Hello again, Alan Donald here. Yep you got it right, it’s that time again. Welcome to All The Rage, SBC’s rumour, opinion, and news column.

Before we get into the column I thought I’d bring you news on the latest hate campaign that has started against me this week. It’s not about my promoting of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic (2000AD). No this time it’s because I discussed George W. Bush… puh-leaze. I?ll have more on this topic towards the end of the column, and a chance for you to win Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men.

Being Sunday it?s a great opportunity to take a look at today?s Daily Special being offered by our beneficent sponsors, Dynamic Forces. If you?re one of the quickest 21 mouse clickers in the west you can secure for yourself The Ultimate War #1 CGC Unsigned for just $50 while they last! My pal Nick, head honcho at DF, had this to say about the special, ?The book that sold out all across the country is here to be in your possession. The Ultimate War #1! We got a few of these just for you the customer, and not only is it the start to the Ultimate War between The Ultimates and The Ultimate X-Men, but it is graded by CGC with a wonderful 9.8.? Click on one of the banners scattered hereabout to take up Nick?s special offer.

Time’s a wasting so I suppose I ought to just bloody well get on with it.


Odd…

Dashed odd this next bit of news. It would appear that Diamond UK still has all issues of Marville available for reordering. This is tickled me pink because of the sheer irony of it. The comic book written by the guy who has been the strongest advocate for Marvel’s no-overprint policy is available for reorder!

I have been asked to make all kinds of sarcastic asides about the title but I won’t as I’ve actually enjoyed it so there?even if I was the only one.

This Has A “Sweet, Sweet Irony” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Problem Salv-ed

Apparently another rumour-based column ran a story on Salvador Larroca recently (I hate gossip so I wouldn’t know). The column translated some comments made on a Spanish website where the artist in question allegedly made quite negative comments about his move from X-Treme X-Men to Namor. My ever-vigilant Rage-mites spotted the following comments from Joe Quesada on the wonderful Mr. Quesada’s message boards:

    I have never threatened Salva nor any of my talents with renewal or non renewal of their contracts. If I did such things none of my talent would be signing with me, EVER. I know I wouldn’t sign with me if I did that.

Here’s a little story about Salva and me from last year. Salva e-mailed me that he was having a good time on X-Treme but that he felt that the American public was taking him for granted. He was working on a top 10 book, made all his deadlines yet he wasn’t on any Wizard hot lists and the fans although appreciative, in his mind weren’t really looking at his work with a fresh eye. I told Salva that I agreed with him and that I could help with the situation if he allowed me to make some moves for him. As I’ve told several of the guys that work for me, I’m pretty decent at managing a career, I managed to do a lot with the little God gave me and I could help out some of my guys in the same way. The first thing I told Salva was that he had to get away from X-Treme even if it was for a little bit. Yes, it’s a top book but people have come to expect what he was giving them month after month and perhaps maybe taking him for granted. I told him I would let him know as soon as something big enough and different enough came along. Hence Ultimate Elektra/DD which he knocked out of the park, got him working with another top writer, got him some great attention because of his new open style and even got a very nice review in USA Today. It also was something like the number three TPB we had last month. A real nice project and money maker. When Namor came along Salva was my first choice but he was already knee deep in X stuff so we figured best stay our course. When problems arose with Namor I recommended we see if Salva would do it, I should have gone with my gut originally. I also knew that it was going to be a big break out project that many people were going to get to see this new side of Salva.

My prediction is that you’ll see Salva on top ten artist list everywhere.

And he bloody well should be. His art on X-Treme X-Men is the highlight of the title (take that how you want) and Ultimate Daredevil/Elektra… wow.

This Has A “Name To Watch” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Film News

More bad news broke this week for those waiting for the Superman film. Brett Ratner has confirmed he’s left the project, leaving it without a star or director. The project has been dogged with problems leading industry insiders to start mumbling about the ‘Curse of Superman’ again. One of the main problems at the moment seems to be J.J. Abrams supposedly excellent script. The script is part of a trilogy and all involved really want to have the same guy wearing the cape for all three films. That could mean a ten year commitment for a slow shoot, not something many want to do. Brendan (perfect for the part, or maybe even better to play Nightwing) Fraser, Josh Hartnett, Paul Walker and Matthew Bomer have all apparently screen tested and been well received but for one reason or another they’ve parted ways with the project. Shame really.

More bad news for comic film fans. According to several reports across the web the Fantastic Four film is in trouble. 20th Century Fox is supposedly getting quite nervous about it. Their problem is allegedly Tristan Patterson’s script time is running out for the project as with a release date set for summer 2005 they really needed to start filming next year. This may not sound too bad but they can’t start pre-production, casting, building a crew etc until the script is pinned down and as the Superman film shows any part of that process could end up causing huge delays. Even with a crew, like director Peyton Reed and producers Avi Arad, Ralph Winter, Bernd Eichinger, and even Chris Columbus attached to the film, it seems that the project is STILL unlikely to get made.

This Has A “Pull Your Fingers Out” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Quickie

Free comics:

http://www.exhibitapress.com/pages/whatsnew.html

Ok?

This Has A “We Still Love Free Comics” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Make Of This What You Will

I have been told that LPC, the failed distributor, has sent cheques out to the folks at Alternative Press after filing for bankruptcy. I’d go into loads of details on why this is interesting, but to be honest if you don’t know you probably don’t need to know.

This Has A “Factoid For Those Who Need It” Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Bad Signal

Had an interesting e-mail through this week with regard to Neil Gaiman’s current movie projects. Apparently Signal to Noise (by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean) may about to be made into a film. An anonymous, but apparently very important, movie producer is attached to the project and is currently trying to get funding set up.

To help secure funding a 15-minute promo film has been made. The script is supposed to be by Mr Gaiman but it has been said that it’s been tinkered with by Mr McKean and improvised from by the cast. I haven’t seen the film personally and I’m a little uncomfortable casting aspersions at it but here’s what my source (a very reliable and honest person) had to say:

    Written by Neil Gaiman (although the whole team are being very self-righteous about how innovative and improvisational the script is) and directed by Dave McKean, it’s 15 minutes of…. well…. how can I put this? “Shite.”

Firstly, it’s all shot on DV – which is fine if you’re going for a gritty ‘news-footage’ type aesthetic, but if you’re doing it to save money (which they are – the producer said so) it destroys a lot of the natural beauty of film. Secondly, bear in mind McKean’s proclivity for experimentation and you’re left with pixelated images, giant ‘montage’ footage where three different cameras have shot a single scene from different angles and are all arranged in jigsaw-like blocks on the screen, swirling dream sequences with devils wearing masks and chanting, tedious voiceovers….. in a nutshell, the sort of thing I’d expect… mega-pretentious students to make. Now, supposedly Mr McKean is off on some sort of ‘revolutionise cinema!’ type quest, which is all very noble and cool, etc etc, but answer me this: how does one sustain a level of digital tampering which made the audience feel dizzy and queasy after 15 minutes, for the requisite minimum of 90 minutes that will encourage distributors to touch your film with a bargepole? I wish them luck, but don’t see it happening without some maaaajor changes to the concept.

I e-mailed Neil Gaiman and these were his comments:

    Dave’s making the film with the British Film Foundation, who subsidised a day of shooting, for Dave to experiment with cameras and such and see which of his ideas for the film would work and which wouldn’t.

The little trailer they made (I think it’s under 5 minutes long) was just for that purpose (think of it as a concept sketch) and everyone — Dave, the film foundation and the potential financiers — were happy enough with it that they’re moving forward with the feature film, which will, Dave tells me, be part-improvised, shot with multiple cameras and so forth.

However, Dave can’t get to it until he’s shot our film for Hensons/Columbia, “Mirror-Mask”, which will be closer in tone to his earlier films like “The Week Before”, with live actors in an imaginary world, and he’ll start shooting that probably in May. I think your correspondent will feel more comfortable with it.

I think the reply nice settles most of the things raised by my source, and indeed it also lets us all know what Mr. Gaiman is up to in the next couple of months.

This Has A “Sensible Answer For Everything” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Pamphlet Update

Here’s a mail I received:

      The monthly

Dragonball

      series was not cancelled to strictly sell it as trades. Its now included in Viz’s

MONTHLY SHONEN JUMP

      . Which is an attempt to do a monthly anthology style book like the ones in Japan.

Dragonball Z

      appears monthly in that title, mainly to boost sales in my opinion. So

Dragonball Z

    is still a monthly title. It appears in just as many pages of the anthology as it did on its own. Its actually a great marketing ploy because its one of the first NON-mainstream titles I’ve ever seen at some place like an Eckard’s drug store or a super market.

Getting comics out there into the real world is a great thing, getting a title with the critical acclaim that Shonen Jump has had out there is fantastic. Thanks for that info.

This Has A “Still Not Available In The UK, You Bastards” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Ellis Updated

Following on from the Warren Ellis story last week, and the very poor translations that Google and other similar sites provided me with, I was glad to receive the following:

      Speaking French fluently, I can give you more details about the information you gave about the

Captain Harlock

    movie… From what I can read, it’s not described as a rumor, but as a real project. Captain Harlock’s creator has said yes to the project, which he wants control over, as he’s been having some problems with the property in the past.

Oliver Dahan will be the director, and Jean-Pierre Dionnet, the producer, was also one of the creators of the world famous comic book series M?tal Hurlant in the seventies, and he’s a TV producer, TV host, and also a comic book writer.

The movie’s budget is announced at 27 million euros, and Leiji Matsumoto, the creator of Captain Harlock, wants to supervise the casting and quite a few aspects of the production. Apparently, those two French people went to see an American studio to produce the movie (French studios don’t like Sci-fi in general, so it seems like a good move, similar to what Besson and Jeunet did)… It’s announced as a US-Japan co-production, with a script written by Warren Ellis…

French team doing a film based on a Japanese comic filmed in America with a British script writer and a translation of the story being e-mailed from Canada to me… what a world we live in, eh?

Thanks for that it makes a lot more sense now.

This Has A “Small World” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


No Problemo

I was going to avoid a single 2000AD mention this week but I’ve failed again. I’ve had an e-mail through from a senior representative of Tharg the Mighty thanking me for last week’s article on the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic. Allegedly…

    it almost brought tears of Betelgeusian pride to the Mighty One’s eyes…

No problem at all, it was a pleasure.

I’ve also received word that Andy Diggle is getting a little embarrassed by all the praise that’s coming his way. The poor chap is supposed to be getting quite concerned that people may be waiting for him to fall flat on his face. I don’t think he needs to worry too much if his first couple of projects are anything to go by. However I should respect his wishes and leave him alone… before I do though love the little interaction between Giant and Dredd a couple of week’s ago in Incubus, and Giant’s idea was inspired. Oh and Lady Constantine, that ending, you Bastard… perfect, typical Constantine, saved the world, escaped unharmed and inadvertently sacrificed an innocent, perfect. There, I’ll lay off the praise now…at least until The Losers comes out!

This Has A “Keeping The Thrill-Suckers At Bay” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Comics 2003 News

The build up to the British Comic Festival is beginning to get interesting. Marvel look almost certain to attend. Last year they left it to the last minute to confirm they were coming but heck it was worth the wait to have Joe Quesada walk past me, I couldn’t actually see him but he did walk past me. It was like Pigpen in Peanuts only instead of a cloud of smelly crap surrounding him it was a throng of fanboys (shall I make the obvious joke? Nah, too easy).

Online, the Festival’s message board has recently been buzzing. Some fans are pissed off with idiots who bring 200-odd items to be signed and other people are annoyed that they’ll be limited in the amount of stuff they can get signed. What made the whole thing even worse was that some people on both sides were completely incapable of deleting the previous messages on their replies so a one-line comment would take a bloody age to scroll down to. It’s amazing how many people seem to think it’s their God-given right to demand as much signed stuff from creators of Jim Lee’s ilk (or in fact from any creators). Neil Gaiman has written about this sort of thing before and I was bewildered to find it happened then, I’m even more bemused now. These creators are giving up their own time, unpaid to come to these Festivals, we are lucky to be able to see them at all.

Following on from all the Jim Lee controversy (some people actually had the gall to ask when told Jim would do a 90 min signing what Mr. Lee would be doing for the rest of the Festival weekend as if they were paying his flight personally). DC replied:

    Jim is cool with what has already been scheduled. He may have to leave right after the panel to get back to London that night. He’s up for a couple of signing periods (1-2 hours) either both on Saturday or one on Saturday and one on Sunday before the panel.

And the final word on the festival is that I’ve finally done the pencils on my charity card for the Festival, I’ve bought some nice pens and a bunch of coloured pencils to finish it off but to be honest I’m so crap that I’m extremely doubtful anyone but my wife will ever see the card.

This Has A “Come And See SBC At The Festival” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


The Campaign Starts Here!

I wrote a bit above about last week?s article on Dragonball monthlies going the way of the Dodo. Here’s another mail I had in on the subject:

    Glad to see that I am not the only one who likes the monthly comic book format. Back when I would hang out at the comic store on a regular basis and engage in what passed for debate I would be the only one to say that graphic novels were not going to dominate the industry. I agree that culturally fans would not stand for it. Enjoyed this week’s column as always, but I thought you’d like to know that someone agrees with your thoughts on the first nail in the comic book coffin.

And I’m glad to have your comments. Whilst I am still a fan of Graphic Novels in their place I really can’t think of them as a substitute for my weekly 22 page fix. GNs, collections such as Shonen Jump, Super Manga Blast, The Megazine and prestige format comics such as The Killing Joke are a great way of getting comics into mainstream shops but I see that as a way of getting people into comics not into GNs.

I can’t see the future, Marvel’s experimenting with web-comics, CrossGen have been making announcements recently about their new projects for the future using new technologies and both DC and Marvel seem to have their GN collections coming out less than a month after the last issue in the collection has come out. The future doesn’t look good for the monthlies but I can still hope for a last minute reprieve.

This Has A “Hope For The Best, Expect The Worst” Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Sell-Out!

Apparently Zen #0 is set to sell out as soon as it hits the shelves. The publisher has advised fans to reserve their copies NOW!

      Although I’m certain we’ll eventually go into additional printings, I can’t say at this point when that will occur. A heavy volume of e-mail inquiries, including requests for subscriptions to the new

ZEN

    series, prompted the company to make this announcement.

“It’s apparent that many fans are concerned they won’t be able to get their hands on the book before it sells out,” Stern said. “I want to assure them that they can avoid this eventuality if they simply reserve it with their retailer. But they only have a few days left in which to do so.”

Stern noted that when Zen Intergalactic Ninja #1 was released with little fanfare by himself and co-creator Dan Cote in 1987, that book sold quickly out. “The difference today is that we have the Internet, which not only helps us gauge demand for the book, but to also instantly notify fans as to what to do in order not to miss it and be disappointed.”

Fans are advised to get their orders in by March 25th.

Am I the only one who’s a little sceptical about this? Not that I doubt it could sell out nor do I question the quality of the title it just seems, well…a bit Marvel. It’s neither a ?leaked? email, nor a teaser image but it just seems to be in the same vein. I dunno, I’m a cynic and this could be as it seems to be but it just sets off alarm bells for me. Either way if you’re interested you’d better get your order in.

This Has A “Sales Ploy?” Value Of Five Out Of Ten


What Could Have Been…

Supergirl died a death as a title with issue #80 and no one mourns it more than its writer, Peter David. On Thursday the writer answered the question many fans had asked:

    IF SUPERGIRL HAD CONTINUED…

When I first embarked on the storyline, I was told by the powers-that-be that I could use Kara for six issues. That was it. Six issues, no more. I hoped to change their minds. Because I was positive the addition of Kara would bring in readers in droves.

What I was hoping was that support and interest for the series would be so major, so undeniable, so impossible to ignore, that I could use it as ammo to convince the PTB to change their mind and allow me to keep the character around. If that had happened, my intention was to turn the book into, effectively, a team book. The “S” equivalent of Birds of Prey. Linda would have been Superwoman (for want of a better name), Kara would have been officially Supergirl, and I would have brought in Power Girl to boot. The tone of the book would have been straight up fun–three super blondes getting into adventures. In my truly demented best-case scenario, I would have subtitled the book “Blonde Justice.”

That was my “A” plan. Unfortunately, the lack of support up front torpedoed it. Had we seen the kind of support for issue #75 that we wound up getting with issue #80, and built from there, I might have been able to pull it off. As it was, I wasn’t.

The “B” plan was a continuing storyline with Linda about which I will not, at this time, go into detail, except to say that “Supergirl” fans should keep reading my DC work.

Oh, boy? can you guess what Mr. David is referring to?

This Has A ?Missed Opportunity For Fans? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


unNYXed

According to the Diamond site NYX, the on again, off again mutant book is well and truly on:

Wizard #142

      asks, who will be the summer’s hottest rising stars? Will it be the team behind Marvel’s mutant book

NYX

    , Zeb Wells and Josh Middleton?

Thanks to the Rage-mite who spotted the following odd exchange on the Brian Wood message board following that announcement:

      I was hoping Middleton would have been working on his

Sky Between Branches

    , but I guess when the corporate cock comes a knocking. The guy has to pay the bills somehow.

To which Mr Wood replies:

    ?but I guess when the corporate cock comes a knocking” against his tonsils, you mean?

i jest, because i surely dont begrudge anyone such work, because as you said, it does pay the bills, and my Vampy-Witchy book will go a long way for me in that department. i just find it interesting that Marvel is digging out this 3-year old concept, at long last, and i am pleased that it continues to keep my name in the industry news.

NYX is on, as for the rest of it… I’ll left you come to your own opinions on that.

This Has A “Distasteful” Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Promethea

The following is from JH Williams III on the Promethea message boards at DC. I thought I ought to pass it on:

      Hey there everyone. I don’t know if word has gotten out but the

Promethea

      publishing schedule has been delayed. I am in the middle of a family crisis and therefore

Promethea

      issue 26 will be very late. And the following issues will be pushed back on the schedule. I will also not be able to answer anymore questions for awhile but will be reading your posts from time to time so please keep those posts coming. I will post when things get back to normal. Also it may be awhile before

Promethea

    can become regular again. It has been very difficult to get any work done over the last 2 months and still will be for the time being. Anyway, I will let you all know when things return to a normal schedule. So please be patient with us, thanks.

It’s good to see a creator taking the time to update fans like this even in the middle of a family emergency. Everyone at Rage Towers hopes it isn’t anything too serious.

On top of this sad news is the rumour that’s started to circulate is that Promethea will end with issue #32. I’ll let you know if I get any more information on this if and when I do.

This Has A “Chin Up” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Fantastic News

Apparently Fantastic Four #71 will be double sized. Following that issue Marvel will be releasing two issues a month for a little while. Taking the pressure off Mike Wieringo (and allowing him to get ahead of schedule) will apparently be Howard Porter (formerly of JLA) who is supposed to be drawing six issues.

This Has A “Fabulous For Four’s Fanboys” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Burning Bush

Before I get into this article I have a few serious words to say. There is currently a war going on and I am living in an area that is almost certainly a terrorist target. However, my views on the war are irrelevant, the war has started. Men and women from America, Britain, Australia, and Spain are currently risking their lives far from their homes and it is our responsibility to support them. I would like to wish all of the armed forces well and I pray that they will return safe and well very, very soon.

We live in a democracy, in Britain free speech is respected; in the US it’s protected by the Constitution. America was founded on the principle that the people should be able to and should be encouraged to challenge people in authority if they feel they are wrong. I believe it is entirely possible to support our troops and to desperately hope that they are kept safe whilst still voicing opinions against political leaders. It’s not unpatriotic (it’s unpatriotic to try to prevent it) it’s democracy and thank God we live in one.

Too damn serious, but I didn’t want anyone getting the wrong idea about the below. My prayers are with our soldiers but I still don’t like George Bush nor the ever smiling Mr Blair.

Remember when I said:

    ? Pinky reminds me of a certain un-elected dictator in the North American region though…

It seemed to piss a few people off:

    Is this supposed to get you some kind of sympathy with the socialists in your country? It clearly is meant as a mean spirited smear since Mr. Bush was certainly elected, whether you or your misinformed leftist friends believe it or not. And maybe you should look up the term dictator in your Oxford dictionary before attaching that label as well.

I know, guys like you thrive on hate mail and put these kinds of comments out there to generate it. In the end, people of character will be recognized for what they are no matter what people with no tolerance for views not their own say about them.

Oh, how I laughed. Socialists in the UK? We’ve got a so-called Socialist government that’s about as right wing as Margaret Thatcher and frankly why would I want to get their sympathy?

I love the whole ‘mean spirited smear’ thing as if I’m suddenly the only person in the world expressing negative views about ‘Hanging Judge’ Bush. As far as I can tell he’s just about the most parodied man in the world at the moment. My comments on Bush were not intended to cause offence because frankly, let’s face it Pinky’s the one who should have been insulted at least he has the sense to hang around with the Brain where as Bush only has the image doctored Mr. Blair.

Oh, and I loved your closing line about tolerance, loved it to death. I agree wholeheartedly. Shame you don’t seem to yourself judging on the mail that preceding that comment.

I suppose I ought to go find some misinformed leftist friends rather than the middle of the road well informed ones I have.

Who’s next?

    I read your column for entertainment regarding comics, and not for political commentary. Your thinly-veiled comment regarding the President of the United States has just cost you a loyal reader. This has an “F— you and the horse you rode in on” value of 10 out of 10.

Good. Hey everyone the Bush-ites have gone, turn up the music, crack out the beer and let’s get this party started!

It’s your chance to win again on ATR. This week you can win a copy of a book that both of the Bush supporters above really should read, Stupid White Men by Michael Moore. I’m buying this book outta my own money here out of the goodness of my heart (please allow a week for the book to actually be sent on top of shipping time and don’t be surprised if the spine’s got a bit of a curve). All you have to do is email me the funniest George W. Bush parody website you can find, that simple. The funniest wins the book.

This Has A “Dividing The Readership” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Ah, spring has sprung… April soon. Time marches on. That’s it for another column. Deep breath…hold it…1-2-3…and release. Ah…that’s better. Calm now.

I’m off to horde water, canned goods, torches, batteries and radios before building an Anderson Shelter in the back garden. After all if the government says water, a radio, a torch and canned food will protect me from a chemical or biological attack it must be true! I mean it has to be right as the American government said a table would stop a nuclear attack. Duck and cover everyone!

I’ll see you next and every week back here at All The Rage.

TTFN

Alan Donald – signing off from a town uncomfortably close to several major military bases.

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