Welcome back to another edition of ATR. So, I finally got to see Batman Begins?

Now, THAT was a Batman movie.


Speaking of Batman Begins, Jock (The Losers) has posted some of his style sheets from the film at the Isotope message boards:

This Has A ?Gotham Central Station? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Now Batting For Rumorville

Over at ComicBoards.com, John Romita Jr. spoke out about the rumors of his potential departure from Marvel to DC:

      I was sorry to hear about the Kubert brothers leaving Marvel, but happy for them if it is worth it. I have heard that rumor, about me leaving Marvel, several times now and I don’t know who started it. I’ve heard from DC on a semi-regular basis whenever my contract is coming up but not recently. Oh well… maybe I’ll be in

People Magazine

    next…you know some salacious rumor about me and Selma Hayek!

In the same thread, Romita Jr. also hints at a Punisher project, some creator owned books, and a return to Spider-Man.

This Has A ?Web Spinning? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Hail To The Sausage King

Remember the rumor that Tony Moore (The Walking Dead) was working on a project for Vertigo? Well, Moore has confirmed on his website that he will be at the ?New Monthly Visions of Vertigo? panel at next month?s San Diego Comic Con. So, I think we can reasonably assume that an official announcement will be made there. Between whatever he?s got cooking at DC, the 5 Dead Men OGN with B. Clay Moore (no relation), Fear Agent with Rick Remender and Corey Walker, and The Walking Dead covers, it looks like Moore is gonna have a lot on his plate for the foreseeable future?

This Has A ?Battle Pope!? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Tapping A New Vein

The long awaited Vampirella relaunch kicks off in September, when Vampirella: Revelations #0 hits the stands with a 25-cent cover price. The zero issue will contain a seven page prelude story, featuring four “alternate visions” of Vampirella as seen through the eyes of her enemies. The rest of the issue will feature creator interviews about the Revelations miniseries and supplemental material.

I?ve been told that Vampirella: Revelations #1 will be coming out in November. It?s going to be a ten issue miniseries, which will ?redefine? Vampirella. The miniseries will be comprised of four short story arcs by different creative teams. The first creative team will be Mike Carey, Mike Lilly (Nightwing), Bob Almond (Black Panther) and Jay Fotos (Sam and Twitch). That team will be on issues # 0 through 3. Issues 4 and 5 will be written by Christopher Priest, Jay Faerber comes onboard for issues 6 and 7 and John Rozum will finish it off in issues 8 through 10.

This Has A ?Bloodsucker Proxy? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Sweet Zombie Jesus!

John Rogers, the writer/producer of the unaired Global Frequency pilot (currently spreading like wildfire on the net), is set to make his comic book debut with the release of Zombie Tales this Wednesday. Zombie Tales is an anthology coming from Ross Richie?s BOOM! Studios, with stories by Rogers, Mark Waid, Andrew Cosby, Keith Giffen, Andy Kuhn, Joe Abraham, J.K. Woodward, Ron Lim and several other creators. Earlier this week, Rogers checked in with some background about the anthology and how he came to be working on it:

    I’d been looking at getting into comic writing for a while. There’s a lot of attractive factors in film, but television and comics are the only place you get to do long-form storytelling. Seeing as we’re constantly at the mercy of networks for TV for the chance to tell stories in that medium, comics seemed like a good place to try.

Zombie Tales actually came about, if I remember correctly, when Ross Richie, Andy Cosby, Mark Waid and I were all hanging about one night, talking horror movies. The subject of zombie movies came up ? why are they so perennially popular? Why does that image seem to resonate? Andy suggested it was because the zombie metaphor was open to so many interpretations. Zombies are all about the fear of death, the fear of infection. Mark mentioned consumption, I talked about loss of identity, the uneasy relationship we have with our own flesh and bodies, and decay — everyone had a different take. And Ross said “Different takes on the same myth — that’s an anthology.” And so the first Zombie Tales came about.

Also, zombies are very, very cool.

The anthology format was really perfect for what Ross was trying to do for his new company — he’s scouring the talent pool, picking up both respected pros and breaking new talent. Mark Waid and Giffen are old hands, of course, and Andy Cosby just had a very successful run with Damn Nation, but he’d worked primarily in TV. I’d only done film and TV, and Johanna Stokes had written a few excellent film specs. Mike Nelson is primarily a novelist. It was a great, eclectic mix.

Anthology format is short-story format, and that means each of those 8 page tales need to pack maximum punch. Ross went out and found artists to specifically compliment each story style and subject. And I’ll tell you, no joke, after almost 20 movies — those 8 pages KICKED MY ASS. Day One, I spent writing. Day Two, I spent calling all my comic writer friends and telling them they were geniuses. Having to not only write story and dialogue but call every shot, compressing Director and Editor together into one job … I’ve written stand-up, television and film, and bar none comic writing requires the most raw skill and mastery of technique.

Ross just turned us loose. No rules, just the command to go dig out the nastiest, funniest, quirkiest, ickiest ideas we all had about the undead, and spill the guts of them out onto the page. You’ll notice that for each of us, the zombies behave differently. Sometimes the source of the zombie outbreak is explained, sometimes it’s not. Some of us chose to focus on the people dealing with the outbreak, some of us dug into screwing with the usual format fo these tales. Andy Cosby did a great one from the zombie’s pov. And makes it sympathetic! How cool is that?

In my story, “Daddy Smells Different” … well, it’s probably the most straight-up horror story in the book. I never get to work in horror, so the chance to just cut loose and go for maximum “EeeuuggghhhOHMYGOD!” factor was irresistible. It’s a very simple story, about how the world changes, all reflected through the eyes of a child The entire world is shifting, but of course little Zach, just four years old, can only understand so much of it.

Andy Kuhn dug in and chose a really primitive, blocky, almost dreamlike style that was perfect for the viewpoint. This was my first time working with an artist, and it was a hoot. Sending out the script, then seeing the breakdowns come back on e-mail, going back and forth on framing — the best part is when an artist makes a choice which really illuminates the story in a way you never anticipated.

I’ve gotten the best compliments from this story a writer can get: people finish it and say “I’m not really sure I can hang out with you anymore.”

This Has A ?Living Impaired? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Heart of Darkness

Before heading back to Marvel for another stint on Uncanny X-Men, Chris Bachalo?s got a guest spot on next month?s Witchblade #87, handling both the pencils and the colors. And here?s a quick preview of some of his art from that issue:

This Has A ?Pez Dispenser? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Gator Bites Raider

Adam Hughes and Brian Frey have released the first webisode of their Lara Croft fan-film, The Cursed Chest. As I?ve mentioned before, Hughes and Frey filmed the short using action figures in place of actors? and it?s pretty damn funny.

You can check it out here.

This Has A ?Double Barrel, Kung-Fu Action? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Dread And Loving It

The New Millennium Theatre Company?s stage production of Hack/Slash is said to be opening in Chicago this Fall. And over at Horrorchannel.com there?s a QuickTime clip of the introductory video that will be played before each performance. It?s actually really faithful to the first Hack/Slash one-shot.

This Has A ?Double Barrel, Kung-Fu Action? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Know This, O? Prince

I don?t know how I missed this before, but apparently there?s going to be a Conan animated feature film based on Robert E. Howard?s ?Red Nails? story. And the film has a pretty heavy comic presence. Mark Shultz, Greg Horn and Michael Kaluta are all involved. Victor Dal Chele, (Spider-Man: The Animated Series) is the director and Larry Houston (Batman: The Animated Series) is the film?s animation director. The animation will be a mixture of 2D and 3D, and the film has an outside shot at a theatrical release, depending on how it tests. Otherwise, it?s likely to go directly to DVD in Fall 2006.

This Has A ?By Crom!? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Spider In The City

And now, for your viewing enjoyment, six fresh screenshots from the upcoming Ultimate Spider-Man video game by Activision.

This Has A ?Sinister Six? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Green Party

Inspired by Lance Armstrong?s yellow wristbands, the ACTOR Comic fund will be selling green Excelsior! Wristbands (authorized by Stan Lee) this summer at the San Diego Comic Con and Wizard World Chicago. The price is $3.00 per wristband, with proceeds going to golden and silver age comic creators in medical or financial need. And here?s an early look at what the wristbands look like.

The Excelsior! Wristbands are also available online here. For more information check out http://www.actorcomicfund.org

This Has A ?Fighting The Good Fight!? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

The Indie Rage

Alright, quick announcement time: next week?s column will be the first ever, ?All Indie, All the Rage.? I?m trying something new here, and it?s success or failure will largely hinge on audience participation. This is where all of you come in. For the next week, please send me the latest news and rumors from the companies I don?t usually cover, like Oni, Slave Labor, Top Shelf? Basically, any company in the back of Previews is fair game. Self-publishers and web comics are also welcome. Just send them my way.

As always, I can be reached at blairm@silverbulletcomicbooks.com. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

And that?s a wrap. See you in seven.


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