I’m back. Sad but true. Nobody demanded my sacking and no fantastic job offers came my way. Also I’m not blind this week, so here we go.

My name is Alan Donald, I’m the writer of this ‘ere column you’ve come and found. Welcome! Whether you are a regular reader or if you just arrived here via a link elsewhere, all are welcome to All The Rage, SBC?s weekly rumour, news and opinion column.

As always we have our regular competition. You could win some fabulous goodies from our sponsors, Dynamic Forces, just like the appropriately named doc martin did last week. All you have to do is get yourself an SBC user name (just visit the forums to get one) and e-mail competition@silverbulletcomicbooks.com with it and the answer to this week?s competition. The competition is simple; rather than simply saying ‘anonymous source’ I have replaced my Ragemites names with codenames taken from a TV / film / comic book / book source. Last week, for example, loads of people managed to let me know that the source was M*A*S*H (the film and TV series). Extremely simple for those over 25, with cable TV or who simply have good taste.

I have been threatened with disownment from the Donald clan at large if I don’t use a certain source soon. As Peter David said recently (in his case in response to Joe Quesada), I don’t respond well to threats… just remember, sonny, that ‘Mac’ means son of. You’re nothing but an offshoot branch. The sons of Somerled’ll rally round me. All the same I will be using your suggestion soon (perhaps you could send in some of the most obscure character names in for me to use).

On with the show.


Ultimate Fantastic Four Is Go

Maybe. One of Marvel?s secret promo pieces of art features a blacked-out figure with some mysterious smoke around him (see: Silver Bulletins), with the tagline ??4?3?2?1?IGNITION!?. However, you only have to check out the boards at ComiXtreme to find out the original uncensored art is actually? Johnny Storm, albeit a funky, stylised version.

One source says that the pic, plus tagline, adds up to the imminent announcement of Ultimate FF by Grant Morrison, with a start date to coincide with either Morrison?s tenure on New X-Men closing off (with #150 of that title) or, if sooner, then when Millar leaves Ultimate X-Men (with issue #33 being his last).

This Has A ?Worst Kept Secret In Comics? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Not Such A Pad Guy After All

I fired off an email to Peter David the other day, about a rumour doing the rounds regarding the upcoming Ang Lee Hulk movie. Said rumour has it that in the movie Bruce?s pet dogs would become ?Hulkified?? including a poodle. As PAD has written the yet to be released novelization of the movie, I felt he might be able to confirm or deny this? situation.

Here?s his response:

    No, I can’t. I signed a non-disclosure agreement that forbids me from discussing the plot.

A few months ago I made a single exception to that, because rumors were all over the place that, in the script, Banner is bitten by a radioactive dog and that’s how he becomes the Hulk. And fans were going so completely apeshit over it that I stepped in and said, “No. That’s not true.” But that was the only time I’ve said anything about something being, or not being, in the script. So, as I have with every other inquiry on other plot points, I’ll say no comment.

Although I should point something out, totally regardless of whether the rumor is true or not: Do you have *any* idea how big poodles can get? People think “poodle,” they picture a little yapping thing about a foot tall with foofy fur and a bow in its tail. My sister had a poodle. His name was Ivory, and he was practically the size of a Great Dane. If Ivory charged you, he could knock you on your ass, and that’s *without* gamma radiation.

Don’t sneer at poodles, man. They can clobber you.

Poodles? Poodles?

This Has A ?Did You Get The Number Of That Truck? Oh No, It Was A Poodle? Value of Nine Out Of Ten


Where Is It?

Adam has sent in a request for help:

      ?does anyone know what happened to Dean Motter’s

Electropolis

      series? I think the most “recent” issue was published about the same time as

Ministry of Space #2

    . But unlike MoS, I’ve never seen any news on what became of Motter’s series, which I was really enjoying.

Does anyone know anything at all ? apart from it being canned due to low sales?

This Has A “Calling Out Around The World” Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


So There!

More mail. This one’s from David regarding my comments on some of the rumoured Bat-moves:

    ? according to an article fro e! online the Bats vs. Supes movie is dead, as Warner decided to go for the superman movie instead because it?s more likely to allow sequels?

That’s one down, but what of the other two I mentioned? Anybody out there got any idea what the score is with Batman: Year 1 or Batman: Beyond?

This Has A “The Summer’s Here And The Time Is Right” Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Archie Heartache

To quote Chandler Bing from Friends, ?Can, open… worms, everywhere.? My comments on Archie comics last week ruffled a few feathers. I meant them mostly in jest, and I thought as I had gone so over the top about it people would pick up that I wasn’t being completely serious but no fear, there’s always a Ragemite or two to imagine I was being sincere. Soloeman commented:

    For last years FCBD, retailers who asked/ordered them received a 200 count box of Archie comics for FREE – no cost at all. These all looked like overstock from the last few years, but seeing as they were actually FREE to the retailers as well, I don’t think anyone was complaining. Also, when the time came to actually start giving the comics out, The Archies were second only to Ultimate Spidey in terms of the kids interest (for us anyway). I certainly don’t begrudge them for participating in the same manner as the other companies this year, and I for one am planning on ordering quite a few of their FCBD offering. In an industry where “comics aren’t just for kids anymore” has too often become “comics AREN’T for kids anymore”, Archie’s are a cheap, friendly way to introduce kids to comics. There’s a reason why their books are so cheap compared to all the other publishers – they have the numbers and newstand penetration that other comic companies can only dream of.

A Canadian storeowner, Soloeman?s sentiments were echoed on my message board. See the Free Archie Day thread for details.

To recap, shipping is an issue for international retailers when it comes to Free Comic Book Day, but let’s face it the distances comics move domestically in the US or US to Canada can’t be that much less (and in fact must be more in some cases) than US to UK (assuming they’re coming from NY or the East Coast in general). It’s business, nothing more than that.

This Has A “Sugar, Sugar” Value Of Five Out Of Ten


Potter Panic

OK, it’s been announced. The UK (and presumably worldwide) release date of the latest Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) has been set as the 21st June (midsummer?s day). A weekend was chosen by the publishers to try and cut down on the type of truancy from work and school that has accompanied the last few books. The books opening words are (and I’d have gotten more of them if Bruce hadn’t decided to scream at that point):

“The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close…”

The book runs to 38 Chapters and has over 250,000 words. It is going to be even darker than the previous books and Dumbledore will finally reveal everything to Harry that he has been keeping from him until now. Fans around the world have breathed a collective sigh of relief, after all, this book has been promised for an age.

How this is going to affect the film series remains to be seen. The second Harry Potter film, despite running to around 3 hours felt slightly disjointed and rushed compared to the book (still enjoyable but still not as fulfilling as the first despite the extra action, although due to the popularity of the series it’s very hard to find anyone publicly admitting to this assessment of the film). The next book is even longer, then Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is enormous and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix even bigger still. Nobody seems to be addressing exactly how these books will fit into 3 hour films when the shorter books are struggling. It would also be a fair guess that the sixth Harry Potter book will be even bigger still!

One suggestion that is only just beginning to do the rounds (and which has yet to gain enough momentum to be a full scale rumour) is that the director should film an entire novel in one go but release the film in 2 halves, the winter terms at Christmas and the Summer terms at the beginning of summer. It’s either that or they’ll be releasing 6 hour films with 3 intermissions in them (hint: go and see them at the local cinema not the multiplex, they’re more likely to insert a break for the toilet and so on).

This Has An “Of Interest To Muggles Only” Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


New Writers? Block

The saga continues on how hard it is to get into to comics, and how hard it is for comic book companies to vet new talent. First up is Job:

    The thing at issue with Marvel, and with DC beyond the legal issues, is that they have no line of first defense when it comes to submissions coming over the transom — movie studios have a line of interrupts beginning with agents, going on to first readers and d-girls, and winding up at the executive level. All this winnows down the load of crap coming in (the Star Trek office was about the only place unsolicited scripts were really still welcome until a few years ago; when they started having trouble walking down the hallways because of the piles of scripts, they quit and shut the doors.)

The publishing industry generally has bulwarks involving first readers/assistant editors, plus the growing dependence on literary agents and three-chapters-plus-outline. As far as I can tell, the comics industry doesn’t have that kind of bulwark. Unsolicited material comes in and is handled by some poor sod of an editor who really hasn’t the time or energy to deal with it. A bunch of first reader drones would be very helpful, but they ain’t in the budget, so far as I can tell. As a result, almost everything seeping in is going to hit the roundfile and much promising talent is going to be over-looked.

The funny book business is very insular. It’s unlikely to change much — DC and Marvel tend to retrench as soon as they start to succeed with a different approach. Not the best way to run a railroad.

I have finally managed to download Marvel’s writer submission guide. It’s a fun read and Marvel have managed to get across the reality of the situation with good humour. Here’s a quick clip:

    Now, of course there are many ways to get your stories looked at but the absolute best is to get yourself published elsewhere. Perhaps direct some movies like Kevin Smith or produce and create TV shows like J. Michael Straczynski. Hey, even writing some award-winning novels like Greg Rucka can open up the door for ya! Of course most of us don’t have those kind of venues available to us, but you could take a page from Brian Bendis’ handbook and get yourself self-published. That’s how we discovered Bendy and look at him all grown up now!

Here’s a quick snippet from another email that came to me that proves the above comment from Marvel. This isn’t from JMS nor Silent Bob, but it is someone of that ilk:

    [M]y approach to the comics biz involves phone calls and avoiding tossing anything over — I really don’t need to, I think, comics being just one more medium to which I can apply my talents, dragging along the past record of my achievements.

This Has A “Grist For The Mill” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Cat Scratch Fever, Revisited

Speculate and ye shall receive! Take a gander at what arrived in the ATR mailbox this week from Cameron Stewart, Catwoman artist:

      For the record, I’m not leaving

Catwoman

    anytime soon – Javier Pulido is illustrating issues 17-19 to give me a bit of a break and because Ed wanted him to work on something with him, but I’m already at work on the storyline that begins in issue 20.

The “frizzy haired” gentleman is Ray Fawkes [mentioned in last weeks? ATR], writer and artist of his own book Spookshow, which will be released by Cyberosia later this year. We’ve been working on something together which is moving unfortunately slowly due to my work on Catwoman, but hopefully I’ll have something to show by this year’s San Diego con.

There you go. Not just news that the main man is continuing on Catwoman but exclusive info that there’s a project of his coming up and a bonus plug for another creators work! Check out Cameron?s website, Cameron-Stewart.Com, it?s very nice!

This Has A “A Trip To The Vet” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Covers Covered

Saul spotted this for me over on the Silver Bulletins news service:

    Reacting to widespread criticism concerning the cover stock used in its popular Ultimate line, Marvel Comics has announced that starting on February 5, all the Ultimate titles will be upgraded to a new thicker paper stock, while maintaining their new high-gloss finish. According to Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada, “Although the new cover stock on the Ultimate titles was actually the same stock used on the entire Marvel Universe line, the high-gloss film laminate gave the illusion of it being thinner, because the added weight of the laminate forced the corners to flop.” Retailers did react strongly to the new covers (see “Rick Ralsten of the Time Capsule on Marvel Ultimates Cover Stock,” for example), and the message did get back to Marvel, which acted quickly to remedy the situation for next month’s books. Retailers will be examining Marvel’s “fix” next month, when it appears on the cover to Ultimate Spider-Man #36, but according to Quesada, the publisher is “confident that the upgrade in paper stock will be the perfect solution.”

I just want to say, ?Well done? to Marvel. This reaction and change show that they are (or at least want to be perceived as being) a fan and retailer friendly company that listens to what people want. I’m not going to look for a conspiracy here.

This Has A “Good Job” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Gordon’s Back

John, from deep within DC, has passed me the sort of news that gets me salivating (although I’ve probably jinxed the project by mentioning it). Following his return in Gotham Central and Detective Comics, Jim Gordon is set to return to the fore with his own series.

This is a rumour that emerged before but then it had Chuck Dixon attached (a rumour that he strenuously denied). This new rumour comes from a different source. For several years former Commissioner Jim Gordon was a firm fan favourite winner Best Supporting Character awards and then he retired. His return to the Batman titles as a lecturer in Criminology at Gotham U. got fans talking and it wasn’t long until people started to demand more.

Allegedly DC has been listening to fan opinion and was hoping to release this title with a big fanfare in the summer. This is still in the planning stage now so fans that want to see this should start to bombard DC now.

This Has An “It?s Jim, Jim. But Not As We Know Him” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


53 Wednesdays

I should have picked up on this sooner. I keep meaning to drop in little plugs for other SBC columns. This is something I will correct this in the New Year. Getting started on that, there’s a brand new column starting it?s run in the Silver Soapbox, entitles ?53 Wednesdays? by Michael Deeley.

Read the whole thing, it?s worth it.

53 Wednesdays – Column Zero
53 Wednesdays – Column One

This Has A “New, Cool And Original” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


More SBC Plugs

It’s that time again. Nominations are being taken for the SBC awards. The categories are:

    01. Best Continuing Series (this can include cancelled series as well as those still ongoing today; 2001 – Ultimate Spider-Man)

02. Best Mini-Series (any series not covered above; 2001 – Origin)

03. Best Storyline (any plot running more than one issue; 2001 – New X-Men: E Is For Extinction)

04. Best Single Issue (2001 – Amazing Spider-Man #36)

05. Best Moment (any single moment or event; 2001 – no award)

06. Best Character (2001 – Spider-Man)

07. Best Team (2001 – New X-Men)

08. Best Supporting Cast (2001 – From the Batbooks)

09. Best Original Graphic Novel (From Prestige Format size and up, a one-shot book; 2001 – Bizarro Comics)

10. Best Trade Collection/Reprint (Anything in HC or SC that has seen print before; 2001 – Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?)

11. Best Publisher/Imprint (You can nominate DC or Marvel in toto, or just Vertigo or MAX, for example; 2001 – Marvel Knights)

12. Best Writer (2001 – Brian Michael Bendis)

13. Best Artist/Art Team (2001 – John Romita Jr)

14. Best Colourist (2001 – Laura Depuy)

15. Best Letterer (2001 – Dave Lanphear)

16. Best Cover Artist (2001 – Alex Ross)

17. Lifetime Achievement (2001 – Stan Lee, so he’s ineligible this year)

18. Best SBC Message Board Poster (2001 – Jason Brice)

For the nominations you don?t need to visit the message boards, just send an email to craig@silverbulletcomicbooks.com with your nominations in each of these categories (as many as you like) before NEXT Sunday.

This Has A “Read Too Many Damned Comics And Can’t Remember Which Ones I Liked” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Spawn Ending

Every now and then I get these wild rumours in, I’ve got to run with a few of them every now and then. Elizabeth, a new and untested source claims that Spawn is due to end within the next two years. According to Elizabeth the Toymaker is apparently bored with his lucrative creation and he wants to move onto something new. Elizabeth suggests we watch the solicitations carefully and stand ready for a big build up to a cataclysmic finale.

As for the project our favourite Canadian is allegedly going to be doing it apparently has the initials ‘MM’.

More like mmmmmm, I don’t think so. But, hey, if it proves to be true you heard it here first.

This Has A “Wild, Unsubstantiated And Most Likely Bollocks…Perfect For ATR Then” Value Of One Out Of Ten


Oh Go On… I’ll Kiss And Make Up

Here’s a link to a very nice site run by some very nice people that you should check out and tour around:

http://www.archiecomics.com/

There that’s it. Now excuse me while I go and smash my head against a wall.

This Has A “Honey Honey” Value Of One Out Of Ten


More Free Stuff

According to Moses you can find more free comics at:

http://www.gravitywell.com

And while we?re on the subject of free stuff, I have a bone to pick with:

http://www.freecomics.com

Mainly because of:

    Welcome to FreeComics.com! This is the only Web site that offers you a chance to win a fantastic prize package of comics and collectibles every month! Good thing you’re here, huh?

Um…excuse me. All The Rage has been offering WEEKLY free comics and collectibles for quite some time now! the only Web site indeed…that really ticked me off.

All the same free stuff is free stuff so visit them. Oh, and when you’re there let them know it’s lovely what they do but they’d better change that opening line or I’ll have to run and cry in the corner that it isn’t fair!

This Has A “Nyah-Nyah-Nyah” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


But We Support The Devil Rays, Too, Honest!

I was recently talking to the guys down in Tampa and I asked what’s the deal with Previews? Are they moving to Premier status?

The answer came back in, um, an…interesting Dick Van Dyke mockney accent:

“I ain’t sayin’ nuffin’ g’vner”

When pressed, repeatedly and rather pathetically I was able to elicit:

“CrossGen does not comment on contractual negotiations.”

So, no news then? Well…put it this way, if there was nothing in these rumours CrossGen would have simply denied them. The fact is something must be happening whether it is still being bargained over or if they are waiting for the right time to go public, something is happening.

Of course there could be more than just CrossGen and Diamond involved here. Due to the way Previews is organised (alphabetically – Premier books first and then the rest) CrossGen would be first up. Now DC and Marvel already come behind Dark Horse, do you think they’ll be happy about another company moving in front of them? It might not make a big difference but it could affect all the big boys? contracts.

This Has A “Something’s Happening But…Wait And See” Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Ok, ok. is that it? Am I done? Are you going to let me out of this dark, dank room now?

I’m outta here. Gone, finished, finito, done, dusted and put to bed. Thank you for reading and for contributing. Remember this is your column so it’s up to you to keep your ear to the ground and your eye on the message boards (and of course to send in anything you see or hear).

Oh and don’t forget to enter the competition, it should be easy enough.

Right, bye now.

TTFN

Alan Donald – Signing off from a slightly warmer but ‘orribly wet island.

You still here? Bugger of until next week.


About The Author