Big Johnston

Some of you may have noticed that Avatar?s May Solicitations include a little something called Rich Johnston?s Holed Up. What the hell is this, you ask? The net?s most popular funny-book rumor columnist is writing a comic?

Well, shit son, you shouldn?t even be tossin? me that question. I told you Rich was writing a comic book way back in August 2003 when I wrote:

      I?ve learned that

Lying in the Gutters

    columnist Rich Johnston has a three-issue mini-series coming out next year. It will be an American family sitcom sort of thing. I?m not sure what publisher is putting the book out. But I do know that it isn?t one of the big guns. It?s a well known smaller press.

Now I?ve learned the book will be a an offensive, over-the-top series about a family of gun nuts in middle America. Sounds about right for Avatar.

Over on Millarworld Rich says if you only buy one book in May, buy Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. If you buy two books, he writes, the second should be Holed Up. ?And if you buy three, that’s what the variant cover is for.?

Holed Up is a 3 issue monthly series, starting in May 2004. It features art by newcomer Gonzalo Martinez. And lookee here, I just happen to have a preview of the variant cover for issue #1. Congrats on the book, Rich.

This Has A ?Suburban Commando? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Avatar wasn?t the only publisher to have it?s May books revealed. We finally learned the secrets behind the first leg of Marvel?s X-Men revamp, RELOAD. But Marvel is none to happy about it. The solicitations for May were embargoed until February 25th, but the buzz around RELOAD was so great that excited recipients soon leaked the info. to message boards and comic sites reported the news early.

Expect Marvel to tighten it?s reigns on news releases after this. Messages have already been sent out to those on the regular solicitation list with the statement, ?Due to yesterday’s problems with Marvel’s solicitations being posted immediately, in complete and flagrant disregard for our embargo date, we’re revising and limiting our press list.?

Marvel has yet to issue a press release regarding the RELOAD titles.

This Has A ?Pressing Matters? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Darwyn?s Theory

A few hours ago I wandered on to the DC message boards expecting to find some pansy-ass petition for the return of Firestorm?s puffy sleeves, when I stumbled upon something much more surprising. Lo and behold New Frontier creator Darwyn Cooke was ripping the bejeezus out of legendary writer Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Strikes Again).

In a thread titled Why Is Superman the Lap Dog Again? some DC posters called Darywn?s New Frontier Superman a rehash of Frank Miller?s Man of Steel in The Dark Knight Returns. Darwyn took exception to this and responded, ?As for Frank Miller, F@#$ him. Wait out the series and see if I’m really rehashing Miller. I think he is an aberration on the DCU.?

That was just the beginning of Cooke?s verbal assault on Miller. On another thread, DC: The New Frontier, Cooke cranked out these golden nuggets of insult:

      As for Mr. Miller, please do not refer to me in any sort of fellowship with him.


    was the last straw for me, and I’m very comfortable with stating this publicly. I considered it a cynical, hateful and hastily cranked out piece of jetsam.
      As for Miller, perhaps my standards for


    were too high.

After spending close to 20 years swallowing this man’s snake oil about the companies being the problem, how if we had the money, respect and creative freedom we deserve we could prove our abilities….ripping up Wizard magazines at award shows and OPENLY badmouthing a list of creators and industry people so long it would choke the character count of this post. This man took the money and ran, but not til he had a good long pi$$.

As for whether I missed the point of DK2…c’mon Cole. I got it. It was just delivered in a rushed, jumbled draft of a project instead of a finished piece of work. The third book was obviously reworked extensively to respond to the overwhelming ridicule the project received as it was rolled out.

By taking the biggest payday in our industry and turning that book in (late to boot) in the state it was, he dynamited the bridges for the rest of us. How long before DC allows another “creator” that kind of freedom? Or reward?

      And lastly, I’m no Robin fan, but the end of


    is shameful. Sad. A sensationalist tack-on.

My litmus for this book is simple: If you delivered that book finished, to DC on spec, do you think they would have bought it? What kind of critique do you think you’d receive?

Finally Cole, my rules regarding other pros is simple: If I know that the person in question is comfortable with talking about other creators (witness Morrison’s pathalogical obsession with Alan Moore or Igor Kordey) then I figure they’re fair game.

Am I gonna rip Andi Watson or Scott Morse a new one? No. As a matter of fact, the work itself is such a subjective matter I think it is best we as pros avoid comment for the most part.

But Miller….sorry Cole.

After reading through the posts, I really wasn?t sure what Cooke was trying to accomplish. A little later in the second thread he wrote that he wasn?t on an anti-Miller campaign, but was merely commenting on DK2 and the use of Superman. So I re-read the messages. Unfortunately it?s pretty clear that Darwyn attacked Frank personally. This translates to anti-Miller in my mind.

But hell if I don?t understand what it?s like to get caught up in the heat of the moment. So I asked Darwyn if he wanted to make any further comments for Rage. He said he did. In fact he told me he felt bad about the whole situation and wanted to make an apology.

What follows is my letter to Darwyn and his response:


I’ve read all your posts on Miller at the DC Boards and I just really wanted to ask you why you felt the need to attack him personally? You say you didn’t intend your posts to turn into an anti-Miller campaign and that you are just expressing your opinion on DK2 and Superman, but the fact is you rip the man and not just the work.

I’m running this story in ATR, so if you want to send me a quote for the column to help clarify your position, please do. I enjoy your work and I respect that you have the balls to go after Frank, but in my opinion there’s no real way to spin your words in a positive light or even a neutral light. Whether or not your posts are taken out of context makes little difference. You really went after Frank cause you felt like it. Obviously you can say what you want, but shouldn’t you be more mad at the posters who compared your work to Frank’s?


Just got in, and received your email. Thanks for the heads up regarding the Miller thing. Please run this in its entirety if you can.

I think you’re right in spades here Markisan;

I took a small situation on the board and made a very personal statement regarding Mr. Miller’s DK2.

In a long line of dumb things, this is the dumbest I’ve done in quite a while. I am not referring to my personal feelings regarding Mr. Miller or the book; It was inappropriate for me to use the NF board as a place to discuss it. I was wrong to be personal about it, and it was inexcusably unprofessional.

There are a hundred different constructive ways I could have approached it, and I didn’t.

The other thing that really made me think was one of the posters who pointed out that this type of thing takes some of the magic away for the fans, and for that, I feel especially bad.

How I feel about Mr. Miller and that book are not proper subject matter for the DC boards, and furthermore, I assure you all that I will endeavor to make my internet input constructive from here on in.

My opinion is mine, and that I can live with. It’s obvious I feel strongly about the subject, and not unlike Mr. Miller, I can be outspoken when I feel strongly about something. But the DC public boards are no place for such unprofessional behaviour. How I handled this, and the forum I chose, was totally wrong.

My apologies to all.


This Has A ?Admitting Fault? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Bad Byrne

Speaking of apologies, somebody really needs to give one for creating this – Weird, isn?t it? Not even that funny. Just weird.

And honestly, I don?t really get why people rip John Byrne so much. The guy?s a legend. And even if you don?t dig his new stuff as much as the classics, it?s not like the guy has done anything really heinous, like say spending more time in a drive-thru than writing Daredevil: The Target.

Note: This link may not work for everyone. If you have an old machine or java script doesn’t run well on your computer you may not be able to view this. Sorry. If you can’t get it to work maybe you have a friend who can get it to open.

This Has A ?Not A Very Constructive Comment? Factor of Three Out of Ten

Ken Henchman

I?ve been hearing that Ken Watanabe, the Oscar-nominated supporting actor in The Last Samurai may be cast in Christopher Nolan’s Batman: Intimidation film.

According to several sources, an announcement will come soon regarding Watanabe?s role in the movie. The most popular speculation is that Watanabe will play Ra?s Al Ghul, but I?ve been told he could also be cast as Ghul?s a-number-one-a-guy.

This Has A ?Eco-terrorist? Factor of Six Out of Ten

Five Stages of Hell

Check out a five-part Hellboy featurette at

I?m told the featurette is taken from the Best Buy promo DVD due out on March 9. I?ve watched parts 1-3 so far and it?s quite entertaining. My only complaint is that Abe Sapien sounds like a complete puss. Not what I expected, especially after seeing him bust so much ass in the comic books. Let me know what you guys think of prissy Abe and the rest.

[B]UPDATE:[/B] At the request of Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has taken down the HELLBOY Featurette. According to the site, something exclusive will be up soon to replace it.

This Has A ?Something?s Fishy? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at 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.

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