Post No Bill
By now you’ve probably heard that Bill Jemas has been booted from Marvel and replaced by some ex-employee by the name of Dan Buckley. A lot of folks seem to be overjoyed by the news but I have to tell you I’m gonna miss all the controversy Jemas stirred up. I hated a lot of the decisions Bill made too, especially firing Mark Waid from Fantastic Four, but the man was unpredictable and fearless. He was fun. Hell, even if you loathe the guy and want to eat his kids you have to admit that the Marvel line has vastly improved under his watch. I’m not saying he was responsible for everything good, but look at the books before Jemas jumped on the Marvel train and compare them to the books out now. Better books. Better sales. Some of that had to come from Billy.
But you know, who cares what I say. I found a handful of reactions by comic book pro reactions on various message boards. Here they are:
Gail Simone, writer of Birds of Prey, Agent X and the upcoming Rose and Thorn:
- I spoke briefly with Bill today by email.
When Bill and Joe came to Marvel, I thought they could do no wrong. In particular, I had a lot of fun talking with Bill, and I liked that he didn’t care about the way things ‘had always been done.’
Then a lot of really funky decisions were coming down, and I think it affected the books for the worse, but I still feel Marvel is much more interesting than before they showed up.
Joe’s staying on, and that’s good news. Bill did a lot of surprise moves, some were great for the industry, some were bad for my friends and I, but that’s the case with any boss man. I wish him well, if he’s genuinely leaving. I’m hopeful that Marvel will continue to do interesting stuff — they certainly have the talent for it.
For additional comments visit the YABS message board.
Mark Millar, writer of The Ultimates and the upcoming creator-owned books Chosen, The Unfunnies, Wanted and Run!:
- I just tried to call Bill to get the inside scoop on all this, but he isn’t at home. If the rumors are true and he IS leaving Marvel I, for one, will be really sad about it. As well as being someone I like a great deal personally, he was one half of the team that steered Marvel out of complete fiscal collapse and into what Arena magazine called the great business success story of the year.
Marvel stock cost under five bucks when he came in and it’s this morning it was worth twenty eight bucks. The books were sliding down the charts to point where only the two main X-titles were clinging onto sales of over 100K whereas now they’ve got a bunch of really strong franchises hovering around this point and eight to ten books that are comfortably above it. He created the Ultimate line (all top ten books), revolutionised Marvel’s trade program from being a joke to the best in the business, signed all sorts of licensing deals you guys don’t even get to hear about (including me and Bendis working on a variety of Marvel computer game launches) and kick-started a division he hoped might bring in new talent– something nobody had actively tried since Dick Giordano and Sal Amendola back in 1983.
Of course, he rubbed some people up the wrong way and I know several creators who hate him, but Bendis and I were just saying on the phone the other day that we never had one argument with the guy. Not one. He was always endlessly supportive, brilliantly inventive and, above all, a good laugh. I’ll really miss him. Joe’s a smart guy and Marvel will be just fine in his hands, but I liked Bill enormously and will miss him a great deal.
For additional comments visit the Millarworld message board.
Peter David, writer of Fallen Angel and Captain Marvel:
- The internet is hotwired with items about Bill Jemas being on his way out at Marvel.
Frankly, I’m feeling kinda guilty. I know I shouldn’t, but I am. Because from a creative point of view, Jemas took his first major hit because of me.
I threw down the challenge to the company in an endeavor to keep “Captain Marvel” alive. This led to the publication of “Marville.” Up until “Marville” was published, Bill Jemas had some degree of creative cred thanks to his name being attached to several indisputable Marvel hits. Then “Marville” came out and it was…how to put it delicately…not successful. If I hadn’t issued my “But I Digress” challenge, who knows? “Marville” might never have been published and Jemas might never have fallen so badly on his face in his first solo endeavor.
For additional comments visit the The Official Website of Peter David.
John Byrne, legendary artist on X-Men, Wolverine and an upcoming arc of JLA when asked if he would consider returning to Marvel now that Jemas is out:
- That’s a bit like asking a man with 2 gangrenous legs if he is ready to run in a marathon now that one of them has been amputated.
For additional comments visit the John Byrne message board.
Micah Wright, writer of Stormwatch: Team Achilles and the upcoming Vigilante:
- I’m in NYC right now and that’s ALL the pros here are talking about.
I swear to God, working in comics is like living in a small town in Georgia. Everyone knows everyone else’s business, people hate you but are too chickenshit to tell you to your face, and I’m fucking all of their wives.
It’s horrible, I tells ya. Horrible.
For additional comments visit the Micah Wright message board.
This Has A “Kill Bill Vol. 1” Factor of Ten Out of Ten
The Dark Knight Strikes Back
So I heard this impossible rumor that superstar creator Frank Miller has signed up to script New X-Men. I looked into it and it turns out the rumor is most likely false. Why? Well, because Frank is definitely doing more Batman. My source, who is rock-fucking solid, says, “He has been working on a Batman book…something current. His own epic adventure.”
About a month ago on the DC boards a rumor broke that Miller is getting $3 million for his latest Bat project. It was also rumored that the legendary creator may be using fingerpaints on a brown cardboard background to achieve a new look.
I’ve got no added info. on the style of the book, all I know is that it’s happening.
This Has A “Paint By Numbers Batman” Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Being the Demon’s Head
In other Bat news there’s a rumor going around that the director of the next Batman film, Christopher Nolan (Memento, <b<Insomnia), talked with actors John Malkovich and Dennis Quaid and showed them around the Warner Brother’s studio . Some have speculated that Malkovich may be up to play Ra’s Al Ghul, the villain rumored to be in the film, and Quaid may take on the part of Commissioner Gordon.
This Has A “Big, Fat Lazarus Pit” Factor of Three Out of Ten
DC exclusive scribe Warren Ellis continues to fuel ATR with interesting news about upcoming projects. In his latest “Bad Signal” listserve, the Global Frequency writer says he has finally fulfilled his promise to DC’s Joey Cavalieri to do a book set in the DC universe. But it didn’t go down the way you might expect. Warren says he turned in a radical, but well-received revival for Blackhawk, but the pitch was ultimately bounced back. According to Ellis there is some movie interest in the original Blackhawk property at the moment. While a film deal is being negotiated DC doesn’t want to release a series that strays too far from the original comic book.
When Ellis got the news he says he joked about changing the name of the book and the back story in his pitch, and using it for something else. “I then get an email saying could I give them the name because they’re commissioning it as an original creator-owned ongoing title,” Ellis adds. “So there you go. Tried to sell out and failed, heh. And a job that was intended to be an AUTHORITY-style 12-issues-and-bail-out has turned into about three years of slavedriving.”
For those that don’t know,Blackhawk was a popular Quality Comics/DC Comics character who first appeared in the 1940’s series Military Comics. The book starred a young aviator who sought vengeance on his family’s killers, slapped on some black leather and organized his own militia to battle the Nazis. Later the series was transformed into a multinational squad of freedom fighters — Andre, Olaf, Chuck, Stanislaus, Hendrickson, and Chop-Chop. They were called the Blackhawks, and were inspired by a real combat unit.
After doing my homework on the original Blackhawk series I emailed Warren and asked him why he initially decided to resurrect the property for DC. Ellis told me he found the following quote by Jim Steranko:
- Blackhawk’s ruthless, icy demeanor made James Bond look like Winnie The Pooh. He was a man in total control — unapproachable, unforgiving, unfathomable. He was his own law and his own morality. He lived in a world dominated by an atmosphere of fatalism. He was the first comic book anti-hero.
I also asked Warren what made his pitch so radically different from the original Blackhawk. He didn’t want to get into it too much, but did say the major change was “reducing the original team concept down to one character.”
According to Ellis the change from DC universe book to creator-owned property will not drastically alter his original game plan for the series. He already has the first year laid out in “detailed synopsis form”.
For those of you wondering what to expect from this series, think lots of blood and insanity. “Oh God yes. Like you wouldn’t believe,” Ellis says. “It is scary and violent. It’s 24 via KILL BILL. I’m actually going back to some Seventies material for the basis of a lot of the storytelling, looking again at the way Walt Simonson and Bryan Talbot and people like that broke down and decompressed action in a welter of small panels, making very dense pages, and trying to run it all through a 2003 perspective, adding new tools and new effects. Of course, it could be a bloody mess, but it’s worth a go…”
This Has A “Killer Whale Pack” Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Skinning the Cat
I’m hearing that Halle Berry’s kinky Catwoman suit won’t appear until the very end the film. According to sources, Halle wears a costume similar to the digs in the current comic book, for most of the movie. A photo of the “real” outfit has been making it’s way around cyberspace and it looks a hell of a lot better, even from a side view. Here’s a comparison of the two catsuit possibilities:
This Has A “Cat Scratch Fever” Factor of Six Out of Ten
I’ve gotten a hold of some art by John Paul Leon (Earth X) from the upcoming Weapon X #14 (on sale on Wednesday) which features the return of Mr. Sinister. Huge Yankees fan and WX writer Frank Tieri tells me he’s been keeping Sinister’s return a secret longer than Grant Morrison managed to contain the Magneto/Xorn revelation.
Issue 14 takes place during WWII and involves Sinister’s interest in Marvel’s first mutant— the Savage Sub-mariner. The next arc, “Defection” will feature the addition of former Generation X brat Chamber to the cast. He leaves the X-Men for the Weapon X Program.
Special of the Day
Channel Zero creator Brian Wood has put up the cover design art to his upcoming Couriers sequel, The Couriers: Dirtbike Manifesto at his message board. The cover is drawn by Rob G of Teenagers From Mars fame.
Web Crawlin’, Word Slingin’ Action
A new Spider-Girl letters page was recently announced by the book’s writer Tom DeFalco at the Spider-Girl Message Board. Here’s what Tom had to say:
- Good old Andy Schmidt and I recently had a long talk and we’ve decided that
- needs a letters page…so I’m going to do one!
I’m giving you guys the first shot at getting published. I want to know how you really feel about the book so don’t hold back. Tell me what you like and dislike. Tell me what you want to see and could do without. Constructive criticism is both encouraged and appreciated. (Of course, it would help if you actually read the book…)
Please send your snail-mail comments (whether positive or negative) to…
c/o Marvel Comics
10 East 40th Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10016
I know most of you guys would rather write e-mails, but I don’t have an address you can use, yet. I’ll post one on the SPIDER-GIRL board as soon as I get it.
In an earlier post, Tom says that sales are dropping on Spider-Girl despite great reviews on the current storyline. He offered the following numbers:
- Mar Spider-Girl #58 – 23,776
- Apr Spider-Girl #59 – 23,199 (-2.4%)
- May Spider-Girl #60 – 23,122 (-0.3%)
- Jun Spider-Girl #61 – 23,429 (+1.4%)
- Jul Spider-Girl #62 – 23,104 (-1.4%)
- Aug Spider-Girl #63 – 22,584 (-2.3%)
- Sep Spider-Girl #64 – 22,442 (-0.6%)
- 6 month (-5.6%)
If I remember this correctly, Spider-Girl has been saved three times in the past by fans writing in and telling Marvel how much they love the book. But it seems to me that Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas still had to make the decision to keep the title going. Given the strong indication that Jemas is on the way out or already out, could this potentially spell doom for the beloved heroine?
I’d say if you read Spider-Girl start sending in letters again, kids. A new campaign is getting underway at the Spider-Girl Message Board. I’ve never read an issue of Spider-Girl, but fuck, I’m gonna buy the current story arc and write in just because I admire these fans for not giving up.
This Has A “Mayday” Factor of Six Out of Ten
Over on joequesada.com Ultimates writer Mark Millar is pimping his new line of creator-owned titles. He writes, “Keep an eye on Newsarama, The Pulse, etc, etc, over the next few days for fully lettered, slightly enormous previews of each of the books we’ve been working on. JG Jones and Jim McLauchlin will be talking about WANTED and showing you the best artwork of that guy’s career. Dark Horse’s Dave Land and Peter Gross will be discussing CHOSEN, Valentino and Ash Wood will be talking about RUN! and William and Ants will be explaining why THE UNFUNNIES will probably have us all thrown in jail.“
Millar also told posters to keep an eye out for his first Marvel Universe book. “I’m actually insanely excited about this and wrote the first two issues before I’d even signed a contract. It’s my first dip into Big Boy’s Marvel and I’m honestly having the time of my life. I think they’ll be making an announcement inside the next couple of weeks (it might be in the new Wizard) so keep an eye out for it.”
And for those interested in scoring a free beer from Mark, he says you’ll have your chance this Winter. “Keep an eye out for the Millarworld launch parties in New York, London, Chicago, LA, Australia, France and some other foreign places where they talk kinda funny. I’m going to be at as many of these as possible in December and will be dragging along my past, present and future collaborators to, well, get drunk. Sneak out of the house and join us and I guarantee I’ll buy you a drink.”
I’ll be in Chicago to claim a pint of Guinness. And maybe my dawg Brandon Thomas will come and have a Sprite. Check out www.slushfactory.com to read an interview with Mark on The Unfunnies. There’s also some preview art there.
This Has An “Obey Your Thirst” Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Stop the Killing!
In an interview with Herorealm, Wolverine artist Darick Roberston says he was planning to do a Punisher: THE END story with writer Garth Ennis (Born, Preacher) but he had to back out because of scheduling conflicts
A new artist has probably been assigned to this book. Expect it to be released around the time the Punisher film hits theatres. Speaking of the film, here’s a new pic released this week:
This Has A “Hawkeye’s A Bitch” Factor of Eight Out of Ten
There Is No Santa Clause
I hear that there are quite a few creators who left CrossGen weeks ago (they shall go unnamed). Problem is they can’t say anything because the company is enforcing its three-month non-compete clause. This basically means the former employee can’t do work for other companies or disclose any information about CrossGen for three months. Seems a bit harsh considering the financial chaos the company is in. You’d think CG would make an exception this time..
Update: Former CrossGen inker Drew Geraci emailed me to refute this rumor. He writes:
- I enjoy your column very much, but I wanted to offer a point of clarification about your statement concerning the ‘Crossgen non-compete re-enforcement’ rumor. This is absolutely untrue. For those of us who left or were let go, there was encouragement from everybody for us to find other jobs elsewhere immediately. In fact, I was told by Mark Alessi himself that if I wanted, he would make a few calls to Marvel and DC for references. Like other ex-employees, I’ve since visited the CG offices, and the atmosphere has been friendly. Everybody there shares concerns, comparing notes, such as ‘Are you set up with work? How’s so-and-so doing?’ In the few years we’ve been together, we’ve grown to care for each other’s welfare. If the CG experience has taught us one thing, it’s that there’s real people behind a comicbook’s credits pages.
This Has A “Cross-Eyed Contract” Factor of Five Out of Ten
Officer En Route
Hot writer Ed Brubaker (Catwoman, Sleeper) took a minute to post a message on Millarworld yesterday thanking posters for supporting his kickass DC police series Gotham Central. He said the book needs all the support it can get and mentioned a trade paperback is scheduled. “Probably early next year, I hope.”
Ed also admitted that a production mistake was made during the creation of the current issue (GC #12). “For issue 12, there was a bit of a snafu in the production dept. and for some reason the overlays Michael did of the snow falling throughout the issue got left out. This will be fixed for a trade later, and the art is still beautiful, his best work yet, but when you read it, please imagine snow cascading down on the city.”
Snow or no snow, do yourself a favor and buy Gotham Central, people. It’s really that good.
This Has A “Snowblind” Factor of Eight Out of Ten
PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at email@example.com 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.