I know, I know I promised you an All-Marvel column, after last week’s DC-slag-off-fest but there’s been some reaction to certain stories that just needs to be printed. But I’ll shove them at the end.

Okay, Marvel. Reputedly to have much improved of late… the work of the Marvel Knights office, Tom Brevoort, Bill Jemas and even sometimes Bob Harras has seen a sea change in the quality of creative work coming from the House Of Ideas.

And creators seem happier too, given more freedom in certain circumstances and bathing in a small freak wave of optimism. Oh there’s always some trouble, where creators seem to have been actually misled, but generally, morale is up from the very-bad-old-days.

So what’s on the rumour grapevine? A mixture of oldies and newies…


Gay Cruise?

In the heady days when Malibu had just been bought by Marvel, their editorial staff packaged together a few of the early books for Paramount Comics. This was an imprint Marvel and Paramount had started initially for their new Star Trek line of comics. One of their projects was a prequel to the first Mission: Impossible movie.

This is how the rumour goes. As with any licensed book, the thing had to be approved by Paramount every step of the way: script, pencils, inks, even colours. And everything was approved, no problem. Since Paramount Comics weren’t allowed to use Tom Cruise’s likeness, it was fairly smooth sailing. The book was done, went to press, everything was right with the world.

Well, not quite.

The rumour states that Cruise and his partner Paula Wagner had final approval, but Malibu figured everything was cool since they were given the go-ahead to go to press. What they didn’t know was that Cruise actually never saw the book and everything had been okayed by an assistant. At this point, it’s alleged that Cruise was going around the press circuit trying to diffuse rumours that he was gay. And then he saw the comic.

It rumour says that Malibu was told by Paramount that Cruise was pissed. Apparently, his character in the book looked “too gay” in one panel. The story goes that Malibu were told to change it and pulp the previous print run or Paramount would kill the WHOLE deal. No Trek books, no nothing.

I hear the offending panel was changed, the files were sent off to press, and the first press run was pulped – a week later Malibu received 500 copies of the initial print run, with the “gay” panel. Dubbed “M:I – The Director’s Cut” by the Malibu crew, there are still copies of the original available… e-mail your details to my commercial address, giantbids@hotmail.com and I’ll pass them on to my source.

But here, for your gay glory are the before and after panels of this particular changed panel.

This has a Rage Value of Five out of Ten.


Chasing Magneto

Ooh! Apparently some Hollywood types have realized that the X-Men might be interpreted as an allegory for the Gay Experience. Like that hasn’t been part of the comic book X-Men’s makeup for years. To be honest, X-Men’s much more about prejudice in general, and the different stances you can take against that. But some people have pointed at Sir Ian McKellen and said “Ooh, look, Sir Ian McKellen is in X-Men. He’s a gay activist, do you see, do you see?”

Well, here’s one other reason we’ve unearthed as to why McKellen may have taken the role. McKellen had done a magazine interview wherein he clearly dismissed Bryan Singer as a director. He stated that on the film set of Apt Pupil, Singer kept doing lots of different set ups and that he wasn’t allowed, basically, to act like he did on stage. So, when he was doing a press junket for Gods and Monsters, Twist And Shout Comics writer, author of Freudwitch, my old mucker Brendon Connelly took him to task.

According to Connelly, McKellen confirmed his views and also told Connelly that Singer was pressuring him to be in a new film. However, he’d turned it Singer down because he felt he couldn’t work that way again. Connelly then tried to explain why Singer did what he did and gave him some examples of what the set ups and shots were there for. And why they weren’t there in Gods And Monsters, and why that was a poorer film for it. McKellen, seeming convinced did an about turn and said that maybe it was his problem then, maybe he didn’t get this film malarkey. He even went as far to say that after this little chat, he’d probably do that film with Bryan, maybe even learn from it. Particularly as it was going to be a special effects piece…

The film was X-Men. The role was Magneto. And it wasn’t too long after this exchange that Sir Ian McKellen announced that he’d be donning that helmet. As it were.

This has a Rage Value of Six out of Ten.


Magic Number

With the success of Avataars, a fantasy-styled Avenger mini-series, look forward to The Fantastic Fourth Voyage of Sinbad. The plot sees Sinbad the sailor encountering a group of 4 magical creatures, one of Fire, one of Rock, one of rubber and one of air. Strangely enough, no writer has yet been attached. I love comics by committee, don’t you?

This has a Rage Value of Five out of Ten.


X-Bollocks

Do you know what your children are? I hear the New Mutants are coming back, a group of 4 led by Siryn. Very sketchy details, but look for new characters, one with issues with Siryn, two as a couple and another out of time and place. Another Cable then, I presume… Regular cameos by Domino and Deadpool, and just like every other mutant group these days, they aren’t following Xavier’s dream.

And as if that wet dream weren’t enough for the X-fans, there’s a rumour going around about the return of X-Factor, starting with an issue 150. Suicide Squad style, it would consist of villains who either serve their country or get sent to the electric chair. Yes, It’s the return of Freedom Force under another name. Look for Mystique, Toad, Phantasia, Blob and Post filling the ranks led by mainstay Valerie Cooper.

I did hear a rumour that Fabian Nicieza would be writing this but Fabian is on hand to scotch his involvement in anything like this. He writes “Sounds like a completely fabricated rumor to me. I am writing Toad and Mystique in the 6 issue X-Men Forever Limited Series, but other than that, your info is either false gossip or news to me. A more important question is, would I even want to write such a book? And the answer is: not with the roster as you present it.”

This has a Rage Value of Four out of Ten.


X Marks The Pugh

There’s been quite a bit of concern from different folks about the artwork of Generation X of late. Reports from fans indicate beautifully detailed artwork that seems to be missed when it comes to inking. Indeed the last issue’s 4 inkers shows just how widely the work can be interpreted. Ramblings 2000 reported on initial dissatisfaction from fans. Just a thought, chaps, ever thought about letting Pugh ink himself? See his run on Animal Man to see what a wonderful and original inker he is…

This has a Rage Value of Six out of Ten.


The Writers’ Deadpool

On the Snap Judgements Delphi Forum, Patrick of GernWorld told the world about Jimmy Palmiotti’s status on Deadpool. “Jimmy, much like his former partner Quesada, is looking to ditch the monthly writing grind. When I interviewed him ages ago, he swore it was strictly a three-month thing. Apparently someone managed to change his mind. He brought on Buddy (Wizard Online Editor) Scalera to be a co-writer, and at the con he told me he’s trying to pass off the gig to Buddy.”

Since I received the rumour, a number of news sources have stated that Buddy Scalera is a co-writer on Deadpool, though none have stated he’ll be taking over the book.

This has a Rage Value of Seven out of Ten.


Tina Does Dakota… Or Rather, Would Have

All this X-Men movie hype got me to thinking of comic film projects of the past that never happened… anyone remember that great comic Dakota North? I was recently told that Tina Turner wanted to star in the movie. Hmmm. I’m quite glad it never happened in that case.

This has a Rage Value of Four out of Ten.


A Kick In The Bollocks

Well, response to the first few All The Rages has been really positive, especially last week’s double column. So, yes, it’s mostly DC stuff. Anyway, what clarification have you been giving me?


Editorial Bollocks

A Wildstorm source gives us a bit of back story though on the editorial position at Wildstorm as they understand it. Apparently there’s another editorial slot that was never filled after Rachelle Brissenden, Travis Charest’s girlfriend, left Wildstorm in the winter to go with Travis to France. So that’s two editors down, not one. One comics pro writes to tell us, regarding the Wild Storm Rising article, “As far as I know Wildstorm was interviewing for at least one (possibly 2) editorial positions at San Diego this year. Last I heard they had filled those positions.” Here’s hoping! As for the merging of DC and Wildstorm staff, while it’s a rumour that’s been gaining circulation, word is that it’s based on speculation from outside DC. However, you never know…

This has a Rage Value of Seven out of Ten.


Transmet And Tomorrow Bollocks

One regular reader wrote to tell us what happened when he went face-to-face with Scott Dunbier of Wildstorm and Bob Wayne of DC about the delayed Tomorrow Stories at WizardWorld. “I asked Scott Dunbier and Bob Wayne, who were having a private conversation at the DC Booth, ‘When will Tomorrow Stories 8 ship?'” Dunbier replied ‘October’.” “I got a Splash Brannigan sketch from Hillary Barta, and he asked me if I’d heard what happened to the book. I said L Ron Hubbard and DC Legal, and he said ‘Yep, and it really sucks too, because the Splash story is about a comic book convention, and I was hoping it would be out by now.”‘

“During the Wildstorm panel, I waited until the very end (last question, and the very carefully prepared written statement was read by Bob Wayne), and asked if there was a specific reason Tomorrow Stories 8 hadn’t shipped, and if so, which strip was responsible for the delay. Scott flatly refused to make a statement.”

As a side note, our reader also accosted Transmetropolitan artist Derick Robertson. “Derick Robertson showed me his penciled pages from Transmet 39, and one of them featured the face of Fantasy Island’s Herve Villacheze (sic) on a large oblong drum on the outskirts of The City. I mentioned it, and Derick said ‘Yeah, they axed it, I knew they fucking would.'”

The reader concluded “I want to read comics by DC/Vertigo/Wildstorm comics writers, not fucking DC legal. Satire IS a constitutionally protected right. Thanks for your great column, keep it up.”

Not at all my friend, thanks for such a valid contribution. And while I remember, it’s good to see Bob Wayne give such a long and equivocating speech about the possibility of printing Veitch’s Swamp Things. It beat Karen Berger’s reply at Comics 2000 which, reportedly, was “No. Next?”

This has a Rage Value of Seven out of Ten.


Anal Bollocks

Further to the Millar’s statement in last week’s column about getting the X-gig after writing the Authority, one source close to Millar has stated that he got the precisely due to the Captain America anal rape scene. Lovely.

This has a Rage Value of Six out of Ten.


Bat Bollocks

As far as the Batman 5 / Grant Morrison rumour goes, one person e-mails to say that Grant is being courted by a number of different studios over a number or projects – another says that a lot of high profile creators have been contacted over Batman 5 in the last few months…

This has a Rage Value of Six out of Ten.


Gigi Bollocks

Concerning the rumour that DC may be publishing the Gorilla-abandoned Gigi And The Big Four, one pro writes “Gee, Rich, what are the chances that they’d have to change the name of the book, since Gigi is the nickname of Paul Levitz’s wife? Or maybe they’ll just wait till it’s published and then pulp it.” Now now, I don’t want any more Paul Levitz slagging off in this column! You have to wait at least another week for the Black Lex Luthor pulping rumour, you hear?

This has a Rage Value of Four out of Ten.

Rich Johnston

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