Skinn Teeth

In the new Comics International (who serialise this very column), publisher Dez Skinn makes a very interesting announcement in the Movers And Shakers column.

There’s been a rumour around the Marvelman/Miracleman business that when Dez Skinn made the deal with Exlipse to republish and continue the book, that a reversion clause was in the contract, so that rights would return to Dez’ Quality Communications, or the original rights holders (including Dez), if Eclipse failed to keep the title in print. The rumour went that, as a result, McFarlane had only bought a husk of the property.

This rumour was dumped on as Skinn repeatedly denied it was true, and the stakes between Gaiman/McFarlane went up – which of course they wouldn’t do if there was only a husk property to fight over.

Now Dez Skinn has announced that he’s just unearthed those original documents, coincidentally in the same month that Todd and Neil’s lawyers start throwing things at each other, and states that, yes, the contracts clearly show a three year reversion clause.

Which means:

  • if Todd had handed over his rights to Miracleman in return for Medieval Spawn and Cagliostro, he’d have got a bargain if they were indeed worthless. But now so much more is involved.
  • the new player is the old player. Todd, Neil, Joe, everyone is going to have to deal with the original publisher of Alan Moore, Gary Leach and Alan Davis’ Miracleman
  • McFarlane seriously annoyed Dez when Todd’s boys sent him a Cease And Desist letter for using the Miracleman/Spawn image as a cover to Comics International.
  • Marvel have been having a more prominent role in Comics International of late, with more interviews and features from Marvel creators. What’s to bet we’ll see a lot more Marvel exclusives suddenly going to Comics International?
  • Dez has both Todd, Joe and Neil by the short and curlies. He could name his price.

Now go read Comics International for yourself, the US shops should have their copies in a week or two…

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10


Established Until?

Wildstorm?s Establishment is no more and will not be publisher further than #13. There are currently no other Authority related ongoing series being published by Wildstorm.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 9 Out Of 10


The Long Axe Of Dan DiDio

Suicide Squad is about to live up to its name and vanish. As is Deadman.

However, rather than representing a trimming of DC?s books, I understand that a number of new series are in preparation to take the place of the books being dropped.

But Spectre, Supergirl, and Azrael, other books rumoured to be dropped by some comic pros seem safe for now.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10


Cross Marketing

So where are CrossGen planning to find these millions of new readers for Comics on the Web they?ve been talking about? Here?s one place ? seemingly on one in every three Angelfire pages, offering about 10 million unique viewers a month. And I hear this is only the start?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 9 Out Of 10


Bogus?

Bill And Joe?s Marvelous Adventure? April Fool or April reality? It?s on the retailer order forms? looks like they?re serious, folks.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10


X-Salute

Remember all the fuss there was about the proposed Nazi-style uniforms for the X-Corps in Uncanny X-Men? The ones that never saw print? Marvels’ subscription department certainly do. Here’s an image pulled from the Uncanny X-Men subscription page.

And here’s the link it came from.

https://subscriptions.marvel.com/popup.html?pub_code=xme

How long will the two remain the same?

This Has A Niggling Value Of 8 Out Of 10


Credit Where It’s Due?

Remember a time a year or so ago, when the “Stan Lee Presents?” credit disappeared from a number of books? People wondered if Marvel were slighting Stan Lee for doing projects with DC Comics, now that his contract was no longer exclusive.

At the time Marvel employees assured readers that this was a production error and that service would be resumed as soon as possible. And it certainly wasn’t an intended slight against Stan Lee.

This week on John Byrne’s Fan Page message boards, Byrne recalled it differently, saying that it was an intentional decision on Marvel’s part and that the reason given by staff was, “Fuck him! He’s working for DC now!” John states that he showed his anger at the time and tried to fight it.

Indeed the credit did return in the end, but that looks more like a reverse policy decision than the fixed error story Marvel put out at the time.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10


Horse In Hock?

I hear that Dark Horse is having a little cashflow trouble of late. A number of creators have reported Dark Horse owing payments or receiving them late. And I hear there’s a big payment to LucasFilms due in April for the Star Wars rights.

This brings out the oft-repeated rumour that either LucasFilms will be persuaded to take over Dark Horse or that contractually, if the company defaults on payments, LucasFilms will own Dark Horse.

Randy Stradley of Dark Horse told me:

      “Dark Horse has had a few cashflow troubles recently. Though, as of this writing, they should be almost over. Unlike Marvel, DC, and Wildstorm, which are owned and financed by larger corporations, privately held Dark Horse operates off its cashflow. That means, in its most basic form, that last month’s comics pay for this month’s comics, which pay for next month’s comics. Obviously, it’s a lot more complicated than that, but it’s a fact that late books or unexpected costs can cause a temporary interruption with cashflow.

 

      “At the end of 2001, we experienced a shipping delay in a batch of books coming from overseas. The books were printed, but for some reason delivery was delayed. Revenue from books that should have hit the market in November and December of last year wasn’t received until February, in some cases. Some other books which were late for production reasons also impacted our cashflow. However, as of now, everything is back on schedule and the future looks bright. We’re working hard to catch up with payments to creators that were delayed.

 

    “The speculation that Lucasfilm could own any part of Dark Horse — let alone take over the company — has as least as much basis in reality as the rumor (which appeared a year ago in your column) that I was no longer working at Dark Horse. Still, the humor value of the rumor is somewhat lacking. I would hope the rumor mongers will try harder in the future.”

And not everyone was reporting problems. Spyboy writer Peter David told me ?I can’t speak for others, but all I can tell you is that Dark Horse owes me no money and has consistently paid me in a timely fashion.?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 5 Out Of 10


Kiss Chase

As well as Joe Casey writing the upcoming KISS/Superman story for DC, he is also writing a new KISS series from Dark Horse. Intentionally unlike McFarlane’s Psycho Circus series, this is intended to be a bit of a no-brainer comic with plenty of kicks and explosions.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10


Bribery And Corruption

One comic book exec very kindly offered me a DVD of my choice if I didn?t print a semi-juicy story that came by way. Looks like the Brazil Criterion Edition will be winging its way across the pond soon. I hope this gives other companies ideas?

Talking of which, thanks to Chaos City Comics for the Preacher trades that came my way in payment for last week?s Chris Claremont signing plug. I was only expecting the one?

More plugs can be bought with Hellboy, Sentry and Transmetropolitan trades. You know the address?

This Has A Ker-Ching! Value Of 8 Out of 10


Market Forces

Do you get QVC in the UK? No, me neither. But some people must do, mustn’t they? Satellite shopping channel for the goggleboxed plebs trying desperately to find soft porn and failing. Well, those mighty purveryors of limited edition signed comics, variant covers and basically one of the companies credited with the boom and eventual bust of the comics industries during the nineties, Dynamic Forces, is here to sell premium comics to unsuspecting folks, many of whom will be gullible enough to purchase an item or two in the belief it will appreciate in value enough so they don’t need to take out a pension. They will be disappointed – unless they actually read the damn things.

Of course, they may get those signed copies of Dark Knight Strikes Again – then they’re on their own.

Dynamic Forces’ very own Nick Berrucui will be presenting three hours of hard selling collectible comics, limited lithographs, tempting trading cards and more next Saturday, March 30th at 1PM, then 7pm and again on Sunday at 3pm.

Up for grabs are the Monumental Marvels Litho, 5 feet long and signed by Alex Ross, The Dark Knight Strikes Back #1 (1st print) signed by Frank Miller, Witchblade: The Millennium Series Uncut Trading Card Sheet, special collector’s sets, introductory packages… you get the idea right?

Actually that Marvels Litho sounds quite nice. I, however will be in Iceland, eating roast puffin. Mmmmm…

This Has A Shill Value Of 9 Out Of 10


Rumour Monger In Training

I’ll be absent next week, living it up large in Iceland. The All The Rage Apprentice, Ian Ungstad, will be taking over for ine week. I’ve encouraged him to write the column in his own style, so be kind to him. In fact, be patronising.

See you all in two weeks…


About The Author