Welcome to our first ever, ALL INDIE, All the Rage. The idea for this column was first pitched during Markisan?s ATR run and it?s been in the back of my head ever since. I?ve just been waiting for the right time to run with it and now the time has finally come.

?Indie Comics? is a term that means different things to different people. For the purposes of this column, I basically said that anything in the second half of Previews was fair game. I tried to focus on some of the smaller companies that I haven?t really covered before. And there was a great response from ATR readers who sent in tips this week. Thank you, to everyone who wrote in, I really appreciate it. Please feel free to keep on sending those e-mails?

Because I?m always on the look out for the next great comic.

Run Elk, Run!

Joshua Fialkov and Noel Tuazon?s miniseries, Elk?s Run has been generating several glowing reviews across the net and even from Entertainment Weekly since it?s initial release earlier this year. However, due to the difficulties that come with self-publishing, Elk?s Run is moving from Hoarse and Buggy to Speakeasy this October. Obviously, the goal is to reach a larger audience, but the question then becomes, how do you relaunch a miniseries that will already have three issues out by the time it moves to the new publisher? Fialkov has been dropping hints, but here?s the scoop: The first three issues of Elk?s Run will be collected into a single edition, to bring new fans up to speed before issue 4 hits. And, the collected edition features a new cover by Darwyn Cooke, which can be seen below.

This Has A ?Small Town Terror? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Busted Cannon

There was a rumor going around this week that Devil’s Due has removed Cannon Busters from its publishing schedule because of a number of unfortunate delays. When contacted about the rumor, Cannon Busters artist/creator, LeSean Thomas had this to say:

      I’ve currently taken on bigger responsibilities as Supervising Character Designer/ Storyboard Direction on Aaron McGruder’s

The Boondocks

      animated series airing this fall on Adult Swim. Doing both the show and the comic was a logical task at first. But when I got promoted to bigger responsibilities on the show, my time on the

Cannon Busters

    project slowed to a point where it interfered with getting the book out on time.

It?s a typical scenario. The book is late and the distributor doesn?t want to wait for it. So it?s postponed until further issues are out before solicitation, which is fine by me. I’m currently negotiating with a publisher yet to be announced on releasing it as a graphic novel and am currently on issue #3.


Nothing’s slowed down and I intend to complete my story while producing The Boondocks. Obviously, one has to feed the other and priorities are aligned more clearly. I take my time producing my comic and put out the best quality I can while producing one of the most controversial cartoon series ever soon to air on Cable this fall.

Look for more news at http://www.CannonBusters.com.

And for more news on the Boondocks animation, please visit http://www.adultswim.com.

Thanks for the fans who’ve followed so far and I’ll keep you posted as promised as things are released.

This Has A ?Down In The Boondocks? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


In For A Penny, In For A Pound

I?ve been told that novelist, Barbara Hambly (The Windrose Chronicles) will be writing a three-issue historical fiction miniseries for Penny-Farthing Press, either later this year or some time in 2006.

Additionally, there?s also word that Penny-Farthing Press might be starting a mystery imprint down the line?

This Has A ?Silent Tower? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Across The Universe

Christopher Mills, the writer of last year?s well-received Gravedigger one-shot, is teaming with artist Gene Gonzales on a three-issue science-fiction miniseries from Shooting Star Comics entitled Perils On Planet X: Hawke of The Lost Planet. PoPX began as a webcomic (the existing strips can be found here) at the late, lamented, Adventurestrips.com. However, to be clear, the new 3-issue miniseries will NOT be reprinting the online strips. Instead, it will re-tell and complete the original storyline. PoPX: Hawke of The Lost Planet will be printed in black and white, with Gonzales pencilling, inking and also painting the covers. As you?ll see below, Gonzales? art gives off a real Alex Raymond/Mac Raboy Flash Gordon kind of vibe.



The first issue is scheduled to hit in early 2006. For his part, Mills describes the series as an ?old-school tale of interplanetary swashbuckling, filled with action, adventure, romance, sword fights, six-legged lizards, strato-pirates, jetpacks, flying cities and? vampire gorillas.?

Hell? YEAH.

This Has A ?Lair of The Science Witch? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


It?s The Cyber Age, We Just Live In It

Frank Fradella?s iHero Entertainment has been producing a web anthology of super hero short stories called Cyber Age Adventures for the past few years. And in about a week or so, Cyber Age Adventures is going to make the leap into print as a 64-page full color magazine. But, the big news is that CAA has been picked up by a number of major distributors, including Cowley, Media Solutions (Books-A-Million), Ubiquity, and Ingram Periodicals (B&N, Borders, B. Dalton, Waldenbook?). Basically, what this means is that CAA will be available at newsstands across the country, which is a major coup for any small publisher. It turns out, there really is a LARGE interest in getting superhero comics back out to the general public. I?m told that the initial print run was multiplied five times before the first issue even shipped. However, the first issue will not be carried by Diamond, but it looks like the second issue might show up there, and word from iHero is that CAA will also be available in comic stores as soon as possible?


This Has A ?Hero Worship? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Bones To Pick

Richard Moore?s Boneyard, a quarterly series from NBM Publishing has fallen off its schedule as of late. Readers of Neil Gaiman?s blog may recall, Moore and his wife were in financial dire straights last fall, as Moore elaborates:

      A lot of things can happen “behind the scenes” of a comic title, but all readers know is the book they’re expecting isn’t there when it should be. Careers have been ruined–or at least severely compromised–over missed deadlines, especially when it becomes chronic. Let me assure everyone that the lapses currently plaguing

Boneyard

    ‘s publishing schedule are the result of unfortunate circumstances (fancy talk for bad luck), not laziness.

Some of you may already be aware of this, but I’ll explain for the record, and for any who haven’t heard.

On the day before Thanksgiving, 2004, our car was stolen. Simple as that. I work at home, but my wife drives a lot on her job, so having no vehicle was not an option. We needed a replacement, ASAP. Insurance, you say? Of course? when they got around to processing our claim? and even then, well, if you’ve ever tried to replace your car based on what your insurance company decided it was worth, you understand the predicament we were in. In the meantime, we had to come up with cash, fast. (As for savings, my wife is a bookstore manager, and I work in independent comics. In financial terms, that means no savings, and perpetual credit card debt. Not complaining, just reality. That’s why you don’t see indie creators hanging with P. Diddy, or getting punk’d byAshton Kuscher.

With no family to help out, and unable to get a pay advance, I was forced to put Boneyard on hold while I scrambled to crank out some adult work. This created a vicious circle, wherein every Boneyard deadline piled up closer and closer to the next, until I was hopelessly behind and still trying to get our heads above water financially. A friend came to our aid and asked Neil Gaiman to post a message on his blog explaining our predicament, and asking for donations. Mr. Gaiman was kind enough to do so (my eternal thanks to him for that), and enough donations came through that we were finally able to afford a down payment on a ’97 Saturn.

But the damage was done. Not only was Boneyard knocked off its regular schedule, but additional projects–in particular, a Far West one-shot I’d been promising readers would be out in time for this year’s San Diego Comic Con–had become casualties of my snowballing workload. My apologies to those awaiting the next appearance of Meg and Phil; it IS COMING, time permitting. As for Boneyard, I should have issue #19 finished by mid- to late-August, which should put it on the stands by late October. After that, the schedule will essentially reset, and resume as before: every four months, like clockwork? barring any further personal disasters.

Oh, and for anyone who might be curious, yes, the police did eventually find our car, trashed and abandoned. The insurance company declared it totaled, naturally. The kicker was learning that it hadn’t been stolen to be resold or even parted out. This all happened because someone wanted a joyride. When you stop to think about it, it’s amazing how much of your life can be unraveled by an anonymous stranger pulling at a single thread.

I’m also glad to have this opportunity to thank everyone who donated through Mr. Gaiman’s blog. As embarrassing as I found it to–let’s face it– go begging, it was gratifying to find support from people out there I don’t even know. Many of those who responded were not even readers of mine; they just wanted to help out someone in need, especially during the holidays. So a sincere thanks to each and every one of you. It meant a lot to both myself and my wife, Jackie.

Now, for those of you who haven’t had a chance to read Boneyard, I’ve been encouraged to include a shameless plug. If you like monsters, humor, action, complex characterizations, pretty vampires, or just plain fun, you might want to pick up a copy. Here’s the basics: Michael Paris is an average guy who inherits a cemetery that happens to be home to a handful of real monsters. Once he gets to know them, though, he realizes they’re not so bad. . .in fact, they’re a lot nicer than some humans he’s known. There’s Brutus, the nine-foot-tall Frankenstein-esque monster; his wife, Nessie, a swamp creature; Ralph, the seven-foot, hot rod-building werewolf; Sid, the lecherous skeleton; a fat little demon with delusions of grandeur, named Glump; Hildy, the rotund witch, and, of course, the aforementioned vampire, Abbey, who’s not only the prettiest thing Paris has ever seen, she’s sweet and smart as a whip to boot.

The Boneyard gang has weathered schemes by Lilith, the mother of all demons, who has a grudge against Abbey, as well as zombie attacks, intrusions by Lovecraftian Old Ones, and even the Devil himself. Currently Abbey and Paris (okay, mostly Abbey) are tangling with the biggest, meanest masked summer camp slasher ever, while back at the cemetery, a mysterious pumpkin-headed stranger is trapping everyone in their worst nightmares. Abbey is one of the oldest and strongest vampires on earth, but even she has limits. And when she’s incapacitated, Paris will have to step up to the supernatural big time. Without giving anything away, let’s just say Paris will never look at pumpkin pie the same way again.

While I’m at it, a note about the just-released Boneyard Vol. 4: Due to a mistake at the publisher, the last issue of that storyline was omitted. The story will be concluded in Volume 5. Just wanted to get that out there, for anyone who saw the book and found the “ending”… enigmatic. Sorry for any confusion.

Thanks again to my readers for their patience and understanding. And if you haven’t tried Boneyard yet, pick up a copy. I think you’ll find it refreshing.

This Has A ?Pumpkin King? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Zombies, Zombies Everywhere, So Why Not Have A Bite?

There?s a rumor that Oni Press is jumping on the zombie bandwagon with at least two zombie related books in the works including Dead Goombas, a story that pits zombies against the mafia by J. Torres and John Bernales.

Now, I?ve seen some bitching online along the lines of ?Oh no! Not another zombie book!? To which, I ask. ?How many superhero books are there??

As long as the stories are good, no one should care if the zombie genre books are becoming more widespread.

This Has A ?C.H.U.D.? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


The Magic Portrait

Later this month, Ted Naifeh will launch the first of a series of prestige Courtney Crumrin one-shots entitled Courtney Crumrin Tales: A Portrait of A Warlock As A Young Man. As the title suggests, the story takes place in the past and follows Courtney?s uncle, Aloysius Crumrin at a time when he was working for a man who is secretly running a society whose stated purpose is to combat sorcerers. Aloysius befriends the daughter of his new employer, and she lets him in on her father’s secret, only to discover than Aloysius is actually a sorcerer himself?

Wackiness ensues.



This Has A ?Twilight Kingdom? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


I?ve Got Your Giant Monster Right Here?

Here?s an advance look at Giant Monster, Steve Niles and Nat Jones? two issue miniseries coming this Fall from Boom! Studios. Giant Monster is Niles? take on the monster films or yesteryear, like King Kong.



Looks like fun?

This Has A ?Rampage? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Surrogate Nation

Top Shelf?s The Surrogates #1 by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele hit the shelves this past Wednesday and it?s already generating a lot of positive buzz. When asked about the initial response, Venditti replied:

    It?s been really overwhelming. There?s been a lot of positive press both online and in print, and the fans and retailers I?ve talked to have all said that they enjoyed the issue. I received an e-mail from one retailer who told me that the issue was a strong seller in his store, which was nice to hear. It?s hard to not sit around and wonder what?s going on in the shops, so hearing from people like that takes a bit of the edge off.

The Surrogates is set fifty years in the future, where a new technology called ?the surrogate? has changed the way people live. Surrogates combine virtual reality and cybernetics into machines that let users experience the world without ever leaving their homes. Not only is the world safer, there is also the added bonus that people are free to look and live however they choose, and they can indulge themselves without fear of the consequences.

The story is a mixture of sci-fi and cop drama. The main characters are Lieutenant Harvey Greer and Sergeant Pete Ford, detectives for the police department in Central Georgia Metropolis–what is today known as Atlanta. Harvey is a veteran cop who uses a surrogate to protect himself from the hazards of police work, but he is otherwise skeptical about the technology?s prevalence in society. This has placed a strain on his relationship with is wife, Margaret, who operates a surrogate at all times–even at home. Contrasting Harvey is Pete, who is more enthusiastic about surrogates and the freedom they afford.

Harvey and Pete are investigating a string of anti-surrogate crimes perpetrated by SteepleJack, a techno-terrorist whose identity and motives aren?t entirely clear. During the course of their investigation they encounter The Prophet, a self-proclaimed man of God who opposes the use of surrogates for religious reasons. Somehow Harvey and Pete have to make sense of everything and stop SteepleJack before he can finish his plan.

Issue two is in the current Previews catalogue, so it?s slated for a September release, with the following issues hitting stands on a bimonthly schedule. Since issues two and three are already in the can — and four is almost there — there shouldn?t be any problems adhering to that timeline.

In issue two Harvey and Pete?s investigation continues, and a second crime scene offers them a few clues into SteepleJack?s motives. They end up paying a visit to The Prophet, the mysterious preacher we saw at the end of issue one, and the tension mounts between Harvey and Margaret on the home front. Rounding out the issue is a supplemental piece that provides some deep background on The Prophet, as well as some other goodies.

This Has A ?Stand In For Me Now? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Cinema Park

Imperium Comics is rumored to have just landed a movie deal for their comic, Trailer Park of Terror. Producer/Comic Writer David Tischman is said to be involved, and from what I hear, the contracts are signed, sealed, and delivered. And an official announcement may be imminent? possibly as soon as the San Diego Comic Con.

This Has A ?Trailer Trash? Factor of Six Out of Ten


The Futurius Is Yours

Dan Lundie?s Futurius Comics is preparing to release a 200 plus page anthology this October. The creators are said to be a group of newcomers along with some already established creators. Here?s a sneak peak at what?s in store?


This Has A ?Robin Node? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


From Across The Globe

My buddy, Daniel Gershon just got back from a trip to Israel and he brought me back something you might find interesting?

As near as I can tell, it?s an Israeli superhero title. Though I?m honestly not sure what it?s called or even what it?s about. Dan said he picked it up at CNV Comics, in Tel Aviv.

Can anyone out there translate this cover for me? I?d like to know what it says?


Counting Down?

Time for another quick announcement. For next week?s column, the welcome mat is back out for news and rumors about Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image and everyone else as we have our second annual Countdown to the San Diego Comic Con. And then, in two weeks, ATR will be coming to you straight from the SDCC.

See you there?


Stick a fork in me, I?m done. Special Thanks, once again, to everyone who wrote in this week. I couldn?t have pulled this off without your help.

So, Have a Happy 4th of July!

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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