To hell with an introduction. Let’s just get into the meat.


Red-handed

All the hubbub over the recent Wildcats and Stormwatch cancellations got me thinkin’ about Redbird, a new Wildstorm series written by Ed Brubaker (Sleeper) with art by Jason Pearson (Robin covers). Six months ago Pearson revealed he was working on the book whose title character debuted in the 1996 book Black Ops. Redbird was originally slated as a four to five issue mini. Pearson even posted a piece of promo art (see right) at his yahoo group.

So I decided to try and find out what the hell is goin’ on with the book. And I was curious to see if the recent cancellations have in any way affected future WS releases. Well, I’m told Wildstorm is just fine. I also discovered that the project is now slated to run in a new monthly anthology book, sort of like a “Wildstorm Presents”. This new title will feature WS characters written and drawn by major industry talents. I hear Redbird will likely be the second mini-series to run in the anthology because Pearson isn’t a particularly fast artist.

As for when this “Wildstorm Presents” book will drop or what it will be officially called, I don’t know… yet.

This Has A “Bird Droppings” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


No Renew Bru

I read Comicon’s interview with upcoming Authority writer Ed Brubaker a few days back and I realized he let something slip — he isn’t planning to renew his exclusive contract with DC this summer. No one seems to have picked up on this very overt hint. “And I’m in the planning stages on some stuff, one is a series of original crime GNs that Sean and I are hopefully going to do for someone after my contract is up,” Brubaker said.

With Authority still to debut, it seems likely that Brubaker will still have a relationship with DC, but he will be free to write for other companies. Personally I’d like to see him take a stab at some Marvel characters. A lot of people think of crime books when Ed’s name pops up. But if you’ve read Deadenders or A Complete Lowlife you know he can write some killer character dramas. I think Ed would fit well with X-Men or Daredevil.

This Has A “More Bru Is Good News” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Flame Thrower

The self-professed “other guy from 30 Days of Night” Ben Templesmith informed posters at his message board that he and some dude named Dan Wickline recently sent Marvel a Ghost Rider pitch, along with art samples. Templesmith gave fans a short summary of the proposed story:

    The date of April 30, 1871 will go down as one of the bloodiest days in American history as over one hundred Apache men, women and children were slaughtered in their sleep just outside of the protection of Camp Grant. Now the small area of Arizona is under siege again by a series of gruesome murders; are they tied to the century old massacre, a recently escaped prisoner or a mysterious drifter named Johnny Blaze? As the evidence and the bodies start to mount, Blaze fears that he has lost control of the Ghost Rider. With the help of a Native American college student, Blaze must try to uncover the reason the Spirit of Vengeance is on a bloody rampage.

Ben also posted quite a few pages of the pitch art. Check this out..

 


 

Let me be the first to say, Holy fuck monkeys! That’s gotta be the best Ghost Rider I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately the House of Ideas doesn’t seem to share my reaction. On his boards Ben confessed he doesn’t know where the pitch stands with Marvel at the moment. This is pretty shocking. Somebody finally draws a badass Ghost Rider and Marvel can’t remove its head from Wolverine’s hairy hobbit ass for two seconds to give Templesmith a call? Flame on, Quesada! Flame the fuck on!

This Has A “Fire In the Hole” Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Down and Up

Later this year Tony Harris and Tom Feister are doing a special project for Marvel in the same style they use for their Legion covers.

I’m told Harris has also started working on the Warren Ellis penned Down, a six-issue series about an undercover narcotics cop who is tempted by the dark side when she goes after a colleague who has taken control of the city drug cartel. In March Ellis informed Millarworlders the book “fell apart due to some massive communications failures”, but he and Top Cow’s Jim McLauchlin were “getting that back on the rails.”

This Has A “On Track” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Uncapped

Priest has been talking up Captain America and the Falcon at his website, http://phonogram.us/admin/weblog.htm.

He sheds some light on the upcoming Avengers shakeup, helmed by Brian Bendis, saying that Cap and Falc has close ties with the “Avengers Disassemble” storyline. Priest wrote:

      Brian and I are like unto twins separated at birth. It is my fondest wish that CAF so closely reflect events in

Avengers

      that we are like unto

Avengers

      Bi-Weekly. I daresay, with the giddiness of a kid at Christmas, that

CAF

      will in large measure drive coming events in

Avengers

      . And that was Brian Bendis’ idea because he liked what we were doing. Stuff we had planned for Year Two got moved way up to like, NOW, because Brian and Tom thought it was cool and played well with what they have in mind for the

AV’s

      . Now, this seems like not so big a deal to many, but I’m a guy used to being thoroughly ignored. I’m incredibly flattered that not only will what we do here be reflected in the

AV’s

    , but it will in major turns be cause-and-effect. This book actually EXISTS and MATTERS in the MU, and I’m terribly excited to matter.

I’m an old school guy who would really prefer Marvel worked harder at the illusion of this being a single and coherent universe. If Cap sneezes in the Avengers, I hope Falcon says Gesundheit in CAF.

Priest also talked about the Anti-Cap character that’s been appearing in the current pages of Captain America and the Falcon.

      The story of the Anti-Cap is, essentially, the over-arc of Year One. We resolve only the smallest part of things with the conclusion of the Two Americas arc in issue #4. The real conflict begins *after* Anti-Cap is captured. Thematically, this is what

CAF

    is about: two different visions of America, two different approaches to America. If Cap is JFK, Anti-Cap is Donald Rumsfeld without the charm.

Doesn’t make him *wrong,* mind you. Just extreme. The real challenge to Cap these days is obvious and can hardly be avoided. Who and what we are as Americans is being challenged and tested in a completely new and different way. This theme will play out in CAF over the first year, and Anti-Cap will be around in one way or another most of the year. MOST of AC’s origin next ish (#3).

Unfortunately, this vision of the Anti-Cap wasn’t fully realized by artist Bart Sears, according to Priest. The writer talked about his experience with Sears and also about his working relationship with new CAF artist Joe Bennett, who previously worked with Priest on The Crew.

      Bart was only committed to the opening story arc. With great affection and appreciation for Bart, without whom

CAF

    may not be off to such a fine start, Joe and I just “get” each other. Bart and I come at it from different directions, and it’s probably better, long-term, that we work on different projects. There will likely be some artistic whiplash as Bart made the Anti-Cap, well, too sinister. Anti-Cap should not be sinister or evil. I spent the better part of a full page of script trying to explain that but I guess we just saw things differently, and Bart drew him as a villain. He’s not a villain and should not look, well, villainous. He’s Captain America. Of the Navy. Without the mask, he’s supposed to look like Josh Hartnett, heartbreakingly earnest and echoing Bucky Barnes somewhat. That the AC is a hulking, sneering, evil bad guy is likely as much my fault as Bart’s, but it’s just real wrong and misses the point of the character and loses the heart of the story because it’s *really* hard to have compassion for the sneering, hulking, massive nut job Bart drew. So, like casting the new Darren, when Joe arrives, the guy will suddenly look much more like Josh Hartnett.

Bart’s design choice of framing scenes with images of the characters in costume was also confusing and very damaging to the story. The time-shifting in issue #1 was dicey enough (I was counting on the audience not realizing or making the connection that 2:00 in New York and 2:00 in Cuba is exactly the same time, and that we are, in fact, watching two different Caps). The design choice made the time zone gag utterly confusing.

Beyond that, Bart is just amazing. He’s a terrific and highly stylized action guy, an A-List guy while Joe B is still looking for that breakthrough project. I’m terribly grateful Bart launched us and launched us so well, even if we do approach the work from different perspectives. I eagerly look forward to Bart’s next project, even as I’m sooooooo absolutely thrilled to be back in business with Joe.

This Has A “Let Off Some Steam, Bennett” Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Dark Side of the Force

On the Millarworld message boards, DC: New Frontier creator Darwyn Cooke detailed a painful experience with specialty comics seller Dynamic Forces that nearly messed up his credit rating. Darwyn’s story was in response to complaints by DF customers who have been repeatedly ignored by company representatives when inquiring about their orders. When the shipments do arrive some customers are being charged additional shipping fees. Cooke wrote:

    Sean Robinson wrote:

Ok, now I’m pissed. 11 days after receiving the shipment, now I’ve been sent a bill from UPS for $ 15.26 (Canadian funds). This is for Customs Brokerage Charges. This was my first experience ordering anything on-line (and probably my last), so I had no knowledge of any such fee. Shouldn’t they be obligated to tell you what the final price is when you order? I paid by Visa to Dynamic Forces, but this is from UPS. Who screwed up here? DF for not informing me, or me for not knowing? I wouldn’t have ordered the books, as now it’s in the price range of what I could get at one of the regular 30 % off sales my LCS has frequently. I don’t think I’ll be paying this bill, but I can assume I’ll never be able to use UPS for anything again. Any input on this is appreciated.

Hey Sean:

Be careful with this….it could be your problem if you ignore it. This’ll take a minute, but at the end you’ll see it’s relevance.

Case in point:
When [Catwoman #1] was solicited, DF offered a version signed by Ed B and myself. No big deal, I suppose, they offer stuff like this all the time. The thing is, no one from DF had EVER contacted me to see if I wanted to do this, let alone tell me what it was worth, when it would happen etc. In other words, they advertised product that would be personalized by me without any prior contact or consent. I assumed they’d contact me at some point, but the three months came and went, and DF never did get a hold of me. Finally one day, Ed leaves me a message saying he’s signed the books and is ready to ship them to me. This is out of the blue, so to speak. At this point, I have to take it upon myself to track down DF, and put in a call to Nick Barucci. When he finally returns my call, I asked him if he was in the habit of advertising product without contacting the talent. I asked him several questions actually, and the net/net was; they did this type of thing all the time (advertise unconfirmed signed product), ’cause basically everyone is happy to sign product for DF promotions. I asked him what Ed’s and my participation would be on a $30 retail product and found the amount ridiculously low, industry standard or not. I told Nick I wasn’t thrilled with having my name attached to any product I haven’t agreed to endorse or be a part of, and asked him to make sure he kept that in mind in the future. I agreed to sign the books because the product had been advertised, and Ed had already done so, and if it helped push [Catwoman], well then great. But I did tell Nick that this was the one and only time.

A few days later, the books show up UPS, with over $140.00 due in customs fees. I EXPLICITLY tell the delivery dude I do not accept delivery, do not want the package, and will not sign for it. 10 days later, a bill arrives from UPS. And another, and another. Contact UPS, explain it all to them, they tell me fine. Call Barrucci several times, get no return call. Finally get an assistant who says they’ll look after it.

The next bill comes from a collection agency hired by UPS. So, it was my credit rating, or Nick Barrucci’s fucking customs bill.

So Sean, by all means F%#& DF, but if your credit rating is important to you, watch the UPS thing.

This Has A “Show of Force” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Party of Two

Apparently somebody actually put Ultimates scribe Mark Millar on a plane with actress Neve Campbell (Party of Five, Wild Things). On Millarworld, Millar wrote, “Just back in NYC from Vancouver late last night and sat next to Neve Campbell on the plane. Got on like a house on fire and we agreed that if I ever write a Superman flick she’s Lois Lane. Really genuinely nice girl… and there’s nothing like walking out of arrivals at JFK and seeing the chick you’re with on the cover of a magazine promoting her new flick.”

Somebody should really send Neve a copy of Wizard’s recent Millar feature… 😉

This Has A “Ultimate Julia” Factor of Four Out of Ten


Lord of the Ring

Ah more Wizard fun. While flipping through the new Previews catalog I noticed the Wizard magazine solicitation reveals that Geoff Johns is writing a new Hal Jordan mini-series called Rebirth. The text implies that Hal will be returned to Green Lantern status. This isn’t a great surprise for most of you as rumors have been swirling about Hal’s return and Geoff’s involvement in the project for a good long while. But just to make sure this is on the level I talked to a few sources. They all verified that Geoff is definitely doing the book and that Wizard screwed up and leaked it in the solicit. Bad Wizard.

The actual text from page 192 in Previews reads:

Top 10 Reasons Hal Jordan Should Be Green Lantern

Tying into DC’s upcoming Rebirth mini-series, Geoff Johns tells us what he thinks about the longstanding Green Lantern debate as we count down why Hal must get the ring back!

This Has A “My Preciousssss!” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Not In the Script

Over on the DC boards, writers Doug Moench and Brian Azzarello endorsed the Batman Begins film script. Moench wrote, “Very good and captures the character of Bruce/Batman brilliantly. This will probably look great on the screen, and may be the best DC adaption since Superman: The Movie. The story, villians, supporting characters and sub plots are more involving than the 4 previous movies. Should be a real winner.”

Interestingly enough, you don’t have to take Doug’s word for it. It seems David Goyer’s Batman Begins script has been leaked to the internet. At least that’s what I’m told. I received a link for the script but I haven’t been able to verify if it is indeed the real thing. I hope to hell it is because it is damn good. I’ve read half of it so far and I love it. Problem is I can’t decide to read the rest or not. I like to be surprised.

Anyway here’s the link: www.geocities.com/rik_booth/BatmanBegins.pdf

Note: For some reason it doesn’t work when you click the link. So just cut and paste it in your browser. Should go through.

If it is the real script (and it appears to be) just remember that reading it will SPOIL the film for you. There are some rumors going around that the twists may be changed because the script is on the net, but I can’t say for sure.

I should also mention that Christian Bale talked about his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman in a recent UK TV interview. He said “We are making a film based on a much loved graphic novel. I think to use the term ‘comic book’ really under values the source material!” Bale also described Batman Begins as “a cross between Serpico and The French Connection mixed with a really fucking cool samurai, kung fu movie, and there’s like some really strong 70s conspiracy movie vibes in there too! It is definitely not a Batman that you’ve seen on screen before.”

This description matches up pretty well to the script I posted above.

For more Batman Begins information check out batman-on-film.com. There is quite a bit of stuff on the possible batsuit, as well as script leak details and pics.

This Has A”Don’t Call It A Comic” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Alright, I’m about done. Couple quick things to mention. You can read Brian Vaughan and Brandon Peterson’s entire first Ultimate X-Men (#46) at http://www.milehighcomics.com/firstlook/marvel/ultxmen/.

Second, go out and buy Superman: Secret Identity immediately. Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen have crafted one of the best Superman stories of all time. It’s just freakin’ outstanding. I think a lot of people didn’t bother to check this book out because of the $5.95 per issue price tag or because it’s an Elseworlds type story, but I’m telling you Secret Identity is a classic.

Out,
Markisan

PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at [email protected] or IM me via AOL Instant Messenger. My screen name is Automatic San. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It’s greatly appreciated.


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