One week removed from the San Diego con, and I?m still going through a backlog of e-mails. My SBC account had almost 200 e-mails when I got back. Granted a lot of that was spam, but there were also some good leads in there that I haven?t had a chance to follow up on yet. So, thanks to everyone who sent in tips while I was gone. I really appreciate it.
We?ve got a lot to go over this week, so let?s just jump right into the news and rumors.
Last Saturday, Tony Isabella posted a message to his board regarding ?the biggest news in comics.? Isabella initially kept the details to himself, saying only that he wanted to see who broke the story first. However, speculation quickly began to swirl that the news involved possible heirs to Joe Shuster?s Superman rights.
Finally, Isabella posted the following message last Wednesday:
- Man, this is embarrassing.
As I posted earlier today, my information on the Siegel and Shuster estates reclaiming their rights to Superboy came from three unrelated sources, all of whom I felt were good sources. However, I didn’t have the documentation on this ruling in front of me. If I did, I might well have broken the story myself.
I have been quietly seeking out people who could steer me to that documentation. The only place I stated the information I had was on what was supposed to be a private list for comics writers, a list founded by Steven Grant and founded under the basis Fight Club rules. Nothing from the list was ever to be repeated elsewhere, at least not without the permission of the person being quoted. Indeed, even the existence of the list was supposed to be secret…but, as I see it, Grant’s giving me as a source for his column frees me from that obligation.
It was *never* my intention to release the news without documentation. My hope was that the comics news media would investigate and report on the story. I wanted to needle them into covering it. Nothing more.
Now that the story is out there, I must decide if I want to give any interviews on it. My first inclination is that I do not. This isn’t my story, except in that anything that challenges the mistreatment of comics creators by DC and other companies – past and present – could eventually help me. Right now, I’m going to look at requests on a case by case basis. My own time is limited.
One thing I will absolutely not do is reveal any source of mine. If the sources wish to speak, they can come forward on their own.
I won’t have anything else to say on this today.
Since then, Isabella has remained silent on the issue and a corroborating source has yet to publicly come forward.
This Has A ?Red Kyrptonite? Factor of Five Out of Ten
The Chosen One
How do you make a sequel to the Second Coming? Ask Mark Millar. I?ve heard that he and Peter Gross are planning a second Chosen miniseries down the line, possibly to be released with the next round of Millarworld titles.
In the interim, Gross may also be working on a creator owned series with Mike Carey.
This Has A ?Walking on Water? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Saving Private Seaguy
Grant Morrison?s Seaguy three issue miniseries recently came to a close, and there?s already an online petition asking DC for another Seaguy mini. The fear among fans is that low sales may have doomed any future adventures of Seaguy. When one poster questioned whether Morrison would even return for the potential second miniseries, Seaguy artist Cameron Stewart responded:
- Oh yes he would. This wouldn’t be a tacked-on sequel –
- was originally conceived and pitched to Vertigo as a series of three volumes, three miniseries of three issues each. I’ve already read the treatment for the second volume and its brilliant. Grant wants to write it as much as I want to draw it, it’s just a matter of convincing the Powers That Be that it’s worth doing. If they give us the greenlight, we’re all ready to go.
Thanks for the support guys!
This Has A ?Mummy on the Moon? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
A Darkchylde On A Dark Horse
Late word coming out of the San Diego con has Randy Queen bringing Darkchylde over to Dark Horse Comics. When asked for confirmation, Queen replied:
- We’re doing
- !) with the guys at Dark Horse and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Manga D. ZERO
- premiered as a San Diego exclusive comic, and is also available at
We hope to have our remaining stock solicited as an allocated order in Previews, before soliciting Issue # 1 — hopefully soon, to get more into the hands of retailers who could not make the show.
This Has A ?Recurring Nightmares? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Law Dogs Comics is set to release its first series this week: Territory 51. Creator/writer James Heffron elaborates:
- I came up with
- around spring of last year because I really wanted to do a western, but I wanted to put a little twist on it. I started with the idea of doing a western tale? but what? I?ve always been a big fan of history and always enjoyed conspiracy theories. I?m by no means an expert, but I really enjoy things on UFOs and the whole conspiracy behind Area 51 and the Roswell Crash. I think my interest in that was the missing piece of how
- got started. I took elements of Roswell and the crash as we think we know it in 1947, then tied it into the old west. The first issue starts to lay the groundwork as to how those two things tie together.
The alien ship that eventually crashes is actually a prison vessel bearing various prisoners that are heading to a front in a war. Most are cannon fodder but there are four onboard (which we recognize as the large-headed Roswell aliens) who are collectively a weapon. There are two alien ?Marshals? onboard, whose job is to take them to this place. Their ship is ambushed as they enter hyperspace and they come out of it and crash here. Their ship is damaged and they need to make repairs and find fuel. And they need to do it fast. What they find is that gold is actually a match to their fuel source and what they need puts them on a collision course with these other groups. Basically, all of their worlds collide.
Territory 51 is a two issue miniseries written by James Heffron, with art by Patrick K. LaHotch, colors by Chad Fidler and letters by Jamie Martin. The first issue goes on sale this Wednesday, and includes an Athena Voltaire backup story by Paul Daly, Steve Bryant and Chad Fidler. AV creator/artist, Steve Bryant also had a few comments on T51 and the future of Athena Voltaire.
- I met Jim through Chad Fidler, whose brilliant color work makes the
- webcomic sing. Jim approached Chad at Wizard World Chicago last year based on the strength of our Athena display and asked if Chad would be interested in coloring
- . Chad signed on and I got to see little bits as he was working on it. As time went on, Jim and I became fans of each other?s work and really began to feel a connection. We have a lot of similar thoughts about what kind of comics we?d like published. It?s been a vicarious thrill for me to see the reaction that T51 received at SDCC.
When Jim offered us five pages in the back of the book as a backup feature, we jumped at the chance. To familiarize our new audience with Athena Voltaire, we used two pages for an intro featuring some full-page artwork and background text. The remaining three pages have two strips to a page and kick off the surface of the first arc, The Terror in Tibet. That’s where the story begins.
We had a great response in San Diego this year, showing the existing web comics and feeling out publishers. It was quite cool that a number of them were already familiar with us. Hopefully we’ll end up in print some time in the next year and build from there. Because the pacing of a weekly strip differs so much from the pacing of a 24-page comic book, we?d like to make the first release something brand new, specifically for the medium. If it’s successful, I’d like to see the web comics collected in a horizontally-formatted trade paperback with one strip to a page.
We’re running daily Athena Voltaire strips at http://www.moderntales.com through August 19th. Then we go back to our usual weekly schedule. So, starting on Tuesday, August 24th we’re going to run a new episode per week for the foreseeable future.
This Has A ?High Adventure? Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Paul Dini updated his website this week, with news about some upcoming Warner Brothers Animation sets on DVD:
- Even though I have departed Termite Tower for the House of Mouse, I still get yanked back for the occasional special project. Just this week I did a bunch of new interviews and commentaries for the second
Batman Animated DVD
- set, due out later this year. Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Glen Murakami, the
- directors and I will also appear on a
- compilation released around that time, too. Bruce and Glen reveal the stylistic differences between the
- series while Alan talks about the challenges of writing a fresh yet iconic version of the Man of Steel, and I shriek out the name ?Mxyzptlk!? now and then just to be annoying. For reasons unknown, I also pop up on the
Wacky Races DVD
- boxed set, again out later this fall. Gotta love that Dastardly and Muttley.
Between Superman commentary sessions, Bruce and Justice League director Dan Riba told me that the last JLU episode I scripted was back from animation and looking great. I?m not sure exactly when it will be airing, though it was number five or six on the production slate this season, so I?m guessing around the end of August. Batman and Zatanna literally travel to Hell and back to save Wonder Woman from Circe. Special guest appearance by B?wana Beast. No seriously, B?wana Beast!
This Has A ?WTF is B?wana Beast?!? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
Down in the Boondocks
Looks like Birth of a Nation isn?t the only collaboration between Aaron McGruder and Reggie Hudlin. A story this week in The Hollywood Reporter states that the two are developing an animated version of The Boondocks comic strip for Cartoon Network:
- Sources say Cartoon Network is finalizing a deal with Sony Pictures Television to pick up a half-hour series based on the newspaper comic strip
- , penned by Aaron McGruder. The TV adaptation was initially developed as a pilot for Fox Broadcasting Co., which passed after viewing a six-minute presentation reel during its pilot screening process earlier this year. Cartoon is believed to be eyeing
- for its “Adult Swim” late-night block, given the racially and politically charged humor that has been the hallmark of the newspaper strip. “
- has had a fast rise since its 1999 debut and now appears in more than 200 newspapers. As in the strip, the TV series will chronicle the clash of cultures that ensues when two youths from inner-city Chicago, Riley and Huey, move to the suburbs to live with their grandfather. McGruder and Reggie Hudlin are executive producers of the TV series. Reps for Sony, which also is developing a
- animated feature, and Cartoon Network declined comment Wednesday.
This Has A ?Right To Be Hostile? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
Does Whatever A Spider Can
The Spider-Man 2 video game came out a few weeks ago to coincide with the release of the movie. This week, I finally had the chance to catch up with Gregory John, the Senior Producer on Spider-Man 2 from Treyarch:
BM: What exactly was your role in the creation of the Spider-Man 2 video game?
GJ: Essentially I?m the project lead, so I mainly take care of project management.
GJ: About 2 years. We started this project right after finishing the first movie game. The first movie really inspired us to give the player a new physics-based web-swinging system that really hit home the Spider-Man experience.
BM: At what point was the decision made to opt for GTA, open-ended style gameplay?
GJ: After we perfected the web swinging and we?d started building a fully 3D volume of Manhattan, we realized we had these two major elements that would fit perfectly with a non-linear open game play system. Also, lots of fans of the first game had been requesting open game play, so it all came together as our third major element. It?s really much more of a revolution than an evolution from the previous game.
GJ: Roughly speaking, the first six months were devoted to perfecting the swinging and prototyping what sort of city was ideal for the swinging. The next six months were devoted to working on a streaming system that would allow us to have the huge 3D volume of city and be able to run random missions like purse snatchings and bank robberies. Along with that, and to the end, we were just adding content and polishing the game.
BM: Having played through the game, it seemed more like a sequel to the first Spider-Man movie game than a straight adaptation of the Spider-Man 2 film.
BM: Were there any characters or features that didn’t make the cut?
GJ: Yes, several characters and missions were cut along the way. Some were cut because they just didn?t come together enough to be a satisfying experience. Some were cut due to time. In order to provide a great game, we have to be willing to cut stuff along the way.
BM: Are there any Easter Egg features of the game that comic fans should be looking for?
GJ: Interestingly, when it came to including Easter Eggs, most of the time when we thought of one, we decided that it was just too cool to hide, so we tried to make all the cool stuff easily accessible? well? at least eventually accessible through reasonably normal game play.
GJ: Right now, we?re just taking a rest and seeing what the feedback is from the players of Spider-Man 2.
BM: What do you see in the future for Spider-Man video games, in terms of features and interactive storylines?
GJ: I think we will see more expansion of game play along with some new innovations. I think Spider-Man 2 was a big step up from the first game and it provides a solid base as a great game, in and of itself, for future iterations.
This Has A ?Webslinger? Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Earlier this week, at a European press event, Activision revealed their plans for the next Spider-Man video game, which will be based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series. An article at IGN had further details:
- While it didn’t reveal the developer or the game’s content, Activision’s
- is most likely to be developed by Treyarch (which has worked on the last two
- games). It’s also sure to be stylized like Spider-Man is in that series and to include the villains and storylines from it as well.
Since Activision is newly bent on pounding gamers with its franchises each year, expect Ultimate Spider-Man (2005) to be followed by Classic Spider-Man in 2006 (that’s just our guess), and Spider-Man 3 (confirmed) to appear in 2007 to coincide with the third and final Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man movie.
This actually won?t be the first game based on the Ultimate line. The upcoming X-Men: Legends video game was also largely inspired by the Ultimate X-Men comic.
This Has An ?Ultimization? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
- Yeah, Marvel sent me a cease and desist letter. Keep in mind the comics were never meant for a mass audience — I honestly did just write them to amuse ten people I knew, and they got smuggled out onto the internet just in time to coincide with
- . If I’d been smart I’d have taken out Stan Lee’s signature, which is where the majority of the legal problem lies. But as I said, they were never intended for mass consumption, so it never occurred to me.
Ironically, the guy who smuggled the comics out and put them up on his site never got a letter — just me, and I never even had all the comics up on my site. Go figure. I guess Marvel figured they’d just go to the source. They couldn’t stop the ones that’d already circulated, but they could at least ensure no more rolled off the assembly line.
Incidentally, Pinkerton is currently working on another series of webcomics, which can be found here:
And that?s all for this week. See you in seven.
PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at email@example.com Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.