The other night I had this dream about a grade school classroom full of comic book professionals. Mark Millar, Rob Liefeld, Bendis and Greg Rucka were there. Geoff Johns and Ed Brubaker were the smart kids at the front of the class. Grant Morrison was in the back drawing a pentagram around a pink cauldron in a T-Shirt that said, “Fuck me, I’m Magic”.
Every time the teacher asked the students for their thoughts Rob Liefeld would raise his hand first and spit out 50 great ideas. But when he was asked to elaborate Rob wouldn’t say anything. He would just bury his head in a laptop and write responses to people on message boards with a Cheshire grin on his face.
Ride the L Train
I should start by saying I’m a fan of Liefeld’s art. It’s fun, dynamic stuff. I don’t care if he can’t draw feet. That said, Rob is an avid message boarder, particularly at Millarworld where the Youngblood: Bloodsport review thread has grown into a 36 page colossus. The bad news is that I can’t help but wonder how the guy makes time to write internet tomes, but can’t finish drawing a couple more shoulder pads and get his books out on time.
The good news is that Rob’s posting habit has helped feed the Rage. In the last week or so Liefeld has talked about his upcoming work and revealed details about a past project that never got off the ground.
Rob says he’s talked to hot writer Geoff Johns (The Flash, Teen Titans) in the past about doing a Youngblood arc. “[Geoff] had great ideas that would really excite Youngblood fans, After his exclusive runs its course in the next few years, you can be certain I’ll chase him down!”
When asked about the defunct Superman/Youngblood crossover, planned nearly 11 years ago, Liefeld says the project was the result of a face-to-face meeting DC President Paul Levitz at an offsite meeting during the 1992 San Diego Comic Convention. “Superman learns that Krypton’s fate was tied into a huge galactic war between Combat’s race, the Katellans and Krypton,” Liefeld adds. “Superman hunts down Combat after realizing that he is a part of the Government’s Youngblood squad and they fight and eventually journey back in time to prevent the betrayal on Krypton, only to realize that the Katellans were trying to aid Krypton Police in nabbing what was a Krypton driven terrorist agenda to destroy Krypton…
“Supes and Youngblood discover that the Katellans were directly afflicted by the destruction of Krypton, which sent Katella into an Ice Age. Supes and Y-Blood realize that the bad intel that was delivered to them was a product of Brainiac and Darkthorn, both of whom intended foe each side to take out each other.”
Liefeld says the story was bumped to make room for Todd McFarlane’s Spawn/Batman crossover, a project Todd wanted to go first. Rob says that after the Superman/Youngblood project was delayed a year, he turned his attention to other assignments and the crossover fell by the wayside. “Aside from Levitz’ initial interest in the project, DC was never terribly amped about it,” Liefeld says. “All for the best I suppose.”
In addition to these reports Liefeld also mentions that he will be working with Marvel in the future. This work, he says, was “negotiated quite some time back with Jemas, Quesada and the current high ranking brass.”
Liefeld also mentions that Youngblood #2 is nearing completion. Here are some pages.
The L Word
On the very same Millarworld thread, some industry professionals showed up to defend Liefeld against his naysayers, who seem to pop up from time to time with the same old tired complaints. Ethan Van Sciver (New X-Men, Flash: Iron Hights) was the first pro to admit that’s he’s a lifetime member of Club Rob. “Rob Liefeld is beyond criticism now,” he says. “He is an institution, and one that I belong in. I enjoy his work so profoundly that at times, when I read or re-read one of his books, I feel utterly elated. The generosity of his output, the sheer boyish delight of drawing armies of superheroes shooting each other to sh*t, the resonance of his concepts…the Liefeld chic. God, I love it. Who cares about your petty problems regarding his technical abilities? You’re missing the forest for the trees.
If you don’t like Rob Liefeld you are WRONG.”
Ultimates writer and Liefeld collaborator on Youngblood: Bloodsport, Mark Millar, also rallied to the artist’s side. “I’ve always felt people who criticize [Rob’s] technical ability display an incredible unsophistication in the sense that they need everything to look as closely to reality to appreciate it. When I was a kid, I felt that it was important to draw as close to the subject as possible to be ‘correct’, but there’s no correct way to draw. Nobody looks like an Eduardo Risso drawing or a Frank Quitely and yet they’re two of my favourite artists. The difference between them and Liefeld is that Rob is a commercial artist who’s style was popularised to the point of madness by a thousand imitators and this dictates whether the style becomes fashionable or not. Neither draw normal-looking people, but neither intend to either.
“I loved Kirby as a kid, but hated him as a ten year old because he gave people square fingers. I couldn’t understand how he couldn’t draw a hand like a human hand and sometimes it just takes a while to get the point. Show a kid a Liefeld comic and their eyes light up. Same goes for all the Image guys. There’s magic in that stuff we won’t see again until the end of the decade.”
This Has A “Give Me An R! Give Me An O! Give Me A B!” Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Change In Weather
Over on the Wildstorm boards upcoming Vigilante writer Micah Wright has offered some details about the future of Stormwatch: Team Achilles. He talks about what will happen in the book over the next few months as well as Stormwatch sales and also reveals that issue #20 marks the beginning of a “drastically different turn” for the book. He writes:
- #19 wraps up Citizen Soldier’s storyline in a way which long-term readers of the book will feel quite rewarded by.
#19(B), as I’m calling it on my computer, is Part Two of the Authority Takes Over The USA miniseries (Authority: Coup D’etat). Now, as you can tell from reading the current arc, Santini doesn’t really respond well to superpeople taking over the USA. In fact, it downright pisses him off. This is a stand-alone story which is part of the overall Authority crossover which runs through all four existing Eye of the Storm books, Authority, SW:TA, Wildcats, and Sleeper. You don’t have to read the other books in the miniseries, though it would help.
Weird: a cross-line miniseries where we’re not forcing you to buy 19 books you don’t want in order to enjoy the one you do want… what the Hell is wrong with us? 😉
#20 kicks off an exciting new direction for the book as we see the UN subjugated to The Authority, Team Achilles’ base below the UN closed by The Authority, and an on-the-run Santini and crew seeking new primary funding sources from some unexpected places. Politics makes strange bedfellows, indeed, and people who’ve been mistrustful of Santini and his motivations are going to scream with delight.
Look for the covers to get rather… interesting… with #20. The book is going off in a bold new direction, and I want people scanning the store shelves to see that from just the covers alone.
Exciting stuff to come. Despite the sales numbers you may have seen posted here by gloating doofuses (doofi?), rest assured that the book is doing just fine… we’re selling like crazy in Barnes & Noble and overseas, both of which are numbers NOT recorded or reported by Diamond in their “Top 300” sales charts you find on the web.
In addition, the Eye of the Storm Crossover Event is designed to bring a lot of NEW readers to the book. Since the issue is very standalone, it’ll be an easy entry point into the series.
Finally, I really do think that the new cover concept is going to get a lot of curious people to pick up the book… especially in stores such as Barnes & Noble.
I have to say that I love this book. Those of you who haven’t purchased Stormwatch for the last year and a half have seriously fucked up. There’s just no way around that. But as stated, Micah is giving you an opportunity to redeem yourselves by providing this new, jumping on point. For the love of Moses, don’t blow it again..
This Has A “Forecast: Sunny with 98% Chance of Kickass” Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Wildcats Version 3.0 writer Joe Casey talked briefly about his 2004 plans at DC’s Batman boards after he was asked whether or not he’d write more Batman:
- No more Batman in my foreseeable future.
- was a big project and I said a lot of what I have to say about Batman’s psychology in it.
Still writing WILDCATS VERSION 3.0. Next year will see a creator-owned horror mini-series at Dark Horse called THE MILKMAN MURDERS, as well as a top-secret new superhero project (or two).
Note: The Batman sketch at right was drawn by Tenses artist Cully Hamner at the recent Motor City convention. The proud owner posted it on Cully’s yahoo group.
This Has A “Does A Body Good” Factor of Seven Out of Ten
New Nightwing artist Patrick Zircher has taken exception to criticism of past and present illustrators on the former Boy Wonder’s book. On the Nightwing boards a self-proclaimed “wingnut” said that Nightwing has been the recipient of “creative leftovers” since the DC series Titans ended. Zircher fired back:
- Unhappy? Perhaps you should,
- a) just read those 80’s
- appearances and the Scott McDaniel issues over, and over, and over.
- or b) keep an open mind, “Wingnut”– because you read as being against what other artists will contribute to the title.
To fix these flaws in writing, to grab hold of new readers, DC keeps attaching a new art team to no doubt “keep things fresh”. It just won’t work. Besides it’s no secret that DC is only using this title as a training ground for newbies. Either that or they just don’t care anymore. Sadly, we Wingnuts are used to our man Nightwing getting the creative leftovers since the end of the Titans-era.
Keeping things FRESH is not the reason behind the art change. A personal decision was made between Rick and Michael. Nor was I or any other artist brought on to “fix” flaws in the writing. You’re just wrong.
Other artists HAVE rendered fine stories for NW — (besides, do you honestly think Scott would have WANTED to draw all 85 issues?, with today’s page count that would’ve been a run longer than almost any artist’s stay on any title in Marvel/DC’s history).
You dismiss Greg Land’s work all together, unless you think he made Nightwing look like a falling paraplegic — a view so skewed it doesn’t need a defense.
Some fill-in artists have less drawing experience but not always. Personally, most of my fill-ins were done while I was a regular penciler elsewhere. I try to learn from every drawing assignment — I’ll be trying to do that when I’m 70 and whether I’ve drawn my 1st issue of a series or my 40th. So, in that respect, every book is a training ground — but in regards to the way you meant it… no. I’ve been the regular penciler of at least three (New Warriors, Star Trek Early Voyages, Thunderbolts) series (plus about 20 issues of the Green Hornet), drawn extended story arcs on several others, and have drawn over 120 comics with characters as varied as Captain America, Batman, The Avengers, Vampirella, the Teen Titans, Iron Man, Gumby, Superman, Star Wars characters, G.I.Joe, the X-Men, Black Panther, Flash, Battletech, Captain Marvel, Dr. Strange, Venom, Jason and the Argonauts, and, at least, half a dozen others. Hardly a newbie.
I wasn’t chosen because DC doesn’t care anymore — quite the contrary. Nightwing is developing a higher profile than ever, just as his appearances in two, sometimes three, titles and, with the upcoming Titans cartoon, a couple of animated series suggests.
DC does care.
This Has A “Spread Your Wing And Fly Away” Factor of Six Out of Ten
I’m not much of a toy collector, but here’s a look at the new Hellboy movie action figures. Each figure stands 8 inches and will be released around the time the film drops. And no McFarlane didn’t do these. They’re from Mezco toys.
This Has A “Red Alert” Factor of Six Out of Ten
Ultimate Spider-Man super-scribe Brian Michael Bendis was recently given a list of villains and asked which ones would appear in Spidey at his Jinxworld message boards. Bendis replied with Yes/No answers.
- Silver Sable YES
- Hydro-Man NO
- Hobgoblin YES
- Mysterio YES
- Owl NO
- Rose NO
- Scorpion YES
- Sineater NO
- Spot WHO?
- Tarantula I HOPE
- Tombstone NO
- Vermin NO.
- Vulture KIND OF
This Has A “Spider-Sense.. Overloading” Factor of Eight Out of Ten
Rex In Effect
Rex Mundi artist Eric J has been replying to reader reaction to an interview he did with Newsarama at Millarworld. After he clarified his comments in the interview, Eric J mentions a big development in the world of Rex Mundi.
- We just got some truly amazing, incredible, unbelievable, pinch-yourself-to-make-sure-you’re-awake news today that is going to blow the lid off of this whole thing if it comes off. I can’t talk about it yet, but needless to say we’re SO BEYOND excited right now I’m effing giddy!!!! 😀 Those of you that have been reading the book, when, and if, we can announce it are going to be blown away. I am already. Seriously, all of the above is true in my heart, but my perception, in one small, succinct e-mail was irrevocably changed, well, at least for the moment, so maybe not irrevocably, but still, it’s huge. I’ll leave it there for now. 😀 Suffice it to say that, whatever tone you took from the
- interview, we are very, very, very, VERY happy boys right now. 🙂
Sounds to me like somebody just scored himself a movie deal..
This Has A “French Connection” Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Popular artist Chris Bachalo (New X-Men) gave fans an update on his projects at his Yahoo group.
He says he’s finishing up colors on Captain America #21 and has most of Cap #22 drawn. But it looks like he’s not going to be on the book for the long haul. He writes, “Not sure of what I’ll be working on after Cap 25 and Common Grounds. Have my hooks in the waters to see what I might scare up.”
Common Grounds is an anthology created at Top Cow. Bachalo has signed up to do a nine-page short story for the book, which is due to ship in Spring 2004. “The stories are wonderful — the reason I agreed to jump on board,” he says.
Chris also says that he has completed seven pages of the Comicraft comic Hip Flask: Stoneheart and the Truth Fairy and hopes to finish it by the end of the year.
This Has A “Fairy Flask” Factor of Six Out of Ten
Bill’s Excellent Adventure
- Hey guys,
The only thing that makes Bill leaving publishing any easier is the fact that I can say something nice about him here without feeling like I’m sucking up to somebody who signs my cheques. I’ve read so much crap and lies about the guy I had to pitch in and tell people some of the good stuff. You know me: I burn bridges like they’re Swan Vesta matches and have a habit of causing a row in an empty room so you know I’m being straight with you here– I have never, in all the time I’ve done this job, found a boss I liked as much as BJ. I’ve honestly never worked for somebody more agreeable, more open to ideas and more passionate about this stuff we love so much at any other point in my career.
Of course, everybody has a gripe with SOMEBODY in the business. There’s just too many people and too many strong personalities for this to be otherwise. Bill rubbed some people up the wrong way. Bill often told guys stuff they didn’t want to hear, but it bloody well worked! Marvel was a fiscal mess when he was first hired. Google back and see just how close to disappearing the company actually was. It was in BANKRUPTCY, for God’s sake, and drastic measures had to be taken. The initiatives and blue sky thinking were unlike anything else I think we’ve really seen in the medium before. They tried absolutely everything they could think of to make people buy these books again and, for the most part, it actually worked. You want the evidence? Sales are up 30% on this time last year and last year was considerably up on the year before. Bill saw what Joe was doing with Marvel Knights and hired him as EIC, he created the Ultimate line, devised Origin, co-wrote the Spider-Man title that formed the basis of the 800,000,000 dollar movie, turned the trade program from being a joke into the best in the business, got the books in the bookstores and the comics back into major chainstores and created the first serious new talent search the industry had really seen in almost two decades.
The work he and Joe put into the Marvel line not only doubled the sales of most of the main books, but TRIPLED them in many cases. He and Joe went out on a limb and hired people nobody would EVER have trusted on the main Marvel characters and the results have been good news for everybody. Check those sales charts back in 2000 and you’ll see that Uncanny and X-Men were the only books with their noses over the 100K line. Now the entire top ten and beyond are above 100K and a whole group of other revitalised franchises are hovering just under it. He got this stuff moving because he had a passion for ideas and was always…
Blah, blah, stroke, blah. Read the rest of MM’s gushfest by clicking the link above. And here I thought Millar was the go-to-guy for action. It seems the FF co-writing gig with Bendis is already starting to affect him.
This Has A “Meatball” Factor of Nine Out of Ten
This is the craziest rumor I’ve heard in a while. One of my sources, who has proven to be dead on in the past, says he heard Marvel is planning to move to Florida. Apparently this has something to do with CrossGen. Now, before I completely dismiss this, I do know that Joe Quesada made a little visit to the Sunshine State to talk to the CrossGen creators just before the big CG layoffs and restructuring took place. Over dinner he told them that Marvel planned to expand it’s line in order to compete with DC. Marvel’s distinguished competitor sells many more books and Da Q wants to even things up. So, I suppose it’s possible that Marvel may be.. ah, the hell with it, this thing has to be false.
This Has A “Cross-Country” Factor of One Out of Ten
And last but not least, I received a link to an article about a possible Green Arrow film from rowlfthedog. He asked me if the story was true. I won’t tell you what I said. Here’s the first three paragraphs:
- The Green Arrow meets the silver screen
Since the breakout success of Marvel’s X-Men movie in 2000, comic book superheroes have seen a resurgence of popularity in the movie industry. Other recent success stories include Spider-Man and Daredevil — also Marvel Comics characters. Warner Bros., parent company of DC Comics, had fantastic success in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s with the Superman and Batman film franchises. To the surprise of fans and many moviegoers, Warner Bros. has been laying low and holding back on their superhero properties.
Until now. The company has taken a nod from the success of Daredevil, who was only a second-tier hero in the Marvel Universe. DC Comics and Warner Bros. are now in the production stage of their next comic book film franchise. The hero is none other than Seattle’s avenging archer, Green Arrow.
The news comes as a shock to many comics fanboys and film buffs. But to director Kevin Reynolds, the decision was never in doubt: “When I met with Warner Bros., they pretty much gave me free rein to choose whatever DC character I wanted. I told them, ‘I don’t even have to think about that.’ Hands down — the Green Arrow.”
Here’s the link for the rest: http://www.thetartan.org/98/7/comics/4100.asp.
Read it and decide for yourself if this is the real deal.
This Has A “High, Hard Shaft” Factor of Eight Out of Ten
PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at email@example.com or IM me via AOL Instant Messenger. My screen name is Automatic San. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It’s greatly appreciated.