what-not, and casually, Bob Simko mentions 'Hey, there’s John Byrne.' I turned, and he was walking by the dining area, and I don’t know why, but I waved at him. He saw this, smiled and walked towards the table. Let me take a moment and say that this is not so much historical – more personal, but I’ve been a fan of this guy and his work for most of my life. This was a big moment."

"[T]he room took shape with JB sitting in the corner, and the rest of us sitting all around him, listening as he entertained for about 3 hours with stories, answering questions, singing songs with Roger Stern (I Swear to Christ that it happened. HILARIOUS songs.), and generally having a great time. We all had a good laugh, we all got questions off our chest, we all heard some of the AWESOME directions that the Demon series is going in (& were sworn to silence, so that’s all I’ll say… but it sounds dark, and AWESOME!), we got to look at photocopies of the art for some of the Demon series, we were informed of a new potential mini that JB might do – (again, I’m not sure how public it was supposed to be, but what’s more, he hasn’t decided if he’s going to do it, so… no point in my getting anyone’s hopes up. I will say for the record, however, that it’s one of my favorite DC characters, and I’d love to see it happen!), and… I spilled a little Dr Pepper on JB when handing him a drink, but I hope he didn’t notice it. (!!!)"

But don't hold back. Did you like "JB"?

"JB was the best. He charmed everyone he encountered. He was quick with amusing stories and jokes. He was a gentleman. I was really, truly, deeply impressed by him. A total class act."

"I was going to give it the arc but I decided not to. The art was just bad, it was horrible and Winnick has lost his steam with this book. There's just something about the way this book is written that I don't like. It sucks cuz I like Winnicks stuff usually. I'm going to pick up Batman but I'm done with Outsiders. I'd stay on if Ramey was still on but he's with Marvel. Sorry Judd but it's not working for me."

I like the way that post ends, as if the post was really a note to Judd Winnick that somehow made its way online at the Bendis board.

I love the start of this press release:

"MARVEL WANTS HIM AND HE WANTS THEM! MICHAEL RYAN SIGNS EXCLUSIVE DEAL WITH HOUSE OF IDEAS! Marvel Comics is proud to announce they’ve wooed powerful penciller Michael Ryan into signing an exclusive 3-year contract! 'I’m pretty excited,' beamed Ryan. 'Its great knowing the only place I want to work wants me working only for them!' The artist has worked on Marvel books like Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Spectacular Spider-Man, and, of course, fan-favorite Mystique. 'That taught me more than I could’ve asked for,” he reveals."

Is it just me, or does that last line sound rather unsettling? "Drawing Mystique taught me more than I could've asked for... It shook me to the very core of my being and introduced a new level of terror."

At Millarworld, someone finally defends the ignorant comics fan. It all spins out of a European retailer's perspective on We3's poor sales:

"I'm sorry, but there's no other way to say it: this goes to show the american market is a joke. A very bad and tasteless joke. This is a fabulous book by one of the top 2 writers in the industry and THE top artist, bare none, in the field. And it sells this miserable global numbers. I know: this is going to sell much better in GN form, but even though... As a small european retailer, WE3 is my number 2 'monthly' best-seller, only surpassed by Astonishing X-Men. It's a book I heavily promote and much sought after by customers. This is really a surreal situation and I better stop right now, otherwise I'll say some very unpleasant things..."

This doesn't go down well:

"Yeah, but it's Homeward Bound meets the Terminator... Not really my thing. Now if they would have done Superman, Batman, or even another JLA mini..that would have sold much better. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd rather read super hero titles than a mini about animal assassins."

"I think it's more of a joke that you think you are so cultured, that you should decide what's taseful and what's not... Do you always go around insulting an entire country like this , and is this approved of here? If so, where are you from? I'm sure I could insult the hell out of you and your countrymen for not liking what I like. Jeez..."

Ed Brubaker pops in to try and calm things down:

"Hey, why don't you chill out and actually read what he said. He said the 'American Market' not America, John Wayne. And he's got a good point, when the biggest artist in comics does a book that ISN'T superheroes and it only sells around 30 thousand, that's showing how limited our market is, especially the American Direct Market. It's essentially a one-genre market, and on a pure business level, even, that's just wrong. And this from a guy who writes Captain America. Our TPB market is better for non-superhero stuff, at least, but still not nearly so good as Europe's. And lets not even get started on Japan. ;)"

And that's when things get fun:

"He's insulting every American who willingly supports the market with no complaints, and called us tasteless and a joke. Don't you think there's a damn good reason why we don't support a market for the other stuff? You may like the other genres, and he may like the other genres, but these are comic books, not deep literature, and most people aren't trying to convince themselves that comics are something that they're not, and choose to get our other genres from other mediums. Ones that do them better. We are the entertainment capital of the world, and we have lots of choices on how to spend our entertainment dollars, and buying comic books that deal with anything other than superheroes is not most people's thing. That doesn't mean it's wrong or that we're dumb, but the market is a reflection of the buyer's wants,and insulting the Amercan market is insulting the American buyer who wants to buy that stuff."

Brubaker again:

"The fact is, the Direct Market is not that accurate a reflection of what the buyer wants. It's a reflection of what the retailers on the whole are willing to carry. When stores carry a wider variety of product, the way bookstores usually do, the non-superhero stuff generally sells better -- look at stores like the Isotope or the Beguiling, who carry the full range of genres, they sell as many Eightballs as they do X-Men. Saying the Direct Market reflects what the buyers want is like saying the sales at Mystery Bookstores prove that no one wants to read anything but mysteries. The point being that the majority of comic stores have basically become Super-hero boutiques, not even racking anything outside the top 20 or 30 books, with the rest left to subscription services only. It's a sad situation for those of us who want to see a more diverse market for the medium, such as they have in Europe and Asia. Thankfully, TPBs are starting to have more of an impact through bookstores, and as I said, when presented with more options, buyers are choosing to try more diverse material."

Cue defensive fanboy:

"Kind of a biased opinion coming from the guy who writes Gotham Central and Sleeper (Your babies), so I can see why you would want more non-super hero books out there and succeeding. The American markets as good as it's going to get. If you guys think that books other than super heroes are going to explode here...you're living on the wrong planet. Maybe manga in bookstores, but that's about it. Half the stuff that gets nominated for Eisners, I have never heard of."

The American market is as good as it's going to get, okay? If you're not with us, you're against us, you dirty stinking Communist no-goodnik!

Only on the Bendis board...:

"How many New Avengers #1's should I buy? 10?20?30? I think I'll buy somewhere between 10-15. Maybe 20 after I figure out how much money I have for comics."


"why not? It's the best avengers team to come out in long time.And It makes for a great Christmas gift that every one in my family is getting."

"I'm buying 4. One of each cover and the directors cut..."

"Buy a few for friends. Speculator wise...who knows. Considering that mega popular comics like this will probably sell in the 150-200K range, the Millar predicted comic boom of 2006 (which could have comics selling in the 300-500K range), could make stuff now more valuable."

"I'm buying one for me, one for my brother, and the Director's Cut dealy. So, 3! I so can't freaking wait for this! This is the most excited I've been for a new comic since the Powers relaunch!"

Gail Simone defends the art in Birds of Prey:

"I've been pretty unapologetic about the skin, partially because I've always planned to have some rowdy beefcake mudwrestling. I've been working in a beauty salon for quite a while (just quit this month) and I think the idea of removing glamour and cheesecake and all that stuff is just too too drab for superhero comics. I've said it many ways, but I'd rather have a book that flies right over the cliff of good taste once in a while than one of these very mannered, very drab but polite comics. I can read ten comics and forget them the next day, and I'd rather be remembered for being really toxic than meet that doom! Plus, I like to think there's a sense of humor about it, and I've put as many hot guys in as I can fit, as well. Never have too many of those, I say.

"I'll be honest. I think conventional wisdom on what the average female reader finds too much is way off-base. Look at what magazines the average female reads and they make Bop look like choir practice. That might not be THIS audience, but Bop gets a ton more mail from females than most comics, and comic shops report it's a great gateway drug for new female readers. The weird thing is, what offends me in comics is rarely how much skin is showing--it's much more about whether female characters in comics behave in a fashion remotely like any woman or girl I've ever known (or been). There are SO many weepy warriors, or men-with-tits out there...I've got to say, that's a lot more likely to set my teeth on edge. I could go on about this, but essentially, I've got no sense of taste at all and shouldn't be allowed to write comics, that's for darn sure. Plus, I'm not sure, but I might be a traitor to my gender. :)

"That said, however, what I DO have a problem with, regarding Bop--sometimes we've had the cheesecake at exactly the wrong moment, and some of that really is a cultural difference (Ed's from Brazil, and doesn't speak English). We're working on that, but I do wish the guy would get more credit for what he does beautifully, better than a lot of bigger name artists...he really does some lovely acting. I can always ask him to draw the women having a casual conversation, knowing he'll get the tone just right 90% of the time, which is an AMAZING average. He's great, I adore him. Oh, and I don't like the Jim Lee Huntress outfit for the same reasons others have mentioned, but I'll defend the fishnets to the death."

Newsarama posters ask "What's your beef with DC?":

"all ive seen is marvel bashing recently, and i'd like to ask: Does anyone have beef with DC? I've only got one beef as of now: Taking the animated style out of Catwoman. THat pissed the hell out of me and made me drop it. I picked up Gulacy's first arc, and while okay, i couldn't take losing cameron stewart."

"I don't have a beef with DC at all. I simply don't find 99% of their titles/characters appealing to me. What I do have a problem with, is DC fans who seem to think that DC is wonderful and perfect, and always have something negative to say about Marvel, even though the arguments/points they bring up as 'bad Marvel' are also points that DC is doing, too. My problem stems from DC fans who slam Marvel books and rag on them and make fun of them when they aren't even reading the title in the first place. My problem is DC fans who say things like 'New Avengers is going to suck' or 'Young Avengers is stupid' without reading them yet."

"DC's unwillingness to let writers take any chances with Batman and Superman. (too tired to dig up the facts according to Waid, Morrison, Millar, Peyer, Casey and others) It's the main reason I really don't care for either character right now and haven't since Morrison's JLA run. All in all I really don't find very many of DCU's heroes interesting at all (except for Nightwing, GL and the Flash, and I love Identity Crisis). DC's main event for me is the incomparable Vertigo line, comics bliss for me. Followed by Wildstorm with Sleeper II, Ex Machina, Authority and Planetary. So, no major beef with DC here, as long as Vertigo's around, I'm around."

"My beef is that I love too many of their books!!"

Monday, November 29, 2004

Marc Mason wants to give you comics. Would you want to make him sad and not accept them? Exactly.

Tom Raney goes exclusive with Marvel. Newsarama is not impressed:

"Oh swell... more exclusive bullcrap from the House of Marvel. Sigh..."

"Ok, so now Marvel has yet another artist who cannot do a monthly title. As much as I enjoyed Raney's work on the Outsiders, it was getting irritating to not know if he was doing the art in a given issue. By the way, did he even do 12 issues of Outsiders????"

"I'll admit, I kind of rolled my eyes at this announcement. Don't get me wrong--Raney's a phenomenal talent. But he's ridiculously slow. I'd like to count up how many issues of Outsiders he actually pencilled. I think 12 may even be generous. I think he'd be best utilized on a mini-series or something where he can build up the issues and then release them all, consecutively, no hold up. But as a regular penciller on a book he simply doesn't have the chops. I'd hate to have him on Ultimate X-Men. I'd never see the damn book. You can disagree if you want, but his last three or four series really do tell the story. Still, he's gotta be faster than Trevor Hairsine (not to mention way better, IMO). Still waiting on Ultimate Nightmare #3! And considering he had a fill-in on issue 2, that is just freaking ridiculous."

Michael Dean of The Comics Journal talks to Rick Veitch about The Pulse and online comic journalism in general:

"Feeding a daily news site drains people dry (that's why I had to give up [former Comicon news site] The Splash). But even if a site has the resources for a brace of reporters, the nature of the medium is such that long thought-out pieces aren't read like they are when published in print. The Web is emotional, like television news can be. If it's journalism, it's tabloid journalism. It wasn't serendipity that led Steve [Conley] and I to design The Splash like the New York Post."

"Jim Lee: Any advice to future columnists?

Rich Johnston: Make sure you've got more than two columns in you.

Lee: Yeah, I've noticed. When they (the other columnists) are reduced to a column featuring only message board posts…well, you know it's game over."


It's from an interview with Jim Lee interviewing Rich Johnston that starts here and continues here.

Newsarama posters think they know who the mystery member of New Avengers is:

"I wasn't planning on picking up New Avengers so I don't know if this has already been mentioned, but in today's paper I saw this headline:High Profile heroes to unite in new series (the link does not go to the local paper, but has the complete text of the story). This is the first paragraph: 'Having conquered the box office separately, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Daredevil are about to see if they can work together in a comic book' And later: ''The New Avengers' is set up to attract new comic-book readers by featuring several of our characters who have been successfully adapted to the big screen,' says Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada. Spider-Man has appeared in two box-office hits. Ben Affleck played Daredevil, and Wolverine, as portrayed by Hugh Jackman, has emerged as one of the most popular members of the X-Men.' Like I said, this may be being discussed elsewhere on the board, but I thought I would throw it out there for those who hadn't heard."

"Yes, this is also spoiled in this month's Wizard.."

"So, is Daredevil the secret character in the martial arts outfit, or is that someone else?"

"I think they're looking at Hasbro's late-80s G.I. Joe sales model of putting older characters in random specialized outfits."

The Bendis board ask "Why do people shit on Wizard?":

"When they are the only comicbook magazine out. If you want better than put out your own magazine. All there trying to do is talk about comics but also make enough money to keep publishing. No magazine is perfect and they do focus on mainstream books but guess what books make money?"

"I think if I were new to comics and I picked up the latest Wizard to see what's what, I would be really turned-off from comics, or at the very least my enthusiasm would be significantly dampened. It's just such a... base publication, it really plays to the lowest crowd possible, and I find it really off-putting. If we want people to recognize the possibilites of comics, we shouldn't be pushing a magazine full of fart jokes, boobs, and Transformers comics on them... Sorry, that was my most elitist post to date. I apologize for being a snob, but it's just somewhat distressing."

"cuase the fuckers can't even mail out a magazine on time other than that I have no problem, and actually since I cancelled my subscription I've had no problems with them."

Rich Johnston on Crisis 2:

"Remember a few months ago, Lying In The Gutters mentioned a new Crisis series for 2005 by Geoff Johns and Phil Jiminez? Well, I've just received a few more details. Trouble is they're being disputed. Let's see. I've been told the whole of the DC Universe will jump forward by a year. All the titles will have completely new setups as a result, and the new Crisis series will gradually explain what happened to leave all the characters in the state they are after the year gap. And that the first books to launch out of that will be the previously mentioned Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely in August, Batman by Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb, and Wonder Woman by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver.

"But despite the story being well sourced, someone else equally well sourced is throwing water over it. And not just over the possibility that the new books don't spin out of Crisis 2, but that the book is about something else entirely. Or am I just hedging my bets?"

Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely? Somewhere, Mark Millar is crying.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Mike San Giacomo's Phantom Jack - The book that wouldn't die:

"Suffice it to say that there were problems [with the book] at Image, and it wasn’t with anyone except Erik Larsen. Erik came down like a two-ton gorilla, and... to be honest, rather rudely said he had no interest in the comic. He didn’t like the sales numbers, and he told me he didn’t like the book. From that point, I was shopping it around to a few other people. I didn’t have any doubts that I could find someone to publish it. It has a pretty decent fan base, and it seemed that people wanted to hear a little bit more of the story. I was tipped off to Speakeasy Comics, and called Adam Fortier to talk. I was really impressed with what he had to offer. He seemed to have it all together, and what was most impressive was that he was ready to work. With several other companies, they told me they’d think about it, and liked the idea, but they were busy, and would have to take some time to get things put together, but Adam was ready to go."

Mark Millar has read the first two issues of Marvel's latest relaunch of Black Panther by movie writer/director/producer Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr.:

"This is fucking AMAZING. It's the best superhero book I've read this year. Seriously. I don't want to give it TOO MUCH of a build-up, but this is just plain good shit. Anyone who doesn't like BP will still enjoy this because it's pure quality. Anyone who digs the character and always wanted this to be a top ten book is about to have an orgasm. This is just a great, great superhero book. My tips for break-outs next year are [Losers and Adam Strange writer Andy] Diggle and Hudlin. I'd never heard of this guy before now, but if this is his first attempt at a comic book I'm seriously impressed."

I'm glad that "the best superhero book I've read this year" isn't too much of a build-up in Millar's eyes. I'd ask what he thinks is too much of a build-up, but I remember his claims that Wanted was Watchmen for Super-Villains and soon-to-be an Eminem movie. For those who want to read Hudlin's actual first attempt at a comic book, however, check out Birth of A Nation, which he created with Aaron McGruder and Kyle Baker. It may not have superheroes, but it's a lot of fun nonetheless.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Jim Lee's/Wildstorm's blog has a few interesting looks (here, here and here) at what happened when the studio got enamored with Jamie Hewlett's Gorillaz awhile back, giving me the excuse to mention to all Hewlett fans that the official Gorillaz site is relaunching 8th December...

"Can't we just forget about that whole Avengers Disassembled thing?", asks the Bendis board:

"Chaos is in the past, New Avengers and House of M are in the future, and all the bitching in the world is not going to turn back time. Bendis has heard all of our complaints, so if complaining so he'll see our complaints and make changes or so that he'll be more careful in the future is the goal, we've got it on the floor, and he's aware of our problems with the work. Let's just cool it, and go into New Avengers with hoping for the best, and who knows, we may even get what we're hoping for. If not, as paying customers, we have every right to let him know, but for the next 5 days, lets give the guy a break. That's not going to kill anybody."

"I agree with you, man. It's time to move on..."

"I've been over it for a good while now. Tis only the true fanboy, much like the Hal Jordan GL fan-ilk....that continues to whine without cheese."

Josh Hale Fialkov on getting Diamond to accept your indy comic:

"Obviously, it’s in Diamond’s best interests to make sure that retailers don’t get stuck with a lot of stock of crap, but it’s equally important that when a retailer actually takes a chance on an independent book, it’s not going to put them off independent comics forever. Trust me, I’ve read some comics that would do just that That being said, their screening process, while stringent, is hardly the most strict and thorough you’ll experience as a creator. If your book is a) good and b) has sale potential, then you’re in. The sales potential bit gets missed a lot by creators, who think that their $54.95 oversized hardcover will do great business, despite not having any reputation or recognizability."

Newsarama offer up gift ideas from comic pros. Kieron Dwyer recommends Alex Toth stuff, and therefore is Good-Taste God For The Day, possibly the first time anyone has put "good taste" and "Kieron Dwyer" in the same sentence in quite a while. Meanwhile, Tom Spurgeon also offers a Holiday Gift Guide at the must-read-everyday-best-comic-blog-around Comics Reporter. As Andy Williams once so boomingly sang, it's the most wonderful time of the year.

I love the first line of this ode to Mark Millar, from Rob Liefeld:

"Okay, toss this off as gratuitous ass-kissing at your own risk. The reason I'm thanful for Mark Millar is that he's a fearless writer who doesn't rest on his laurels. He rose up from the obscurity that was Superman Adventures. He bravely assumed the intimidating task of following Warren Ellis on The Authority and with Frank Quietly, hardly a proven commodity at the time, re-defined and re-directed the title. Huge achievement. He took on Ultimate X-Men as his first big Marvel assignment and with Adam Kubert effortlessly assimilated the popular look and feel of the popular X-Men film. He launched the Ultimates and re-defined the modern comic book super team with Brian-ready- for-prime-time-Hitch. It instantly became the only Avengers book worth caring about until the recent upheaval. He has shot Wolverine back up the charts and written the most intriguing Spider Man tale in recent years.

"But the most impressive move he has made is at the peak of his popularity, he dared to dance in the independent market with Wanted, Chosen and the Unfunnies. Utilizing three talented but hardly "safe" super-star artists he created exciting new comic universes. He chose not to walk the safe path and feast on ready made hits. Instead he carved out his own nitch alongside other daring creators like Brian Bendis. How many creators at the top of the heap leave the confines and safety of the direct market, much less achieve any success doing it ? Here's to another year of Millar's daring-do and fearless writing. Thankful indeed..."

Okay, so I have just tossed that off as gratitous ass-kissing. But what, exactly, have I risked in doing so? Maybe I should start watching my back...

Mark Millar has been going on and on about what he'd do to Superman if (or, in his mind, when) he's given the chance again, in a thread at Millarworld.

On his connection to Batman: "[Superman and Batman are] both orphans. They absolutely understand each other and know that there's nobody else they can count on as much as they other. PS I know Superman isn't an orphan in this dreadful period he's been under seige (from 1986 until Hitchy and I fix him again), but the true understanding of the character is, like Bambi, he loses his Mum and Dad again. All the iconic heroes do whether it's Superman, Bambi or Batman."

On why Bryan Hitch is his ideal Superman collaborator: "Hitchy's even worse than me. Although he looks much older and has trouble sleeping through the night without a piss, Hitchy is only three weeks younger than me. Thus, we grew up on the same Cary Bates Superman comics aged 6-14. Exactly the same comics. We were also 8 years old when we saw Superman and Hitch, like me, can repeat the entire movie line for line. You should hear our daily phone chats. They're a hymn to Superman. Fixing this mess has been our destiny. It'll happen. Not for a while, but it'll happen."

On Clark Kent: "Clark is a pair of glasses. Superman doesn't need glasses. He puts on the glasses for no practical reason; just to dress up and pretend to be this mid-westwern guy he's not as a means of rubbing shoulders with the people on this planet. Superman would have thought he was human until puberty. Until maybe 12. The easiest way to understand it is to think of Jesus in the temple and the moment where his mother has to tell him the truth. He always knew he was different and alone. This is when it was all explained to him. He could still love his parents, but Clark is him trying to understand what humans are all about. As Elliot Maggin puts it, Clark Kent is a living, breathing work of art."

On Lois Lane: "Superman doesn't love Lois. Clark loves Lois and Superman tries HARD to love Lois, but he can't because she's the wrong species. But he tries. Again, Maggin sums it up beautifully. It doesn't have to be complicated... Clark loves Lois, Lois loves Superman, Superman loves Clark [...] Perfect. This is also one of the reasons Superman shouldn't be married to Lois. It's just stupid. It makes no sense and destroys the whole dynamic. Superman is God, Jor-El is the Holy Spirit and Clark Kent is Jesus. The Kents are Mary and Joseph and Lois is Mary Magdelene. She's the NYC girl who's fucked her way around the city and found nobody who measures up. She's just had it with men and is focusing on her career... then Superman shows up. This is why Margot Kidder was perfect for the role and why Lois should be played by someone around 30 even if Supes is being played by a 25 year old. You'll see what I mean when we fix it."

On the current version of the character: "[Kingdom Come] is close to perfect. Waid gets it. None of the other American writers do, though Loeb comes close. His only weakness is getting caught up in the whole farmboy thing. The farm is where he grew up and knew he was NOTHING LIKE THESE PEOPLE. He affects it for the Clark persona, but that's it. He's as Kryptonian as Jesus is divine. Did Jesus shag Mary Mag? I don't think so. Superman should never shag Lois. It's insane and what happens when artists start touching tyoewriters. Jimmy is the reader-identification figure and the comedy relief. PS I'm saving everything else for the launch. No other ideas from me here, I'm afraid, in case some cunt nicks em."

On mixing metaphors: "No brimstone for Superman. He's interesting enough without it. He sees Earth the way immigrants saw America 100 years ago. He sees a chance for hope and a new life after losing his homeland as a kid. He loves people because he recognizes their great potential and, like Krypton, he wants to encourage them towards the Utopia his father sent him from. Forget Byrne. Read the Bible."

On the previous pitch Millar had made with Grant Morrison, Mark Waid and Tom Peyer: "The pitch we did was very late 90s and all the things I WOULDN'T do if Superman was being revamped now. It was nice, but it was the whole retro 60s thing that Grant's into as opposed to what I'd want to do myself. This thing was pretty good, but would be absolutely wrong for now. It still had Superman married to Lois and all that shit. There was another draft Mark Waid added with Earth getting a mind-wipe to forget that stuff and it had some nice touches, but I'd just start from scratch."

On how close Superman is to humanity: "Humans were apes less than 50 million years ago. Kryptonians are what we'd be like in 20 billion years. I have this all worked out as part of the proposal. In the last two years, I've filled two entire ring-binders with the plan. There's some AMAZING stuff in here. Hitch has also been doing little design doodles for the last five years. It's fate that we met."

And when some people disagree with Millar's idea of the perfect Superman: "Anyway, you're all wrong and I'm right ;) It'll make much more sense once Hitch and I deprogram you from 18 years of John Byrne and Mike Carlin."

Thursday, November 25, 2004

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Byrne Board pick their "Turkey of The Year":

"My award would actually be a double award to Marvel and the editors of Spider-man-for AMazing and Spectacular Spider-man. One, for nonsensically altering perceptions of a beloved and deceased character. The other, for making major changes to the powers of a classic character-whose powers were not ba problem, and for doing so in a lousy storyline in the secondary book, and just to match the movie (in some ways-but the movie did not have the extra super spider-sense he has now). There were other turkeys this year, but this was Marvel's trademark character, so it gets the award."

"The possibility that the Atom is the villain of IDENTITY CRISIS. That he would ever, in a million years, orchestrate the deaths of Sue Dinby, Tim Drake's father and almost murdering his ex-wife is beyond the ken of believability. Shock for shock value with no grounding in character and history. I'll give the story the benefit of the doubt and wait until the final issue because it could be a big ruse to throw us off the trail of the real killer (the possibility still exists that it's Dr. Light given the quiet scene he had in #6), but if it is Ray Palmer, then it's one of the most boneheaded moves by a company since the Spider-Man/Gwen/Gwen's children fiasco, and making GL and Hawk mass murderers."

"I think for me it would have to be Marvel as a whole. From Sins Past to Wolverine and Spider-Man almost literally taking over every title (including the Avengers- can a relaunch of Fantastic Four featuring 'The New Fantastic Four' be far behind?) to releasing sixteen different versions of each character (Ultimate, 'mainstream', Marvel Age, etc.), the company continues to dig itself a deeper and deeper trench. DC may be, on the whole, bland and inoffensive, but at least there seems to be some modicum of respect for the characters and the audience."

Apart from when they let the fans call their characters Supes and Bats, of course...

Brian K. Vaughan gets fed up with the continued confusion about his Marvel series that isn't Ultimate X-Men:

"Despite what you may have heard, RUNAWAYS is NOT a 'miniseries.' It's an ongoing book that’s already been generously green-lit by Marvel for AT LEAST a guaranteed twelve issues, but we’re all very confident that the series is going to last much longer than that. That comes from Joe Q., Dan and C.B. I already have the first two years plotted out, and artist Adrian Alphona and I are both convinced that this is going to be the biggest comeback for a team since GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1.

"Sounds like a well-intentioned person in marketing wanted to let retailers know that they could be confident that Marvel was 100% dedicated to helping this book find its audience during its entire first year (no sudden 'Last Issue' announcement with #6!), thus the confusion about the language in the Marvel Mailer. RUNAWAYS IS ONGOING, AND I'M STICKING WITH THE BOOK THROUGH ISSUE #100 (at least)!"

The Bendis Board isn't happy with Wizard, either:

"I think Wizard's Marvel Vs. DC interview was mostly everyone Vs. Bendis [...] it figures Millar would bail on him"

"I do have to say I like Loeb's jab towards Daredevil/Batman... [But] Loeb is way offbase. Batman would never let Daredevil in his cave. It would be 48 pages of Batman and Daredevil standing on a rooftop talking."

Bendis defends the interview: "i will say it was friendlier than it read. the jabs were all in good fun. except loeb's"

Newsarama posters ask: "Is Wizard Marvel's bitch?" (Well, they actually ask if Wizard is Marvel's "Bi@tch?", but you know what they mean):

"The Jan 2005 issue label's Bendis Man of The Year. It also labels Marvel as publisher of the year. Hmm,.... a bald man who looks like a lesbian with a shaved head is Man Of The Year..... and a publisher who re-launches instead of developing and strengthening its current titles. Its also mentions Ultimates 2 and Ultimate Secret as one of the reasons why its Publisher of the year..... I have not read any of these, given that they arent out yet,.... but Wizard seems to contribute these into its choice. So, since when did Wizard go from Price Guide for Comics to Fixed Boxing Referee?"

"Brad Metzler should have gotten Man of the Year or Dan Didio or Geoff Johns. Wizard should just call itself Marvel Suck-Up Monthly. I'm gonna laugh when Marvel's sliding sales start forcing Wizard to kiss up to DC to interesting again."

"To be fair, Wizard did give a lot of praise to IC and Meltzer in this Wizard. Honestly, I think the award went to Bendis fairly because of the number and quality of the books that he has been doing. Some might disagree but with a resume this year including Ultimate Spider-Man, Pulse, Secret War, Daredevil, Avengers, Powers, and Ultimate FF. Wizard also mentions that he has 51 books in Diamond's top 100 from January to September. Hard to argue that he isn't the man of the year when he has over half of the top selling books over that period. Meltzer and Johns were good, but Meltzer's only work of the year was IC and Johns' stuff just didn't get as much press. Flash, TT, JSA and Green Lantern Rebirth are all quality books, but IMO I would take Powers over all of them."

"You know who won TIME magazine's Man of the Year award once? Hitler. Stalin twice. Is Bendis the next to step into this illustrious echelon?"

Millarworld's Ryan Higgins forwards some sad news:

"Bob Haney, long-time DC writer of series like Brave & the Bold, Aquaman, Teen Titans, World's Finest, and others, suffered a stroke, according to this weeks Back Issue magazine (http://www.twomorrows.com). He's currently staying in a convalescence hospital in La Mesa, CA."

I'm a big Haney fan, and hope he's recovering quickly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Anytime you see a thread at the Bendis board called "Poor Bendis", you know that it's going to be good:

"I can't help but feel bad for him, and the shit storm that he's coming under. If it's any consolation, George Lucas gets it much worse in the ass. That kinda stuff does have to bother Bendis, even if he puts on a brave face. Who wants to constantly hear or read people bitching about how bad a job you did on something? Now, this 'refund' thing appears to be making it all over the internet.

"In a few weeks, he's going to have to deal with the inevitable where New Avengers' launch is concerned , and I'm assuming , because of choices that were made, it's not going to be better than a mixed reaction online. With the rousing success stories that Captain America and Iron man's relaunches just experienced, and other new books like New Thunderbolts and Marvel Team Up getting pretty good marks, as well as revamps like Millar and Romita Jr.'s Wolverine recieving raves, and books like Astonishing X-Men pleasing the cynical X-Men fans almost universally, Bendis can't seem to catch a break, as now, mixed reactions will be seen in an even worse light, because the others got past that hump. This Avengers gig is really adding to the stress in his life, and you got to wonder if the fun will be enough to overcome it."

Thankfully, the real Bendis fans know their hero better than this:

"'Poor Bendis' sees the sales figures - they're fantastic. The clamor of the internet community is just noise and it's not reality. At this point, I don't think it gets to him as much as it gets to us around here...."

"Sales kind of indicate that people like the book. You know--they think it's of a good quality. See how they exist on the same plateau? Maybe you should just deal with the fact that you're in the minority."

AiT/PlanetLar publisher Larry Young on Demo, the book Wizard have named as Indy of The Year:

"When [writer Brian Wood] pitched me the idea behind DEMO, I thought it was so good, it made me re-evaluate our trade paperbacks-only business model... In order to stay an innovative company and live up to our motto, 'Making Comics Better,' we need to be flexible to meet the needs of our creators, as well as our customers, the comic book retailers, and our audience, the readers and fans. When Brian told me Becky [Cloonan] was on-board for art and anxious to change up her style each issue to fit the thematic tone of the story, I knew we could cover all those bases with the project. It’s a home run."

Marc-Oliver Frisch looks at DC and indie numbers for October. Those of us who like Kyle Baker's Plastic Man, Ed Brubaker, or Greg Rucka's run on Wonder Woman may not want to click through to the story, however. On a more positive note for DC:

"[Identity Crisis is] October's best-selling book in the direct market, displaying a comparatively tiny drop-off and outselling Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s debut on WOLVERINE by about 10,000 units. The book's re-order activity also remains quite spectacular; apart from 27,265 copies of the second printing of IDENTITY CRISIS #1, #2-4 also shifted another 4,000-6,000 copies each in October. These are excellent numbers."

A Thanksgiving gift from AllSpark.com - Legends of Batman:

"Back during my sophomore year in college there was this girl in one of my physics classes that I thought was pretty hot. She was totally vapid and completely uninteresting in personality, but basically it was just a matter of trying to get into her pants at the time.

"Acting under the premise that it's easier to get with someone by being what they want than who you are, I asked her out to go 'clubbing' and she actually agreed to it. That kind of blew my mind but whatever.

"So we went out to this place on State Street, and good lord almighty was I bored. Especially since I don't dance or anything. So we sat at the bar, and she yammered on and on and on and on, and I sat there feining interest. Of course there comes a point where someone, no matter how hot they may be, are just entirely too annoying to ever consider sleeping with. I don't even know at what point I noticed that she wasn't even sitting next to me any more, she was grinding with some meathead on the dance floor. So I sat there drinking beers, and guess who sits down next to me?

"The Riddler.

"I jive you not, the friggin' Riddler sits down at the bar right next to me.

"I mean my god, what are the odds that you're going to meet the Riddler in a bar in Santa Barbara? And get this... He buys me a drink! He buys me a drink and starts going on about how he got ditched by his date too. For a smart guy, he sure seems to whine an awful lot. He keeps buying me drinks though, and he won't shut up, and then something hits me...

"My god, is the Riddler HITTING ON ME?

"So I look at him, and his sitting there sucking on a straw like he's trying to be seductive, and I think, 'OH MY GOD, HE IS TRYING TO HIT ON ME!' Of course I immediately go back to staring straight into my drink and start pondering how the hell I'm going to gracefully extricate myself from this situation, when a hush falls over the crowd. We all turn to the dance floor, and who should be there but BATMAN.

"Batman. On the dance floor. And before anyone can know what's happened, he challenges the Riddler to a dance off right then and there.

"Now when you go out clubbing, the last thing you expect to see is the Riddler and Batman get into a dance off, least off all with coreographed back up dancers behind them. It was totally unreal to watch, a feverish blurr of twirls and pelvic thrusts and poses, but in the end there could only be one winner.

"The Riddler.

"Sorry Batman, but as athletic as you are, you just weren't gay enough to out dance the Riddler. Of course that didn't stop Batman from just punching his lights out and doing that little zip line thingy to book it out of there.

"So I stuck around for a while out of that before leaving, and when I get outside, what do you think I see? My date hopping into the Batmobile. Of all the luck."

Tony Harris has reason to be happy:

"S'cuse me while I giggle.... Wizard has named Mitchell Hundred [the main character of Ex Machina] as THE new character of the year. Awesome. I love it that a politician, NOT a super hero got that nod. They didnt call THE GREAT MACHINE THE new character of the year. Nope they did not. Although that woulda been fucking cool too.........."

Harris is also offering the chance to see the CD-Rom that was given out to voters at the last Ex Machina/Isotope event at his website, for those of us unlucky enough not to make it to the event itself...

Mark Millar tries to woo Jim Lee:

"I just got the new Superman where Supes bitch-slaps Wonder Woman (she was giving him lip) and Lee is amazing. He's still got it. I feel bad about kicking his ass in sales for November because he really is bloody good. He needs to start working with the one writer in the top ten who still has hair, tho. Man, we'd sell like CRAZY, Jimmy."

When Rich Johnston (Happy now, Rich?) points out that Lee is on DC staff:

"Shit. I forgot about that. I knew Marvel was out, but I was thinking he could do one of the Millarworld 2 Image books. There's one book still unassigned. But I forgot he's still a DC staffer. Oh, well. Paul isn't getting any younger, I suppose..."

Paul O'Brien looks at Marvel's October sales:

"Up almost 80% on issue #19? Marvel are bound to be pleased with that. It's been a long time since WOLVERINE was this far up the chart. That said, there's a fly in the ointment - with Millar and Romita's second issue, the book drops straight out of the top ten again, and ends up back where it was a year ago. Even so, it's up by 18,000 on the numbers inherited from Greg Rucka and Darick Robertson. And I suspect retailers may have underordered on the second issue - we'll see how it goes in the next couple of months. Anyhow, this has to rate as a successful relaunch so far. One other caveat: WOLVERINE is Marvel's highest selling title of the month, but only because ASTONISHING X-MEN didn't ship in October. ASTONISHING sold over 130,000 in September and would undoubtedly have beaten WOLVERINE had it actually come out. None of which, of course, detracts from the fact that these are good numbers."

DC announce two more sell-out books: JLA Classified and Space Ghost. Wait, Space Ghost actually sold out?

"Two debuts of DC Comics projects have sold out at the publisher: JLA: CLASSIFIED #1 (SEP040308), which sold out on November 19 after arriving in stores on November 3, and SPACE GHOST #1 (SEP040353), which sold out two days after arriving in stores on November 17. Please note that copies may still be available at retail."

Space Ghost sold out in two days? How small was that original print run?

Val Staples of MV Creations gives you all a tale for the holidays:

"About a year and a half ago, we moved from Image Comics to CrossGen Entertainment to publish our books. At the time, it seemed like the smart move. CrossGen had proven to be on the up-and-up, we had friends there who were very happy and they had programs in place to reach younger readers which was something we always wanted to do. Of course, what we didn't know is that they were sailing a ship that was taking on water at an alarming rate. None of us had any way of knowing. When payments never came, we complained, fought and eventually sued. And by the time the smoke cleared about six months later, CrossGen went bankrupt right after defaulting on a settlement agreement we had reached. This put their debt to us at almost $60,000.00. This was a crushing blow that crippled our income and our ability to publish comics during that time and beyond... Today, we find ourselves facing a debt of a little over $140,000.00. Not a huge debt as far as most companies are concerned. But for a little studio like ours, it's a monstrous amount of money that we have no way of paying in any relatively short amount of time."

Staples is looking to a fundraiser to help keep the company alive. It's like "Band Aid 20" but without the guy from Coldplay.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Newsarama posters compare the shock value of The Big Two's big storylines:

"After everyone found out what JMS 'did' to Gwen Stacy's past.. people were outraged that he 'ruined' the character. But strangely, I haven't seen one person complain about what the 'heroes' did in the flashbacks in I.C... double standard? Of course. Why? Because for one, the Gwen thing is Marvel. And we all know how fun Marvel bashing is these days."

"It's not a double standard. While women in IC had sex, they were raped, and then later killed. Their 'character' remained 'untarnished', and thus is okay. Gwen on the other hand got knocked up by Norman Osborn, but did so willingly, thus making the act of sex bad. In conclusion: rape makes comic fans happy, consenting females pisses them off."

"I'm talking about what the heroes did. You're saying that doesn't tarnish their image?"

"It does, but not on the level of... CONSENTUAL SEX. Maybe they rape an unconcious Batman in a flashback in IC #7. That'll make it okay."

Nick Locking loses it at the V:

"That's it! Fuck it! Hal is coming back, and I don't like it! Hal never contained an exploding supernova! Hal never had a really wicked costume! Hal never had intensely homoerotic subtext - only very weak, non-committal homoerotic subtext! Thus! We form the following organisation: Kyle's Intensely Chartreuse Kingly Action Support Squadron! [Work out the acronym, alphabet fans!] Show your support for the acest Green Lantern here! Recount something FUCKING AWESOME he did in his own book (exceedingly unlikely) or in Morrison's JLA (guaranteed)!"

The V obey:

"Hal got off with a super-villainess and a preteen with ring-enhanced barely-legality. Kyle got off with the original Green Lantern's supermodel daughter. ADVANTAGE = KYLE."

"He HELD IN A SUPERNOVA. He SAVED THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER by being his (UK vernacular) MATE. He got WINKED AT by GOD-SUPERMAN, so clearly he was more memorable than FROTHY MURDERERER HARRY JORDAN. He OVERCAME APOKOLIPS PROGRAMMING by sheer force of WILL. He put Superman in a GIANT MECHA. Okay, that last one wasn't so hot. But it looked good!"

"KYLE RAYNER CARTOON APPEARANCES: Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited [...] HAL JORDAN CARTOON APPEARANCES: Superfriends, Shitty Filmation Superman/Aquaman Adventure Hour [...] ADVANTAGE: KYLE."

"Kyle's ring was never useless against yellow stuff. God, that was the lamest thing ever."

Chris Pitzer talks about Project Superior, the new AdHouse superhero anthology, at Newsarama:

"Originally Superior was supposed to be about comic books... Comics about comics. Yeah, I know... weird, huh? I wanted to do an anthology that would capture the excitement that I felt when I was a kid reading comics. So, after I decided that 'comics about comics' was a bit too vague, the idea of super heroes came up. Also, this was about the time that Dean Haspiel had contacted me, and he's a big believer that indy creators can really do some good super hero stories. Scott Morse also contacted me about doing something along the same lines... The three of us eventually created a huge list of people who we wanted to work with, and who we thought could do a bang up job. So, we all went about contacting them in various ways. And if those creators had seen [previous AdHouse anthology] Telstar, I think that might have helped."

Me, I was sold on it for Morse and the Street Angel team alone...

Millarworld wants to know who used to say "Identity Crisis? Schmidentity Schmisis, more like":

"I was well aware of the hype (how could you not be), but I didn't jump on board when this series began--although I did track the various threads that were discussing it. There were a few reasons why I didn't pick it up with issue 1. For starters, DC lore has never been my thing--I'm a Marvel Zombie through and through, and I've only been reading DC books for about the last 7-10 years. Most of those who were really enjoying the series seemed to be well steeped in DC lore, and picked up on all of Meltzer's nods and references to this Silver Age so and so, and that forgotten Silver Age villain. Don't get me wrong, I'm a DC fan, but I'm the kind of fan that stares at the Ross/Perez cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths and can only name about 10% of the characters. Secondly, I had read Meltzer's run on Green Arrow and had found it seriously wanting. I really, really disliked it. It was about a 2 issue story extended to 6, and each issue took about 68 seconds to read. To make a long story (not so) short, the critical raves on this board finally got to me. My LCN had issues 1, 2, and 3 sitting on their shelves last week, so I decided to bite the bullet. And i liked it quite a bit, actually. Many of the characters have zero reference value for me, but i'm enjoying it nonetheless, and although I've spoiled many of the surprises by following the events in various threads on this board, I plan on picking up the rest of the series as well."

"I've been 'byrne stealing' it. But it's not anything I'd pay money for. I think it's well written. But I'm more along the same thinking as Grant Morrison on the DCU. I feel it should be crazy,techicolor insanity. This is a tad to 'grimngritty' so it's not what I towards the DC icons for. This is weird...but I honestly think I'd be okay with the tone if it was a MU book."

"I was not planning to read it at all, but last week I finally caved in and read all the issues that are out so far. I think it's well-written but misguided for all the reasons stated above. I mean, how can you take a character who calls himself 'Elongated Man' seriously? Perhaps instead of the DC icons, they should have used the Charlton characters instead--oops! Been done!"

Squashing urban comic myths:

"Bendis, did you really do this? [Quoted from the Joe Quesada board:] 'i sent him back avengers 500 - 503 and that m*********r sent me back a box of pennies.' Because if you did that's hilarious. I commend you for both sticking to your word to buy the issues back and the--erm--creative way in which you did it"

"If that's true, I'd like to personally say Bendis is the greatest cat alive. That's hysterical. Serves anyone right for sending back a comic for a refund."


Also, sadly, untrue. Bendis pops in to give the truth:

"as classically dickhead of me as that would be- no one has returned avengers to me so far, so this is some bullshitty bullshit."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Paul O'Brien asks and answers the questions that matter:

"Anyhow - with [the release of X-Men #164], we finally draw a line under Chuck Austen's two year run. So with the benefit of hindsight, the question can now be asked: Is Chuck Austen in fact the worst X-Men writer ever?

"Yes. He is.

"To be fair, the satellite X-books have probably seen worse. The all-time record for jawdroppingly awful writing on an X-book is still held by the last few issues of Mutant X, which have to be read to be disbelieved, and weren't even enlivened by competent art. Rob Liefeld's current run on X-Force is so startlingly inept that it probably rates below Austen as well - at least Austen was aiming higher and had some sense of pacing.

"But if we're talking about regular writers on the ongoing X-books, then it's Austen, hands down. For all that the 1990s are often derided, there's some perfectly good reading in there, and nothing as outrageously stupid as 'The Draco.' Before Austen, the record for the worst-received run on an X-Men title was held by Joe Casey, the writer who actually managed to plough Uncanny X-Men out of the top ten for the first time in over 15 years. And Casey isn't even a bad writer, he just didn't get the X-Men and misfired horribly.

"Really, over the forty-year history of the X-Men, the standard has been pretty high. It's Austen. There's no contest. Yes, the Juggernaut subplot was okay. No, that doesn't come close to balancing out the rest of the garbage we've had to wade through over the last two years. The disintegrator communion wafers? The Draco? A five-issue adaptation of Romeo and Juliet with armour plating? Everything he's written involving Polaris? There's just so much in this run which defies belief. Usually with bad comics, you can at least understand why they seemed like a good idea at the time. But it's incomprehensible that the Chuck Austen run seemed like a good idea to anyone."

Wonder Woman finally makes it onto people's hit list when the ending of the most recent issue is spoiled on Millarworld:

"Hard. F-ing. CORE!"

"wow...that makes me want to read wonder woman now."

"That's way too badass."

"Just finished reading it. Man, that was hardcore. The faith I had in Rucka is paying off beautifully (and I was already loving this title long ago). WW's problem's are going to get worse (judging by the solicits, and the knowledge that most writers are sadistic at heart). I never want this creative team to leave, ever (although I don't mind a guest artist of Sean Philips calibre showing up next month). This is a Top Ten book, it's just that not enough of you realize that yet."

The Bendis board obviously feel passionately about what's happening in Spider-Man these days:

"Looks like Gwen's daughter is a whore too[...] Can you beleive [the cover of the most recently solicited Spectacular Spider-Man issue, featuring what looks like Spider-Man kissing Gwen Stacy's daughter]? Aside from the fact that it's the daughter of his old flame... isn't Sarah like 13 years old or something?"

"So now a girl kissing a guy makes them a whore?"

"If it's your dead mother's old boyfriend who is married...then yes. You are a whore."

"God DAMN that Polish piece of shit. Can't he just fucking DIE so he can't write any more of this absolute... honestly, I can't think up a word stronger than 'SHIT.' If there is one, then that's what his writing is."

"Jesus... calling Gwen a whore is one thing. Really, right now the most annoying thing about that is that it's been done over and fucking over again. It's come to a point in time that posts like that almost stop deserving my attention. (I admit that I was morbidly curious about this new variation of including Gwen's daughter into whoredom) But to wish death upon a writer just 'cause he 'tainted your memory of the character' or whatever is just incredibly juvenile. And if I'm not wrong, refering to them as a 'Polish piece of shit' is also against one of Bendis' rules on this board."

"The level of mysogny on this board is often frightening."

"Oh wow. You have enlightened us all with your touching sentiments. However, in order to fulfill your theoretical hatred of women, you would have to assume that if Peter: 1) while dating the monogamous Gwen, decided to go off and screw someone else 2) That someone else was the older, morally corrupt mother of his former flame AND 3)He fathered a child and never told Gwen [...] That we would all somehow applaud his actions. Of course we wouldn't so your little bleeding heart finger pointing is misdirected."

Rich Johnston looks at Mark Millar's marketing techniques:

"Sunday Herald last week ran a story about Mark Millar. And again, as Millar recognised instantly (to deflect criticism) online, a number of the CV points were incorrect or exaggerated. Whether that's creating the Authority, the world's first gay superheroes, being the chief writer at Marvel, or "Red Son" as a reaction to the Iraq war. On his board, Millar dismissed this as being old files cropping up somewhere and how hard it was to change inaccuracies once they've been in print. The reporter was Senay Boztas, who has written similar high profile articles in the Scottish press about Mark, again using the same inaccuracies. For some reason, Millar has not ensured they're not repeated, despite Millar describing Senay as 'the girl who always does my stuff.' Senay was also one of the people behind Eminem wanting to star in the movie of 'Wanted,' a fictitious story cooked up by Millar, his agent and willing reporters eager for column inches and media attention. It worked. However, that little fiction is now off Senay's profile stories of Mark Millar. Eminem's people were so incensed the last time that lawyers were mentioned, and Millar himself has moved the focus well away from Eminem where he can. These errors, written by Saney or not, do seem to be catching and have been repeated time and time again. Now, I know journalists are a lazy and cowardly lot, but this amount of consistency in repetition looks like a little bit of spin in the right place, and a willing blind eye on occasion."

Mark Millar takes offence:

"It really is starting to fuck me off, especially when it's people who have 30% of the info. It's also the rank stupidity of seeing people out there on the net who think Universal Pictures are so stupid they don't call up their own people. Think about this: A new writer calls Marvel and says they have a huge book planned for them and Bryan Hitch is drawing it. Does Marvel say 'here's our top rate and I take you at your word' or do they call Hitch and ask if this is true? It's idiotic and the Wanted sale was kind of soured by the amount of shite I saw online following this. Selling a movie is a big deal, but Rich's wrong-headed article (see below) prompted everything from the message-boards to Heidi's column saying we'd done this as a scam or was an outright lie..."

Brian Wood talks about Couriers 03: The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker at Newsarama:

"What are these 'urban mercenary couriers'? Where did Special and Moustafa meet? This is a classic 'origin story', set in the past when our main characters were mere street rats (ages 15 and 12), struggling to find a place in the criminal underworld. Its set in New York City again, so expect lots of the same and more, including but not limited to: attack helicopters, lots of food, sniper training, explosives, weed smoke, classic muscle cars, incompetent Federal agents, a female bodyguard in 70's tennis outfits, Kevin Bacon, lots and lots of weaponry of all kinds, Special's creepy stalker ex-boyfriend, and the secret of how she got her scar and why you shouldn't ever ask her about it. Oh, and a crazy over-the-top drug-addled Chinese crime boss called Johnny Funwrecker, equal parts Chow Yun Fat, Iggy Pop, and Clint Eastwood."

If that's whet your appetite, why not try out the first ten pages? You know you want to.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Newsarama posters think that they've found a scoop:

"in a preview for the young guns sketch book at http://www.popcultureshock.com we see Jim Chungs name in the contents and the names of the characters he's darwing [in Young Avengers]. They are: Asgardian, Patriot, Iron Lad, Hulkling"

"Ouch, those really suck."

"Hulk Smashley is better than Hulkling."

"Iron Lad? Are you serious? Uggggh Marvel c'mon who are these guys The Legion of Superheroes? I hate the name Lad as any superhero name it's sooooo corny."

DC's site has a short Q&A with the authors of DC's new Will Eisner Companion, N.C. Christopher Couch and Stephen Weiner:

"Graphic novels have never before gotten as much attention and respect as they do right now. The New York Times Sunday Magazine recently ran a cover feature on graphic novels. People who haven't read graphic novels before are curious about them, and are looking for the best ones to read and also for books that can help them learn about what they're reading. The WILL EISNER COMPANION introduces new readers to Eisner's graphic novels, helping them explore the richness of character and diversity of themes found in all his works. Readers who are already familiar with Eisner's work can get more background or discover new aspects of Eisner's career."

Ed Brubaker talks about Captain America, and the line between misdirecting the audience and lying to them in solicits (spoilers for the first issue of his Cap run, for those who haven't bought it yet):

"I guess if you're going to tread that line, a first issue is probably the best place to do it, because most fans will check out a new number #1 even if they think they know where it's headed, just to see the new artist and see if there's any surprises there. Also, you have to remember, the vast majority of comics buyers do not obsess about this stuff the way much of the online community does. They don't read the solicits, or pre-order, they just go to the store and see there's a new issue of Cap on the shelf and go, 'Cool.' But I still tried to keep everything secret so the surprise wouldn't be spoiled for anyone two months before the comic comes out. Go back and read the solicits, they really aren't that misleading, just real vague on the details, as they should be. But the first issue does fit the solicit; it just plays out differently than most would expect it to. But I will admit, for the hardcore fans who do read the catalogs and look at everything in advance, we did use that solicit to set them up a bit more than the casual reader for the rug yanking. Still, they were warned. We even said there'd be a twist ending upfront."

Comic Book Galaxy editor and writer Alan David Doane uses his Newsarama slot, 5 Questions, to interview Comic Book Galaxy writer Chris Allen, who in answer to one of the questions, refers readers back to a review by Alan David Doane at Comic Book Galaxy.

I don't know if the word I'm looking for to describe this is "shameless" or "wankfest". Maybe I should use both.

The Bendis Board looks deep into its collective heart:

"Just wondering what everyone thinks we should have if we ever have an official phrase. Right now I'm thinking it should be: 'The Bendis Boards. Bitch bitch bitch.'"

"I thought Millar summed it up best when he said...'welcome to the Bendis board, don't drop the soap...' or was that someone else?"

"'Welcome to Bendis Board' GROPE."

"Me and Kube came up with this one [...] The Bendis Board: We're gonna like you even if you're a dick, you fucking asshole!"

Millarworld asks the pointless questions:

"I'm all into Grant Morrison's Seven Soliders epic over with DC. He reinventing a slew of unused properities and making them great the only way he can. Can it be done in the Marvel U??"

"Remember these characters that grant is reinventing go as far back as the golden age of comics. There's a sort of glow fondness for these characters that grant is re-inventing, or a long line of lineage and stories that are associated with these characters. So to see them reinvented is sort of captivating. Marvel really doesnt have any characters to do such a project with as Morrison is imagining. It would fall flat. The whole idea Grant has calls upon this sense of history with these characters and making them brand new, in his image mind you! marvel does have the new amazing fantasy and thier scorpion remake though..."

"Marvel's obligated to follow up DC 'events' with half-assed projects of their own. DC did IDENTITY CRISIS, Marvel did IDENTITY DISC. DC's Seven Soldiers of Victory, meet Marvel Knights of Freedom!!"

Warren Ellis joins in:

"The spread for SEVEN SOLDIERS' source characters is 1940-1970, approx. Back in the 90s, I remember devising something that featured new versions of a ton of the 40s characters that Marvel still owns. I think it was one of those things that stalled out in the second act, so I just shoved it on a disc somewhere and forgot about it. But there's a ton of quite mad concepts from back then... it's where Kurt Busiek drew Citizen V from, for THUNDERBOLTS... but there's also the original Vision, the Red Raven, the Thin Man, the Patriot, the Whizzer (characters that old nostalgia-whore Roy Thomas dug up and re-presented as The Liberty Legion in the Seventies)... the Blue Blaze, the Blue Diamond... all of the same provenance as The Bulleteer etc... You could do the whole thing with 40s characters. Given Marvel's occasional mad productivity spikes, you could probably also do it entirely with 80s or early-90s characters. But I don't know that we're ready for any kind of treatment of Darkhawk, Sleepwalker or Night Thrasher yet... Or ever."

Brian Hibbs looks at the back end of Previews:

"Here’s the thing: most creators delude themselves. I don’t say this with rancor or frustration, but with admiration of sorts. If you have the raw stones to create a dream, to express it fully, to spend your own money in promoting and presenting that dream – well, you’re a strong-willed human being, pal. That puts you well above the curve of other people. But that doesn’t, in and of itself, mean that your work is necessarily any good. It’s super-easy to blame other people for lack of success. Sure, it must be Diamond’s fault for being a rigid, uncaring monopoly; it must be the fault of the damn fans, who wear blinders and bask in ill-conceived company loyalty; it’s definitely the fault of those stupid comic retailers, they’re all like the guy on The Simpsons, aren’t they?

"Um, no."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Better late than never: leaked Marvel solicits for February. Of interest:

* Black Panther launches with Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr. onboard. The solicit is a bit desperate, though: "The Wakandan super hero is back with Hollywood heavyweight Hudlin (HOUSE PARTY,
BOOMERANG) and fan favorite Romita Jr. (WOLVERINE, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN), teaming up to deliver a new ongoing series that’s sure to excite true believers and the hip hop faithful. The Black Panther's origin is retold in a cinematic scope with social satire and all-out action. Marvel has big plans for the Panther. He’s destined to become a key player in the Marvel Universe this year, so reader, get on board now!"

The "hip-hop faithful"? Oh, dear.

* Young Avengers begins, as does the much more interesting-sounding Livewires: "Hollowpoint Ninja. Gothic Lolita. Cornfed. Stem Cell. Social Butterfly. They’re nanobuilt humanform combat mecha, with "smartware" bodies specialized for covert ops and Artificially Intelligent minds programmed for suicidal loyalty. They’re the superhuman products of a top-secret, quasi-governmental R&D program with a unique agenda: namely, to seek out and destroy OTHER top-secret, quasi-governmental R&D programs. And in the ultratech underbelly of a Marvel Universe infested with mad suprageniuses, homebrewed WMDs, and bootlegged alien technologies, they have a lot of work to do..."
Written by Adam Warren and illustrated by Rick Mays, it might be fun.

* Marvel's way of covering for the fact that Mike Deodato couldn't do all of that month's Amazing Spider-Man: "A tale so mighty it required two of Marvel’s most powerful pencilers to bring it to you!" Yeah, sure. Whatever. Mind you, Daredevil's "Golden Age" arc overruns for one issue, and gets the excuse "The story so epic it needed an extra issue to tell!", so clearly they're just taking the piss.

* Frank Cho's Shanna series finally appears, albeit down-graded from "Max" status. Not that anyone has told the solicit writers: "That’s right, fanboys – the wait is finally over: Award-winning creator Frank Cho brings you Marvel’s bodacious jungle girl as you’ve never seen her before: Reborn from Nazi science gone mad to battle her genetic destiny on an island full of prehistoric horrors. Trust us, Shanna has never looked this good…or acted this bad."

* Hey, everyone - don't buy the What If...? fifth week thing next month! Wait another couple of months for the trade, instead. It's cheaper!

* Two great collections debut: Essential Luke Cage, and more unexpectedly, Marvel Weddings: "Reed and Sue, heart and soul of Marvel’s First Family of Super Heroes. Peter and Mary Jane, the spider
and the supermodel. Scott and Jean, childhood sweethearts sworn to protect a world that hates and fears them. Bruce and Betty, the beauty and the beast. Break out the tissues, True Believer: The House of Ideas cordially invites you to celebrate the history-making nuptials of its greatest couples in this keepsake edition! From the Fantastic Four to Spider-Man to the X-Men, with a few surprises in between, this
commemorative volume proves the power of love can overcome all odds! Collects FANTASTIC FOUR #150 and ANNUAL #3, INCREDIBLE HULK #319, AVENGERS #59-60 and #127, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #21 and X-MEN #30."

Of all the reviews of Identity Crisis I've seen, this must be the most... something:

"A dear friend of mine who has been filling in the gaps of my hit and miss comic reading pedigree turned me on to Watchmen. I had successfully avoided this Alan Moore opus primarily because of the lackluster super heroes that never really did it for me when I had flipped through it. I capitulated and got a copy, quickly hooked by the narrative. Then my cynical diagnostic computer I have spliced into my brain kicked into hyper drive: Warning! Danger, Will Robinson! Son of a bitch, it was the story. An organized group of successful crime fighters in costume are systematically killed. Sound familiar? It should. Identity Crisis is the same story only done with iconic legends from the JLA we are all familiar with. Strike one for genius and originality.

"As the Watchmen mystery unfolds dark secrets and betrayals within the group come to light. Is it a bad guy who is taking out the heroes? Which nemesis has risen to strike such a blow? Wait. A secret that has split the group of crime fighters? Or worse, implicates one of their own? Sound familiar? Strike two. Then I was struck by the time lapses. The whole 'five minutes from now/Ten minutes ago' thing that gave Identity Crisis its mood and jump cut pacing was right there on the pages. Pages printed almost twenty years ago. Strike three. You're outta here. In a purist tantrum I stopped buying this story, figuratively and literally. Not that I thought the production (writing and art) was crap. It is anything but. I just felt swindled. I had been promised something new. I got something borrowed, something blue."

It ends with some more pop-culture references for you:

"It is like being a fan of the spaghetti western and at a cocktail party someone asks you about Yojimbo. Akira who? It doesn't mean the westerns are no longer watchable, but it does take a little something away from its perceived genius. Personally I felt like I had found Star Wars halfway through a Battlestar Galactica or Buck Rogers marathon. Gil Gerard is no Harrison Ford."

But Chewbacca is no Erin Grey, either.

The John Byrne board rails against the Direct Market. Mr. Byrne? You can start things off:

"Yesterday I was chatting with Mike Carlin and we got to reminiscing about our days on FANTASTIC FOUR, and agreed that we really miss being able to plot out our story arcs months in advance -- and then change our minds. With the solicitations being required three months before the books come out, and with books having to be resolicited (and even becoming returnable) if they do not contain what was originally stated, this has been taken from us. Another blow to creativity brought on by the monopoly of the Direct Sales Market."

"Bleh! I hate everything about the direct market! Whoever thought of something as stupid as pull list for buying comics? That's about as much fun as scheduling your sex life months ahead...(well, maybe not)."

"Is there anything even remotely good about the Direct Sales Market anymore, and was there ever? I admit to having no great knowledge of the DSM, since I never set foot in a comic shop until late 1989 (the best comics of my life came off a spinner rack), so I'm genuinely curious as to what benefit, if any, the DSM has ever had to comics as a whole."

"It has been said that the Direct Sales Market 'saved' the comicbook industry. Indeed it did. It came along at a time when sales were stumbling, falling, and it looked very much like the whole industry would soon collapse. Unfortunately, what was not realized by most people at the time was that this 'salvation' took very much the form of saving someone's life by cutting off his gangrenous legs. Sure -- the problem has been 'solved', but really by being replaced with a whole flock of other problems. What's truly sad is the number of retailers (and people in high places, especially at DC) who resist any effort to fix the problem. There is a very vocal subset of retailers who squeal like scalded cats every time any mention is made of pushing the product back into those many venues we so foolishly abandoned. This is seen as 'taking money away' from the shops -- and, indeed, it is just that, if the shops remain as they are and do not adjust to the changing marketplace. To go back to that man with the gangrenous legs, the analogy now becomes a refusal to have those legs amputated because the man is a runner, and wants to win one last race before he dies."

What starts off as a thread to find the worst autobiographical comic ever on the Comics Journal board quickly takes a turn for the unexpected:

"Transformers. I didn't learn squat about Bob Budiansky from the whole run, and feel like I gained no appreciable amount of insight into the man and his trials and tribulations. Rom is probably the best, making me truly feel that I'd walked a mile in the moccasins of Bill Mantlo, and, to a lesser extent, Sal Buscema."

"Didn't Steve Rogers become a comic book illustrator for the Marvel Universe version of Marvel Comics? And he drew Captain America. You gotta bet he was thinking all the time, 'Take [b]that[b], Joe Matt!'"

"Even funnier - a few years back Marvel did a 'fifth week' event where it published versions of their top comics from "inside" the Marvel universe. The issue of Captain America was illustrated by 'Steve Rogers' and eventually he just go so fed up with the blatant distortions of his origin that he quit mid-story via post-it note."

"I'd like to think the New Universe imprint was Marvel's attempt at Autobio."

"Ethan may think he was being funny, but I remember hearing from people who knew Shooter that his New Universe title (whose title I'm proud to say I've forgotten) actually had significant elements of autobio, at least metaphorically speaking."

"My guess is it's SPITFIRE AND THE TROUBLESHOOTERS, which the web reminds me is the story about a woman and her highly advanced, Man Amplified Experimental armor technology. There are enough sexual puns in there to feed a family of twelve for a week, and still have leftovers."

"Nope, it's STAR BRAND, where the main character had this weird sexual relationship with a woman who was kind of a friend/sidekick (nicknamed Debbie Duck). He basically screwed her when he didn't have a real relationship, and she was perfectly happy to be his submissive little pal."

I remember being twelve years old and reading Star Brand reprints in the UK "Spider-Man and Zoids" title (Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell doing Zoids! Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz doing Spider-Man! And Star Brand! EVERY WEEK!) and, even then, I thought that (a) it was a Green Lantern rip-off, and (b) Jim Shooter had issues.

You know that you can only expect goodness from a Bendis Board thread called "FUCK YOU, DAVID LAPHAM, YOU MOTHERFUCKER!!!". The first post:


Others try to make sense of what's going on:

"does this concern det. comics 800?"

"I am with you that I hope (HOPE!) that SB isn't terribly delayed due to his working on Detective (and, what, The Darkness?). However, it is cool that the Majors are taking note of his amazing talents."

"Why does it bother you so much? Because he took a high-profile assignment? He's in the biz to earn $$$ and notoriety. This isn't any different from Johnny Depp doing Pirates of the Carribbean. I don't believe in the 'selling out' bullshit, unless, like Rod Stewart in the '70s, you're churning out total crap despite your potential. But if Lapham tries hard at Detective, I think it'll be very cool for both Lapham and Batman. He ain't selling out - he's clmibing the ladder like you would at your job."

"I think the view is his work on Stray Bullets should earn him $$$ and notoriety, not servicing a corporate character (got all Warren Ellis there didn't I?). Batman is NOT climbing the ladder! I was joking before, grrrrrrr. Lapham has already proven himself to be a top notch creator on Stray Bullets and Murder Me Dead, hopefully though the people who read Batman will give HIS books a try."

Am I the only one amused that this conversation is happening on the Bendis board? Because there's a man who didn't sell out his indie cred by going to work for one of the majors, ohhhh no...

Millarworld - Asking the questions that matter, part 2:

"Whatever happened to Identity Disc? Was it complete or something? it was suppsed to beMarvel big even this year, what happened?"

"What happened was that it sucked."

"No, the big event of the year was SECRET WAR. Or was it AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED? No, wait, wasn't it the whole X-MEN Reboot thing? MARVEL 2099? WHAT IF...?"

"I think the whole thing was just an embarresment for Marvel. Shipping issue's the same week as Identity Crisis was bad enough but the whole thing had rush job written all over it. I thought it was a poor show on Marvels front. It had a good cast and didn't use any of them well at all. It ignored all the current storylines that the individual charachters are involved in amd again massivly underused Sabretooth by portraying him as a mindless thug. Something Marvel have been doing for a while. I think it was Ron Marz who commented on the whole thing by calling it Marvels Identity 'Diss'. This sort of thing will just add to the annimosity brewing at the moment. Not between the two companies. But between conflicting personalities within the two companies. More of this and we can expect even more bitchy conflicts."

Millarworld - Asking the questions that matter:

"2099 and What If: Is Marvel retarded? Why would they release all six or seven issues of these on the same day? It seems like common sense that people interested in one would be more likely to buy the rest if they didn't have to do so all at one time, on top of all their other weekly purchases."

"Sounds like DC comics from 4 or 5 years ago. Can't wait for the company wide crossover!!!!"

"Why? You ask why? Well you see, Marvel may not have all that much coming out that week, so rather than have their loyal customers wander off to spend the extra cash they have on some other companies comics they can stay loyal to Marvel like the true Marvel Zombie they are."

"Your right! people should only be allowed to buy a certain amount from each publisher a month, god knows what would happen if marvel produced more books, then people would HAVE to buy them, because we all know all comics fans are mindless sheep, well marvel fans that is, everyone else is ok, especially if you read indie comics. Everyone knows that if you spend your money on a marvel comic its not because you like the comic itself, the characters or the marvel universe, but because you are a zombie. and i would just like to say that in general, everyone who reads superheroand/or marvel comics are stupid, smelly and ignorant."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Matt Brady interviews DC's Bob Wayne about reprints:

"There are lots of factors that contribute to the anticipation for a series, and sometimes that anticipation heats up after the print runs are set. Our presence in places like the Diamond Previews catalog and in Wizard is a factor, as well as coverage on the DC website, other websites like Newsarama, DC’s convention presence, the convention presence of the creators working on the project, in-store newsletters and promotions, etc. This helps us create, sustain and monitor the heat for a project. Of course, in all of these the core problem is that demand for an issue greatly exceeded the supply of the issue - and the supply was based on the initial orders from our retailers... As we discussed the last time this was an issue, DC continues to evolve our approach to print runs in response to the shifts in the market. As the number of sold out titles has increased, we’ve increased our overprints on key titles, both as a percentage of the initial order and as an absolute number. We’re doing this because reader demand for DC titles continues to exceed retailer expectations. DC has the lowest cost in the distribution chain on these items, and we continue to share the risk with our retailers by overprinting and carrying inventory."

Matt Brady explains to the Newsarama posters what happened to the site yesterday:

"We were hacked. That's the bad news. The good news:
(1) we're back
(2) we only lost posts from last night onwards
(3) it won't be happening again

"I'll be working on getting all the front page links up and running again, but content-wise, aside from some Talk threads, we only lost a few news stories, and the replies from last night on. Sorry about that....but it could have ben a lot worse."

The Newsarama Irregulars were happy to see the site return:

"Hell, don't be apologising, Matty. You've done a brilliant job. As usual. And it was Bendis, wasn't it. Come on, you can tell us."

"I was checking every five minutes to see if it was back up. This has been the worst and longest workday ever. Glad its back up though!"

"Hate to bring a theological question in here, but does anyone know if there is a special corner of hell waiting for idiot hackers?"

Brian Michael Bendis posts the cover to one of the What If? specials due next month: What If Jessica Jones joined the Avengers?

The Joe Quesada board considers Young Avengers:

"I just can't get past the concept. It's so dumb. I won't be trying this."

"It'll have to get one helluva good review from folks in the know before I go near it. Although I did like the interview with the OC guy, it's just not enough to get me interested. Maybe I'll steal er... BORROW the first issue online."

" This is just such a bad idea!!!! There's a BIG difference between Teen Titans and this tradgedy. TT were/ are established heroe's with history. They have been part of DC (sidekicks) forever!! The sudden sidekick type characters in Marvel seems weak! It will be funny to read the reviews."

The Bendis Board makes sure they've got Avengers Disassembled straight in their heads:

"so who's dead now? supposedly Vision, Ant Man, and Hawk Eye? i can't remember if it was ant man or giant man that died in the first issue. i get those two mixed up all the time."

"It's pretty easy to remember. Ant-Man is tiny like an ant, and Giant Man is big like a giant ant."

"[T]hey could just use the 'it was fucking magic' excuse and bring everyone back."

"Heh. It worked once...why not again?"

"Yeah. You're telling me magic can make the Kree invade earth, but not bring Hawkeye back? Fuck magic."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Newsarama returns from hacked purgatory with details and artists for Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers project: the wonderful Cameron Stewart, Ryan Sook, Frazer Irving, Pascul Ferry, Doug Mahnke and others take the art chores for what could be the project of the year. Matt also has preview art.

One of the many nice things about living in San Francisco - the Cartoon Art Museum. Especially from this Saturday, when their "Contemporary Literary Comics: Selections from McSweeney's #13" exhibit opens:

"In his introduction to McSweeney's #13, [editor Chris] Ware writes, 'The selection of material for this anthology reflects a good slice of the visible spectrum of self-produced comics currently extant: fictional, biographical, autobiographical, and the uncategorizable. All of the artists have in some way reinvented the language to suit their own particular sensibilities.' The work in the Cartoon Art Museum's exhibition ranges from contemporary fiction and hallucinatory fantasy to searing autobiography and idiosyncratic commentaries on modern life and art."

Artists exhibiting: Chris Ware, Jeffrey Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Dan Clowes, David Collier, Robert Crumb, Kim Deitch, Julie Doucet, Debbie Drechsler, Bud Fisher, David Heatley, Jaime Hernandez, Ben Katchor, Kaz, Joe Matt, Mark Newgarden, Gary Panter, John Porcellino, Archer Prewitt, Ron Rege Jr., Richard Sala, Charles M. Schulz, Seth, Art Spiegelman, Adrian Tomine and Jim Woodring. Wow.

Adi Tantimedh expands on a theory about Identity Crisis reflecting the times:

"Well -- and this is just my own thinking, which is still forming -- given how we've come to understand the Neo-Con thinking in regards to morality, which is often 'we are right and the ends justify the means, fuck everything else', coupled with the way ID CRISIS reduces the clean, white moral rightness of DCU's superheroes to banal, reactionary, regressive notions of vigilantism (with the angst of them debating the 'rightness' of things like the silly mind-wipe), it's kind of in keeping with the rather morally murky, angry and confused time we're currently living in. That's my initial interpretations, anyway. It could change if I have a few days and less distractions to muse upon this. I'm suggested to [Warren] Ellis he should write a column about this, since he's the one who brought it up."

More on Marvel suing City of Heroes, with Wired looking at the reaction from the gaming community:

"To [organizer of recent gaming conference State of Play, Beth] Noveck, the issue at hand is a battle for the future of user-created content. 'It's an attempt by one company in an industry to put a gun to the head of those who, in their view, misuse their content,' she said, 'and in so doing, try to reshape that industry and reshape the technology to allow for greater control of how the technology is used.' Further, Noveck said, Marvel's claims are too open-ended. 'It's the equivalent of somebody suing Microsoft Word if its users were to commit copyright infringement,' she said.

"To [writer Cory] Doctorow, Marvel's suit represents nothing less than a full-scale challenge to free creative expression. 'Can you imagine a game where every tweak to your character requires sign-off from the game company's copyright and trademark lawyers?' Doctorow asked. 'Marvel is supposed to be a company that stands for fun, imagination and storytelling, but this lawyer-happy thuggery is the hallmark of a Stalinist dictatorship, not a game world.'"

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