Howdy. It?s been a while.

Where have I been? That?s a long story, probably best rambled about in my livejournal or something. Let?s just say that life can get in the way of the Rage sometimes.

?But for a blasted month or so, Steve?! Come on.?

Yeah. Totally. It?s a big bag of suck, I know. Imagine being me. I would have much rather have been writing ATR columns than dealing with the oodles of shit I have been dealing with. But, hey, that?s life. Rolling with the hits is part of it, you know.

And now, for the apologies?

Big ones go out to the readers. Miscommunication allowed for me to seemingly disappear without any word here. I?m terribly sorry about that; I really am. I also owe public apologies to the SBC folks that counted on me plopping their SDCC coverage in this column soon after the Con was over. Nick, Ariel, anyone else: Sorry, guys. And it was good coverage, too. Damn.

I don?t usually enjoy apologizing. I mean, who does?

What?s worse is that I have been living in virtual comic-book world isolation for the last month, so I am rather light on material this week. Some come back, huh? Well, it could be worse, I suppose.

Big thanks go out to those of you who contacted me and asked how I was doing, gave me and my family well-wishes, and asked if there was a way you could help (not that you could, really, but the thought still counts). I?m slowly getting though all of this crazy amount of email. There?s a lot. Yikes. I hope I have the time to get to at least most of it. So, if you have dropped me a line recently and are afraid I missed it, please do so again.

And to some of you? Yup. I?m STILL here. Nutty, huh? That means I?m probably not going anywhere for quite awhile, or changing my style much (if at all). If you are holding out for my replacement, I recommend moving on. It?s okay. We can still hug if you want. Hugs are cool. Bacon-filled hugs are better, though. Kinda like a Love Pastry.

Gotta love it.

If you have read this week’s Lying in the Gutters, you may have noticed Rich mentioning that he’s doing some vodcast thingy in November and that it is to be called All The Rage. It was decided since he came up with the column in the first place that he should get the name back if he so chooses. Consider it a move in the direction of creator rights. Yes, that means this column will change its name. To what? I don’t know yet… We’re still deciding on it. In fact, email be your suggestions. I’ll make sure to post the funny ones. Expect Rich to make an appearance in these internet pages soon to discuss some stuff, including the release of the coloured version of the Flying Friar (which I quite like, and the colouring job is excellent). And hey, to those of you out there that think this column is no longer “the real ATR” or some clap-trap like that, Happy My Birthday. You’re welcome. 🙂

Not only will there be changes to ATR (well, whatever it is called post-October…) but there will be some big changes to this very website. Don’t worry, you’ll be kept in the loop.

You probably don?t need to know that it is my birthday and that I?ve spent my weekend eating kangaroo burgers and nummy corned beef.

Wait.

You DO need to know that it?s my birthday. It?s a goddamned pan-dimensional holiday, dammit.

Let?s get on with it!

Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant Dead Ant Dead Ant

Let?s kick this off with something about one of my most cherished comics – Irredeemable Ant-Man. More to the point?unlettered pages from issue #12 (due out on the 19th, I believe). The final issue. The one that will make me very sad, to be sure.




Love to Kirkman and Hester. I hope you guys are able to do this version of Ant-Man again one day.

This has a ?Cancellation Blows? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten.


More Potter?s Field to Come

If you haven?t picked up Mark Waid?s Potter?s Field #1 yet, you should. It kicks some serious ass. It?s certainly some of the best work Waid has done, in my not-so-humble opinion. A follow-up series to this mini-series is already planned (and presumably already being worked on). I assume this isn?t a big secret or anything, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

Read more about Potter?s Field here.

This Has A ?Saving The Unsaved? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten.


Tony Lee is in ATR Again. Let?s See Those Surprised Faces.

I suppose it goes without saying that I would tap Tony Lee since I was looking for stuff for this week. What can I say? He?s a friend, he?s talented, and he?s an absolute shameless self-promoter. All good things, in this case. The other day, I decided to ask him about this new Shotgun Samurai: Love Hurts ? So Kill Everyone project he has going on with spats-obsessed artist Dan Boultwood, and I also stumbled upon some Warrior Nun Areala news that I don?t believe you have heard anywhere else.

ATR: Hey Tony, I’m back with the Rage and having you on the return column seems to make so much crazy sense it hurts. So… Shotgun Samurai… Tell us everything.

TONY LEE: Well, Shotgun Samurai’s actual title is Shotgun Samurai: Love Hurts – So Kill Everyone. It’s a well known story of star-crossed lovers who fight against adversity and push towards a brighter tomorrow.

With weapons. Lots of weapons.

ATR: I like weapons. Subscribe us to your newsletter, please?

TONY LEE: Basically, I was at San Diego in July and I was discussing a whole load of pitches and projects and while I was working out a title for something else, a scene just came into my head – the scene that became the first few pages of this. I knew immediately that this had to be called Shotgun Samurai. Speaking about it to Larry Young (AIT/Planet Lar), he was worried about the similarity to Six Gun Samurai, and offered a couple of alternatives – but in the end we (Dan and I) decided to stay with the original title – but add Larry’s ideas. You know, blatantly steal them, like we did when he suggested Hope Falls for a name.

ATR: Larry Young – Idea Mine. Nice.

TL: Shotgun Samurai is Romeo and Juliet – but it’s in modern day London and it’s not the Capulets and the Montagues – it’s the Triads and the Yakuza. And the couple in the middle are from both camps, which of course makes a relationship difficult. But, (and this is where it diverts drastically from the usual tale) realising that the only way they can be together is to not have these warring factions around them – instead of running away, eloping, that sort of thing – they steal a Russian Mafia Boss’s armoury and decide to kill everyone who disagrees with them. And so they start a campaign of ultraviolence against their families whilst avoiding a mightily pissed off Russian Mafia and a police inspector with a leather fetish. Its five issues. The moment I explained it to Dan, he blackmailed me to be allowed to do it.

Originally I was looking to do it more as a manga style, and Emma Viecelli was working on concepts for me as a favour, as she’s stupidly busy and all that, but Dan’s style fits the book perfectly. And the first few pages, a car and bike chase down the A4 motorway, guns blazing has a serious matrix / John Woo feel to it. It’s not often I laugh out loud with glee while writing a script. I did it lots in the first five pages.

ATR: So this and Hope Falls… That’s two current projects with Dan, right?

TL: Well, Hope Falls is pretty much done now. Issue #1 comes out in just under two months, it’s solicited in the current PREVIEWS and as we speak Dan’s already well into issue #3. By the time it comes out, we intend to be done. Of course the scripts have been done for ages, so while he finishes off #4 and #5, I’ll be scripting the first couple of Shotgun issues. And technically Rich Emms (who owns half the rights) is promising us a The Gloom collected trade soon, so that’s three. And then in between, we’re also still doing the Dashing Tales – For Young Chaps 1947 Almanac.

ATR: That’s great… You guys make a sweet team. How long is Shotgun Samurai supposed to run? 5 Issues, you said?

TL: We’re looking again at five issues, but it depends on who we go with. We’re seriously considering pitching it as a slimline format to Image which would then make it six issues. But then again, they might totally hate it, so who knows. But it’s finite – and of course it has to end in a lot of deaths.

ATR: But of course.

TL: One of the things we’re hoping with Hope Falls is that it’ll expose us to some other publishers who haven’t seen Dan’s style before. So we’re going to see how reviews to that go before we start speaking to other publishers. But even if we wait until the end of the year, we’re still easily ready by summer ?08. I don?t know about you, but I saw that picture of them and I just smiled. A lot.

ATR: Yeah, I dig it. And I’m sure others out there will dig it, too. Before you know it, you guys will be swimming in money and hookers.

TL: Live the dream, Steve. At worst, we’ll steal some of the Suicide Girls audience from McKelvie.

ATR: Hmmm? I just envisioned you and Dan dressed in conspicuous overcoats, stuffing internet models into the spacious truck of a black 1963 Dodge Polaris…

TL: We do that on weekends. Dan wears spats and a trilby hat.

ATR: Makes sense. Dan strikes me as a spats man.

TL: He is. He has several pairs. Seriously.

ATR: So, before you go – a few weeks back Rich Johnston (in Lying In The Gutters) mentioned that you were working on a project with Antarctic Press, and hinted it was a Warrior Nun Areala story. The following week in Two Drunk Guys In a Bar, you danced around the issue, show a page or art from Rod Espinosa (see below) and mentioned the word ?EXCOMMUNICATION?. What?s up with that?

TL: Well, I can’t say much, as we’re still in the early stages of it – but it’s a revamp of Warrior Nun Areala. It’s pretty much a start from scratch miniseries which throws her into a position she never expected to be in, and where she discovers who her real friends are. And the title is Warrior Nun Areala – Excommunicated. So you can see what I mean.

ATR: Now when you say “throws her in a position she never expected to be in”… From what I understand, this comes as no surprise for this character… *laughs * But seriously, can you elaborate?

TL: It’s no big secret that Areala’s been the butt of a few jokes due to her look – in one issue they even make a point of joking about it themselves with ?Warrior Nun Areola?. She goes into battle with thigh slits and a sword. And in the past we’ve had a lot more ?exposure?. But throughout the series, she?s always had the backing of the Church, the Vatican, and the secret holy warrior orders. This is a legacy that’s been built up over three or four separate runs, and countless miniseries.

What I intend to do is cut off her air supply.

ATR: Cut off her?Um, that’s very… kinky, Tony.

TL: It’s a term that Michael Wilson, consulting producer of Burn Notice told me at San Diego. It’s when the people you work for totally cut you off. It’s the premise behind Burn Notice. And in the Warrior Nuns, the way to do this to someone? Excommunication.

ATR: Sounds cool. It also provides a clear playing field to toy with. (Note: Yay! Burn Notice.)

TL: We have a six part series that takes Areala away from the ?Cartoon Network? style of previous years and pushes her straight into HBO territory. Gone is the manga style, we’re going for a grittier look. He costume is changed, bringing it into line with other franchises like Warrior Nun: Lazarus. We remove every comfortable thing in the mythos and either play with it or replace it. People die. Established long term characters turn out to be traitors. Shannon trades her wimpole for a flak jacket. And we have an end battle like none ever seen before in this world.

Nothing you know is safe.

Basically? I bumped into Rod at San Diego airport and on the hour flight to Los Angeles I told him what I thought was wrong with the franchise and what needed to be done to kick start it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea and the character and I’m not doing the whole ?new broom? aspect. Fans of the original series will have a lot to cheer about. But I spent an hour going through everything with Rod, giving him my take on the character and world and what could be done in it – and at the end he shook me by the hand and told me to start on it. I wasn’t even pitching!

ATR: Dude, that’s like… stealth pitching!

TL: Funnily enough, if I had been pitching, I would probably have played it safer. And probably not got the gig.

ATR: So Ben Dunn will be involved, right?

TL: All of Antarctic is involved in this, but at the moment I’m primarily dealing with Rod Espinosa and Lee Duhig; both of which have a long history with WNA and will tell me when I go wrong. But I gave them the outlines to all the issues last week, and apparently they were well received. That said, we’re still in early stages and things may get changed – it might even be canned. That’s the joy of comics.

ATR: Antarctic are a good bunch. You should be in good hands… I?m looking forward to all this neat stuff you’re doing. But it seems we should wrap this up… (in)famous closing words?

TL: Good to see you back. And– ?Hey kids! Go pre order Hope Falls right now! So Dan Boultwood can afford to buy new spats!?

This Has An ??And Call Me Granny? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten


Brandon Jerwa Wants You To Buy BSG: Season Zero Comics

Seeing as I was bringing in some friends to get some material, I figured there?s always room for Jerwa. Brandon?s new title is Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero from Dynamite Entertainment. I?ve read both the story from Free Comic Book Day and issue #1 and let me say that it?s pretty damn good. It?s also even better if you know the real life inspiration of one of the characters. Anyhow, I caught up with Brandon right before he headed out to play a show in Seattle with his band SD6 and when I asked him to ?pimp it?, he had this to say:

?Basically, Season Zero serves as a prequel to the Sci-Fi channel series, starting roughly two years before the TV mini-series that launched everything. We’ll move forward in time from that two-year-prior period and gradually introduce familiar characters as we go. If you’ve never seen the show, you can pick up this book with no problems and get a (hopefully) clear intro to the whole shebang. We’ve recently been given the greenlight to go to 12 issues, which is GREAT news. I have a big story for the second six-issue arc, but it was the kind of thing that we couldn’t really lead off with. You’ll understand when you read it – this is a definitely a big climax sort of thing, rather than a starting point. And knowing that we MIGHT go past six issues, I had to keep it in reserve!

Also, I should mention my BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: PEGASUS one shot that debuts in November. It’s a stand-alone piece, but it definitely ties into Season Zero, so it’s sort of like a Season Zero Annual.

As for hints (as to what will happen), let’s see…one particular character is going to get a glimpse of a future that he or she won’t fully understand until the third season of the TV show, while another will take the first step towards a destiny that she didn’t know was waiting for her. Did I say her? Oh, I guess that’ll narrow the suspects, then, won’t it? Muahahahaha!

And now for a shameless plug for something else he?s writing? wait for it? wait? waaaaiiit?

Hey! Go buy EVA: DAUGHTER OF THE DRAGON while you’re grabbing issues of Season Zero! And check out SAVAGE TALES #4! And don’t forget HIGHLANDER! I’M EVERYWHERE! *runs off cackling*?

Brandon will have a nifty story involving The Art of War coming up in Savage Tales #4. Considering how excellent anthology series Dynamite?s Savage Tales has been so far, it is probably safe to say it?s worth picking up whether Brandon is in it or not. But he just adds to the madness? so I?m not complaining one bit.

Hope you had a good show, man, and showed those turkeys in Assemblage 23 and God Module up ?till they cried.

Crap, I just had to say that. Now I have to go into hiding from Tom. For gawd?s sake, move on to the next bit already!

This Has A ?Damn the Toaster-Peedoes!? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten


Some Parting Shots?

Looking for a great podcast to listen to? Check out Acme Comics? Escape Pod . There?s a good interview where they talk to Paul Hornschmeier about the upcoming Omega: The Unknown from Marvel Comics.

I?m sure some of you fellow Robotech fans heard about Tobey McGuire producing and starring in a future Robotech film. Someone was telling me that 3 films are planned. Wild internet speculation? Have they even started planning even more movies yet? Of course, that?s what being a franchise is all about, so I guess it?s not all that farfetched to expect. But anyway, if Mr. McGuire ends up starring in this/these Robotech film/s then I would imagine he wouldn?t be in Spider-Man 4?

This link here is full of funny. At least I think so.

One piece of news I think is awesome that I would like to share concerns local Victoria, BC comic shop Legends Comics. Gareth Gaudin, co-owner of the shop and creator of rather well-known local comic Magic Teeth Dailies, has recently shipped 2000 copies of the Perogy Cat (from Magic Teeth Dailies) to Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Read all about it here

I haven?t had much time to read many comics over the last month, what with my life being a vortex of insanity and all, but I did have a chance to read all five issues of Conan and the Midnight God from Dark Horse Comics. This has my vote for best comic series of the year. Crom, it?s one of the best things I?ve read in comics in 10 years? or maybe ever. I heartily recommend this for any of you out there who are into sword & sorcery fare. Thinking of Conan makes me think of Red Sonja which makes me think of Dynamite Entertainment which leads me to say that Simon Furman is playing his A-game with Terminator 2: Infinity. Good stuff.

Alrighty, that?s about it. I?m starting to spiral into senseless babble at this stage. Okay, more senseless babble than usual, I mean. I?ve dozed off twice while writing this and I?d really like to go enjoy my birthday at some point, which means some sleep first. Once again, I?d like to apologise to ATR?s readers for my prolonged absence and I hope this doesn?t happen again. Just in case though, some things currently in my life are ?touch and go? and it is very possible we might get a week off again in the near future. I hope not, for that would mean bad things. But if it does happen, I will make sure to give some warning.

This week?s column is dedicated to Mike Wieringo, his family, and friends. I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of one of comicdom?s best artists and nicest people. So long, man. You will be missed.

Edited to add some good news: Massive huzzahs go out to Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick on the arrival of a beautiful boy sprog, Henry Leo. Excellent news, indeed.

Here?s how to find me:

Email
Livejournal
ComicSpace
Myspace

And I?m on Facebook. Look me up, if you like.

Since my life is in ?busy-overdrive?, contacting me directly is still the best means of communication. So, if you have material, suggestions, complaints, or whatever, you are more than welcome to do so.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, dear readers?

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