Hello and welcome. My name is Alan Donald and I am your host for tonight?s edition of ALL THE RAGE, the topical, news, rumour and gossip column for those who love the comic book industry.

As well as being the number one column on the web to find out what?s happening in the comic book industry we are also the top place to win prizes! Every week we?ve given away fantastic prizes ranging from lovely graphic novels, through huge bunches of signed comics and on to limited edition signed hardcovers. Our column is sponsored by those wonderful people at Dynamic Forces, as is our competition. I really must insist you go and visit their site forthwith and without any considerable delay.

The competition is easy, I have renamed all those who have supplied me with information and wished to remain anonymous. These codenames I have given them could be from comic books, novels, films, tv series and so on. Last week our source was the #1 TV series in America (or for those reading in the UK, that fantastic show that nobody knows about because it?s on Channel 5 late on Saturdays) and comic book (see below) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Congratulations to blackx who e-mailed us in the correct answer and was the first out of the hat. If you can identify this weeks source then drop an e-mail to [email protected] with your SBC Message Board ID, and if you?re first out, you?re a winner!

Oh did I say that blackx won the fantastic prize pack from our wonderful sponsors Dynamic Forces? No? Well I have now, DF also sponsors this week?s competition, and you could win a prize pack of your very own! Surely that is worth visiting their site for? Oh go on, visit, make a list and take the list to your local comic book shop, you know it makes sense.


Marvel/Miracle Man WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!!

So much speculation. So many guesses. So much crap being written. So what is the score?

Marvelman (formerly Miracleman and before that Marvelman, again) has been on a hiatus for years now caught up in legal wrangles and a web of lies, deceit and just plain nastiness from a certain Canadian toy manufacturer. Neil Gaiman has been in court battling the aforementioned toy maker on separate issues but the case has brought Marvelman back into the public eye. The rumours have been running for a while, but what is the truth?

Who better to ask than the man who will be charged with the artwork on this project, Mr. Mark ?Bucky? Buckingham?

Alan: So Mark, the question. Have you been doing any work for Mr. Gaiman?

Bucky: Well, as you know Neil is in the country. We?ve chatted on the phone recently and we?ll be meeting up to catch up on things in the next few weeks…[I?ve] dug out issue #25 and #26 of Miracleman as well as the last script that Neil gave me.

Alan: And..?

Bucky: It?s all looking very positive. BUT there?s nothing concrete. I wouldn?t go placing any advanced orders just yet.

So there you have it from the horse?s mouth. Things look good but there?s nothing decided yet.

Wanna bit more Bucky? sorry, Mr. Buckingham?

Alan: Peter Parker: Spider-Man, what happened?

Bucky: Well you know it was one thing after another. We had a good long run, the longest I?ve ever been with a title but it all started to go wrong.

Alan: Your broken arm at the beginning of the year?

Bucky: That was the last straw. As you know I slipped on some ice over New Year and broke my arm in 3 places.

Alan: And you were sober.

Bucky: Great start to the year. I did all the physio, worked really hard at it. I?m quite pig headed when I need to be. They never believed for a second I?d recover fully, they were preparing me to have limited mobility. But I did it, I?m fully healed.

Alan: Being an artist help at all?

Bucky: Possibly, but I was just determined no matter how hard it was I would not let them simply write off my arm.

Alan: And therefore, I guess, your career.

Bucky: Possibly. But I?m all healed.

Alan: Peter Parker?

Bucky: Oh, yes. Long story short, house move fell thorough, broke my arm, Humberto [Ramos] helped out, Marvel loved Humberto, asked him to stay with the company; Humberto loved Spider-Man, big relaunches coming and basically it was my turn [to get the boot].

Alan: Shame really as before you and Paul Jenkins took on the title Peter Parker: Spider-Man was a bit washed out. The whole JMS thing gets so much publicity but it was really you two that got people reading the about Peter Parker again.

Bucky: Thank you for saying so. We relaunched with new inking and so on when JMS took on Amazing, they [Marvel] felt, I suppose (and I don?t blame them) that they couldn?t really relaunch again with the same artist.

Alan: Are you bitter?

Bucky: No. Definitely not. In some ways I was happy to go. Fables is so much fun I was happy to be able to concentrate on it.

Alan: How is the whole Fables gig working out? I remember you saying you were looking forward to it, more monsters and fairy tale creatures to draw, your favourites.

Bucky: I love it. I can see this being my main job for quite a while. It?s great!

Alan: So, what?s coming up?

Bucky: For issues 14 – 17 I?m going back to a more detailed and illustrated style. Virtually every story arc is one I really want to draw. There?s one coming up from issue 25+ that I definitely want to do. This job suits me best I love doing animals and monsters, fairy tales. This stuff has a dark edge, which is fun. This is the job I?ve been after for some time now.

Alan: It?s good to see Vertigo is doing so well these days. The rumour always seems to be hanging over it that it is due for closure.

Bucky: It?s been what, past the 10 year anniversary, we?re still here. I?m delighted that Vertigo is still going. There?s always something fresh, a new spin on things.

Alan: And other projects? Any 2000AD work for example?

Bucky: I did that Future Shock a while or so back but since then…. I was offered a Judge Dredd story but I couldn?t do it at that point in time.

Alan: What comics are you enjoying reading at the moment?

Bucky: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, of course, and I am really loving Matt Brooker?s strip (?Scarlet Traces? in Megazine) I?m glad they took that on.

Well there you go.

Mr Buckingham believes that Fables is some of his best art to date and I, for one, heartily recommend you pick it up.

This Has An ?Exclusive Interview? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


The Reason Todd Won?t Let Spawn Catch Up

Message from Cassandra:

      Todd’s had all his comics running late for ages now. Whenever he gets asked about it now his blanket statement seems to be, “Well, they’re regularly monthly now, it doesn’t matter its not the month it was supposed to come out in.

It was theorized quite a while back that the reason he never just stops soliciting to actually let his numbers catch up (although apparently he had Angel Medina working far ahead of schedule at the beginning of his run at issue 101 so some issues came out one week after another. He almost caught himself up!) is because most of the money Todd makes comes from the initial pre-orders of his books. So he needs to solicit constantly to keep the money coming in, no matter how late the books are.

I mean notice he’s soliciting Hellspawn again on a monthly basis even though the issue number he recently solicited (21) is nowhere close to what’s actually shown up (13 I think?) But he just keeps soliciting as if no one notices and those who do he blindly ignores.

Thank you.

Perhaps it?s simply that he is a pratt who doesn?t give a damn about the fans or the retailers (in fact he actually said as much in a letter column not too long ago). Fans can?t order from Previews properly, retailers have no idea what?s coming when and basically the ignorant swine is making a mockery of the whole Previews system. Frankly I don?t give a damn about his cashflow. If he didn?t go spending so much damned money on crappy baseballs and legal cases he?ll never win then maybe this wouldn?t be a problem.

I?m wondering, though, if the real villain here isn?t actually Diamond who continue to allow him to get away with this shit. Diamond are (despite their nasty old monopoly) supposed to be looking out for the retailers, why the hell don?t they prevent the toy maker from soliciting his… wares… until he actually catches up.

I suppose we should be thankful. This was the complete idiot who once solicited a bunch of his stuff completely out of order just because he couldn?t pull his finger out and actually do some work.

This Has A ?Todd Bashing Quota Reached? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


And The Winner is?

That Jim Lee auction on Ebay was won by Captain Woodchuck ? real name, Chuck Rozanski from Mile High Comics (on-line retailer too, you can?t miss him). Speculation from Silver via e-mail:

      What’s the betting Mile High Comics use Jim to sign a whole lot of

Batman

    books that they can flog off at higher rates at a later date, recouping all their investment and then some, or something of the like?!

I doubt it, and even if they did it would have to be a hell of a lot of comics. Frankly who cares either way? Rozanski made a hugely generous donation to a very worthy cause and he deserves praise rather than scorn.

Anyway, if Mr. Lee?s signing is anything like the one?s Bucky did at my tiny, tiny, tiny shop then there will be no opportunity for Mr. Lee to sign any extra books, dear old Bucky used to be sketching from the moment he arrived until the shop shut, he even ate his lunch while working (even the addition of Charlie Adlard didn?t ease the pressure, twice as many people turned up). Now Mile High are a far bigger company and Mr. Lee is a far bigger name so like I said, I doubt he?ll have any spare time at all.

In fact, check out the Mile High website and you?ll see Chuck is even running a few competitions to all fans to join in with the post-signing Jim Lee dinner ? no matter where in the world they live. What a star, visit his site and buy some comics, won?t you?

This Has A ?Draw Until Your Hands Bleed? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


HYPE!

More from Silver:

      Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti are the talents behind 2 great new Wildstorm books,

21 Down

      and

The Resistance

      . While these could both do with a plug (as they are really fantastic reads each month), the interesting thing is this little proposal that they are shopping around to various publishers at present. It’s been published up on their own Paper Films site for a while, but since hardly anyone frequents their message board then it hasn’t really been picked up by anyone else. Topic is called “Hype for …. well HYPE”, so check it out at:

http://forums.delphiforums.com/PAPERFILMS/messages/?msg=137.6

Looks interesting. I asked Justin if he could leak anything more about the project, but he was keeping tight-lipped? at the moment. He did mention that they are in negotiations with a few TV networks, though? more as I persuade him to part with details!

This Has A ?Watch And See? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


The Reason The Ultimates Is So Late

Also from Silver:

      Bryan Hitch was due to be at an Australian comic con last weekend (November 16 and 17), but pulled out late in the game for personal reasons. His reasons been published on the web, but since most readers won’t visit the site for Australia’s ComicFest! then they would have missed it. I thought that you might appreciate seeing a copy of the e-mail that he sent the organisers as it also explains why

The Ultimates

      has been so late, which might end up being a bit of an exclusive in itself. I don’t think ANYONE else has reported on this! Here it is:

From: Bryan Hitch
To: Comicfest! & Armageddon
Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2002 7:56 PM

Dear fellas,

Difficult mail to write, and has been a very difficult few weeks.

As you both know, my girlfriend and I are expecting our first baby in about four months. It has, and continues to be a very difficult pregnancy with Jo in and out of hospital fairly regularly, and even though the baby is healthy and doing fine, the strain for Jo is far greater than is normal. Added to this is the move into our new place with her two young boys from a previous marriage and the strain is just too much for her.

Bottom line, gents is that I am simply unable to leave her and the children for longer than a couple of days at any time, and this coupled with a high work load between now and Christmas means that I am reluctantly forced to pull out of my trip down under.

I am sure you will be disappointed and probably inconvenienced by this last minute change, and for that I can only apologise. I am also sure that you will appreciate the importance of putting my family and the health of Jo and the baby first.

When we first discussed the trip at the beginning of the year I had even hoped to bring Jo with me, but the surprise pregnancy has changed many plans for this year (and due to her ill health left some Ultimates fans waiting too long for issue seven)! And forced some difficult decisions. We both hoped at the very least that she would be well enough to allow me a possibly reduced trip, though this has become impossible until after the baby is born at the end of March.

Again, I can only apologise for the dreadful inconvenience, and hope that you may be able to find a suitable replacement at short notice. I had been truly looking forward to the trip and spending some time in both Australia and New Zealand and meeting both of you, something I really hope to be able to do in the next couple of years.

With regards and sincere apologies,
Bryan Hitch

P.S. Please indicate my disappointment at not being able to meet and talk with the readers and collectors in both Oz and NZ, and my sincere hope that I might be able to attend in the not too distant future, schedule permitted.

For more on this, check out:
http://www.comicfest.com/guests.asp?guest=hitch

Heck, I can sympathise with that situation, I won?t bore you with why but I know where the guy is coming from. I thought that it was best to let you all know too, give him a break and let the book come out when it does.

This Has A ?Babies Can Be Lovely… Honest? Value Of Five Out Of Ten


Moore Annotations

From Eddie Bart:

      Jess Nevins, a scholar, has annotated several comic book miniseries, such as

KINGDOM COME

      and

LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

      and

TOP TEN

      .

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7160/annos.html

Very informative, and in keeping with the other annotation sites you posted on Nov 17th ATR.

Thank you very much. It just so happens that Jess Nevins isn?t backwards at coming forwards and the following was also posted on my message board:

      …there are also mine, of course, to

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

      , at

http://www.geocities.com/ratmmjess/annos.html

      and

http://www.enjolrasworld.com/

      if you can’t get in.

And mine are being turned into a book, too. Coming out next May, $14.95, with my revised and expanded annotations, three essays by me on various aspects of League, O’Neill’s commentary on the annotations, and a long interview with Moore.

Jess

For more details check out the ATR message board and the sites above. These are very comprehensive annotated notes and are definitely worth checking out. As an aside and completely co-incidentally I picked up this months Wizard this week and lo-and-behold what does it have? A limited annotated guide to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen! Seems to be the in-thing at the moment.

This Has A ?Look Deep Into The Work, You Never Know What You Might See? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Stan Lee Situation

Edgar and many other sources have e-mailed in more details of the Stan Lee case. I?ll keep this brief as I really don?t want to end up being like every other damned site (comic book or not) in the world. Apparently Mr. Lee is suing Marvel over a clause in his contract, whereby Marvel have to give him 10% of their profits from movies and ancillary products from stuff not, as many claim, because he is claiming ownership of the characters he created decades ago. Or as someone put it:

    Long and short, given the stipulations, the promise to pay 10% is in paragraph 4(f), outside of the conditions for Lee to claim material breach of the agreement, and thus vitiate (invalidate) 5(a) through 5(e) of the agreement, and thereupon return to the conditions that existed between himself and Marvel prior to this 1998 agreement.

and elsewhere:

      Lee?s 1998 contract pays him $1 million per year, including a full-time assistant, and his customary style of business travel (first class with a limousine and luxury hotels). At issue is a line of the contract that states: ?In addition, you shall be paid participation equal to 10% of the profits derived during your life by Marvel (including subsidiaries and affiliates) from the profits of any live action or animation television or movie (including ancillary rights) productions utilizing Marvel characters.? This language does not appear to limit the agreement to characters created by Lee.

The contract gave him lifetime guaranteed employment as long as he allowed Marvel to continue using his name and characters. Because of that, Lee was granted a share of profits that come from his characters, including profits from films, TV shows, and action figures.

This Has A ?Whatever? Value Of Four Out Of Ten


Dumbledore Redux – Possible WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!!

From Harry Scagnoli at New England Comics (wait, not THAT New England Comics, surely. The one that Peter David?s daughter works for, you read the column, cool):

    Concerning your Even More Movie News item, when I attended the DC RRP we visited the Warner Bros. Studio Museum where the entire second floor is devoted to props from the first Harry Potter movie. The question of who would replace Richard Harris was asked of the museum’s curator (or possibly assistant curator I’ve forgotten her exact title) and she stated that many names were being dropped but that she heard that the studio was leaning to using Richard Harris’s stand-in. She says he looks uncannily like Richard Harris and can imitate his voice well. I wouldn’t be surprised as I’m sure he’d come cheap.

If this is true it could be the one solution that causes the least amount of disruption to the films on the whole. Thanks a lot Mr. Scagnoli for what is most likely a WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!!

This Has A ?Now I?m Trampling Over His Grave Too? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Marvel Goes Overboard

From McGruder:

    Just a heads up, but I thought it was funny that Marvel’s e-mail has EIGHT warnings claiming they are not responsible for the integrity of the email, as it may have been altered and so on. Just seems a little overdone for a short email pushing Marvel product. It’s not like it’s a contract or anything, but I guess they’re just being extra careful these days with all the lawsuits flying around… DC or any other Diamond email don’t have all these warnings and whatnot. Marvel’s acting like this email contains the secrets of the universe or something when it’s just pushing a bunch of overhyped books.

Here?s the relevant portion, it?s from the end of the Marvel Mailer #5, issued November 18th:

      MARVEL’S E-MAIL BULLETIN TERMS AND CONDITIONS

1. This message is privileged, confidential and intended for the addressee only. If you have received this communication in error and you are not the intended recipient you should immediately delete this message from your computer and remove yourself from our mailing list by clicking here: [email protected]

Whoops, does that mean I shouldn?t have it…? Well I haven?t received it in error, that?s one thing.

    2. If you no longer wish to receive this E-Mail Bulletin, you can permanently remove yourself from our mailing list by clicking here: [email protected] Please note, replies to this E-Mail Bulletin will not be received.

Man, it seems like they really don?t want anyone to get this doesn?t it, 2 points in and both of them suggest you get yourself removed from the Bulletin.

      3. All contents and attachments of this E-Mail Bulletin are subject to Diamond’s terms and conditions:

https://retailer.diamondcomics.com/main/

    Your continued acceptance of our E-Mail Bulletins shall mean that you accept such terms and conditions. If you do not agree to such terms and conditions, you may unsubscribe from our services by clicking here: [email protected]

Bloody hell. 3 times now, it?s like, ?you don?t want to read this. YOU REALLY DON?T WANT TO READ THIS.

    4. All contents and attachments of this E-Mail Bulletin are Copyright (c) Diamond Comics Distributors Inc. All titles and prominent characters featured and the distinctive names and likenesses thereof are trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. Usual gubbins.

    5. Because E-Mail can be altered electronically, the integrity of this communication cannot be guaranteed.

Ok, fair enough. Point taken?although interesting they feel the need to spell it out, almost as if they?ve been burnt by this in the past?

    All prices, data and other information contained in E-Mail Bulletins or attachments are not warranted as to completeness or accuracy and are subject to change without notice.

Ok, again, fair enough.

    Marvel accepts no liability for any such content, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

For pity?s sake, we get the point!

    Any opinions or advice contained in E-Mail Bulletins are not necessarily those of Marvel, which does not accept responsibility for such statements.

Yeah, ignore the fact that Marvel wrote it…

    6. Marvel is not responsible for any content or privacy policies of any 3rd party web sites that are linked from this E-Mail Bulletin whether or not Marvel is affiliated with the operator or owner of such site. Any links from E-Mail Bulletin to any other sites are for your convenience only.

Yeah, we pointed you there but it?s your fault if you look. ?your convenience only? no, surely YOUR convenience Marvel, by popping in web links you don?t have to reproduce the information on those sites…

    7. Nothing contained in any E-Mail Bulletin shall (a) be considered a legally binding agreement, amendment or modification of any agreement with Marvel, each of which requires a fully executed agreement to be received by Marvel

Um, sorry haven?t we covered this already? Oh yeah ALL of point 5!

    or (b) be deemed approval of any product, packaging, advertising or promotion material, which can only come from Marvel’s Legal Department.

Huh? Who cares?

    Under no circumstances does your receipt of an E-Mail Bulleting form any relationship, whether implied or express, with Marvel. Marvel hereby disclaims any such relationship and any liability arising as a result of its use of any content contained in any E-Mail bulletin.

Um… wha? Ok the first bits fairly standard but: ?Marvel hereby disclaims any such relationship and any liability arising as a result of its use of any content contained in any E-Mail bulletin.? sounds an awful lot like: ?Marvel accepts no liability for any such content, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.? Isn?t this just meaningless gibberish trying to cover every possible base in a pathetic arse-covering exercise?

    8. Warning: Although Marvel has taken reasonable precautions to ensure no viruses are present in any E-mail Bulletins or any attachments contained, Marvel cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising from the use of email bulletins or attachments.

Oh F**k, off I?ve no time for you now. All of these point could have been run together into a couple of simple sentences, what a load of crap for what my source rightly describes as: ?just pushing a bunch of overhyped books.?

This Has A ?Bloody Stupid Legalities For A Buncha Crap? Value Of Four Out Of Ten


Star Wars, Etc

From Michael Ring at Dark Horse:

      My, oh my! Just a quick correction on your latest ATR column. The first (and best, IMHO) appearance of the Clone Wars won’t be the alleged

Star Wars

      show on Cartoon Network. In fact, the Clone Wars will be the main focus of our ongoing

Star Wars

      comics (subtitled Republic) with issue #50.

Here’s the solicitation copy for the issue from the DH website, my dear fellow:

Two months after the Battle of Geonosis… with the forces of the Republic and the armies of the Confederacy of Independent Systems stalled in a series of indecisive battles, the Separatists risk a devastating strike at the heart of the Republic’s war machine: they attack the cloning facility on Kamino! Their hope is to permanently destroy the Republic’s ability to create new clones for its army. The Republic’s defense rests on a squadron of Jedi Starfighters and a battalion of Jedi-led clone troopers within the facility itself. It’s a battle fought on three fronts — in space, on the ground, and underwater! A massive 64-page battle epic!

Star Wars: Republic reveals events in the time period between Episode II and Episode III — the Clone Wars! If you’re wondering what happens next after Attack of the Clones, this is where you find the answers!

Take care,

mr

PS – I’ve got another tidbit related to your latest column. That whole thing with Comic Book: The Movie? Mark Hamill filmed a portion of it in the Dark Horse Comics booth. I was mere inches from Donna D’Errico’s heaving bosoms and it was heaven. HEAVEN, I tell you!

Heaving bosoms and Star Wars in one story, I wonder how many fans boys are too sweaty palmed to hold their **cough** mice now?

Seriously, nice to hear from you Michael, and thanks for the info. Now if you?d only leak all the info about Dark Horse?s new titles set for next June, I?ll send you a fiver too! Damn, did I say that out loud?

Quick update of my own Giant sent me the following from Ain?t it Cool News:

      The Latest on CLONE WARS Animated Series!!!

Hey folks, Harry here. Today I was contacted by a source inside the Cartoon Network that said it was about time I figured out they were doing something with Lucas and STAR WARS. It seems that they are not in advance talks for the CLONE WARS, they’ve signed the deal. It’s done. Complete… A Sure Thing.

The format will be serialized shorts to keep with the Star Wars Serial motif. These will not be half hour adventures, but more in the line of short films. These animated shorts will play in-between two regular half hour cartoons in a fixed slot. Genndy Tartakovsky (SAMURAI JACK fame) will produce – and the early development designs have evidently been pretty close to SAMURAI JACK in style, thus far, but currently they are in the middle of a whole new set of designs, so my source at the Cartoon Network isn’t sure exactly how it’ll come out, just the path they’ve been on thus far.

And just to prove how far behind Ain?t it Cool was on this one they were even scooped by Jonathan Ross on the BBC?s Film 2003 show!

Ok good news:

1) New Clone Wars comics and books with Dark Horse leading the first attack with their top guys tackling the project.

2) Clone Wars cartoon is ON!

3) Clone Wars cartoon will be mini Star Wars films!

4) Heaving bosoms, always a good thing.

BAD NEWS:

SAMURAI JACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – Oh come on! That has to be a load of donkey?s testicles surely.

This Has A ?Mmmm, The Force Is Strong In This Story, Mmmmmmmm? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


CrossGen In Crisis?

I?m only running this story because I haven?t been snide enough about CGE lately, and they?re probably feeling left out. Sorry, guys, I hope this helps.

The following came from Rico:

      Checking out the Top 300 at icv2 reveals that CrossGen?s books show uniform degradation in sales. Every single one of their titles lost sales between Oct and Nov, only by a few hundred copies in most cases, but the most interesting point to note is that not one title improved sales. This even applies to their monthly compendia books, Forge and Edge, both of which lost sales of a hundred or so copies.

Is this an indication that CG aren’t gaining new fans, just experiencing a steady drip-drip-drip of old ones? I would’ve thought that the loss in monthly sales would have been counterbalanced by a rise in sales of Forge and Edge (and people drop the monthlies for the collections), but the figures don’t bear this out… for this month anyway.

Expect to see a huge promotion come out of CG in upcoming months to attempt to move their books up the chart and sales figures a bit…

December’s figures will show whether this is just a blip, or an ongoing trend.

Well, Rico it?s funny you should mention CrossGen promotions. I wonder if your findings relate to CrossGen?s ?love it or your money back? policy (in the US and Canada only, no doubt) for Crux #22, Brath #1 and Crossovers #1? Oh and then there?s the whole sponsoring of internet radio sites too…

The most surprising news about this is the sales of the Compendia ? personally I think they?re a great idea, an excellent read and great value for money, and given that some of the books collected therein are extremely recent (i.e. only a couple of months old) I almost don?t understand why people are still buying the monthlies? I?d really expect a huge drop-off in sales of those and a big boost for the compendia books. That this hasn?t happened would seem to me to indicate that CrossGen?s readers don?t tend to buy the whole range, just a few select books. Maybe CG have realised this too, which is why the Compendia are about to reduce in size and cost substantially to make them a far more attractive purchase for the infrequent buyer?

This Has A ?Good Marketing Or Desperate Acts? – You Decide? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Lest I Be Accused Of Bias?

Just in case you think I?ve got it in for CGE, I?ve taken a quick poll of SBCers over the last day or so and come up with our favourite CGE reads, check these out:

Route 666 – by Tony Bedard, Karl Moline and John Dell. This maybe tries a little too hard to be a comic-cum-film with familiar situations and set-pieces, but is a great tale for all that based on a girl who thinks she can see ghosts?when she tells people, they think her mad, get her committed to a ?hospital? to be cured?except she?s been telling the truth and what she sees are dead people?s souls, and the evil creatures harvesting said souls for The Adversary?and now she?s been delivered into the hands of one of the Adversary?s agents. #4 was recently out and reminded me of Night of the Living Dead with werewolves and ghosts instead of zombies, some great dialogue between Cassie and the cop trapped with her? totally worth a look.

Ruse – by Scott Beatty, Butch Guice and Mike Perkins. The last couple of issues turned the detection side of things and the Emma back-story down in favour of a punch-em-up between Master Detective Simon Archard and his former-mentor-turned-villain Malcolm Lightbourne, but Beatty takes the reins full-time from #13; it?s a new beginning and a great jumping-on point, and if he can inject detection back into the title, and bring Emma back to the fore, we?ve got ourselves an A+ title.

The Path – by Ron Marz, Bart Sears and Mark Pennington . The first six issues will read better as a trade, I?m sure, as it has been very slow to get going ? after the prequel?s and first issue?s events, nothing much happened until it all kicked off in issues six and seven. What there has been, though, is some excellent backstory relevations, mood-building art and pacing, and some of the best comics on the stands. The first trade is out imminently, or so I?m told ? I can?t wait to read it, and were CrossGen to offer a couple of copies up for competition prizes, I would be pleased and proud to shout about it.

This Has A ?See? I Do Like Some Comics, You Know!? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


More Of Those Lovely Top 300 Facts And Figures

Ok, bear with me I?ll try and keep the maths to a minimum. All figures below are from the icv2 Top 300 listings. Bear in mind that these figures list North American pre-orders only? no re-orders, no international sales (which add bugger all to the likes of Transformers and?)

– Total sales over the Top 300 were 5,378,656 in October, rising to 5,818,102 in November.

Which means comic sales for the Top 300 comics have gone up!

– Marvel had 51 books in the Top 300 in October (actually 52, but the lowest selling was a unsolicited Marvel Must Haves reprint so can be excluded from the total) for a total of 2,233,894 comics – or an average sales figure of 43,802 copies per title. In November it was 54 books for 2,371,234 total sales; an average of 43,912 copies per title.

Which means: 1. Marvel dominate the industry. 2. Marvel has improved month-on-month.

– DC had 67 titles in the Top 300 in October (67? Jeepers) for a total of 1,605,372 comics – average sales of 23,961 copies per title. In November they chucked out 1,834,407 books over 76!!!! comics, an average of 24,137 copies per title. So you might say that DC looks healthy, except that DC have double-solicited Thundercats #3 – it is in both sets of figures! If you take it out of October and leave it in November, it gives an artificial blip to DC, so leaving where originally ordered and disregarding the figures for this book for November should give a more accurate picture of DC’s trends. Which turns November into 75 books shipped for 1,770,875 units, average of 23,612 copies per title…

Which means: 1. DC is slipping. 2. DC is way way way behind Marvel. 3. DC floods the market far more than Marvel does.

– Image in October had 24 books for 458,826 copies, average of 19,118 copies per title; in November this became 24 books for 567,319, average of 23,638 copies… thanks to He Man at number one. Without He-Man they remain pretty static in sales terms.

Which doesn?t mean a whole lot but makes you wonder what effect the loss of world wide distribution on some of their titles will mean.

– CrossGen weighed in, in October, with 16 books for 254,411 sales; 15,901 average. November that’s 12 books for 185,339 sales; 15,445 average…

Which means, as said above, CrossGen is slipping, just very very slowly.

– Putting all this together into market share sees Marvel move from having 42% of the market in Oct to 44% in Nov; DC improve from 30% to 33% (thanks to 76!!! 76!!!! books released in Nov); Image boosted from 9% to 11%; and CrossGen slip from 5% to 3%… not good for upcoming Premier status… allegedly.

So, expect to see DC continue to flood the market with (relatively) low selling nonsense…expect to see Marvel continue to dominate….expect to see Image languish again until the next big one-off boost comes along in three to six months time and goodness only knows what to expect with CrossGen.

This Has A ?Ug, Facts And Figures, Need Words And Pictures? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Batman Keeps On Selling

Batman #608 sold out. It sold out fast despite DC actually printing 17% more copies than were ordered. A second print run was started, 30% of the original, and it sold out in what may be record time.

DC has made much (as has been previously mentioned) of this displaying their commitment to readers. People want to buy this issue therefore they print enough to meet demand. Marvel, on the other hand, apparently don?t give a damn about their readers and they?ll only print enough to meet the initial order.

Now the second printing had a new cover. Not a bad idea. DC has in the past used other solutions to point out that an issue is a reprint but an alternate cover is pretty valid. Now no doubt this added to the sales but what?s wrong with that.

After my rants of the last few weeks I?ve had a few collectors moaning at me about comic books lacking collectabilty any more. They told me to lay off Marvel and them…my answer was too rude to print, I collect comics but I am a comic book reader first and foremost. The only way to keep people coming back is to print stories that they want to read and collect because they enjoy reading them. That doesn?t mean a death to the collectors market, there is still the lovely products produced by our sponsors, Dynamic Forces. These are collectibles that don?t affect the readers market, ones that everyone can enjoy (whoops that was a self serving plug for our sponsors, how naughty).

Anyway, as I was saying, the collectors market isn?t dead. Marvel?s attempts to produce a collectors market are laughable when one considers that the 18% over printed Batman #608 first print was selling for ?10 ($15ish) a pop at the Memorabilia fare at Birmingham?s NEC just last weekend!

This Has A ?More Power To The Readers? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Superbowl Fans To Get First Actual Glimpse Of HULK!

Universal Pictures have purchased enough airtime during the January NFL Super Bowl to show an entire trailer for Ang Lee?s Hulk movie. Some pictures have already leaked out, most notably those of some toys for the film which apparently show the Hulk in all his glory but this will be the first live action view for America to see.

This Has A ?Superbowl, SMASH!? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Film News

Sean Connery has wrapped up his filming for Stephen Norrington?s adaptation of Alan Moore?s great work. Rumour has it (backed up by comments from Mr. Connery himself) that it was a somewhat fiery shoot. Apparently the former James Bond and the Director were not exactly the best of friends. Filming continues but a sneak peek trailer will be out soon (it will appear Dec. 13 with Star Trek: Nemesis in the US). The film is due for release in early July next year.

This Has A ?Can?t Wait? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


A Hidden Classic Hits The Market

Barbara has informed me that a very rare #1 of the Beano is just about to hit the market. The comic is said to be in fairly good condition but without its free gift. The comic is the property of a gentleman in his 70s who was given it by his mother. He has since kept the comic in a plastic box under his sofa. The comic printed in 1938 is believed to be only one of 9 left in existence and should fetch more than ?3000, a pittance when compared to the likes of Action Comics #1 which was published in the same year but still a respectable sum for a British comic book.

This Has A ?Gnasher? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


CSI: Have You Ordered Your Copy?

It was hidden away in the independent section of Previews but I managed to get my comic shop guy to place my order just in time. CSI the #1 US TV series is making the leap onto the comic book page courtesy of Max Allan Collins (the man behind Road to Perdition and a couple of CSI novelisations).

The story is that of a murderer emulating Jack the Ripper and it is out within the next few months.

This Has A ?Didya Get The Competition Answer Last Week?? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Early Promo

For all of you in Europe or who like to travel the UK comic book festival is a date for your diaries. Next year?s festival is in Bristol again and will be on the weekend of May the 24th and 25th (which incidentally comes at the end of the UK National Comic Book Week). The 2 big names signed up so far are Jeff Smith and the legend that is Carmine Infantino (no offence to Mr. Smith). Carmine Infantino will also be doing an interview with BBC Radio 2 (the UK?s most listened to radio station)?s Paul Gambachini.

As last year, SBC will be hosting a pizza night immediately before the event ? last year Joe Q, Stuart Moore, Axel Alonso, the whole of Com.X, Mike Collins, Gary Spencer Millidge, Chris Staros and people I?ve just plain forgotten to mention turned up to witness our diabolical organisational skills? you?re all invited.

This Has A ?Get The Weekend Free Now!? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


The ?We Love Peter David? Department

More Peter David news for those of you who are following the whole saga of his daughters life (the poor love. Mr. David you are an example to parents everywhere on how to embarrass your kids properly, I admire and respect you). Her website is finally back up at this link:

http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/unicornsnocone/

Note that the ?back to homepage? links are a bit gammy, use your ?Back? browser button instead. Pop along and bring angelfire to its knees.

This Has A ?Wholesome Family Values? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


PORN

Uncle Ump sent the following link to an article at Sequential Tart:

http://www.sequentialtart.com/art_1102_09.shtml

What is it? A Lady’s Guide to Reading Comic Book Porn, that?s what.

There are pornographic comics out there and there are fans of them. Not all of those fans are dirty unwashed 40 something male virgins. Some are intelligent females such as the writer of this article.

I thought it important to put another light on things.

This Has A ?I?m Far Too Pure To Know What Any Of This Is About (When?s The Next Issue Of Alan Moore?s Lost Girls Out?)? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


DC News

I?ll let them blow their own trumpets:

      Have you heard? Jeff Smith, creator and self-publisher of the universally adored

Bone

      comics, is taking on

SHAZAM!

      The estimable Mr. Smith is slated to produce a four-issue Prestige Format miniseries starring Captain Marvel. Though the story is inspired by a classic storyline from the ?40s, count on this to be a completely original adventure chock-full of Jeff’s unique blend of hijinks and pathos. Watch for it in early 2004!

Gail Simone is already known as one of the funniest writers in comics fandom. If you don’t believe me, check out her comicbookresources.com column ?You?ll All Be Sorry.? She’s also a very talented storyteller (not that I should recommend reading the competition?s Agent X, but what the hey) and now she?s got everybody here talking about a great new take on the ROSE AND THORNM characters. And even more exciting, she?ll be taking over BIRDS OF PREY early next year, joined by super-artist Ed Benes, who is currently burning up the pages as the regular artist on SUPERGIRL.

And speaking of talented people you don?t usually associate with DC (yeah, there?re still a few we don?t have here), rumor in the halls is that the HATEful Peter Bagge has gotten something cooking that exposes the seedy underbelly of the comics biz. Oooo, that could be bad (in a good way).

More than one person has asked what Ryan Sook has been up to since he left the netherworld of the SPECTRE. Well, it?s a bit early to talk, but I can say that monsters and scary stuff are definitely in his future, but this time they?re VERY real and not in the least ethereal.

Six words: Giffen. Horley. Lobo. Guns. Dreadlocks. Mayhem. The Main Man is back, with a warning on the cover. (It?ll be necessary. You?ll see.)

The big buzz is that GOTHAM CENTRAL is gonna do for Batman what NYPD Blue did for cop shows. The book looks great (what else would you expect from Michael Lark?) but the real noise is coming from what Brubaker and Rucka are doing with the frustrated cops of Gotham and how they deal with a certain Masked Man who constantly shows them up.

Well, there you go. At least they?re trying.

This Has A ?**Yawn** Just Leak Us The Info Guys And We?ll Drum Up The Publicity If The Stuff Is Any Good? Value Of Five Out Of Ten


Marvel/Graphitti Kiss And Make Up

The excellent T-shirt manufacturer and the collectors? favourite comic book company have had a big juicy snog, a romp in bed, a cigarette and they?ve agreed not to fight again, at least until 2005 when their new contract expires.

This Has A ?Just In Time For All The New Marvel Films? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


TINTIN

A few weeks back I reported Hollywood interest in a Tintin feature. Good rumour, wrong players. Stephen Spielberg has snapped up the rights again (he previously held them) to Herge?s most famous creation. Only time will tell what?ll happen here.

This Has A ?Thompson And Thomson? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Why Diamond Suck Ass

My ever lovely source Chopper has expanded on his/her comments last week (?Diamond Suck Ass?):

    U wanna know why they suck ass? I?ll tell ya. Look at these prints.

The prints are Akira specials packed flat in a flat cardboard box. The prints are bashed and creased and it would appear the damage would have to have been done before delivery.

    Oh, they?ll give my money back but?ll be as bad next time, or they won?t have any or my customers will get so sick of waiting they go elsewhere! And comics, don?t get me started on them! There is no such thing as a Mint or Near Mint comic book, as soon as Diamond get their hands on them they?re shagged. There?s too many reasons, they?re the only choice I?ve got so I don?t shout too loud, They?re crap, they?re nasty but they?re our only choice. That is why they suck ass.

And as has been pointed out before, the shipping costs for returning books to Diamond is paid for by the retailer ? does this hold for returning damaged goods too? Interesting, if so?

This Has A ?Monopoly Was Never My Favourite Game? Value Of Three Out Of Ten


Credit Where Credit Isn?t Due Dept.

It?s been brought to my attention that some people have been extracting stories from ATR and posting them elsewhere, or referring to them erroneously. For example, I?ve been e-mailed the following post from a well-known message board:

    Latest All the Rage mentions that for next year’s free comics, the powers that be are only interested in colour comics – no black and white wanted. Is it me or is that a bit of a massive snub?

But that?s not what my story said at all! My story said that the only comics guaranteed to be ordered by retailers were those at the Gold level, which is by definition limited to colour comics. All black-and-white comics have to be at Silver level, which is optional for retailers to order.

Please guys, feel free to extract quotes and articles (and a link back here would be nice too) from ATR, but get it right!

This Has A ?Sort It Out!? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Dead Birds

In case you hadn?t heard, the Warner Bros TV series Birds of Prey has bitten the big one and gone the way of the parrot. It?s dead, Jim. A combination of a sharp drop-off in ratings after the first episode and rumours of tension and problems behind-the-scenes are the reasons given for the cancellation ? so it didn?t even make the first thirteen episodes.

Good news for new Birds of Prey (the DC Comics version) writer, Gail Simone, at least now DC won?t ask her to take any characters from the TV series or follow any continuity.

This Has A ?Awful Clipped Wings Pun I Can?t Bring Myself To Make? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


DC Listens To Me!

After last week?s piece in ATR begging DC to see sense and issue an immediate trade for Y: The Last Man, to keep sales on the up and up, what gets announced late this week but? an immediate trade for Y: The Last Man, to keep sales on the up and up.

Now I?m sure DC would claim this has been in the works for a number of weeks, and that they don?t even read this column.

Yeah, right.

This Has A ?Basically, I?m Fantastic? And Totally Modest? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Well another week another dollar. Hold on, another dollar? that implies I got one already? since when?

What was that, oh yeah I do it for the love of it, that?s right.

So that wraps up another weekly instalment from Rage Towers. Hope you all had fun and I?ll see you same time same place next week. Oh, and bring a friend next time, it?s more fun when others join in…

As always I need you lot to keep your ears to the ground and your fingers on the keyboards. Let me know of anything at all that you hear. You can have as little or as much publicity as you want so don?t worry about that.

Well until next time.

TTFN

Alan Donald – Wondering how people with more than one child manage it.


 

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