It’s Sunday. Time for All The Rage. Let’s cut the chatter and jump right in…

The Stalking Horse

CrossGen Entertainment reentered the news this week, with word that John Taddeo has placed a $500,000 bid on ?all or substantially all? of CGE?s assets. Naturally, this potential transaction raises a few questions.

For starters, who is John Taddeo?

Apparently, he worked in the marketing department for both Marvel Comics and Tekno Comix several years ago. Beyond that, there?s not a lot of information about him that?s readily available. He?s been off the comics radar for some time now.

The next question is: where?s the money coming from?

$500,000 isn?t exactly easy to come by. So how did Taddeo raise that kind of cash?

A couple of theories have been swirling around. The first is that Taddeo is part of an outside group of investors looking to capitalize on CrossGen?s properties. The second (and far more intriguing) theory holds that Taddeo is fronting for none other than Mark Alessi. According to that theory, Taddeo?s bid is either an attempt to free the properties from the company?s debt load or an attempt to drive up the price for other potential buyers.

At this point, it?s all just conjecture. But it should be interesting to see how this plays out?

This Has A ?Brother, Can You Spare a Sigil?? Factor of Five Out of Ten

Bring On the Goat

Following last week?s story on the demise of Acclaim, several ATR readers wrote in asking about the status of Quantum & Woody. Apparently Q&W creators Christopher Priest and Mark ?Doc? Bright had an option written into their contract with Acclaim, which would allow them to reclaim the property. When reached for comment, Priest replied:

      The bankruptcy caught me by surprise. I’d had an open line of communication with Acclaim, and my preference was to continue working with them or through them as an agent for


      . Acclaim was very willing and eager to find homes for their comics properties, but (as I understand it) Acclaim Corporate was demanding certain rights which diminished the value of the properties to third parties like DC or Marvel. Joe Q *really* wanted to do


    . If we can make that happen, that’d be great. But right now, I know nothing. I am waiting to hear back from Acclaim, but there may not be anything in the office but a security guard and dust bunnies.

Acclaim being in bankruptcy does not mean the rights revert. I have to exercise a clause in my contract, but now I have to hire an attorney to go try and find somebody at Acclaim who knows what’s going on.

I’ll be chatting up DC in the near future about new projects. Maybe I can convince my old pal Lillian Laserson (DC VP of Legal Affairs) to make a few phone calls. But, honestly, it’s such a mess I wouldn’t know where to start.

I really wish somebody at Acclaim would have given me the heads up about this. Doc and I could have exercised our option a long time ago, but we’ve been happy to partner with Acclaim in trying to find a new publishing situation for Q&W. Not saying that can’t or won’t happen now, but that things are now exponentially more complicated as Q&W is, undoubtedly, viewed by the courts as an Acclaim asset, and all such assets and intellectual properties are being reviewed by the court as part of Acclaim’s reorganization under Chapter 7.

There’s probably a deal to be made, but we have no clue at all who to make it with.

This Has A ?We’re Not a Couple!? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Thinking Globally

Another possibility came up this week regarding Phil Jimenez, Jose Luis-Garcia and George Perez? upcoming project from DC. (see: According to the latest rumor, it may be an updated version of Global Guardians.

However, word out of DC regarding the potential GG revival was ?Nope, not happening.?

But the Troia miniseries does appear to be moving forward with this creative team?

This Has A ?No Dome For You? Factor of Two Out of Ten

The Alex & Jim Show

There?s a rumor going around that the Geoff Johns/Phil Jimenez Crisis miniseries may be sporting covers by Jim Lee and Alex Ross. According to what I?ve heard, Ross would be painting over Lee?s pencils.

If true, this could be the project that was alluded to during the Ross and Lee panel last month at Wizard World Chicago.

This Has An ?Anti-Monitor Attack? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

One Foot in the Grave

Gravedigger, an online comic strip from the late, lamented is about to make the leap to print, thanks to Rorschach Entertainment. Gravedigger writer/creator, Chris Mills elaborates on the origins of the comic:

    A few years back, I made a pitch to a small, now-defunct publisher, for a series of standalone crime tales. Each issue would tell a story in a different sub-genre of crime fiction: a heist, a PI story, a police procedural, a hitman story, etc… ?The Scavengers? was the first ? and ultimately, only ? script that I finished writing before the project fell apart.

Two years ago, I was involved with a short-lived online comics site, and wanted to do a crime serial. I dusted off the ?Scavengers? script and sent it along to Rick Burchett. In that script, the main character had a different name, and the ending of the story was quite different. As Rick got more enthusiastic about the story, the character became somewhat more fleshed-out, and the ending was reworked. Rick?s storytelling experience and skill vastly improved the story and my writing.

Gravedigger: The Scavengers is a hard-boiled crime story revolving around one “Gravedigger” McCrae, a professional criminal. He’s a thief and a killer, and not above betraying his partners if it serves his own interests. He’s greedy, ruthless and has a dangerous weakness for women. In short, he?s an irredeemable bastard.

The story begins when ?Digger? is released from a short stretch in prison and decides to join some other thieves in a risky heist because he desperately needs a score. He?s getting older and has his eye set on retiring. But his base instincts get the better of him, and before long he?s up to his armpits in betrayal, sex and violence.

It?s a ?B? crime movie on paper. It?s fast-paced, action packed, and not at all ?deep.?

The book is a 32-page one-shot standalone comic, in ?widescreen? (landscape) format. I re-lettered the book for print, taking the opportunity to polish up some of the dialogue. I re-toned the book for black & white (the online version had been in color, but I genuinely think that B&W suits it better), and Rick did up a new cover designed to evoke those old paperback novels we both love so much.

My inspiration for Gravedigger came from the lurid Sixties paperback crime novels of authors like Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake?s hard-boiled nom de plume), Donald Hamilton, Dan J. Marlowe, John Trinian, Mickey Spillane, and many others. I?m also heavily inspired by the gritty action films of the same era and the tough-guy actors that starred in them, like Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef, and, most obviously, Lee Marvin. I?m a huge fan of the crime genre, and have been since High School. Hell, when I was a teenager, my buddies and I would watch Eastwood and Bronson films on VHS over and over again. I think I know Magnum Force and The Mechanic word for word.

Rick and I share an interest in what he calls ?smart pulp.? We?re also both fans of hard-boiled crime fiction and film. Some years ago, I was editing a crime fiction magazine, and Rick did some illustrations for it that were simply outstanding.

When I initially approached Rick about drawing Gravedigger, I had no doubt about his ability to capture the mood and tone of my influences. I also knew that he was an accomplished storyteller, and as a guy who hadn?t had much of my writing published, I was looking forward to working with a pro who would be able to help me through whatever rough patches there might be in the script.

Rick is remarkably underrated and, I feel, under-appreciated. For over a decade he drew the animated Batman stuff for DC, and won two Eisners for his efforts, but became (in my opinion) typecast because of it. It?s a shame, because he?s an extraordinary artist, capable of great range and styles, and I hope that his work on Gravedigger will open some eyes? and minds.

Gravedigger: The Scavengers is set to come out this November. For more Gravedigger info, check out the official website here.

This Has A ?Last Man Standing? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Hell Byrne

Colorist Tom Smith (JLA/Avengers) recently colored in a page from John Byrne?s upcoming Blood of The Demon series.

However, Smith ran into some problems when he posted the page on Byrne?s forum. His messages were almost immediately deleted. When he noticed this, Smith left the following message:

    OK, that’s 2 times my post has been deleted. I guess I’m on JB’s S$%#$t list.

Alright I guess I’ll take my ball and play at someone else’s court.


Byrne replied:

    Or you might try familiarizing yourself with the House Rules before you post — or put on your hairshirt.

Unless you think you are somehow entitled to an exception denied to everyone else?

Smith?s response:

    One last time and then I promise to shut up and drop it?

Thanks guys but I guess I did break the rules the first time I posted all those images yesterday.

In my excitement about JB’s new book and maybe getting a chance of maybe impressing him enough to hopefully getting a chance to work on it with him I guess I am guilty of self promoting myself to him.

That why I said I was sorry to him and the board about that.

I have been after him for 14 years to let me color something of his but I guess he does not like my style of coloring or something. Erik Larson [sic] hates my coloring too, you can’t please everyone. O well, I guess I should give up pestering him and stick with the artists like George (Perez) who love my work and ask for me on everything they do.

But today I only posted as a fan of his work and wanted to show off the coloring I spent all day coloring to my fellow fans who asked me to color it yesterday.

If JB saw it and liked it or did not like it and commented on it fine or if he did not that was fine too.

If I was still out of line posting it today does that mean from now on I can no longer post my color art on this board because it could be misinterpreted as self-promotion?

I’m confused.

I’m a hopeless Byrne fan nevertheless and I will be buying Blood of the Demon and everything else he does in the future whoever colors it.

I’m sorry for starting all this bad blood.

A little further down the thread, a fan asked:

    Rick posted the same colored page as Tom yesterday, but since it was kind of a job pitch for Tom, that was self-promotion?

Byrne?s retort:

    Precisely. See, you weren’t confused at all!

(Also extremely tacky and even downright rude, I would say, to hijack a thread discussing someone’s new project to display one’s own work.)

The tipster who sent in this exchange had a comment of his own to add:

    ?Byrne has really been aggressive with his fellow creators lately!?


This Has A ?How to Win Friends And Influence People? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Monster Mash

Prison Funnies writer/artist Chip Zdarsky?s latest creation, Monster Cops has only been published once and there?s already a crossover with Vampirella planned for the near future. When asked for more details, Zdarsky replied:

      Some time last year I was giving out copies of

Prison Funnies

    to kids in the local playground and got into a wee bit of trouble. “Too mature!” they screamed. “Blatantly immoral!” they bellowed.

But kids are the future of comics, right? So, I decided to do a story for an anthology, Rumble Royale, called Monster Cops that was all-ages and featured classic monsters as police officers. People seemed to like it enough and I kept doodling them for myself while working on Prison Funnies and other jobs.

Then, the editor of Harris Comics noticed my work through my message board and website and ordered a batch of books. The staff there was undoubtedly disgusted with my filthy prison comics but took a shining to the more appealing Monster Cops.

Recently in Vampirella Magazine they’d been doing crossovers with other properties and they asked me to do a Vampirella/Monster Cops story. It’s a well-known fact that I spend all of my time working on fan fiction, crossing over my characters (and myself) with the likes of Speedball and Mr. Fantastic, so I already had a very erotic Vampirella/Monster Cops story waiting in my Journal Of Dreams (my sketchbook). I submitted it to them and they accepted, though with a lot of de-eroticizing.

Basically, the 15-page story in Rumble Royale is the only time I published them. The running joke here at the studio is that it’s ridiculous that the second story I do is a crossover with another company. I have a bit of a strange, charmed life though.

It was a lot of fun, and it was my first comic book work-for hire stuff aside from some coloring work, so that’s pretty exciting. I’d like to do more Monster Cops after the next Prison Funnies, but I’d prefer to do that with a publisher since it’s all-ages.

The Vampirella/Monster Cops crossover is currently slated for Vampirella Magazine #7, which hits in October.

This Has A ?Graveyard Bash? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

On The Mark

In a recent post on his message board, Mark Millar gave an update about his creator owned titles and his Marvel books:


    is done and dusted and will be off to the printers the minute the new contracts are signed. Should be quite soon and a guaranteed four weeks between the issues.

Wanted # 5 went off to press a couple of weeks ago and is definitely out next week. JG (Jones) has just started issue six so that’s going to be a couple of months. He’s turning around issue around in about 8 weeks now so the final ish should be out, realistically, in early November.

In other news, Hitch will soon be starting The Ultimates# 5 and we’re even talking about double-shipping the first couple of issues. That said, I’d rather hang onto them as I like monthly books. JRJR is a machine. He can draw comics faster than I write em.

This Has A ?Millar Time? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Pro Con is a Go!

Time to clear up something from last week?s column. Phil Hall?s story was about the London Winter Festival, to be held on Saturday, October 23rd, and not the Bristol Con, as I mistakenly referred to it as. So, my apologies go out to our readers for any confusion that may have caused.

As for the Bristol Pro Con & Comic Expo, it will run from Friday, November 5th to Sunday, November 7th. The Pro Con is firing on all cylinders, with creator panels throughout the day and the Eagle Awards at night. And better yet, it’s just been announced that every attendee at the Comic Expo gets a goodie bag of four free comics from one of the newest publishers in the UK, APC!

Speaking of the Eagles, SBC is hosting the online award ballot here:

If you scan through the voting options you?ll notice that SBC is nominated in the FAVOURITE COMICS-RELATED WEBSITE category. Far be it from me to try and sway your opinion, but?


That?s all for now. See you in seven.


PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at [email protected] Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.

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