Hello, Alan Donald here, I’m your host this and every week for All The Rage, SBC’s news, opinion, and rumour column.
Time to cast an eye on the underbelly of the comics industry… well, if not the underbelly, its soft, squishy bits that nobody really likes seeing in full daylight. But first, I just have to tell you about today’s DF Daily Special. If you click on one of the ads scattered about this page you can cruise over to see Spidey’s Number One Issues special, limited to 9 sets, and just $40 while they last. The set contains, Spider-Man/Marrow #1 signed John Romita Sr, Spider-Man: Quality of Life #1 signed Scott Christian Sava, Spider-Man Unlimited #1 signed Ron Lim, and Spider-Man: Sweet Charity signed Darick Robertson. Be in quick!
On with the show!
I Asked For It!
Go look back at last week’s column. I ran an item on Mr. Hibbs and Mr. Quesada, and I asked you for comments. “Ask for and ye shall receive,” as someone important once said. The following, very detailed and thought provoking response, came through this week and I felt compelled to share it with you:
- While Hibbs points out the real shitty, creepily fascist, and violently discriminative thing of the whole matter (“it is OK to gay bash?”), especially considering the bashing comes from a century-old character that has supposedly endured the harshest conditions to assert his own humanity, Quesada’s over-verbose reply grossly eludes this point and goes to great lengths to explain that we readers have not realised the deep intertextuality there actually is in the issue – and we suppose, by extension, in every other Marvel issue under his overview. “There’s no gray area in his world. Logan […] reminds him […] that the world is plenty gray.” Thanks Joe, how dumb I was indeed, then, why don’t you add a page with illuminatory footnotes like this to titles as
It is precisely that last sentence which reminds this reader, younger than Joey I would think, of the type of “explanations” and “clarifications” very well known politicians come with right after they have emotionally spitted out their black and white ranch-perspectives on world affairs. There are even books on this that limit themselves to quote them. Is it that difficult to say “yes, while we let Frank go away with it, I have to say it really escaped my mind because in the perfect world I hallucinate of living gay bashing from super heroes is something you actually take for granted”…?
Fair comment? I look forward to ATR readers’ further feedback.
This Has An “Informative” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten
Didn’t I Say…
This week I was asked:
- Umm, what’s a
- ? A
- must be a (ahem) gay comic, and
- has me stumped. Any chance of explaining a little more for people living in the rest of the world?
I am really sorry. I thought I’d explained both of these things in previous columns, I’m sure the Beano was mentioned only recently, but it doesn’t matter I should have clarified this in the column.
Both the Dandy and the Beano are children’s comics that have been running for about as long as Action Comics. They are weekly humour comics in a uniquely British style. The Dandy stars Desperate Dan, a cowboy who eats cow pie (a pie made out of cows, not what you may be thinking) and Bananaman (previously of the Nutty) a superhero based roughly on a cross between an overly camp Batman, Captain (Shazam) Marvel and Superman. Dan is straight as far as I know but Bananaman couldn’t be any camper, so gay, possibly. The Beano stars Dennis the Mennis (the original and far more sadistic version) and Minnie the Minx, a female clone of Dennis. Both of these comics are pretty much the reason that comic books don’t have a very good image in the UK and are considered by many to be for children only.
Hope this helps.
This Has An “Even More Informative” Value Of Seven Out Of Ten
I was going to avoid mentioning the excellent British anthology comic book, 2000AD this week, they’ve been getting quite a few mentions here recently but heck after this…
- is not important, cool, or newsworthy.
… a mail I received this week, I just had to bite. I would have let it go, but I mentioned the mail to the number one and number two guys at SBC central (Messers Brice and Lemon respectively) in passing and they kinda insisted I respond.
2000 AD is not cool… really? I know that they’d lynch you for that in the Isotope Lounge and I know that there’s plenty of other rebellious cells across the world where the comic has a cult following, perhaps a few of them would care to write in and let know if they think 2000 AD is cool. All of that is irrelevant, however, other people’s views and opinions don’t matter, the real question is have you ever read 2000 AD? Have you read any of the graphic novel collections? Is your opinion based on prejudice or experience? If it’s the latter then fair enough but somehow I doubt it.
2000 AD is not important or newsworthy… really? Here’s a question, name five top creators in comic books, the five best of all time or some up and coming talent. Don’t think about it just do it. I straw-polled a handful of people to name theirs, without saying what it was for. Here are the 7 most common names that came up:
Garth Ennis, Alan Moore, Andy Diggle, Warren Ellis, Alex Ross, Jim Lee, and Grant Morrison.
All but two of the above have worked (many getting their big break) for 2000 AD. Not very scientific I suppose but I must point out that most of those I asked weren’t from the UK. Ok, what about the following, a list of creators, recognise any of them?
Al Ewing; Alan Grant – Batman, Lobo and loads more; Alan McKenzie; Alan Moore – Watchmen and ABC comics; Andy Diggle – The Losers, Lady Constantine; Andy McDermott; Dan Abnett; David Bishop – Comics International; Garth Ennis – Punisher, Preacher; Gordon Rennie; Grant Morrison – The Filth; The Invisibles, New X-Men; Ian Edginton; Jamie Delano – Hellblazer; Jamie Woolley; John Smith; John Wagner – Batman; Kelvin Gosnell; Kev F Sutherland – UK comic book festival organiser, comedian; Mark Millar – Ultimate X-Men; Mike Carey; Neil Gaiman – Sandman; Nick Landau; Pat Mills; Pete Gurr; Peter Milligan; Rob Williams; Robbie Morrison; Si Spencer; Simon Furman; Simon Spurrier; Steve Moore; Steve White; Warren Ellis – Transmetropolitan; Alan Davis – Captain Britain; Alan Langford; Anthony Williams; Arthur Ranson – Legends of the Dark Knight; Ashley Wood – Hellspawn; Barry Kitson; Ben Oliver; Boo Cook; Brendan McCarthy; Brett Ewins; Brian Bolland – The Killing Joke, hundreds of DC covers; Brian Lewis; Bryan Talbot; Cam Kennedy – Star Wars; Carl Critchlow; Carlos Ezquerra – Just a Pilgrim, Adventures of the Rifle Brigade; Charlie Adlard – X-Files; Chris Weston – The Filth; Cliff Robinson; Clint Langley; Colin MacNeil; D’Israeli; Dave Gibbons – Watchmen; David Lloyd – V for Vendetta, War Stories; David Millgate; David Pugh; Dermot Power; Dom Reardon; Dougie Braithwaite; Duncan Fegredo – Jay and Silent Bob; Frank Miller – Batman: Year One; Frank Quitely – New X-Men; Frazer Irving; Garry Leach; Garry Marshall; Gary Erskine; Glenn Fabry – Preacher covers; Greg Staples; Henry Flint; Ian Gibson; Ian Kennedy; Jamie Hewlett; Jason Brashill; Jock; John Bolton; John Burns; John Higgins; John McCrea; Kevin O’Neill; Kevin Walker; Kevin Wicks; Mark Buckingham – Peter Parker: Spider-Man, Fables; Mark Farmer; Mark Gibbons; Mike Collins – Star Trek, Fantastic Four, Transformers; Mike Perkins; Mike Western; Neil Googe – Bazooka Jules; Sam Kieth – Zero Girl, Hulk/Wolverine; Siku; Simon Bisley – Batman/Judge Dredd; Simon Davis; Simon Fraser; Simon Gurr; Staz Johnson; Steve Cook; Steve Dillon – Preacher, Punisher; Trevor Hairsine – Cla$$war.
That’s a cut down list. ALL of the above have worked for 2000 AD and many of this list are people who are considered to be the best in the industry. Can you name any other title that can boast this level of talent amongst its alumni?
Not newsworthy? Oh come on! Andy Diggle (to take one name) is widely considered to be the hottest new writer on the block, there are whispers from industry insiders that he’s gonna get even hotter. Do you know what Andy Diggle was doing until recently? He was editing 2000 AD.
Let’s pluck one name out of the bag at random from 2000 AD‘s history, someone who was known in the industry but who really got known for his Future Shocks. Alan Moore – widely considered to be the best writer in comic book history honed his skills on the British title.
2000 AD is world renown springboard for comic book talent. The title does hit the odd dud but as it’s an anthology there’s always the chance you’ll find a story or two you’ll like even in a dodgy issue. The inconstancy isn’t a surprise, in fact it’s part of 2000 AD‘s charm and appeal. You get to see new talent find their feet before going on to greater things and you get to see the best damned writers and artists in comics coming back to work on the title because they love it.
I hope this explains why a British weekly anthology gets far more coverage in this column than it’s circulation would strictly suggest.
This Has A “Doing What The Boss Says” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten
Charity time again. I demand you head over to…
…right now! Why? These are the latest auctions from the CBLDF, time for you to pony up the cash for a good cause and get yourself something brilliant in return. Amongst the great things you can pick up this time is the banned Swamp Thing script by Rick Veitch (yep the one with the cruxifiction).
This Has A “Get On Down And Do Your Bit” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten
Drop over to: http://arcadia2000.free.fr/harlock/film/chfilm0301f.htm
You may need to run the site through a translator first if you don’t speak French. It’s rumoured that Warren Ellis is involved in working on a Captain Harlock film with two French producers.
This Has A “Hope Your Translator Works Better Than Mine, Should Have Just Read The French” Value Of Six Out Of Ten
More Comic/Film News
This pissed me off. I got a good scoop just before press time and I didn’t get a chance to try and dig out any more info. Here’s the rumour:
- Neil Gaiman is writing a movie script, it’s a sequel of sorts to a popular movie of the 70’s. There’s supposed to be an announcement forthcoming, perhaps at the San Diego con.
San Diego?!? We have to wait that long to find out?
This Has An “Exasperated” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten
Do As I Say!
Ever want to have the chance to chat to your favourite creators? Well, you’ve got it. Each week the Feature Fiends Forum on the SBC message boards gives fans the chance to interact with creators. As the Big Kahuna said:
- Select creators will be going beyond the interviews they appear in to answer questions posted by the fans on the board.
This will, however, be for a limited time only, and creator commitment is expected to last no more than a maximum of one week, so punctuality and awareness will be an issue. For more information, see the Feature Fiends Forum.
Check it out if you want more details.
This Has A “Great Feature” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten
I have to thank ATR-fan Jesse McCann for making me spit blood with jealousy. Take a look at this:
- Attached is a picture of me sitting in (one of) the original Batmobiles. It was taken in 1988, when the movie studio I was working at was doing a promo for the new Batman movie. You can see the Batcycle (barely) behind the car.
Sick with jealousy, sick but thanks for the photo all the same.
This Has A “Bastard… Lucky Bastard” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten
First Nail In The Comic Book Coffin?
It’s come to my attention that Viz are no longer going to publish monthly Dragonball comic books, they will concentrate instead on graphic novels. No comment is forthcoming from Viz at the moment in regard to their other titles, but the email I received indicate that within a few months Viz will scrap all their monthly comics in favour of graphic novels only.
What does this mean? SBC’s first officer, Craig Lemon, a long time comic book reader and a well respected reviewer and review editor within the industry had this to say:
- This could well be the first step in the towards the end of the pamphlets. Monthly comics are an anachronism in this day and age, you can’t store them, they’re expensive, they damage easily and frankly storytellers such as Warren Ellis are often crap in comic form whereas their graphic novel’s can be the work of genius. I have long believed that all comic companies should do exactly what Viz is doing.
What do I think? Personally, I’m not going to go out on a limb, as I’m sure others will. Viz are going to scrap all their comics, of that I’m sure but the other companies? It’s possible that Dark Horse and other companies that repackage manga may well follow suit for manga, but I can’t see all the monthlies going for quite some time. Monthly comics are a good money-spinner as the publishers can get extra cash when people decide to buy the GN’s on top of the monthlies. Besides that, culturally, I really can’t see fans standing for it.
I love monthly comics, I love the size, the format, the way the stories run, the anticipation, the feel, all of it really. I don’t want them to go. Graphic novels are great, I do love them, I buy them but frankly it ain’t the same. The only GNs that come close are Forge and Edge (whoops, Vector), as you still get the same feel.
This Has A “Still Not Available In The UK” Value Of Six Out Of Ten
Bloody hell, that was over quick! Don’t tell the missus, she’s not expection me back for hours, so I might as well pop down the pub to enjoy myself while I can!
Now remember I need YOU out there, collecting rumours, listening, reading and spying. All sources are confidential and will not be revealed to anyone.