Welcome back to another edition of All The Rage. We?re still in the middle of the NFL Playoffs and there?s a lot of games I want to watch this weekend. But first, the Rage:

Rough Cut

So, why is a second X-Force miniseries proceeding without Rob Liefeld? Liefeld says he declined to participate, but there are rumors to the contrary. More specifically, Liefeld is rumored to be on the outs with Marvel because of his work on the last two issues of X-Force. From what I?ve heard, the first four issues were ?in the can? before the miniseries was even solicited, as the issues were originally done for another mini which never saw the light of day. The story required some retooling for use in the current mini, but that only left two issues to be drawn, with plenty of lead-time.

However, it didn?t quite work out that way. Word is that Marvel editorial was very unhappy with the quality of the art in X-Force #5. Several pages appear to have been colored over Liefeld?s rough pencils.

The working theory is that this was done so that the issue could be turned in on time. And there?s also been some talk that Liefeld was running late with issue 6 as well. X-Force #6 is currently scheduled to come out this Wednesday. If it does ship, then the book was finished on time.

But what?s the art going to look like?

This Has A ?Future? What Future?? Factor of Six Out of Ten


Thuganomics

Matt Fraction and Kieron Dwyer (Last of the Independents) are set to reunite on Thug, a miniseries from IDW tentatively planned for release later this year. Thug is reportedly set in California during the Summer of Love and is said to follow ?an unstoppable cracker trash PI and his attempts to move through the gritty, glitzy, sleazy parts of LA to get his missing daughter back.?

Additionally, it?s the first of two projects that Dwyer has lined up at IDW.

This Has A ?Dude? We?re Robbing The Bank? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Standing Strong

Following their hit miniseries, Demo, Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan are reteaming for The Demo Scriptbook, which will include the twelve original scripts by Wood and twelve new illustrations by Cloonan, which revisit the pivotal characters from each issue. The pinup to our right features James McMurray from Demo #4.

Just to give our readers an idea of what to expect from the Scriptbook, here?s a brief comparison between Wood?s script for Demo #4 and Cloonan?s art as it appeared in that issue.

The Demo Scriptbook hits the shelves this Wednesday, January 19th.

This Has A ?What You Wish For? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Repatriated

Earlier this week, B. Clay Moore posted a five-page preview of The Expatriate over at the Image message boards.


Meanwhile, over at Millarworld, three covers for The Battle Hymn were posted.

Later in the same thread, Moore stated that the first issue of The Battle Hymn will be out in about a month, with subsequent issues released on a monthly basis.

This Has A ?Banana Republic? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Raising Hell

It?s been an eventful week for Dan Jolley. First with the cancellation of Bloodhound, the subsequent announcement of his departure from Firestorm and the early word of his next series, HELL, Michigan. Recently, I caught up with Jolley for a quick Q&A:

Blair Marnell: Why did you leave Firestorm?

Dan Jolley: If I may engage in a drawn-out and possibly stupid analogy here… being a member of a mainstream comic book’s creative team is in a lot of ways like being a member of a sports team, and the sport we were playing in this instance was called “Firestorm.” There’s the owner of the team — DC — and the coach — Peter Tomasi to begin with, now Steve Wacker. The coach recruited the starting line-up and explained the game plan, and we started playing.

Now, what you have to do with this is walk a fine line; because you need to do what the coach asks you to (reflecting both his personal wishes and the owner’s) and stick to the game plan — while at the same time injecting as much of yourself as you can, so that it is indeed something you’re creating, instead of simply following directions. And that can be hard. I struggled with it, off and on and to varying degrees, throughout my run; but by the time I finally really started clicking (around #8, I would say), a decision came down from the team’s owner: time to re-think things. And, because of that, it quickly became clear to everyone involved that what the book needed was a change in writers.

Okay, abandoning my somewhat lame sports analogy now. I’m feeling pretty good about the decision, because a few months before leaving Firestorm, my career took an unexpected turn, in the form of a new comics project that’s unlike anything I’ve done before, and which is going to reach a completely different — and, I feel safe in saying, much larger — audience. And thanks to that, I’m able to pursue a couple of other things that I either couldn’t have done or wouldn’t have tried to do. What it boils down to is that I’m now busier, by a good bit, than I have ever been before. It’s a good feeling.

BM: What’s coming up in your final issues of Bloodhound and Firestorm?

DJ: The next arc in Bloodhound revolves around a concept, an idea that I had years ago, which I had at one time intended to use as the basis for a novel. It was always the intent of the book to explore what happens in the DCU when ordinary, non-costume-wearing, non-codename-using people develop and use metahuman abilities, and this is very much a case of that. Plus it has a scene in #10, involving what would realistically happen if Clevenger had to face a metahuman martial artist, that I’m particularly proud of.

I’m really, really pleased with Firestorm’s last arc as well. It’s a story called “Learning Curve,” and it both wraps things up AND sets things in motion, both for Jason Rusch and for Ronnie Raymond. Old and new readers alike are in for a treat.

BM: Do you have anything else in the works at DC?

DJ: Yes, but nothing solid enough to talk about. God knows, after I said a couple of words I shouldn’t have before Firestorm debuted, I’m not about to speak out of turn about anything else at DC now. Those marketing guys are ruthless!

BM: Tell me about HELL, Michigan. How did you get involved with this project?

DJ: My involvement with HELL, Michigan came about when I got an e-mail from Tilman Goins. He said the words that I’ve heard many times before, and had come to dread: “I’m starting up a new comic book company, and was wondering if I could get you to write a series for me.”

Now, let me say first off, I’m all for supporting small press companies. If my brain were wired the right way (meaning, if I could run a business successfully), I’d seriously consider doing some self-publishing. And I love the idea of some small, underdog company showing up out of nowhere and doing great things. But more than once I’ve agreed to do some work for small press start-ups, and it’s ranged from frustrating to maddening.

So I had made myself a solemn promise: the only way I’d ever work for a small press start-up again is if they paid me in advance. Now, I knew how unlikely that was — but when I warily asked Tilman about financial compensation, with no prompting from me he said, “Well, of course I’ll pay you in advance.”

That marked the beginning of an incredible amount of professionalism, respect, generosity, and dedication from Tilman, and now I’m on-board for the duration.

The concept of HELL, Michigan is that there’s an entire town that’s become a gateway to another place — a place that’s looking more and more likely to be Hell itself — and a tiny handful of residents with pure souls struggle to fight against it. In a very real way, the town itself is the bad guy in this story; its controlling, infecting influence shows up in a variety of ways, both subtle and direct, and if it can’t corrupt you it’ll kill you. I guess you could say it’s a little like “Christine” meets “Silent Hill.” (We’re not basing it at all on the REAL town of Hell, Michigan — in part because, unless we actually lived there, we’d get things wrong, and in part because I don’t think the residents of Hell would really want their town depicted as being infected by Satan. [laughs])

Clint Hilinski, one of the artists I worked with on Voltron, is providing the pencils and inks, and Andrew Dalhouse is coloring; it should be in stores in June.

BM: Do you have any other comic projects lined up?

DJ: I do! And it’s killing me that I can’t tell you all about them. One is the Really Big one I mentioned earlier; it’s for the newly-reformed Metron Press, and it’s going to keep me busy for at least the next eighteen months. The other one is for another relatively new company, will also be pretty big, and is completely, totally, 100% owned by yours truly. Details to follow soon.

This Has A ?Burning Bush? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Still Crazy

The response to Crazy Mary from the short story in Digital Webbing Presents #16 has led to a Crazy Mary ongoing series, which will debut later this year from Digital Webbing. Crazy Mary writer and creator Michael Colbert elaborates:

Crazy Mary

    was very well received by both critics and comic readers. The numbers were the best DWP had seen in several months and the response in the DWP forums was overwhelmingly positive, James told me later that Ed Dukeshire (the founder of DWP) claimed it caused a big stir among the regulars. Every review had great things to say about the story and critics were unanimous in their praise for J.K. Woodward?s artwork. We had three strong signings; one at the Universal Citywalk?s ?Things From Another World?, one at the Melrose Golden Apple and one at the San Diego Gaslamp Borders books with several other DWP talents including Cody Chamberlain. James and I were thrilled at the response we got from people, there is nothing quite like someone you?ve never met before coming up to you and telling you they really enjoyed your work. James and I knew we had something good, or at least something we felt strongly about, but up till that point we weren?t sure if others would see it the same way.

As for what all this means for the future of Crazy Mary it means there IS a future for Crazy Mary. For starters the 5-page story ?Coffee?, which was originally planned as an ashcan for the 2004 ComiCon, became our next official story in DWP. I personally love this one for it?s tightly wound story, a real feeling of building tension? hard to do in 5 pages? and it also seems to have everything that makes Crazy Mary tick but compressed, plus I love the hook that ends the first page. Ed Dukeshire confessed to me that he took it sight unseen because it was Crazy Mary and he had been getting a lot of questions about when we were showing up again. The intention was to closely follow ?Coffee? with another short to keep momentum going and have the first issue of the on-going out by late spring of 2005. Then James had to go and get picked as artist for IDW?s license of CSI: New York; five issues with the first script coming in mid-January. Understandably James had to delay the work on the ongoing because of this. It?s a good thing, though, because he is better positioned as far as having a name goes after CSI hits, plus we are pitching a series idea to IDW this month based on the strength of Crazy Mary and James rising in the IDW ranks.

 
DWP is a great place to get a start Ed?s set-up is economically do-able for just about anybody and the support system is growing, it has a real potential to be a ground zero for a lot of up and coming talent. James and I feel a great loyalty and will always do something there aside from Crazy Mary. I would like to see the community grow; I made some cool friends at the DWP booth over comicon including Bob LeFevre (Alethia), Kody Chamberlain (Sherman Danger) and Mark Chernsky (Savior) and more through the draw off. There is some real talent bubbling under.

This Has A ?Voices In Your Head? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Watch This Space?

We don?t normally do this, but there will be an ATR update this week with some exciting news about a former X-Men creator. So keep checking the SBC front page?


Alright people, here?s a quick reminder: next week?s ATR will be coming to you from the Isotope in San Francisco, during the 13 HOUR ?Future of Image Comics? party hosted by James Sime. There?s a rather large guest list, which includes Erik Larsen, B. Clay Moore, Robert Kirkman, Eric Stephenson and Kieron Dwyer. The event starts at 3pm on Saturday the 22nd and goes until 4am on Sunday morning.

If you?re in the area, come and check it out.

Later,
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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