Everyone is gearing up for Comic Con, I?m seeing. So am I, as I?m sure you can guess. It?ll be quite an experience, I?m sure. Some folks are telling me to get up early to catch stuff and all that. I dunno? I hate waking up early. But I?ll try to cover The Madness as best as I can.

Yes, I promise not to be too lazy.

Okay; maybe just a little.

It?s going to fun, you can count on that. If you?re going to be attending SDCC, let me know what you are all amped up about, or what it is you fear the most, or whatever you like. You can even email me about how nice my hair looks, but I must say that it is doubtful that I?ll quote you in that case.

    Standard Disclaimer: All the Rage does tend to have rumours, speculation, hearsay, and mutant trans-dimensional giraffes from time to time. Please keep this in mind and read at your own leisurely risk. As risky as this kind of entertainment can get, anyway. Those factors you see when applied to rumour and the like represents the ?truthinormity? of the bit. Any other times you see the factor, just think of it as a ?How f-ing cool is this?? gauge. Got it?

Excellent.

Let?s get this party started.


New Runaways Writer to be Announced

Joss Whedon is a guy with an extremely busy schedule, so it came as no surprise that I heard that his run on Runaways wouldn?t be all that long. I also heard that the new writer for Runaways will be announced at? you guessed it! San Diego Comic Con. Just who will this new scribe be?

Garth Ennis.

Ha! Just kidding! I don?t know, really. I guess we?ll find out at SDCC. I can say with confidence that the new writer won?t be fan favourite C.B. Cebulski of current Loners fame.

Ouch? Who threw that rock? Come on, guys, I said the Ennis thing was a joke.

This Has An ?On The Run Was A Great Bi-God 20 Single? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten


Dark Horse?s Gor Omnibus Already Catching Flack

Renowned author and most recent White Tiger writer Tamora Pierce doesn?t seem to dig the notion of Dark Horse releasing omnibus editions of John Norman?s controversial and oft maligned Gor novels. She talks about her thoughts on this in her blog.

(Read here if you have no idea what Gor?s about?)

In fact, she?s not happy at all. I can?t say I blame Ms. Pierce, because I don?t know anyone of the female persuasion (or male, for that matter) that is head over heels in love with John Norman or his books. Not by any stretch of the imagination. That?s not to say anything about Gor fans. I just don?t know any these days (but I?m sure there are many out there).

I?ve always liked Ms. Pierce?s way with words. She?s good with them:

    Words . . . no, they don’t fail me. No one was happier than me when these things fell into the off-the-current-shelves abyss, when only obsessed fans and completist collectors would hunt down issues from back shelves in used book stores. I read about five of these back in the mid-70s with that same awed fascination that I watched my first film of snake knots, before the nightmares began.

and?

      And Dark Horse wants to perpetuate this. Dark Horse wants to make

money

    with this. I have no doubt that they will. Neither do you, I suspect. This of all of those fanboys who have ordered us to cook for them, opted into hive-vagina rhetoric, demanded that we stop whining, called those of us who are men all manner of names, told us to get out of comics. They will love this world, if they don’t know it already. They’ll be able to live every woman-beating, woman-raping, woman-enslaving moment. Dark Horse means to enable this kind of hatred of non-phallo-stereotype men and women alike. In these books the heroes are muscular studs who prey on all that is Other.

?are just a couple of the things she says. Yow! Extra points for use of the term ?hive-vagina rhetoric?. Please do yourself a favour and read the entry.

From the sounds of it, it would seem that Dark Horse is going to get a flood of angry mail. Myself, I?m curious about what Dark Horse?s take on this whole matter is. Since this is over the weekend and everything is still quite new, no contact has been made yet on this matter. But I feel that that Tamora Pierce?s poignant opinion is worth mention. I?m also curious to see what you out there reading this think about all of this. Feel free to email me or post in the ATR forums on this matter. Yes, that even goes for you Goreans out there that may be reading this column. I?d love to hear from you.

Someone was kind enough to link to Houseplant of Gor. Thank you, you wonderful person you; you rule.

I should also mention that Postmodern Barney, who Ms. Pierce linked to in her own entry, was one of the first places I saw this whole thing mentioned? From there:

      Dark Horse is bringing John Norman’s

Gor

      books back into print. One of the most blatantly misogynistic fantasy series of all time, if not

the most

      misogynistic fantasy series. A series

alleged to have inspired real-life crimes against women

    . And I’ve yet to hear a peep about it from anyone…

This is also probably a good place to note that you should read Postmodern Barney.

This Has An ?If You Despise That Throwaway Feeling?? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten


Thunder Road: Comics On Your Phone Should Be Good

(Before I start: Yes, I stole the title idea from the terrific Comics Should Be Good column over at CBR. Hope you guys don?t mind all that much?)

Thunder Road? Comics on mobile phones? What the heck am I talking about?

Well, first off, Thunder Road is a comic created by writer Sean Demory and artist Steven Sanders (Five Fists of Science. It?s essentially a post- apocalyptic based story set in an alternate timeline. Read much more about it here.

Mr. Demory describes it as ?The Road Warrior meets Dr. Strangelove with about 150 percent more dakka?.

Pretty neat, eh? I really like the whole concept. And do you see the picture in this bit with the brain in the exo-suit thing? Awesome? Hell yes.


What?s different about Thunder Road straight away isn?t the cool art or the nifty story premise. No, it?s the fact that it will be first available for consumption by the likes of you on mobile phones this last week.

It was only a matter of time, right?

uclick are the people bringing us the goods, with GoComics already having hefty selection of comics you can choose from. Take a look at some here. Titles like PvP, TMNT, Godland, Five Fists of Science, and more. And then there?s manga with Tokyopop?s Mobile Manga to boot!

Pretty snazzy. So it makes sense that a comic would be first available with this service. Thunder Road looks to be a good choice to go with. I got to talk to artist Steve Sanders on this a bit:

ATR: How is working with Sean on this? From what I’ve seen so far, you guys click pretty well.

SS: Pretty good. Sean’s a lot like I was when I was working with [Matt] Fraction on FIVE FISTS; where I could do the raw work, but some of the subtle ins and out of comics I still had to learn. Sean picked up on that fast, though, and things are going swimmingly.

I really enjoy drawing the worlds that Sean conjures up. When he was doing that “pitch a week” thing on his Live Journal account (example here (link: http://sdemory.livejournal.com/142472.html), I would?ve been happy to do any of those, really. Man’s got a lot of talent, and I?m excited to see him turned loose in the comics world.

ATR: How do you feel about it going on phones first?

SS: Good/bad? I mean, I think digital/mobile is the way to go, because I want comics to go back to being a cheap, disposable entertainment again, instead of 4 dollar things that are printed on expensive paper and that cater to collectors. (although I do appreciate what the increase in print quality has done for the art quality in comics. Comparing the art in comics now to where it was in the 80’s is like night and day.)

Any kind of digital comic format, CBR, PDF, whatever, I?m all for it. I like what is being done with cell phones and comics, my only real gripe is the size of the screen. I’d like everyone to have something the size of an iPhone or bigger. But that’s just a matter of time, really. If the future goes the way I hope it will, we’ll soon have ePaper comic readers that you can download comics from an iTunes or Rhapsody style service with. Ten zillion comics that you can roll up and stick in your back pocket.

Visit Steve?s site here. Visit Sean?s blog here. If you wish to read even more on Thunder Road, read this thread on The Engine here.

Expect more on Thunder Road (with Sean Demory and Steve Sanders) and GoComics in the near future! I plan to bring you more on these things very soon.

Yes, I realise that Steve Sanders can be confused with Steve Saunders. Yes, we have been confused for each other online before. Yes, I know the exactly what you?re thinking and we?ve already joked about it.

I sincerely hope you?ve enjoyed the purty images.

This Has A ?Mad Max On Thunder Road? Factor Of Eleven Out Of Ten


Markosia to Wowio Us All

Since it?s a week and change before what I call the San Diego Beach Landings, I got this hunch and sent out my Inquisitor Gnomes to find out what some of the creators out there were doing with not many days left to go. One of the first people I spoke to was Tony Lee who explained that he was spending his Saturday ?making lots of books into PDFs?.

?Whatever for,? you ask? Well, with some skilful prodding by the gnomes, he explained (with his fancy Markosia Group Editor pants on) that he was putting together a further twenty-five PDFs for the internet comic and book download site http://www.wowio.com.

“We put some up a while back, but nothing was ever done with it under the old regime,” he explained. “But, with a whole load of new books coming out and a more extensive back catalogue, we have a lot of finished runs that you may not have had the fortune of coming across in the past.. And of course, as ever, it’s nigh on impossible to get hold of a Markosia book once it’s been out there for a while, unless you try Markosia direct. With Wowio, we can ensure that people who missed an issue, or who came in late can read it.”

With the extra PDFs Markosia (and Tony) have put together, we?ll see over the next couple of days that Wowio will have complete ‘ebook’ runs of Abiding Perdition, Dark Mists, Midnight Kiss, all three Starship Troopers series, Scatterbrain and all twelve issues of Harry Gallan‘s Lexian Chronicles available. And with Wowio enabling readers to download ebooks for free, (using commercial sponsorship to compensate authors and publishers), this means that if you’re a US citizen (as unfortunately this isn’t international yet), you get to read all these books for free. Yay! FREE!

(And it?s LEGAL)

Apparently Markosia isn’t done yet, with more recent series being put together for the next wave as we speak…

Markosia aren?t the only ones getting in on the Wowio action. Other folks like Antarctic Press, Moonstone, and Heroic Publishing, just to name a few. Plus there?s a bunch of free books to be had.

What are you waiting for? Check it out.

This Has A ?How Many Rocks Will Be Thrown At Me If I Crack A Wowio-Ware Joke?? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten


When Layman Speaks, Your Eyes Better Listen

Comic book writer-person-thing John Layman pimps Tek Jansen (coming out this week), talks about a signing with the tuna challenged Tom Peyer at local shop Comics Dungeon, and has an open letter for attendees of SDCC this year to read.

In it he breaks down some rules? Here are only three of them. Read the whole damn entry if you want more, darnit.

    I would like to ensure there is no repeat of Mr. Tom Peyer?s disastrous signing, and am taking steps to guarantee my safety, and the safety of well-behaved comics fans understandably desperate for my autograph. I advise all attendees of the SDCC07 to read the following, and abide by these expectations I have for you when you line up to receive my signature on your comic:

1. Please stand in a single file line, arms at your side, looking straight ahead, and not talking. Turn off your iPods and your cell phones. Teenagers, that also means NO TEXTING!

4. Address me as ?Mr. Layman? or ?Sergeant.? You have not earned the right to call me ?John.? Nor ?Sarge.? Do not presume any familiarity. Do not be surprised if I do not remember you if we?ve met previously, even if we have met repeatedly.

7. If I do chose to engage you in conversation, please be aware the very one-sided conversation should consist entirely of compliments. You should offer no criticism toward any aspect of any book I have worked on. I don?t care if you don?t like the assistant editor, the letterer, even the production guy who laid the UPC code on the cover. If you have anything negative to say, keep it to yourself. If you any have any negative thoughts, purge them from your mind, because I can read it on your face, and there is no human force that can stop me from getting out of my chair and beating you within an inch of your life.

I also understand that Layman?s ninjas owe one of my ninja?s $50. Dude, pay up, will you? First it?s the tacos, and then this shit. Come on. And what about that party? You know, the one with the strippers? and the wombat? Okay, so they were more like store-mannequins. People are so picky these days.

This Has A ?LAYMAAAAAAAN!!!111oneeins? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten


Indie Front: Dune + Wal-Mart = Greeter

A few months ago at Emerald City ComiCon, I met John Aegard, the fellow who writes the comic Greeter (I also met one of the lovely artists he works with, Molly Friedrich). As well as one of the people who designs The Comfort Guides. Fortunately for us, I was able to track John down for some much needed questioning.

ATR: When we first met, you guys described Greeter as Dune set in a Wal-Mart. How else would you describe this fine comic to the fine people reading right now?

JA: It’s a geek romance set in an alternate Wal-Mart that’s even bigger and more monopolistic than the one in our universe. Tim, our male lead, is a gawky security camera operator and off-hours hacker genius. Lacey, his crush, is the Super-Greeter, the genetically perfect Customer Service Saint whose coming has been prophesied for decades. Together, they ignite a revival ? a return to the glorious old days of fundamental customer service.

I write it and Kat does all the illustrating and design. Your fine readers can read issues 0-2 totally for free at http://www.greetercomics.com. We’ll get onto comicspace eventually too, but I think the experience is better on our own site. We have special software that makes it easier to read comics online.

ATR: What’s the story behind Greeter? How did it all come about? Just what kind of artificially flavoured and sweetened beverage were you drinking?

JA: In 2003, I started working at Amazon.com. I was getting to know my co-workers, checking out their blogs, when I found an “OMG I’ve been hired by Amazon!!” post. The poster went on at length about how great it was to “finally be working at a company that was fanatical about customer service.” And this is a totally alien mindset to me. I come from rural northern Canada, where we are fanatical about hanging out at the lake and drinking beer. So, I started thinking about what true, hardcore customer service fundamentalism would look like, and how inconvenient it would be for everyone involved.

From there, I wrote some scripts, and then I totally lucked into meeting Kat. We hit it off and started working together and Greeter was born.

ATR: You self publish at the moment… What are the benefits and drawbacks of this approach?

JA: I started my writing career in sci-fi, which is not much of a DIY field.
Self-publication in sci-fi is typically regarded with extreme suspicion, though that’s changing nowadays. So I love comics’ culture of self-publishing, and I love owning my own stuff and making all the creative decisions without regard for anyone’s editorial sensibilities but my own. And it’s an unparalleled joy to set up with a table at a convention and win laughs and make people happy with something that is completely, 100% yours.

That said, Kat and I would totally love to sell Greeter to a publisher and make some money. Right now, we are making the opposite of money on Greeter.

This is why we have a comprehensive online presence, so we can share our stuff with as many people as possible. Getting Greeter printed has been a big pain. The internet printer we were using previously isn’t the most customer-friendly shop in the world. I wish I could airdrop a Super-Greeter into their offices. But we’ve found a new printer and hopefully we’ll have our printing problems ironed out in time for Stumptown Comics Fest, which will be the next con we hit.

ATR: What else are you two doing? Tell us a bit about The Comfort Guide, if you don’t mind. And what else do you have in store for us?

JA: As I type this, Kat is heroically pencilling Greeter #3 in the scorching Brooklyn heat. In G3, the giant robots and aliens will kick in, and we get a little bit of a Babylon 5 and Hellraiser vibe going. Also, it’s got our first nude scene.

The Comfort Guides are separate projects of mine, unrelated to Greeter. They’re novelty safety guides, done up in airplane style, that I do with artist Molly Friedrich. You can see the restroom one at http://www.comfort-guide.com, and I also have a wedding one done up that I have to post online. I’ll debut two more CGs at Stumptown. In fact, I’m totally planning on merching out at Stumptown, with CG t-shirts, stickers, postcards, greeting cards, wedding invitations, and so forth. So there’s lots going on with me this summer!

Huzzah! Thanks to John for taking the time to answer some questions. And if you want to see more Greeter artwork, here?s the link to that ECCC ATR instalment again.

This Has A ?Thank You, Come Again!? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten


Indie Front: Willow Creek Howls On Over To Zenescope

The werewolf title I?ve been anticipating for some time now, Willow Creek, seems to have found a new home at Zenescope Entertainment.

For a bit of background, read this interview with creators Josh Medors (art) and Denny Williams (script) from back in February. Not current, sure, but informative nonetheless.

There will be 1000 preview copies of Willow Creek available at SDCC for $1 each. As a special treat, Josh Medors will be offering actual sketches on covers for $15 (limited to 100, though; thank goodness for Josh? 100 will probably be tough as it is!).

In the meantime, bask in some wonderful imagery, two of which are from the preview book.



This Has A ?The Glasswalkers Are Gonna SO Own The Con!? Factor Or Ten Out Of Ten


Parting Shots and in Closing

Okay, you need to see this. I can?t believe I haven?t seen it since it went up in March. Thank the Asgardian Gawds for my friends. I mean, I LOVE Thor and Beta Ray Bill. Not to mention Slayer is a band near and dear to my dark little heart (it?s so dark and emo? Yeah! You better step off, jerk, or I?ll cry angry tears? of something… okay???) . If you have yet to see it? Thou dost best enjoy:

Yay! Raining blood! Dear JMS, please make it rain blood in the new Thor. Perhaps that?s a bit much to ask?

How about another video? Ah, bless my friends sending me YouTube links? For you fellow TMNT fans (who are over 15, I?d say? naughty language abounds):

Hmm? Too much? Maybe so.

Ahem.

John Kovalic (Dork Tower) introduces many to what I already consider to be a culinary delight even though I have yet to try it: ?Bacon Choclate Bars. Seriously.?

This is also a great way to plug John?s excellent work.

Don?t forget to pick up Nextwave Volume 2, in stores now. If you need some further incentive, here?s a ?sketch? for you.

Keep on rockin?, Mr. Immonen. It must be that extraterrestrial water or something.

There are some pretty intriguing illustrative adaptations of classic books coming out from Eye Classics. Nevermore (by Edgar Allen Poe) kicks it off this Fall, with illustrators and adapters listed as including: Jamie Delano and Steve Pugh; Ian Edginton and D?Israeli; Jeremy Slater and John McCrea; Moore & Reppion. More information to be discovered HERE. Go. Go now! Look.

A final treat for this edition? In case you haven?t seen it, the UK edition of the superhero novel Soon I will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman will have art by Bryan Hitch. Here?s only one of the images:

Very nice.

That?s it for this week. Drop me a line, if you want to. I wouldn?t mind hearing what people are up to for the Big Con coming up. Here are the myriad ways to track me down:

Email: steves@silverbulletcomicbooks.com
Livejournal: http://synabetic.livejournal.com
ComicSpace: http://www.comicspace.com/steven_g_saunders/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/synabetic

I?m also on Facebook, if you don?t mind Big Brother collecting your information.

Thanks for tuning in! A good time, I hope.

Until next time, dear readers?

P.S. I?m on to something pretty damned cool it looks like. Funny how things can turn out to be a rough trade in this business?


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