Which creator wouldn’t do a recent signing at a certain European comics store unless serious amounts of hash was arranged to be present… and a good time was had by all?

And on a smaller scale, which innocent English shop owner was asked by a guest to acquire similar substances a few years ago and had to go out on her own to find said gear using contacts from her more slovenly customers?

Which comics creator carries around a sketchbook for creators to draw young nude versions of his characters within?


Laying A Cable

I hear the rumour that after some disagreement with Marvel over getting a deal together, Howard Chaykin has dropped his commitment to writing Cable and has instead taken up offer of work on a syndicated TV show.

Running this passed Chaykin, he put me straight, saying “My reasons for not doing CABLE have nothing to do with not cutting a deal in time. Rather, my commitment running the writing staff on MUTANT X, the new hour long syndicated action series from Tribune, Fireworks & Marvel made it impossible.”

Other sources indicate that Chaykin’s deal for the Mutant X TV show may have required him to sign an exclusivity contract, precluding him from writing comics, even if they’re for the same company producing the TV show!

Say, does Robert Weinberg know the book’s currently available? Or will Marvel put the book out of its misery?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10


John Byrne Speaks Out… About Just About Everything

From John Byrne Fan Site Message Board… what do you mean you haven’t visited it? You’d have missed the following:

Under the heading Spread The Word, John Byrne writes

“MY EDITOR, LOVELY LYSA HAWKINS, INFORMS ME “XHY” 18 WILL SHIP A WEEK LATE — THE THIRD ISSUE OF “XHY” TO MISS SHIPPING IN A YEAR AND A HALF. WHY, THIS TIME (THE FIRST TWO BEING DUE TO SCREW-UPS BY THE DEPARTED PREVIOUS EDITOR)? IT SEEMS THERE ARE >SO MANY< LATE BOOKS “XHY” HAD TO GO INTO A “HOLDING PATTERN” WHILE THEY GOT ATTENDED TO.

“THIS IS HOW MARVEL “REWARDS” THOSE OF US WHO ARE ACTUALLY >AHEAD< OF SCHEDULE! MY APOLOGIES TO THOSE OF YOU WHO EXPECT (AS YOU SHOULD) YOUR BOOKS TO COME OUT ON TIME!

SIGH”

Elaborating the ‘late comic’ problem:

“LET’S SAY THERE ARE FIVE BOOKS, A, B, C, D AND E, PUBLISHED IN THAT ORDER. AND LET’S SAY THAT E IS WAY AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, BUT A, B, C AND D ARE HORRIBLY LATE. SO, THE PRINTER IS SUPPOSED TO PRINT A, B, C AND D >BEFORE< HE PRINTS E, BECAUSE THAT’S THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY COME OUT. SO EVEN THO’ A, B, C AND D HAVE MISSED THEIR PRINTING SLOT, HE PRINTS THEM BEFORE E, BECAUSE >THAT’S WHAT HE DOES

On his job:

“THIS IS THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD. I JUST WISH TALENTLESS HACKS AND SUITS WOULD STOP F***ING AROUND WITH IT!!!”

On Joe Quesada, his boss:

“IF I CAN GO ALL REPUBLICAN FOR A MOMENT, IN QUESADA WE HAVE THE COMIC INDUSTRY EQUIVALENT OF BILL CLINTON. EVERYONE KEPT SAYING CLINTON WOULD “GROW INTO THE OFFICE”. AS HIS LAST DAYS SO CLEARLY DEMONSTRATE, THIS NEVER HAPPENED — HE REMAINED A SMALL-TIME POLITICO, WHO NEVER ESCAPED HIS BUMPKIN BACKGROUND. LIKEWISE, QUESADA — HE IS NOW EiC OF >MARVEL COMICS!!!<, YET HE CONTINUES TO ACT LIKE THE SMALL-PRESS PUBLISHER HE “USED” TO BE.”

And then again, in relation to cancelling X-Men: Hidden Years:

“JOEY DA Q” HAS PLACED HIMSELF IN A MOST UNPLEASANT, AND LARGELY INDEFENSIBLE POSITION — WHICH IS WHY HE HAS TO KEEP DEFENDING IT. THERE WERE TOO MANY VARIANTS OF WHY “XHY” WAS CANCELLED — AND NONE OF THEM JIBED WITH THE FACTS THAT ANY FAN COULD DISCOVER FROM HIM OR HERSELF. IN POLITICS, WHAT QUESADA IS TRYING HERE IS CALLED “THE BIG LIE” — SAY SOMETHING SO OUTRAGEOUS, THAT WHILE YOUR OPPONENTS ARE REELING YOU CAN MOVE ON TO THE NEXT POINT. HE’S SIMPLY NOT VERY GOOD AT IT, SO WE END UP WITH “I DIDN’T SAY WHAT I SAID WHEN I SAID WHAT I DIDN’T SAY.”

And on Bill Rosemann’s hardly-disguised attacks on John Byrne in the Your Man@Marvel column:

“KEEP THIS IN MIND: ROSEMAN HAS MADE IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT >HE< KNOWS HOW TO FIX SPIDER-MAN. CAN YOU SAY “CONFLICT OF INTERESTS”?”

And a blast from the past, on scripting X-Men and Uncanny X-Men for Jim Lee/Whilce Portacio:

“OY.

“WELL — FIRST UP, I WAS ONLY THE SCRIPTER ON THOSE BOOKS, NOT THE WRITER. JIM AND WHILCE WERE “PLOTTING” THE BOOKS, AND I WAS DIALOGING THEM. BUT THAT WENT LIKE THIS:

JIM/WHILCE SEND ME THE PLOT. I READ IT. OKAY, READY FOR THE PAGES.

JIM/WHILCE SEND ME THE FIRST THREE PAGES OF PENCILS (OR FOUR, OR TWO. I VARIED.) SINCE WE ARE >SO LATE!!!< I SCRIPT THESE IMMEDIATELY, HOPING I AM GUESSING CORRECTLY, FROM THE PLOT, WHAT WILL BE ON THE NEXT PAGE(S).

JIM/WHILCE SEND ME THE NEXT COUPLE OF PENCIL PAGES, PLUSE COPIES OF THE PREVIOUS PAGES INKED. THE NEW PENCILS VARY FROM THE PLOT. I HAVE TO RE-WRITE THE SCRIPT I HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN.

JIM/WHILCE SEND ME ANOTHER COUPLE OF PAGES (AND MAYBE A XEROX OF A POSTER THAT HE’S WORKING ON WHEN HE SHOULD BE WORKING ON THE PAGES I NEED FOR THIS ISSUE!!!). LIKE THE OTHERS, THESE PAGES DIVERGE EVER FURTHER FROM THE PLOT, SO I HAVE TO REWRITE >AGAIN

RINSE AND REPEAT.”

More from John… well every week, I suppose.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10


Clocking On

One of my fave writers, Jim Krueger is teaming up with Brass artist Carlos D’Anda for a mini-series called “Heaven’s Clock” for Wildstorm.

From http://www.jimkrueger.com, the copy reads:

HEAVEN’S CLOCK

Once upon a time: there was a giant clock that creaked and moaned within a hollow mountain. It was a secret behemoth. A wonder the world would never know. The clock’s pendulum swung deep into the core of the earth. Hundreds of men that never aged maintained the old clock’s operation. The ice that blanketed the mountain melted into the earth becoming twin falls that moved giant wheels, in turn, driving juggernaut gears. Walkways cobwebbed a labyrinth of pistons and cogs. Age-old generators hummed and sparked with ancient power, illuminating unforgiving crags and clefts in stone. Without this clock, the planet would not move on its axis. The tides would no longer wane nor wave. There would be no past and no future. Only a static and perpetual present marked by ice and darkness. At least, that’s what God told the man who built the clockworks.

See http://www.jimkrueger.com for more details – which, while is says it’ll be out this year, sources close to Wildstorm say it’ll more likely be 2002…

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10


Parting Thoughts…

Short column this week, so I thought I’d go on about something that’s been bugging me. Comic book creators not reading comic books.

I work in advertising, right? As a writer it’s my job to expose myself to lots of media and pop culture and to distill (and occasionally nick) that into my work. But part of that is being aware of advertising across the board.

I have a friend who works as film director. And he watches every film he can, the great, the good and the bad, constantly learning.

Another friend writes comedy for the BBC. And he watches and listens to all kinds of comedy, feeding and responding.

In comics, however, it’s quite common for a creator to declare they don’t read comics. At all. But the companies they work for are often very willing indeed to send them free comics… it’s called being on the comp list. And therin lies the problem.

You see, once a comics creator gets put on a comp list and gets a comp box every month, there’s less and less reason to go to the comics shop. Hell, you’re getting tens of titles for free, do you really want to make that trip for a measly one or two comics from other publishers this week? And as time goes by, you get dulled by your own company’s work and so you even stop reading the books you get for free… hey since they don’t cost you anything, there’s less value attached to owning or reading them.

Ther are many comic creators who are stuck in a rut, who haven’t seen possibilities that other creators are taking. The fact that most comics professionals have never seen Acme Novelty Library is a very scary prospect.

There are those that make a point of reading a wide variety of comics. Warren Ellis is one, and he’s working to tell everyone about them on http://www.orderingcomics.com. But far too many seem to rely on the comp box. And that’s a bad bad thing!

In the past few weeks you could have read The Fall by Brubaker and Lutes, Love And Rockets II 1 by the Hernandez Bros and Cerebus by Sim and Gerhard. Each would have shown a very different type of comic, each would have added to your understanding of the medium. It’s a shame when consumers don’t buy these types of comics, but a tragedy when creators don’t. In the end their enthusiasm for the art form and drive to excel may falter. Their work may suffer as will the readers…

[Editor’s Note: You can read Craig Lemon’s review of The Fall in this week’s Line Of Fire Reviews]

This Has A Wittering Value Of 6 Out Of 10

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