Welcome back to another edition of ATR. Alright, enough talk. Let?s rip this joint.

Grr? Argh?

There?s some surprising news from the House of Marvel this week. It seems that there will be a new five issue miniseries spinning out of Mark Millar and Greg Land?s current Ultimate Fantastic Four story arc. As readers of that title already know, it deals with Ultimate Reed Richards journeying to an alternate Earth overrun by zombie versions of Marvel?s superheroes. The way I hear it, the new miniseries is called Marvel Zombies and takes place entirely on Earth 615, Earth Z, the Zombie world? whatever they?re gonna call it. Someone will probably come up with a new name for that world. As for the creative team, the mini is being written by none other than Robert Kirkman, who?s had a lot of zombie experience on his creator owned title, The Walking Dead. Sean Phillips (Sleeper) is said to be the artist attached to this project. The early word is that the Marvel Zombies miniseries will be out in December. If so, I think we can expect an official announcement sometime soon?

This Has A ?Hulk Is The Hungriest One There Is!? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Amazon Rumors On The Moon

Over at his Yahoo group, Adam Hughes had some strong words regarding Rich Johnston?s latest LITG, in which Hughes was said to be two issues in on All Star Wonder Woman:

      Quick rumor control: I’m not two issues into ANY project right now. I’m busy trying to repair some corrupted files from a complete computer crash and subsequent (semi-successful) data rescue that happened right before Dragon*Con. I just finished my


      cover, trying to polish off


      touch-ups, gotta start


      , and a million other things.

REPEAT: I have not started any interior work yet. I have no reason to lie. I would LOVE to brag that I?m 2 issues into a project. LYING IN THE GUTTERS is fabricating lies and falsehoods. I have never spoken to that guy, he’s never e-mailed or called us to do any kind of fact-checking whatsoever. He’s never responded to Allison’s offers to provide fact-confirmation. He’s also gotten the details of our SERENITY raffle WRONG. Please tell everyone you know that this guy is not a journalist, don’t think you are getting facts from him.

Johnston replies:

      Never had an email from Allison that I recall, and I never write unfounded stories. This came directly from someone at DC. Which means something is odd here.

Someone is spinning. And I don’t know why. Will amend and retract based on what you’ve posted here, Allison. Many apologies.

Just so you know though. I never make up stories.

To be fair, the rest of Johnston?s report appears to be solid. While Terry Dodson neither confirmed or denied the rumor that he would be the artist on a relaunched Wonder Woman book, he did say that he has just received a synopsis for the first issue of his next project. So, interpret that as you will?

This Has A ?Hippolyta?s Belt? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Cybertronian Horizon

There have been a few rumblings about ?a big weekly Transformers event? next summer from IDW. Details are sketchy at the moment, but I?m told that it?s not a crossover. So don?t expect 30 Days of Transformers or anything like that.

But then again, that could have been fun too?

This Has A ?Space Bridge? Factor of Six Out of Ten

Harsh Light of Day

One of our ATR Associates at Harris has passed along some tidbits about the upcoming Vampirella: Revelations maxiseries.

Peruse the hidden text at your own peril. Highlight the text below with your cursor if you don?t mind spoilers.
Mike Carey’s arc destroys Vampirella’s identity and forces her to start establishing a new one virtually from scratch. Over the course of the maxi-series she’s overwhelmed by feelings of isolation and helplessness which she overcompensates for with a new meanness and arrogance she throws up as a shield. In the second arc written by Priest, as part of establishing a new identity she adopts a civilian persona where she’ll put on civilian clothing when she’s not fighting evil. Eventually though these harsher feelings break down when she discovers she does have family left: her old companion Pendragon. Thing is, he may or may not have just been murdered and she goes off in search of the truth….

Our source also passed along a few preview pages from the first issue.

This Has A ?Blood Flow? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

All Lost Souls Sign In Here

As a creator, Colleen Doran is best known for A Distant Soil, though her collaborations with Warren Ellis on Stealth Tribes and Orbiter have earned her several new fans. For her latest project, Doran is teaming with J. Michael Straczynski on The Book of Lost Souls, a monthly book under Marvel?s ICON imprint. While this is their first time working together, Doran?s association with Straczynski goes way back, as she elaborates:

      I first met J Michael Straczynski about ten years ago at a Wizard World convention in Chicago. I was a major

Babylon 5

      fan and Walter Koenig was there also, so I was in giggly fangirl mode. I went to one of the event parties and got them to sign my name badge. I was so nervous to meet Straczynski and he was very gracious and tolerant because I was an utter boob. Completely enamored of his work. He mentioned that he liked my work too, but I was sure he was just being polite.

Then about a year ago, I was having a professional problem and out of the blue, I got this very kind note from him. He had tracked down my email and taken the time to jot me a little letter to pep me up. That was incredibly decent of him. I couldn’t believe that someone I admired as much as Straczynski was taking the time out to drop me a line like that, especially since I have had no contact with the guy except for saying “Hi!” to him at a couple of conventions.

He went on to mention that he had a project in mind and wanted to keep the lines open in case I might be interested. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but when a script showed up some months later, I was drooling at the chance to get the gig. It was such a great concept! I really, really wanted this job!

I went ahead and did some audition pages, and then I waited a very uncomfortable time to hear the news. I knew they had some other real talents up for the gig, but I got the call from The Great Maker and I was just squealing into the phone! I was so happy! I think I blew Straczynski’s eardrums out.

I had a look in mind for the work, a style I have not really used before. I always change my art style to fit the project, so there are some similarities in the work I am doing on Lost Souls to the look I came up with for Orbiter, but Lost Souls is more developed and in some ways, more detailed. And it was very important that I do the inks as well. Inkers have a terrible time with my work because a lot of my stylistic quirks are unique to me and some inkers don’t understand what I am doing. Sometimes they just get frustrated and take the details right out, going over large areas with flat black to save time. Moreover, my hatching techniques are almost impossible to draw in pencil, so it’s murder trying to draw them so an inker can go over them and match them. It just seems like an enormous waste of time for me to work with an inker when I can do all the work myself faster than I can pencil a book alone. Since I am doing all of my own art on this book, I don’t have to worry about adjusting a style to match the inker’s expectations. For example, I can work with my customary tools and at my own preferred size original art which is quite small at less than 8″x12″. This saves a lot of time. And I just do quick breakdowns and go straight to ink, so I can complete a full issue in a month, with a few days left over for fudge factor. This project has pretty much convinced me that I won’t be working with inkers anymore. As good as Bob Wiacek was on Reign of the Zodiac inks, the book would have gone much faster with me doing the inks and pencils alone.

In a couple of issues, there are fantasy sequences, portions of the story that take place outside of reality, and I use another art style on those sequences. Part of it is printed directly from pencil. This is easy for me to do myself, not so simple with an art team. And of course, the colors just make the thing pop. It looks so gorgeous. I am really excited to see my work with this fancy computer process color in a monthly book.

The Book of Lost Souls is about as Vertigo a project as Marvel has attempted in many a year. It’s not a superhero book. It’s gothic in tone. I am really in love with this project. Jonathan is the main character, a young man who, in 19th century London, decides he has no future after being rejected by his only love, rejected by his family, pushed aside at University. He’s standing on a bridge when we meet him, ready to dive off. A man approaches, a man carrying a large book. He blithely tells Jonathan he can have the book as a dead weight. It will help him sink when he drops off the bridge. Nice.

Anyway, Jonathan takes the book and takes the plunge. When we next see him, it’s the 21st century and he goes on to meet the extremely creepy Dark man, Mystery the talking cat, and is saddled with his tasks in the afterlife: affecting the destinies of Lost Souls like himself.

Jonathan is a romantic figure in the classical sense. Not a sappy bodice ripper from a romance novel, but a brokenhearted idealist who lives an expansive adventure. It’s nice for me as the artist that he is also terribly handsome and wears a cool Victorian coat. My job is a real pleasure, I must say.

If you’re expecting Touched by an Angel, forget it. This book has references to angelic lore, but not everything about angelic lore is warm and fuzzy. We’re not really sure what we’re dealing with in this story. We have some happy endings. We have some not so happy endings. Readers are not certain where this book is going to be heading.

Lost Souls is a new direction for Marvel and I am anxious to see how this all plays out. As a reader, the project has me hooked. I don’t even want to know where it is heading until I get script. I want to have fresh eyes with each book. I am working on issue four right now, so we are really chugging along at a good pace. It’s good to have this kind of project as a monthly, too. Reign of the Zodiac involved extensive costume and set design every issue, but Lost Souls is grounded in reality for the most part, so I am not having to invent new styles of architecture and dress on every page, so I can concentrate on draughtsmanship and storytelling.

So far, everyone who has seen it says it is my best work. It is atmospheric and textured, and I am happy with the range. It is quite different than the style I use on A Distant Soil, which is more lyrical and pretty, but the figure work is more developed than on Orbiter. I am very excited about this project and am enjoying it immensely! This is the kind of book I would be reading, but it is even more fun to be drawing it!!!

This Has A ?Dreamtime? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Intimidation Game

Neil Kleid (Ninety Candles) is writing a new series for Jim Valentino?s Shadowline called The Intimidators, about a 1960s superhero who is brought to the present and stuck with a team of amoral modern heroes in ?a world beset by robot mafia, killer models and Republicans.? So basically, it?s like Captain America joining the Authority.

Sounds like fun? And I like the tagline: ?Attacking Evil Where It Lives ? And Kicking It While It?s Down! Repeatedly!?

Art chores are being handled by Miguel Montenegro, whose work can be seen here. Expect this one in December.

This Has A ?Crash & Byrn? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Cosmic Odinson

Michael Oeming has posted some sketches from his upcoming What If Thor Was A Herald of Galactus? one-shot. Oeming will be providing the art and Robert Kirkman is onboard to script it.

This Has A ?Terror of Terrax? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Who?s That Girl?

I?ve heard that Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo?s Girl, a three issue miniseries from Vertigo (from 1996) might be up for a trade paperback. Which took me by surprise, since I thought that there had already been a trade, but apparently not?

This Has A ?My Life As A Corpse? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Futurius Tense

Daniel Lundie sent us a few preview pages from the Futurius: Tales From The Plex anthology coming out around the end of November. The art is by Pedro Santos and Matt Weldon from stories by Chad Nevett and Blake M. Petit, respectively.

Lundie also extended an invitation to ATR readers who might want to be involved with the book. They’re actively looking for extra artists, inkers and letterers. Anyone who can contribute those talent are welcome to join up at http://www.futurius.net/plex/index.php and visit the members-only Studio Futurius Plus forum for the FAQs and full info.

This Has A ?Node Warriors? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Just a reminder before I sign off, the Inkwell Auctions for Hurricane Katrina victims are still ongoing and new auctions were added as recently as last Friday. The newest auctions include original artwork by Lee Bermejo, Mike Mayhew, Michael Gaydos and Tim Bradstreet, along with a signed Stan Lee Spider-Man movie script from the 60s.

For more info, please go to http://www.inkwellrelief.com

That?s all folks. See you in seven.


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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