Well finally! Some decent DC rumours to report on. I’m telling you, just as people had me labelled as an anti-DC reporter, in recent weeks I’ve been asked “what I’ve got against Marvel and why don’t I go after DC?”

You can’t win. Well, I can’t. You however, the happy reader, can! With some more top rumours circling the pro community. And yes, some about Marvel as well. But wait, what’s that bunch of late carol dingers doing outside my door?

Dreaming Of A White Christmas

In the recent now-infamous Joe Illidge report earlier this year, Joe alleged that there were racist and sexist practices occurring within DC Universe editorial. As well as himself, he also stated that he saw these practices aimed at the likes of assistant editor, Frank Berrios, a Latino individual.

I have learnt that Frank Berrios, former assistant editor of the Batman group, left his position on Friday, December 15th, after working for DC for about five years.

I have been told that in all his time in the editorial department, he was never offered a promotion, despite working with a lot of editors at DC, including Superman Group Editor Eddie Berganza, former Group Editor and Batman Group Editor Dennis O’Neil, and Executive Editor Mike Carlin.

I hear that Frank Berrios has gone on to a job in book publishing, just like Joe Illidge before him, and Ali Morales before them.

While I’m not that inclined to join up dots myself, others are not so kind. And it’s been pointed out to me that DC Universe editorial currently is down to one Black and one Latino individual. And quite a few people are outraged at this.

Remember – Frank wasn’t fired or moved to a less prominent department. But then he didn’t move upwards in a manner that some would have thought fitting considering his ability.

Patty Jeres, Thumb-Grinder General at DC says “I can confirm that Frank Berrios has left staff to pursue another opportunity. We were all sad to see him go.”

This Has A Rumour Value Of 5 Out Of 10

The Twelve Knight Of Christmas

I hear that the 12th issue of Gotham Knights is NOT the one originally solicited with the Devin Grayson/Roger Robinson Mr. Szasz story.

The rumour is the book was written, pencilled, lettered, and inked, then Exec. Editor Mike Carlin saw it, and bounced it due to concerns about mature content.

Oops. Should have been caught earlier? Well, at least it was caught before it was printed… this time.

The issue coming out is a Jen Van Meter/Coy Turnbull story originally produced to be an issue of Legends of The Dark Knight.

Patty Jeres, Mistress Of The Night says “I can confirm that the originally7 slotted story was changed for editorial reasons.”

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

From the Marvel offices, straight from a secretive source known to us only as Lt Kali! He/She has about a 50% accuracy rating, but definitely better than a stopped clock! So take it away!

X-Force will relaunch in May 2001 with an all new direction, only its not that old, the “new direction” is in fact the series that Joseph Harris was working for the Counter X Phase II project Section X.

“As for the old X-Force kids, two will be around for Morrison’s Casey’s X-Men, but two won’t (HINT: It’s the good old young White Americans who are staying).

“Judd Winick’s Blink series, drawn & inked by Mike McKone & Mark McKenna (currently titled Blink & the X-Patrol as of last notice, as Marvel already own the rights to X-Patrol after some Amalgam Oneshot) will feature a very, very small cast, of just 4 characters in fact. All that is known is that it stars Blink *Duh* and the other three characters will be around the same age as Blink, i.e. late teens. The main plot is to find a mutant called Gaia/Gaea who is the key to holding all universes together, which will return Blink to Earth Prime (Our Earth). It turns out that the AOA Blink was actually our Blink all along and when she transported away during the Phalanx Covanent her powers were so strong she moved to a parallel world, then survived the nuke attack at the end of AOA by blinking away. Confused ? Looks like you will be.

“Marvel’s lack of “Girl” books will be addressed soon, as greenlighted for next year are a solo Avengers female mini-series (Current favorites are Warbird or Scarlet Witch), the “on again” Marvel Girl series (no not Jean Grey, the Fantastic Four one) and, dare I say it, Mille the Model is to make a comeback,”

This Has A Rumour Value Of 6 Out Of 10

More Than A Miracle

The recent Comics International with the now-changed cover, #128, prints pages from the unpublished Miracleman #25 [Editor’s Note: SBC had several pages of this issue accompanying a recent Mark Buckingham interview], a summary of the character and the Whatever Happened To Miracleman section of the rec.arts.comics.misc FAQ by Carl Henderson with contributions from Francis Uy, Tom Galloway and Paul Estin, found here. But Dez Skinn adds his own comments as he goes through.

Dez states that he did indeed believe Marvelman to be in the public domain when he decided to publish the character again and that he offered shares in the revival to involved creators as part of the Warrior deal. Skinn states that Anglo never had any claim to the character. Skinn kept 20% as publisher, Leach got 40% and Moore got 40%.

As to the report that Cat Yronwode said that Dez said he’d bought the rights from Mick Anglo, Skinn denies this and says that Cat has previously apologised for comments she made about Skinn in MM #24. Skinn says Anglo was informed about the relaunched Marvelman over a business lunch and arrangements were paid for reprints of the ‘flashback episodes’ used in Warrior. Later, Anglo told Skinn that he had to chase Eclipse for further reprint payments.

Skinn states that Eclipse bought Gary Leach’s share of Marvelman when they bought Skinn’s share. Alan Davis’ share of the title was not, as previously thought, Leach’s share transferred to Alan, but 10% from Leach, 10% from Moore and 10% from Skinn. So… before the Eclipse deal, Dez owned 10%, Moore owned 30%, Davis owned 30% and Leach owned 30%. Skinn reports that when Davis decided it throw in the towel he gave his share to Leach, although previous reports indicate that Davis sold his share to Eclipse.

So,. Rather that 66.6% to Eclipse and 33.3% to Moore, then Gaiman and Buckingham, the numbers have shifted to 70 and 30. Why is this important? Because Todd McFarlane Productions believe they have 85% of the property and Gaiman has 15% – his half of the Moore share. But it looks like TMP have forgotten the Buckingham factor, who owns equal shares with Gaiman (although he’s let Gaiman represent those shares in negotiations).

Dez also raises the spectre of another claimant… a surviving relative of Len Miller, the original publisher of Marvelman in the fifties.

A worthwhile issue of CI, it also prints the appendixes to Universe X by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross that Marvel refused to print, as they had done in Earth X.

Comics International shipped to the UK last week, will be shipping to the US shortly. See www.comics-international.com for ordering information.

Carl Henderson writes on rec.arts.comics.misc about the trademarks applications printed in the FAQ, saying “While checking the status of those applications for the next revision of the FAQ, I learned tonight that both applications for the “Miracleman” mark by Todd McFarlane Productions were abandoned as of February 26, 2000.”

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10

Deck The Hall

Phil Hall writes on rec.arts.comics.misc:

“Someone might like to correct me, but according to what I understand, Dez was the last person to publish the Marvelman character in any form. Len Miller’s niece has apparently expressed no interest in the property, leaving the Marvelman character essentially in the property of Quality Communications Ltd. However, if someone wanted to publish Marvelman, based on the Len Miller character, they would either have to serve notice of their intention to the holder of the possibly lapsed copyright, or QCL (Quality Communications Limited, the publishers of Comics International) would be required to prove copyright and safeguard it by publishing another issue.”

“QCL is tentatively planning a Marvelman special in 2001.”

As to legal issues over the name, Hall said “Joey Da Q is apparently a big Warrior fan so he might think it amusing, whether the lawyers see it that way… who can say? :)”

This is how rumours start folks! A quick call to Dez Skinn, elicits a very different response. “Oh god… Phil said what? Where? Oh god… What is he talking about… oh god…”

So let’s make this official. Dez? “I have no plans to publish any comics in the forthcoming year – and I have no idea what I’ll be doing or thinking after that. I think the comics support industry needs me a damn site more than the comics industry itself – its currently swamped with publishers, with very few objectively reporting independently on what the players are… playing. So no, no Marvelman, no Miracleman, no Big Ben, nothing.”

And in response, Phil tells me “I misconstrued Dez saying what he said because of pre-Christmas intoxication, misinterpreting “I’d love to do a Marvelman CI special in 2001” as “we’re thinking of doing it”. ”

This Has A Rumour Value Of 1 Out Of 10

All I Want For Christmas Is Hue

In response to the Marvel colourists article in last week’s All the Rage, Stuart Moore, Marvel’s new Marvel Knights editor posted on the Comicon messageboards “The one thing I can say about this is that it’s emphatically NOT an attempt to cut the quality of coloring and seps at Marvel — exactly the opposite. Joe Q and I have some differences regarding the aesthetics of comics coloring, but what he’s trying to do here is upgrade the entire line.”

Elayne Riggs, prominent comics fan and wife of Supergirl inker Robin Riggs, had another perspective: “‘Digital inking’ is becoming accepted at Marvel (and even DC); this is poised to throw a lot of inkers out of work unless they can better their pencilling skills, and many pencillers are going to wind up doing more work (tighter pencils in the same deadline period) for the same rates, which is effectively no different than taking a pay cut. (It’s not as though many Marvel editors have any sort of high regard for inking in the first place, seeing how many inkers are typically assigned to an issue of any given late-running book with no real thought to how the results affect the consistency of that book’s art.) And forget any sort of grandfathered contracts at this stage in the game; just look what’s happened with Herb Trimpe and Al Milgrom. We all know ceilings are nothing new, all the majors have them. To ask freelance colorists to submit bids not above a certain market rate isn’t the same as cutting coloring page rates; it’s delineating what the current pay standard already is. Truth be told, I actually think Marvel terminating its contract with GCW (it HAS to be them) is a good thing; I don’t think their color work was all that good and I don’t like to see any one studio virtually monopolize an area when a lot of skilled individual freelancers go hunting. (As much as I might like Richard Starkings, I would love to see people like Pat Prentice be able to get more lettering work!)

“But if y’all want a nice dose of industry pessimism (oh we do, Elayne, we do!) from an old hand at such things, I can leave you with food for thought courtesy of Alan Davis: “The time is coming when freelance pencillers will be asked to turn in complete art and be expected to subcontract their inkers, paying them out of their own pockets– or get it digitally inked,” to bring this back to my first paragraph. Something to chew on…”

This Has A Rumour Value Of 5 Out Of 10

The Rumour Awards announced last week have been postponed for a week due to apathy and laziness. I apologise for any distress caused…

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