[Ed’s Note: This week’s edition of ATR was delayed due to an illness in my family. My apologies to Blair and you, all his readers.]

Welcome back to another edition of ATR. I?m pressed for time, so let?s get it on?

Not So Easy?

Word is starting to spread quickly about a major restructuring going on over at Speakeasy Comics. Some of the details are still sketchy, but early indications are that the company is moving away from an Image style publishing plan, and will be putting out fewer creator owned titles in the future. Additionally, some of Speakeasy?s titles will be moving to other publishers. Rocketo is heavily rumored to be heading to Image. I?m also told that Hero@Large will be finishing at issue 4, but it?s not clear where it will go from there. Thus far, none of the departures appear to be acrimonious, though some of the creators cited their disappointment with persistently low sales, which left them unable to recoup their production expenses. Which means that several creators now owe Speakeasy money. A common reframe I heard, blamed the ?crowded comic market? and ?massive crossover events? for diverting retailer dollars from indie books. However, I don?t think that?s the only reason. Speakeasy picked up a lot of books last summer, and even at the time I thought that there had to be a limit to how many they could handle. And I believe that may have played a part as well.

But to be clear, there are several creators staying with Speakeasy and the company doesn?t appear to be folding anytime soon. In fact, several creators spoke highly of new hire, Marshal Dillon (late of Devil?s Due Publishing), who seems to have a good handle on the production side of things. So, this could all still work out. But ultimately, time will tell?

This Has An ?Enforced Prohibition? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Shadow of The Bat

*****SPOILER WARNING!*****
(If true, the following may be considered an Infinite Crisis spoiler. YES, I?ve said this before, but there are a few new details. Highlight the hidden text at your own peril.)

The rumors of a new Gail Simone helmed Batwoman series are continuing to heat up. Though, when I initially heard the rumor back in early September, the project was still being touted as a new Batgirl series. Presumably, the title was changed to Batwoman because calling Barbara Gordon a ?girl? would just sound strange at this point?

Anyway, the latest rumor is this: Simone may be reuniting with her Action Comics cohort, John Byrne on the new Batwoman. And there?s also a rumor that Black Canary might be up for her own series as well?

So, if both founding members get their own titles, where would this leave Birds of Prey? Simone may have dropped an interesting hint a while ago when she started a thread which raised the speculative possibility of the book continuing after the One Year Gap without ANY returning members?

This Has A ?Daughter of Cain? Factor of Six Out of Ten


The East Coast Also Rises

And now, here?s an extremely early look at Becky Cloonan?s forthcoming Tokyopop OGN/OEL, East Coast Rising.


From what I?ve been told, the finished art will be shaded?

This Has A ?Sailing The Wide Accountancy? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


New Joe Millionaire

Earlier this week, Gordon Purcell, the artist of Flare from Heroic Publishing, was a contestant on the syndicated TV Game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. And amid the outdated comic book references by the host, Meredith Vieira, Purcell did well for himself. Extremely well. He answered 11 questions correctly and walked away with $50,000 dollars. When Vieira asked him what he planned to do with the money, Purcell answered:

    My son, he?s autistic and I want to give a little to charity for him and take him to the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyworld.

Congratulations, Gordon.

This Has A ?Magic Carpet Ride? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Wages of Fear

Alright people, this is the week I?ve been waiting for: Rick Remender and Tony Moore?s Fear Agent #1 is going to hit the stands this Wednesday, October 26. And is also be featured in our SBC Sunday Slugfest. That said, Remender has been showing off art from the second issue of Fear Agent and I just had to share them with you:




This Has A ?Don?t Want To Miss A Thing? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Saving The Strange Girl

Staying with Remender, I?ve got to say this: I never heard of him before this year, but I?ve been following his books since I saw what he had planned back in January. And so far, I?ve loved Sea of Red, Strange Girl, and Night Mary? I fully expect to enjoy the hell out of Fear Agent as well. In my opinion, he is one of this year?s breakout comic creators. It?s always a pleasure to watch someone?s career start to really take off, and I fully expect big things from Remender in the future?

Having said that, I was taken aback by something Remender posted this week:

      I’m very grateful for everyone’s enthusiasm and support. I love this book and hope it finds a larger audience soon. Issue #1 has sold 13,000 copies to date (since it’s release in June) that is amazing in today’s market. The print runs on

Strange Girl #2 and #3

    are a bit over 8000 and we only have 200 copies left of each. So the book is basically healthy at that point. Then suddenly on issues 4-6 we’ve seen a marked drop in initial orders. Big enough to sink us.



SG is suffering from low initial orders and VERY high reorders. Unfortunately we don’t see the money form the reorders for seven months so low initials will kill this book very soon. Retailers prefer to initial low and reorder as needed, it’s less risk for them and I understand it. Unfortunately it’s going to kill Strange Girl if it continues.

I won’t lie, if this book doesn’t gain 2-3000 copies in it’s initial orders in the next three or four months we might be forced to end the story short?

If you want to ensure the production of this comic– get one new person to buy it. The trade of 1-4 is solicited right now. If every reader can bring in one more reader, I promise you’ll see this series hit the planned out issues #25 at least.

Ridiculous.

There?s no way this should happen? Which isn?t to say that it won?t. I?m not about to blame crossovers for the low orders, but clearly something has to be done. And I realize that starting a campaign is an unusual step for me to take, but this column is useless to me if I can?t throw some support behind a book I really enjoy.

So here?s the rub: Remender has posted the first two issues online as PDF files, here and here. Go ahead and click on the links, they?re free, so what have you got to lose? Just give them a chance. And if you like them, buy them, or pick up the trade, talk to your friends, and especially your retailer? Whatever it takes.

The next issue of Strange Girl #4 is coming out this Wednesday, the same day as Fear Agent, so make it a Remender double feature. You won?t regret it.

This Has A ?Bat Out of Hell? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


The Gods Must Be Crazy

Speaking of titles canceled before their time, I?ve got some good news for fans of Small Gods. SG artist, Juan Ferreyra confirmed that will be a new Small Gods two issue miniseries:

    Yup, we got kinda lucky, because the book we were preparing for Shadowline was pushed some months due to advertising stuff (we want to wait for the right time!) and the response we had regarding the cancellation, image has given us another opportunity to do Small Gods!!!

Is not official yet but we are working on it right now, Jason is writing some ideas for the script and it might be a 2 issue mini or something.

So if the mini does any good, after the Shadowline Maxi series we might be able to do more SG goodness!!!!!!!!

…or not.

Anyway thanks for all your support guys! and now more than ever you’ll have to pimp it like it was heaven!

This Has A ?What If God Was One of Us?? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


The Sonja Chronicles

Here?s an early look at Peter David and Luke Liberman?s upcoming Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom miniseries, with some fresh pages by Will Conrad (Serenity):



That will hit some time in December. But those aren?t the only Red Sonja pages we spotted this week. Here are some really early pages by Udon for Ron Marz? Sonja Goes East One-Shot:



This Has An ?Age Undreamed Of? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

 


Jack?s Aplenty

And finally? Tycho and Gabe from Penny Arcade are locked in another feud, this time with self-proclaimed anti-video game activist, Jack Thompson. Let?s see if I can explain this concisely? This all started when Thompson made a bizarre challenge to the video game industry. Thompson pledged to donate ten thousand dollars ?to a charity if a publisher who ?creates, manufactures and sells a video game? based on his own premise. The premise: A father?s vengeance on the game industry after his son is killed by a gamer.?

Seriously…

You can read the entire text of his ?A Modest Video Game Proposal? here.

Anyway, Tycho and Gabe responded by making the ten thousand donation to the The Entertainment Software Association Foundation? in Thompson?s name. Thompson?s subsequent responses have been increasingly volatile. First with angry calls and e-mails to the Penny Arcade site, followed by an attempt to bring the police down on PA, though it appears to have been completely ineffectual:

    Tycho and I remain free men. The fact is that Jack actually sent the fax to everyone but the intended recipient at the Seattle PD. There were a lot of names to remember I don?t blame him. I?ve received literally thousands of emails in the past couple days. They are all commending us for standing up to Jack the way we did. Most of them go on to ask what we can do as a community to stop him. I have to admit that is tempting. The more I think about it the more I think it might not be in our best interest. Let me explain.

You can certainly mail the networks he appears on. You can even send letters to their advertisers. You can contact the senators he speaks with and demand they ignore him. If enough of us do that sort of thing and we do it long enough they will eventually get the message and drop him just like the National Institute on Media and the Family did. Would that be a good thing? I?m not sure.

Jack is not special. He is not a unique snowflake as they say. He is just the latest vocal opponent of whatever is “corrupting” our youth at the moment. When my dad was growing up it was rock and roll devil music. Then it was comic books then movies and rap music. Today it?s videogames. If we were to succeed in getting Jack blacklisted from the major news outlets someone else would simply take his place. Imagine him as an actor playing a part in a play. The point is that Jack Thompson is not important. If he were to be fired a new actor would simply take up the role. The same lines would still be delivered in the same way and the same audience would pay to see it. We are actually fortunate that the current actor is so impotent in his role. Imagine what might happen if some charming, efficacious attorney took his place. The more I consider it the more I think we may be lucky to have Jack playing the part of the alarmist. The alternative might be someone who is actually capable.

Thompson followed up yet again, this time trying to bring in the FBI:

    Now there is new extortion, and it is coming from a Seattle company called Penny Arcade. I can provide the details to your investigators, but basically this company has been using, I believe I can show, their Internet site and various other means to encourage and solicit criminal harassment of me. This would appear to violate state and federal laws.

I asked Penny Arcade’s attorney to stop this targeting, and he said it was my fault. Maybe he’s played too many video games and thinks that flesh and blood people are just pixilated pinatas.

Please help me if you can… They claim the First Amendment, it seems, applies only to them.

Thus far, Thompson?s efforts appear to have come up empty. Over at PVP, Scott Kurtz suggests that he approach a higher power:

This Has A ?Pixelantes Unite!? Factor of One Out of Ten


And we?re done. See you in seven.

Blair

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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