I?m back after a week off to deal with some house moving issues. As much fun as it would be to share my frustrations, we?ve got a lot to talk about. So let?s get to it?

Chasing Mjolnir

For several months now, the future of Thor at Marvel has been less than clear. With Neil Gaiman, J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Millar each rumored to be writing Thor at different times. Of the three, Millar was most recently linked to the relaunch until he opted for Ultimate Fantastic Four with Greg Land. However, in a new interview at ComiX-fan, Marvel editor Tom Brevoort revealed that the Millar Thor run might be back on:

      CXF: Can you give fans the update on the

Thor

      relaunch and where that stands now that Millar has backed away to do other things?

TB: As I understand it, Millar hasn’t backed away from it, merely put it aside for the moment in order to focus on his Ultimate FF run. But he’s still going to be writing the new Thor series.

This Has A ?Thunder God? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Music For A Dark Knight

One of our most trusted ATR Associates sent in the following item:

      It seems that the

Batman Begins

    score will have two composers. One is Hans Zimmer and the other is James Newton Howard. The talk is that one will compose the music for the flashback scenes while the other will provide the music for the current time scenes. This is not typical, but because both composers are seasoned professionals with great track records, it should bode well for the movie.

This Has A ?Gotham City Orchestra? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Spins A Web

Before the Image message board crashed, Brian Bendis posted an update about his upcoming projects, including a ?secret? video game that he?s been working on.

Hint? it?s Ultimate Spider-Man. I?ve mentioned that before. Activision isn?t shy about their plans to keep the Spider-Man franchise alive between the movie sequels. Ultimate Spider-Man is coming out this year, to be followed by Classic Spider-Man in 2006 and Spider-Man 3 in 2007.

This Has A ?Spidey Kicks Butt!? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


To Shanshu

I?ve been told that IDW?s upcoming Angel miniseries will have a number of variant covers by Tim Bradstreet, Igor Kordey, ChrisCross, John Byrne, Kelsey Shannon, Ben Templesmith and others. The Bradstreet and Kordey covers debuted on Newsarama, but we?ve got the first look at Byrne?s cover below:

Also in the thread at Newsarama, IDW Editor-in-Chief, Chris Ryall revealed that Peter David will write a Spike oneshot which will be coming out in August.

This Has A ?Not Fade Away? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Insanity Squared

Separately, Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis each have had storied comic careers. Together, they might be one of the funniest creative teams out there. Or they might be a bit nuts. Possibly both. Their recent collaborations include the ?I Can?t Believe It?s Not the Justice League? arc in JLA: CLASSIFIED, the upcoming Hero Squared miniseries from the newly formed BOOM! Studios (http://www.boom-studios.com) and The Defenders for Marvel. Earlier this week, I caught up to both of them for an interview. Read on, if you dare?

BLAIR: For anyone who didn’t catch the first one shot, bring us up to date on Hero Squared.

KEITH: If they didn’t catch the one shot, why would they care?

J.M.: Great sales pitch, Keith. Just great? Hero Squared is the story of a twenty-something named Milo Stone who finds a strange guy in tights and a cape standing in his living room. The guy’s name is Captain Valor and it turns out that Valor is Milo Stone? from another universe, where super-heroes are real. That universe has been destroyed by a villain named Caliginous? and Valor, the only survivor, has come to our world seeking help from his doppelganger. Milo, of course, isn’t super at all; just a lazy, directionless slacker. Meanwhile, Caliginous (who happens to be the alternate universe incarnation of Milo’s girlfriend, Stephie) follows Valor to our world and? well, hilarity ensues.

BLAIR: What’s happening in the new Hero Squared miniseries?

KEITH: The X-Men crossover! Would you believe the Avengers? Aqua Teen Hunger Force?? C’mon? Points for a Get Smart reference. When’s the last time? Eh? Eh?

J.M.: Keith, stop talking to your shoe and tell him about the mini-series. Keith?

KEITH: How would I know what it’s about?

J.M.: You plotted the thing.

KEITH: Yeah? and you change everything I write.

J.M.: I do not!

KEITH: You do too!

J.M.: Do not!

KEITH: Do ?

BLAIR: Guys? you haven?t answered the question. What?s the miniseries about?

J.M.: Sigh. In the one-shot we only scratched the surface of the story…and the characters. Call it the prologue. The mini-series is chapter one. We get to play with the relationships between Milo and Valor, Caliginous and Milo, Stephie and Valor…and develop the mythology of our worlds. And rip the roof off Milo’s apartment building. Among other things.

BLAIR: Is Joe Abraham back on art?

KEITH: Who?

J.M.: The artist.

KEITH: We have an artist?

J.M.: Yes, Joe’s back. And better than ever. I’ve just been looking at the last few pages of our first issue and they’re amazing.

BLAIR: When will the first issue be out?

KEITH: Y’know, I honestly have no idea. How sad is that?

J.M.: Extremely. It’s coming out in May.

BLAIR: Are there any plans for a H2 monthly series or further miniseries?

KEITH: That’s entirely up to the readers. Sales warrant, we’ll continue. Sales tank, we are outta here. It’s called capitalism, man.

J.M.: Hey…that was actually a good answer!

BLAIR: Yeah? and it?s about time? Anyway, you guys are also working on The Defenders for Marvel, tell us about your interpretation of those characters.

KEITH: Defenders has been, for us? Okay. Me. For me. It’s been kind of my great white whale. Kevin and I used to talk about how great it would be to get a crack at the Defenders (J.M. refuses to talk to us anymore which, to me, is really uncalled for. I mean, his grandmother was, like, 90 years old. She was overdue!), but never really thought it would ever happen. Andy Schmidt, eventually, helped us harpoon the sucker. Andy’s the kinda, sorta, Breevort’s too busy to deal with it editor.

J.M.: My grandmother? That was you?! Why you slimy son of a ?

BLAIR: Uh…I take it the curse from the previous miniseries remains in effect.

KEITH: You mean, like, low sales? God, I hope not!

J.M.: There’s a curse? Keith! You never told me there was a curse!

KEITH: Well, I know you scare easily.

BLAIR: No, I meant the curse that forces them to stay together.

[Awkward silence, followed by the shrugging of shoulders.]

BLAIR: Well? moving on? What’s the story about in The Defenders mini?

KEITH: The X-Men crossover! No, really. This has a “read the damn thing and find out for yourself” rating of ten pathetic freelancer excuses.

J.M.: Dormammu and Umar join forces to reshape reality. Doctor Strange gets the Hulk and Sub-Mariner (who absolutely loathe each other. Come to think of it, they’re not too fond of Strange, either) to help him stop them. And the Silver Surfer…well…he sort of…surfs. And hilarity ensues.

KEITH: Boy, we sure indulge in our fair share of hilarity ensuement.

J.M.: I don’t think “ensuement” is a word.

KEITH: Is too.

J.M.: Is not!

KEITH: Is ?

BLAIR: Right… Anyway, I’ve heard some pretty funny things about this one, like Dormammu giving off second hand smoke and the Hulk getting the most action he’s had since he was staying at the YMCA. 😉

KEITH: Never do the winky face at me ever again.

J.M.: Y’know, I tried making a winky face once…and I got arrested.

BLAIR: J.M., I understand you’re writing the upcoming Captain Marvel episode of JLU. Care to fill us in?

J.M.: Story by Dwayne McDuffie. Captain Marvel and Superman in a good old-fashioned, wreck-the-city punch up…while Lex Luthor grins maliciously. It’s my fifth, and last, episode this year. It’s been a great gig and I’ve loved working with Dwayne and Stan Berkowitz and the whole JLU team.

KEITH: He’s sucking up to them just to make sure he gets more episodes next season.

J.M.: And that’s a bad idea because…?

BLAIR: Keith, You’ve also got a vampire comic coming up called Common Foe, can you tell us about that?

KEITH: Spam in a cabin. A WWII horror story that owes more to Evil Dead than to Interview with the Vampire. Desperado took the plunge with this one. Guess they’ve got money to burn.

J.M.: Hey, I’ve got a new project with Desperado, too. The Stardust Kid. It’s an all-ages fantasy that reunites the entire Abadazad creative team: DeMatteis, Ploog, Nick Bell and Dave Lanphear. It’ll be out in May. If you enjoyed Abadazad, you’ll enjoy this.

KEITH: I didn’t enjoy Abadazad at all.

J.M.: You’re just jealous ’cause we sold it to Hyperion Books and now I’m a Big Shot Children’s Book Author.

KEITH: I am not jealous!

J.M.: You are, too!

KEITH: Am not!

J.M.: Are too!

KEITH: Am ?

BLAIR: Guys?GUYS!!? Last question, do you have any other upcoming projects that you’d like to mention?

KEITH: I Luv Halloween. It’s a homegrown graphic novel in manga format from Tokyopop and it’s arguably the funniest thing I’ve ever written without J.M. there to back me up.

J.M.: You mean our stuff’s supposed to be funny?

KEITH: And Drax. And some animation writing. And some upcoming stuff from DC that I can’t talk about but that should end the rumors that DC and I are feuding. 😉 Wow… It feels as stupid doing it as seeing it…

J.M.: Boom! Studios is reprinting my mid-nineties Vertigo series, Seekers Into The Mystery. If the collections do well, we’d like to jump back in with new stories. And there are the aforementioned Abadazad books, the first two coming in the spring of ’06 from Hyperion Books For Children. And a very interesting movie project for Dean Devlin that ?

KEITH: Name dropper.

J.M.: I am not.

KEITH: Are, too!

J.M.: Am not!

KEITH: Are, too!

J.M.: Am n ?

BLAIR: That’s it! I can’t take this any more! I’m outta here!!!

KEITH: Hey…hey, Blair! Where’re you — ?

J.M.: Weird guy, huh?

KEITH: Majorly.


John Voulieris:

With Blair um? otherwise occupied, I wanted to address two mistakes I made in last week?s column. First, I accidentally misquoted Brian K. Vaughan. He is working on a new Ultimate project for Marvel, not a new title. And I also misspelled Brendan Deneen’s last name.

I apologize for both errors.


On the Hunt

Marc Andreyko is the writer of such titles as Manhunter and Sam and Twitch. He is also known for working on Torso with Brian Bendis and he has a number of projects coming up soon. Recently, he took time out of his schedule to answer some questions.

JOHN VOULIERIS: How did you break into the comic business? What was your first published project?

MARC ANDREYKO: I grew up reading comics and working in comic book stores, but my first professional break came from P. Craig Russell. He lived in the town where I went to college and we became good friends. One day we were chatting about Dr. Strange and Craig mentioned that he’d like to revisit the annual he did years before. I suggested he give Marvel a call and pitch it to them because it seemed like Marvel, at that time, was really receptive to cool stuff. So, Craig called, Bob Harras asked him who would write it, Craig said me and (in a testament to the powers Mr. Russell has) Harras said, ‘ok’.

JOHN: Torso was a great crime story. How did the collaboration with Brian Bendis come about? Any updates on the rumored movie adaptation?

MARC: The project came about pretty much like you see it in Bendis’ Fortune and Glory. We had wanted to do something together for a while and I pitched the Torso story to Brian over Passover dinner at his house.

As far as the movie goes, right now it is set up with producer Bill Mechanic and Don Murphy. We have some interest from a very big director and screenwriter, but the director has another project in place first. So, he may remain interested, he may not? we’ll see.

JOHN: What are your plans for Sam and Twitch? Have the McFarlane legal problems affected the title?

MARC: Well, each arc of the book is written for a different artist. The line-up includes E.J. Su on the current arc and Greg (Sylvia Faust) Scott on the one after that. Francisco (artist on the Vertigo Cinnamon mini) Paronzini is up after that.

The legal problems at McFarlane had nary a hiccup’s effect on me and the book.

JOHN: Manhunter is a title that a lot of readers are buzzing about: how did you get involved with the character? Did DC want a new version or was the pitch yours? Did DC mandate the Identity Crisis tie-in or was it part of your overall plan?

MARC: After T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents fell apart, Dan Didio asked me if I had a take on a new Manhunter. The only requirement was that it be a woman. when he told me it didn’t have to be attached to any of the existing Manhunter baggage, I thought about it for a bit, called him back and pitched him, and the book was scheduled.

JOHN: Can you give readers some teases as to upcoming Manhunter storylines?

MARC: Well, the next arc, after the Shadow thief trial winds down, is called ‘Manhunted’ and it deals with a stalker tracking and killing the Manhunters in the DCU. It has been a blast writing this arc because the Manhunters all can be used in a story that deals with their histories, but in an accessible and fun way. The Manhunter history is a bit messy, but nowhere near as crazy as Hawkman’s was before Geoff Johns saved him. Hopefully, I’ll do at least half the job with the Manhunters that Geoff did on Hawkman.

JOHN: Any other projects you would like to plug? Comic or non comic related?

MARC: Let me see, hmmm. I have Castlevania coming out from IDW this spring with art, again, by E.J. Su. Steve Sadowski and I are working on a dream project of mine called Pendragon, also from IDW, later this summer. And Casefiles and Manhunter! (Plus, a few other things that are still in the early stages…)

This Has An ?Arms & Legs? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Blair Marnell

Thanks, John. I?m back now.

Slightly less sane, but hey? you?ve got to be a little crazy for this gig.

By the way, John?s also got a feature interview with Marv Wolfman that just went up on SBC. Check it out here.


.Hacked

With no less than four comic boards getting hacked this week, the first question that comes to mind is ?who did this?? And we may have our first ID. The GutterZombie mods have reported that their site was attacked by Russian hackers who call themselves ?Net Soldiers? and hang out at this site. Apparently, they put their name all over everything at GZ. It?s not clear if they are also responsible for the other comic board attacks, but with all four coming so close together, it can?t be a coincidence. So the next question is why? Why would Russian hackers even care about American comic sites? It doesn?t make any damn sense?

This Has A ?Toy Soldiers? Factor of Six Out of Ten


She?s A Wonder, Wonder Girl

According to a recent announcement at the DC Comics website, there will be a trade paperback of The New Teen Titans: Who is Donna Troy? which will collect the pivotal Donna Troy/Wonder Girl/Troia stories. The release date is set for June of this year and the timing of the announcement would seem to confirm that the project Phil Jimenez, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and George Perez, have been working on is almost definitely the long rumored Donna Troy miniseries.

This Has An ?Afterlife? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Panther Tracks

Someone e-mailed me the link to this hilarious Black Panther fake news article, which you can see here.

And you can find more articles here: It?s like The Onion with superheroes!

This Has A ?President Evil? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Meanwhile, On the Island

This is for fans of the TV series, Lost. I was at last night?s Paley Festival with several of the cast and crew from the show. Among the things to come out: the rumors about the series relocating from Hawaii have been squashed. The series will continue to be filmed on the islands. Also, there will be 24 episodes this year, up from the usual 22 episodes networks generally order. The Lost season finale will be a two parter, with the second part a 90 minute episode (and potentially commercial free for the last half-hour).

I also ran into Lost staff writer, Paul Dini before the presentation. And he mentioned that his ?Project Y? may be announced soon.

This Has A ?Polar Bear Express? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Target: The Beat!

With Rich Johnston on extended hiatus caring for his first child (congrats, Rich), all I have to do now is go to Long Beach and hunt down my remaining competition with an army of specially trained Clive Owens impersonators?

All kidding aside, next week?s ATR will be coming to you from the second annual Wizard World Los Angeles. So, the column may not go up until next Monday. Just so you know?


Eb-dee eb-dee eb-dee ebdee- That’s all folks!

Later,
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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