Friday, January 30, 2004

Marvel sue Sony. Again.:

"The suit was filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court and claims that as Sony’s accounting goes, the two Men in Black films (which had a combined worldwide gross of $768 million) actually lost money. Marvel alleges that Sony’s accounting of the two films contains irregularities which include unexplained and excessive charges for advertising and overhead, this according to Variety."

One of the responses at Newsarama is just surreal:

"Come on Marvel - sue the b******s!! Sony are the s*** of the earth & I hope Fox get to make Spiderman 3. Uni & Fox should be the only ones doing Marvel Films."

From Mark Evanier's blog:

"[A] benefit book is being prepared to help Dave Cockrum, a wonderfully-gifted comic book artist who is presently in dreadful health. You can order this book here but Dave's friends know it will not be nearly enough. Some of them are mounting a campaign to get Marvel Comics, which has made millions off Dave's character designs, to kick in with a tiny share of those millions."

Sadly, I'm pessimistic about their chances, but good luck too them nonetheless...

One of The Many Varied Individuals at Millarworld asks how to save Superman. Luckily, Mark Millar has the answer:


"It's that easy, baby.

"Not for years, though. We both signed new exclusives a few months ago so he'll have to suffer a while longer."

To be fair, he managed for the first 60-odd years without you, Mark, so he may be okay until then...

Recieved in email from Scott Hinze of Fanboy Radio:

"Endore.com (my former webhoster) no longer has any presence on the web or over the telephone. Two weeks ago, they failed to provide service to my pay-site FBRVIP.com unannounced, then today they dropped service to both my main web site and their own site... unannounced. I am currently looking to what sort of legal options I have concerning payment for the possible loss they have inflicted upon my company.

"The disappearance of my webhoster and the files I stored on their ftp server means pretty bad things for Fanboy Radio. The list of what needs to be recovered/rebuilt consists of: the website, the pay site, the episode database, the message board, the mp3s of some of the episodes, the entire FbR contact list, the program calendar, email access and much more.

"I've turned to BoilingPoint.com for assistance in this matter. Jonah Weiland's experience in comics, radio and the internet seems to be a perfect partner to help with my web hosting efforts. And honestly, who knows what future additional benefits I can offer Mr. Weiland or his other clients through FbR. There will hopefully be an under-construction message on fanboyradio.com sometime on Saturday.

"I'm not exactly sure what's going to be happening to the web presence of the radio show, but I am looking for advice and any possible aid. I am even considering setting up a Pay Pal donation fund for getting the next new FanboyRadio.com site up and redesigned. But I'm only considering it.

"While the website and some other conveninces will be down for the time being, the show will continue to be produced and broadcast on a regular schedule and many of my exciting projects are still a go.

"Just letting everyone in this contact list know what the 411 is from my end. Please feel free to contact me any way you can - I have a bit of free time for the immediate future.

"Thank you for your support,
Scott Hinze
Fanboy Radio

Anyone looking to help Scott, feel free to email him...

The one thing that gives me some faith in Marvel Age: Fantastic Four is writer Sean McKeever's taste:

"My absolute favorite run of FF, though, has to be Walt Simonson's, when he was writing and drawing. Great stuff."

If it wasn't for the fact that Marvel don't like to trade their old material (or even put it in Essentials format, given the severely reduced presence of that line lately; it seems to be Masterworks or nothin'), I'd put some lame "Now that's what I'd love to see a trade of" comment here.

Meanwhile, over at the John Byrne board, there's consternation about the relaunch of The Ultimates:

"Does Ultimates REALLY need to start over at #1 after only 13 issues? Is this to create an easy to follow jumping on point for readers who are confused by all the continuity of 13 previous issues? Is this going to be the new model for comics, a #1 after every couple months?"

"Makes no sense at all. What is teh point of having numbers at all if you are going to constantly re-start at number 1???? From what i read its not even an overhaul its just a new arc."

Byrne himself responds: "I started reading Superman and Batman comics in 1956. The characters were then roughly 18 and 17 years old, respectively. By the end of the first story I read of each I knew who they were, where they lived, what they did and who most of their friends were. And those were 6 or 8 page stories. The notion that a 'line' has to reboot itself every so often (especially every year!) points up nothing more than the bad, lazy writing that infects comics today. With a full 22 pages to play with every issues, there is absolutely no reason a good writer cannot have every new reader comfortably 'on board' by the time s/he turns the last page."

The grudge match you've been waiting for! Dan Buckley versus Bill Jemas!:

"So far My Complaints about Buckley, is he is cancelling an Awful lot of Books I was looking forward too. and with only days or weeks on some of the release dates. I also think that ( If the following is his influence) He needs to get marvel a new P.r. man for publicity..yeah theres a Buzz here about the April reload, but there isnt even enough to talk about really...nothing to speculate on after an hour of a thread being made...I know that isnt his fault per say, but I remember some of the stunts Bill and Joe pulled, would have this place rocking for weeks on some of the rumors and nibbles of info they would let leak."

"Buckley isn't the guy cancelling things IIRC, it's Kyoto or something. Based on regimes though, I support Jemas more presently. It's hard to compare though. How many books coming out new under Buckley would have come out under Jemas?"

"I feel alot better about Marvel now that Jemas' gone"

The Joe Quesada board aren't happy about one particular aspect of Ultimate Fantastic Four:

"Why.... why... why did they change his name to 'Van Damme'? That sounds dumber than 'Doom'. Yes 'Von Doom' is cheesy in a very comic bookie kind of way but guess what... FF IS A COMIC BOOK. Is he going to be called Dr. Damme later on..... Ugh. I'm beginning to believe it when people say Marvel is embarrassed to publish superheroes when they make stupid little alterations like this."

"If his name in the book is in fact Van Damme I might drop it... Hey it shows being ashamed of the source material. FF has all types of corny villain names, so this makes me feel that a lot will be changed."

"My initial reaction to this was to post something along the lines of 'Comics are Stupid. Or at least, they were. I'm ashamed - the goofy dictator in the green cape and coffee-can armor was named Doom! Thank God we have people like Bendis and Millar to show us how stupid comics are, and then show us a better way.' These guys, stuff like this, they're so self-conscious, they're so self-aware, maybe they should just go write their F&#%ing novels rather than waste their precious time cleaning up stupid comics, y'know? Because I wouldn't want them to ever be embarassed, y'know, by what they write and the field they work in."

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Newsarama have some preview images of the much-anticipated (although that may be because I'm currently rereading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) Escapist book from Dark Horse. Eric Wright knocks my socks off, Kyle Baker plays it for laughs, and Howard Chaykin seems to have produced the same page that he produces in everything he draws.

Mike Carey shows that he'll never win the controversial writer trying to make a name for himself by pretending to be fucked around by The Man award, when explaining why he's no longer attached to the upcoming Firestorm book at DC:

"My idea was to have a whole bunch of different minds, different beings, being sucked into the Firestorm matrix by a freak accident - including a young girl, a cat, an artificial intelligence and a guy who has a heart attack during the process and remains trapped in the matrix as a ghost. Any one of these beings can become Firestorm, and each of them has slightly different powers when they do. But as Dan DiDio said, this means you have all the hassles of a team book without the actual benefit of a team. It would have been hard to render visually, and it would have played merry hell with Firestorm's involvement in the team books, JLA and Power Company, whose rosters he was then on. So the reasons for sh*t-canning the project were sound ones, and with the benefit of a year's distance I don't have any grudges or any reason for them."

Catwoman underwear? Great!

"'The edgy style of Catwoman is a perfect fit with Briefly Stated's overall goal and portfolio,' said Alexandra Richmond, Vice President, Licensing & Marketing for Briefly Stated. 'We anticipate that the Catwoman line will be a tremendous success.'"

Edgy in the same way as Outsiders?

Newsarama react to the cancellation of the ACTOR book:

"For their next trick, Marvel will now stomp on some baby ducks and finish off by eating a few kittens."

"In any case, I do think Marvel should release some sort of statement about these cancellations; I mean, it's obvious they've given up on the line, and that's their right, but to solicit all these books and then just quietly drop them seems unfair to fans who were interested in the projects."

"What's the sound? Oh, it's Baby Jesus crying."

Revealed at last: The origin of Space Ghost. A comics industry breathes a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Two classics return to print. Okay, one classic, and Star Trek. But I grew up reading reprints of the Star Trek stories!

Marvel cancel the ACTOR charity book. The many varied individuals at Millarworld react:

"Oh FFS! That is just low. So now Marvel doesn't do Epic, MAX that might ruin some crappy little kids film or charity books?"

"If I remember correctly, the book's profits were going to be donated to charity. Maybe marvel realized that they would take a loss on the book and not a profit?"

DC ups the discount of the launch books for the Superman revamp, as long as the retailers order them in large amounts. Can even a Jim Lee Superman sell more than the last issue of "Hush"?

He-Man toys aren't selling to kids, so the manufacturer reconsiders the future of the line. This isn't good enough for some people, apparently:

"We know this line would have a long and successful life in the U.S. as a collector and fan-oriented brand... The fans won't stop until Mattel realizes this... We set out to create a petition that proudly displays the names and comments of every unique Masters fan and their love for this property. We hope our efforts might ensure that fans across the globe will look forward to not only new toys, but new cartoon episodes or specials, comics, and more."

Go on. Save He-Man. You know you want to.

Newsarama plays Comic Book Jeopardy, with cheap comedy thrown in for good measure:

"Here are the categories... Secret ID’s/ Grading/ Issue Number/ Animated Heros/ From Pulp to Big Screen/ No Prize"

"*in Sean Connery voice* I'll take The Rapists for 300, Alex!"

Matt Idelson gets promoted at DC. Newsarama doesn't seem to care that much:

"What is the main difference between an editor and a senior editor? And looking at the comics listed, neither Gotham Knights nor LOTDK have been all that great in recent memory. His fault? Maybe, maybe not. Catwoman is stellar, but editing Brubaker would be a pretty easy job."

We begin today with a Public Service Announcement. It's been brought to my notice that certain people may feel that being mentioned here may be tantamount to an attack when they're not around to defend themselves, and that they have no way of replying to said mention. Happily, I can point out that that's not the case: If you look at the bottom of this (and every) entry, you'll see a comments button, that allows you to - hey! - leave commentary about said particular blog entry. Also, if you look to the left-hand side of the blog, there is an email link, so that you can reply in a less public manner. If those two clearly marked methods aren't enough for you, you could always post on the Grotesque Anatomy Forum if you have a Delphi account (as anyone with a long and well known record of posting across a large section of the internet comic boards would have), or you could try posting at my forum over at Broken Frontier, as well. A plethora of ways to respond, as you can see, each more constructive than passive aggressive comments to uninvolved third parties. Thus ends the Public Service Announcement.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Rich Johnston comes clean about his Unfunnies quote - he was playing silly buggers with misdirection:

"It's not on the web. Sorry, I'm being mean, it's a genuine quote, just not one that was published online. And to say I hadn't read UnFunnies is not exactly true, I had seen the released preview."

Marvel's leaked April solicitations are now available... Some fun things:

*Mark Millar's Spider-Man series is apparently an "action-packed, hyper-realistic tale finds Peter Parker forced to face the cruel realities that wearing the Spider-Man mask and web-shooters brings to his personal life." Hyper-realistic AND facing cruel realities? For Spider-Man! Great!

*The latest issue of Incredible Hulk offers "a self-contained prologue to a 4-part story arc". Doesn't the fact that it's a prologue mean that it's not self-contained?

*Chuck Austen writes two issues each of Uncanny and New X-Men, prior to the Reload relaunch of both titles...

*Human Torch is finally snuffed out, with issue 12...

The V cast their eye on Mark Millar (again!)'s The Unfunnies. Of most interest is Rich Johnston's commentary:

"I appear to have a quote on the back of Unfunnies. Critics may note that I only read it last week."

And when the quote is posted, Rich responds:

"I challenge anyone to find where that quote came from."

Is someone making up quotes?

Chris: I finally, definitely, win. Mark Millar talks up his Spider-Man project:

"We decided what we could do was take the traditional Spider-Man book like Spectacular Spider-Man and make a really sophisticated Spider-Man book. I just wanted to show what it was like to crawl out of the gutter with your costume ripped up and mud all over you, knowing you have to go fight these terrible villains. I wanted to show the humanity of Spider-Man. There’s such a human element you get from Spider-Man that you don’t get with very many other characters including Batman. I wanted to do the most realistic and human story I could."

Brandon Thomas clarifies his feelings about decompressed storytelling:

"Decompression is a useful tool to allow creators to tell their stories, but it's clearly becoming overused, and its end result will be stagnation. I'm not campaigning that everyone be forced to write in complete 22 page increments, but that everyone needs to stop writing the same way. All trends eventually run their course, and I just don't see the next couple years filled with six part storylines. I think it'll probably be a combination of established scribes and maybe a few newcomers that start to go slightly against the grain, and prove that not everyone has to write in extended arcs. Nothing wrong with it, until everyone's weekly stash is completely filled with it."

"That start to go against the grain"? As in, it hasn't happened yet? Apparently Brandon doesn't read that many books that aren't Marvel. Off the top of my head, I can think of multiple DC books that have even had (gasp) one-off stories in the last year, even just sticking with The Big Two...

Millarworld explore the creative legacies of Chris Claremont and Grant Morrison on the X-Men:

"A good friend of mine said it best when she said after Morrisons run thing will be back to the status quo for the x-men .The x-men will all be running around saying 'remember that really weird few months we had.'"

"I have to agree with the sentiment here. Giving Claremont three X-titles after his horrible return to Uncanny and poor run on X-Treme is just mind-boggling. I can understand giving him his own corner of the X-universe; he does have his fans. But having him dominate the line...?"

"I agree, it does look as though Claremont & Co. plan to rewind everything back to a point where they feel comfortable. Thing is, I see as many people returning to the book as will leave it once he moves on. Lot's a people were turned off by Morrison's more adventurous changes and never cared for Quitely's pencils - though I'm sure Silvestri's art has them scrambling back, like lemmings for the high cliff),..."

"I really, really don't care if you love Claremont, or hate him. I also don't care if you love Morrison, or hate him. I've enjoyed many elements of both writers series. But you people who are inferring Claremont paying Morrision a 'big fuck you' due to events in X-Treme... Do you people actually hear yourselves talk? Do you say this stuff out loud and hear what it actually sounds like? It's all in your head!"

Newsarama reports on another upcoming movie adaptation of a comic book... except that this comic book doesn't actually exist as yet:

"The Platinum Macroverse is all of the literally thousands of characters and storylines that we've developed over the past several years... The core mythology of Unique - the parallel worlds and the idea of the 'Uniques' who can move between them - is at the heart of the Macroverse. The way we've designed it is so that even though the stories in many of our comics take place in the same overall universe, they're only tied together as much as we want them to be."

Unlike other comics universes, where the creators have no say over anything, of course.

The Joe Quesada board discusses Marvel's new rebranding of Marvel Knights:

"Alonso is practicing the same old 'clique marketing' bull$#!& that he has all along. If you're one of the 'cool kids' you read Marvel Knights. If you don't like them, you're a nerd. He's playing on the social insecurities he perceives as defining superhero fans (eg; the kids who are never part of the cool crowd but desperately want to be), and by doing so he is subtly demonstrating his contempt for them. If he respected his audience, he'd simply pitch his books on the basis of their appeal, and not on some nonsensical promise of entry to higher social status."

Monday, January 26, 2004

Mike San Giacomo updates his story about the retailer who refused to order Phantom Jack:

"I just had a talk with the owner of Comics And More and I'm happy to say that we straightened a few things out. Owner Jay Roden said he would be happy to order Phantom Jack for anyone, he would order an extra 15 copies for the store, but said that he was pissed at me. Personally."

And not, surprisingly, for the public attack on the store in the original version of the column...

In the Newsarama interview recently, Joe Quesada argued why Marvel wasn't in favor of the OGN format, saying that it didn't make sense either financially or for the creator, who'd suffer from not being on the shelves on a regular basis and a high price point. Thankfully, there are right thinking people like Rebellion's Jamie Boardman to set Quesada straight:

"If you don't believe that success outside the 'comics industry' is there to be had, look at JIMMY CORRIGAN. At MAUS. And yes, I know they were originally serialised in OBSCURE magazine and as a weekly blog on NEVERHEARDOFIT.com. So what? Every graphic novel, trade paperback, collected edition, whatever, is an original graphic novel to EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER OUTSIDE THE DIRECT MARKET AND THE WIDER COMICS INDUSTRY. That's around 6 billion people who've never read a comic in their lives, and those who associate the currently popular physical form of the medium - the stapled, 20+ page pamphlet - with its artistic qualities. Why not present the material in the way that prose publishers do, as there's a proven track record to this approach?"

Found at Brian Wood's forum: An analysis of comic writers' relationships with their mothers via their writing. Interesting, if a little skewed (How could the writer miss Morrison's idealised calm female who knows all the answers stereotype, as shown in post-Crazy Jane Kay Challis, Ragged Robin, Jean Grey...?).

Darwyn Cooke explains the price-point/format of New Frontier at Millarworld:

"I pitch DC 6 64 page books like this. They want prestige. I figure if we're cutting the story into pieces to make it affordable, let's go all the way. Flimsy cover, staples, get the lowest pricepoint possible, and get the book into as many hands as possible. They say OK, and we lock the format in stone, as I am only going to restructure the story one more time. A prestige like Secret Identity retails for 5.95... For some reason, New Frontier has been priced a dollar higher, instead of a dollar lower, as I had hoped/anticipated.

"You can ask DC why this is because I sure as shit don't know."

(Thanks, Matt.)

Cyberosia announce plans to collect Jamie Delano's old Vertigo series, 2020 Visions. A Newsarama poster uses the opportunity to make some art criticism:

"It's nice to see this back in print, I'll be buying a copy. Just wish Warren Pleece wasn't involved. Why Vertigo keeps on using him is beyond me, he's got to be their worst artist. His work on Deadenders ruined a great book."

Brandon Thomas decides, about a year later than most people this side of Mark Millar (who recently seemed to make the same decision), that decompression may not be a good thing after all:

"It’s too easy for the people to just sit back and wait for a trade, recently. These titles should be jumping with so much electricity that they DEMAND to be purchased in monthly form. Don’t take this the wrong way, but if you’re sitting back and waiting to read my book in trade form seven months down the line, I’m gonna make your comic buying existence miserable. My intent is to create such a noticeable buzz about what is going on in that book, that your friends, that your message boards, that your own mother, cannot stop talking about it. I will create a situation in which choosing to ignore this title implies that you do not like comics. You’re going to wait for the trade? That’s what the fuck you think.

"This is the attitude that needs to accompany almost every new series hitting the stands, or any worthwhile creative shake-up, but instead we’re decompressing every single thing and helping to create weak comics that combine to form weak trades. If they even come out. Creators are writing anonymously, utilizing the same flow and tempo as everybody else, and this can’t be eliciting our greatest potential. The conception that trades are only to be sold with one long form story in them completely underestimates the audience, and handicaps writers more suited to another approach. Though I’m not exactly arithmetically inclined, even I’m aware that there’s more than one way to fill five or six issues, if that’s what the chief concern is, that transcends this tired rhythm we’ve fallen into."

Dirk Deppey (linking Bill Sherman's wonderful review of The Unfunnies) on Mark Millar:

"Why is Mark Millar considered a good writer, anyway? I've diligently read everything alleged to have made Millar's reputation (save for The Ultimates, which we don't have in the TCJ library), and I still don't get it. Essentially, Mark Millar is Warren Ellis without the ideas, Grant Morrison without the imagination and Garth Ennis without the character. He's a second-generation copy of other (and better) writers, as remixed by Spinal Tap. Millar's biggest plus seems to be the ability to crank out scripts on deadline, but that can't be the source of his reputation for anyone this side of an editor. So why is it?"

For those who want a scorecard, Millarworld have created lists of the Marvel and DC "events" planned or rumored for this year.

Mike San Giacomo meets journalistic intergrity:

"I got an email from a buddy of mine in Norristown, Pa., who said he called a local, well-stocked, comic shop to order Phantom Jack #1 and was told 'No.' Excuse me? I said he must be mistaken, so I called the shop myself. I shouldn't name the shop...Hell, I should name it, it's Comics And More in King of Prussia. If I don't name it, other good shops in the area may be tarred with the same brush."

Or, you know, you could have just not mentioned where the shop was...

In the world of rumor columns, Markisan is more or less reporting what he's read on message boards, whereas Rich Johnston has pictures of porn stars. I wonder who'll get the more hits this week?

Friday, January 23, 2004

"The comics community gets a new holiday this April 24th with the introduction of 24 Hour Comics Day, a day to not only celebrate but to engage in the creation of comics. Based on the creative experiment created by Scott McCloud, this holiday encourages everyone from comics fans to big-time pros to try to create their own full 24 page comic book in 24 consecutive hours."

Kiefer Sutherland has, so far, not agreed to be the patron saint of this event. But give it time.

Newsarama offers up preview art from Wildstorm's Coup D'Etat. Millarworld reacts:




Newsarama explains the storylines that will launch the new Marvel Knights era of certain Marvel books:

"[T]he Hulk vs. Iron Man, Sabretooth will appear in Wolverine seeking Logan’s help in a Weapon X-related arc, and X-Statix will take on the Avengers. All three titles will double-ship in April as well."

Marvel Knights, as you'll remember, was described as "titles where the 'superhero' elements appear in a very different manner. It’s what makes Marvel Knights unique, and will, with these additions, continue to make these titles unique."

Millarworld's discussion (with spoilers) about the next issue of X-Statix quickly turns into a strange argument:

"Look Crowley i don't know what your problem is....now you're just fishing for crap thats not there. You're being a fucking immature prick. I let alot of the crap you say go because #1 ...I don't judge people by the opinions that they post in other threads so you're entitled to your opinion and #2 I assume that you're not doing very well in the reader comprehension dept..."

"it was a simple yes or no question motherfucker. don't get all dramatic..."

"Nice threats Crowley. I'll refrain from any further public pissing contest with you so check your PM. For the record i don't normally overreact but thats the second unwarranted swipe you've taken at me and had you not started shit so to speak we wouldn't be having this conversation . Maybe argueing on comic book message forums is fun for you but i really think it's going to end up making us both look like tards so let it rest ok...or else i might 'burn till i weep'"

From Mark Evanier's blog:

"The great comic book editor Julius Schwartz is back in the hospital again. He was in for pneumonia, then he went home, then he fell in his home and...well, let's just say he's not in great shape but he's still with us... People often write me and ask me to "pass along" their wishes so I've decided to expedite the process. Julie is not on the Internet so I'm going to set up a special e-mail address for messages to Julius Schwartz. Every few days between now and the Super Bowl, I'm going to print all the messages you send to that address and FedEx them to wherever Julie is recuperating. I'll delete any messages that are rude or uncommonly long (say, if someone tries to upload articles they've written) but otherwise, I'll just print it out and ship it to Schwartz. Spread the word that this would be a good time and way to tell one of the great men of our field what his work has meant to you. I'll post the address here tomorrow."

Go and write the man.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Randy Lander gets anal while discussing DC: The New Frontier (which is fucking wonderful, by the way):

"Every single person working on this book has gone above and beyond in crafting a fascinating tale of a DC Universe that we don't see very often. Well, at least on the creative side. I hate to even mention anything that might put someone off the book, because I firmly believe it's worth every penny, but the price tag on this book is pretty high. And when I'm paying close to seven dollars an issue for a book, I expect a large page count (which this one, at 64 pages, has), a great story and art (which it has in spades) and a spine (which this doesn't have.) On the one hand, this book does lay flat, which lets the reader see all the great art, but given the price, it sure seems like a spine and nicer cover stock would have been called for. An unfortunate marketing misstep which should in no way discourage anyone from picking up the book."

So it doesn't have a spine? Who, besides Randy, really gives a fuck? It's a great story with incredible illustrations (including Dave Stewart's coloring, which is lovely and understated) for a better cost per page than, say, your average issue of X-Men! For the love of God!

Bendis also really shows that he gets the concepts behind Ultimate Fantastic Four:

"We are really opening up the family aspect of the book. Introducing a lot of the larger families. FF was always Marvel's family book and we are going to express that past the four. But the adventures will definitely be fantastic. Hence the name."

Brian Michael Bendis announces that The Pulse is going bi-monthly, so that Mark Bagley can get all the work done on time (dropping Ultimate Spider-Man back to 12 times a year obviously was never considered). My favourite fan response:

"I am cool with this."

Because, y'know, if he wasn't, then Marvel would have had to come up with another plan.

The "Is THAT Kitty Pryde" comments about the picture that accompanied the "X-Treme X-Men is dead! Hello Excalibur!" announcement continue at John Byrne's forum, where one poster says "Looks like her name should be "Kitten Pryde" to me...", only for Byrne to suggest another name: "Kitty Porn."

Millarworld asks What's going on with the Marvel hate?:

"Has Marvel EVER been this good? The vast majority of DC's titles, with the exception of Vertigo, just doesn't really appeal to me. And that's cool, I'm not going to bash it. But why is it everywhere I go on the internet I see fanboys with their fucking sarcastic "*smirks*" and shit talking about how Marvel sucks now? Despite numorous cancelling of potentially great titles (Ant-Man, Deathlok, Daniel Way in general) and the influx of new, almost guaranteed to be canned books, can we honestly say it's as bad as it used to be?

"I mean, yeah, Morrison's leaving NXM. And yeah, Claremont is waz (totally hip, gen x term for jizz [TO THE EXTREME]). But I have faith that Quesada understands that there are people buying X-men write now exclusively for Morrison and understands to keep the quality there. Given a chance, Whedon and Cassady will more than likely kick ass. And who gives a shit about the other titles? They'll suck, we know it; just continue to stick to New X-Men. Anybody else feel me on this?"

"One thing I think people often overlook when praising DC over their attempts at expanding the industry is the fact damn near every good DC book is either in the wildstorm or vertigo imprint, and thus is 18+. Their only all-ages books are in their main universe, and in books like powerpuff girls."

"I've let several of my friends, who are all like snobby on russian and french authors borrow some titles (I try and custom it to their particular tastes) and I've gotten one girl hooked on Hulk, another girl on Ult SpM, a third on Ult. X, and two buddies of mine are now reading DD. Keep in mind these are people who would routinely MOCK ME for reading comics at all. These are college students and professionals, well read (and like I said, they consider themselves a bit 'too good' for kiddie stuff like comics or cartoons). Luckily, I won a bet with all of them, and they promised to try reading some, and now they're hooked. This would NEVER have happened without Jemas and Joey Q (and a little pimpin' on my part B) ). Mad props to 'Nu Marvel'."

Mad props! Jizz [TO THE EXTREME]! You kids and your lingo these days...

Newsarama posters discuss Mark Millar's "The Unfunnies":

"You've seen cases made by states against comic shop operators on selling adult-oriented material that would appear for mature readers, but with The Unfunnies you see a comic drawn in the style of a children's comic book and I'm worried that somewhere, someone out of the comics scene will use this as a chance to attack the industry."

"Wow. From the sound of it, I'm glad I didn't buy or read this."

"This sounds a lot like Fritz the Cat, an old R. Crumb comic from the 70's (i think). It's a comic about a cartoon cat that goes around having promiscuous sex and doing drugs....."

"I had kind of been looking at this in the store (I was kind of wondering why it was "bagged" so you couldn't just thumb through it), but I think I will pass (I am not a prude and am all for sick and twisted humor, but at least from your description..... the impression I get is more just stuff that is shocking for the sake of being shocking.... is that impression wrong, or is there more substance to this than just the setup?)"

"Wow. Seems Millar's managed to achieve his goal of making people realise it's 'the most fucked up thing you ever spent $3.50 on' three issues early."

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Is Joss Whedon really the new NewXMen writer?

"I can't answer that question at all, because I'm really not officially doing it..."

Nick Locking maybe discussing a well-known X-Men writer. Maybe. Allegedly. Perhaps.:

"Which is the one that likes getting fisted by young black dominatrix prostitutes again? I get so mixed up. Actually, I've just considered it, and if Whichever One It Is mentioned in an interview that, yeah, he liked being fisted by young black dominatrix prostitutes, my respect for him would increase massively."

Jai Nitz plays pretend Marvel executive:

"What better movie would there be to adapt into comic book form than Elektra? Because what the comic book industry needs, really needs, is one more comic about an impossibly proportioned, scantily-clad woman jumping around, beating people up."

Millarworld discuss whether The Authority, and Stormwatch's Citizen Solider, are supervillains or heroes:

"The 'Citizen Soldier' embodies the kind of American idealism I've chattered on about when discussing the Authority, that in my youth, I considered myself a bit of an american radical, in that during the activist work I did back then, I really didnt want an anarchist or socialist agenda imposed, so much as simply want America to live up to the promise of it's ideals."

"I never quite saw The Authority as being a group of supervillains as Ellis or some people have proclaimed. Then again, I never saw them as fighting a 'War for Peace' as much as trying to break down the current Status Quo and create a Utopian society."

"What if another nation invaded Washington DC and took over the government as well as the US's nuclear arms out of an interest to prevent American aggression abroad and repression at home? How would you react? Now substitute 'superheroes' for 'another nation' in the question above. That's what I think of the Authority. No matter what your intentions, as soon as you try to use overwhelming power to force change from the top down, you're rightly going to encounter resistance and probably end up incurring greater damage on the society you're trying to help."

"The Authority can be very ruthless and sometimes short sighted. But their hearts are in the right place. In that respect they aren't very different from alot of other super-teams. In alot of ways the remind me of the old pulp heroes and early golden agers. The Shadow's methods taken to a global level if you will. Look at this in the form of archtypes. I think of super-villains always looking after themselves. Why does Dr. Doom want to rule the world? Because he thinks he deserves too. It's a very self centered world view. Even when Doom does something good, it's because it will benefit him in the end. The Authority try to look out for the little guy. The problem is in doing they've put themself SO very far above those lives they want to enrich that they lose sight of the big picture."

Art Adams signs exclusively to DC for three years, fans complain:

"At this point, D.C. seems to be spending for these exclusives simply because they can. (And to keep them from working for other publishers--a rather lame and mean-spirited attempt to increase market share.) Does the Diamond distribution list have a ratio on the number of employees in exclusives relative to the number of mediocre books they produce which few people read?"

"The only thing we're seeing right now is DC producing creators, and Marvel producing books! You can hire every creators in the freakin World, but if they're not used properly, it's like killing time. But more importantly, of worth that would make people jump of their seats, DC can only do that with Superman and Batman. Because putting Art Adams on Metal Men would be a waste that nobody would read. While at Marvel you have all these Kirby characters that have amazed people from generation after generations. So becoming DC exclusive you have Superman and Batman and possible creator-owned work. It would be feel like a prison to me."

Day three of me blogging while on pain medication begins with Marvel's announcement that Xtreme X-Men is going to relaunched as Excalibur as part of the Reload X-Men revamp mid-year. Apparently, this isn't yet another example of Marvel reusing old titles that have pleasant connotations for the fanboys, but instead a book that "will have some of the most unexpected happenings in the X Universe in a long time". Well, that's nice to hear.

The reaction at Newsarama is probably going to make Marvel happy:

"Excalibur!!! ROCK ON!!!!!"


"[A] new Excalibur??? Bring it on, Claremont! Between DC's stepping up to the plate (finally!) and Marvel continuing what they started a few years back, 2004 is looking to be the best year in comics in a long long long time."

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Is Marvel sending mixed messages, asks the Joe Quesada board:

"I've noticed two instances of underage drinking in Ultimate books recently. When Spidey met Black Cat on the rooftop, she offered him a glass of wine. Did he say, "No thanks, I don't drink?" No, he took the glass--and probably would have had some if Electra hadn't shown up to attack them. Then in the latest Ultimate X-Men, Wolverine met that high school kid who killed everyone around him and shared a six pack with him.

"I'm not so naive that I think that nobody in the United States tastes a drop of alcohol until they turn 21. But Marvel made it a policy not to show its characters smoking because of the message it sends. To be consistent, shouldn't Marvel also make it policy to not show underage kids drinking alcohol?"

The first reply?

"Smoking kills whereas alcohol makes you more fun."

The funniest response to The Panel's question this week about Dave Sim and the completion of Cerebrus comes from ex-Wolverine writer Frank Tieri:

"Look, I'm going to be honest here-- I've never read one single page of a Cerebus comic (no reflection on the book, I just never did). That said, I think you have to recognize the fact that Dave Sim has done this comic all by himself for all these years-- and regardless of what you think of him or his book, to reach this milestone in this shitty market deserves a tip of your hat.

"Plus, the fact that it's his vision and ONLY his vision means that nobody could come up to him one day and have his character STOP FUCKING SMOKING CIGARS AFTER HE"S BEEN DOING IT FOR THIRTY FUCKING YEARS! DAMN YOU, MARVEL!!! DAMN YOU!!!!!!.... Ahem."

The posters at Newsarama discuss online comics piracy:

"I didn't think it existed but it does. One of my roomates started downloading full comics online for about a month now. You can get pretty much anything from Marvel or DC. I had no idea it was so rampant and organized!"

"You might think I'm naive, but most pirates I know (and I know a lot) do support the artists they're pirating. Sometimes it's misguided lashing out at the big companies behind the artists, sometimes it's pure criminal cynicism. We're in the midst of a massive paradigm change and it's going to take some time to work out the kinks in a fair manner. Fortunately for comics, preparing them for online piracy is still much more time-consuming and tedious than it is for music."

"...why i dont think this is really a big issue... we love paper."

Joe Casey takes on The Avengers, and immediately starts to feel the need to justify himself:

"I'm not sure exactly when I had that particular epiphany. But for me, looking back, it certainly shows in those comic books [His abortive Uncanny X-Men run]. I feel like the craft was there but the passion wasn't, especially at first. Hopefully, I'm past the point where I'm taking jobs because of what they might mean to my career. A high-profile superhero assignment means nothing if I don't have some sort of attachment to the material, I don't care what it might do for my career. I'd rather just concentrate on doing good work, no matter what the "profile" might be. In the case of 'EMH,' I feel a huge responsibility to Avengers fans old and new because, in this case, I am one of those Avengers fans."

Rich Johnston gives a State of Marvel address:

"Things have changed. The consensus, both inside and outside of the company is that a profitable Marvel has become more conservative. While they are still pursuing outreach programmes, they are on more traditional business lines. And the success of the movies has put the characters in a position where the belief is they can be 'harmed' by an off-the-wall portrayal of them in a comic book. Sales are up. The industry is booming. Things are good. Yet ironically, the moment where Marvel is in a financial position to take more risks, is the time when they choose not to. And only when they're bankrupt will you see projects like, well, at the risk of repeating Matt Brady, 'Rawhide Kid.' ...Sales will often excuse all manner of sins. But I'm told that at Marvel right now, the belief is that anything selling under 80,000 copies is a waste of time."

Love Fights comes out in trade paperback in April, making me a happy man.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Surreal comics argument, number twenty-three, from the Brian Wood forum, about DC/Humanoids. Watch as it just gets out of hand at a very odd speed:

"If I remember right (which is a long shot at best), I believe they censored the comics, but restored the material when they were collected into trades."

"No they didn't, that was just a rumor before the initial trade came out. The reasoning from Humanoids behind covering up the frontal nudity was that they didn't want to be put in the adult material (porno) Previews solicitations, which is a separate catalog altogether. Covering up a naked woman with a sheer nightgown (one example) got them into more stores than if they didn't. The material stayed censored/modified in the US edition trades for the same reason the singles were."

"Like I said -- my memory was faulty re: Metabarons. But that makes sense -- I do remember Humanoids having to reprint and censor the second FROM CLOUD 99 hardcover when Diamond threatened to kick it into the Adult Previews. That actually occured between the publication of the Metabarons comics and the first Metabarons trade, so it might have influenced their decision."

"Hey man, I'm not the one running a graphic novel review site. I was just correcting an unverified assumption of yours, which you just followed up with another one."

"My first quote began: 'If I remember right (which is a long shot at best)', which clearly indicates that it was an off the cuff remark. Of course, I'm assuming that you can read, which may have been another incorrect assumption on my part."

"Whatever, douchebag."

"Do I know you? Or are you just a prick to everyone?"

"I'm only a prick to those who talk out their ass in a condescending matter. So far this week, only you fit that description."

"Well, I guess you must berate yourself a lot then, since the first condescending post was your own (#7). It looks to me like you were pining for a fight for some reason, which surprises me since I have no idea who you are, and I'm pretty sure I've never shot your dog."

"Fucking hilarious. No, really. BLOW ME"

I'm sure I missed something there...

Brandon Thomas wants the New Hotness, but he's not sure whether his Marvel love will let him get it:

"'Waiting for the trade' is the new phrase that pays, but does little Jimmy care about decompressed storytelling, or making sure every title has nice widescreen panels? I doubt he does, and though his little brain probably doesn’t understand it, flipping through a lot of material on the stands is going to leave him shaking his head, and telling his friends that he was gonna buy some comics, but it was just a bunch of people talking in them. That’s only an observation, but you’d have to agree that only a small handful of writers truly excel at slowing things down to a crawl, and building up to that dynamite pay-off. Now it’s become the “house” style, and books can’t launch without an epic seven part story, though we can easily name the ten writers that routinely pull that off and make it look easy. Instead of writers being allowed to play to their own strengths, the tide says that everybody should write like Bendis, or make everything more cinematic, or whatever’s going on out there. I love and appreciate this trend too, but everything, everything, is a comic that looks like a movie, or a TV show. And Jimmy’s computer came with a DVD player and his parents have a flat panel TV in the other room.

"Jimmy wants some kick-ass comics that aren’t apologizing for it."

Mark Millar hawks himself again. Same as before; if you like him, you'll like this, if you don't, don't bother.

Millarworld proves itself to be innoculated (well, somewhat) against Marvel hype:

"Bendis answers fan questions tonight at ComiX-Fan... and alludes to a slew of unannounced Marvel and creator-owned projects. Sounds like he could be moving to...nine (?) books a month. He says everybody will be talking Marvel by convention season."

"Maybe they're going to release a new, original book this year."

"A line-wide X-Men crossover would be great - watching Joe back peddle over his 'dead-is-dead' edict was funny, imagine what kind of bullshit he'll spew in the wake of Marvel taking another step back in time."

Jeez, you go away for a few days and when you come back, another of San Francisco's retailers has an online column in which he's going to tell you how it is. Luckily, the retailer in question is Brian Hibbs, and the online column is a new version of Tilting At Windmills:

"TaW is all about advocacy, about righting wrongs, and, above all else, passion and love for working in the comic book industry. Like Quixote I may charge blindly, but my heart is pure. (I'm also, I'm sure you'll find, full of myself. Whether that's charming or not is up to you.)

"I'll be covering a lot of topics here about the industry - some times an assessment of a company's efforts in the Direct Market, other times critiques of current trends - all with the goal of making the comics industry better. I'll try not to blow any smoke up your ass, either."

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Fanboy Betoothment: No more Rampaging for me until Monday at the earliest, as I'm getting all four of my wisdom teeth out tomorrow morning, and shall then spend the next weekend hopped up on painkillers and making no sense.

Feel my pain, and be back here on Monday.

Silver Bullet Comicbooks have the first part of the (allegedly) only online interview Mark Millar will do all year up on their site right now. As you'd expect, it's Millar doing what he does most often: Trying to sell himself as a cool edgy creator who doesn't give a fuck:

"I think [Wanted] is the only series ever to have dragged superheroes kicking and screaming into this parallel reality which most of us call home."

"Christ, where do I start? Okay, Marvel doesn't do creator-owned, DC doesn't do books with Jesus Christ in them (house rule) and absolutely nobody in their right mind would publish The Unfunnies. We hawked this around a few publishers who were VERY interested until they actually saw the book and then just politely said they couldn't have something like this come out with their logo on it. I don't say this to appear shocking or whatever... I'd never have gotten away with this at DC or Marvel. None of the books would have been appropriate for the mainstream companies."

(Didn't Jesus appear in The Invisibles?)

"Wanted at the moment seems like something DC might do, but all the little details you'll see over the next couple of issues would have rendered this almost unprintable by a big corporation."

"The Unfunnies isn't a comedy. It's not intended to be for the kind of person who enjoys funny animal comics. I'm just taking real-life situations and stories and making them all the more potent by blending the imagery with something quite unexpected. My wife got about six pages into it when she was reading it in the bath the other night and she just threw it at me. She said it was the most horrible thing she'd ever read in her life and she didn't want to think this sort of shit even went on in my head. I tried to explain that the crow was sucking cock for a REASON, but it actually does sound kind of creepy saying it out loud."

....Aaaaaand so on. Basically, it's what you expect from a Mark Millar interview, and those that like that kind of thing will be happy, and those like me who don't, won't. That said, I was surprised to see this post about it at Millarworld:

"Sorry, couldn't read it. Couldn't get past the intro or the first paragraph of the thing. It felt like one huge suck-the-dickfest. There's only so much ego a person can take."

"Hyde Park Entertainment has acquired for development the graphic novel SUBATOMIC from Mad Yak Press. Created by Patrick Neighly, the futuristic action-thriller was brought to the company and will be adapted by Rick Alexander, who will also produce with Hyde Park’s Ashok Amritraj and Jon Jashni. Neighly, author of Mad Yak Press' 'Great Ape' and The Disinformation Company's 'Anarchy for the Masses,' is also expected to serve in a producing capacity."

Patrick and I swapped emails way back when (possibly even before the original Mad Yak version of Anarchy For The Masses came out, I can't remember) about the possibility of collaborating on a comic, with him writing and me illustrating. It kind of fizzled away somehow (I blame him moving to Baltimore, myself), and now he's a big success with licensing deals and I'm just an embittered blogger.


I mean, I'm happy for him and all (especially considering his stuff, which I like), but still.


I have, for reasons that'll be explained in this weekend's Grim Tidings, been thinking a lot about Marvel's failed New Universe line recently. So it was interesting to find an online article by Mark Gruenwald about why it failed:

"Sometimes I wonder how many of the New U titles might still be around today if they had been set in the Marvel Universe from the start. Some I can easily see finding a comfortable niche in the Marvel U-- Justice, Nightmask, and Kickers-- others I'm afraid would just be somewhat redundant or inconsequential in the cosmic-powered mutantocentric Marvel U-- my beloved DP7, for instance."

(It's part of an online treasure trove collection of Gruenwald's Mark's Remarks columns.)

"Chester Brown's critically acclaimed graphic novel LOUIS RIEL; A COMIC-STRIP BIOGRAPHY has landed at #7 on the hardcover non-fiction bestseller list of the Canadian publishing trade Quill & Quire. The list is compiled from sales results of more than 170 independent booksellers across Canada"

Looking at that list, if Chester Brown illustrated a book written by Michael Moore, he'd have an even-bigger hit on his hands.

When fanboys turn on each other, it's not pretty:

"I'm not gay. I have nothing against people who are. If you can find happiness in this shit hole world then go for it I say,but come on when you take established characters and make them gay just to be gay I don't like it. If it adds to the story fine. You tell me what turning Peter gay has added to the UXM? Other than him being gay."

"Repeat after me - Ultimate characters are not the same characters. Peter in the Ultimate universe has been gay since he was created. We've had an Ultimate universe for 3 years. Get over the fact that they are not the same characters already."

"I prefer a good action story that doesn't deal only with sexual preferences but with life principles (social, economic, political) that are more interesting than the expression "I never told you before but I'm gay!" that is used just for shock value. If you want shock value show people that lost their children because of child abuse, war, because that's what's real bad in this world."

"Professor X's heterosexuality has always bothered me. We don't need to know that he was married, had a relationship with Moira MacTaggart, or married an alien space princess. I read X-Men for witty comebacks and women who's outfits didn't cover their bums."

"You know what I don't like? When the superheroes have a, you know, personality. That annoys me. The superhero should show up, kick the shit out of the supervillian and do the same thing again next month. 'Cause that's what comics are all about."

Millarworld dissect the Quesada/Buckley Newsarama interview:

"I like how a bunch of times, when he got asked about the negative stuff that happened in Marvel comics this year he's like, 'Hmm, didn't we have three #1 movies this year'? The interviewer finally said, 'Lets talk comics here'"

"I just don't know why he feels the need to approve all of these damn imprints. Just do a 616 and Ultimate line. None of this Marvel Knights, MAX, Marvel Age, or whatever other lines he may have cooked up. He also has to realize, whatever he does, Marvel will still be behind DC in quality. They have too much of an edge now with not only their main titles, but all of the titles under their 3 imprints as well."

"The thing about those #1 movies was that, from what I understand, it didn't render any new customers for the retailers. They also say that if people could just pick up the Ultimate titles, they'd understand how cool comics are. How about if the 10 mil people who had bought the X2 DVD also found a mini sized Ultimate X-Men comic in there, with the 1-800-Comicbook number? The way I see it, the movies doesn't do much to bring new people in from the cinema, but a successful boxoffice makes good DVD business, and the DVD is a superb marketing tool. JQ isn't dumb, I sure he knows this, so I doubt it is Marvel's fault this didn't happen."

Meanwhile, Newsarama posters do the same:

"Wow, That interview told us nothing. Decent one-liners though."

"So basically, Quesada and Buckley could neither confirm nor deny most of the questions posed in this interview. How incredibly informative."

"That makes me sick to my fucking stomch. What a pile of BULLSHIT. How many sides of your ass can you talk out of?"

As Matt Brady says in the article, "The names may change, but the comedy stylings continue…" Joe Quesada and Dan Buckley avoid the hard questions at Newsarama:

"Well, let's look at Marvel in 2003. Marvel in 2003 to me evolved into one of the great growth companies, a true American success story. What did we have, three movies last year? And all the while we remained a hotbed of incredible creative activity and incredibly fun and exciting place to work! If that's bumpy, I'll take it every year!"

I wonder if Dan Way agrees.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

From Warren Ellis's latest Bad Signal:

"I have seen no official word that John Cassaday is off to do NEW X-MEN, and I will not comment until I see official confirmation that John Cassaday is off to do NEW X-MEN. I may not even comment after that, but I'm certainly not saying a damn thing about a rumour.

"No, I still haven't decided when PLANETARY will conclude, for the simple reason that I don't want to leave myself with too few pages to tell the ending properly. If it goes to 25, 26 or 27 issues, then that's what it'll do and I won't know until I get there.

"So give it a rest."

Mostly Wanted's crack team of previewers offer up their thoughts on this month's copy of Previews, with a nice cross-section of books mentioned (Moreso in the reviewers' own picks - Why didn't those books get mentioned in the main part of the article?). But Mark Peyton's preview of Superman/Batman sums up the need for a good proofreader:

"This title has been a popcorn comic with big action but not a lot of sense in the plot. This is the sequel move then. It has treats for the CD fan-boy such as Darkseid, the oh so unexpected new character, and Michael Turner. It’s how it works as a whole that will be the test. It’ll get bought but probably as a disposable read."

A sequel move for the CD fan-boy? I'm there.

Peter David reacts to Axel Alonzo's comment that he was "all too vocal" about Bruce Jones' version of the Hulk:

"A lot of people see that as a slam. Personally, I don't. I think it's a little vague since I'm not sure what 'all too' means. People kept asking me, and I finally read enough of them to form an opinion and responded. I guess whatever the 'just vocal enough' limit would be, I exceeded it."

Dan Way's curse continues; takes Peter Bagge with him:

"In it’s weekly e-mailer to retailers, Marvel has announced that the MAX Ant-Man miniseries, written by Daniel Way, with art by Clayton Crain has been postponed indefinitely, following the formerly postponed MAX Deathlok: Detour, also written by Way.

Additionally, Startling Stories: The Incorrigible Hulk #1, written and penciled by Peter Bagge, has been cancelled."

Paul Levitz on DC publishing Humanoids:

"I think that you’ve got, as is usual, a multi-level challenge... The first challenge is that you’ve got to put the material out in a format and through a distribution system that is comfortable with it. The French album format, while gorgeous, is really a pain for bookstore shelves, and that’s been a tremendous disadvantage for it in recent years. It hasn’t really been able to get into the graphic novels sections of bookstores here in the US that we have fought for and hard won. So, I think we’ll be looking at a way to reformat the works in a way that is comfortable for both the comic shop and bookstore market so it will be treated with the care and respect that the artists and writers and comfortable with that translation into a new format. We’ll also have to make the retailers on all levels comfortable that the product will be readily available, so that they are ready to devote some space to deal with it. Then, once you’ve got it moved into the pipeline that way, then you have the challenge of how you introduce it to the consumer. A lot of these books have already sold hundreds of thousands of copies, so there’s a fairly good reason to believe that if you can make it available to people, there’s a group of people who will find it interesting material. It’s not trying to sell marginal products. There are some of the greatest comics of all time. We have to find the right tools for doing that – advertising, samplers – hopefully we’ll come up with a few good tricks. We usually do"

Millarworld's discussion of the December Top 300 books quickly evolves into a discussion of Marvel Universe versus Ultimate Universe:

"look at what the ultimate line really is. its updating marvel's primary line of books, making them topical to a new generation of readers. its (limited) forward thinking. if the ultimate line continues eventually you'll have a generation of readers that have grown up reading and knowing only the ultimate line, same as we now have a generation of gamers that grew up only knowing and playing playstation. eventually if it continues like that the '616' universe would most likely be fazed out. so wouldnt it make sense to promote their potential future?"

"With the exception of classics--Kraven's Last Hunt or Born Again, for example--I only read Marvel's Ultimate line, as far as superheroes are concerned. I try new books like Supreme Power, but I've always steered clear of the Spidey and X-books, even when I was a kid. Now, though, I've been following the Ultimate line, and those are the books my son has read, too."

"marvel will continue to publish their regular line as long as it is profitable to do so. but i definitely see the ultimate line as being their safety net when/if the point comes when it is no longer profitable."

Now here's a thread that seems to be asking for trouble:

"We all have our different opinions on artists and writers. For every Grant Morrison Bashers there is Grant morrison Enthusiasts. For the most part every opinion has a degree of credibilty. The objective of this thread is to find a universial reality from all the opinions. So my question to my fellow geeks and fanboys(and my homie MPG, because he doesnt like that term) What is your definition of good writing or art?What is your defintion of bad art or writing?Can you be a good writer and still tell really bad stories?What is your definition of greatness and mediocraty?"

"Industriacide focuses on three older kids and their struggle living within an industrialized town that's lorded over by an almost 'living' factory. Add in a hallucinated teddy bear whose sole mission seems to keep its owner in a permanent state of chemical dependency, and you have far more than your standard 'man vs. machine' tale. Dietrich describes it as 'a very complicated psychological shotgun blast of internal dialog, drug use, innumerable atrocities, mechanical dependency, alcoholism, and just about any other recreation of society.'"

Sounds like a bad Ted McKeever comic to me. But talking about the music/comics crossover without mentioning Kid Koala, Newsarama? For shame.

Millarworld reacts to the Kurtz/Dazzler prank on Rich Johnston:

"Rich... wha' happen? I thought you, y'know... checked shit (even a little) out before writing up the rumors... Yeah, I know, they're still rumors... but hell, this was GREEN lit?"

"Everyone is out to get Rich. What's up with that?"

"Hey everybody! Let's all laugh and point at Rich!"

Rich then responds:

"Thought it was rather funny myself... But, you know, when the primary sources are posting online openly... kinds take that as given. Not the first time though. And not as complex as the Quesada one..."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Mike Doran remembered. Heidi McDonald quotes some choice comments on Marvel's recently departed publicity guru:

"He was the most unlikely person to be appointed to a public relations position. From what I could tell, he had absolutely no interpersonal skills, and blatantly played favorites with creators and journalists. He'd start pointless, time-wasting arguments (often 'unfinished business' carried over from when he was at Newsarama). It very soon got to the point where it was easier to avoid him than attempt to utilize the one person that ought to be the go-to-guy for Marvel. Petulant. Obfuscatory. Hypocritical."

For some reason, I am greatly surprised by this:

"In a move that will increase its bookstore presence and direct market share, DC and Humanoids have today jointly announced an agreement which will see DC act as the English language publisher for Humanoids. The agreement calls for the publication of 36 books per year.

"Through the arrangement, Humanoids monthly offerings will move into the DC section of Previews, and will also be offered to bookstores via Time Warner’s bookstore distribution. As DC stated in a press release: The steady supply of graphic novels will support DC Comics’ continued efforts to aggressively expand into trade bookstores, while building on its impressive presence in the comic book specialty market.

"'It’s the best of both worlds for everybody,” Humanoids editor Paul Benjamin told Newsarama. “DC gets some really nice diversity and high quality material that they get to put out in the US Direct Market, and just as importantly, they get a lot of books for the bookstore market. For them, it’s a great deal, because they’re very aggressive in going after the bookstore market, and through this deal, we’re going to be doing a lot of books, adding to the number of books they can put out for that market. For us, it’s a great deal, because we get a huge push in our visibility. We’ll continue to do the books here, and then send everything off to them, and DC will be out publisher. For me, personally, it’s the best of both worlds – I get to keep doing the books the way we’re doing them, but someone else deals with publishing. It’s the same book as it was before, but it will be in a different section of Previews.'"

Steve Higgins asks you to vote for your comics fan advocate of last year. You have a choice of three: One does a weekly radio show about comics spreading the news to the masses, one edits a comics website spreading the news to the masses, and the third lends comics to his mates. Some would say that there's a noticable difference that one has to the other two...

Newsarama posters aren't too happy with Axel Alonso's interview yesterday about Marvel Knights' revamp:

"The whole 'Marvel Knight's readers are more progressive' thing is sort of insulting to those who aren't MK readers. I read Daredevil because I have since i was a kid...not because it's Marvel Knights. I like stories to make sense in context to other stories involving the same characters...but I can accept when they don't."

"What kind of crack is this guy smoking? 'Uber fanboys'? Even if true, ever hear about not biting the hand that feeds you? And how about MK readers being 'more progressive in their thinking, think outside the box, and are looking primarily at the work in front of them..'? Please... This is a load of crap and stop insulting our intelligence."

"The 'Marvel Knights Reader' IS the kind of reader who 'cares' that Superman beat Thor in JLA/A. Why? Because the 'MK Reader' is the person who keeps reading Marvel's mainstream output, despite their effots to call it anything else. All the books in Marvel's current MK line-up originated in the original MU or are based on concepts originated in the original MU (4). The readers Alonso alludes to (readers who 'see comics as being part of the continuum of pop culture') already have a comic book line to look to that satisfies their tastes for something 'outside the box'. Its called Vertigo. Many of them probably never read a comic book before they saw a Vertigo book. And these were the trades I always saw in bookstores long before the Quemas regime thought the TPB/bookstore market was fashionable."

In other comics chart news, Marvel continue to get their asses kicked in the Graphic Novel/TPB market, with only three entries in the entire top 20, none of which are in the top 10. A chart where Donald Duck and an anthology of autobiographical stories beat Wolverine and the X-Men is a thing of beauty.

Preview images from the Stormwatch episode of Coup D'Etat. Writer Micah Wright offers the soft sell approach:

"Anyone not telling their store owner to order the Hell out of this book is with the Terrorists."

The Quesada board also asks, "Whatever happened to Mr. Jemas?":

"I was just looking at the list of members and saw him there.....I mean...I can see why he wouldn't...people give him so much $#!&....but since he's not the head of Marvel now...he must have less time on his hands right? I would actually like to see him post stuff again."

"I really want to know if he's bitter about it, or what not? If I was fired...I'd be bashing the company left and right."

The Joe Quesada board has another plan to save the industry:

"I get that other genres should be explored. Not at the sacarifice of the one you know that works though. I like the idea of having two types of story for the same characters. Two Captain America books, two Fantasitc Four books. This could be the way around the problem. Allow all the reality slow paced self reimagined books to exist under the Marvel Knights imprint. Creat a manga line too giving manga style versions of in continuity characters who already have their own MU books. The take the core MU books and look at what made them so popular to begin with. What made some of those books sell a million. Knock down the prices too."

Only by flooding the market with multiple versions of the same books can we save comics, kids.

Oni returns to the Sunday online comics idea, with an interesting choice of creators:

"First up is a three-part original story by Oni editor in chief Jamie S. Rich and artist Patrick Scherberger. Known to many as the winner of Comic Book Idol, a talent contest run by Comic Book Resources in 2003, the strip will be Scherberger’s first sequential work since the contest closed."

The plan is clearly for the Oni website to be deluged by Comic Book Idol readers from CBR, who will then discover and fall in love with Oni, and save the comic book industry.

Millarworld re-evaluates Hush:

"Now if only Jason Todd HAD been the main villain of the peace, of would have considered this perfect – a terminally p.o.’ed former Robin would make a dangerous and great Batman villain. Arguably one Batman (or someone else in the wide supporting cast) would someday HAVE to kill!"

"My big problem with the script was that Loeb had all the right ideas and just didn't execute them. I really wish that it had been a Jason Todd resurrection story with Tommy Elliot as the "fake-out." This would have been one of those incredibly rare times where the "back from the dead" plot would have worked extremely well in the arc and in the greater Batman universe for some time."

Stuart Moore comes clean: He loves superheroes:

"As an editor at DC’s Vertigo imprint, I loved the freedom of working in a variety of genres -- but I was always very aware that I was working in a series of traditions honed and cemented by superhero comics. Most of the successful Vertigo characters have had quick visual identifiers: Spider Jerusalem’s funky glasses and tattoo, Jesse Custer’s collar, Morpheus’s dark robes and distinctive face. One look at the page and they stand out from the characters around them, just like Superman or Batman."

Monday, January 12, 2004

From the thread written by James Kochalka's intern, the experience of another comics intern:

"i interned at marvel a few years ago and it was pretty strange. bob harras was running things back then and he was mr. micromanager. he gave m editors a hard time once when i called in sick. once, for an unpaid internship. he was the editor-in-chief. odd. lots of photocopying and reading some of the worst comics i've ever read. i did sit in on a story meeting for an x-men book and it was very sad for this little nerd. overall i was bummed that everyone seemed so miserable there. i'm sure it's a very different place now, but back then it seemed like the fun had been sucked out ten years earlier. most of the contacts i made were fired a year afterword. if you're serious about gettting your superhero on, you should have your portfolio in tip top shape before you get there in order to milk your contacts.

"wow. looking this over it seems pretty bad. positives: i learned a bit about the corporate hustle and met john romita sr. that dude can draw. i shou;d have stolen one of his pencils."

Four more Marvel Knights books in April. Two are Mark Millar's already announced Spider-Man and the already existing Bruce Jones Incredible Hulk, but the other two aren't announced yet. But why the move? Editor Axel Alonso answers:

"I think the Marvel Knights reader tends to be a little bit more progressive in terms of their tastes. They’re not afraid to think outside the box, and are more apt to look for a story that’s strong on its own merits than to view it through the prism of what has preceded it, and might it have happened elsewhere? ...They see comics as being part of the continuum of pop culture – that’s what they’re looking for. Hulk boomed in sales in direct, but opposite proportion to the amount the uber fanboys hated it. That’s what we’re talking about – the Marvel Knights reader is more progressive in their thinking, think outside the box, and are looking primarily at the work in front of them, not the work in relationship to stuff that they may have previously read, or what came out several years ago. They’re not trying to figure out if something is 'real' continuity or not. In many case, they don’t even care."

But what I want to know, Axel, is do Marvel Knights readers think outside of the box?

Sanity Assassins, the Delphi forum that's part kinky weirdness and part comics madness, produces a thread that melds the two, as it discusses Wonder Woman:

"One of the things that's still intriguing about the Moulton Marston incarnation of WW, that we every so often see flashes of today, is that she is at the core the most fascist of all DC superheroes. The fact that she has massive dominatrix overtones to her fascism makes it both fun, entertaining, and a bit easier to swallow. This is a woman -- as of 1945 -- who honestly believes, deep at her core, that everything would be right as rain if people just did exactly as she said. She believes in an absolute, strict hierarchy and virtually the only individuals she places above herself are the goddesses and her mother. When things go bad, she sees nothing wrong with brainwashing her captives, chaining them up, and making them the scantily clad slave girls of herself and her sisters, to be used for all sorts of pleasure, with absolutely unmistakeable sexual overtones."

John Jakala mentions the Filth as one of his favourite comics of 2002, and what happened next...

"To be honest, I can't remember much about this series, although I do remember enjoying each individual installment."

I kind of have the same reaction to it. I remember being a big fan of it when it was coming out, but now struggle to remember why... Perhaps because the conclusion was somewhat of a letdown for me...

I have to wonder: On a list of late-shipping titles at Millarworld, it's revealed that Ultimates, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Wanted, Run, The Unfunnies, and Chosen have all been resolicited from their original release dates for January. That's all the titles that Mark Millar is writing, and yet for some reason, the artists are still getting blamed for the delays ("Godammit, Kubert is going to fuck up Ultimate FF just like he did Ultimate X. Why couldnt marvel have given the book to someone who could maintain a schedule? This could have been their chan e to give Sal Larocca a book that he could work on for more than four issues in a row."). Why hasn't at least one person asked what all of those titles have in common that could make them ship late?

Newsarama embraces the geek, part two:

"The JLA vs The 'Masters of the Universe'. Ok who do you guys think would win in this epic battle of the titans? The teams would be forced to fight each other to the death because the survival of their respective universe's hangs in the balance, who wins?"

"Superman tells the rest of the JLA to go ahead and take their lunch break while he single-handedly kicks the MOTU's collective asses."

Newsarama embraces the geek, part one:

"When I was in college I was wearing my Fantastic Four symbol shirt at a bar and some guy said in sarcastic tone "Dude the Fantastic Four kick ass" I looked at him and said "You're right they do." and walked away. Heh geeky college kid 1 drunken meathead 0."

Jim Lee answers questions from Newsarama readers:

"I am a writer and am trying to break into the comics scene. I have completed a four-issue Civil War story and am in the process of mailing it to various publishers and editors. My question: Is there anyone at WildStorm that I can send my work to? I have a lot of respect for the quality comics that WildStorm puts out, month after month, and would like to be a part of what you are doing."

Sadly, Jim doesn't reply "Have you looked at what Wildstorm publish? Can you really see us doing a Civil War story? I mean, in what bizarro world do you think that we'd even be interested in doing something like that, especially from an unknown writer? If you can rework it as an Eye Of The Storm title, with the hero being a superpowered Civil War soldier who can melt people's heads, then we'll talk."

Fantasy nostalgia comics! They're the new thing!

Conan orders top 50,000, and fucking Dragonlance gets its own series.

When self-loathing subcultures populated by overweight people with beards collide!

Friday, January 09, 2004

Jose-Luis Garcia Lopez renews DC Exclusive Contract.

"It's not like I've done work for anyone else for years and years and years anyway, right?" he says.

ManOfTheAtom is a message board poster known all over the comics messageboardosphere for being rather... opinionated, shall we say. So what happens when someone starts a thread at Newsarama about a popularity contest for posters there and MOTA uses it as an excuse to complain about his many bannings? Well, someone points out a harsh truth (Scroll down):

"Actually the reason he was banned [from CBR] is because he said Gail Simone deserved it when he called her a whore, but support him as you like, he 'rocks' after all."

and then MOTA lets loose:

"I did not call Gail a whore AT Pulse, that happened YEARS ago at the CBR chat room, Padding/Mangaman/Marvelman's the one that brought that old argument to that particular thread, not me. Yes, I did call her that and see no reason to deny it, but I thought she deserved it back and I still think so now. See, my problem with Gail is that from the first movement I've met her she'd had this "I'm better than everyone else" attitude towards people, and that's a trait I really hate in others... So we kept running in to each other in the chat and her attitude kept getting worse, not just towards me but towards others that I could notice, mainly those that like continuity. I'd ask stuff like 'would you be ok with a story about Gwen Stacy being alive today?' and she'd say sure, which I'd counter with a 'but she'd dead, it wouldn't make sense'. She'd reply to that with what's become standard for whinny writers re: continuity.

"And all of that would lead to even more exchanges in conversation where her attitude problem would become more and more apparent. And it hasn't gotten better lately, but before talking about that I'll tell of other stuff that happened in the chat room re: my site, so there's no confusion. A lot of times the guys from the site and I would meet in the CBR chat to discuss our fan fic site, and then Gail would come in and ask what was going on. I, solely in the spirit of replying to her so she'd know what was going on, would say something like 'not much, we're talking about our site. Here's the link, check it out if out like' Sometimes I'd give her the link after someone would tell her 'we're talking fan fic.' or the like. I'd say 'yeah, here it is' or something like that.

"Since then Gail has taken to saying that I showed her the link because I'm in desperate need of her approval or something like that, which couldn't be farther from the truth. This is a person whose opinion doesn't matter to me, so why would I want her approval on my fan fic? I was just replying to her question, nothing more and nothing less. I didn't set out to insult this person, that's a remark she earned after months of being unable to threat me with respect... respecting people in chat rooms hasn't killed anyone yet, so it wouldn't have killed her to do the same. See, whore may have been too strong of a word, I am willing to admit to that."

("Whore may have been too strong a word". Gee, you think?)

It gets better, when he explains past comments: Anyone who liked Grant Morrison's Fantastic Four series is a pervert, the word Nigger isn't racist in the 41st century, and more. Some selections:

"My dislike for [Superman: Birthright, by Mark Waid] is because it's one of the worst stories ever done in comics. It's like it was writen by a five year old that doesn't have an original idea of his own."

"Eddie Berganza's an inept writer, and Mark Waid's latest offerings have been the work of an inept writer. A monkey with a word processor could do what he's been doing lately."

"Dude, it [The idea that Namor is a Johnny Storm-substitute to Sue Storm, something that Grant Morrison mentioned as a throwaway idea in passing when promoting his Fantastic Four series] went beyond the idea happening or not, it became a virtual cult to Morrison. Agree with him or die was the theme (agree in general, not just with the incest)."

"And not that it's any of your business but I've dealt with many other editors other than Jamie Rich and had much better and more positive experiences talking with them than I ever did with him..." [Not that Jamie had been mentioned previously in the thread or anything...]

The thread then gets locked. But is that the end? Of course not! Because Gail Simone herself then starts another thread about the subject:

"Let me say, I had no beef with Mota, but the vast majority of CBR did, and he was the most-requested prospect for banning, ever, and there was actual rejoicing when he was finally booted. The chat room immediately became a vastly nicer place, and I think you can ask almost anyone who was there, they'll tell you the same. His handle is still used as a generic term for complete trollish assery... Why, if Mota is such a swell guy and innocent victim as he portrays himself, is he so universally loathed that he has been banned at CBR, banned at Pulse, and is in danger of being banned here, according to administrators? He wants you to believe it's because people are out to get him, rather than the endless parade of lies, disinformation, insults, and sheer jackass behavior that has pissed off not just pros but huge numbers of posters who somehow manage to make their points without being obnoxious and rude... Just some thoughts. Most hated poster probably ever at CBR, and the main reason many pros won't post at or even read the Pulse and Newsarama message boards, but somehow, it's not his fault. It's Waid's fault, or MY fault, or Jen's fault. Please. Some people need a nap and a bottle so the grown-ups can have an adult discussion. That's it. Sorry, but I'm kinda tired of reading his paranoid little weirdnesses about me."


Fanboy? Rampage!:

"I'm fed-up with this. As a fan, especially in the last few years there has been much "experimenting" but there's nothing that is more armful to the enjoyement of reading a comic that an artist that you like changing his damn style. Why do artists have an obsession with changing completly the way their work looks? In the last few years it has been worst and worst. I think there's a mentality outthere that you need to "evolve", not drawing the way you always drew because it might look like you`re an inferior artist. Wrong. Just look at the way Brian Hitch changed and got better over the years without changing everything about the way he draws.

"I mean in the last few years great artists have changed their whole presentation, and most of the time not for the better without any care and it has become an epidemic of bad taste. The worst recent example being JG Jones on Wanted. Here's a guy that was incredible on Marvel Boy with Grant Morrison and now not only it doesn`t ressemble any of his stuff that he did before, but it's beyond mediocre. Wanted was well written but it looked like it had been drawn by an amateur. Another one I would put in there is Tony Harris. When he was doing Starman he was hands-down my favorite artist in comics, but he changed his style completly without any good reasons. While still watchable it's not as powerful as his Starman stuff. It was a stupid decision to make the switch since he had a good thing going. No point. And the less can be said about Chris Bachalo the better.

"In European countries nobody does that excepted when a different genre warants it(Moebius would not draw Blueberry like Airtight Garage). Forget about Gosinni drawing Asterix like Sienkiewicks too. So why do American artists do it? Is that arrogance, do they think being an artist means showing off? Anyway, it's something I can`t stand anymore, and it needs to stop."

You tell 'em, crazy hater of artists trying something new! And you know what? The Beatles were shit after "Meet The Beatles", too! I mean, "Revolver"? What was that all about? Buddy Holly never changed.

Brian Azzarello plays the "I don't give a shit" card while discussing his Superman work with Jim Lee:

"As for the internal reaction from the first Superman script, I can't say I was surprised. I certainly was when you asked me to write Superman; but that's just it-- you asked me. You want my take? Here it is. It's not what you expected? And you're surprised?"

Tin-Tin is 75. The BBC celebrate:

"He bridges all ages because he appeals to all ages. If you are a child you are attracted to all the action and adventure. If you're an adult, there are all the issues that crop up, such as drug trafficking, which often features."

I had to ask:

"Due to his DC exclusive beginning sooner than anticipated, Barry Kitson will only be drawing the first two issues of Avengers/Thunderbolts and all the covers, instead of the entire series. Artist Tom Grummett will be finishing the pencils on the series. Editor Tom Brevoort said, 'DC offered Barry a fat contract, but it was contingent on him signing up with them right away. And while Barry tried to ask them to hold off a few months because he'd made the commitment to AVENGERS/THUNDERBOLTS and Marvel, they were adamant that they wanted him to sign immediately, regardless of what other work he had already taken on and committed to.'"

I've never noticed the front page blurb of John Byrne's message board before. But now that I have, I feel I should share it with all of you:

"Shunned by the very industry which they built with their nickels and dimes in childhood, the world's most experienced comic readers join together to restore all that is noble, moral and good about the superhero genre. Bonded by their good taste, united in their devotion to the old school, they make a solemn vow at the altar of their totem, the greatest writer/artist of their generation, and they will not rest until comic books feel right once more."

No, really. It honestly does say that.

Augie De Blieck explains the secret origins of Marvel Age, and then explains why he knows them:

"I know all of this because I talked with Bill Jemas about it all last summer. He invited me to try my hand at it. I discussed with him some of the issues I had with the concept, including giving proper credit to the works of Lee, Ditko, and Kirby. And judging by the credits in the solicitation this month for MARVEL AGE, they didn't ignore that issue. In any case, I gave it a go. I used AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #7 in my attempt. It's the first Electro appearance, and it contains about three issue's worth of storytelling in it, by today's standards. I worked to strip out the on-going romantic subplots (while not losing the feel of Peter Parker's issues with women) and heighten some of the action, while neutering some of the more violent bits, such as the prison break. I know the mere act of showing guns is considered repulsize by parents today, so I worked hard to get around it as much as possible without sacrificing the logic of the story.

"To make a long story short, I never finished it and never submitted it. It was a great writing exercise. Analyzing a story like that page by page and panel by panel is something I'd recommend to any wannabe writer. I just realized it wasn't for me. As Jemas got quieter and the rumors started, I figured it was a dead concept anyway. I also realized that writing a comic script can be a deathly tedious process, and not something I enjoy all that much."

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