Welcome back to another edition of ATR. News and rumors, you know the drill.

Let?s go.

As promised, here?s the Toronto Comicon report, courtesy of John Voulieris:

John Voulieris: Just got back from the PARADISE COMICS TORONTO COMICON. It was my first big convention and I had a blast.

Before we get into the news and rumors, Id like to thank Kaare Andrews for splitting the cab fare with me, Adi Granov for that great Iron Man sketch, Phil Jimenez for the free copies of Otherworld #1 and #2 ,Brian Bendis for being so gracious and taking the time to talk, and Warren Ellis for a GREAT 2 hour Q&A that had the whole room laughing out loud!

Here we go:

You Realize Of Course, This Means War

Bill Willingham (Fables, Robin) confirmed that he will be writing the 4-part Detective Comics / Batman crossover that is entitled War Crimes. It will tie up the loose end from the War Games crossover and deal with all the consequences of that story arc.

This Has A “War, What Is It Good For?” Factor of Nine Out of Ten

House of Bendis

Brian Michael Bendis dropped a lot of little tidbits during his 2 hour Q&A session and kept the crowd entertained.

Some highlights:

  • Ultimate Deadpool will be showing up in Ultimate Spider-Man. Probably after the big 100th issue.
  • There is going to be some ninja action in New Avengers. He also mentioned he’d like to do a follow up to his Daredevil: Ninja mini series.
  • The final Daredevil arc will also have theme covers by Alex Maleev (just like the current covers in ?Decalogue?).
  • He and Alex Maleev will continue to work together after their Daredevil run is over. Like Loeb and Sale they will continue to collaborate. Bendis has three future projects that have been approved by Marvel and he will let Maleev choose the one he wants to work on. Bendis said he’d love to have Maleev do a fully painted book with him.
  • Bendis and Mike Oeming will also start another creator owned book this year on top of Powers. Mike Oeming can do 2 books a month so they have added this new title to their schedule.
  • Bendis begins work on the Jinx screenplay in the next two weeks. He also has another creator owned crime comic fully written that he wants to draw himself when he has the time.
  • Bendis plans on exploring Jessica Drew’s origin and backstory in New Avengers. He mentioned how she has been linked to both Hydra and SHEILD in the past and has 3 different origins (none of which have been refuted) in print. He also mentioned that Marvel will release an Essential Spider-Woman trade later this year.

This Has A “Get Me Charlize Theron’s Autograph” Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Norman, How Could You?

J. Michael Straczynski surprised everyone and popped up at the Bendis Q&A session. He mentioned that he has completed three Fantastic Four scripts, and also dropped this interesting piece of information about the ?Sins Past? storyline.

Turns out JMS wanted Peter Parker to be the father of Gwen’s kids but editorial nixed the idea. The powers that be felt that it would age Peter Parker too much if he had two adult kids running around. It was then decided by the whole creative and editorial team that Norman Osborn would be the father!

This Has A “Paternity Test” Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Iron Artist

Adi Granov – the current Iron Man artist – stated that #6 (the end of the initial arc written by Warren Ellis) would be his last issue as well. Adi needs more time to complete his work than a monthly schedule allows.

Marvel is quite happy with sales on Iron Man and wants to tailor a new project to Adi taking his lead-time into account (a mini series or graphic novel perhaps).

Adi mentioned to me that Brian Michael Bendis has expressed interest in working with him, and that he would love to do more work with Warren Ellis.

This Has A “I Think His Art Is Worth The Wait” Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Bad Signal

Warren Ellis kept the crowd entertained during his two-hour Q&A session with tales of Garth Ennis’ stag weekend, his phone calls with Alan Moore and other tales we can not print on this website.

Some newsworthy items:

  • Just like his JLA arc, Ellis has another series he wrote for DC in 2003 called Jack Cross that will be out this year. It is set in the DCU and is about a spy that is also a left wing activist. Lots of action and lots of killing. The art will be by Gary Erskine.
  • Ellis also mentioned that he is working with Dean Haspiel on an upcoming project.
  • Apparat 2 will have a total of eight one-shots this year. They are not sequels to the first wave of Apparat books but rather new tales. He also expects the first Apparat books to be published in trade format by Avatar by the end of this year.

This Has A “Year of The Bastard” Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Thanks again to the PARADISE COMICS TORONTO COMICON organizers for a great time!

John Voulieris

Thanks, John. And great work!

We now return you to our regular Rage lineup.


We?ve known since Wizard World LA that Brian K. Vaughn would be writing an Ultimate annual for Marvel, and a recent item on Wizard?s website gave away Tom Raney?s involvement. What we didn?t know, was the scope of the project. It turns out that all four of the ongoing Ultimate titles will have annuals, which are currently scheduled for August. And here?s a quick peak at what?s in store?

The Ultimate Spider-Man Annual is written by Brian Bendis, drawn by Mark Brooks and has a cover by Mark Bagley. The annual is rumored to introduce Peter?s new girlfriend, who is someone Ultimate Spider-Man readers should be familiar with.

My guess would be Felicia Hardy, but that?s just a shot in the dark?

The Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual features the first appearance of the Ultimate Inhumans, and yes, that is Crystal on the cover, as drawn by incoming Ultimate Fantastic Four artist, Greg Land. As for the annual itself, Mark Millar and Jae Lee are the creative team onboard.

The Ultimate X-Men Annual is by Brian K. Vaughan and Tom Raney with a cover by Stuart Immonen. The story follows Ultimate Rogue and Gambit as they take on Ultimate Juggernaut in Ultimate Vegas.

I can?t believe I just typed that.

And finally, the Ultimates Annual is by Mark Millar and Steve Dillon, with Ultimates co-creator Bryan Hitch supplying the cover. The Ultimates Annual is said to feature Nick Fury’s OTHER superteam.

No, I don?t know what that means?

This Has A ?Storming The Triskelion? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Jock Rocks – Updated!

Over at the Isotope Virtual Lounge, Jock has posted an advance look at his covers from an upcoming Batman/Detective Comics crossover.

The issue numbers that Jock mentioned were Detective Comics #809, Batman #643, Detective Comics #810, and Batman #644, which may mean that David Lapham?s run on Detective Comics may be accelerated to pave the way for the crossover. However, that?s not clear at this point.

The issues referred to here are likely from the War Crimes crossover that John mentioned in his Toronto Con report.

Later in the thread, Jock gives an interesting look at his cover design process. And for more Jock goodness, check out this link.

This Has A ?Mystery Villain? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Night Writer

Jeff Parker (The Interman) has been picking up some Marvel work as of late. He?s already writing Spider-Man Adventures #4 for the Marvel Adventures line. And according to his blog, he?s also writing the Vampire By Night backup story starting in Amazing Fantasy #10, with Italian artist Federica Manfredi. Parker also confirmed that Nina Price (the vampire in question) WILL be related to Jack Russell, from Marvel?s classic Werewolf By Night.

This Has A ?Howling At The Moon? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Attack of The Clones

A sharp-eyed ATR reader pointed out something interesting about the recently released Official Handbook of The Marvel Universe: Spider-Man 2005. Among this year?s character profiles, some familiar names pop up: Mendel Stromm, Jackal, Kaine and Ben Reilly.

Do you see where I?m going with this?

Out of all the Spider-man characters they could have chosen for that book, they used four of the key figures from the Spider-Clone storyline. Which is more than a bit surprising, considering that Marvel has basically been ignoring the events of that story for a long time.

So, what does it mean?

Could be nothing, or it could be something? After all, we are coming up on the tenth anniversary of the Clone Saga and Marvel has been promising something big for the Spider-Man books later this year, following the House of M crossover?

This Has A ?Maximum Clonage? Factor of Five Out of Ten

Agent Six

Michael Oeming has created a short film based upon his Six one-shot, which was released by Image last year. In his announcement, Oeming described the origins of this project:

      Last summer I secretly shot a “no-budget” film version of my comic


    . Based on the comic, it was shot over the summer, no actors, no budget, just some friends and a camera. It?s my first short and it kind of shows, heavy on visuals, light on story and character, but I?m really happy with it as my first film and we had TONS of fun shooting it.

The film runs about fourteen minutes and is available for download at http://www.oemingfilms.com/

This Has A ?Dream Walker? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Rome Is Byrning

It?s no great leap to say that John Byrne attracts a great deal of controversy, largely of his own doing. From his message board, it?s not uncommon to see him make an offensive off-the wall comment or get into a fight with another creator?

Really, it just gets old after a while. And easier to ignore.

However, this one? this one shouldn?t be ignored. Byrne?s really outdone himself this time. In a thread about the proper use of comic terminology, a user posted the following message:

    Then this all brings up the question of language. Do words have inherent meanings or just those we ascribe to them? If enough pros, in addition to the fans, say “speech bubble” then why wouldn’t “bubble” be just as valid as “balloon”? JB says “balloon”, someone else says “bubble”, and they could both be right.

To which, Byrne responds:

      There are lots of people who call Black people “niggers”. Are both terms “right”? You seem to have missed the rather important point that my response indicated roughly the same


      of fans and pros use the improper terms for various elements of what we do — but that percentage does not approach a balance. It is not that roughly half say “balloon” and half say “bubble”. It is that some say “bubble” and they are



Another user states:

    Um, we don’t avoid using the word “nigger” because it’s incorrect usage. We avoid using it because it’s incredibly racist and hateful. Is there an ethnic group that’s impugned when someone says “thought bubbles” instead of “thought balloons”?

Byrne again:

    “Um…” in point of fact there are plenty of people who use the word “nigger” because that is the word they use, not because they imagine it has any negative racial connotations. That’s precisely why I chose that word as my illustration.

Another response from the crowd:

    Enough already with the casual tossing around of racist epithets!

John, you cannot possibly be that ignorant to believe that people who use racial slurs do so without any negative intent or connotation. If you do indeed believe that, I strongly encourage you to seek some counsel and educate yourself on the matter, if you don’t want to take my word for it. I’ve only been black and lived in this country for, oh, my entire life, so I may not be aware of how things really are out there…

We spend an awful lot of time on this board dealing with the issue of respect, as it pertains to comic book characters, comic book terminology, reverence for creator’s original visions, nicknames for comic book characters, etc. People tread lightly on eggshells out of fear of upsetting you and your many rules for how seriously this wonderful hobby of our should be taken, both by us within it and by those civilians outside of it. How about we extend that same measure of respect to the people who participate in this board?

We’re supposed to take your word for how things should be in the industry, how characters are supposed to be treated, etc because of your years of experience. How about you extend me the same courtesy on this issue?

This isn’t about political correctness, or “looking for something to be offended by.” It is simply a matter of consideration and manners…

There were an infinite number of comparatives you could have chosen to illustrate your point about correct comic book terminology. The fact that you chose the one you did…why?

I think we get your point. They are balloons, not bubbles. Fine. Your comparative example sucked. Just as you ask us not to use terms that bother, offend or piss you off, I’m asking you publicly to not use racially insensitive terms and epithets on the board as well. Or is that something you would have a problem with?

Once again, Byrne replies:

      Ignorance is the key, but not on my part. There are many places in this country where people to this day use “nigger” when referring to Black people because that’s the word they use. They don’t think of it as a racial slur. They don’t think about it at all, in fact. It simply



This is not even considering Black people who themselves use the word. We cannot, surely, imagine that it is used in that context as a racial slur?

“Nigger” is — like so many others — a word with a complex etymology and an even more complex pattern of use.

And this goes on for six pages?

You know, for sheer outrage, I never thought Byrne would top his Jessica Alba and Christopher Reeve comments?

But he found a way.

This Has A ?Byrned Again? Factor of One Out of Ten

Crashing The Borderline

One of our overseas correspondents has dropped us a line about the final fate of Phil Hall?s Borderline Media, which put out the online Borderline comic magazine a few years back, which boasted over a million downloads. According to the report, Borderline Media was officially dissolved on April 12th of this year.

This Has A ?PDFland? Factor of Three Out of Ten

The Main Man?s Reality

Rick Remender (currently making waves with Sea of Red) has posted a Lobo miniseries pitch he made with Tony Moore (The Walking Dead) to DC a while back. The proposal was called Lobo: Reality Bites, which as you might expect, poked fun at the Reality TV craze, as Remender elaborates:

    To pay for his life of malfeasance, Lobo is court ordered to do time on a planet that’s used exclusively for filming reality television.

The Main Man is apprehended after beating a reality television film crew to death for following and filming him (without express written permission of course) for a new show “Czarnian sociopath gone wild”. Lobo, in a weakened state from the bender of his life, is brought in (by an elderly, and blind Green Lantern) to the home world of the aforementioned film crew. Lobo finds himself on a planet where every action is filmed and used for broadcast on reality TV throughout the galaxy. In a court run by the Judge Judy of the Burnett Star Belt, the sitting judge, a firm believer in creative punitive measures, knows Lobo would scoff at nearly any sentence handed down. After a pay off from show producers, the judge decides to sentence Lobo to 12 Gorgonian life cycles (roughly 700 years) on the reality television circuit. But there is a catch, given Lobo’s leaning toward violence, the judge orders Lobo be injected with some kind of explosive nanotechnology to keep him from hurting other show mates. Each time he hurts anyone he is to have a limb blown off his body. This will force Lobo to deal a much more creative brand of havoc on the club kids he is forced to live with on “The Real World- Quintelsintary 4”. The series would have endless hilarious situations as we take Lobo from show to show (Joe Psychopath, Road Rules, Lobo-Survivor, Star Dates, American Idol) parodying popular reality television with one new twist?


This Has A ?Big Brother? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Man of Steel?

The talented photoshop artists at SomethingAwful.Com have struck again, and this time their target is the first Brandon Routh as Superman pic, which is seen below.

First, there was a more conventional take on the costume:

Then things started to go a bit mad:

This one?s my favorite:

You can check out the rest of the craziness here.

This Has An ?It?s A Bird, It?s A Plane? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Alright folks, that about covers this week?s column and the first update. Thanks again, John. If all goes according to plan, we should have one more update this week, that will shed some light on a TV series which is soon to return to comics, but you?ll just have to wait a few centons to know more?

See you soon?


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

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