Wot! Wot! Jolly good! Guv?n?r! Blimey!

Okay, I can?t pull that off. This is STILL not Alan Donald, and apparently it?s not going to be for some time because YOU yay-hooz decided it would be keen to have this fun little April Fool?s joke go permanent. So if you loved his work on ATR, tough tuckus, you?re stuck with me. But at least you?ll get to see Alan sporting his mad skillz elsewhere on this fine website. As for me, I guess I?m hanging up the boxing gloves (a thinly-veiled allusion to my fine ?Rolling With The Punches? column which rocketed me to superstardom; the archives of which can be read right here at SBC, and it wouldn?t hurt you to go read ?em?after we?re done here of course!) and getting my hands dirty digging into the filthy inner lives of the comic book industry and it?s denizens. Fanboys beware, yours may not be the only fingers groping down there anymore.

So that?s it, I guess. I am the new rumor-monger for SBC. An American, to break the Vertigo trend that has plagued this exclusive club thus far! Guess I need to spring for that phone tap on Johnston?s phone so I can steal all of his good idea. And while I?m at it I should bug Tony Isabella?s phone too because apparently he is providing all of the material for another of our fine columns and as we all know, laziness isn?t a talent, it?s a skill learned through years and years of inactivity.

Did I mention that I also got to steal Alan?s fine sponsor. The fine folks at Dynamic Forces stay up all night every night, running 500 hamsters on wheels to power their site concocting a new deal every day (it?s enough to make a fanboy?s heart explode). Today?s fine deal is the Marvel’s Future Movies Set, $40 while they last! You get: Iron Man #13 signed by Sean Chen, Fantastic Four #1.1 signed by Dan Jurgens, and The Punisher #1 signed by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon and Jimmy Palmiotti. My newest pal, Nick Barrucci had this to say about the set, ?Marvel has made some of the coolest movies in the last year, and we thought that the Spider-Man sequel, Hulk, X-Men 2 were going to be the big ones that followed up, but Marvel has surprised us with this announcement – 3 more future titles are bound for the movies. Iron Man, Fantastic Four and everyone’s favorite man with a death wish, The Punisher, has just been confirmed as the new movies of 2004! We are going to offer these titles now for all you DF Fans before all the madness starts so hurry before these are all gone.? Click on one of the banners scattered around on this page to take advantage of Nick’s fabulous deal!


Savage Future No More

Mike Savage, Marketing and Public Relations guru for Future Comics is no longer with the company. The first I heard of it implied it was a termination due to a breach of agreement (NOTE: not contract but agreement), but later reports have Savage resigning his post. No specific reason for doing so was given.

Savage, in a statement, said the following: ?…It was fun and Bob is one of the best in the business. Right now, he is very busy rebuilding the company and getting other deals rolling and he couldn’t free up time for another agreement he made. It’s not his fault, but on the same token, a deal is a deal. I regret leaving on such short notice and wish him, Pat Broderick, Dick, Dave, and the rest of the gang my very best. Everyone should keep an eye out for the new Talent that Bob brought in, especially inker Marco Luperon and Color Superstar Brad Nault. They bring youth and vigor to the company and have an energy that mixes well with Bob. You should see good things from the company in the months to come.?

So he wishes them well, but there are implications that he left with a sour taste in his stomach over something. Maybe it was bad tuna? Stay tuned, and I might be able to dig up some more information. The good news is, it looks like Future Comics is doing fine and still building toward the, ahem, future. This comes in a complete contrast to the doom and gloom prophecies that have sprinkled up from time to time indicating the company was going under or failing to pay debts and bills. Instead, it would appear that they are expanding and growing. And coming from someone who?s left the company, and apparently at least slightly disgruntled, there isn?t really much of a motivation to stroke the company?s ego, so to speak. Maybe we can actually believe it!

And did I mention they dropped their prices to $2.99 and they?re available in Previews now. So they?re right in line with everyone else, though they still promise they can beat Diamond?s deals if you retailers order directly from them instead.

This Has A ?Is There A Fortune Teller On Staff To Tell The Future? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Ren And $%#@*! Stimpy

Not sure how reliable this is, but I have heard tell that Ren and Stimpy may be returning to television in an all-new, adults only version. Expect the new series to bow on the New TNN and air at 10pm (9PM Central). Even if it doesn?t pan out we?ll always have ?Space Madness? and wait for the R&S DVDs. For those of you who don?t remember it, Ren was a Chihuahua with a bad attitude and that Taco Bell dog accent (BEFORE the Taco Bell dog) and Stimpy was his big, fat stupid cat friend. This was beloved and twisted years before South Park.

And now in commemoration of this, one of the greatest sequences ever in the history of television:

REN:

    (holds up bar of soap)Oh my beloved ice cream bar…how I love to lick your creamy center! HOOOWWWWWW…(bites soap)…and your oh-so-nutty chocolate covering! You’re not like the others…you like the same things I do! Waxed paper…boiled football leather…dog breath…We’re not hitchhiking anymore! We’re RIDING!

STIMPY: Stop it! You’re talking crazy!

REN: (suddenly paranoid) Oh no, I know what YOU want. You coveteth my ICE CREAM BAR!

STIMPY: C’mon now…

REN: No you don’t! You can’t take it from me now. I’ve had this ice-cream bar since I was a CHILD! People… always trying to take it from me! Why won’t they LEAVE ME ALOOOOOONNNNE?

STIMPY: E…easy, now.

REN: Back off, man! (grabs toothbrush) Don’t make me use this! One stop closer, I’m WARNING ya! Don’t make me use it! (Stimpy steps closer) NOW you’ve done it. YOU FORCED ME TO USE IT!

(horrible sounds as Ren brushes his teeth. They struggle. Ren loses)

Ah yes, one of the most ground-breaking televisions to ever air on American television. This series was ahead of its time in humor and technique, appealing to an adult audience while being aired on Nickelodeon. If it makes it to TV again, I wanna write the comics adaptation! And you can say you heard it here first!

This Has A ?You Know You Did A Ren Impression When You Were Younger? Value Of Three Out Of Ten


Battle of the Canceled?

When I saw that Top Cow?s Battle of the Planets had been retro-solicited as a twelve-issue miniseries, I panicked. Is this the end of the ?80?s revival? And will I ever get to see my Strawberry Shortcake and Smurfs revivals. But alack, I panicked too soon and perhaps I will get to see my little blue friends after all.

Turns out that BoP is ending for a slight revamp and redirection under the G-Force banner. Apparently, Alex Ross (the guy who has control of the license) is redesigning some of the old characters and creating all new ones to be in the new series, which we can look for later in 2003 or early 2004.

In other Top Cow news, because let?s face it, no one really knows what?s going on there, I went through a quick run-down of titles with Matt Hawkins (President of Top Cow because HEY I go straight to the top baby!) Here are the titles I asked him about and his responses.

CyberForce ? Is it ever coming back? Matt: ?It is being revived. Marc (Silvestri) drew a story for the 10th anniversary hardcover that will eventually see the light of day. Plus our intent is to relaunch the property sometime next year.?

Evo ? Was that it? Just a one-off? Matt: ?We have plans to do more, we’re not 100% sure yet what we’ll do with it.?

Inferno: Hellbound ? Is it over? Will the story continue? Matt: ?It will be picked up elsewhere.?

Rising Stars ? Any more minis? What?s the hold-up on the regular? Matt: ?There is a Laurel Darkhaven series being worked on that should start in August/September time frame. No real projection for the completion of the regular RS. When we get the scripts in we get them over to Brent Anderson.? So you mean that Straczynski hasn?t even finished scripting the thing yet? Sheesh, he?s turning into a regular Kevin Smith.

Universe /Tom Judge: End of Days ? Is this one over? Matt: ?Nope.?

For more details I?m hoping to sit down with Jim McLaughlin and do an actual honest-to-god live interview for next week to talk about his plans as the new Editor-in-Chief of Top Cow, and whether he?s still going to supply the snarky answers in the Wizard lettercol each month?

This Has A ?How Long Until We Get A Witchblade / Rising Stars Crossover? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Mooo-vin? On Up

Sorry kids, had to move this one to it?s own section. You see, Top Cow sent out a promotional booklet spotlighting their entire lineup of titles, and in there were some snippets of three series that haven?t bowed yet; currently in development. For your viewing pleasure, I present to you what they had to say about these new series and if it excites you bug your retailer and ask him to reserve for you a book that won?t ship until 2004. They?ll love you for it. And since you?re such a good class, I?ll even follow up with what the aforementioned Mr. Hawkins had to say about each one!

Gravity
Fall 2003

    Early in the 21st Century, scientists unlock the key to controlling and manipulating gravity. Newton?s force replaces follies fuels and nuclear fission, becoming the fuel that powers the world economy. Years later, a lone scientist uncovers evidence that the constant manipulation has weakened the Earth?s gravitational and electromagnetic fields. Now with his world literally falling down around him, he has to prove his theory before he?s silenced forever.

Matt says: ?This one’s still in development, hence the lack of artwork in the book. It may get pushed to 2004.?

Myth Warriors (not to be confused with Image?s Mythstalkers)
Fall 2003

    Two warring alien races have fought for control of the known universe for thousands of years. Champions and gladiatorial arenas are the chosen method of conflicts with large coliseums and pyramids serving as arenas on thousands of worlds. Earth falls on the border between this intergalactic struggle and has been controlled by both factions in its short history. Individual battle armor and vehicles convey military status within each faction and give rise to the mythological appearances worshipped as gods. On present day Earth, four multi-ethnic teenagers are inadvertently pulled into the struggle to maintain Earth?s sovereignty won by King Arthur during the Dark Ages.

Key Characters: Thor, Valkyrie, Anubis, Thoth, Mars, Aries, Set, Horus, Eric, Yvette

Matt says: ?This is a property specifically designed for animation. We are developing an animation division at Top Cow. We’re working with Paul Dini on a few things.? To which I say, Paul freaking Dini! How kewl is that!

Oblivion
Summer 2004

    A covert arm of the FBI uses and electrochemical reaction to reanimate recently murdered people in an attempt to uncover the circumstances of their death. This reanimation lasts mere minutes, before their death becomes permanent and often reveals nothing as the victims simply scream and froth about. In a continued effort to refine the process, several scientists subject one of their own to death and reanimation to study the process and they are shocked when their test subject does not die once reanimated.

Matt says: ?In development, too early to say.?

This Has A ?I Can?t Wait Until Some Chick In Gravity Finds The Witchblade? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Have We Reached A Zenith?

So does this mean the rights issues between Grant Morrison, Rebellion and Titan books over his classic superhero strip Zenith have been resolved? It would appear that things are at least more squared away than that little niggle over Marvelman / Miracleman. Over at Amazon.co.uk is a solicitation for release of a collected edition the day before Christmas 2003. That would be 12.23.2003? or is it 23.12.2003? I get so confused.

The Amazon synopsis reads as follows:

    A record in the charts, a page-three girl in each arm…all’s right in Zenith’s world. He can fly; he’s all but invulnerable. Nothing can harm him. Or so he thinks. Zenith is about to get a huge wake up call, courtesy of a WWII legacy that won’t stay buried and a multi-dimensional race of soul-eating gods that want to reshape the Earth and its inhabitants in their own image.

While the back of the collection sports the following:

    Image is everything, life is one long party, and saving the world is just a pain in the arse! Meet Zenith, all a good superbeing shouldn’t be. From the labyrinthine mind of Grant Morrison (The Invisibles, JLA) comes the weirdest, wildest counter-culture hero of all.

A record in the charts, a page-three girl on each arm … all’s right in Zenith’s world. He can fly, he’s all-nut invulnerable, nothing can harm him. Or so he thinks. Zenith is about to get a huge wake-up call, courtesy of a WWII legacy that won’t stay buried and a multi-dimensional race of soul-eating gods that want to re-shape the Earth and its inhabitants in their own image.

This Has A ?But When Will It Be Available HERE?? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Spider-Girl Collected

Well it should happen. I spoke with Mr. Tom DeFalco, a guy who?s done just about everything in this industry and is currently the scribe on the longest running (EVER) Marvel comics series starring a heroine, Spider-Girl. Recently stayed it?s twenty-sixth stay of execution, I asked the writer a bit about things. Of course, before I could run with all the good stuff, it came out at The Pulse but I?m not bitter. DeFalco did say something of interest when I asked about Marvel ever making a whole bunch of manga-sized collections of the early SG stuff.

To whit: I haven’t heard about any plans to collect the earlier issues in trades. Although, considering how well my SPIDER-MAN: The Ultimate Guide sold in bookstores and school book clubs, and how well it looks like my HULK:The Incredible Guide will sell, it probably won’t be a bad idea for Marvel to reprint some of my earlier work.?

You heard the man, Joe! This is the title with the single most loyal fanbase in all of comics and it?s all because of the craft of Tom DeFalco. It?s the depth of character mixed with the light and fun storytelling approach that makes this a true classical comic. Its very existence is proof of the passion of its readers. I bet if you give them some well-priced collections they?ll not only buy them to support their favorite series, but they?ll push them on their families and churches and cellmates. This will boost interest in the regular series and bam you?ve go the new #1 book in the land. It?s really that simple.

This Has A ?If Only World Peace Were So Simple? Value Of Five Out Of Ten


Robots In UK

Well, it?s about time. After seeming eons without their Transformers fix, save through illicit black market smuggling rings that involve babies and cocaine and comics, the United Kingdom has finally landed some honest to god legitimate TF comics. Panini Comics, who currently print a whole slew of comics, from some Marvel to DC?s Cartoon Network to Dragonball to? well, now giant robots!, have just announced on their site the soon-to-be-released Transformers: Armada #1 (April 24th). But this isn?t just a reprinting of the US version. In typical UK fashion, they?ve upped the page count and turned it into something more than just a typical comic. Here?s what Panini has to say about it.

      Attention robot-lovers everywhere, the Transformers have landed! A brand new comic,

TRANSFORMERS ARMADA

    , is coming to a galaxy (or newsagent) near you SOON!

Issue 1 is on sale 24th April!

With 14 pages of fully originated UK strip each issue, Transformers Armada also comes pre-loaded with data-files, cyber-puzzles, competitions, a Galactic battle poster and much more! Plus, in Issue 1, we are offering four lucky readers the chance to win every single Transformer toy available in our ULTRA COMPETITION!

Available four-weekly, each issue of Transformers Armada comic comes with it?s own cover-mounted free gift.

In issue 1, get your free Transformers sticker album and stickers!

Issue 2 comes packaged with a cool Cyber-Sketch Console, and a giant A1-sized Transformers poster!

TRANSFORM AND COMBINE!

Did you read that! Now that?s how you launch a comic. Talk about your bells and whistles! No wonder comics are doing so much better in the UK than the US, they know how to give you more bang for your buck. What, it?s not doing that much better? Hmmm. What the hell?s that all about.

This Has A ?I Still Say I Want This Version In The States? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


You Tell Me

With the demise of the WEF (Warren Ellis Forum) which has been cited the best comics forum on the ?net in it?s time, what do you think has come up to replace it? I judge a great comics forum on the following:

  1. Lots and lots of activity. A site that gets ten or less posts a day just isn?t a happening place, you know what I?m saying.
  2. Intelligence. I?m sorry, but I require some modicum of intelligentsia to truly enjoy meandering through a variety of comics-related threads. A buch of dingbats arguing over how great Mr. Fantastic would have to be in the sack is entertaining, but if that?s the average maturity level of the whole board and most threads, then it?s just not going to cut it.
  3. Creator involvement. Someplace that the comics creators themselves like to go to. With the demise of the lettercol, we need to find a place where we can actually go one on one with the comics creators. The official boards are okay, but man you gotta hit a couple hundred of them to read about all of the comics you read (okay well that I read).
  4. Maturity. Similar to #2, but I?m talking about ridiculous baiting and fighting between posters. It?s annoying for the rest of us. Either get on IM or meet behind the big slide on the playground after school and get it out of your systems!

MillarWorld seems to have some of these criterion, but I don?t know if it has fully taken the crown. I?m opening this debate up to all of you. Give me your thoughts suggestions and votes for the best comics message board and we?ll have a look-see at them in a few weeks or so (and maybe even crown an official winner!). And it couldn?t hurt to come to my very own Message Board and make that a pretty happening place. I don?t bite. Unless you ask.

This Has A ?It?s Our Community, So Let?s Get It Together Somewhere? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Painkiller Pilot

You may or may not know that a Painkiller Jane movie is in production for the SciFi Channel. Or pre-production as it were. And you may or may not know that it is slated to be a back-door pilot for a potential SciFi series. For those of you who don?t remember, Painkiller Jane was a popular character, spun out of 21 Brides at Event Comics, before the split of that group so Jimmy Palmiotti could start inking every book in publication and Joe Quesada could go run some little rinky-dink comic company.

Palmiotti spilled some of the beans on this project while Joe was clearly too busy concocting something else for Ron Zimmerman to write and kissing up to Mark Millar and shining Bendis? dome to respond, though he was kind enough to say ?hello? to me.

What we do know: two cats by the names of John Harrison and Don Opper have written a script that Palmiotti and Quesada are looking over (probably as you?re reading this). That?s it for the movie. Well, at script stage there?s not much to talk about yet, but as long as they don?t sign Madonna to play PKJ it could be very interesting indeed.

As for the future of the property in comics, there are no indications that there will be any new stories, but a collection of the existing volumes is likely. Oh yeah, one more thing Jimmy told me. There?s a lot of paperwork involved in getting this thing together. As in everything else. It?s a wonder we have any trees left. Isn?t anything simple anymore. Remember when a handshake was your word and your word was your honor and you lived and died by it. Now the value of your attorney is your word and Johnny Cochran is GOLD!

This has a ?They Still Need To Make A Sliders Movie (But WITH The Professor)? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Antipodean Antics

I hear that Paul Jenkins has cancelled his appearance at the Armageddon con in New Zealand due to health reasons (see: PulpExpo.Com for more details). While I don?t like to speculate any more than is necessary, information worming its way to me may suggest there is more to this story than surfaces appearances suggest.

I?m currently researching this story further, so be ready for an update next week. Or my source could be talking out his ass and things are perfectly hunky-dory in the land of the lamb-burger.

This Has A ?Check Your Sources? Value Of Four Out Of Ten


U-DECIDE?

Has anyone else noticed that Marvel?s ill-fated marketing ploy has resulted in a new term coined for comics fandom to use. U-DECIDE shall take its rightful place next to BWAHAHAHA as a permanent staple of geek-talk.

So just for fun, how about you guys send in other comics lingo (phrases that have become a part of the comics culture in general comics-related discussions??cause I can?t think of anymore but I know there has to be some) and I?ll tally a list for us all to reference later.

This Has A ?One Catch Phrase And You?re A Star!? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Pathetic Groveling And Begging

I can?t do this alone. I know that some of you people out there know good juicy stuff that will just get this industry alive with buzz and anticipation, or rage and fury. Share the wealth and knowledge and I promise that you?ll only be as notorious as you want to be. You wanna be anonymous, you got it. Have a cool pseudonym like Spider-Monkey, it?s all you baby! Put your name right out there for everyone to see in blazing neon lights (okay it?s really just black and white print) well we can accommodate you. The glory is yours to be had, and the more juicy crap we get the better the column and the better the column is?well then we ALL win don?t we?

And that?s a wrap for this week ? my first as official scum-bag of the comics industry! I like the sound of that? official scum-bag? Oh, and somebody please tell the Kahuna to change the out the photo, these here are my digs now!


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