This weekend marks the end of convention season. Mind you, I?m already looking forward to the NYC con this February. We?ve got a boat load of material to get through this week, so lets just leap right in.


X-Men Artists United

After his current stint on Wolverine is over, expect to see Humberto Ramos on another X-title quite soon.

This Has A ?Keep It In The Family? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten


Foreshadowing

Over on his myspace page, Brad Meltzer explains how he foreshadowed his choice of having Roy Harper join the JLA back in his Green Arrow run:

    Now, to the few eagle-eyed out there, yes, I’ve been building toward this for nearly five years now — since my first comic book arc, The Archer’s Quest. To be specific: Green Arrow # 19, page 3, panel 3 reads:

Roy: So you think they’ll invite you back in the League?
Ollie: No idea.

Panel Four: Same shot.

Roy: What would you say if they asked?
Ollie: Know what’s funny? You’re almost the same age I was when I joined. They should be asking you to be a member.

Panel Five: Same shot, but Roy’s got a blank look on his face. The comment hits home.

Panel Six: Same shot, but Roy looks back at the road.

Roy: You wanna stop for lunch?
Ollie: mmm.

It’s no different than Black Lightning and Vixen. Why else you think they appear in Identity Crisis? The Justice League or Avengers line-up we dreamed when we were little is within each of us forever.

And that why Meltzer is a great writer (and an even greater mystery writer); he knows how to lay down the seeds for future storylines.

This Has A ?Reread Those Back Issues For Clues? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten


Wish You Were Here

Last week, Jason Rodriguez told us about his upcoming anthology title POSTCARDS. This week Jason shared some art from the upcoming series:


This Has An ?Anthology I?m Looking Forward To The Most? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten


On A Serious Note

Industry legend Joe Kubert has been issuing the following petition letter. I? ll let him explain in his own words:

    Dear colleague:

I don’t usually get involved in international controversies. But I am outraged by the refusal of the Polish government to return artwork belonging to a fellow-cartoonist and Auschwitz survivor, Mrs. Dina Babbitt. And I am writing to ask you to join me in protesting this injustice.

Deported to Auschwitz as a teenager, Mrs. Babbitt’s life was spared by the infamous war criminal, Dr. Josef Mengele, after he saw a mural of Snow White that she had painted on the wall of the children’s barracks to soothe the children in their final hours. He then compelled her to paint portraits of Gypsies upon whom he was performing his barbaric “experiments.”

After the war, Mrs. Babbitt relocated to California, where she worked as an animator for Warner Brothers and Jay Ward Productions. Among other things, she illustrated such characters as Wile E. Coyote, Cap’n Crunch, and Tweety Bird for many years.

Some years ago, unbeknownst to Mrs. Babbitt, eight of the paintings she did at Auschwitz resurfaced and were acquired by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, a Polish government institution on the site of the former death camp.

Mrs. Babbitt visited the museum and verified that they are hers (they are even signed “Dina 1944”), but the Poles refused to give them back, claiming they are legally the property of the museum.

Four years ago, when I wrote the book “Yossel,” about a teenage cartoonist whose life was spared by the Nazis because they were amused by his drawings, I did not know that there had been a real-life case that bore similarities to my book. I was stunned to learn of Mrs. Babbitt, and even more stunned by the Polish government’s position.

Together with officials of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, an organization with which I have been active, I have prepared a petition to the Polish authorities. It is intended to be signed specifically by cartoonists, animators, and comic book artists. Adam, Andy, and I are very much hoping that you will join us.

To have your name added to the petition, please send an email to the
Wyman Institute’s director, Dr. Rafael Medoff, at: [email protected]

With thanks in advance for your support,
Joe Kubert

And here is a draft of the letter:

      Mr. Piotr Cywinski, Director

 

      Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

 

      Oswiecim, Poland

 

Dear Mr. Cywinski:

As cartoonists, animators, and comic book artists, we are deeply troubled that the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has refused to return the portraits that our colleague, Mrs. Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, painted in Auschwitz in 1944.

The fundamental principle that art belongs to the artist who created it is recognized everywhere except in totalitarian countries. One would hope that Poland, having been liberated from totalitarian rule, would not revert to the mentality that regards everything as the property of the state.

We agree that the display of Mrs. Babbitt’s artwork is of great educational value, and we are pleased that the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum recognizes their importance. But that educational purpose could just as easily be achieved by displaying high-quality reproductions of the paintings, while returning the originals to their creator and rightful owner.

Mrs. Babbitt has suffered enough. We implore you to do the right thing and give her back her paintings.

Sincerely,

Joe Kubert
Adam Kubert
Andy Kubert
Jim Amash
Matthew Ellis
Joe Jusko
Lovern Kindzierski
Steve Leialoha
Bob McLeod
Mike Pascale
Michael L. Peters
Trina Robbins
Art Spiegelman
Rob Stolzer
Greg Theakston
Tim Townsend
David Wade
Liam Sharp

This Has A ?Fighting The Good Fight? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten


Dawn of the Zombie

Mike Raicht shuffled into the ATR offices to chew on some brains and tell us about his new Marvel Max series ZOMBIE?

ATR: Tell our readers the basic premise of the new Zombie Marvel Max book. What can they expect?

MR: ZOMBIE is a Marvel MAX reinvention of the Simon Garth character. Axel Alonso asked me to take the ZOMBIE mythos of the Marvel Universe, minus the voodoo and crazy amulets which are still a part of the Marvel Universe Zombie, and to reinvent it for the 21st century. So, along with Warren Simons and Axel, we basically brought the idea into the here and now where movies like 28 Days Later and (the new) Dawn of the Dead are the zombie movies to beat in my opinion.

In our tale Simon Garth is an assistant bank manager in Central New York who gets caught up in a bank robbery. He makes some difficult choices and ends up a hostage, along with the lovely bank teller Layla, of two psychopathic bank robbers. In their attempt to get away from the police they run into something much worse — a horrible accident that in reality is the beginning of a Zombie outbreak. Trapped on the wrong side of the Zombie quarantine we get to see three different struggles — the bank robbers trying to figure out a way to survive and get away with the money, Simon and his friends attempting to survive the bank robbers and the Zombies, and the Zombies hungry for human flesh.

So on top of Zombie gore goodness, which is the real fun part of the genre, we’re trying to look at greed and the need to survive. We’ve got three nice instincts going, greed, survival, and hunger, and we get to see which one comes out on top.

ATR: What differentiates this book from the numerous zombie books on the shelf these days?

MR: We’ve got a few things going for us. The main thing in my mind is that we have Kyle Hotz on the art. Kyle is an awesome artist, especially for this type of story. Nobody draws zombies eating people better than Kyle.

The other is that we’ve come up with something that is as close as you can get to a straight up zombie movie in comic form. It’s how we approached it. It’s a foundation that we could definitely build on if it’s successful but it has a beginning, middle, and end that is pretty satisfying.

We also tried to combine the zombie movie with a heist film. But really, with zombies and their fans, I think it’s the different execution that people love. Most of the Zombie tales have the basic premise of “people trapped” or “people infected”. When I walk into a theatre or crack open a comic focused on zombies, I just want to see how each storyteller goes about telling their tale. We all know people are going to get eaten in a Zombie tale, right? It’s the how and the why, and the subtext that the writer is working into his tale whether it’s about race, greed in corporate America, or science gone wrong, that makes each of these zombie books, at least the good ones, special.

ATR: Is this set in the Marvel Universe? Is there any continuity that readers have to know about to enjoy this story?

MR: This is set in its own little corner of the MAX Marvel Universe and is a brand new beginning for Simon Garth. Everything you need to know is right in this story. No continuity.

And for those Marvel U. Simon Garth fans, no worries. He is still safe and sound just waiting for a writer to bring him back to the Marvel Universe again.

ATR: What can you tell us about the artist?

MR: Kyle Hotz is the artist. He’s amazing. And the other part of the art team is Dan Brown on colors. I think as you can see form the few pages and covers I’ve sent over he is doing a great job. Kyle is more of an old school zombie fan while I wanted to bring a more modern sensibility to the story. So we kind of mixed the genres a bit and I think it came out awesome. So Dan brought a more 70s feel to the colors, playing off the old posters of cool Zombie movies past. I think it came out pretty cool.

ATR: Do you have any ideas for a follow up tale to Zombie?

MR: Definitely. Hopefully the sales of the series and people’s reaction to it warrant another go.

ATR: What other projects are you working on? Anything else you want to plug?

MR: I have a book coming out soon from the Dabel Brothers called PREY: ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES which I adapted from a movie script from Michael Lent which should be coming out soon. It’s a sci-fi, ocean adventure about a strange organism that terrorizes the California coast line.

I also have a few short stories coming up in NEGATIVE BURN, one superhero and the other a war tale, from Desperado at Image.

And next year I have a few things in the works which aren’t quite ready to announce yet. But one is a horror book with Paul Azaceta of TALENT and GROUNDED fame for a new publisher called Th3rdworld Studios. He’s turned in some awesome pages so far and I can’t wait until people can check it out.

Zombie #1 is coming out 9/27, check it out everybody!

This Has A ?The Original Marvel Zombie? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten


That?s it for this week. If anyone hears any good gossip at the Baltimore con don?t hesitate to shoot me an email.


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