Let’s Play Politics

Well, Marvel’s Heroes project is well underway and, according to Newsarama, has signed up a bunch of nifty names, all in aid of the relief effort in New York. Oni, Chaos, Dark Horse and DC are also up to other high profile projects.

The first rumour that ran round my contacts like a dose of the clap went as follows. During a DC meeting, a senior member of staff told the assembled throng that Marvel had been calling up freelancers with an exclusive contract to DC, and telling them that DC will let them out of their exclusive for this one project. Which, apparently, DC would be more than happy to do if Marvel would do the same for their exclusive freelancers for a similar project that DC is arranging. But, apparently, Marvel haven’t. And so neither will DC.

That was the first version of the story. But then a very different take started doing the rounds – one that I’ve seen hard evidence to corroborate.

It seems that some exclusive DC freelancers have indeed been approached by Marvel (or in some case approached Marvel directly) but were asked to request permission from DC – which has not been granted by the likes of Paul Levitz. I’ve also been told that, certainly under the current regime, Marvel have not denied any exclusive freelancers permission to do charity work for another publisher. The reticent Joe Quesada simply told me, “If DC is planning a tribute book, I would encourage every artist at Marvel, exclusive or otherwise to contribute if asked. If you’re not asked, volunteer. I know I will.” That’s plain and clear.

Bob Wayne, on behalf of DC responded “We’d be thrilled to have Joe’s work in our project, as a significant past contributor to DC’s publications. If he wants to volunteer, he knows the editor’s phone number.” Well, consider this confirmation that DC are indeed putting a benefit project together. However, Wayne would not comment on the allegation that DC has refused exclusive creators permission to work on Marvel’s charity project. At least, not today, anyway. Look forward to updates on this.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10

Elektra Complex

It was fun to see Newsarama updated last week’s columnn’s Elektra pulping story – especially after so many naysayers on message boards doubted its veracity. Bless.

But Cliff Biggers, editor of CSN and known for having a couple of brushes with the Marvel regime had an interesting hypothesis which was posted to a retailers message board. A signed Dynamic Forces edition of the pulped Elektra has been listed for the Shipping-For-December Previews. He writes:

    “Please bear with me while I do some calculations here…

“Dynamic Forces is soliciting for a signed version of the “pulped” edition of Elektra #3. I received the Dynamic Forces solicitation info in an e-mail on September 8th; I’m told that this information was sent to Diamond at the end of August. That means that this “pulped” edition had to have been produced and/or planned prior to that time. However, according to Marvel, they didn’t realize that the pages would be objectionable until they were printed.

“Okay, let me try to get this timeline right:

“This book was supposed to have shipped on September 12th. That means it would have been printed on Thursday, August 30th, and delivered to Diamond on Friday, August 31st… the original “pulped” edition, that is. Then, presumably, seeing printed copies, Marvel realized that there was a problem, and ordered the book pulped and redid the offending pages, printing it again on September 6th and delivering it to Diamond on September 7th so that we would receive it in our shipment on September 19th, one week late.

“Problem is, Dynamic Forces knew about this “error” edition by mid-August, and had time to arrange for artist Greg Horn to sign copies–it takes a few days to draw up these contracts, etc., I presume, so I would suppose that this had to have been decided by, say, August 22nd in order to get the information into Diamond by their late August deadline for the catalog.

“I’m baffled by the timing. If Marvel discovered the offending art in mid-August, then there was no reason to print the books–they had time to pull the book, redo the pages, and get the corrected version out to stores without ever printing the “pulped” version. But if they didn’t discover it until the book was printed, then who owns the time machine that enabled them to travel back in time and solicit for the book before the “pulped” version ever went to press?”

Hmm… methinks we’re not getting the whole story here. I talked to Nick Barrucci at Dynamic Forces who gave me another take. He told me, “I was at Marvel on Wednesday or Thursday in the first week of September (don’t remember the exact day). This had just happened in between my morning meeting with Marvel, at which point I went to Sci-Fi Channel for a meeting, and then went back to Marvel to have dinner with Joe. In between I got a phone call from Marvel. They explained the situation and the way I understood it, didn’t want to lost money on the pulping. I agreed to purchase a quantity of these. At which point when I got back to the office I was able to arrange for a signed version of #3, and send it out with my solicitations that Saturday.”

It seemed that enquiring further about Cliff’s comments kicked over a small can of worms. Shortly afterwards, Cliff posted, “I have been told by other people that Premier Publishers (such as Marvel) have a much shorter lead time than the little guys for Previews inclusion–and when I talked to people about Diamond Previews deadlines, I was going on the deadlines given to the little guys. I didn’t realize that Dynamic Forces got to work under the Marvel deadline for Marvel books such as Elektra #3. Based on that information, I do the math and see that it IS possible for the error to have been discovered in printing and for rush arrangements to have been made. When I asked someone at Diamond about Previews deadlines, I didn’t ask about Marvel, DC, etc., but about a standard deadline–and I didn’t realize that the dates differed for the Premier Publishers.

“I also didn’t mean to imply that Nick Barrucci and Dynamic Forces might have done something wrong in this deal–I think all that happened is that they were offered a rare “hot” version of the book–hot as in sexy–and they snapped ’em up.

“Hope that clarifies things! It is, I now see, feasible that the error could have been discovered and then this signed copy could have been arranged.”

That’s that fairly sorted out then. Now all I need is for someone to scan in the offending panels and send them to bigkahuna@silverbulletcomicbooks.com as soon as possible…

This Has A Rumour Value Of 1 Out Of 10

Chasing Alias

So the rumours about Bobbie Chase’s dismissal a few months back are starting to emerge. Longtime Marvel editor with a rich history at the company (including giving Joe Quesada his first writing gig for Marvel) she was let go by Marvel. But why?

I’m hearing rumours that when ALIAS #1 was originally put together a few months back, Chase saw it and formally raised questions about it in a letter to Jemas. She was disturbed by the use of mainstream Marvel Universe characters in this dark story, potentially confusing longtime and casual readers–and indeed stated that the portrayal of Luke Cage bordered on racial stereotyping. A week later she was gone.

Joe Quesada (boy was this column running him ragged this week) told me, “Completely untrue! I don’t even think we had a finished copy of Alias at the time Bobbie was let go.”

This Has A Rumour Value Of 2 Out of 10

Ringo’s Drums

I hear that comics artist Mike Wieringo has come under some criticism from a member of DC editorial. In that there was a recommendation his style should resemble more than of Ed McGuiness. Ironic, considering McGuiness started off as a Wieringo clone. Looks like Wieringo is even more minded to move to the Fantastic Four

DC did not respond to this article.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 4 Out of 10


In a slightly chattier moment, Joe Quesada commented about last week’s rumour about the Marvel France Museum editions of Ultimate Spider-Man and the like. It appears that he spoke to Wizard, denying he’d ever seen them, weeks before he was asked to sign copies. And Wizard’s long lead time meant that by the time the article came out, there were copies on eBay advertising his signature.

Fabian Nicieza also writes about last week’s column, asking that he not be associated with Bob Harras’ cronies. Especially since at the same time its alleged Harras was recommending him for work, Harras fired Nicieza from Gambit

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10

Rank Rant

Oh yes. Jim Steranko – is this the same Jim Steranko who wrote an introduction to 100 Bullets praising the book for the very same things he now rails against? He also seems to be describing the comics scene a decade ago – American mainstream comics today have a more sophisticated range of morals than the scenarios he paints, whether that’s Superman, Tom Strong, Top Ten, or The Authority. He’s created a straw man which he then proceeds to destroy – having little or no relevance to work actually being produced.

Current mainstream material causes me no problems living in London, which has had and continues to have its fair share of terrorist activity. And I don’t think there should be any need for comics to change in the USA after recent tragic events there either. The method used by terrorists to achieve their aims is to cause major disruption. Only by refusing to acknowledge such disruption are they defeated.

People have said that things will never be the same again. They’re wrong. Anything else and we’ve lost.

Next Week: A Begging Bowl

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