Okay chaps, I’m off for two weeks. I’m in South Africa, visiting my in-laws. By the time you read this I’ll be at a braii, climbing Table Mountain or swimming with the whales. Don’t you wish you were me?
The holiday was booked and paid for before unemployment set in and so now I’m just going to take advantage of it. Forget my worries for a short while and enjoy the scenery.
I’ll probably check my firstname.lastname@example.org every four days or so, but there probably won’t be many new rumours I can write for a short while. And when I get back the new one might be a little late. Still, what have we got first?
Donkey With Two Wheels
Okay, this is a gossip column about comics right? Well… stand up comedians are often called comics, yeah? Ah fuck it, this is too tenuous…
Richard Herring, one of my favourite comedians, has a new one-man show on in London at the Arts Theatre (where the Vagina monologues are playing, very close to Leicester Square Tube Station and Comics Showcase). The show is called Christ On A Bike, he’s been building and refining this one for a while folks, reviews are here, here and here. I’ll be going when I get back on the 10th November but it’s on from now until then. Any Londoners or those-who-can-get-in-to-London should go. Trust me on this one folks, it was a smash at the Edinburgh Festival and Richard Herring demanded the London theatre reduce the prices of tickets when he saw them listed (down from ?16.50/?14 to ?12/?10). Truly a miracle.
And the great thing is, hardly anyone knows about it yet. So go, all of you and worship the new messiah. Call 020 7836 3334 for ticket availability.
And I’m not saying this just because of this extract: “Special Offer to Journalists – If you recognise me as the new Messiah and more importantly give me a good review or some nice pre-publicity, then you will have a guaranteed place for you and the partner of your choice in my father’s house. He’s got a very nice bungalow in Cheddar.”
This Has A Dodeca-Value Of 8 Out of 10
Robots In Disgust
Right then, comics. More importantly comics based on little crappy plastic kids toys that turned from a crappy car into a crappy robot, that were never able to do the stuff they did on the thirty minute ads on the telly.
Remember Marvel’s recent announcement they were going to be publishing Transformers books? It’s not to be. A source told me that Titan Books were quite interested to hear this, as they believed they had worldwide copyright on reprinting the Transformers comics .
Marvel’s Bob Greenberger told me, “After we concluded negotiations with Hasbro to add Transformers reprints to our Collected Editions program, Simon Furman contacted me about Titan’s deal. When we approached Hasbro, they had no idea the Titan deal was non-exclusive world rights, putting them into direct competition with our North American rights. We are working with Hasbro to straighten this out but it is more than likely we will let Titan handle the Transformers. That would leave us with just G.I. Joe. This should all be settled within the next week.”
Thanks Bob. And a big “hi” to all you Transformers message boards and fansites who have just cut and pasted this article…
This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out of 10
Remember those pretty pictures we’ve been running of the Marvel That Never Was? Well, here’s some more piccies – and something a bit meatier. The proposal for Captain America that was never used…
This Has A Blast from The Past Value Of 7 Out Of 10
Promeathea contributing artist Jose Villarrubia has quite a line up as well, providing painted colours for:
- Cage, a new mini-series by Azarello and Corben
- Brotherhood issues 7-9, by Howard Mackie, Sean Phillips and Kent Williams
- A new mini-series by Jae Lee written by John Ney Reiber
- A Claremont/Sienkiewicz New Mutants reunion issue for X-Men Unlimited
- And an ABC project with Alan Moore naturally.
I also hear P Craig Russell is working with Moore for ABC too. Isn’t he the popular bunny? And going to the UK premiere too… oh that’s too tempting to miss – to go to Leicester Square and hang around the crowds, to see Ian Holm, Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, and then the world’s shaggiest teddy bear walk in.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10
The Rob Liefeld/Dan Fraga ‘debate’ has been continuing, with a special surprise guest ringer brought in….
First Rob talked about First Contact, the Cable project that was abandoned when the new management came in:
- “I have considered reworking/ redrawing the First Contact work and using it per Windsor Smiths example with the Storm story. It could see the light of day in the next few months. Ditto for the
- work, I’m redrawing those pages as well. It’s taken me some time but I’ve found a really good use for them. I’d like to see it as
- too, but it’s not going to happen. I’ve been stockpiling alot [sic] of new pages this last year, I’m gearing up for a preview of the stuff real soon. Give me a week or so and I’ll give you a glimpse of what’s coming. No bull.”
Rob Liefeld also demonstrated his stunningly good taste in internet columns, despite having a penchant for remembering older names, stating:
- “Hey guys, I was just over at Rich’s Ramblings at the Silverbulletcomicbooks site and I saw some new postings by the esteemed Dan Fraga. It’s Tuesday nite and I’m pretty bored so I’ll take this time to respond to more of the ludicrous statements made by Fraga. Dan made comments pertaining to work that he was asked to do in a crunch during his stay at Extreme Studios, I believed he called it crap work or some other nonsense.
“Here’s the deal, Dan like many others at the Studio, would have the option of accepting crunch work on titles that were behind schedule, often at increased page rates. He accepted, did the work to the best of his abilities and cashed the check. We thanked him and he resumed his routine. One aspect that you should be aware of is that while Dan was at Extreme, he was coddled and favored. I was fond of Dan and tried to take care of him as best as I could. He got more breaks than most and was often resented by other guys for it. The problem is that Dan never capitalized on those breaks. He never used them to his advantage. He repeatedly calls me reactionary but forgets about Black Flag and how he desperately chased anything that Stephen Platt and J. Scott Campbell touched at the time.
“Then it was Mike Turner and so on and so forth. Anyone who spent even the tiniest amount of time with Dan heard him grumble about how unhappy he was, how popular he wasn’t and so on and so forth. Some days I would greet the day with an early morning visit by Dan desperate for cash because he was broke again for some other reason. Without hesitation, I would grab the checkbook and scratch out some funds for Dan and he was off.
“At eighteen, Dan was living a dream, he had a six figure income and several girlfriends, but he was stubborn and didn’t heed the advice of others around him and he squandered what he had. He’s been angry and bitter ever since. When Dan broke away from Awesome to show the world what he could do away from the oppression of Awesome and Extreme, the world was greeted with The Gear Station.
“Ask anyone to a person who interacted with Dan on that project what his motivation was and to a person they will tell you it was laziness. He proudly boasted to me and others how he was going to get the computer to do the work for him. He’d build models that would provide backgrounds and atmosphere that he was too lazy to construct on his own and he’d grace us with figures and faces. Conceptually it sounded promising, but anyone who knew Dan knew that it would succumb to the laziness that marked his career. And it did. Dan has yet to have a success to call his own and is haunted by jealousy, bitterness and regret. Heck he’s even admitted to the bitterness and regret parts. He, like so many others, left in order to build something substantial on his own, and when it stalled, failed, collapsed, or whatever, he needed to point fingers and blame.
“I’m a popular target for many of these folks who would rather heap their frustrations on me than confront their own misgivings. I’m not responsible if person X failed to capitalize on a dozen breaks and opportunities that they failed to work to their advantage. Guys like Dan who like to publicly challenge me or call me out should step up to the plate and knock a few out of the park instead of repeatedly striking out before they talk smack. I have every confidence that this old timer can still take on the new breed of pups but it will take more than some challenge by the Fraga’s of the world to call me back into action. Sure, I have some great accomplishments from twelve years ago, and ten years ago and five years ago, and two years ago and I’m confident that in time there will be many, many more to come.”
Dan Fraga quickly responded, saying:
- “This is perfect. Textbook Robert P. Liefeld. In an effort to fight the Dan Fraga of today (28), he uses the mistakes of Dan Fraga of the past (18-24) What Rob fails to realize is that he missed my point entirely. I can recognize the mistakes that he is making because I have made them myself. The point of life is to learn from your mistakes. I have. I’m calling you on your habits that you have today, not yesterday. But I will do you the favor of reminiscing about the old times. Since those times, I have patched things with Jeff Campbell and Jim Lee, long before my departure from Awesome. I realized that there was no real problem with them other than the fuel you were feeding me. As far as receiving favor in the studio, that was also true, but at a cost. I had no other friends than Rob.
“The other guys didn’t want anything to do with me because they believed that I would repeat it to Rob. They were probably right. Rob asked that it be that way. He wanted to know what everyone was thinking. This is a big problem because it let Rob have too much control over my life. So much control in fact that I could never take advantage of these “Breaks” that Rob gave me. Rob always needed a buddy to go with him where ever he went. It was Marat for a while, then a few others, then me, and now it’s back to Marat and Jimmy Jay. We’d get into some really great adventures, I got to see a lot of great stuff that I’d never see otherwise. This had a cost. If I was out doing all of this fun stuff, how was I taking advantage of these breaks? Who was drawing my pages, who was studying to become a better artist? Not me, I was busy goofing around with Rob, who was also not drawing anything… until the last minute. I had the best training to become lazy.
“Why didn’t I tell Rob that I wanted to go home and work, that is easy. I was intimidated by Rob. I had good reason to be. Just like in the Michael Jackson interview where he tells the world that his dad hit him, I too had reason to scream from the tops of the mountains. You hit me Rob, more than once, and yes I do forgive you. You have to remember that most of my decisions that I made around you were based on fear, not love after that point. I really was your bitch. My only bitterness and regret is with myself. I regret not standing up for myself and telling you how I felt. Now you know. Everything you said, I’d do. When I needed money, yes you helped. Your help wasn’t unconditional though. You needed something in return. My original Dark Knight Page, My McFarlane Originals, My Travis Cabbot Sketch… Don’t go play the saint for the crowd. Everything has a cost. It didn’t always used to be this way. You were a good guy who I would call my best friend before the crap went down.
“I’ve gone off on a tangent and almost lost my original point.
“I am not the tortured confused kid that I was 6 years ago. I am on my way to pencil some great work. See Wolverine 167-169, no laziness there. I am my own man now and it feels good. I can learn without fear and without dealing in the ‘Rob world.’
“I don’t make challenges without backing them up. Rob, here in front of (2) posting boards, I challenge you to put your next project up against mine. I’m working on a two part Wolverine story that I hope stretches my artistic abilities. I have Marvel to thank for that. Let’s see what you have in you Rob. I put my assignment up against what ever you bring. Remember, you don’t have ME to ghost pencil your pages for you, so you’ll have to think about drawing for real.”
Rob was quick to reply with:
- “Okay, well if that wasn’t the most embarrassing post I’ve ever read, I don’t know what is. You’re obsessed with lies Dan. Your obsession with Campbell was of your creation as was your fits with Jim Lee. And Erik Larsen and Todd and Matt, etc, etc, etc. I never had problems with these guys prior to our split. Everyone offended you Dan and now it’s me. Your grudges are very well known and well documented. Dan I remain great friends with Marat and Eric to this day. I speak with Matt, Norm, Todd, Brett, Dietrich, Mark, Andy, John, Erik and countless others who I no longer do business with. What’s the deal there?
“You weren’t respected because of the way you conducted yourself in the studio. But if the myths you’ve concocted about your past allow you to sleep better at night than more power to you. I’ll be your scapegoat Dan if that will help you feel better. I really enjoyed your reference to Joseph Jackson, that is a classic. Your challenge would only have merit if it were subject to two scenarios. Either it’s my Wolverine vs. yours, which is highly unlikely or it’s a self published indie project against a self published indie project. Those are terms that would merit consideration. Beyond that, again, I implore you, move on with your life.
“Also, you say that people in the studio didn’t like you because of the friendship we had and the hanging out we did. This is such a pile of crap because I spent an equal amount of time with Eric, Matt and Marat yet they had dozens of friends in the studio. You alienated people Dan, that is why people kept their distance from you. Stop blaming others and move on. The sole reason this stuff is being discussed on line [sic] is because you keep picking public fights with me. Keep your nose out of my business and you won’t have to discuss the painful memories of your tortured past in a public forum. I might have to start charging for the sessions if this keeps up.”
Then who should show up but Marat Mychaels?
- “This post was just brought to my attention, simply because my name was mentioned. Usually I really don’t get into this part of the comics world because it holds very little interest for me. I draw comics because it’s fun and don’t want anything ruining. Period. But I do want to add my 2 cents worth on this little spat between Dan and Rob. Rob is far from perfect and at times I have felt angry and disappointed towards Rob and some of the actions he took. However unlike Dan I never blamed Rob for everything that went bad in my career.
“Dan is LAZY (when it come to drawing) always has been and always will be, he does NOT have the love for drawing that Rob or myself have it is a job for him, and if he tells you otherwise it is a front to make himself look better. Now I have nothing against Dan, he’s nice enough guy I wish him nothing but the best however he is out of his skull if he truly believes he can match either wits, intelligence or drawing ability with Rob. I’m not the biggest fan of Rob’s work. But Rob can draw! What people fail to realize is that Rob draws the way he want’s to draw it is not a lack of ability it is the style that he wants to work in.
“It’s not for everybody but it is his vision. Dan however seems to focus on career he hasn’t had instead of enjoying the career he does. As for the people who will take this post as a Marat kissing Rob’s A$$…I really don’t give a fu-k!”
Next Week: The Wrestling Match.
This Has A Rassling Value Of 8 Out of 10