I don’t care if he wears a funny hat, I don’t have to like Dan Buckley right now.

Marvel’s new publisher is off to a fantastic start. In only his first few weeks on the job he has already decided to strap a tightwad tourniquet on Epic — the imprint designed to give unknowns a shot at the big time — by collecting the first issues of each formerly announced mini-series into an anthology book. Epic contributor Mike San Giacomo talked a little about the unsuspected twist in his Newsarama column, My Epic Journey, just a few days ago. According to Mike, Buckley made the change to save money. “Marvel was spending far more to develop a line of relatively unknown writers and artists than expected and Dan decided to pull the plug.”

San Giacomo was lucky enough to escape his contract and move his book Phantom Jack to Image, but for the rest of the poor sons-a-bitches looking forward to their first mini-series, they have no choice but to stand by helpless as Marvel cuts off their knees like they took Gimli’s ax to the caps.

I have to tell you this is complete bullshit.

If you start a venture and tell the parties involved it’s going to happen a certain way, you don’t go and change the deal at the last moment. Where I’m from that’s called screwing people over. Buckley, and whoever else was involved in this crap, you should have taken responsibility for Marvel’s actions. You should have seen the first round of Epic through whether it cost you the green or not. After you fulfilled your promises a move to an anthology becomes an option, but not before. You should have stood by the people who busted their asses to write and draw those mini-series. What you’ve done instead is some cowardly shit.


Alright, now that my rant is done I should mention that this week’s ATR is co-written by Blair Marnell. Some of you may remember him as one of the fill-in guys during my vacation. He was the only one who didn’t get a news item pulled from the column. He did a great job, so he’s back with a bunch of rumors and info. We’ll do his stuff first.

Oh and lookee what’s up first.. some more on Epic.


Epic Fallout

With the departure of Phantom Jack to Image (http://newsarama.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6598), the fate of the accepted Epic projects is once again up in the air. The proposed anthology may include the second completed chapter of one of the titles, shortened from the previous page count or may not even be published at all. No one seems to know for sure.

I asked Phantom Jack writer Mike San Giacomo about the end of Epic in an effort to gain more insight. Here‘s what he said:

    It’s sad that the Epic experiment crashed and burned. The underlying idea, to find new talent, is wonderful one. Getting into the comics business is like breaking into the movies. It’s very tough and there is no rule book. Editors are always moaning about the lack of good artists and writers, but don’t realize how few can get over the gates to even show their work.

I believe that Epic was too much, too fast. A slower, more controlled version of the idea would serve everyone well.

In the meantime, many who had planned Epic pitches have already begun sending reworked proposals to other companies. Get ready for a flood…

This Has A “Pray For Your Local Submissions Editor” Factor of Six Out of Ten


Gotham Girls

The long awaited Harley & Ivy miniseries by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm has been pushed back to Spring of 2004.

Thanks to Jim Harvey from Toonzone.

This Has An “Awww… Puddin'” Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Teen Talk

Turns out that JLA/Avengers won’t be the George Perez superhero swan-song after all. Perez is currently re-teaming with Marv Wolfman on their unfinished 120-page graphic novel, The New Teen Titans: Games, started in 1989. Perez had finished nearly 80 pages of Games before over-commitment to new projects forced the artist to put it on the back burner. Expect an official announcement next year as we get closer to con season. To read a good summary of the whole saga go to: http://www.titanstower.com/source/libntt/games.html.

This Has A “Name of The Game” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Wizard World Domination

During the last two years, Wizard has been aggressively expanding it’s convention circuit. According to sources it just picked up another BIG show. Apparently CrossGen has quietly sold MegaCon to Gareb Shamus and co. For those of you keeping score at home, Wizard now has cons in Chicago; Arlington, Texas; Philadelphia, Long Beach, California and Orlando.

Don’t be shocked if they pick up more of the smaller shows in the next year.

UPDATE: Rob Felton, Wizard’s director of business development for Wizard Entertainment/Wizard Conventions has informed me that MegaCon has not been purchased by the company, despite the rumors. The empire shall not expand..

UPDATE II:
As of late last week, sources indicated that the deal was set between CrossGen and Wizard. Now, The Pulse is reporting that the new owner of Megacon is Beth Widera, the con director for the last four years. Widera is also a Crossgen employee, for their Comics in the Classroom program.

This Has A “Con Artist” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


A Bridge Too Far

IGN Filmforce is reporting that a new Farscape four hour miniseries is about to go into production. This is being produced independently from the Sci-Fi Channel, which angered fans when they cancelled the show in favor of such quality fare as Scare Tactics, The Dream Team and Tremors: The Series.

While this is good news for “Scapers,” it’s not nearly as good as it could have been. Back in September 2002, The Sci-fi Channel offered EM.TV (which at the time, owned The Jim Henson Company) a compromise to bring back the series for 13 episodes. The proposal was turned down. It turned out to be the best offer they would get to save the series.

Think they wouldn’t jump at that offer if they had the same chance today?

Note from Markisan: I know this one isn’t really comics-related, but I let Blair run with it because comic fans should have watched the damn show.

This Has a “Frellin’ Yotz” Factor of Five Out of Ten


CrossGen Chronicles

Why did CrossGen sell MegaCon? Because at this point, they need any income they can get. They are so hard up for cash, that the company which leases their copiers threatened to repossess them, for money owed.

Doesn’t look good for the folks down in Florida. Things are so tense at the offices, the receptionist is under instruction not to admit anyone who doesn’t work within the building, even within the front lobby itself. Instead, John Smith, Facilities Manager, is now paged and meets you outside the door to determine your reason for visiting.

Sound bad? It gets worse. Remember all of those unpaid freelancers? As of this moment, none of them have been paid and payment does not appear to be forth coming. The debt owned to Creative Personnel is rumored to be in the upper 6 digit range. This includes staff and freelancers. Some of the most recent incidents include:

      Andrea Di Vito, penciller on

Brath

    , has quit. Conveniently, CrossGen hasn’t paid him since he returned to Italy two months ago. Issue #10 is his last issue, with #11 to be drawn by fill-in artist, Alcatena.

Depending on who you talk to, Robert Hunter, the inker of Crux, has either quit or been fired. Either way, he has also not been paid for his most recent work.

Chuck Dixon has placed two pages of original art by Jorge Zaffino on Ebay. (SellerID: motherchucker). Given his professed love of Zaffino’s work, this seems a bit odd.. Could Chuck be trying to make some extra cash?

Remember this week’s announcement that Sigil would end with issue #42 and not #43 as originally slated? Well I hear the reason is Sigil artist Dale Eaglesham never drew the issue. It didn’t get beyond Chuck’s script. Why? Who the hell knows. But for some strange reason I think it probably has to do with money issues. If you want to read Chuck’s script for the intended final issue go to http://www.cgforums.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=732.

CrossGen certainly seems to be on it’s last legs. Which is a shame. The comic book industry needs another company collapse like it needs another Heroes World. It takes serious resources to play CrossGen’s game. They had grand ambitions and spent money like there was no tomorrow.

Guess what? Tomorrow is here and it ain’t pretty.

UPDATE:
Brath artist Andrea Di Vito has responded to rumors that he has quit CrossGen on his message boards. He says:

      Issue 12 is coming along very nice and we got

Brath

      team together again on it, Ro’s back baby! Anyting else is just personal, I’ll keep working on

Brath

    until I CAN.

Other than this, people can speculate all day long, frankly I don’t really care. All that should matter is the quality of the book I’m working on, and if it reaches the stands. I’ve never missed a deadline in my life, so you can count on getting Brath monthly. If there’s any change of plans between me and CGE, I’ll make sure to tell the fans in advance, or as soon as I have some SOLID news to tell.

I am a freelance. I am working on Brath, and other stuff too. People can read into this all they want, me, I just keep doing my job.

This Has A “Neck Deep In Swampland” Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Good job, Blair. Here are a few more items from me and then we’re out.

Bad Grades

I hear that the Marvel is looking to grade and seal their own comics soon, in an effort to break the monopoly held by CGC. This rumor seems funky given the whole conflict of interest deal. But then again you have to take into account the fact that Marvel is cheap as hell. So Marvel, now that you’ve eliminated your booth at recent cons, butchered Epic and torn the heart out of new comic book prospects just to save a dime, what are you gonna do next..?

Disneywor.. oh wait, that’s not the answer. How about grading your own books and charging astronomical prices? Wonder how much an Epic Anthology #1 at 10.0 grade will sell for..

This Has A “Comics the Marvel Way” Factor of Four Out of Ten


Wonder Boys

According to Bill Willingham’s blog http://www.billwillingham.com/ the new Robin writer has signed up for a third year of Fables, which means the book will run at least 36 issues. He also mentions that there will be a Fables original hardback graphic novel and another annual like the Last Castle book that came out recently.

Speaking of Robin, Willingham’s debut issue (#121) comes out December 17th. Body Bags artist Jason Pearson has posted his third cover image for the series (issue #123) on his yahoo group. Best one so far. Skulls always make me happy. If you haven’t seen the first two covers, I’ve posted them below as well. If you have, well look at them again.

This Has A “Blair Could Be Considered My Robin” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Double the Shots

Ultimate Spidey writer Brian Michael Bendis appeared on fanboyradio.com earlier this week and he dropped a ton of interesting information. Newsarama revealed some of the news, but if you missed the stuff from fanboy, you don’t know that:

    1. Bendis will be co-hosting fanboyradio.com on a monthly basis soon.

2. Bendis has plotted Ultimate Spider-Man up to issue #95.

3. Powers Volume 2 will launch in March 2004 with a new number one issue. “People who read Powers know that a superhero has done such damage to world that the President called powers illegal,“ Bendis says. “So, we follow Deena back to the job, on her first day back after a long while, and the whole world is different because of it. And it’s like a new world, new rules, a new law, their job is new, so it’s an entirely new take on Powers. And the cool aspect of it is that all the superheroes did what the President said because they’re superheroes. All the villains are villains and they didn’t do whatever he said, so it’s kind of bedlam. And all the superheroes are away at a federal protection program and so on. And someone dies on page 3.”

4. Bendis promises that Powers will not turn into an all-ages book like The Pulse. “It’s going to be even dirtier than it was before now that I don’t have Alias to vent half my F words. Double the F words for Powers.”

5. A 7-page exclusive Powers story will be printed in Wizard Edge in a few months.

6. Daredevil will continue to kick ass. “I think 57 is about the biggest fight scene Daredevil’s seen in about 5 years. Bigger than the Bullseye fight scene.”

7. Ultimate Spidey artist Mark Bagley will illustrate the first arc of The Pulse. Alias artist Michael Gaydos will draw the book after he finishes other commitments.

8. Working with Mark Millar on Ultimate Fantastic Four is insane. “[Mark’s] drunk a lot and he talks with a really thick Scottish accent. So I tend to listen to him go on and on and he usually passes out mid-phone call and then I just hang up and I type up what I was gonna do anyhow. And I’ll send it to him and then he goes, ‘Aw yeah that’s what I meant!’ And that’s how it’s been going so far.”

This Has A “Fantastic Drunk” Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Interior Designs

Over on the Adam Hughes Discussion Group a source close to the popular cover artist has confirmed the rumor that he will be drawing a six-issue Batman arc. The story will be written by Geoff Johns (Flash, JSA) and will hit stands in about 18 months.

This Has An “Under Cover of Darkness” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Thanks to Blair for the assist this week. See everyone in seven.

Out,
Markisan

PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at markisan@silverbulletcomicbooks.com or IM me via AOL Instant Messenger. My screen name is Automatic San. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It’s greatly appreciated.


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