This week I would like to kick off with explaining something that I?ve gotten a few questions on: The ratings. What do they mean, exactly? Originally they were to indicate the veracity of a rumour; to gauge its ?truthiness?. However, times change and the column has no doubt changed with ?em. When I earned the mantle of latest ATR scribe, I had to figure out how these rating applied. The way ratings work is simple; if it?s a rumour (which should be obvious) then the 1-10 scale rates how true it is; or rather, how true/possible I think the rumour/speculation is. Take it for what you will as sometimes my feelings on a rumour can change at the drop of a hat (or source, as it were). For everything else in this column, the ratings stand for how cool I think something is and how readers will dig it. For the instances where rumour, previews, and news collide (like in Indie Front) the score is hybridised. Make sense? Huzzam.

Some fun stuff this time ?round! Let?s do this.


Watch Steve Do A Howling Back-Peddle

Not really. This column deals in rumour, speculation, and even gossip (Yay! I win the Redundancy Award for the day! Thank you, thank you). Even though I try to remain consistent, it could be that one instalment I may tell you something and the next I could be contradicting myself. This is one of those moments. See, new information I?ve come across points to Jeph Loeb and David Finch taking over Amazing Spider-Man after their work on Civil War ? Fallen Son: Spider-Man. Yet another source told a gnome of mine that the team of Loeb and Finch is ?RED HOT?? which is supposed to hint at what?s in the cards for them.

Do I retract my previous reports that Ed Brubaker or Brian Reed will take over writing duties on ASM once JMS leaves the title? Nope. Oh, I?m cheap, aren?t I? I?m just throwing everyone?s name out there, yeah? Honestly, I?m just publicly saying that my eggs are not all in one basket and never really were. Don?t you Spidey fans worry, I?ll keep close tabs on this and maybe I can get something more solid before New York Comic-Con. No promises, sadly.

Speaking of David Finch, two things: Does anyone else have David Fincher?s movies come to mind when you see Finch?s art? I do. That?s a good thing, mind; I?m a happy reader of the new Moon Knight. Mr. Finch is also doing a 14 page Lilith/Dracula story with C.B. Cebulski that will appear in Legion of Monsters: Morbius #1 coming in May. I find this most excellent, and it also makes me wonder what?s up with all the horror ramping up. Leading to something by October, perhaps?

This Has A ?Lycanthropic Spider-Rage? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten


With Our Minds Lying Firmly in the Gutter?

Earlier in the week I started a thread in the ATR forums regarding Power Girl and something a reader had pointed out to me. Now, I don?t know if it?s a flub on the inking job or what, but I?ll show you the cover of Superman #663 here:

That?s what people in ?Teh Biness? like to call ?camel toe? (or ?moose knuckle? if you?re Cory). Intentional? I have no idea. I do find it highly amusing, and that?s why you get to read about it here. Will the cover get changed before it goes to press? My magic 8-sided-die indicates: ?likely?.

On top of that (stop it, you dirty minded pervs), all of this makes me wonder: What the heck is up with Power Girl, anyway? I think she?s one of the only comic book characters that makes me blush on a regular basis. And when I was examining my minions? handiwork, I felt the need to close the images they found whenever my wife stopped by my desk. I mean, take a look at this?

That?s a toy? for? kids?? I don?t think so. But who says all toys have to be for kids? Not everything is doing it for the children (much to Warren Ellis? chagrin, I?m sure). What you?re looking at is Power Girl from the Ame-Comi Super Heroines line revealed at Toy Fair by DC. I came across a good small bit on it HERE.

Whose side are YOU on?

I have to ask? Was this design based on a blow-up doll? Hey, it?s a legitimate question.

Here?s a classic:

Yeeeow? Nice, er, illustration work?

Me? I?m no prude, but I also don?t know what?s going on with Power Girl and the need for comic companies to make their characters, especially female ones, into porn stars? or to seemingly use porn stars as ?inspiration?? *waits for people to start shouting out names like ?Greg Land?*

And what?s a discussion on this without Mr. Land?s work?

Truth be told, I like how his work looks. But the controversy? Ooooo? the controversy. Nerds rage the world over in battles most fierce. I heard someone even died? twice!

I will say that all those images I?ve seen of Arcanna makes me think of? Power Girl.

I?ve touched on (stop it!) something that is not new at all, I know, but you have to admit that the Power Girl thing is funny. No? Is it just me? At least she doesn?t have radioactive bodily fluids (like, uh, saliva). Nor does she need fill-ins in the middle of an arc lately? Like Wonder Woman.

This Has A ?Stereotypes Aren?t We All?? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten


Rob?s Video Onslaught

*waits for groans to die down*

In case you haven?t seen it, Rob Liefeld uploaded a video to YouTube addressing Onslaught Reborn #3?s lateness woes. It?s okay, you can laugh. That?s it? Good. Needlepoint? Wait for it? Wait? Ready? AWESOME. Ha! Oh dear, I slay me. Anyhow, I found the video to be a real hoot. Nice one. It might just be my machine or whatever, but the audio is out of sync with his lip movements. Mr. Liefeld, if you ever retire from the comics medium, I do believe you have a future in comedy.

Back to being serious, I?m of the understanding Onslaught #3 will be out March 7th and #4 should be on stands in April. If you would like a video preview of issue 3, Rob is more than delighted to show you HERE. Complete with sound effects, even! Come on, how can anyone really hate this guy? He?s a laugh riot! Great preview, man, I feel comics should get previews like this on a regular basis.

This Has A ?Rappin? Rob? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten


A Twist of Lee

It looks like writer Tony Lee has come up with a sequel to Oliver Twist called Dodge & Twist. No news on who?s publishing it yet, nor who the artist will be, but the script is complete.

This Has A ?Twist And Shout? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten


Who?s That Girl?

Looking in the BKV forums I found an interesting thread. In it C.B. Cebulski shoots down guesses as to who this mysterious woman will be in Loners:

It?s not Amiko, Magik, Spiral or Scorpion? Who is it? WHO? Remember that this is the OTHER new character, besides the possible appearance Penance (not the current Speedball-Penance in Thunderbolts? confused yet?)

You bet your ass I?ll try to find out. Minions, go forth! If anything, we?ll get to find out in the forthcoming Loners series.

While we?re talking about Loners, here?s the cover to issue #3 (which you?ve already seen back in the ?Pure Uncut Rage? edition, but this is for good measure):

This Has A ?Deadly In Pink? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten


Doing it for the Children

Warren Ellis: The man, the myth? the bastard. Well, okay, I?m really just saying that because I thought it would be entertaining. Fact is, Warren Ellis is an excessively prolific writer with many a great comic under his fancy belt. This is the guy who brought us Transmetropolitan and basically stuffs the shelves full of his work. Libraries love him. He?s everywhere. I wouldn?t be surprised if he deploys clones like Dan Abnett does (I bet Dan gets clone advice from Warren) and has cameras everywhere, much like I do.

Stop that. It?s disgusting.

Mr. Ellis was more than happy to answer a few questions about the recently cancelled Marvel title Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. as long as he could keep a few of my minions as pets (or food, maybe). Figuring this was a good deal, I went for it. Some Thunderbolts is also covered very briefly. Big thanks to Warren for doing this! The kobolds go nicely with mustard, sir.

ATR: The current Nextwave title is done with issue #12. I understand that you didn’t plan on continuing with it after #12 anyway if it were to be an ongoing, correct?

WE: Originally, I’d intended to do 12 and then hand it off to someone else. By the time I’d gotten to #6, I knew I had enough material for 24, and was thinking about doing two years. By that time, however, the underordering of #1 had taken its toll, and the initial collection release being an expensive hardback didn’t, I think, do us any favours. I’m told it sold well, but HCs never have big print runs, and we were never going to sell enough copies to give the serialisation a shot in the arm the way, say, the quick first Transmetropolitan TPB boosted sales of the comic. So that was that. Everyone at Marvel struggled mightily to make the numbers work, but…

ATR: Are there to be future instalments, mini-series, or what-have-you with Nextwave? If so, do you plan to write them and will Stuart Immonen continue with the art?

WE: As it stands right now, Marvel are interested in a Nextwave miniseries. But Stuart’s about to commence Ultimate Spider-Man, which is a high-productivity job, so… We’ll see. Certainly nothing’s on the books right now. And I don’t see the point of doing more without Stuart.

ATR: How satisfied are you with Nextwave overall? Is it what you envisioned it to be? Are you completely happy with what you and Stuart have worked on so far together?

WE: Stuart did just an astonishing job, every time. Everyone involved, in fact, did excellent work — I never had to worry about a thing on Nextwave, all involved were at the top of their game. The writing… Bits of it still make me smile. I hate re-reading my own stuff, because I can see all the stuff I did wrong glaring out at me, so I may not have the most useful perspective. I liked being able to vary the tone of the thing, though I suspect dropping in moments of sadness or depression made it not the easiest read for some people. I mean, parts of it are just horrible. I like doing those hard contrasts, but I’m sure some people saw it as just being uneven. The two-panel “Special Bear” sequence may be the most horrible thing I’ve ever written.

ATR: Okay, I have to know, how much of Nextwave is pure piss-take? I mean, do you come up with the stories off the top of your head and jot them down with little tweaking? or do you cobble and edit everything together from various ideas, taking great care in what’s presented?

WE: Nextwave was always a hard write. Fun to do, but it didn’t just fly off my fingers. Some of the middle issues aren’t as dense as I’d like because I was coming up against deadlines — Stuart is just so bloody fast! — And I had to drop out some of the more complex stuff. And, you know, just finding new ways to have people beaten up takes time. But I do it for the children.

ATR: Another thing I’ve always wondered: Why did you pick the characters you did?

WE: Almost all of them were lead characters, once upon a time. Three of them had their own titles, in fact. One of them, as you’ll be sick of hearing by now, used to run the Avengers. They have a fanman respect and unearned pompousness. I still get hate mail about daring to write the likes of Monica Rambeau. So they were perfect for an incredibly stupid superhero comic played straight. To distill the essence of superhero comics, the leads can’t be aware of the absurdity. If Fin Fang Foom is going to put you in his pants, the characters have to evince an almost operatic fear of in fact being put into Fin Fang Foom’s pants.

ATR: One of the many other projects you’re working on is Thunderbolts for Marvel. So far, you’re doing a damn good job on it (at least I think so? I would like to remind my readers of having to axe-fight me if they dare to think otherwise). Is there any chance? any chance at all that we’ll see anything Nextwave related in Thunderbolts? And can you drop us any hints on what to expect with Thunderbolts in the days to come?

WE: No chance of seeing Nextwave in TBolts, no. What I can promise is Robbie Emo Stabby Boy in his underwear, Norman Osborn taking more pills, Moonstone deciding that some people are in her way, and the return of more cannon fodder. I mean, the return of more old superheroes who never bothered to get registered with Adolf Stark and the Iron Youth, or whatever those people are called. And, frankly, if you think the TBolts screwed up the Jack Flag situation, you’re going to be amazed by the FUBAR condition their next mission will turn into.

***

Fun fact: Darick Robertson, who did the terrific art on Transmetropolitan, said that Ellis is more like David Bowie than Elvis (when asked who?s more like Elvis: Ennis or Ellis) and that he?s the ?big show? in an interview I conducted (hyperlink: http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/features/116416276421795.htm). Another fun fact: That interview was the first comic related interview I ever did, and it was great fun.

To get the Nextwave theme song please visit: http://www.marvel.com/news/all.65.

This Has A ?Your Fun Penance Is Fin Fang Fun-Bags? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten


More Moore!

Recently I got to read the book Alan Moore?s Exit Interview. How was it? Good enough to warrant it?s own section here in ATR. Basically it?s a 70+ interview with Alan Moore ?on 25 years of creating comics, the state of the medium and the industry, and what the future may hold for all concerned?. Bill Baker is the talented fellow who presents this volume, and you may recognise last book he published, Alan Moore Spells It Out. If you want to read an enlightening and delightful tome on the industry, this is for you. Moore is always good for this sort of thing, and Baker does a great job of playing interviewer and host. Another item to note is the layout and design, executed masterfully by Paul Michael Kane.

Look for this book next weekend at the New York Comic-Con, where it will premiere. You?ll be able to get your hands on it at Paul Michael Kane?s table (A238) as apart of PMK Imagination?s set-up. There will also be some freshly excavated copies of the sold out Alan Moore Spells It Out available. Sounds pretty damn cool, eh? Wish I was going to NYCC.

Bill Baker Presents? will also be offering up George Perez: The Best of All Worlds sometime this year.

This Has A ?Lost Girls Of Future Shock? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten


Comicarchy in the UK: Tales from the Future

A short burst from the UK side of things. Make sure to contact me about whatever UK-comic related: steves@silverbulletcomicbooks.com

Here?s a bit of artwork by Colin MacNeil for you:

It is part of a seven-part Judge Dredd story written by John Wagner called Mutants in Mega-City One coming in June.

Remember that teaser image from Futurius (hyperlink: http://www.futurius.com/) for Tales From the Plex Volume 2 last week? Here?s the cover:

They?re also offering good ad-space rates for indies and small publishers.

Good news! The Birmingham International Comics Show will be back in October. For the shocking details, please go HERE (hyperlink: http://www.thecomicsshow.co.uk/)

This Has A ?What Goes On In The Future Stays In The Future? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten


Indie Front: Tasty Treats

I have a hefty Indie Front in store for you! Yeah, it?s big. So just sit back and enjoy the read.

First up I would like to profile an ?unsigned? comic I had the immense pleasure of reading. It?s called Lazarus and it?s full of the kind of glorious ass-kickery that I expect from the finest of projects. This title concerns the biblical Lazarus like you?ve never seen him before: Immortal and hell bent to kill some daemon-spawn. The art is splendid and the writing equally so, with this action-filled story unfolding at a perfect pac. This is no Sunday school tale, either. Think something along the lines of Blade, but instead of vampires it?s demons with historical flashbacks. Take a look at these pages:



Nice stuff isn?t it? Any publishers out there reading this and are interested should send carrier pigeons Joseph Gauthier of Danse Macbre Studios? way: josephgauthier@earthlink.net.

Next we have another comic I read recently called Purity. Out on Dakuwaka, this title is like how it is described: Hellblazer meets the Prophecy. Oh, it?s messily entertaining, full of violence and a great story by Shawn Lewis. Essentially, this guy is needed by both agents of ?Above? and ?Below? to do some dirty work, save someone and stop the Four Horsemen. Great stuff, kids.

Other titles on Dakuwaka of note are Helios and Force 51. This is a publisher to keep your eyes (and wallet) trained on. It?s also a great place to see the amazing pencils of Andres Guinaldo. I should also note that Andres is doing work for Approbation Comics, too. He?s an illustrator to watch out for. Check these pages out from Purity #1 & #2

And some first-looks for you of #3:

Markosia is no stranger to All The Rage, as my minions keep getting me more stuff on them. Eventually, I just got on the horn and did some minion-work myself. If you don?t know already, they have an adaptation of Joe Nassise?s novels called The Heretic coming up. Markosia Director of Operations and writer Chuck Satterlee, who?s handling the title, had this to say about it:

    The series is about an elite paramilitary unit called Echo Team. However, they are not linked to any army. They are Modern day Knights Templar and they are assigned to the Vatican. Their main mission is to protect us from evil… of all kinds. In this, the first of three Templar Chronicles books by Nassise, we are introduced to the two main characters, Cade and Duncan… as well as the arch villain, The Adversary. It is a location hopping action ride that I feel personally, would also make an amazing action adventure film? The adaptation is spot on to the book. I have situations where I have to change something so it will work better visually, but for the most part, you get an accurate adaptation in the six issue miniseries.

He also says that he, Joe and the rest of the team involved are getting on smashingly, which is always good to hear.

As for The Lexian Chronicles (another adaptation), Chuck tells me that he?s just finished it and that ?it was a fun book?. He only regrets that he hasn?t had more time. Issue #11 is printed and being delivered and #12 will be all ready to go soon.

I asked Chuck what happening with Smoke & Mirror and he tells me that?s it?s delayed this year due to Daniel Bradford (nothing bad, don?t worry) and Chuck?s other commitments. They?re returning to the series in the Fall and he says that Bradford?s pages are ?amazing? (check out his new book The King). The next arc is four issues and features a bunch of small press characters. Also, Of Bitter Souls has been optioned for a television development by Kickstart Productions, for which I understand that Mr. Satterlee is doing the Happy Dance to have come even this far. I should be interviewing this busy man very soon about everything he?s up to?

Other things I?ve discovered concerning Markosia outside of direct contact (sorry, Chuck) is that I heard a rumour that there?s talk of a Starship Troopers Annual later in the year from a variety of writers including Tony Lee. Another thing that grabbed my attention is that the long-suffering Midnight Kiss (of which final issue #5 is available for free from the website in PDF and CBR format) will be released as a trade come June. Great news, there. Other things to look for around June is Starship Troopers Book 2 and Dark Mists. There are also murmurs that a trade of The Gloom will be released in the final quarter this year. Wouldn?t that be nice?

Moving on to Ape Entertainment? My sneaky gnomes have come across the following images regarding their secret Free Comic Book Day offering:



Looking good! And stay tuned for some Magnitude goodies in the future.

Image has a couple things that look pretty sweet. One is Impaler #3 (link: http://www.impalercomic.com/), which should be on store shelves right now. I ended up reviewing it for SBC here and it totally earned the 4.5/5 bullets I dished out. Look for the review soon. The other is Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard?s FCBD item, The Astonishing Wolf-Man.

Silent Devil is always churning out quality material, and I?m willing to bet upcoming title For Life is no exception. Written by Christopher E. Long and illustrated by Ikka Lesonen, it?s a 22-page stand-alone about ?dark love, need and desires, where things are not always what they seem on the surface?. The tag-line is ?Wolves mate for life?. Yup. Colour me very interested. Another item of interest is that G.I. Joe artist Josh Medors is going to be working on a project with Christian Beranek on a werewolf project called Willow Creek. I hear more is to be revealed at NYCC. You know what I would like to see? More with the characters from Dracula vs. King Arthur (if you haven?t read this monumental series, get to it!). I?m sure there will be more on Silent Devil in due time?

Okay, I think I?ve gone on long enough. You all have some great indies to read about up there; please do yourself a favour and check them out if you haven?t already. If you are an independent comics publisher or fan, I?d love to hear from you! steves@silverbulletcomicbooks.com

This Has A ?Heretical Purity Seal? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten


Some of you may notice that this ATR was lacking Blogonaut and Comic Web. Despair not, for they will be back next week.

I?d like to take a moment to say ?HI? to the fine folks over at the Bendis/Jinxworld Boards (link: http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/). Yes, I did see that thing on Bru/Reed/ASM pop up over there, but I have other sources on the matter as well. Still, I like reading the board and one of these days when I have more time to spare I?ll stop in and post. Depressingly, I only have time for so many boards. But you other readers who are looking for a good board, check out what Jinxworld has to offer, there?s a great bunch over there.

And in some news of The Funny? Here?s an article on how a Batman sighting caused people to freak. Good thing it wasn?t Boston! We?d be hearing about it until next year sometime? Up next: With DC you must have some Marvel? look at this:

Here?s the amusing thread where that wonderful image comes from. Thanks, Nick!

Some places to live out your dreams and e-stalk me?
Livejournal: http://synabetic.livejournal.com
ComicSpace: http://www.comicspace.com/steven_g_saunders/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/synabetic

That?s it until another seven days from now. Remember, I can be reached at steves@silverbulletcomicbooks.com or post until your heart explodes in Steve?s Rage Cage (link, please). I?m also babbling away on audiocasts about comics over at http://www.mediagauntlet.com . The world is also due for new installments of Manga Hunter S at Manga Life (link) (been a slight format delay, no worries) and Indiephile here on SBC.

Stay safe and be careful of drunken ninjas. If you happen to encounter one, please tell him/her to come home. Thanks.

Until next time, dear readers.


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