Thanks to everyone who sent me computer advice. I seriously hate the bastard machine but I shall take your recommendations to heart once I get the thing back.
Reliable informant Molly Molly Mole tells me that David Mack and Bill Seinkiewicz are scheduled to do Marvel projects, one of which is definitely X-related. A lot of people have been asking me what happened to Mack?s Ultimate X-Men work, which suddenly disappeared from the schedule without any explanation from the House of Ideas. Well, I?ve been trying to get an answer. I asked David about his X-scripts, hoping to get confirmation that they will be released in some form. He hasn?t responded. I take the silence to mean his X-work will be coming out and he can?t talk about it. Given the recent announcement that Mack?s creator-owned series Kabuki will be published by the new Marvel imprint Icon, I?m guessing that Macks? X-scripts won?t be going to waste. Marvel is keeping information pretty close to the breast these days, especially when it comes to all things X. It?s so tight in fact that the writers and artists on the X-books aren?t privy to info. on each others? titles.
In fact I?m hearing that one of the X-titles will be cancelled soon despite RELOAD. But because of Marvel?s gag order no one seems to have anything to say about it. So start the guessing.
This Has A ?Mack and Cheese? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
On the Scene
Last year I ran a piece on the DVD Scenes From the Small Press: Mainstream Raw. I interviewed the film?s director Rich Henn and pimped the movie because I thought it was a unique behind-the-scenes look at the comics industry. Well, it?s a year later and our good friend Rich is set to release a second DVD. This time around he focused on one creator ? A Distant Soil?s Colleen Doran. In a series of interviews Colleen tells the fascinating and emotional tale of how she broke into the biz, how dirty old men almost made her give up on what she loved and what it?s like to work on a self-published comic book for 20 years.
Sadly, I?ve have not gotten around to reading A Distant Soil, but despite being unfamiliar with her 20-year project I still found Colleen?s life story to be incredibly compelling. She gives some real insight into the inner workings of the comic book industry and illustrates the struggle of the independent publisher in a very candid way. But for me, the best part of the DVD is seeing Colleen talk so passionately about her dream to draw comics since she was a little girl and how she refused to let some power-hungry editorial assholes take that dream away from her. She gave ?The Man? the finger when she could have simply given up drawing and disappeared. She?s just remarkable.
Rich tells me that the Scenes From the Small Press: Colleen Doran DVD will be available on April 15. You can pre-order it at http://www.timespell.com. Rich has also created a web page devoted to the film at http://www.timespell.com/colleen.html.
This Has A ?Unsoiled? Factor of Ten Out of Ten
Mark Millar is turning into an internet whore instead of.. well, a normal whore. He?s been posting a lot of messages on his site, www.millarworld.biz over the last couple weeks and revealing some interesting information about his upcoming and current projects.
His unusually high post activity began last week with some taunting. ?And speaking of [Ultimates] Volume 2, I’ve got the first issue completely drawn and sitting in a tray beside me right now as I type,? Millar wrote. ?It’s a shame you poor souls won’t see it until the end of the year or thereabouts 😉 😉 :)?
Millar also gave a rundown of his projects, telling posters he had the art for the first three issues of his Marvel Knights Spider-Man series, along with eight finished scripts. The first two issues of his run on Wolverine and the first four issues of Ultimates volume 2 are scripted as well. Mark is also working on something he calls ?the thing you don’t even KNOW about yet…? A few months ago I told you guys that Mark was doing a book that will feature Blade. He confirmed this in an interview with SBC, his last of 2004 ? http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/features/107419514831683.htm.
When asked about the possibility of including extra material in the Ultimates trades, Millar quickly said no. ?I recently re-watched the Star Wars trilogy and feel that tinkering with something that worked the first time is a huge mistake and, in an era where decompression sucks the devil’s right testicle, why make something longer just because you CAN? I’d rather see the book untouched (maybe a splash of Iron Man and maybe an extra splash of Cap somewhere as Hitchy suggested), but the extras should really be all our notes, emails, sketches, etc, instead because the book is v nice as is, the pacing is v nice as is and I just don’t see the point of distracting from volume two (which is where all our efforts are going at the moment).?
In the same thread Millar also talked a little about what will happen in Ultimates Vol. 2, specifically with the character Hawkeye. ?Hawkeye COMMUTES to the superhero world. He’s got a wife and kids and lives in the suburbs. He’s cool when he can control the situation, but the Hulk was going to kill him. There was no way out and he freaked. Vol 2 has him as the everyman in that sense.?
In another thread Millar divulged a few details about his upcoming run on Wolverine with my favorite artist John Romita Jr., including the return of Logan?s tan costume.
?I’m writing [Wolverine] 2 and 3 back-to-back next week after a short holiday and, yeah, I follow Greg with issue nineteen or twenty (still not sure when his runs wraps). I’ll talk about this a little during the chat planned for next week, but the idea is to go in a different direction and make this more of a Frank Miller superhero book.
I love what Rucka did and it was exactly what I’d have done at the time, but I think the next two-three years demands a pretty different look and feel and so I’m going for something hyper-kinetic, very dense, fast-paced, big-sets and very, very serious. In terms of tone, I’d like this to be roughly in keeping with the original Elektra books (who’s a big part of this series too). Anyway, more later, but I think you’ll like this. It’s got Wolvie in his tan costume and even that gets done very gradually so anyone reading the book at the moment doesn’t find the change too sudden.?
Millar has been championing causes of late as well, asking message boarders to stop ripping X-Men author Chuck Austen. ?The Chuck Austen stuff across the net is really getting out of hand. It’s not just here on Millarworld, it’s a problem across every board I visit. It’s one thing to say someone’s written a sucky comic or whatever, but these attacks are just relentless and mean-spirited and I’ve honestly never experienced anything like this before. Ron Zimmerman got it bad, but the Chuck Austen attacks have long gone beyond being funny and I would ask everyone here and elsewhere to think twice before posting this kind of stuff. He’s become the most obvious target on the net and people are starting to forget he’s a real guy with a real family. He’s got kids with Net access and they’d be hard-pushed to find a board right now that doesn’t have at least six threads saying what an asshole their Dad is.?
This isn’t just something people here need to think about. It’s something all the boards needs to consider because writers and artists are real people and, to get all Disney on your ass, actually have some kind of human feelings. I’m not banning criticism of Chuck (or any writer for that matter). We all stand or fall on the merits of our work and these forums exist to discuss this stuff. Just try to remember you’re talking about someone who’s probably reading this and, even if they aren’t, their families probably are. It makes us and comics look bad.?
I?m completely with Millar on this. And I?d just add that part of the problem with the internet is that people have this ridiculous desire to say the same thing over and over again. If you don?t like Chuck?s writing and you want to post your displeasure, that?s cool. But do you really need to go off on the guy more than once? For fuck?s sake move on to another topic and give the guy a break.
That said, there?s one final Millar item to add. The Ultimates writer has also started a petition to save American Power from cancellation. The controversial ?right wing? superhero book written by Chuck Dixon and penciled by Greg Land was recently shelved before its release by publisher CrossGen. After receiving criticism on the premise and the book?s cover, which features a superhero punching out a character who bears an uncanny resemblance to Osama Bin Laden, CG turned bitch and pulled the title from its schedule.
?Just had a funny email from Chuck where he said he had me in mind the whole time he was writing [American Power]?, wrote Millar. ?I think he thinks I’m kidding when I said I was looking forward to it, but I’m dead serious. This book would jump off the shelves and, as I said to him, could be The Authority for right-wingers. Comics are all written from the same perspective right now. I want to see the Talk Radio audience get something to read. 53% of America is pretty much unrepped in the comic-book community. Just because they’re wrong doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get a book or two 😉
?And I said to Chuck this is the book he was born to write. If CG aren’t doing it he should go to Image. Like Archonis, there’s something I like about Chuck. I’d say there’s probably zero we agree on (besides the death penalty), but I’ve always had a soft spot for Dixon.?
This Has A ?Nominee For CBLDF Chairman? Factor of Nine Out of Ten
A League of Their Own
A few months ago I told you guys that the Earth X team of Alex Ross and Jim Kreuger were working on a JLA project. It turns out that the rumor was dead-fucking-on. Kreuger confirmed it at his Comixfan forum.
“Okay, Alex has been telling people for about a week now. So here it is, without saying how or exactly what we’re going to do, we will next be doing Justice League of America.
?There’s really not all that much I think I can say right now. Except that I do like Blue Beetle, but I really like all of the Charlton characters. I too was a fan of the Giffen era (and think Booster Gold is a better character than a lot of people think he is).
I can also say that Alex will also be doing all of the a… I don’t know if I can or am allowed to say that yet. Sorry.
I can say that it will be a big project. But I am grateful to finally get a chance to work for DC.”
This Has An ?Unearthed? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
Billy Tucci, creator of Shi and proprietor of Crusade Fine Arts recently released this nasty as hell photo:
- Southpaw Billy Tucci received 13 stitches after severely cutting his left index finger in a household accident. It will delay his finishing of
Shi Ju-Nen #1
- but it should still ship the last week in April.
Rage talked to Billy and learned he cut the finger on a porcelain door-knob. Then the tough bastard endangered his recovery by playing in his hockey play-off match the day he got the stitches.
Billy is now laying off the contact sports, and reassures me that Shi: Ju-Nen #1 will ship this month.
This Has A “Knifed By A Knob” Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten
Flights of Fancy
Ever enthusiastic, Scott Lobdell told the Rage his contract on Alpha Flight has been renewed for another six issues, keeping the series around for at least 12 issues. ?Along with the rest of the industry and the general public at large, I was excited to hear that the ALL NEW, ALL DIFFERENT, ALPHA FLIGHT has been extended another six issues after 1 – 6!? Lodbell said. ?I keep saying “ALL NEW, ALL DIFFERENT” because I haven’t given up on my one-man crusade to turn ALPHA FLIGHT into Marvel’s next great franchise! Without giving anything away (because what we’re planning has never even been attempted in comics before) I can promise that fans of ALL NEW, ALL DIFFERENT, ALPHA FLIGHT and the fans from John Byrne’s original ALPHA FLIGHT, will be elated by the turn of events in AN/AD AF! I am writing it, and I can’t believe I’ll be allowed to get away with it! It may be the most outrageous over the top storyline I’ve ever had a part in ? and considering I was involved with everything from GENERATION X to AGE OF APOCALYPSE to HEROES REBORN… that is saying a LOT!?
Scott paused momentarily from a lungful of air before continuing, ?So to all you AN AD ALPHA FLIGHT fans out there – and I know your numbers are growing by the day – get out and support this book! It is the only way I’m ever going to get to spin off ZED FLIGHT… the POWER PACK-aged sub-division of ALPHA FLIGHT! Oh, and I should point out that issues 7 & 8 are going to be drawn by someone other than Clayton Henry. (And after seeing issues #3 and #4 already, I can’t blame him at all! His art keeps getting more and more exciting with every issue! I’m telling you, he’s going to be a superstar by the end of this series! Maybe sooner, considering this series isn’t going to end! LOL!) The two-parter in between will be handled by someone else while Clay gets to really take his time with the thoroughly outrageous 4 parter.?
Before passing out from oxygen deprivation, Scott managed to pant out that he’s also submitted a pitch for a six-issue UNCANNY ALPHA FLIGHT series.
This Has A “Hyperventilating Hyperbole” Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten
Avenge the Fallen
It looks like the upcoming Avengers relaunch by Brian Bendis and David Finch will ?JLA? the team. In other words, Marvel Universe Icons like Spider-Man and that guy with the claws will probably make the cut.
It?s also been heavily rumored that the two Avengers most likely to be killed in Bendis? first arc (and final arc for the original series) are Wasp and/or the Scarlet Witch.
This Has A ?Revolving Door of Death? Factor of Six Out of Ten
Beautiful Killer artist Phil Noto posted an update to his yahoo group:
- I’m starting on the new miniseries for Black Bull called
The New West
- . Jimmy Palmiotti is writing it and it’ll be debuting at the Wizard Chicago con. They’re going to start hyping it at the Philly show. I’m also working on something big and secret that I can’t share just yet, but it’s going to be super-cool!
Noto first mentioned his ?big and secret? project last month at the WWLA show. At the time, he said that it was still in the pitch stage. But from the tone of his announcement, it looks like the project is a go.
This Has A ?Western Frontier? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Another week, another departure from CrossGen Comics. This time the wheel has landed on James Breitbeil, the Director of Sales for both Foreign & Domestic Markets. I?m told that Breitbeil resigned last Wednesday. With his departure there is currently no employee listed for CrossGen Sales. How the hell can a company operate without salespeople?
Last week CrossGen was also the subject of an email joke, which was widely circulated among industry professionals. The complete message is reprinted below, unedited and unaltered:
Subject: URGENT BUSINES MATTER
URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
I was the important president and chairman of a comic book media company in my native land of Oldsmar before problem of severe talent erosion in my country. Before the escalation of the situation in Direct Market I invested millions of US dollars in contracts with national Artisans of fine reputations.
But I was a member of the opposition party (CrossGen Entertainment), and the ruling Parties, (DC AND MARVEL! AND DIAMOND, TOO! AND MARVEL, LOTS!) has been against us. So I had to flee the business for a neighbouring lakefront resort which I am currently exiled. now, You are instrumental in interprise which will benefit us both.
Before the escalation of the situation in Direct Market I had invested great deal of dollars until everyone but me made mistakes that send the Opposition Party spiraling into debt. Still, there is much money to be made on this intellectual properties, as several small cable “networks” and direct-to-video producers remain in fierce bidding wars for rights, worth billions if not tens of millions if not millions. So I want you to help me make claims of these funds in your home city as my beneficiary and transfer the money to your account or any account of your choice before I can get a visa to fly over. So that we can share this money.
I have agreed to give you 10% of this Money for your assistance, and 87% would be mine and the other 3% would be set aside for any expenses that we may incure during the course of this transaction. And part of my 87% would be invested in your country in any profitable business propossed by you. While a large part of my share will be also be used to help the suffering people of my Business once my tennis court is fully paid for.
We have never met, but I want to trust you and please do not let me down when this fund finally gets into your account. Please if you are interested, get to me through my email address to enable me feed you with more details and all necessary documentations. No fat chicks.
Please treat this as confidential
This Has A ?Profit Margin? Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Couple quick things before I go. Tim O’Shea and I interviewed Chuck Austen. Chuck breaks down what it’s like to write Avengers scripts for Marvel, dealing with fan criticism and mentions that Marvel has a policy in place to skew comics toward younger readers. Check it out at http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/features/108145525884129.htm.
And finally, big thanks to Blair Marnell for helping me out with this column while my tech is down.
PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.