The secret is out?

If you want to know which character will kick the bucket this week in Avengers #502, Craig Johnson has posted an advance look in our reviews section. If you want to be surprised, then just keep scrolling down. I?m not going to mention who it is here in the column.

But if you can?t wait, and JUST have to know? you can find the answer here.

Warriors 3

One of the most repeated rumors coming out of last weekend?s Baltimore Con is that Marvel has given the green light to a third incarnation of the New Warriors. The new series is said to feature a mix of new and returning characters. Further details are harder to come by, though the artist attached to the project is likely to be Skottie Young (Venom).

This Has A ?Super-Speedball? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


U2

Over at his message board, Mark Millar dropped some hints this week about the long awaited Ultimates 2:

    Not The Ultimates Volume 2 or V2 or, God help us, Ultimates 2.0. This isn’t the second season or anything like that. It’s the sequel. This is what X2 was to X-Men. We just want to improve upon what we did in the first year.

And yes, I say year with a smirk on my face.

When asked about the covers to the new series, Millar replied:

    Ish 1 is everybody, issues 2 and 3 are mostly about Banner/ Hulk, issues 4 and 5 are the origin of Thor and issue 6 features an ex-Ultimate with The Defenders so all the covers are appropriate to that.

It’s great having covers that relate to the comics again, isn’t it? What the fuck was all that about??

One fan asked:

    Is the public in the Ultimate universe finally going to know that Hulk is Banner? If so, there will be consequences for SHIELD? It has always bugged me that they are getting away with that one.

Millar?s response:

    That’s what the first story is about, oddly enough.

Millar also commented on the future of The Ultimates, beyond ?the second year.?

    I’ll be taking six to twelve months off and doing something else for a bit. Just to catch up on other stuff and recharge. I think I’ll have said it all with the sequel. This is better than the original and I doubt I could top it. The ending is as good as I can do, really, so in Summer ?06 it’s someone else’s baby.

This Has A ?Cap’s Kookie Quartet? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


New Legends

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight is heading for a major creative overhaul after War Games, due in large part to new LOTDK editor Joey Cavalieri. Among the creators being mentioned for upcoming story arcs are Bruce Jones, Paul Jenkins, Will Pfieffer and Gail Simone.

Additionally, other top name creators are also being solicited to come onboard down the line.

This Has A ?Lighting the Bat-Signal? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Smoking or Non-Smoking?

Time for a quick comparison:

On the left side, we have an unpublished image of Wolverine enjoying a ?stogie? and on the right side we have the published version, with Wolverine in a more neutral pose and without the cigar.

Looks like Marvel?s ?No Smoking? edict is still in effect.

These images come from a French comics website, which is currently hosting all of Olivier Coipel?s pencil pages from Uncanny X-Men # 48.

In a related rumor, Copiel is said to be working on a big project for Marvel in 2005, with one of their ?top writers.? In the interim, Copiel may be doing a few Ultimate X-Men covers.

This Has A ?Secondary Mutation? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Cheer Up!

Alpha Flight writer, Scott Lobdell?s upcoming movie, Man of the House (tentative title) is set for an early 2005 release. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones and is said to be an action/comedy set in the world competitive cheerleading.

Seriously.

Here?s the plot synopsis:

    Hard-edged Texas Ranger Roland Sharp (Tommy Lee Jones) is assigned to protect the only witnesses to the murder of a key figure in the prosecution of a drug kingpin — a group of University of Texas cheerleaders. Sharp must now go undercover as an assistant cheerleading coach and move in with the young women – possibly the most terrifying assignment in his thirty-year career in law enforcement.

So basically, it?s Bring it On by way of Midnight Run, coming to a theatre near you this January.

IMDB has the details here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0331933/

This Has A ?Hey Mickey!? Factor of Six Out of Ten


Byrne Victims

After last week?s report on John Byrne and Tom Smith, ATR Informant ?Background Guy? sent in the following item:

      I would like to extend my sympathy to John Byrne, who has been lamenting at length recently, over on his

forum

    , about the unfair criticism and outright lies he’s been subjected to of late. It’s a shame that a writer/artist of Byrne’s caliber with a rich legacy of work, stretching back over 3 decades, should be a constant target of unsubstantiated hearsay and inaccurate claims.

However, what’s more shameful is that Byrne himself has throughout his career been an enthusiastic perpetrator of hearsay and untruths about his fellow pros and is only to happy to provide his critics with their ammo from the safety of his own forum, where he makes the rules and apparently dictates what’s true and what isn’t despite any evidence to the contrary!

As evidenced by his post from last week, Byrne seems to be taking his reputation as ‘Mr. Fixit’ a tad too seriously by retconning a well-known incident where he used lies to attack another pro so that in the new ‘Byrne continuity’ he was the victim not the perpetrator!

It seems he hasn’t learnt anything from the FUBAR that resulted last month when he started a thread inviting his critics to use the TRUTH to support their ‘attacks’ on him. When some accepted his invitation posting accurate examples of Byrne that were less than flattering, he duly locked the thread, labeling his critics ‘Lying Assholes’ then banned them (without responding to any of their ‘truthful’ criticism!). The thread also revealed that Byrne had “accidentally” interfered with all the board’s member’s personal settings so that the only “truth” they saw was what he himself chose for them to see! This led to a departure from the board of some of his staunchest supporters and a lot of heated debate about Byrne himself rather than his work.

Which is why it’s so surprising that he started a similar thread last week, to again ridicule his critics and rubbish any criticism leveled at him. Luckily the banning of those who accepted his previous invitation ensured there was nothing other than a cacophony of support for everything Byrne said with no dissenters, and of course no invitations were proffered to disagree with him. This may explain why one of the oddest claims he made, in support of himself, didn’t raise any eyebrows or elicit any queries from everyone who responded in sympathy and support to his plight!

Byrne wrote:

    Not liking CHAPTER ONE became a way of proving you were “kewl”, however, so there were a lot of posts to the internet about how bad it was……Even one so-called “professional” used a column he wrote to savage the first issue — by commenting on things that were not in the book!! Alas, when it came to CO, truth was not needed, provided there was sufficient venom in the lies.

Now tragic as the untrue criticisms against him may be, it’s odd, given his own propensity to publicly air unsubstantiated hearsay against named pros on a whim, that he neither names the guilty creator or even the column. Especially as being a column it’s a matter of public record and not hearsay. Who could the “professional” be that wrote a column savaging ‘Chapter One’ and upsetting Byrne so? Trawling through the usual suspects and most regular targets of Byrne’s own ire, only Peter David fits the bill, but it’s odd given Byrne’s regular insulting of David at every opportunity that he’d miss a chance like this to let his supporters know exactly who’d wronged him so unfairly.

Except after researching and reading all of David’s columns at the time and those relating to Chapter One, it’s clear he never wrote anything like Byrne describes. In fact the only Pro in recent memory who publicly attacked another pro, savaging the first issue of his new book “by commenting on things that were not in the book!! ” was Byrne himself.

“Alas”, as Byrne himself puts it, when it came to Peter David’s Spider-Man 2099 “truth was not needed, provided there was sufficient venom in the lies” in his own attack on the book and David’s abilities as a writer. Back on his old forum Byrne used the example of David’s Spider-Man 2099 #1 to support his repeated attacks on David’s work. Byrne pointed out that here was the premier issue launching not only a title but a ‘new’ character as well, and he didn’t appear in costume once! Except he did, as Peter David pointed out when he joined the discussion asking Byrne to retract or apologize for his ‘mistake’; Spider-Man 2099 appeared in costume, in action for the first 6 or 7 pages of the book.

In response to the truth, Byrne announced he was leaving the board due to David’s presence and never apologized or even acknowledged that he was wrong (though in fairness he did try to justify his comments by claiming he only ‘skimmed’ the comic he used to attack David.) So it certainly seems that Byrne could be describing his own situation with David in his latest exercise in self-pity except of course in reality it was Byrne who decided that the truth was not needed when it came to savaging another pro’s work without justification.

Later in last week’s posts, Byrne expands further on the damage lying about a pro or spreading unsubstantiated rumors or gossip can wreak:

    You’re not in a situation where unrefuted lies about you become part of the “mantra” of a certain segment of people. People upon who you depend for your livelihood, and people whose lies can (and do) directly affect that livelihood — especially when the ones repeating the lies are, as in far too many cases, the people owning and operating what are fast becoming the only venues thru which your product is sold. “His old stuff was better,” “He never draws backgrounds,” “His stuff doesn’t sell any more,” “He was mean to a fan,” and a score of other chants that are clearly untrue, and obviously so to anyone who cares to look translate into lost sales, lost income, lost work.

And even sadder, he added:

    There was a time when I ignored the lies. They were so obviously false, who could possibly be stupid enough to believe them? As it turned out, lots of people — people who were more interested in showing themselves to be “cool” than in actually concerning themselves with little things like the truth.

It’s odd given how much Byrne has apparently suffered as a result of ‘lies’ or ‘untruths’ and how negative and destructive he feels they are, that it’s a matter of public record that he himself repeatedly perpetuates hearsay and untruths he can’t substantiate about a great deal of his fellow pro’s, specifically about their professionalism, and has done so for many, many years. Even as far back as the 1980’s Byrne was happily slamming his fellow pros. As The Comics Journal reported, at a convention in 1982, Byrne publicly described the work of Gil Kane, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein and Gene Colan as substandard, using phrases such as “Crap”, “Garbage” and “hacking it out”. Exactly the types of negative comments that Byrne despises today, except of course when he’s the one dishing them out. Byrne went on at the convention to relate a particularly career and reputation-ruining piece of hearsay about writer Roy Thomas. When pressed Byrne stated he quite happily repeat his claims to Thomas’s face, adding in the personal insult: “except I’d have to stoop.”

However, when Thomas offered him the opportunity to stand over his claims about him, by demanding a letter of apology or libel litigation would follow, Byrne responded in what would become his modus operandi to this day (for when challenged to prove his comments); he couldn’t support them. With the threat of legal action and without the options his messageboard would later provide him of running away, insulting Thomas further, editing his actual comments and or deleting Thomas’s challenge, not apologizing or retracting his remarks in fact failing to take any personal responsibility but blaming 3rd parties for his own comments, Byrne spectacularly and publicly folded.

He immediately apologized and blamed other for his transgression, naming Len Wein and Marv Wolfman (whom Byrne had also insulted at the convention) as responsible for presumably tricking or coercing him into relating publicly the information at the Con.

Byrne wrote in his apology:

    I acted only in the office of a parrot, and if I was given false information, then it is not me towards which your anger should be directed.

Sadly, Byrne’s apology never detailed whether or not he was also planning on being forced by Wolfman and Wein to happily stoop to repeat his untruths to Thomas’s face as he proclaimed at the Con.

Apart from the Peter David incident on his old board where Byrne opted for the ‘running away’, ‘no apology/retraction’ solution (given no legal action was forthcoming), there is the well known incident of last year where he claimed that Erik Larsen employed an uncredited artist to draw the backgrounds and that he Byrne had met him. As usual when pressed, he couldn’t remember when, where or who the ‘Background Man’ he met was and when Larsen posted that he could prove he never employed a background artist, Byrne’s response was to ban Larsen, continue to insult him, blame Larsen for any untruths and of course neither retract nor apologize for his comments (the Thomas incident proving Byrne’s stance only collapses in the face of legal action).

More recently was the Mark Waid incident. Byrne posted yet another account he couldn’t verify which Waid (the target of Byrne’s claim) stated was untrue. Byrne then also posted untruths about the formation and structure of Waid’s Gorilla Imprint upsetting some of the artists involved. Byrne’s response to Waid’s corrections was to delete them immediately and ban Waid without acknowledging or correcting the factual errors in his own claims.

As Waid reported on Joe Quesada’s boards:

    To clarify: You would be mistaken. I have already been banned for calling into question John’s recent armchair-quarterback comments about “How Gorilla Comics went wrong” and the way he insulted George Perez, Barry Kitson, Mike Wieringo and all the other Gorilla partners by lumping them together as second-rate talents who were just “the guys Kurt and Mark could get.”

I registered, posted a response, and within ten minutes it was deleted and my membership was cancelled.

Waid’s experience on Byrne’s forum also illustrated another criticism that Byrne is attracting more and more frequently specifically the amount of pro’s he’s unintentionally insulting. Recent weeks have seen high profile incidents of him insulting the likes of Dave Cockrum, Neal Adams, Tom Smith and some of the Gorilla Imprint founders.

The response of Byrne and his supporters on the JBF seem to be that he hasn’t or hadn’t intended to insult the injured parties. But the fact is when the individuals themselves (in the case of Neal Adams or Mark Waid and some of his colleagues) or sources very close to them (in the case of Cockrum’s wife Patty) are clearly stating they’ve feel insulted it’s hard to fathom the Byrne stance that they haven’t been insulted.

As Mark Waid posted on the Quesada boards:

    I don’t want to get into an argument about the semantics of whether or not it’s an “insulting” statement; at least two of the artists have since told me how insulted and angered they were by John’s dismissive, thoughtless statement. Therefore, it was insulting.

In every instance Byrne has neither retracted the insulting remark nor apologized for any unintentional insult conveyed. In fact in the Neal Adams case he resorted to his ‘Roy Thomas defense’ of honorably trying to blame an anonymous conspiratorial third party; who was controlling the gullible Adam’s reactions to his innocent comments (which stated Adams submitted only rough breakdowns when he was being paid and credited for full pencils). It seems highly unlikely that Byrne couldn’t be aware of the negative connotations of these innocent insults, given the responses from the parties themselves which he either dismisses, deletes or deflects onto third parties. It also seems that no one that he disagrees with is immune from his insulting hearsay or untruths. Even respect for the dead is absent when it comes to Byrne wishing to bash other pros.

I just recently discovered a public post by Byrne from 1999 that proves his public posting of unsubstantiated hearsay to demean his fellow pros doesn’t just apply to the living. In a debate that has carried on in fandom for decades, Byrne has long been a vocal advocate of the view that Kirby played no part in the creation of Spider-Man. However rather than just stating his case based on facts, a few years after Kirby’s death Byrne publicly posted that Kirby’s own personal opinion was probably down to diminished mental capacity and repeated an unsubstantiated and very personal piece of hearsay to support his conjecture.

Byrne wrote:

    Sadly, there may have been other reasons for Jack’s claiming to have created Spider-Man, even though the character with which we are familiar is not the one he created. Toward the end of his life he was troubled by the aftermath of an automobile accident, and I am told would sometimes even forget how to find his way home. A terrible thing to happen to anyone — and the sort of confusion which could lead to misremembering things that happened decades earlier.

No doubt Byrne and his supporters will have any myriad of reasons as to why this isn’t insulting to Kirby or his memory but it’s evident that to support his opinion, over Kirby’s, Byrne uses the very hearsay he so apparently despises. He clearly undermines Kirby’s integrity and reasoning on the matter, whilst casting a shadow over anything else Kirby may have said in the last few years of his life whether accurate or not. And despite the accolades Byrne has afforded Kirby and his work from his earlier years, the picture he paints of a confused bewildered old man demeans not only the man but his memory as well.

Luckily for Byrne, he’s never been called upon to defend this characterization and public presentation of hearsay about Kirby. And if this piece raises any questions or challenges to Byrne’s portrayal of Kirby, Byrne can always defend his position from the security of his forum where he controls the truth and can edit, delete or ban anyone who disagrees with him.

It’s a shame that Byrne’s own seemingly heartfelt appraisal on the negativity of the lies, hearsay and inaccuracies that the internet can propagate is sullied by his own behavior and abuse of the medium. Only on the forum he controls can Byrne’s words outweigh his actions.

This Has A ?Puppet Master? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Star Wars? Nothing But Star Wars?

The Star Wars Trilogy is finally being released on DVD later this week, and George Lucas has made alterations to all three films.

Again.

In an associated press interview, Lucas defends the changes:

    To me, the special edition ones are the films I wanted to make. Anybody that makes films knows the film is never finished. It’s abandoned or it’s ripped out of your hands, and it’s thrown into the marketplace, never finished. It’s a very rare experience where you find a filmmaker who says, “That’s exactly what I wanted. I got everything I needed. I made it just perfect. I’m going to put it out there.” And even most artists, most painters, even composers would want to come back and redo their work now. They’ve got a new perspective on it, they’ve got more resources, they have better technology, and they can fix or finish the things that were never done.

When asked why the Original Version of the films won?t be released on DVD, Lucas replied:

    The special edition, that’s the one I wanted out there. The other movie, it’s on VHS, if anybody wants it. … I’m not going to spend the, we’re talking millions of dollars here, the money and the time to refurbish that, because to me, it doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it. But I want it to be the way I want it to be.

Well? then why stop? There?s a few more changes to be made?

If Luke & Leia were always brother & sister, then aren?t we missing this scene?

Come to think of it, the Bounty Hunters in Empire look a little shady. Better class then up a bit:

Now, here?s a change I can fully support?

And there?s always time for a little product placement?

I?ll bet Lucas thought we forgot about Howard?

These pics were made by the talented folks at http://www.somethingawful.com who were also responsible for the Watchmen parody strips a few weeks back.

You can find the rest of their Star Wars ?enhancements? here.

This Has A ?Special Editions? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Punch Drunk

That?s an ATR bonus strip of Rolling with the Punches V2, a daily web comic that runs here at SBC. Now say hello to a former ATR writer who?s about to interview? himself?!

Jason: Hi, I’m here with Jason, principle cast member and supposed creator of the web strip “RWTPv2: Rolling With The Punches.” Blair is too busy and important to bother interviewing a nobody like him, so he asked me to do it. This past Friday, RWTPv2 posted its 100th strip, and as a celebration, Jason asked Blair, whom he doesn’t know, if he would be willing to run a spotlight on the strip in “All The Rage.” Just who the hell do you think you are?

Jason: Well, most people in the comics community know me as j.hues. I knew Markisan before Blair and Rich Johnston, before all of us, and thought the ATR connection would be enough for him to consider it. Prior to this, I’ve done comic reviews, columns, including “All The Rage” and worked as Public Relations and Marketing Manager for Future Comics, which pulled me away from the online community in a creative capacity. After that, I decided to get back to creating, and more specifically humor, but wanting to do something different, I started up a web strip.

Jason: Uh-huh. So what’s with the stupid name: RWTPv2? What’s it stand
for and how do you expect anyone to remember it?

Jason: Well, I did a humor and satire column at SBC called “Rolling With
The Punches” before I did ATR, and so this is “Rolling With The Punches:
Volume 2.” A continuation of the same type of humor and attitude in a whole
new format.

Jason: How creative of you. Your mother must be proud.

Jason: Now that’s not-

Jason: So you’re a character in the strip, but you’re also supposed to be the creator? How does that work? Seems overly complicated.

Jason: Actually it works out just-

Jason: Fascinating. The strip takes place in a comic shop. Is this based on personal experiences or are you just some poseur who thinks he knows it all?

Jason: Actually, I spent five years managing a large comics shop while in college. Many of the characters and situations in the strip are based on my times there, while others are pulled from various life experiences I’ve had since then. In fact-

Jason: Nobody really cares, art boy. So how often does it come out and
where can people find it.

Jason: New strips are posted five days a week, Monday – Friday at
http://www.rwtpv2.com.

Jason: So what else are you working on?

Jason: Well, I’m still writing and working on pitches and series. I’m probably going to be looking to collect RWTPv2 down the line, either through an existing publisher or on my own, and either way might open up avenues for me to publish more comic work.

This Has An ?If You Ask Me Why? I?ll Just Blame Hypertime? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


That?s all for this week. Special thanks to ?Background Guy?, JV and Randy.

Later,
Blair

PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at blairm@silverbulletcomicbooks.com. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.


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