I hear that details of Jeanette Kahn’s salary package have been running around the freelancers. The figures they’re naming? A sizeable $1.5 million? that could buy three Bill Jemases? or quite a few new Vice Presidents. Talking of which?
This Has A Rumour Value Of 4 Out of 10
Swing The Didio
Watch out DC Universe fans, looks like Dan Didio is going a little axe crazy in his new positions. Watch for a number of titles to get the DC axe imminently? including possibly his own co-written Superboy at #100? Talk about self -sacrifice. Also look for a bunch more exclusive contracts coming up?
This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10
Peter Milligan writes for “Crossroads,” Si Spencer writes for “Eastenders.” Art Young used to write for “EastEnders and now writes for “Family Affair.” What is it about comic pros that means they have to write for British soap operas?
This Has A Rumour Value Of 9 Out Of 10
The Men From The Ministry
So what news for fans of Ministry Of Space, with #3 unpublished and Chris Weston ensconced on The Filth? I hear that the script to #3 has now been fully written and Chris has committed to drawing 3 pages a month inbetween his filthiness. So, at least we know it’ll come out in 2003. Probably.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out of 10
Lost And Found
UK fans gasping for their missing Elektra/Wolverine #2 will be pleased to know that it should be shipping to UK stores this week.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 9 Out of 10
Enjoy a nice sneak peek at Marvel’s lineup beyond the latest Previews listings by browsing through the Marvel contacts pages at: http://www.marvel.com/about/contact_us/email.htm
Me, I’ll really looking forward to “Phoneix”?
This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10
Another Gratuitous Mention of Paul Levitz
Warren’s e-mail list, From The Desk Of has been kicking into gear the last week or so. Here’s a tiny clip from the last missive?
- “I’m definitely spending the next two years writing shorter works. I’ve been talking to people at DC and Wildstorm about different formats — one of which would be a big departure for DC, and Paul Levitz has already given the format the nod. Right now, I’m concentrating on completing the projects currently on my slate, but come summer…”
To jump on board, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
This Has A Rumour Value Of 9 Out Of 10
And now All The Rage’s main feature.
After last week’s Grant vs Mark punch-up, All The Rage is proud to present… Rob Liefeld vs Erik Larsen. Larsen was pretty much the only Image guy who supported Rob Liefeld in print. This week however, on the http://www.spinnerrack.com forums, it all kicked off bigtime.
And I mean bigtime. This is the last article and it goes on for at least six pages. If you thought that Newsarama‘s Stormwatch article was overlong, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
After a Wizard feature on Image’s 10th anniversary and why Jim lee and Rob Liefeld weren’t included in the anniversary book, which featured a lot of slamming of Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen wrote:
- “Gotta love that Wizard–they managed to quote me on all the crappy things I had to say while opting NOT to include the good stuff. The whole thing was a LOT more negative than it had any right to be but then–the truth is not as “sensational” I guess. Sorry to see Rob get all the crap dumped on him in there but I don’t think ANY of us really came out looking too good. Bunch of lazy, talentless, overpaid slackers from the look of it!”
- “It’s nice lip service, but very inconsistent with the crap that has been spilling out of his hole for the last several years.”
- “Whatever. Have a nice life.”
- “Erik has said more than his share of crap the last few months. There was a CBR interview chock full o’ venom from him. Then there’s the Wizard, the Comics Journal, etc. blah, blah, blah. I used to view him as a friend but needless to say, I was foolish to do so.”
- “I actually DID ask the others about both Rob and Jim being included in the book. The others were not interested and in some ways it does make certain sense NOT to include them–they didn’t actually go the distance after all. To get up on the podium you’ve gotta finish the race. Still, for the record, it WAS brought up even if it was ultimately shot down.
- “In all of my interviews I try to be both open and honest. That may not always sit well with folks but it’s how I live my life. I’ve found that it’s much easier to keep track of the truth than to keep your fictionalized story straight. In terms of Rob I’ve been nothing but honest. Sometimes the truth hurts. I don’t believe I’ve said anything untrue in regard to Rob.
- “On the other hand–Rob seems intent on rewriting reality at every turn. I’m sorry that I’m unable to keep track of and back up whatever version he’s concocted this week but he’s made it pretty tough to follow. A quick read through any number of press releases and interviews Rob’s given will shed light on a good deal of his glaring inconsistencies. I’m not going to dredge up dirt here. I have ammo aplenty but there’s no point adding fuel to the fire. Still, despite all of this, I still think of Rob as a friend and I still enjoy looking at much of his work. I think Rob has talent–he lacks focus, to be sure, but there’s an energy he brings to the page which makes for exciting comics. If I could make a wish it would be that Rob would concentrate on finishing a lot of the projects which were started and abandoned for various reasons.
- “Dangling plot-threads drive me nuts! I made an effort to wrap up everything I’ve started at Image even if it meant losing a ton of cash. I even saw through a few unfortunate projects that sucked hard just to see their stories get wrapped up.”
- “It’s not the truth that hurts, it’s the lies. For years I’ve turned the other cheek and allowed the Image propaganda machine to perpetuate their lies. The reason being that I chose to use my energy to create and further my imagination and raise a family and live my life rather than get caught up in an endless volley of he said, she said. Truthfully, the Image debacle never hindered my career and my efforts outside of comics, so it didn’t make much sense to commit time and effort defending my position. Here’s the truth of the matter, the inside secrets of my divorce with Image. I had been planning an exit strategy for over a year and creating Max Press was a crucial part of that strategy. Don’t believe me? Ask Larry Marder or Matt Hawkins about the press release we wrote twelve months prior to my departure from Image. Need more proof? Go look at your Diamon [sic] Previews from the summer of 96, you’ll find both
- being transplanted from Image to Max Press. Anyone remember an event called
- ? It was solicited in Max Press, it was the bridge that would send my Image titles to Maximum Press. For the uneducated, Diamond ads and solicitations must be submitted 4-6 weeks in advance of publication. This would correctly place all this activity around early summer 96. The Image divorce happened in fall 96. The calendar doesn’t lie, even if Image partners do. I made the mistake of hanging around too long and by doing so, exposed myself to the “voted out” propoganda. I resigned, not like Nixon, who Erik references quite often, but as someone who had his bags already packed and had already begun to relocate his business to another address and zip code. Todd Mcfarlane ordered me to put my books, all of them, into Image. He argued that I was sending the wrong message to the public with multiple imprints outside of Image. I refused, and countered by asking him to get the other partners who weren’t pulling their weight to increase their output. We were at an impasse they threatened to throw me out, I resigned and 48 hours later they sent out a release voting me out of Image. I had the comfort of a 5 million dollar contract under my belt with Marvel comics for Heroes Reborn, which afforded me the luxury of not looking back. Even though I only collected on 2.5 million of it due to my being canned off the assignment, it was plenty of insurance. Were there partners who were jealous of that deal? Absolutely, they know who they are and the efforts they went to in order to be a part of it. There were angry partners and plenty of tension and as a result, a few casualties. Check your calendars, do the math, check the dates and you’ll find the truth. Erik has ammo to share, bring it on. I’ve heard all of it and there were no valid accusations. Just lies. Unpaid bills, unpaid freelancers, all proven to be lies created in a deliberate smear campaign that wasn’t half as effective as the perpetrators of those campaigns had hoped. Larsen has often shared his opinion that the Extreme books were stinking up Image and hurting the imprint. It’s hard to listen to such critical remarks from the publisher of DART. Not every comic project develops the way you hope it will and as a result there arte casualties along the way. But I stand by the books we published and the strong stable of talent that grew out of Extreme Studios. We had good instincts in recruiting promising young talent, many of whom have become cornerstones for the comics industry. Erik’s starements do them and their work a disservice and disrespects the hard work and effort of those contributions. So you’re proud you have a big mouth, do us a favor, keep it to yourself. I had a big mouth when I was a kid too, I grew up and learned to choose my words more carefully.
- “There was also plenty of hypocrisy within the Image partners as well. They would solicit Extreme inkers and colorists who had exclusive contracts with me and give them side jobs, but when I offer an under paid freelancer from their stable to draw a 3 issue mini-series, it’s heresy. I’m not offended by the Wizard article, I gave up on comic book journalism along time ago, although I think there are guys on the net who are giving us all some hope. I’m not offended at not being part of the 10 year annish, I would have particpated, despite my own reservations because it would have been a treat to the fans and let’s face it, they deserve better than what they’re getting. I would not have approved of an expensive hardcover that prohibits access to loyal fans as a result of the bloated price tag. The hardcover would have functioned better as a compilation of individual, affordable commemorative issues available down the stretch. It’s not fair, in my opinion to keep events such as Dragon’s origin and Spawn’s secret out of the reach of the casual, modestly budgeted buyer. It’s a shame that the remaining partners didn’t work harder to facilitate a special event commemorating Image’s 10th year. Rest assured, Mark Millar and myself have cooked up a raucous celebration of Image’s flagship title with
- . I’ve dissapointed plenty of fans in my time and learned how damaging that can be, I don’t intend on repeating past mistakes.”
- “Rob–this is pure fiction and you know it is. You were there. In Image’s membership agreement there was a week “cooling off” period written into it in regard to expelling a member. During the first vote, you voted NO. You know that to be a fact. You ALSO know that we got together a week later to make it official and that you faxed in a resignation ON THAT DAY minutes (literally) before the second vote could be taken. This is the truth and you know full well that it is.
- “That you had ‘been planning an exit strategy for over a year’ is irrelevant. Jim was planning to sell his company from day one. We ALL said and did things. We ALL made plans of what we might do but on the day of that first vote you did NOT leave and you did, in fact, vote to STAY.
- “I know full well that you needed cash and that Image Comics took more money than your own imprint and that that’s why you planned to pull more books from Image but this does NOTHING to prove your case. At the end of the day, you DID hang around long enough to get voted out and you DID opt to leave minutes prior to being voted out. Had you opted to resign earlier I wouldn’t have flown down to visit Image that day.
- was three issues. It’s a footnote at best. The quantity of poor quality books that came out of my office are a tiny fraction of the number we published but you could wallpaper your house with all of the copies of the pre-Moore
- and all the rest. I’ve had a couple poor books–everybody has.
- “The reason that retailers wanted the books marked so that they could tell which studio produced it was so that more stinkers like
- couldn’t slip by. There was a title with an inexperienced artist who was clearly substandard and yet the title, with the name Violator in front, gave the impression that Todd produced it–not you. THIS was a big factor that lead toward this action. I don’t SEE the lies, Rob. I see a desperate kid caught up in his own web trying franticly to spread more BS.
- “You forget that you had a STUDIO crammed with guys who WITNESSED all of this. Hell, I was THERE when you proudly SHOWED me the cover of a Ron Wilson
- cover that you had ripped off and turned into a
- cover (or
- –whatever). A whole MESS of us saw you going on about how cool it was that you did this and we ALL read the letter to CBG denying it when you were caught. It doesn’t WORK, Rob–there are FAR TOO MANY people who don’t have written evidence to support what they saw–but who saw it nonetheless. You can’t escape it.
- “What I don’t get–is why you don’t simply come clean like a good Christian and try to learn from your mistakes. You don’t HAVE to live like this. It’s sad. It really is.
Image Comics Hardcover
- is in line with book that have come from other publishers. It was patterned after the
JLA: Earth 2
- book in terms of price and page count and just as with that book, there will eventually be a less expensive trade paperback published later on. The purpose was to do something special that not only saw the remaining Image founders returning to their original creations but to give the bigger picture as well–an account of Image’s history and other features. Loyal fans will be able to get these stories at a reasonable price while those that like upscale products can get that as well.
- “If you choose to do
- in a standard format it SHOULD be priced as a normal comic book. When I reprint Dragon’s origin at some point in a comic book format it will be priced as one as well.
- “This is a pointless argument. It’s apples and oranges. To use an analogy Todd might use — we’re producing a car and selling it for the price of a car–you intend to produce a motorcycle and sell it for the price of a motorcycle. If we were producing a standard comic book and pricing it like a hardcover that would be one thing but we’re not. It’s hard to believe THIS complaint is coming from a guy who REAMED fans at conventions selling overpriced comic books with gold foil smeared on their covers.”
Battle, scared ex-employee of Dan Fraga, jumped in with:
- “Why is it that the only supporters Rob has, never actually know the guy? Because, if they really knew him, he’d have burned the bridge and they wouldn’t be supporters. I absolutly agree that all of this stuff should be aired in private. Unfortunately, Rob is very much like a politician when it comes to public affairs: one way to the public and another behind closed doors. This charade needs to be exposed. as far as the All the Rage comment, no offense to Rich, but being in his column doesn’t make me draw any better, sell more copies, or get me anything. So why make speculations?”
- “Okay, we’ve got a nice party going on here. Really quick,in response to Erik’s fantasies, that’s what they are. Say your lies enough times and maybe someday it will all be true. As for Mr. Fraga, his cred was shot a long time ago. We’ve already established that he’s bitter and angry and in need of serious therapy and attention as witnessed by his numerous guest appearances here. Dan was not privvy to any of the details surrounding the Image divorce as evidenced by the fact that Erik Larsen sent no letter to me offering any explanation. I hope the fans are enjoying this parade as much as I am. We’ve got all sorts of visitors lately, who knows who’ll show up next.
- “Another response to Erik’s allegations, this one about me swiping some Ron Wilson cover. Get the facts straight bro. The cover was drawn by Brent Anderson who addressed this in a column in CBG saying that he didn’t see the similarity. Never talked to the guy and he fired off a letter in my defense. The cover was taken from a still from the animated
- promo that the
- animators illustrated. The animated still was also heavily promoted as a free promo card in conjunction with the first Youngblood trading card set from Skybox.
- “The gold and silver books that we produced were given to fans FREE at conventions and sent FREE to retailers as thank you’s for supporting us. We didn’t charge for the gold and silver books. They were priced at 50-100 bucks by retailers and fans who created a demand for them. Another interesting FACT came from Matt Hawkins a former Extreme/Awesome employee who e-mailed me about a week after the latest Wizard came out and said that he never said to the reporter that I threw gold books into the crowds at conventions. He said he clearly explained and identified the person that threw the books as an Image promtions dorector [sic], but Wiz thought it sounded better presented if I was the perpetrator. Matt has no business with me and there is certainly no reason for me to intimidate me in any way as he currently runs Top Cow. He merely contacted me because he was acting as a good guy. There are plenty of good guys out there like Matt, and God bless ’em for having more important things to do a say than troll these boards stirring the pot like some others who need to grab attention for themselves. Much like Erik Larsen’s proud claims that he speaks the truth, I merely presented my honest opinion that I questioned his sincerity based on his previous recent comments. Look what that has created, whew! Imagine if some serious mudd slinging took place here!”
- “Rob. How can you look yourself in the mirror? You just can’t stop lying, can you? I keep a journal buddy, I don’t forget anything. Enough people in the office saw that letter Rob. I’m sure Eric S. wont say differently. As for bitterness: 2 things to be bitter about; lost time and a being naive enough to call you a friend. That said, you know where I stand on things, Bro.”
- “Get back on your medication Dan. All is forgiven.”
And then Brian Denham pitched in:
- “Ahem. Thank you for remembering my name in an earlier post and finding something to attack me with.
- “You are blaming me- the artist of
Violator v. Badrock
- , for being the catalyst that made the studios label the books they produced. I didn’t know I was so important or infamous. Each studio had it’s name on the books long before
Violator v. Badrock
- came out. I think you even had your High Brow logo on your books before
Violator v. Badrock
- “You may not know the situation then, but Todd wanted Violator’s name in front and Rob did too. Todd didn’t want his character having second billing and Rob wanted the extra sales. Todd may not have liked it later, but he approved each page that went into that book. He was even in the studio giving me pointers. Jim Lee even called Rob up and congratulated him for finding me.
- “I have improved tremendously since then as any creator should. I was fresh out of the Marine Corps when I drew that book and I learned a lot doing it. I thank Rob Liefeld for jump staring my career and I thank Dan Fraga for spotting me and introducing me to Rob.
- “But, how dare you get on this board and attack young comic creators early work? Your early stuff and the early work of every Image creator was NO BETTER than anything Rob or Jim Lee’s early talent were producing. I even think the early new Image talent far surpassed the founders abilities.”
- “Rob-the only reason I even came in here at all was to defend myself. You’re calling me a liar and that is untrue.
- “I did, in fact send Rob a letter. Others at Image have copies of it. Rob knows this to be fact.
- “You need an intervention, Rob–I really don’t know ANYBODY who’s worked with you that DOESN’T have dirt to share.
- “WHERE are my lies, Rob? WHERE? Tell me what I said which is a lie and I will back them up with fact. Unpaid bill? FACT! Stiffed freelancers? FACT! Don’t get mad at me because I won’t corroborate your delusional propaganda. I have nothing to gain here by knocking you down– but it offends me that you are going out of your way to smear me and Image in your attempt to promote yourself. If this is going to be an integrity pissing contest between the two of us you’re going to come up short. There is no shortage of people willing to tell what went on at both Extreme and Image–and it’s not that EVERYBODY is jealous of you or out to get you, Rob. The fact of the matter is that you ripped off a LOT of people–stiffed or shortchanged a LOT of freelancers–didn’t pay a LOT of bills– you ran people out of business! It’s reality, Rob. Deal with it”
- “The only reason you came in here was to defend yourself? Against what exactly? Erik, you and your pals will go to whatever EXTREME’s that you feel necessary in order to perpetrate your crap. There’s absolutely nothing you can do or say that will suprise me at this point. FACT. One of your partners told the comic media that I had stiffed him and that he wasn’t paid in full from an assignment he did with me. Within a few minutes we sent out copies to all the comic press and of his cancelled checks (a cancelled check means that the check was cashed and cleared and returned to the party that paid it). That partner’s lies were exposed and he was threatened with a libel suit and quickly retreated. This is how the partners work, they create fabrications which create a stink that follows long after the lie has been exposed. Currently I believe Image comics employs at least four people whom I once employed at Extreme, it wouldn’t surprise me if they all began to spout similar crap in order to tow the line. Hopefully integrity will win the day, but, as I stated earlier, there is no lie that you won’t tell in order to manufacture a stink. Let’s get my attorney who went to meet personally with you and the others 48 hours after I had resigned, where he was told that there was still going to be a formal vote taken, because, according to one upset partner, ‘Rob’s not going to walk away from us.’ Pathetic. The truth is I couldn’t care less about the company and the remaining partners needed to retaliate. At least one of the former partners was honest with me when everything was said and done. He told me how furious certain partners were that I resigned and that, in his words, ‘You got to leave and the press reported it as a resignation.’ Believe whatever you’d like Erik, I don’t care to change your mind, it doesn’t change my world at all. Bring your accusors, I’ll bring my defenders, it’s all a wash in the end. As for jealous. Let’s see, Jim Lee thought you were jealous, so did Todd, so did Whilce, so did I. We weren’t the ones to claim that ‘our pecking order in terms of popularity would change as soon as we left Marvel and could manufacture our own futures.’ A mantra you chanted constantly in Image’s early days until sales figures set the record straight. You were dreaming then, you’re dreaming now. It’s time to wake up.
- “McManus, In answer to your question, first there was a bad meeting that ended with an ultimatum to me about putting my books in Image, that was followed by the threat of a vote. That was followed by a resignation then two voting periods commenced, officiating their position to ‘kick’ out someone who had left the building. During this period, many people at Extreme were upset that I seemed to be taking it lying down and urged me to fight back, to explain my side of the story. But I was fortunate to have the wise counsel of two important friends who advised me to just walk away, to not get caught up in what they saw as a ‘street fight.’ It was not easy, but I tried my best to be polite and cool throughout the dilemma. Six years later, the dead horse continues to get beaten and it’s definitely time to stand up and set the record straight. Image will always outnumber me, but I will stay the course.
- “Top three lies about Rob Liefeld. 1) Rob was voted out of Image 2) Rob filed bankruptcy 3) Rob caused riots at shows by throwing books into the crowd.”
- “You are right. My art on
- sucked. I am not defending it. I am saying that every creator’s first works blow. It takes time to learn the ropes and the only way you can do that is on a book. Rob paid for a lot of crappy pages I drew and I want to pay him back by doing some new art for him. I spent last year in studio at Top Cow and just learned. I have spent the last couple of years recouperating from hand surgery, raising my kids and drawing my ass off. I have some stuff coming out this year that I hope you watch for. The next book is
- from CHAOS!, then a
- cover, some more CHAOS covers, and then a new book that I can’t name yet, and another book I can’t name yet. I am currently drawing 2 books a month and going to school full time. Watch out for me. Woo-Hoo!”
Larsen to Denham:
- “Guy–I don’t know who a LOT of the people are who worked for Rob. You were one of a gazillion guys who wandered through there.
- “Nope. It was NEVER on the cover. The point was that retailers were confused when ordering as to which studio was producing which book.
- was a handy example of a title which blurred the lines and caused confusion and THAT was the reason we were requested to identify which books came from which studio in the pages of Previews. Whether it was this book or any number of others is not important. The point was that the request was made primarily so that retailers could help identify which books were Rob’s books.
- “The point was that retailers wanted to know which books came from which studio– it doesn’t MATTER if Todd wanted his character to have first billing. YOU say that Rob wanted the Violator name first so the book would sell better–this only CONFIRMS that Rob was deliberately trying to deceive retailers in an attempt to boost sales!
- “You were not ready to be doing a high profile book like that. Your work was substandard and amateurish. A book where retailers are committing vast quantities of money is not a place to try out new talent. The book looked like hell. Sell through was pitiful and it hurt Image Comics’ and Rob Liefeld’s reputation and credibility. It bit–pure and simple.
- “My early efforts was not on titles that were ordered in millions of copies. My early work was on books that sold poorly. THAT is the distinction here. I’m not blaming YOU for being an amateur. I’m not blaming YOU for being a beginner. Hell, I didn’t even MENTION you by name! I blame ROB for putting an amateur on a book that was ordered as though it were being drawn by a qualified professional. We ALL sucked at some point. There’s NOTHING wrong with that!
- “Do I think you should have been given something to do? Perhaps. Do I think it should be a high profile miniseries with Alan Moore? Not at all. Sharing the wealth would be getting qualified seasoned professionals who could do decent work to do a line of high quality books– not hiring every pimply faced teenager who could hold a pencil! Had the early days at Image meant getting REAL talent instead of amateurs our early days would not be looked back on with such disdain by the vast majority of fans, pros and retailers.”
Larsen to Liefeld:
- “If by “staying the course” you mean lying your ass off–I have no doubt this will be the case. There were two votes that had to be made–you said “no” when it came to being kicked out on the first vote. We were ALL THERE. You KNOW the truth. Your story is a lie. If you had “left the building” I would have had to reason to fly down to Orange County in order to make the vote that kicked you out official.
- “Why are you even disputing this? You KNOW what happened–there are six other people who were ALSO there that know what happened. ALL of them corroborate the facts. Why insist on repeating your delusional propaganda? It’s NOT true. Fess up.”
- “Okay, having returned from lunch and read all the posts… I will stop the insanity. I will give Erik Larsen the last word on all of this. There is no new ground left to cover and frankly, I’m tired.”
Hey! We were enjoying that! Ah well, same time next week. Oh, and I lied about the lollipops.
This Has A Heavyweight Value Of 7 Out Of 10
All this week I’m putting bucketloads of comics, videos and DVDs on Ebay. All the prices include shipping. There’s a bunch just gone up, there should be new stuff every night. Look for lots of stuff by JMS, Kevin Smith, Warren Ellis as well as bunches of indie work from the last 15 years. I need the space. You don’t. So check here, and keep checking all this week.
This Has A Pleading Value Of 7 Out Of 10