Have you noticed that the 80s nostalgia craze seems to have moved away from comics and back into Hollywood? There?s already talk of GI Joe and Transformers live action films, and John Woo recently signed to direct a new He-Man film.

As for the Transformers, some of the wilder rumors had Tom Hanks attached to the project. A rumor, which was rebuked by the guys over at IESB.net, when they caught up with Hanks at the Raise Your Voice premiere.

It turns out that Hanks is a HUGE Transformers fan. Even knows the theme song by heart, as he demonstrates here.

Totally bizarre, but funny?

Panther On The Horizon

There?s word going around that an announcement from Marvel regarding the new Black Panther project is imminent. As long time ATR readers may remember, the creative team is said to be Reggie Hudlin (House Party) and John Romita JR. (Wolverine). From what I?ve heard, the book is set for February 2005 and will likely be released through Marvel Knights.

This Has A ?Follow the Drip, Follow the Drip!? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


The Girl From Krypton

Bryan Singer?s Superman film hasn?t even moved beyond the casting stage yet, but that hasn?t slowed the rumor mill in the slightest. The latest rumor going around suggests that a Supergirl film is also in the works, with Melissa George (Alias) signed to play the title character.

Though given the slow progress on Superman, it doesn?t seem likely that Warner Brothers would move on a Supergirl film this quickly.

This Has A ?Red Kryptonite? Factor of Three Out of Ten


A Different Kind of Reality

Drawn Together, a new series on Comedy Central, has been billed as the ?first animated reality TV show.? Prior to its premiere later this month, I caught up with Dave Jeser and Matt Silverstein, the co-creators and executive producers of Drawn Together, for a quick Q&A:

Blair Marnell:

      When did you come up with the idea for the

Drawn Together

    series?

Dave Jeser: Matt and I had been working on some small cable shows and we really didn?t think there was anything original or creative. So, we decided that the only way to be original and creative was to combine two ideas that already exist! Like animation and reality TV. It was really that easy, except for the year it took for our agent to believe in the project.

Matt Silverstein: We LOVE animation and we love reality TV shows. We thought it would be a great mix. We were so excited when we came up with the idea that we pitched it to our agent. And he was like ?Uh? guys? Listen, I don?t see this selling.? He represented the guys who did Clone High on MTV. He said ?Clone High? that I see! This will never sell.? So we actually shelved it for a year.

DJ: This was the year after working on some network shows.

MT: We worked on Greg the Bunny and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. Those were good times.

DJ: Those were great shows, but those shows weren?t succeeding because I believe they should have been on Comedy Central. Our audience for those shows isn?t big enough for Fox.

BM: So, how did you get Drawn Together back on track?

DJ: We got a call from a mutual friend, Jordan Young, who?s an animator for The Simpsons. He said, ?Hey, I want to become a writer. Can you guys give me some hints?? So, we?re like ?Yeah, draw these cartoon characters, sell the show with us and we?ll hire you as a writer.? He designed the eight or nine original characters. We had worked on Crank Yankers for Comedy Central so they had to listen to our ideas. We pitched it and they totally dug it. So, it?s been a dream after that. We?re writing ridiculous jokes, fart jokes and girls making out in a hot tub. Everything we?ve always wanted! [laughs]

MT: And we?re meeting a lot of people who are heroes of ours, like Adam Carolla.

DJ: Seth MacFarlane pops his head in from time to time. We really love Family Guy and we?re both HUGE fans of his. All these people started getting involved and excited. The voice talent that we have, Jess Harnell, Cree Summer, Tara Strong, James Arnold Taylor?

MT: Adam Carolla?

DJ: Abby McBride and Jack Plotnick. All of these great voice people, who were all willing to work for less money than they normally work for because they were just into it. It?s great!

BM: How many episodes do you have planned?

DJ: We?re doing eight episodes. They?re coming out of Korea and being drawn traditionally.

BM: When is it going to premiere?

DJ: October 27th, after a new episode South Park on Comedy Central. Which really means that the network believes in it, since after South Park is their biggest time slot. We?re going to give it our best shot.

MT: The network has been supportive of this show from the very beginning. For us, there?s no better place to be than Comedy Central.

For more info about Drawn Together, including an extended preview clip, click here.

This Has A ?What is This Thing in My Mouth?? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


See Jack Spring?

David Hitchcock is a rising star in the UK comic scene, and in the US among those fortunate enough to seen his work published here. Strong word of mouth has been steadily increasing his profile and Hitchcock is poised to garner even more acclaim with the completion of his latest series, Springheeled Jack. When contacted earlier this week, Hitchcock elaborated on his career and future projects:

    I surely must be considered somewhat of a veteran in the small press circles here in the UK, having set the ball rolling in the early 90s, but with that said I really only have three big projects under my belt, along with numerous short stories which have appeared here and there over the years.

So before everyone tries to track down all my thousands of pages of work, I must state now that I’m really a ‘Sunday self publisher’ akin to a ‘Sunday Driver’ in as much as I have a full time job, so the comics and good stuff like that are always relegated to weekends only – and even then… not every weekend!

My first foray into comics came in the form of Spirit of the Highwayman, a 17th century tale of brigandry and black magic, also a genre which I felt was pretty much untouched in the pages of the funny books. It turned out to be a three issue series, which I produced in very small numbers. A few years later I dusted off all the art, and added 25 extra pages and viola my first graphic novel was born. Again it was a limited print run, all down to budget and doubts of whether I could actually sell more than 500. Turns out I could have sold a lot more than that over time, nowadays it’s one of the most asked questions that I get at shows, but stayed tuned there may be a reprint soon.

I’m always looking for different ideas, story-wise and format, and from a chance conversation with my wife my next idea flourished. The story of Jack the Ripper has been done to death in comics and everywhere else, but not in this way… a tabloid newspaper format tale of the times in pictures involving a traveling freakshow, and a whodunnit type mystery–using the facts, but twisting the rest of the story and shedding a new light on who the killer COULD have been. Whitechapel Freak (which is just being re-released in a great prestige color US format– see your latest Previews ‘Full Circle Publications’) sold very well, and got rave reviews from both comic fans and Ripperologists alike.


The Victorian theme stuck with my next project, Springheeled Jack a tale of despair, determination and alien invasion. Ironically enough it began life as a pitch to DC, I’d only done four or five pages, but I didn?t really want to waste them so I went back to it and decided to re-vamp it and develop it myself.

In the story we follow Jack Rackham, a distinguished, wealthy dignitary as he tries to track down his wife who was brutally snatched from before his very own eyes. If he had not seen the beast himself he would not have believed such a thing could exist… whatever it was, it was not of this world. His report ridiculed by the authorities he is driven to seek his own justice. His only associate is the brilliant but volatile Dr. Jekyll and the trail leads to something far worse than a solitary unsolved kidnapping.

Issue One which hit your shores earlier this year is sold out, issue two was released a few months ago, and I’ve now completed the art for the 30 page final issue, which will tentatively be out by Christmas. The blowout third issue will have a transformation, a fight, rooftop shenanigans, more than a few deaths and giant beetle things, but through it all a hero will be born ;)… and its got a great comment piece by non-other than Dave Gibbons to boot, I’m really proud of that little tidbit!

It will, of course, be available via Previews. The folks at Diamond have always supported my work very well and I owe them a lot for that ‘Certified Cool’ logo. With Black Boar Press, my publishing brand name, I felt I have produced a body of black and white work, (limited in quantity) which hopefully with time may become ‘collectable’ for all the loyal fans who have supported my stuff from the beginning. For anyone who is not familiar with my stuff (http://www.blackboar.co.uk) the good news is that Full Circle Publications will be working towards re-printing all of my work, with the addition of color. Simon Reed at Full Circle Publications is currently working with artist-extraordinaire Simon Bisley, and he will be painting the covers to all the FCP re-prints, including the long out of print Spirit of the Highwayman.

This Has A ?Victorian Nightmares? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


The Other Ghost Who Walks

Chuck Dixon?s Iron Ghost from Across the Pond Studios has been picked up by Image Comics for publication early next year.

According to the ATP website, Iron Ghost is set in late WW2 as a lone vigilante fights the Nazis behind enemy lines. Sergio Cariello is the artist attached to the project, with Rick Hiltbrunner on colors.

This Has An ?Iron Cross? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Next Gen

Later this year, Titan Books is set to release Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Vol. 2, with Tom Root and Andrew Kardon taking up the reigns from Mark Salisbury (Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Vol. 1). The new volume features in-depth interviews with several comic writers who have risen to prominence within the last few years, including Brian Bendis, Mark Millar, Ed Brubaker, Geoff Johns, Brian K. Vaughan, Greg Rucka, Brian Azzarello, Andy Diggle and yes? Kevin Smith.

Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Vol. 2 will be released in the UK at the end of October, and will be available in the US by late December.

This Has A ?Required Reading? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Bloodletting

Earlier this week on Millarworld, Rob Liefeld revealed plans to collect his original Youngblood miniseries:

    Guys,

I assure you, it’s coming sooner than you think.

How’s Jan 2005 as part of a completely re-mastered, first time reprinting of the original Youngblood #1-5, complete with never before seen pages as well as the 10 page 1987 Youngblood short story that got me hired by Marvel and DC comics.

Issues #1-5 are re-shot directly from my original art and re-colored by Matt Yackey and Dan Kemp.


It’s a must have for the die-hard Youngblood fan!

According to Liefeld, the collected issues will be available as both a trade paperback and hardcover edition. Additionally, he also mentioned that Youngblood #0 and some of the Megaton YB material will be included as well.

This Has A ?Wow, It Really Is The 90s Again!!? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Lost in the Middleton

One of the SBC senior editors was going over his files recently, and found these unpublished pics by Josh Middleton from 2001, when Middleton was working on Sky Between Branches for Com.X.

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Enjoy.


That?s all for this week. Before I sign off, I want to give a shout out to JV for sending in some great tips. Thanks again!

Later,
Blair

PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at [email protected] Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.


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