Hey guys, welcome back to the end of year celebration at Rage Towers, where the wine is flowing, the women are beautiful, and the gossip is hot. I?m your genial host, Alan Donald, and this was going to be a look back at the best (and worst) stories of 2002? but you can get those from the archives, right? Instead, let?s see what has come in the mailbag ? no competition this week, frankly I?m too drunk to think a subject up, but last week?s answer was DC Comics? series Gotham Central, the winner was Chris17914. He/she/it can expect to receive the fabulous prize, Tom Strong Book One Signed, Limited Edition in the mail as soon as we know where to send it. So write in, mysterious winner. Look for the competition to return next week, you greedy little sods!

Thanks to our ever-present sponsors, Dynamic Forces and check out their upcoming shows on QVC. Nick may be a little loud, and talk a little fast, but you?ve got to admit the bemused faces on his co-presenters are a joy to behold, especially when they try and keep him on track.

Let?s get on with the show!


The Return Of Epic

OK, so we know that Marvel are setting up a creator-owned/creator-controlled imprint, once again to be called Epic, but I?ve heard on the grapevine that this new imprint will be predominantly run along the lines of Marvel Knights – unknown or little known creators will be allowed to revamp some of the lower tier Marvel characters, in mini-series and one-shot formats. Presumably front-end payments for work here will be quite low, with royalties set at a higher rate than is usual, making the creators take all the risk. Of course, anyone who successfully reboots a previously third-rate character has the enticement of an ongoing monthly folded back into the regular Marvel universe (a la Black Panther) to look forward to.

Another rumour hitting my mailbox says that the work will be done outside of Marvel, by a certain small publishing company that has been doing very well as of late, publishing an anthology book that has gotten some very good reviews. Of course, Oni Press was mooted for something like this a while ago, but we know it?s not them? once the deal is all ?webbed? up then we can confirm a few things?

This Has A ?Back In My Day?? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Understanding & Reinventing Mini-Comics

Regular readers will know of my admiration for James Sime?s shop, Isotope ? the comic book lounge. They had a Warren Ellis Scotch Tasting a little while ago, and, whilst they didn?t invite me over for it, I was very pleased to talk about it here.

James is going one better now ? he?s getting behind mini-comics in a big way. Now, considering that a vast number of current creators have tried their hands at mini-comics in one way or another in the past, this sounds like an excellent opportunity to raise their profile? and bring to public attention some guys that are stars now, and may even morph into the superstars of the mainstream in the future.

An early draft of an imminent press release found its way into my mailbox, here are the details:

SAN FRANCISCO RETAILER ANNOUNCES MINI-COMIC AWARD

James Sime?s Isotope honors best minis of 2002

Isotope, 1653 Noriega Street, San Francisco, CA 94122

San Francisco retailer James Sime announced today the formation of the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. “I?ve always respected the raw sweat and toil that comic book creators put in to their every work,” said Sime, “and I appreciate the folks who do mini comics just as much. To have to want to do comics so much that you produce and write and draw and xerox and staple and ship around the things yourself? man! Those people are doing the work, and they deserve to be recognized.”

What better way to bring attention to these unsung heroes of comics than to give offer these stalwarts their own award? “There are awards for Best Graphic Novel, Best Toys, Best Mainstream Periodical That Mentions Comics At Least Once?” said Sime. “?where is the award for Best Mini Comic? Right here at Isotope!”

“The rules are simple,” said Sime, “and like the man says, you must be present to win. The only entry fee is five copies of your book, sent to judge Kirsten Baldock at the Isotope address, above, by January 29th, 2003. She and I will pick the winner and present the trophy on February 1st.”

Because of the nature of this award, winners have to be present at Isotope at 9 pm on February 1st to accept their engraved trophy from James Sime. The winner?s name and the title of the winning minicomic will be emblazoned across the brass face plate. This is the like the Stanley Cup of Minicomics, amigo!

Isotope – the comic book lounge is the former Comics and Da Kind established in San Francisco in 1982. Comic book impressario James Sime took over operations in June of 2000 and recently upgraded the shop with a new name and attitude in November of 2002. Isotope ? the comic book lounge is a purveyor of fine new and vintage comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, manga and other imported comics, and unique toys and memorablilia.

Just about the only thing I can criticise here is the timing ? with the deadline set at 29th January 2003, there?s not a whole lot of time for creators to get their submissions in?but you?ve heard it here, so get cracking! For more info on entering your mini-comic, you can contact James Sime on 415 753 3037, presumably international submissions are fine too.

I?m hoping to announce the winner?s details here in early February, along with ordering information so you can see exactly what is cool on the mini-comics scene.

This Has A ?Zine Scene? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


CrossGen?s Newest Capture

OK, so we now know officially that the ex-Green Lantern penciller, Dale Eaglesham, is heading off to Tampa to join up with CrossGen. The situation with Dale moving over a simple one of economics, CG approached him, offered him a very attractive package. Dale played ball with DC, let them know about the offer and reiterated that he was loving his work on GL didn?t really want to leave. A few discussions with editorial later, and he decided to depart for sunny Tampa ? presumably DC refused to make a counter offer, or offered a derisory amount more.

What is particularly interesting in this case, is the Dale Eaglesham fan club ? Dale posted his leaving notice on the GL message boards on 10th December, a very lengthy and moving message: http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/files/Forum11/HTML/012575.html

Cue discussions on this, and other DC boards (the Tom Nguyen section of the JLA board, for example), criticising DC heavily for letting Dale go without a fight?and cue the setting up of a new Dale Eaglesham fan club on the CrossGen message boards ? months before his first work will be published there.

The guy is a phenomenon, I hope CG know how fortunate they are. For his part, Dale commented: ?CrossGen seems to really value their creative talent, and I look forward to becoming part of their team.?

Congrats to Dale on his move, and congrats to him and Wolfie on their wedding.

This Has A ?Headhunted!? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


An Abundance Of Riches At Marvel

A couple of interesting e-mails have come in about Marvel?s finances and how the shop floor differs from management. Firstly, the shop floor: Joe Q is asked during an end of year interview about Marvel tightening the belt financially, and replies, ?Where the company really buckles down is on my side of the fence. I have no expense account, I have no limousine to pick me up or car service to take me home – I’ve got none of that. They pay me well for the job I do, but if you’re a guy or gal who’s looking for a job with perks, you don’t want to come to be an editor at Marvel. That’s not what we’re about. If you’re looking for the greatest job in the world, then you do want to work here, just don’t expect perks, we’re very ?no frills.?

Of course, what happens next but a second email comes in from a Marvel stockholder, and provides some interesting information from the yearly reports:

    Peter Cuneo (President and CEO) has had his salary more the doubled in the period between 1999 and 2001 to $750,000. He also receives almost $200,000 in additional perks that include the following “$152,320 for apartment and taxes associated therewith provided by the Company and $18,000 car allowance.” (See page 24 of Marvel’s 2001 stock report.)

Avi Arad was paid over $800,000 in royalties in 2001 for figures he crafted. This is down slightly from the almost $3 million he was paid in 1999. His employment contract actually guarantees him a minimum of $650,000 per year (see page 27). In addition, Mr. Arad also gets a company provided car and driver totaling over $65,000 a year and was paid almost $40,000 in moving expenses in 1999.

Bill Jemas (Marvel’s President) was given a bonus in 2000 that nearly doubled his annual salary of over $250,000, was given a $75,000 raise in 2001. He is also entitled to approximately $150,000 in long-term compensation. (Likely this is part of the 140,000 shares of Marvel stock that Jemas filed, worth well over $1.1 million at current prices.) (Page 24)

So, maybe Joe Q isn’t getting rich at Marvel, but a whole lot of other people sure are!

This Has A ?Diving In The Money Bin? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


At The Zenith Of His Career

Had this interesting comment in this week about the Todd owning old Fleetway properties story from last week and an angle I hadn?t considered:

    Hi Alan. Todd McFarlane owns Fleetway? I must say that explains a great deal. Whilst the Paul Grist/Spider thing makes for an interesting example, I’m surprised you didn’t point out that this is (presumably) why there’s no Zenith collections being reissued from Rebellion (featuring Robot Archie, Steel Claw and the hilariously ‘gritty’ version of Amazing Three, etc). Pity. I always felt that Grant Morrison pretty much hit the ground running with his writing and Zenith itself was about 15 years ahead of its time, but I guess reprint would require some sort of liaison between 2000AD and TMP: with the estimable Todd’s history of sitting on character properties simply because he can, I’m not holding my breath.

Mind you, Grant M did write a couple of issues of Spawn for the Toddmeister early on in its run, so if they are still on speaking terms maybe something could be agreed? On the other hand, maybe this is the cause behind all the legal wrangling, or maybe Grant wants to show solidarity with Neil Gaiman against Todd?s exploitation of his intellectual property such that until it?s all cleared up, no Zenith deal can proceed.

Rest assured, I?m continuing to dig!

This Has A ?Lawyers On The Horizon? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


More On Breaking Into Comics

Last week I spoke about how hard it was to break into comics nowadays, with so few opportunities for writers to get their work looked at, especially if you have no artistic leanings and can?t put a mini-comic together as a submission piece.

What happens, but I receive a really cool email from Marlan Harris, possibly the newest writer to hit the big time, having just been published in Marvel?s Double Shot anthology. Marlan had this to say about the difficulties in breaking in:

      I completely agree. I’d been trying to break into writing comics for about 10 years and just when I was about to give up, I won the 2001 Marvel talent search you mentioned in that article (my first story appeared in

Marvel Double Shot #1

    ). It’s amazingly hard to break in, but those that have the talent and tenacity will find a way in, with or without an organized talent search from the publishers.

I think it would be great if the big publishers gave more consideration to people who want to submit work, but you have to imagine how many unsolicited submissions those editors must get every day and, worse, how bad so many of them must be (I’ve talked to a lot of these people at conventions who think they’re ready to break in. It takes a lot more than just a few ideas about how you can make Batman cooler).

Bugger. Half of my ideas are about making Batman cooler? anyway, I remembered Marlan from his previous work, writing a column in the under-publicised yet totally fantastic Comic Book Electronic Magazine, put together by the hardworking David LeBlanc. I also asked if the Double Shot appearance had had the desired effect. Marlan replied with the following:

    Wow. Thanks for the kind words about the CBEM writing. I really enjoyed my time writing columns for them but sometimes you work in a vacuum and you’re not sure if anyone is reading them or not. But really, I wrote them for myself, I’m glad someone else liked them.

Yeah, the Double Shot issue has opened some doors and I’m working on a number of projects, but nothing official I can announce quite yet. I’m taking my time on a lot of stuff; I’ve got a good day job so I’m not trying to whore myself just to get work. If I have work that comes out, I want to make sure that I’ve given 100% to it and not just trying to get another story out.

The CBEM is, indeed, criminally under-appreciated. I always tried to promote it as much as I could when I was writing for it, and I still do. You know it won an Eagle Award, right? (And for the period that I was writing for it, no less.) I’m sure they’d like the promotion.

Thanks for the mails, Marlan, I?ll keep checking:

http://www.marlanharris.com/

for updates on your projects.

And everyone else, if you?re not already on the mailing list for the weekly comics e-magazine CBeM then you should be ashamed of yourself. Check out the latest issue at:

http://members.aol.com/comicbknet

and then subscribe to it.

This Has A ?No Player Hate Here? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


A Reminder On Unread Submissions

Jason Borlinghaus reached back into the memory vaults to raise an excellent point re: unread submissions at Marvel and DC:

    Regarding your news article in which you stated that DC and Marvel return writing samples marked “returned unread”. I believe in the past, DC and Marvel editors have stated that they return unread all unsolicited writing samples as a legal precaution. This is supposed to serve the purpose of preventing an aspiring writer from claiming that his idea was stolen by the big two publishers. In fact, I think this came to light a few years ago when a fan claimed his Superman concept was stolen by DC when he mailed his unsolicited writing sample to the DC editors months prior to a new storyline. DC claimed, and logic would dictate, that the storyline was in the pipeline for months, if not years, before his submission. However, it did create some negative and unwanted press at the time. I remember the episode fairly clearly because being a practicing attorney, I’m always interested in following the legal wranglings behind the scenes.

I wonder how this works with requested but unused pitches? For example, a DC editor invites a famous writer to pitch some ideas for new titles. Said writer goes along to the DC offices, throws out a dozen to twenty story ideas and has one or two picked up and requested to go to full script. What of those other ideas? If an issue is published shortly thereafter which bears a resemblance to one of his pitches, does he have any legal recourse? Are invited pitches treated differently to script submissions? There?s no question of any editor at any comics company doing anything like this, but with the big melting pot of ideas being finitely large, presumably something similar to this has occurred before, in all probability?

And whereas you?d like to say that all editors at DC and beyond are completely scrupulous and fair, you only have to cast your mind back to Mark Millar?s treatment at the hands of DC Wildstorm as regards his final Authority arc and its trade paperback collection to realise that anything can happen in comics, and probably does.

I?d better stop there, it?s making me paranoid about my upcoming pitches?

This Has A ?Even More Lawyers On The Horizon Value? Of Nine Out Of Ten


The Dave Bishop Backlash Backlash

I was slightly harsh on ex-2000AD editor David Bishop last week, thanks to Rob Williams (writer for 2000AD and writer of the fabulous Cla$$war) for correcting me:

    Was reading your ‘Yule All Be Sorry’ piece earlier, and your Dreddcon piece. You reported that all the creators at the new droids panel at Dreddcon were all initially turned down by David Bishop, which is true. But you do make it sound as though we were all furious with Dave Bishop, when everyone was quite jovial about the entire thing (the pitch he turned down from me was crap, as I said at the time).

It’s no big deal, but you are misrepresenting us a tad. It reads as though we were all vitriolic about Mr Bishop – and Boo Cook’s even drawing a strip of his at the moment for 2000AD.

Of course, I also made mention of rejected creators receiving a ?nasty letter? back? you can bet your arse I?m trying to obtain a copy of one of these!

David Bishop himself picked me up on my comment that he was ?also writing, directing, set building and starring in a Christmas play? with the response:

    Actually I only co-wrote the pantomime. And I didn’t act in it, but thanks for the plug.

No problems, David, glad to publicise it? anything else to say?

    As for all those creators I rejected, everybody makes mistakes.

Then again, I did give the likes of Trevor (Captain America) Hairsine, Frank (New X-Men) Quitely, Robbie (The Authority: Scorched Earth) Morrison and a bunch of others their first shot at mainstream comics. My apologies to all the creators whose genius I failed to recognise. Like I said, everybody makes mistakes. Thanks again for plugging the amateur dramatics I like to do as a hobby. I’ll let you know when I’ve got my fence repaired so you can announce that on All The Rage too. Perhaps I can send you updates?

I?ve asked for a webcam to be set up exclusively for the use of ATR, so we can keep track of the status of Dave?s fence? and watch the paint on it when it dries too?

This Has An ?All The Panto? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Feel My Pulse

Remember last week Heidi MacDonald told me to ?Stop with the cheap shots or I’ll be raging on your behind!??

A very amusing reply to this came in this week, from a source who would like to remain anonymous ? surprisingly?

Said reply runs:

    That’s funny, Heidi. How did the fact that you let us all know you’re friends with John Cassaday or you’re going shopping with Leela Corman contribute to the respective interviews?

I always said The Pulse was going all Cosmopolitan?

This Has A ?Cat Fight Brewing? Value Of Five Out Of Ten


Naughty Newsarama?

Who remembers the hoo-hah a few weeks ago about Newsarama obtaining a subscription copy of Wizard before it hit the shops, picking out one or more ?Wizard Exclusive? stories and running them as Newsarama exclusives, pre-empting Wizard by only a day or so, but pre-empting Wizard nonetheless.

Well, according to a nice email received late in the week, they?ve done it again, and in the doing so, forced Dark Horse into a slightly earlier announcement than expected. This concerns the new line of Dark Horse comics, Rocket. I had a bit of a moan about this last week, wondering how come a press release came out of nowhere and with no notice or indication it was on its way.

Wonder no more. An attractive proposal was put forward based on researching the timing of the Newsarama story about Rocket and the publication of the Wizard issue breaking the news exclusively to the industry. With Newsarama running the story much earlier than expected, beating Wizard to the punch in many parts of the US, Dark Horse had to contain the damage and rush-released a Press Release announcing the line to all and sundry.

Of course, I would never stoop so low as to steal stories out of early editions of magazines and run them as exclusives.

Although there was this piece in this month?s Comics International that I bet 99% of you don?t know about?

This Has A ?Smack Down Brewing? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


The Best Comics Of 2002, Part I ? Time

It seems that everyone in comics keeps on moaning that no-one outside the industry takes any note of what the comics industry is doing. Countering this is the recently published Time.Com list of the best ten comics for 2002? before criticising ?outsiders? for not taking an interest, maybe we should all ask ourselves how many of these we?ve each actually read?

You can see the full list plus comments at this URL:

http://www.time.com/time/bestandworst/2002/comics.html

Meanwhile, here are the highlights:

      1. EPILEPTIC VOLUME I by David B.

 

    The best book of the year arrived from France as the first half of a bold two-volume memoir by the French cartoonist David B. (ne? Pierre-Fran?ois Beauchard.) Using his older brother’s epilepsy as the touchstone, volume one (with the second half scheduled for late 2003) combines the story of a family in crisis with the portrait of a young artist in the making. Though a two-volume autobiography of a cartoonist may seem indulgent, David B.’s scope and artistry put Epileptic on a par with Art Spiegelman’s holocaust masterpiece Maus.

2. BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS by Kim Deitch
Kim Deitch, an overlooked veteran of the 1960s “underground” comix movement, may finally get his due with this this trade-published novel. It follows the career of Ted Mishkin, a brilliant animator of the 1930s driven to madness by a (possibly imaginary) malevolent, bipedal cat named Waldo. Using a charming drawing style reminiscent of 1930s cartoons Deitch explores the nature of reality, the mystery of inspiration, the exploitation of pop culture and the redemptive power of art.

3. KRAZY AND IGNATZ 1925-1926 by George Herriman
The reputation of George Herriman’s Depression-Era Krazy Kat has long exceeded its availability. At last, with a commitment to print every single full-page Sunday strip, Fantagraphics will publish an annual volume covering two years worth of strips. (The 1927 – 1928 installment has just arrived.) One of the most poetic and profound works of any popular art, now we can see for ourselves how the Zip…Pow! of a brick hitting a silly cat’s skull signifies one of the greatest portraits of love every conceived.

4. 9/11 BOOKS
Post-September 11, the comic book community banded together in a spirit of generosity. With profits earmarked for charity, creators and publishers of every stripe contributed gratis to five different 9/11-related projects, totaling over 750 pages of work. The best of these books, 9-11: Emergency Relief and 9-11: Artists Respond commemorate a powerful good in response to a powerful evil.

5. ROSETTA
Superbly edited for the right combination of experiment and entertainment, Rosetta stands out as best anthology book of the year. The book is perfect for newcomers to the world of alternative comix; each artist has a brief biographical introduction, and the reader gets treated to a crash course on the limitless possibilities of comic-making, including autobiography, abstraction and fiction.

6. ONE HUNDRED DEMONS by Lynda Barry
Labeling her first (nearly) non-fictional book, “autobiofictionalography,” with wit and color Lynda Barry examines her painful change from outgoing child to sullen teenager. Though some of it may be made up, these seventeen vignettes on subjects ranging from dancing to hair lice have the honesty and detail of pure truth. Barry’s water colored pages may be the prettiest of the year, but that’s just the surface. Watch out for the demons underneath.

7. EIGHTBALL #22 by Dan Clowes
Having long since established himself as a master of alienated, weirdo characters, most famously in Ghost World, Dan Clowes has now begun to explore the formal properties of the comix medium. This single, self-contained issue of his regular series Eightball finds inspiration in the style of filmmaker Robert Altman. Its 29 shorts range in length from a single strip to several pages; each one works alone as well as with the others, weaving multiple characters and multiple stories into one cohesive whole.

8. SUMMER OF LOVE by Debbie Drechsler
Printed in the woodsy tones of green and brown, Drechsler’s Summer of Love tells the quiet story of a suburban girl growing up in the 1960s who tries to navigate a new school and new relationships. This is young adult fiction the way it ought to be ? full of anxiety, passion, anger and love ? but not at all for just young adults.

9. PROMETHEA by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III
Proving that not all superhero comic books have to be dull and stupid Promethea pushes the boundaries of a seemingly limited genre. The last ten issues (#13 – 23), as written by Alan Moore and penciled by J.H. Williams III, present a cosmology in comics form as the heroine, who looks like combination of Wonder Woman and a hood ornament, uses the Tarot, the Kabbalah and astrology to explore the mysteries of the universe and the meaning of life.

10. SPX 2002
Like a Philly cheese steak, the fat, cheap SPX 2002 satisfies any hunger through sheer volume. Published in coordination with the Small Press Expo, a yearly convention for alternative cartoonists, SPX 2002 contains over 300 pages and fifty artists for a mere $10.

I feel vaguely dirty in admitting that I?ve read just four from this list ? an extra prize to the first person who mails me and tell me which four ? I couldn?t find a fifth despite looking for it in numerous shops, and the rest managed to bypass my radar entirely. How did you do?

This Has An ?Under The Reading Lamp? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


The Best Comics Of 2002, Part II ? The New York Times

Not to be outdone, the NY Times got in on the act with their own top six, in an article by fantastic novelist Nick Hornby. Not surprisingly, two of the top six appears in the top ten list from Time, and as well as a little write up on each, Hornby provides a decent article explaining why comics aren?t just for geeks; check it out at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/22/books/review/22HORNBYT.html?8hpib

Here?s the top six summary:

BLOOD SONG (A Silent Ballad), by Eric Drooker.
SHUTTERBUG FOLLIES, by Jason Little.
SUMMER BLONDE, by Adrian Tomine.
THE BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS, by Kim Deitch with Simon Deitch.
ROAD TO AMERICA, by Baru with Jean-Marc Thevenet.
ONE HUNDRED DEMONS, by Lynda Barry.

For interest?s sake, here?s the write-up on the #2 book:

    Jason Little’s ”Shutterbug Follies,” for example, is essentially a sweet-natured adventure yarn, the sort of thing in which a dangerously curious young heroine gets in over her head and finds herself pursuing and being pursued by bad men with beards. (That’s old-school bad men with beards, by the way, rather than the post-9/11 variety.) Those familiar with Herge’s Tintin will recognize Little’s Bee — she even has the same red hair — and Little is clearly an admirer of Herge’s strong, crisp, bright graphic art. The temperament and style of ”Shutterbug Follies” suggested that it might make a perfect — and, let’s face it, free — Christmas present for my 12-year-old niece, but I’m not sure how her parents would feel about the references to masturbation or the mutilated and naked bodies. (Bee works in a photo lab, where she sees lots of things unsuitable for a young niece, and many of them are reproduced in the book.) The resulting tone is curious, like a Nancy Drew mystery adapted by Brian De Palma, and one suspects that Little may have alienated both of these potential audiences. He’s a great illustrator, and he tells a convoluted story with economy and flair; he will, I’m sure, find his range eventually.

What no superheroes?

This Has An ?Under The Reading Lamp ? Part Deux? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Top 300 Comics for January

You can check out the full list at icv2.com as always, but here are some initial thoughts you may find interesting from the top 300 comics:

1 BATMAN #611 $2.25 DC
After dipping since the relaunch at #608, Batman heads back to the top ? note that this was the first issue that retailers ordered based on known sales of the relaunch issue?obviously an excellent sell-through occurred, meaning that if you have First Printings of Batman #609 and #610 they should go for more than cover price when #611 is released and people want to catch up.

2 ULTIMATE WAR #3 (Of 4) $2.25 MAR
3 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #34 $2.25 MAR
4 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #35 $2.25 MAR
5 NEW X-MEN #136 $2.25 MAR
6 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #49 $2.25 MAR
7 ULTIMATE X-MEN #27 $2.25 MAR
8 ULTIMATE X-MEN #28 $2.25 MAR
9 UNCANNY X-MEN #417 $2.25 MAR
10 UNCANNY X-MEN #418 $2.25 MAR
Proof, if such were needed, that releasing two issues of some key titles per month doesn?t harm sales in the slightest, Marvel must be considering whether they can achieve this sort of frequency on a permanent basis for at least some of these books.

12 ULTIMATE DAREDEVIL & ELEKTRA #4 (Of 4) $2.25 MAR
Hugely impressive showing given that the trade collection is released a week after this issue and is second on the graphic novel list.

21 GREEN ARROW #21 $2.50 DC
Expect this to continue to slip as retailers see readers continue to desert the book after Brad?s departure.

41 X-STATIX #7 $2.25 MAR
Seems like the relaunch has not had its intended effect. The upcoming trade should help boost numbers, but if this continues to slide?

46 SUPERMAN & BATMAN GENERATIONS III #1 (Of 12) $2.95 DC
The last hope for John Byrne at DC ? bit of a damp squib?

51 CAPTAIN MARVEL #5 $2.25 MAR
76 ULTIMATE ADVENTURES #4 (RES) $2.25 MAR
107 MARVILLE ORIGINVILLE #5 $2.25 MAR
No surprises here, presumably Ultimate Adventures and Marville will be killed quietly at issue six and the whole thing forgotten about?

60 ALIAS #19 (MR) $2.99 MAR
61 ALIAS #18 (MR) $2.99 MAR
62 POWERS #28 (MR) $2.95 IMA
Curious coincidence placing three Bendis titles virtually level pegging on sales ? expect maybe not so coincidental, as these titles are such that someone buying one is likely to buy all three. Add the sales of these to those of Ultimate Spider-Man and Bendis is the highest selling writer this month.

79 SOJOURN #19 $2.95 CRO
98 RUSE #16 $2.95 CRO
99 BRATH PREQUEL $2.95 CRO
101 RED STAR VOL 2 #2 $2.95 ARC
113 WAY O/T RAT #9 $2.95 CRO
115 PATH #11 $2.95 CRO
126 SCION #32 $2.95 CRO
129 CROSSOVERS #1 $2.95 CRO
135 CRUX #22 KEY ISSUE (Net) $1.48 CRO
138 NEGATION #14 $2.95 CRO
140 ROUTE 666 #8 $2.95 CRO
141 MYSTIC #32 $2.95 CRO
142 FIRST #27 $2.95 CRO
146 SIGIL #32 $2.95 CRO
148 MERIDIAN #32 $2.95 CRO
Are the sales on their compendia hurting the monthlies? It doesn?t seem to be the case overly much, with a huge disparity in sales between Lord of the Rings-lite Sojourn and girl-friendly Meridian. And what?s Route 666 doing at #140, don?t you guys realise this book kicks arse? Very surprised that The Red Star can?t muster a higher spot than #101, although surely launching as a series of mini-series on a monthly basis would?ve made more sense than an irregular monthly/bi-monthly ongoing series?

84 FABLES #9 (MR) $2.50 DC
87 FILTH #8 (Of 13) (MR) $2.95 DC
91 Y THE LAST MAN #7 (MR) $2.95 DC
106 HELLBLAZER #180 (MR) $2.75 DC
108 100 BULLETS #42 (MR) $2.50 DC
121 WAR STORY CONDORS (MR) $4.95 DC
130 HELLBLAZER SPECIAL LADY CONSTANTINE #2 (Of 4) (MR) $2.95 DC
134 LUCIFER #34 (MR) $2.50 DC
161 AMERICAN CENTURY #22 (MR) $2.75 DC
Vertigo must be desperate for a hit by now, when the best of the bunch can?t beat #84 and the majority struggle so badly. Of course, recent trades for Fables and Y The Last Man should help their sales, although with so few ordered people are surely more likely to wait for volume two of each trade rather than try and track down the intervening issues?

96 GLOBAL FREQUENCY #4 (Of 12) $2.95 DC
139 MEK #3 (Of 3) $2.95 DC
Terrible numbers for the Warren Ellis revolution at DC, if ever there was an argument for creative ownership not working at the big boys then this could be it. Maybe a rush-released trade collection of issues one to six of Global Frequency, to coincide with issue 7 would help out, otherwise expect the series to spiral into oblivion.

This Has A ?There Are Lies, Damned Lies?? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Top 50 Graphic Novels for January

1 30 DAYS OF NIGHT TP (MR) $17.99 IDW
OK, I?m betting that 90% of you have no idea what this book is. Can all those retailers be wrong?

2 ULTIMATE DAREDEVIL & ELEKTRA TP $11.99 MAR
So Marvel release the trade hot on the heels of the last issue of the mini-series, and gain excellent sales for it in the process. Sounds like a winning plan to me, DC.

8 HELLBLAZER HAUNTED TP (MR) $12.95 DC
Personally I would say that Warren Ellis?s work almost always reads better as trades instead of single issues; would that DC were brave enough to package all his upcoming projects this way.

11 UNCANNY X-MEN VOL I HOPE TP $12.99 MAR
For all those disappointed by Joe Casey?s Uncanny X-Men: Poptopia trade not having a follow-up, here Marvel have reset the counter to one? hopefully of a series this time.

19 CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL 1 NEW DEAL HC $22.99 MAR
21 AQUAMAN ARCHIVES VOL 1 HC $49.95 DC
22 DAREDEVIL ELEKTRA LOVE & WAR HC (RES) $29.99 MAR
35 X-FORCE FAMOUS MUTANT & MORTAL HC $29.99 MAR
50 POWERS VOL 4 SUPERGROUP HC (MR) $29.95 IMA
The hardcovers out this month ? a good showing for Captain America, even if the book only reprints six issues from the regular series. Aquaman Archives is a shelf-sitter for many retailers I would suspect, the reprint of the two Miller DD/Elektra books in one edition would interest me if I didn?t have the stories already. I suspect the X-Force HC has come too late ? after all, it collects stories already available in a pair of trade paperbacks, so there?s hardly much incentive to get the hardcover in advance of the softcover collection? a scheduling error, I suspect. And finally, the one I?m most interested in, the first Powers HC to debut before the TP ? and therefore one I absolutely have to purchase. Bugger. I?m expecting it to be a thin volume, I don?t recall there being many issues in the Supergroup storyline, so price-wise it?s not overly great value ? I suspect this is why it hasn?t been ordered in huge amounts.

This Has A ?And Then There Are Statistics? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Look Kids ? Free Comics!

Continuing my quest to bring you free stuff from the world on comics on the internet, here are a pair of sites you should be directing your web browsers towards. All come with the ATR Seal Of Approval, and you should check them out henceforth and enjoy.

We kick off with Justine Shaw?s ?nowhere girl?, which is not just a comic on the web, it?s a whole damn graphic novel. A superb front screen draws you in to two chapters ? the first is 43 pages, the second is 30; it?s a superbly designed site, each page loads incredibly quickly (even on my slow 56K connection), attractive art, superb font for easy readability. Check it out at:

http://www.nowheregirl.com/

The Jock began life as a small press comic in 1993 (British for mini-comic I guess), by Rol Hirst and Nigel Lowrey. After twenty-seven issues plus change, the book folded, only to be reborn as a proposed four-part web-series, the first twenty-three page issue of which is online here:

http://www.angelfire.com/comics/thejock/

It?s black and white and not formatted for the screen, but the art is highly detailed and really sets the bar for other web comics. The only problem with this site are the angelfire popups?just ignore them?and then beg for issue two.

Of course, I?m very willing to check out any of your favourite web comics, just drop me a line with the URL and I?ll report back.

This Has A ?Cheapskate? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


OK, that?s it for this week? Hope you enjoyed it, you know the address for more ? I?m especially interested in volunteers to keep an eye on a couple of message boards for me?let me know if you?re up for a bit of donkey work. It pays terribly badly (i.e. nothing) and the kudos are limited (i.e. none) but you?d at least have the satisfaction of contributing to the most hated column in comics? maybe.

Happy New Year!

— Alan (it?s Christmas, where?s the fricking snow?)


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