Thursday, June 30, 2005

Peter David responds to critics (like me) of the way the launch of his new Spider-Man book coincides with a new Spider-line crossover:

"It's a way of doing a crossover story in which writers don't feel like they're doing bits and pieces; (2) readers who prefer particular writers can read a month of their stories in a row rather than piecemeal chapters; (3) regular readers of the respective books will be exposed to writers and might--with any luck--like what they see and check out those writers on their own regular, respective titles.

"My first month of stories will essentially be one complete tale. FNSM is told from Peter's POV, MK will be from MJ's POV, and the third will focus on Aunt May. The main storyline will be resolved by Part 3, which will be in ASM. Now...will it have elements that tie into a larger crossover? Yes. One would hope they'll be interesting enough to prompt readers to continue reading the full arc. But if not, you'll still have a complete story, soup to nuts, just as if I were doing a three parter in FNSM. The only difference is that you'll get it in one month rather than three. I would like to think that's a good thing. But if you guys think that's a bad thing and don't want to read them, well...okay. I think that's kind of unfortunate, but it's your call."

Andrew Helfer talks Batman - Journey Into Knight, his new "Origin of Batman" miniseries:

"One of the things that's always gone through my head is that at some point the obsession of the Bruce Wayne character just doesn't seem to hold in my mind... This life long obsession, this life long burden and this goal to avenge the deaths of his parents. One of the things I deal with fairly extensively in the story is the idea that Bruce Wayne's life has not been filled with the consequences of his parent's death. If they were a poor working class family and the mother and father are gone and the kid goes to foster homes or the kid is on the street the burden of his parents death is thrown upon him and remind him constantly of the consequences of that moment in time where his parents were killed and his life is destroyed by it... But Bruce Wayne, he had a trust fund, he had a man servant. It was basically Richie Rich. Not to say that it wasn't meaningful to him, not to say that it wasn't a traumatic event in his life, but the subsequent events in his life would never really reinforce the trauma. Everything that happened after that almost kind of pushes him away from living with trauma. Aside from the fact that his parents are gone, which is definitely a big thing, he had all the comforts."

Drawn and Quarterly publish manga, and other goodness:

"Drawn & Quarterly has announced its release plans for September and October, and they include not only the company's first manga, but also several other promising releases. The manga title is The Push Man and Other Stories, by Japanese alt grandfather Yoshihiro Tatsumi. This collection of short stories will be published as a 176-page hardcover at $19.95 in September, edited, designed, and with an introduction by Adrian Tomine."

Also appearing: Two travelogues, and Seth's new book Wimbledon Green.

Mark Millar, Mark (and, for a couple of responses, Sabrina as well) Peyton and Alice Doyle talk about Millarworld's relaunch.

Millar: "Millarworld.tv is to millarworld.biz what X2 was to X-Men. We've got a bigger budget, we've got a crack team and we know what we're doing now. Our forums, at present, get around 3 million hits a week and over 250,000 unique visitors a month. Obviously, we're delighted by that, but we've always seen the forums as the first step towards something bigger and that's a free multimedia site for nerds just like us in every corner of the globe. The new site is slicker, of course, but it also has a much wider range of features from a store and a blog to a creative workshop for new writers and artists and an online Millarworld magazine."

Doyle: "Mark has never asked us to buck up his ego and we've never offered. If we did the Magazine would last about two days. The only rules we have for any review or feature are honesty and no bashing. We don't get paid for our work here so we're not going to become any richer and, especially on the Internet, it's impossible to agree with everyone. Someone is always going to think you're wrong, whatever you say, so you might as well say what you think. But give a good reason for your opinion and back it up."

M. Peyton: "Even Millarworld has never been about stroking Millar's ego. As editors and contributors we've gone into this with a fair idea of who we think are interesting people and our interview list for a start reflects that. If we get in a well-argued review slating Millar then we'd run it, but if it's fanboy whining about Ninjas then please just keep walking."

S. Peyton: "Even though a few of the contributors/editors of The.Magazine do moderate Millar's forum it doesn't mean we are all huge Millar fans. Though I do enjoy his accent, and I have read a few of his books it doesn't make me a card-carrying member of the Mark Millar Fan Club."

The plot thickens at DC:

"Newsarama has learned that, in an abrupt change of course, DC Comics has chosen to step back in regards to its Manager, Marketing Communications position. On June 13th, Newsarama reported that the position was filled by Bill Rosemann (who had held equivalent jobs with Marvel and CrossGen), who would be moving over from DC’s Creative Services department. Reportedly, DC staff was informed of the reversal of Rosemann’s position change via a companywide e-mail Tuesday. The internal announcement confirmed speculation that something was happening with the position and Rosemann, as he was not listed as a DC staffer who would be attending Comic Con International San Diego (the announcement being made in a DC Dispatch newsletter, which came out of the Marketing Communications office)."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Newsarama has some details about October's Spider-Man crossover, The Other:

"According to sources speaking with Newsarama, and confirmed by this week’s Wizard, 'The Other' traces its roots back to Amazing Spider-Man writer J. Michael Straczynski’s 'The Book of Ezekiel' arc, which introduced the idea that not only was Peter Parker not the first spider-based hero, but that the world was filled with individuals taking their powers from various animal totems... According to Straczynski, in speaking with Wizard, the storyline will play with hints he’s been leaving in Amazing that something is wrong with Peter, and he’s getting progressively worse. The storyline will also feature the return of Morlun, who was introduced in the 'Ezekiel' arc – a villain Spider-Man has never defeated. Strazynski, [Marvel Knights Spider-Man writer Reginald] Hudlin, and Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada tease the storyline in the Wizard piece, neither confirming nor denying the identity of 'The Other,' or if Peter Parker will be under the Spider-Man mask after the final word is written and page is drawn."

It's a 12 part storyline that runs across three books for four months - Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Knights Spider-Man and the launching-from-this-crossover Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Each of those books' regular writers will handle one month of all three titles, with the fourth month seeing the writers return to their regular haunts. Seems like an odd way to launch Peter David's new Spider-book (I was interested in it, especially with Mike Weiringo on art, but knowing that David's only going to write the first issue and then disappear for two months, and that the first four issues are part of a line-wide crossover has kind of killed that for me), but what do I know?

John Byrne on being the Action Comics artist:

"I need lots of reference, to orient myself in the changed reality of the current Superman... I can't switch on my default Jimmy Olsen, for instance, because Jimmy doesn't look the way he used to. Nor does Lois. Nor does Perry. This is very much a part of what makes it feel like doing a whole new and different character... I am a great believer in keeping characters 'on model'. I really, really, really do not approve of this 'personal interpretation' crap. Superman should look like Superman. Batman should look like Batman. The impression, no matter how many artists are involved, should always be that each and every one of them/us is looking at the same model."

TV Guide offer, somewhat surreally, signed copies of Ultimate Fantastic Four:

"The superstar creative team of Mark Millar (writer) and Greg Land (artist) will sign copies of Ultimate Fantastic Four #21, for a special sweepstakes in the July 3rd issue of TV Guide. Mark Millar, writer of Ultimate Fantastic Four #21, says, 'Fantastic Four is the family car of Marvel Comics. It was their first book back in 1961, saved the business and has such a reverence among the fans that I can't believe they're letting me write this thing.' He continued 'Having this book come out at the same time as the movie compounded with a massive TV Guide promotion has just shot me into Geek heaven. I can die happy after this and I just hope you guys get a kick out of it too.'"

TV Guide, though?

Paul Jenkins on The Sentry, his returning Marvel series:

"I give the credit for what the Sentry became and is to Joe Quesada and to Bill Jemas... Even though Bill gets a hard rap for being a loony, under his watch at Marvel, certain things happened, and Marvel went with something like The Sentry, which was something utterly off from what had come before, and they did the promotional work for it. That has paid off, so now, as he’s come into the New Avengers, Brian has this full character to play with, and I get to tell more stories about him... When people read the first miniseries, I’d like to think I caught most of them off guard with the twist of the Void’s identity. I’ve got a bigger twist coming. The twist in this story might be one of the more important revelations in the Marvel Universe, ever. There’s a great secret in the Marvel Universe, and when it comes out, that knowledge is as dangerous as it could ever be. And it all revolves around the Sentry."

Yeah, but will it break the internet in half, Paul? That's today's benchmark.

Warren Ellis talks about his new Image book, Fell:

"I started with the format, and half an idea. Mentioned it on my email diary, noting that it'd never happen because an artist would have to be insane to produce 16 dense pages a month for no money (we're doing it at Image, where all the money is on the back end -- I'll have written six or seven scripts for no payment at all by the time #1 is released). And Ben Templesmith emailed and said, hell, I'll do it. Which surprised me for several reasons, not least being I thought his soul was owned by The Steve Niles Corporation."

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rich Johnston has a new LiTG up, concentrating on creators' rights. We find that Marvel aren't paying Jack Kirby's estate any royalties on anything Fantastic Four, that Warners offered Denny O'Neil the movie novelization of Batman Begins because he complained that he hadn't read the script, that nobody knows what the "dirty laundry" (in Joe Quesada's words) is that prevents Marvel from doing anything with the Ultraverse characters, and that Mark Millar can get a plug anywhere.

It's also time to vote what kind of column you want in the future. Me, I vote A.

What is Warren Ellis's secret Marvel team book? Millarworld quotes a recent Bad Signal - "laid out a dozen pages of #7 of NW, the New Marvel Book (which, it appears, is going to use the tagline I wrote: 'Healing America by beating people up.')" - and starts guessing:

"NW? Team book? Oh christ, it's New Warriors isn't it..."

"At least we know it'll be 'New' something. I was worried there for a minute..."

Mark Millar pops in: "NW stands for Nice Willies. It's a history of Marvel genitalia starting in the present day and going all the way back to the private parts of the earliest Marvel heroes like Namor and the original Human Torch. He's wanted to write this for some time and is months ahead of schedule."

Back to the guesses:

"It's Neil Williams, a guy I knew when I was about 7."

"NW= NO WOLVERINE. The only Marvel title to guarantee no appearances by the old canuckle-head!"

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction discuss the greatness that is 70s Marvel:

"Now, the Marvel stuff is just outright weird-- and I mean weird-absurd or just weird-weird. Starting with the former: my pal and mine Jeremy Love (of the Love Brothers) pointed me to a story in the Luke Cage book that might just be the greatest comic story ever written. Dr. Doom has stiffed Luke Cage for a $200 bill. I don't even know what Cage did to earn the $200, but he did something. So, anyway, in a rage over being ripped off, Luke Cage storms into the Baxter Building to forcibly borrow a vehicle that'll get him from New York to Latvia quickly, so he can beat the hell out of Dr. Doom and collect. He scraps with the FF briefly and Reed eventually decides Okay, you can borrow the rocket car. Because Reed's down like that.

"So Cage goes to Latvia, where he stumbles on to a robot slave revolution against Dr. Doom. These robots are fighting for their freedom from the oppressive and cruel yet ironic regime of Doom. Cage sorta follows the robots to basically get to Doom's castle, where he goes after Doom directly, ignoring all that robot rigamarole. He fights Doom a bit, who is totally impressed that he came all that way to whip 200 dollars out of his ass, and agrees to pay up if Cage helps to snuff out the revolution. WHICH CAGE THEN DOES, so blinded by his desire for 200 dollars that he's completely unaware of whatever symbolic parallels may abound. And abound they do.

"Anyway. So, once defeated, Doom is impressed yet again that Cage is so tough, and so single-minded, and he pays up.


"Man, they really don't make 'em like that anymore."

Speakeasy boss Adam Fortier talks about what makes his company so special:

"As a smaller company we’re more hands-on and accessible to the creators we work with. We lay everything out on the table and involve our clients at almost every step. We are very transparent in what we do and how we do things. Once we develop a relationship with a creator, it’s all about honesty- good, bad and ugly. I don’t think you’ll find a Speakeasy Comics client that thinks there’s a power imbalance in the relationship. If you find one, let me know because I’ll try to fix that... We make it explicitly clear when projects are due. We also make it explicitly clear that individuals that don’t pull their weight can and will be replaced. It’s not a threat, it’s a fact. I think the people who approach us have their own drive to keep things on track. This is a great opportunity, putting out a book of which you have total creative control. People recognize that and they try and stay ahead of the game schedule-wise. This is a business, not an art project to be done at someone’s leisure. Slacking has financial consequences for everyone involved."

The Joe Quesada board considers what superhero they'd most like to meet, if they were real:

"For me i guess it would have to be Green Arrow. All grumpy and liberal with a heart of gold."

"if you're talking 'super-hero', i've gotta go w/ Superman. don't think anyone could create a more likeable impression than him. charisma, baby. if you add in a provision for secret identities/more of a social thing, who wouldn't love to take kitty pryde out for some ice cream? programming geektalk, logan & lockheed anecdotes, the girl would be a *** of a date."

"Black Cat 'cos of the tits"

"stacey x - guaranteed to get some that way."

Tim Townsend gets an unusually nice deal from Marvel:

"Marvel made me the most flattering offer I’ve ever had in my career in that I get to work with Chris [Bachalo] as much or as little as I want on Uncanny [X-Men] – I get to cherry pick pages to ink on an ongoing basis. I mean, that’s just unheard of, so that’s extremely flattering... Chris, probably more so than anyone I’ve ever worked with, lets me participate in the process. He lets me draw a bit – I spend time with a pencil on each page we do together, and he’s 110% supportive of that, and always has been. I’ve always said that Chris is probably the most singularly creative guy in comics – he’s just pure creativity. He’s always out there, always trying new stuff, and is just fearless. As a result of that mentality, he understands when I’m trying new things, and supports that, even if it doesn’t always work out. We nearly always see eye to eye, and agree on what works and what doesn’t. It’s just a little more gratifying at the end of the day to finish up a page with Chris, and know that I did something more than just go over someone else’s lines."

Monday, June 27, 2005

No pies for you, San Diego:

"Image Comics is NOT bringing pie to its fans in San Diego. The Ultimate SDCC giveaway hit a snag. Though the Image Comics giveaway was targeted to fans, the Convention Center's policy about food giveaways on the convention floor made it fiscally impossible to bring the delicious Home Run Pies to the show."

When even the Bendis Board is making cheap jokes about House of M, then you know Bendis may be missing his target:

"So what do we think is gonna happen in HoM #3... to 'crack the internet in half'? I have no clue but this has been hyped a lot. Quesada said he doesn't know which shock is bigger--HoM #3 or Young Avengers #5. I'm pumped for both. But I can't even imagine what could be that big of a shock in a story that will basically be put back to normal--for the most part. Any thoughts?"

"22 more pages of exposition?"

"NOTHING. It's more bullshit B&Q hype. Unless it somehow segues into Neil Gaiman finishing his Miracleman story through a Marvel press, NOTHING will happen."

"Cyclops Will Be A Badguy Instead Of A Good Guy!!! Or Some Other Character Will Do Something They Don't Normally Do."

"I'm done caring about the hype. Last year they said the guest in Disassembled was gonna be shocking and amazing and instead of Miracleman we got Magneto. I'll believe that it's shocking when I see it."

Igor Kordey's at Comic Foundry, talking about Smoke and his experience as an artist:

"Sorry, damsels and gents, but there are no tips or little secrets of the craft this time. Only hard work. The more you draw, the faster and better you get. After a certain number of years, you come to the point where you just KNOW what to do, without looking at the references or such. Like practicing a piano or guitar 10 hours a day — after a while you are able to improvise without looking at the notes. It is just the same. And, of course, it depends on what basic education you have. And you bet I had a damn good one. It was not 'How to do it in 100 lessons,' but I was taught how to observe the world around you all by yourself, to find a clues and make conclusions all by yourself, and to plant within you a craving and desire for self-education, which for me never stopped... They say I'm one of the best; they are probably right. I learned my skills by noticing and correcting mine or other writers' or artists' mistakes. Again, it's about self-education, and about asking yourself nonstop, 'Is that the right way, is that the best solution?' and trying NOT to pamper myself by choosing the path of least resistance."

Rich Johnston makes it onto the BBC talking about his new series "Political Creatures", along with Pat Mills, in a story about politics in British comics (Skip to 16:20 for the story. Or alternatively, sit through Andrew Neil talking about ID cards for a long time).

A cautionary tale for Marvel's lawyers:

"The news that Marvel and Fox were suing Sony Pictures over the release date for Sony's superhero comedy Zoom (and the comedy's similarities to the X-Men) didn't surprise many in Hollywood where Marvel has a reputation for being quick on the legal draw (see "Fox & Marvel Sue Sony"). But litigation can come back and bite you if you lose, a hard lesson that Marvel may learn at the hands of the WWE, the premier professional wrestling league... Marvel lost the initial case and a just concluded appeal process, in which the judge concurred with the original judicial finding that the Toy Biz/WCW contract did not grant licensing rights to the named wrestlers outside the context of a WCW program. Now lawyers for the WWE are back in court in Atlanta asking for a judgment of $1.25 million to cover the legal fees and costs incurred by the WWE during three-and-one-half years of litigation."

Lee Barnett on trolls:

"I believe it was Kurt Busiek, some years ago, when this was discussed (specifically the booting of someone from an online forum), who said 'restriction of venue is not restriction of speech'. And you know what? I kind of agree with him. Locking someone out of a Forum doesn't restrict their right to say what they wanted to say; it just moves where they say it. Of course you wouldn't expect trolls to understand this. Thankfully it's rare these days that anyone is stupid enough to protest that getting booted breaches their First Amendment rights to free speech. Though to be fair, at least they're consistent: if they're daft enough to protest on these grounds, they're also too daft to understand the explanation as to why they're wrong."

I lose track with all these conventions. Apparently there was one in Charlotte, NC, this past weekend, and Marvel did a panel at it:

"When asked if Marvel would have a response in kind to DC’s Philadelphia announcement of signing Adam and Andy Kubert to exclusive contracts, Quesada said that Marvel has announcements that will be made shortly, and fans should 'hold on to their chairs.'"

Start taking guesses now.

Friday, June 24, 2005

A message from the wonderful Nora Lally-Graves leads me to Clickwheel, who are offering comics for your iPods. Ain't technology grand?

M'colleague Ed Cunard is taking questions. Please go over and ask away. In a similar manner, Tom Spurgeon is not taking questions, but is taking money. It's rare that I'll ever ask you to part with cash on my say-so (Yes, I know that there was Laurenn's thing earlier, but that was for a good cause as well, so shhh.), but Spurgeon is both The Real Deal and A Writer of Quality, and ultimately deserving of your virtual dollars.

Joe Quesada spins at Newsarama when asked about the importance of House of M in the grand scheme of things:

"There is an end game that we’re heading for, a place we’d like to see the Marvel Universe at in a few years. This place will allow us to tell some pretty interesting stories while putting many a genie back in the bottle. House of M is one of those stories that help us get there. Perhaps in my mind it’s not the most important because I’m thinking several moves ahead, so perhaps it’s unfair of me to say it’s not the biggest or most important. Perhaps some will disagree with me when we’re finally there perhaps some will agree with me once they can see the entire landscape.

"The fun part will be to take our readers and the characters on the journey that gets us to the end game. I always equate publishing with the world’s largest Sisyphus stone. Once you get that rock to the top of the hill it’s rolling back down waiting to be pushed back up. So, I’m sure that a year or two before we even get to our end game, we’ll be making plans on where the Marvel Universe needs to go next."

So now we know. Even Marvel's Editor-in-Chief doesn't believe the hype that House of M is "the comic event of the decade".

You know it's bad when you've had Marvel's leaked solicits for September for a day and you're still almost too bored to write about them. Let's try anyway, shall we?:

* House of M continues, but doesn't conclude. Weren't there supposed to be two issues each month? September only sees issue 7: "The staggering conclusion to the Marvel event of the decade begins here. The heroes have gathered around the forces of the House of M. But who was really responsible for these heinous crimes against humanity? And will the world ever be the same again?" Here's a clue to the answer of that last question: Most probably, yes.

* "Crossover" concludes in Ultimate Fantastic Four: "On an world they never thought they’d visit, the fledgling F.F. find themselves hunted by the strangest enemies imaginable. And only one man can offer them salvation—the mutant master of magnetism—Magneto! The story you never thought you’d see comes to its shocking end!" Wait, this is the story I never thought I'd see? God, apparently I'm really unimaginative.

* More obvious questions in the Amazing Spider-Man solicit: "Will the web-head and the New Avengers stop the revitalized Hydra from bringing the United States to its knees...?" Oh, I don't know. Surprise me.

* Thank heaven for Spider-Girl: "A hideous spider-creature, a giant turtle, Millie the Model and a road-runner?! Is Spider-Girl really experiencing all of these bizarre transformations or has she finally lost her ever-loving mind? (Of course, there’s always another more sinister possibility...)" See? Now that sounds like fun. Sadly, it's probably not.

* The Sentry gets another mini-series, "FROM THE PAGES OF NEW AVENGERS—THE GOLDEN GUARDIAN OF GOOD IS BACK," according to Mr. Solicitation. Guess that disappoints all the Marvelites at Millarworld who think that House of M will break the internet in half by revealing that the Sentry is really Miracleman.

* Talking of New Avengers and let-downs, "David Finch returns to debut the mysterious New Avenger everyone has been talking about all year!!" in New Avengers itself. But you know why everyone's been talking about the mysterious New Avenger, Marvel? Because they're asking why they're on the cover and not in the book itself. And then they're asking why they should even be bothered. That's why.

* Marvel Milestones points out Marvel's next big launch: "The world still needs...the Champions! Thrill to three titanic tales featuring the fantastic founders of the sensational seventies super-group! A legend is born as Ghost Rider, the most supernatural super hero of all, hits the highway in MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #5 (August 1972) – but is he alive or dead? Plus: The Black Widow first teams with Marvel’s Man without Fear in DAREDEVIL #81 (November 1971), and Iceman hips his readers to the inside story of his sub-zero existence in a story from X-MEN #47 (August 1968)."

* The start of the Fantastic Four solicit ruins the end of the previous issue: "Hot on the heels of last issue’s shocking final page, the FF are faced with a two-pronged attack!" See, now people will be reading the issue expecting the shocking final page, and whatever the shock is, it won't be what they expected, and they'll feel disappointed. It's the Marvel version of NBC's "Don't miss the last five minutes" adverts.

* Marvel loses faith in Kitty Pryde: "Retailer Note: This was originally solicited as a 6-issue limited series, but is now a 5-issue limited series."

Newsarama has some pictures and a nicer view of things.

Mark Millar wants to get the world drunk:

"We haven't done this since we launched Millarworld three years ago, but it worked out brilliantly with booze-ups everywhere from New York and LA to Australia and Asia. The idea is very simple: Every big city requires one BOOZE-CHIEF. He or she will be our organizer and should post their names below with details of the pub they've selected for everyone in their city to get rat-arsed in.

"Mark and Sabrina are having a party in Leeds and will post the details below, but London, New York, Paris, etc, are all available. This is the first this has been mentioned so get in quickly if you want to boss your friends around. The pub, once selected, gets details posted here and you can all swap cell-phone numbers to make sure nobody gets lost. We have a huge list of people for all the major cities, but I'd like to see this up on the Bendis boards, etc, too and once all the pubs are finalized we'll post the complete list with addresses on Newsarama with our big Millarworld magazine launch interview.

"This site [Millarworld.net, the forums] will be closed for 24 hours on the final day of the month (to build anticipation) before the huge relaunch of the site, the creative forum, the message-boards and, most importantly, the new Magazine. We'll give more details in the Newsarama interview, but if you want to hear what Joss has to say about Wonder Woman and Serenity and what Goyer has to say about Batman you'll log on first of July (and every month afterwards) for the details."

Suddenly get worried about Neil Kleid:

"Comedy is my life. People don’t know this, but I’m a funny guy beneath my black Goth death armor and my Marilyn Manson makeup. When not reading The Poisoner’s Handbook for the fiftieth time or dreaming up new characters to rewrite into Sandman when Gaiman finally dubs me the up and coming Neil, I sit in my room and write dick jokes. Ones with small chickens in them."

Dick jokes with small chickens in them?


He's talking comedy at Big Pond this week, with Tom Beland and Dan Taylor.

Comics Foundry give away autographed comics. And not just autographed by random "Joe Publics", either:

"Prizes include comics autographed by the legendary Neal Adams, Jim Lee, Brian K. Vaughan and star artists and writers on Gotham Central, Starman, Runaways, Batman Dark Detective, Countdown to Infinite Crisis, Identity Crisis and more!"

Once he made the Entertainment Weekly Must List, you'd think that fame and fortune would have been rushing towards Larry Young. But, oh no! What was rushing towards Larry Young was a sense of his own mortality:

"So, there are three levels to this club we're at, Deep. Downstairs it's nice and cool, everyone's chilling out and it's quiet... Upstairs it was hot as hell and just a crush of people. So, Marc, Mimi and I are talking at this one table in the middle section, watching the beautiful people and all of a sudden I feel this thing hit my arm from above. I look up and there's a waitress that had dropped a bottle of beer on me. It was empty, but it did drop about eight feet and it just sort of glanced off my arm. It didn't hurt, but I said to Mimi, 'If that had been a foot over it would have hit me directly in the head and we'd be having a different evening.' That was the big scandal. I narrowly avoided death."

Speaking of love, Speakeasy Comics is asking for it. And they're willing to pay for it:

"Basically we want to be showered with love from our fans, and we’ve started a fan reward program to coordinate it... In order to be considered for the prize we want a letter from our fans explaining why they like Speakeasy Comics and why they love the titles they’re reading. The letters will be evaluated on written and visual components, so we encourage everyone to be as creative as possible. Multiple entries are welcome, but they had better be all different! Now here’s the tricky part: fans also need to get a retailer to sponsor them. The entry has to have a retailer address, phone number and contact person that we can call to verify that you’re a Speakeasy fan. One retailer sponsor per entry, so if you enter 3 times, you’re going to have to make friends with 3 retailers."

Thank God it's Friday. Is it a bad sign for your week when you love Fridays so much? Probably. Or perhaps it's just a sign that you're a lover in general, the kind of person that Richard Ashcroft wrote his not-really-a-hit "Song For The Lovers" about. The kind of person, in fact, that might be interested in a good Harlequin romance manga from Dark Horse. Editor Shawna Gore explains:

"These are Japanese manga adaptations of best-selling Harlequin Romance titles... Harlequin licensed hundreds of their best selling novels to be adapted into manga by the Japanese publisher Ohzora. They’ve been adapted by some of Japan’s up and coming manga artists as well as top-selling manga artists. There are some well known names on the manga side as well as the American side – if you know your Harlequin writers – in these titles, so really, they’re already a blend of East and West... [W]hen adapting the Harlequin manga was proposed, we had some editors who didn’t know what exactly to make of it, because it’s not Trigun, Akira or Blade of the Immortal. That’s not to say they didn’t get it, just that they weren’t used to working with this type of material. On the other hand, I found the idea fascinating, and really wanted to see it and get it rolling. I mean, a publishing juggernaut married to manga in this fashion? That’s cool."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Denise Mina talks to Newsarama about her upcoming run on Hellblazer:

"JC is a bit of broken man at the start of my run, but that’s all Carey’s doing so I can’t take any credit for that. JC comes to Glasgow with an amnesiac friend but when they get into the friend’s house they find a lot of scary stuff there that can’t be explained. It soon becomes clear that the friend is in a lot of danger and JC has to try and find out what he’s been up to. See? This is a blurb, the para you put on a book jacket which wriggles and giggles and tries not to give anything away. Obtuse enough for you? I hope I have told you something there."

Over at the Isotope lounge, Jock is showing his style sheets for Batman Begins. They're rather nice.

Chris Butcher writes about licensed comics:

"Licensing is a very funny way to do business, in the world of comics. You (as a publisher/studio/creator) pay a bunch of money to somone to publish a comic based on their intellectual property. I say funny, because the other half of the time folks are cranking out storyboards, calling it a graphic novel, and begging someone to pay them some money to turn it into a spectacular puppet show. Licensing someone else's intellectual property means you're actually trying to make money selling comic books, and considering there's the licensing fee, a percentage off the top for the property holders in many cases, and the creative staff making endless changes to ensure that all of the super-marionettes look on-model from panel-to-panel, your costs are pretty darned high. You've got to really sell an awful lot of books to make it worth your while. If your GI JOE or TRANSFORMERS launch at 75,000 or 125,000 copies sold, NO PROBLEM! You've got yourself a porsche! If not? Well the bills still have to get paid at the end of the day..."

Much more at the link; it's well worth a read.

The Bendis Board think about variant covers:

"the first six New Avengers incentive covers were a neat idea, but they don't match up with each other for shit. Wasn't that the whole point, to see all these new talents combine their interpretations of these characters into one solid team image? For as much money as people are spending on these things, I'm sure they have a bitter taste in their mouth, and are not eager to continue buying this stuff. House of M #2: An incredible cover, completely fucked over by some printing problem. Every single copy we received today had the same long scratch-looking mark on the front. Great. These will sell REAL well. When you have to increase your order to get more of these things, and you get an inferior product that won't sell, is this something you are going to continue to do? With as often as we have to deal with delays on high profile Marvel books, don't they think we could have waited a week for the variants, with a clean press run? I should[n't] just blame marvel. DC's shorting initial print runs so they have an excuse to do a pretty unnecessary 2nd, 3rd, and sometimes 4th print with truly uninspired variant covers. See any of the countdown to infinite crisis 2nd prints for what I mean... I'm just terribly afraid that what could be a cool little think for collectors and retailers alike will end up getting over done to death, and done shittily at that, and could end up harming the industry. these statements are my opinion, and mine alone."

"There were six books with variants yesterday. I literally saw people not find the cover they were looking for, and leave. That's how I feel about Red Sonja. I'll love to be in on the book, but it sucks that I'll probably not be able to find the cover I'd prefer.Between the variant madness and all the lame crossovers, it's not really a fun time to be a comics fan."

"bitch bitch bitch. You might not be having fun, but every sales number available tells a different story, as does fan reaction. You are very, very alone."

The Brian K. Vaughan board is upset about recent Marvel creative changes:

"I'm actually very disappointed with Marvel for their dicision to drop Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir from New X-Men: Academy X. So much so that I may drop the book with their departure. IMHO, Marvel has renegged on the support they pledged to give this book. This series has especially suffered from the fact that Marvel has not come through on their promise to bring in a good, regular artist: Michael Ryan. Only DeFilippis and Weir's writing has kept this book afloat, and now Marvel acts as if the writers are the problem. Just like BKV's departure killed Mystique, when a writer(s) is so clearly the driving force behind a series, no one -no matter how good that replacement may be- is going to be able to pick up the pieces. Though I hear the incoming writers are amazing (I'm not a fan of X23, so I can't say I have an opinion), my prediction is this book will unfortunately die by the end of the year."

"They were deffinately made to leave. Academy X being one of the few books I read, one with a distinct lack of Wolverine. Now with the removal of the writers, Michael Ryan as the 'main' artist and the addition of X-23 and her creators I don't know if I will continue enjoying it.. I guess I'll give them the benifit of the doubt."

"I'm indeed crazy bummed about this. Still I enjoy what they created enough to at least give the new team a shot, hoping that they carry the torch with the chracters I've come to enjoy reading a lot more than I thought I would."

A Millarworld thread on Mark's Ultimate Fantastic Four sheds some light on working timeframes at Marvel, as Mark explains:

"Issues are usually being finished around a week before they go off to press and the colouring and lettering is often done in stages as the pages come in. Greg only started this [issue 22, due in August] eight weeks ago and is already on our third issue so we're in great shape. He'll be working on issue four by the time issue one comes out so, although that doesn't SOUND like a huge amount of time, that's probably the furthest ahead I've ever worked with an artist (outside of the Ultimates break where we gave Hitchy some big catch-up time).

"So, in a nutshell, the schedule is great. Land draws at least a page a day and so each issue is being done in 3-4 weeks. If anything, we're ahead of schedule so I'd expect he'll use this as an opportunity to do some covers. He's remarkably fast for a guy who puts this much detail into the books. The mods will know what I mean with ish 22 and the sheer number of Marvel Universe characters here. It looks like Crisis or the original Secret Wars.

"Also, I never, ever work Marvel method. Once or twice in maybe five years, we've made a couple of clunkers and had a panel or two changed, but the way this works is that I write a full script, the artist draws it, I see the art of of curiosity as it's getting lettered and coloured and then they send me a PDF of the issue to check and see all the words and balloons are in the right places. There's never time to change art by that point."

(EDIT: I'd originally said that the thread "reveals that the 'Crossover' storyline isn't an Ultimate/Regular Universe crossover" due to the mention of a "President Thor" only to be emailed and left messages in the comments thread that they're unrelated storyarcs and I was talking out of my ass. To which I add, what else is new, and oops.)

The Marvel Comics/Brian Hibbs legal settlement draws closer to a conclusion:

"When Newsarama last reported on the settlement, Hibbs’ attorney, Nancy Ledy-Gurren explained that Judge Charles Ramos denied approval of the settlement due to the fact that he wanted the class action to be opt-in rather than opt-out. While the judge’s ruling in February could have resulted in Marvel and Ledy-Gurren contacting all the retailers in the class again, she and Marvel took the judges’ ruling to Appellate Court. The Appellate Court unanimously agreed with Marvel and Ledy-Gurren (keeping it as an opt-out), and has ordered Judge Ramos to allow the settlement to move forward.

"The Judge now has, according to Hibbs, 30 days to sign the order from the Appellate Court, and from there, Marvel will have 30 days to pay all the settlement amounts due to retailers. As Hibbs sees it, affected retailers who filed the appropriate paperwork with the Court could see their credit vouchers as early as mid to late August."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

After being delayed until September because of artist Steve McNiven's schedule, Ultimate Secret has a creative change - Tom Raney takes over the art for the final two issues. Joe Quesada explains why:

"While our original goal was to have Steve finish Secret, and ever growing deadline pressure made it very tough to wait. This pressure not only came from our scheduling of next year's big Ultimate events but also Steve's next project which is going to be huge. So several factors went into this decision and all made tougher by the fact that Steve is working his tail off. Thankfully what has made the medicine go down smoother is that Tom Raney became available to do the final two issues. I don't think that anyone can complain that an artist of Tom's caliber will be finishing the series."

You don't think anyone can complain? Joe, meet Newsarama:

"There is very little I hate more than switching artists mid-storyline ... except switching artists in a %$!@#*@# MINI-SERIES. Why did they make McNiven fill in on New Avengers if he was going to need to get a fill in on Ultimate Secret? Why didn't they just have Raney do New Avengers? !@#$(*#$*(!@$*(!@$*(@#%*(!@#%*(!@$*Y!@#% ~!!!! GR! You don't switch directors in the middle of a frickin' movie, do you? (Okay, yeah, I know, Gone with the Wind had like four directors, and Richard Marquand was more or less pushed aside on Jedi after a month or so, but still.)"

"I can't believe they have delayed the book till September AND changing artists! Hell, they should just throw in the towel on this one and get someone to finish the last three issue posthaste and walk away from this disaster."

"marvel needs to stop jumping the gun. I understand that artist can be slow about meeting deadlines, but if you have a 4 issue series, then don't ship, heck don't even solicit #1 till you have just about everything in the bag."

"Disgusting! I really feel cheated!"

Fantagraphics' Eric Reynolds wants to make something clear:

"A number of retailers whom I respect have dressed me down for comments I made last week about the first issue of Mome debuting at the MoCCA and San Diego conventions before hitting stores in late July. They believed that I was actively encouraging folks to buy the book from us at a con rather than waiting to get it at your local comic shop, which was never my intention, but it brings up a point that I can never emphasize enough: please support your local comic book retailer, if they support the books you like. Too few shops anymore support the alternative presses like Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, Picturebox, etc. If your local store does, they deserve your business."

I found this interesting (from the letters section Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter), mostly because I'm with Rob. What's the deal with these?

"I recently saw a collection of Max Allan Collins' first miniseries for CSI, that IDW originally put out. The thing about this collection, though, was that it was sized like a paperback novel, with each page having only one panel, so it gave it some heft. It was black and white, which made it cost as much as a normal paperback. There were a couple racked with the graphic novels at the bookstore, but the majority were racked with the other CSI novelizations and with Collins' other novels. Is there any way to find out how well these are doing?"

Tom has some sales figures, but I'm wondering whether I've missed promo bumpf on this format. Does anyone know anything 'bout these books?

Over at Comic Foundry, Robert Venditti talks about Top Shelf's first "mainstream" book, The Surrogates:

"From the beginning, I knew I wanted the series to be five issues. When I was jotting down my notes and cobbling together the plot, I made sure to end each issue with a revealing plot point or a moment of heightened dramatic tension, something to bring the reader back for the next issue. There was a fair amount of strategy involved, as with each issue there were several subplots that needed to develop in order for me to reach the desired ending, and I only had 24 pages to work with. There were scenes that I rewrote multiple times, only to leave them out in the final version because they were taking up space I needed for more important material. I really liked some of those scenes, too. But in the end, if something is preventing you from developing the characters and forwarding the plot as much as you could be, then it doesn’t belong. Everything has to serve the story."

An old familiar favorite returns at Millarworld:

"On another thread, a comment was made that I have seen in a number of places: 'Well, THEY(?) keep saying DC doesn't have to be profitable. They consider the comic arm R&D. If the books make a profit, cool. If not, they still have the concept to be dusted off later.' how true is this? From reading 'the books', DC Comics is a standard business unit within the Warner Bros Entertainment group. Anyone with industry knowledge want to give me the lowdown?"

It must be the start of the pre-SDCC lull. The response, anyway:

"If anyone believes that WB is cool with DC not turning in a profit, they are absolutely crazy."

"From a stockholder's point of view, the Marvel investor is buying into a company with an important stake in the publishing of comic books (though, of course, films and licensing are the larger moneymakers today). The Time-Warner investor, on the other hand, is looking at a company with a number of media arms that dwarf the actual comic business; their decision to invest or not is unlikely to hinge on how Teen Titans is selling. What DC's comics publishing business (as opposed to their films and licensing) adds to the TW bottom line wouldn't buy the posters and billboards for the next Harry Potter film. I have no idea how that affects the thinking of anyone in a position of corporate responsibility at either company, but I can see how one could logically conclude that DC can be allowed a bit more leeway in terms of turning a profit. Doesn't make it true, of course."

"Things to remember about the DC sales structure. A Single does not have turn a profit, but a if it goes to trade it needs to make money. Also all of the real big profits come from the lack of lisencing fees to be paid out between the film and the comics division."

Retailer Steven Bates talks about comic book movies:

"People ask me all the time if a new movie, based on a comic book character or series, brings in new customers to the hobby. While we sometimes see a blip in interest following a movie (Ghost World, Blade, Spawn, Hellboy, and Constantine all come to mind), I would be hesitant to call these curious dabblers in comics 'converts' or 'regular customers.' Sometimes it sticks, but often the paper counterparts pale in comparison to the big screen versions. Ignoring low budget and/or blatantly bad movies, like Man-Thing, Catwoman, and Mystery Men, movies are now capable of doing everything comic books could, only seemingly better. Where we once relied on comics for that magical combination of myth-making characterization and muscle-bound choreography, now we turn to movies for the same emotional and seismic impact. For that matter, as one comic book writer told me, we can get both the soap opera AND the bombastic battles every week on WWE, so why read about 'em?"

Dark Horse create a movie tie-in that isn't a movie tie-in:

"The publisher is currently running an abridged adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds by Ian Edginton and D’Israeli at its website. The story kicked off Friday, June 17th, and won’t be ending until the last Martian drops. The creative team, of course, is also responsible for Scarlet Traces and the upcoming Scarlet Traces: The Great Game (due in November), two stories set in a post-War of the Worlds world. Edginton and D’Israeli’s story is the classic original, recounting the events after a Martian craft crashes in Victorian England."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Have I missed something, or has Rich Johnston just decided to quietly give up on that whole journalism thing and hope no-one notices? This week's LiTG features stories that could've easily run in the column during the muck-raking rumormonger days in terms of both tone and content - We get updates on JMS's Marvel career, culled from messageboard posts, a non-story about Grant Morrison's new position at DC and what that may possibly mean about an old project that may possibly have been turned down for a rumored reason, another non-story about the lack of good creator feuds (again culled from messageboard posts), a small interview following up on a story from the column back when it was a rumor column, and two plugs for upcoming Rich work. Whatever happened to the promise that the journalistic version of the column showed with that Alan Moore column? Bah.

Newsarama breaks down the MTV interview with Avi Arad about Marvel's movies into bite-size chunks of craziness. For example:

"On next August’s Ghost Rider, Arad said the big-budget Nick Cage 'morality tale' will sport a PG-13 rating and a 'Southern rock' soundtrack and ethos, that one scene will feature Ghost Rider facing off against a CGI, The Perfect Storm-like tidal wave, and at one point he’ll be completely submerged... though Arad added you can’t extinguish hellfire."

Because when someone says "Ghost Rider" to me, I don't think "Motorcycle-riding stuntman who has a flaming skull for a head because he sold his soul or something like that", I think "A giant tidal wave." Along similar lines, Arad compared a prospective Submariner movie to Jurassic Park, and described the in-development Ant-Man movie as "a Honey I Shrunk the Superhero kind of story."

Okay, so with the DC crossover books getting the sales boosts and the buzz, and fans all a-tizzy about the Geoff Johns/Grant Morrison consulting roles, not to mention Batman Begins tickling the nerd clitoris and Superman Returns getting mainstream media play already, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Marvel fans might be feeling a little bit sad these days. Where are their buzzworthy books? How can anyone be excited about a sequel to Avengers Disassembled and the promise of a new Spider-Woman title?

Well, apparently, very easily, as Newsarama regular DaReekster demonstrates:

"2005 is the year of Marvel! Just look at what we've got lined up... House of M by Brian Michael Bendis.. the man, the myth, the writing machine! Top 10, baby!! Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man by Peter David and Mike Wieringo!!.. need I say more? How about Top 10! Joss Whedon and John Cassaday confirmed for another twelve issues on Astonishing X-Men following a brief break.. Top 10? Heck, yes! **Spider-Woman by Brian Michael Bendis?! Say it ain't so, DR.. say it ain't so!! Top 10 for sure! Asked by a fan (well, more like begged) recently during a regular message board Q&A session on his Jinxworld website, 'If there ever is a Spider-Woman ongoing, Please, Brian, please...You write it!!!' Bendis replied, 'It’s cooking.'** Need I even mention the continuation of The Ultimates by Millar and Co.? Oooh yeah! Go, Marvel, go!"

Oooh yeah, indeed.

Heidi MacDonald offers up a short essay about comics in bookstores, and what this may mean to the industry, to the medium, and to us:

"[T]he more people I talk to, the more uncertain everyone is over the changes. Comics natural sense of disenfranchisement has sent a tide of dread over the shores of Skull Island. The new club that wants us as members just can't be good. Of course it's not that simple, and Skull Island's shores are rocky and treacherous. The first worrying trend is all the cartoonists nurtured in the playpen of SPX ankling their long-time publishers for Random House and so on. Alternative and Top Shelf seem to have been the biggest victims of this trend -- Fantagraphics has had a long term relationship with Pantheon over such cartoonists as Chris Ware and Dan Clowes, and seem to be used to it by now.

"It's also not at all clear what kind of penetration these big houses are going to get into the comics shop distribution channel. (That's the kind of fancy talk we've been picking up lately.) Most of those books would only have sold a thousand copies in comics shops to begin with, but it would be a shame to cut off the Comic Reliefs and Hanleys' along the way. Mainstream publishers don't seem to have a clue as to how the LCS system works -- not that you can blame 'em really -- but this is something that will have to be worked out. Still, there seems to be a lot of worrying about the bookstore trend. Will comics really be able to survive in the bookstore arena, or is it just another hurdle that can never be cleared?"

More at the link.

The comics internet's response to yesterday's announcement that Grant Morrison is to, apparently, be the Julius Schwartz for DC for the next few years has been for the most part one of excited joy. Millarworld, for example, can hardly contain itself:

"There is a god. And his name is Grant Morrison."

"This is amazing news!!!! I trust Grant with anything!!!! He could take crap and make it smell like roses."

"In Grant we trust! It's currently amazing to watch as long time Marvel zombie friends start taking notice of DC and suddenly deeming it's universe coherence as a major turning on point. Congrats to Didio & co. for pulling this off."

The Bendis Board is also, for the most part, enthusiastic, but some are less so:

"Might be cool, might be awful."

"so he's like DC's version of bendis now"

"At least Bendis makes people sound like people instead of insane."

The Joe Quesada board has similar thoughts about Morrison's new role being similar to the unofficial one Bendis has been playing at Marvel:

"[W]hat are the people who bash Marvel for having Bendis and Millar 'run' the company going to do now that DC are doing it with job titles and everything?"

"Maybe people question Marvel's reliance on BMB & Millar, not because they are relying so much on two writers for the bulk of their mainstream line, but because they don't believe that those two are up to the task they were given. Certainly Stan & Jack were up to the task and I don't hear even the most devout of DC fans criticizing Marvel over Silver Age era Marvel relying too much on THEM."

"I am of the opinion, and it's only an opinion, that Johns and Morrison are more flexible writers than Bendis and Millar. All four are very talented and successful writers, all four have acheived both critical and commercial success at various times. In terms of who I like reading and have enjoyed, Johns and Morrison tie for top place. Johns is more consistant, but Morrison can be brilliant, even if some of his stories fall flat for me. Then Millar, who gets close to Johns and Morrison but isnt as much to my taste as either of the first two. I don't much like Bendis stuff anymore, but for the first thirty or forty books of his I read I liked it a lot, so he comes in last for me. Infinite Crisis may be a huge suckfest, but Johns has not let me down yet, and has, for me, untangled a LOT of crappy continuity over the last few years (Hal Jordan, JSA), wheras Bendis has, for me, created a lot of crappy continuity over the last few years(Daredevil, Avengers). I guess it's about personal taste, and mine leans towards Johns and Morrison although Bendis and Millar are both good."

But that's enough about Millar and Bendis! The John Byrne board focuses on what's important, in a thread entitled "Too much power for one man?":

"Grant Morrison leaves me cold. Hopefully he won't ruin any character I care about."

"Ugh. He even compares himself to Julius Schwartz. Whatever. Now, if only he understood superheroes."

"as someone said before, he my Love superheroes, but he doesn't respect them. I think i would much prefer someone who didn't like superheroes but was a professional who respected the work, and characters, and past creators - Johns and Morrison seem to be complete opposites, a traditionalist and someone who has never gotten a characterization right in his life. I've hoped all along that Seven Soldiers was out of continuity, now they pull this . . ."

Via Tom Spurgeon, it had to happen:

"Who's stronger Superman or Hulk? Who's faster Barry Allen or Wally West? Who cares?! The most important comics debate is one we hope to settle with a six-week battle royale tournament -- Which comics-book babe is the hottest? A sexist question? Certainly. But it's one comic fans have been arguing for decades. We've rounded up 66 hot comic-book ladies (two come in pairs) and now it's your turn to decide who's the fairest of them all. As the summer begins, so does our battle. Though the babes have been picked, only you can determine who moves on and who gets left in the gutter... How you choose to vote is completely up to you. The term 'Hottest Babe' can mean different things to people. Do you vote for the largest bust size, the best hair, skimpiest costume, fighting prowess, intellect? It's up to you -- whatever punches your ticket. Vote and see if your picks make it to the next round. Who will be declared the Hottest Comic-Book Babe? You decide."

Random disturbing phrase from the "nominations": "Now that Kitty's all grown up, she can phase through us anytime."

Fantagraphics' Gary Groth writes about his MOCCA trip:

"I get to the airport in plenty of time, but I have a weird experience in the queue to go through the bomb-detector. I put my metal objects in the tray, as instructed. Since I would just as soon not take off my shoes, I wait to be told whether I have to or not. One would think this would be standardized by now throughout US airports, but I've discovered that sometimes you do, sometimes you don't, that there's no rhyme or reason why you do or don't have to take off your shoes. I wait for instructions and the security guy says, 'I recommend you take off your shoes.' Recommend? Immediately my anti-authoritarian antennae start twitching. What the hell does that mean? This is the first time I've heard this peculiarly ambiguous locution used in this context. Is this what they teach security guys at airports to say at airport security school? 'We recommend that you take off your shoes'? As in 'We recommend that you do not carry .44 Magnums on the plane'? I ask him what that means. He repeats that he recommends that I take off my shoes. But, I don't have to, I ask? No, I don't have to, but blahblahblah. So, I can walk through the metal detector with my shoes on? That's cool? We recommend, etc. Well, what the hell. I want to know what this means, so I stroll through with my shoes on. The second I reach the other side, this same guy furiously signals to two other security goons to accost me, take me over to the side, 'wand' me down, and demand that I take my shoes off. Now I know."

Brian Michael Bendis is feeling faux-indecisive, asking the following question on the message board populated by his fans:

"Should I Do A Panel In Chicago? I wasn't going to because i can't top the car wreck of last years and people will come expecting one, but at the same stuff is happening. should i? i guess so."

The Bendis Boarders play their parts well:

"Do a panel to pimp your shit, plus you need to call Levitz a douche bag just because."

"To hell with Chicago. You should go to San Diego and pimp the game, bitch!"

"I think you should at least try to create a worse car wreck."

Marvel and Fox team up to fight crime. No, wait. I mean, team up to fight another studio's superhero movie:

"Even before the film has gone into production, Fox and Marvel have filed suit to prevent Zoom starring Tim Allen from ever seeing the light of day. Based on the comic Zoom’s Academy for the Super-Gifted by Jason Lethcote, Marvel and Fox claim that the film version of the same is confusingly similar to its X-Men franchise. While the graphic novel was not strikingly similar to the Marvel movie franchise, it is alleged that the script for the film is a near copy of the film. Starring Tim Allen, Zoom features an out of shape superhero (Allen) who is called back into action to train a new group of teens to be the world’s next generation of superheroes. Fox and Marvel claim that Zoom copies many elements from X-Men, including an underground training facility, teenage mutant super-heroes and a dark government program looking to control the heroes."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Is Ryan Higgins a friend to all? Of course he is, because he sends me links to rants like this one, from a fan on the John Byrne forum:

"There's an active hatred of Byrne in what's left of comic fandom. Byrne could be curing cancer with his books, but the whinny crap-eating donkey-raping pigs that make up comic fandom will still whine and cry about it, and will actively campaign to get his stuff cancelled. But, lo and behold, each time that happens, he's back with another book. And each time, we all huff and puff and try to keep the books alive, and it's a losing battle, but... that's looking at the smaller picture - the bigger picture is that, no matter what, each month, we'll get some Byrne, no matter how much the f*cking scum that make up comic fandom whine, cry, beg, cheat and steal. So they can have their little victories of getting each book cancelled - let them have it - it's all they have in their sad mastabatory lives - yet we, the fans of John Byrne's work, continue to get his stuff each month, no matter what.

"Remember - all those sh*t-eating pigs can do is get books cancelled here and there - in the bigger picture? We still get Byrne every month. We're still a strong enough base of fans to merrit monthly work - DC knows that. No matter what, if we look at the bigger picture, we're always the winners here.

"Take it a step further; we've got the high ground anyway - we're celebrating something we like. Those botched abortions spend, nay, waste time on things they DON'T like. Can you think of anything sadder than that? Makes crib-death look funny.

"So, screw it. Let's be really honest here. We all knew Doom Patrol was doomed from the get-go - it's a serving of fois de gras at a pie-eating contest - frankly, comic fandom, that fat, bloated, gassy should've-been-a-blow-job that it is, is just too f*cking stupid to enjoy it. It never stood a chance. We should all understand that. So why waste tears over a non-existant 19ith issue? Be glad that we managed to get 18, and look forward to whatever Byrne will do in it's place.

"Remember, true believers - we've just better people. We enjoy something. Stop and pat yourself on the back.

"No matter what the fat f*ck at your local store tells you, no matter what you read on-line, no matter what it says in the fan magazines... you are the winner here. You are the better person.

"Besides... even if you're not a good person, at least you don't get some sick sexual pleasure by massaging your limp and flacid sore-ridden member when attacking a guy who makes super-hero stories. Seriously - sadder than crib-death."

I can't work out if the best part of that is that the writer obviously has some problem with swearing, and so he censors one letter out of each swear word, instead of just coming up with another way of saying the same thing without swearing at all, or if the best part is the wonderful variety of insulting fans who disagree with the author. You can just imagine him writing it. "Ohhhh... Those fans who don't like what I like... they're 'whinny' crap-eating donkey-raping pigs! No, no! Wait! They're shit-eating pigs! That's right! And, uh, and... and they're fat!"

Ryan Higgins, God bless you for bringing this joy to my life.

Fucking. Hell. DC really do believe in forward planning, don't they? And they've got one of the best in the business to do it, this time:

"As [Dan] DiDio went on to recount, the ideas [cut from Seven Soldiers] were just too good to waste, and he figured that he should just put [Grant] Morrison to work in the DCU in a consulting/development relationship, similar in a way to what Geoff Johns has with the publisher. Rather than working to shepherd characters and situations into and out of Infinite Crisis more smoothly however, Morrison is looking at the post-Crisis DCU, helping to populate it, or, more accurately re-populate it with some revitalized characters and concepts. Some will be written by Morrison, while others will be moved to other creators for execution... Both DiDio and Morrison stressed that the writer isn’t pulling books or concepts out from under creators and handing them back a radically altered concept that they have to shoehorn into their existing plans, rather, Morrison is looking through DC’s catalog of characters and concepts that haven’t seen the light of day for a while, and 're-imagining' them for a modern audience. Rather than working with the 'known' of the DCU, Morrison is looking to bring back the unknown to today's fans, or at the very least, the largely forgotten and lost to time."

Again, much more, including Morrison's take on the gig - the "newly sentient" DC Universe idea gets mentioned again - at the link.

Tom Spurgeon on DC being #1:

"My hunch is that DC believes by planning well and planning ahead they can add vigor to its overall line strength coming out of this sequence of 'Important' Mini-Series. We'll see. For now this is a lot of money tied up in stuff that history tells us doesn't lead to much of anything but more of the same, just less so. The crazy thing is that for once, there's no plausible deniability about what is going to happen. The direct market is already showing signs of weakness in the middle, and has for quite some time. You keep pulling a piece of taffy so that there's a big chunk at one end, and eventually that middle gets pulled apart. That supposedly good May for DC was a month of overall decline for comic books in the direct market. Compare the two publishers dominating periodical comics and the nine publishers able to launch a top 20 graphic novel, and it's pretty easy to guess which category has the ability to grow. Of course, it may soon be that DC and Marvel take their market dominance to this category and strangle the shit out of it, too."

Much more at the link.

Breaking the official embargo by a few hours, Broken Frontier has the DC solicits for September up already. What's happening in the last few months countdowning to Infinite Crisis?

* Bill Willingham is having fun keeping Robin close to the original concept: "As Tim prepares to make the biggest decision of his life - whether or not to leave Batman's employ for a Black Ops job in the U.S. government - an old flame comes back into his life. The problem? This one died in the Gotham Gang War. Love has never been so creepy!" Zombies and Black Ops. In Robin. Yeah, sure. Whatever.

* A very bizarre way to end the solicit to Superman/Shazam: First Thunder: "On sale Sept 8 • 1 of 4 • 40 pg, FC, $3.50 US Edited by Mike Carlin". No other book gets an edited by credit.

* Superman shows that he loves crossovers more than anyone in the latest issue of his eponymous book: "Superman's being pulled in all directions in an issue that ties into all four miniseries springing from COUNTDOWN TO INFINITE CRISIS! Omac is running loose. Villains are united. Magic is everywhere. Naturally, it's a perfect time for Bizarro to show up!"

* "The Birds return to Metropolis - and one of them's staying for good! Three guest artists - including Bruce Timm - tell the tale of one unforgettable moving day!" Bruce Timm! Bruce Timm! I loves me some Bruce Timm. I also loves me some Gail Simone. Therefore, science states that I should loves me September's issue of Birds of Prey.

* The post-Geoff Johns Flash gets a nice start, with Stuart Immonen and Kathryn Kuder co-writing and Steve Lightle illustrating a fill-in.

* Hey, remember Identity Crisis? Green Arrow does: "Green Arrow faces off against an old villain who's suddenly become much more deadly. His name is Doctor Light, and he wants revenge on the heroes who violated his mind! Guest-starring Black Lightning and the JLA!"

Not convinced? Look! James Jean cover!

* DC's Archive series goes... unexpected: "The first archive in a series collecting the adventures of Kamandi, the last boy on Earth, by Jack Kirby! In these tales from KAMANDI #1-10 (1972-1973), Kamandi - one of the few survivors of the Great Disaster - must make his way in a world populated by bizarre mutated animals and other strange wonders!" Kamandi? We get Kamandi before we get the Fourth World Archives, or even OMAC?

* The solicit for JSA seems to come out of nowhere: "Alan Scott pays a visit to Hal Jordan as Hal prepares to leave Earth with Donna Troy. But Alan has one last favor to ask Hal, and it will be one of the hardest things a Green Lantern has ever tried to accomplish!" Wait, Hal Jordan's leaving Earth? With Donna Troy? What, can none of DC's resurrected heroes stay on the planet anymore?

* Huzzah for DC's unexpected digests! "A digest-sized collection reprinting SGT. ROCK'S PRIZE BATTLE TALES, plus stories from the pages of G.I. COMBAT and OUR ARMY AT WAR! It's 10 classic stories featuring nonstop action direct from the Silver Age of comics!" and "A manga-sized collection featuring the classic origin and first adventures of the Swamp Thing (also collected in the full-size tpb SWAMP THING: DARK GENESIS), including the first 10 issues of the original SWAMP THING title, all by the legendary team of writer Len Wein and artist Berni Wrightson." DC's Essentials line, "Showcase Presents" also launches, with Superman and Green Lantern both getting volumes. Welcome to DC remembering that they have a pretty good library of old stuff worth reprinting relatively cheaply.

* Say what you like about The Omac Project, the covers by Ladronn have been great:

* Grant Morrison blows our little minds with the last issue of Manhattan Guardian: "Is a broken, embittered Jake Jordan ready for 'Sex Secrets of the Newsboy Army'? Who were Captain 7, Kid Scarface, Baby Brains, Ali-Ka-Zoom, Chop Suzi, Li'l Hollywood and Millions the Mystery Mutt? What was the vow they made as children outside the United Nations building? What did they do that was so wrong - and why will the entire world suffer in an alien hell if the Guardian makes the wrong decision this time?"

* Meanwhile, Seven Soldiers rattles on with the first issue of Mister Miracle: "A young Shiloh Norman is all grown up, and now, with the help of his Mother Box - an alien computer - he has become the world's coolest escape artist, a cross between David Blaine and Puff Daddy. After a hallucinatory encounter with the being called Metron, the formerly aimless and dissatisfied Mister Miracle finds himself with a new mission in life. He now believes he has evidence of an apocalyptic cosmic war being fought through human agents on Earth! Shiloh's seen the light. He knows the score - and he may have lost his mind!"

* Wildcats relaunches. As does Authority's Kev series of specials, by Garth Ennis. Woo.

* Now that we know that Alan Moore is leaving DC, their first step towards reassuring ABC fans that they won't fuck up the line? The Official Handbook to the ABC Universe. No, seriously: "ABC: A-Z is the first in a series of six one-shot specials featuring card-stock covers brought to you by an amazing collection of comic book creators, filled with page after page of informative material guaranteed to satisfy ABC fans everywhere! This initial volume reveals all the secrets and will answer any questions about Tom Strong and Jack B. Quick, along with their supporting casts and gadgets!" Oh dear.

* Finally, Vertigo quits: "In this virtuoso graphic novel, Harvey Pekar - whose American Book Award-winning series American Splendor was the basis for the celebrated film of the same name - tells the story of his troubled teen years for the first time, when he would beat up any kid who looked at him wrong just to win the praise of his peers. And when he failed to impress, whether on the football team, in math class, in the Navy or on the job, he simply gave up. A true tour-de-force, THE QUITTER is the universal tale of a young man's search for himself through the frustrations, redemptions and complexities of ordinary life."

ICv2 looks at market trends for last month:

"Graphic novels were again the growth engine for over-all comic dollars in May, with a 36% growth rate in graphic novel dollars outweighing a 4% decline in periodical dollars to produce a 1% increase in dollar sales for comic periodicals and graphic novels combined vs. the same month in 2004. May completed a five month string of growing graphic novel sales in comic stores. Comic periodicals have been flat to down during the same period."

Joe Rice talks about alternative ways to "push comics forward":

"Superhero comics usually have the fashion sense of, well, a middle-aged nerd. And I'm not talking about the superhero costumes, either. That's another subject entirely. I'm talking about how superhero artists often depict people in normal clothes. The clothes usually range from nondescript (Kirby's infamous crowd scenes, to use an excellent artist as an example) to insane retarded blind person. It doesn't have to be that way. You don't even have to go out a lot or live in New York (but it does help). Fashion magazines are available everywhere, and some of them even have good stuff in them. Hell, Vice Magazine has great examples of 'Do's' for free on their website! Great artists like Dan Clowes know that how a character dresses shows a lot about them (contrast Random Wilder to Dan Pussey to David Boring). Not every character should be a fashion plate, but their clothes SHOULD say something about them. But mainstream guys seem to miss the boat most of the time."

Val Staples talks about his continuing Crossgen-related debt at All The Rage:

"I sold off all my MVCreations prototype stuff, comps, rares, etc... anything of value to a fan/collector. It kinda stinks I don't have anything to remind me any more of what we produced at MV aside from a few copies of each comic that I kept. But that's just how it is... Thus far, I've taken care of a number of artists... But I still have about $45,000.00 in artist debt to tackle, about half of which is due to my friends Emiliano Santalucia and Enza Fontana. I still live with my family, which I have done since January. And I'm almost out of personal belongings. So, I've cut costs as much as I can. After this last auction, I will need to rely on my freelance work to pay off the remaining debt."

Brian Michael Bendis explains Why Spider-Woman:

"There isn’t a person on this web site who doesn't understand the feeling of some personal connection to a character or that the character's existence inspires wild imagination. For me, Jessica Drew is right up there with Spider-Man, Daredevil and Nick Fury in that regard. She's also way hot."

Friday, June 17, 2005

Here's one for all you art lovers out there: Jock previews two upcoming Losers covers.

Brian Hibbs puts it in terms that everyone can understand:

"Here’s the weird thing, most every recent sign coming from modern DC makes the company look, on the outside at least, as no more than a company obsessed with Market Share. This is a jarring change for me at least, as I clearly remember Paul Levitz, 10 years or so ago, explaining at one of the RRP meetings that DC wasn’t interested in being #1, in and of itself – that DC was more interested in supporting creative people, and that, in many ways, being #2 was a constant prod to produce better work. And you know what? As a philosophy, that’s the correct one.

"The long term health and stability of the Direct Market depends upon keeping a long-term perspective of what is important. That a book like, say, Transmetropolitan, just barely broke even (or, even, lost money) as a periodical release is far less important in the face of those 10 Transmetropolitan trade paperbacks on the shelf that generate money month-in, month-out, forever... So, when I see signs that DC is now more interested in something as pointless and as ephemeral as market share, it scares me deeply, deeper than I probably have been since the Heroes World boondoggle.

"Why is chasing after market share ultimately pointless? Because it’s about stealing (or, if you prefer 'capturing') the customers of another business, not creating new customers."

Newsarama has May's sales chart. DC win, and make me wonder where all the Green Lantern fans came from all of a sudden:

"Just two months removed from Marvel’s dominant and unprecedented margin of victory in Diamond’s March 2005 Actual Sales Market Share charts, DC Comics has built upon their April comeback and in May had their best showing in recent memory, charting in at the #1 positions in both the Dollar (percentage of dollars generated for all products sold) and Unit (the percentage of raw books sold) Market Share categories in the same month for the first time in nearly 5 years. DC led the Dollar Share category with 35.29% to Marvel’s 34.79% and the Unit Share category with 41.03% to Marvel’s 39.80% (full chart below). To break it down for historical perspective (meaning the modern Diamond era), DC’s victory in the Dollar Share category is its first since August 2003 when they eclipsed Marvel by a little more than half a percentage point, 33.12% to 32.53%. And you have to go back even farther and to an Initial Orders sales chart (meaning not reflecting reorders) to find a month DC led in the Unit Share category – January 2002 to be exact – and that 'win' did not come without some controversy."

Well, now we know why Marvel is going all out with the variant covers.

For those of you who can listen - Frank Miller talks about Batman on NPR.

Image's September solicits are up at CBR, and in some odd draft form. Do they always have things like "AD COPY" and "TAGLINE" before the ad copy and tag lines? It seems bizarrely transparent. Anyway, of interest:

* Fell, Warren Ellis's new series, launches: "Detective Richard Fell is transferred over the bridge from the big city to Snowtown, a feral district whose police roster numbers three-and-a-half people (one detective has no legs). Dumped in this collapsing urban trashzone, Richard Fell is starting all over again. In a place where nothing seems to make any sense, Fell clings to the one thing he knows to be true: Everybody's hiding something. Even him."

(Amusingly, the full solicit continues with "FELL is a new series by WARREN ELLIS (TRANSMETROPOLITAN, PLANETARY) and BEN TEMPLESMITH (30 DAYS OF NIGHT), about murder, love, strangeness - and what people hide" before saying that the tagline is "Everybody's hiding something." Do you think they're trying to tell us that there's something about someone hiding something in this comic? If only they weren't being so damn subtle about it.)

* Pigtale creator Ovi Nedelcu gets a sketchbook, Desene: "These sketches and scribbles are taken directly from both his analog and digital sketchbooks and collected for the first time ever in this new deluxe hardcover book. Also included are Ovi's notes and thoughts as he takes you through some of the processes and techniques involved in his work."

* The Gift is aiming high. Its ad copy is "GUARANTEED TO BE THE MOST TALKED ABOUT BOOK OF THE YEAR!" which, really, is just blatantly untrue in this year of House of M and Infinite Crisis. And All-Star Batman. And All-Star Superman.

* Eric Stephenson and The V's Jamie McKelvie do what looks like an Oni book, Long Hot Summer: "Alone amidst a crowd of Southern California mods obsessed with scooters, soul and style, nobody takes Ken seriously. He mooches everything from rides to cigarettes to meals - usually from his best friend, Steve. But that's all about to change. Ken has just met the girl of his dreams. Too bad she only has eyes for Steve. It's going to be a long, hot summer."

* By the time you get to the Top Cow solicits, you'll be convinced that you're reading first draft solicits by mistake. Particularly when you see the line "NOTE: All Wallace & Gromit stuff is on a double-page spread ad". "Stuff"? There's a technical term.

Pantheon's upcoming titles confirmed; art comics fans excited by reissuing of mostly old material:

"Pantheon will release The ACME Novelty Library on September 20th, a new hardcover by superstar cartoonist Chris Ware. The 9" x 15" 108 page book, which will sport an oversized belly band, is a tabloid-sized collection of single page cartoons, along with a luminescent map of the heavens, assorted cut-out activities, a history of the ACME Novelty Company, rare photos, and more. MSRP will be $27.95... Pantheon will release Charles Burns' Black Hole on October 18th. The 352-page comic-sized hardcover will collect the ten issues of the comics published by Fantagraphics over the last ten years. And the two-volume Persepolis series will get some new packaging for the holidays. A softcover edition of Persepolis 2 will be released. And on October 25th, a boxed set of both softcover volumes will street at the bargain price of $23.90."

Also in the article, and of more interest to gossip hounds like myself:

"Craig Thompson has also signed to do a graphic novel for Pantheon. Habibi will be about his travels in Morocco; no publishing date is scheduled. This is a one book deal for now, according to Pantheon. We asked Chris Staros of Top Shelf, Thompson's current publisher, what the future held for Top Shelf's releationship with Thompson and he declined comment."

Anytime anyone declines to comment, I immediately read something into the decision. I can't help myself.

Mark Millar and Brian Bendis - "Wild" and "crazy" guys. Mr. Millar? If you would begin:

"Bendis said he had enough of me showing off about how our Crossover story launching Greg Land and my run on UFF (next month) is going to kick the arse of New Avengers both in terms of quality and sales. He asked me to put my money where my mouth is and Joe Q gleefully started rubbing his hands together because, well, he likes this kind of thing. As you know, the Jim Cav/ Superman bet where I lost a grand to Harry Knowles (plus some other bets you never heard of) means that my wife has banned me from throwing any more cash around. Thus, the stakes just got a little higher and I hereby promise that if New Avengers outsells my Ultimate FF ish 21 in July I will go through the entire Chicago Wizard Con completely sober this year. THAT'S how confident I am (and yeah, I might have had a peek at some of the early tracking numbers before I made this bet, but so what?)

"New Avengers is indeed a monster, but Crossover features pretty much every character in the Marvel line-up drawn by Greg Land and some of them have their tits out. You really can't beat that. Also, there's another little surprise up my sleeve which you won't know until you see this so I'm expecting a very fast sell-out too and a quick second printing."

Mr. Bendis? I believe it's your turn:

"honestly, i didn;t want any part of this, but mark shaving his head sounds like a real bet!! he'd buy 50k of his own book not ot have to do that. hmmm... well, mark? ready to really bet, i'll shave your head at the marvel panel in chi if and when you lose."

Your show, Mr. Millar:

"It's a deal. I'll look good regardless."

Todd McFarlane may be returning to Spawn, according to Newsarama:

"In regards to the Spawn comic book, McFarlane said that he’s working to reassert himself back into the title. 'I sort of let Spawn the comic book go on autopilot, and we've got issue 150 coming up (146 is on the stands now) and I want to shake things up here so I just had a two-hour conversation with somebody overseas who might come on board in a creative capacity in bringing on a new editor and sort of go in a different direction, I'm sort of saying, ‘Hey it's time to shake the dust off this guy a little bit, and get people excited about the comic book.’'"

Look! It's Entertainment Weekly's annual Must List, of people, movies, music and other things that are the coolest of the cool and the tops and the Louvre Museum of the world. And it's chock-full of very good things indeed. Why, there's The Daily Show: Indecision 2004, the DVD collection of their election coverage from last year. And there's Sean Maher, who sadly isn't the blogger behind The Zealot's Lore, but instead the actor from Serenity.

But keep scrolling down the list and you'll find two names very familiar. Congratulations, then, to Robert Kirkman, "Profilic Comics Writer", and Larry Young, "Indie-Comics Editor". Here's hoping that Hollywood reads EW, beats more of a path to your doors and gives you obscene amounts of money to keep doing what you're doing.

Presumably, this weekend's copy of EW will have the full stories on both gentlemen.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tom Spurgeon acts as the voice of making things official in this case:

"Surprising no one and all but leaked during Wizard's Philly show, Wizard made official yesterday that cartoonist Frank Miller will be a co-guest of honor with collaborator and fellow comics industry heavy-hitter Jim Lee at Wizardworld's showcase show in Chicago, to be held in early August."

The Joe Quesada board - and I haven't been there in ages, mostly because I forgot that it existed - is concerned about DC's verbage:

"Shouldn't it be... Infinite Crises?"

"Yes, if it were referring to a number of individual crises. However, I believe it is referring to a single crisis that seemingly lasts forever."

"Or at least until the end of it."

"Yeah, let’s not take issue with the crisis plurality junk. Look at the infinite part. Can’t they call it Finite Crisis?"

"Crisis that lasts quite a long time but ends eventually!"

"Lengthy Crisis, but With Conclusion?"

"Not Secret War, Crisis."

Ultimate Fantastic Four #21 gets a variant cover. Remember when Joe Quesada used to pretend that he didn't like variants? Whatever happened to those days?

Talking of Tom Spurgeon, he's over at The Pulse again, counting down to the infinite crisis that is SDCC:

"Asked if the ability of shows like the various WizardWorld conventions to create buzz around their comics panels presented a specific challenge to Comic-Con, [Director of Marketing and PR, David] Glanzer suggested that the number of announcements and news coming from CCI was more than impressive as it stood right now... Glanzer did say that like the other shows, the move has been from press conferences that CCI used to set up to companies preferring to make announcement at panels, and that the perception of fewer announcement in San Diego was perhaps due to taking place in the context of announcements from a wide variety of entertainment concerns. That doesn't mean CCI is less interested in comics, Glanzer says, because from their point of view what takes place when a movie company makes an announcement is that an additional amount of coverage is generated. "When movie companies come in with their own public relations scene and an internationally known celebrity and makes an announcement, that may get more media hits than an announcement from a comic book publisher. But it doesn't mean that article is knocking the comics publishing news out of that position." Glanzer also noted for the Pulse that the con's historical mission also means a number of panels about comics history that may not immediately translate into comics news."

Inspired by Tom Spurgeon, the best Victor Von Doom thread ever.

ICv2 looks at the "hidden" Manga consumer:

"The availability of comfortable reading space and easy access to big manga selections have long attracted readers to big box bookstores such as Borders and Barnes and Noble. The theory of these retailers is that consumers that come to sample will also buy, but there's definitely a subset of visitors to such stores that read the complete manga volume in the store and don't purchase it... The upshot [...] is that there are probably even more manga readers than either sales figures through stores or circulation figures through libaries reflect."

Warner Bros. says "Hey, fuck Batman. Have you heard of this new guy we've come up with called Superman?":

"With a super hero that transcends all demographics, a solid S-Shield business and a new feature film from Warner Bros. Pictures, Superman Returns, slated for release on June 30, 2006, Warner Bros. Consumer Products positions the franchise for a worldwide resurgence in 2005 and beyond. Superman will reach new heights as one cohesive licensing program inspired by both Superman as a character and the S-Shield as a stand-alone symbol. Warner Bros. Consumer Products and its licensees will create merchandise that reinforces what is cool about Superman and what makes him different from other super heroes.

"Superman is famed in many different forms including illustrated comic books, cartoons, movies, home video, television (animated and live-action), video games and more. Mattel, the global master toy partner for the property, will introduce a new line of products inspired by the highly anticipated live-action feature film, as well as the core brand. The S-Shield, which continues to be a fashion symbol and hot trend with high-end apparel being placed in upscale retailers nationwide, has become a personal statement of strength and confidence. The release of the film will broaden the reach of the property even further and drive product category expansion for Superman as a brand."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

ADD won't be happy:

"Though neither [Geoff Johns] or DC [have] officially given Johns a title, the writer has entered into an editorial/consulting agreement with DC through Crisis, which is seeing Johns take a more active role in helping to shepherd the characters of the DCU both into the coming Crisis, and out through the end, seven months later. DC’s Dan DiDio explained: 'The idea of working on Infinite Crisis, and being able to craft such a complex maxiseries for us was daunting at best. Geoff was spending a lot of time tracking the four miniseries, following the characters, and seeing how they were all coming into it.

"'But more importantly, because we wanted to make sure that Infinite Crisis clearly established a lot of jump-on points for new series and new characters, Geoff was also very closely involved with seeing what we’d be doing with the characters following Crisis, and where they’d need to be by the end. So, he was reading a lot of material prior to things, and was responsible for a lot of the material that would be coming out of it as well. Geoff, being Geoff, he was more than willing to do this on his own time, but from my standpoint, I felt that we wanted to do the right and fair thing, so I wanted to craft an agreement that we could compensate him for the time and energy he was putting in to reading the new material, and offering suggestions on the best way to come in and out of Crisis.'"

Much more at Newsarama.

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