Hello, I?m Steve Saunders and I?ll be your new host for All The Rage. I?d like to thank John Voulieris for passing the torch to me, as it was passed from Blair to him, and so on. I?d also like to thank all the SBC folks, contacts and participants who helped bring this first ATR of mine?the last ATR of 2006?to fruition. I?m excited about doing this!

Let?s worry about who I am and all that rot later because I?m sure you are here for the tasty meat, not the stringy bits. By way of a mission statement, I want to make ALL THE RAGE a ?first-stop?, if you will, for nice news-bits, previews and other things of that nature. And remember, if you have any suggestions, complaints, news items, rumours, anything at all, then please drop me a line at steves@silverbulletcomicbook.com. I want to know what you are thinking, what you love and hate about ATR, I need to know, actually, since I ultimately write this for you.

What he have this week is a fine assortment of goods. I?m told that this time of year is lean on good material, but that?s okay, I?ve found some treats I sincerely hope you enjoy. We have Matt Busch talking about his feud with Steve Niles; me wondering what is up with John Byrne; a sweet mini-preview of some sweet, sweet zarjaz coming from 2000AD; John Leekly (writer/director of Spawn the Animated Series) joins Silent Devil to bring us Amerikan Freak, and more!

Let?s get started, shall we?

Feud Fight No More

I?m sure some of you are familiar with the problems that occurred between artist Matt Busch (You Can Draw Star Wars, Pucker, Conjure) and writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre), some months earlier in ?06. Then recently, Matt issued a public apology, which John referred to some Rages back (click here to see what Matt said along with a link to info regarding to the feud). To be honest, I always hate seeing people in the industry have a public falling out, so the apology was nice to see and after contacting Matt it was ever nicer to hear that everyone was moving on. Matt, being the excellent individual he is, agreed to do a interview with me and for All the Rage. It turned into something a bit longer than I expected. So, instead of cutting it and such, it was decided that Matt would get a feature interview. What you see below is the part about how everything ended up with the Busch/Niles Incident. Feel free to read the full interview! Matt is a very talented guy and has a lot of good stuff to say! As for Steve Niles… Sorry folks, it?s my fault entirely. I never attempted to contact him. I know: Bad Steve. Wait, no! Not that Steve; me Steve. I?ve just been excessively busy and I kept meaning to? Ah, well. Mr. Niles, if you are reading this, I?d love to talk to you; and not just about the feud, either (in fact, we don?t have to talk about it at all).

SGS: Okay, Matt, you’re definitely a busy and respected guy in your chosen field of work. It seems that you also made some news last year concerning a public feud between you and writer Steve Niles. Now, what happened with all that? I mean, no need for the gory details if you don’t want to get into it, but what’s the gist of the whole situation… and why do you think it made “comics news”?

MB: *Laughs* Yeah, sadly I became the Jennifer Aniston of the comic book industry. It’s a little pathetic. Well, my story was my own. And while it may have been the truth, there are always two sides to every coin.

SGS: Correct, but let’s hear your side for now, if that’s okay.

MB: Long story short: Steve and I started working on a project professionally together. It was a project (Godless) that also involved my girlfriend at the time, Sarah Wilkinson. Again, long story short: Over time, Sarah left me for Steve.

I was obviously hurt.

So, in an effort to get help from friends, sympathy or whatever, I posted what had happened online, and a lot of friends did give me wonderful words of encouragement to help me get through it. But a lot of people also said mean things about Steve, and mean things about Sarah.

I’m sure that people were mostly just trying to make me feel better through a difficult time. Anyway, a lot of time had passed. Here I am nine months later, and the whole situation seems silly. I can laugh about it now, whereas I certainly couldn’t then.

SGS: Yeah, in retrospect, it does seem silly, as you say… But at the time it was “news”.

MB: And I realize that the story isn?t just about me losing Sarah to Steve. [I realized that] Steve and Sarah are people, too. They had their own lives that led them to the decisions they have made. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision for either of them to go through. But here we are nine months later, and all of us are happy.

While I never set out to ‘hurt’ Steve or Sarah, they both really took a lot of heat. I wish I could repair that more than a public apology.

SGS: You know what they say about “time” and “all wounds”. As long as you learned something from it and so forth…

MB: For sure. Every one of my friends is ecstatic to hear that I have patched things up with Steve. It sucks going to conventions having to play sides or keep certain artists away from other artists, you know?

I was really excited about the Godless project I was doing with Steve, too. I realize it would be awkward now, but perhaps in time we can still do it.

SGS: Aw, man? Too bad the Godless project fell through! Love the work you did do for it though, before it was canned. Hey, that would be neat. It’s a lot like a TV/comics story in of itself. *Movie preview voice* “Friends then enemies then friends once more go on to produce an artistic tour de force for the entire world to enjoy..” I can dig that.

MB: Ha ha! Stranger things have happened in this industry… Anyway, I in fact just conversed with Steve today. He’s doing well, and wow, 2007 will be an exciting year for him. I’m really excited for the 30 Days Of Night movie and City Of Others with Bernie Wrightson!

SGS: I’m glad this story has a happy ending. It?s much too often that grudges go on for years, unresolved.

Curious to what is going on before this part starts or how the interview progresses afterwards? Go and find out! See? It?s right here. Discover lots of more interesting stuff about Matt. What comics would he like to do? Would George Lucas ever buy his work? Polar Bears with rocket packs or Phasing Penguins? And there?s more!

This Has A ?Ninja Polar Bears For Peace? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

Has ?Byrne Victim? Been Done? I Bet It Has

John Byrne. Say that name in comicdom and people have will usually have a reaction of some sort. I won?t lie, for I have been unkind regarding JB in the past, myself. I don?t hate him, oh no. I just think he?s said some? questionable things. The sort of things that portray him in a very bad light, if you will. People are always coming up with new things on Mr. Byrne, it seems. Take the story I heard from Gabe C. a couple of days back: Frank Lauro, a John Byrne Forums member, attended the funeral of Gregg Allinson, a well liked person from the same boards, and presented a print-out of all the forum member?s condolences and well-wishes to the family of Gregg. John Byrne, as this story goes, banned Frank (on Xmas, no less) for his actions (as he considers JBF Material to be copyrighted stuff) and as a result, supposedly, some members and even two moderators ?quit in disgust?.

Now, first off, let me offer my heart-felt condolences to the Allinson family. Yes, I didn?t know Gregg one bit, but I?m always saddened by the loss of human life. Furthermore, I figure it is the least I can do as I?m sure many will feel (and no doubt bust out the torches and pitchforks) that I?m merely using poor Gregg as ?column fodder?, a means to smear Mr. Byrne or both. You know, perhaps I am using him as ?column fodder? a bit, but not for the point you may think. No, I would hate to see someone?s death, one who caused a very emotional outpouring from the JBF community (it was very special, guys, you?re all aces in my book) just be a Sally rod to beat John Byrne with some more. I feel that Byrne has said plenty of things to make him the target of derision and mockery from all over Ye Glorious Intardnets and beyond. As a matter of fact, you may have seen John Voulieris talking about him here on All The Rage in the past, which is always entertaining, if you ask me.

So what exactly am I getting at? You see, I want to know why Mr. Byrne has the reputation he does. Not his artistic/creative reputation. I already know that one. I also know about his supposed acerbic personality and his forum shenanigans. I would enjoy seeing John Byrne address these issues, to say something regarding this latest story I?ve heard, to comment in some way publicly (and not just in the comfort of the JBF). Mr. Byrne, if you?re reading this I would like to extend a friendly invite to you to have your side aired here on ATR. Yeah, you read me right. I may think some of the things you?ve said paint you up to be a real dick, but I?d like to judge for myself first-hand (or something like that, since an in-person thing is kinda hard to do? unless you?re in the Seattle area sometime soon?). I would absolutely love to give you a quick interview. Sure, I?ll ask some hard questions, but I promise they won?t be the sort of weasel-word laced nonsense that you might expect from a typical detractor. I want to know your side. I don?t know you and you don?t know me, so really it?s a fresh slate in a way. If you want to contact me, my email is steves@silverbulletcomicbooks.com. I swear to you on my children that I won?t alter what you say in any way (unless you approve it of course, like in the case of misspellings and such). I want to know what you have to say, and to say it on here. Yeah, I am asking you to be ?column fodder? of a sort, but hey, better that you?re directly involved, eh?

What about it Mr. Byrne? Would you be so kind as to answer a few questions?

This Has A ?Possibilities? I?ve Got Your Possibilities Right Here, Bub? Factor Of 10 Out Of 10

Appropriate Amounts of Something, All Right

Apropos of Something is a blog spawned from the mind of Jess, someone who is undoubtedly talented at being entertaining. His website covers all sorts of things, but mainly he?s know for his comics? Or rather, his take on comics? Just read the interview we did and he?ll explain everything.

SGS: Hey Jess, glad you could do this!

Jess: Thanks for having me!

SGS: Tell us a bit about your blog Apropos of Something. What is about? Why do you do it? Are there gnomes involved?

J: No gnomes, but at one point, the site was hobbit-powered. Then, I got a cease and desist from the Tolkien estate and had to set them free.

Apropos of Something?s official description is ?the blog of a pop culture obsessed academic,? and I think that sums things up nicely. The site?s content ranges from bits of humor from my daily life to weird news to coverage of the geekier side of pop culture like comics and sci-fi. Oh, and I try to report on the impending arrival of our robot overlords whenever possible. I?m hoping to establish myself as an imperialist lapdog after they conquer the planet.

SGS: I?d say the most popular feature of your site is the comics you do. So, how do you go about doing a comic? What is your inspiration? They?re old comics that have been modified, right?

J: They?re all old comic panels where I?ve removed the original dialogue and replaced it with surreal?and hopefully funny?new dialogue. I think the French call it detournement, but I call it ?creating comics when you have no artistic talent whatsoever.?

My inspiration comes almost entirely from the source material. Very seldom do I actually start off with a concept and then go in search of a comic panel to fit the joke. Instead, I look at old comics and try to find the humor in original art. For instance, when you see a panel where Magneto is flexing his biceps, but it looks more like he?s sniffing his own armpit, you can?t help but wonder if that purple and red costume gets a little stuffy when he?s leading the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants into battle.

From there, it?s just a matter of firing up Photoshop, removing the old dialogue, and replacing it with my new content (usually using fonts from the awesome Blambot.com). A few minutes later, and my supervillain body odor joke is ready for the world.

SGS: And I have to say, Bat-Botanist is one of my faves?

J: Bat-Botanist was featured in my very first Apropos Comic, so he?s near and dear to my heart as well. Even a few years later, I can?t help but chuckle about the idea of Bruce Wayne dedicating his life to fighting crime and educating the citizens of Gotham on the finer points of botany.

SGS: Now, are there any problems that could result from using pre-exiting comics and comic characters?

J: Oh, I?m sure that I?m violating copyright laws left and right. It?s kind of a Catch-22 situation. I obviously want people to see my work, but the more people who see it, the more likely I am to get that inevitable nasty-gram from Marvel or DC. I?m not afraid of Archie Comics, though. I bet they don?t even have a legal department. [Ed ? Yes, they do!]

SGS: What is your favourite feature of your blog?

J: I definitely love doing the Apropos Comics, and it?s difficult to pick a favorite. I look back and can?t help but enjoy the early strips like ?Thor, God of Theology? and ?Trapped in a Cave with Dick Grayson,? but I think more recent installments like ?Archie & Betty in ?Crime Doesn?t Pay?? hold up pretty well, too.

Aside from the comics, I?m also fond of my ?Tales from the Classroom??a collection of essays describing the bizarre situations that arise while teaching at a university (my real life job). Truth be told, the Captain American Government strips?where Cap teaches civics lessons, usually through force?grew out of that, as well.

SGS: Has anything, ahh, ?interesting?, we?ll say, resulted from what you?ve posted?

J: So far, the comics have gone off without a hitch. No angry e-mails from creators, no threats of broken legs from publishers. Knock on wood.

A few months ago, however, I was surprised to discover that my site had been featured in the Guardian, a British newspaper. I had no idea the short blurb was coming out; I just noticed my site traffic skyrocketed from some reason one day. I eventually tracked down the article and discovered it was, er, ?interesting? to say the least. First off, the writer suggested that I had simply gathered all the comics from around the Web as opposed to actually creating them myself. Oh, and then he referred to Iron Man as a robot.

Although I suppose the latter would help explain some of what?s been going on in Marvel?s Civil War.

SGS: Any new things to look forward to in 2007, AoS related and otherwise?

J: Well, one thing I?ve always wanted to do is go beyond modifying just a few panels at a time and actually rewrite and entire comic book from start to finish. The logistics are fairly daunting, but it?s possible that 2007 could see a full-length comic pop up at my site. At the moment, I?m leaning toward rewriting X-Men #1 from 1963. So far, the X-Men have been far too underrepresented in the Apropos Comics universe.

SGS: What comics are you reading nowadays?

J: Aside from thumbing through issues at the local bookstore and following plot developments on the Internet, I don?t actually read many modern comics. I will go on record as a fan of anything Peter David writes, and I?ve really enjoyed what I?ve read of Dan Slott?s work so far.

When I first started reading comics in the late 1980s, I was a fanboy in the worst sense of the word. We?re talking all Wolverine, all the time. And when Image comics hit the scene? I was the kid walking out of the comic shop with twelve polybagged copies of Youngblood #1.

In more recent years, I find myself drawn almost entirely to Silver Age comics. It never ceases to amaze me how much content Jack Kirby could pack into a single panel. When it comes to Kirby, there?s always a story being told whether you read the dialogue or not. In a way, it makes his artwork perfect for the kind of comics I create. I just see it as an extension of the Mighty Marvel Style that Stan Lee and Kirby pioneered. Kirby or Steve Ditko or whoever provides the pencils, and I add the dialogue?albeit several decades later.

What can I say? I?m not good with deadlines.

SGS: Anything you?d like to say in closing?

J: Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity to blather about myself, and congratulations on taking over the reins of All the Rage. Take care, and best wishes!

Check out his blog when you get a chance. I feel its well worth at least a gander or five. Oh, and to you Big Guys (if you?re reading), take it easy on him, okay?

This Gets A ?Bat-Botanistmobiles Are SO Cool? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten

Where Dan Dare Drokking Dares

The UK comics scene is something near and dear to my heart. I practically grew up on them, first discovering them living abroad at a young age. I thought it would be nice to add a couple new features to ATR and this is one of them. This week we have a write up on what?s going on with the UK small press side of things by Shane Chebsey, and then we?ll get to 2000AD and see some sneak peeks of what?s to come in 2007 with the 30th Anniversary Prog!

    Welcome to the first ? of what I hope will be many ? regular delves into the world of the vibrant British self publishing scene. As the main distributor of small press comics in the UK I am constantly bombarded with new titles and I often ask myself if it will ever loose momentum. However, every so often I?m sent a gem of a book, which inspires me, and makes me realise that this scene is here to stay.

One such example is Moochowski, a major narrative work from long time cartoonists, Tom Brass and Lindsay Pollock. The setting for the ten-part saga is New York, 1986…

As liberals, junkies, pinkos and bums queue grimly in the welfare line, the gleaming chariots of the yuppie elite sweep past in a cloud of cocaine and synthesizers.
Tensions run high in this divided city ? the right is clamping down, the left is rising up, and only one man is ?just happy to be here?. He?s been everywhere, from the gutter to the penthouse and now he?s looking for a new place to stay. They can turn off the lights and they can lock the doors, but the Wexler family can?t hide from, the irrepressible, the inexcusable, the one and only? Felix Moochowski.

I asked the guys what other work they?ve been doing in between issues and they replied:

?We?ve just released Moochowski Two (to a very warm reception) and are currently working on part three of the saga. We’re also producing a short, monthly strip for the national music magazine, `The Stool Pigeon’. The strip is called `Ye Players’ and it chronicles the comic misadventures of a touring medieval band. Think `This is Spinal Tap’ meets `Witchfinder General’. We also regularly do illustration work; recently we’ve drawn stuff for Vice magazine and (gulp) Sky Television.?

Another highly anticipated release is Rainbow Orchid #2 by Garen Ewing. The Herg? influenced 1920?s adventure strip was one of the most sought after self-published comics of 2005, and issue #2 is sure to follow suit in 2007.

I asked Garen how things were progressing:

?The year started very well for Rainbow Orchid when I was contacted by Gollancz who were looking into adding to their range of manga with some home-grown original books. Rainbow Orchid apparently got an excellent reaction from the reader group and had strong support among some of the editors there, but in the end it was felt bringing a new comic to the market was financially too risky. In a way, this led to me getting represented by the London agency, A. P. Watt, and publisher interest in Orchid has continued, despite it not yet being pushed (we’re waiting until it’s finished!).

Although Rainbow Orchid is not properly a web-comic (it’s more me putting my book’s work-in-progress up on the web), its internet presence has led to a fair amount of work for me. The most exciting of these is a new comic strip, which I’ll be able to tell you more about next year sometime. All I’ll say for now is that if you like Rainbow Orchid, I think you’re really going to like this new strip – it’s not written by me, but like Orchid, it puts good storytelling first.?

Finally, I spoke to Roger Mason the other day and he?s half way through a new Mice story. I?m a huge fan of Roger?s Work, both in terms of his unique art style and his ability to create original concepts for stories, so I?m really excited about this new episode featuring the last few humans living on an Earth invaded by giant aliens.

Thanks, Shane! Moochowski, Rainbow Orchid and Mice all sound very cool! I?m not familiar with any of them? See, kids? I?m learning about comics I want to read right now.

Do you read 2000AD? Do you? If not, you should. It?s one of the best comics around, if you ask me, and it even comes out weekly! Full of some of the best writing and art out there concerning mostly fantasy, sci-fi and horror, 2000AD offers several strips each issue in various lengths. Most of these strips, or ?thrills? as they are known, are broken up into parts that run each week normally over the course of weeks or months. If you?ve never heard of the Galaxy?s Greatest Comic you may recognise some of the more popular thrills to spawn from its anthological pages: Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Rogue Trooper, Slaine, Durham Red, Nemesis the Warlock, ABC Warriors, Halo Jones and many, many others. 2000AD is usually where many of the UK?s top writers and artists get their start and/or get noticed. Alan Moore, Alan Grant, Garth Ennis, Dan Abnett, Simon Bisley, Grant Morrsion, Pat Mills, Carlos Ezquerra, John Wagner, Gordon Rennie, Mark Millar, Kev Walker, Can Kennedy? the list seems endless of those known sorts in the industry out there that probably owe much of their careers to ??Tooth? (as it?s known to be called). Living in the U.S., I find it difficult to keep up since we get the issues weeks behind schedule. For those who want to enjoy the thrills in their individual glory, there are also numerous trades that the fine robots at Rebellion offer. Look, if you need any more information on 2000AD, go check out their website!

Now for some goodies!

This is going to be the cover of Prog #1526, the sure-to-be-legendary 30th Anniversary Issue (!!), hitting the stands on 28 February, 2007.

That zarjaz illustration you see is done by none other than Phillip Bond. I must point out, though: Does Tharg remind anyone else of the Easter Island statues in that illustration? Not that it?s a bad thing? just wondering.

This 30th Year Prog extravaganza will feature the beginning of new stories for Nikolai Dante by Robbie Morrison & Simon Fraser, and Savage by the renowned Pat Mills & Charlie Adlard. We?ll also be treated to the continuation of the awesome Judge Dredd: Origins saga by two of my favourite creators, John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. Included will be a ten-page Flesh story done by Pat Mills and Ramon Sola! Huzzah! I understand that there will some ?special retrospectives? in #1526, too. Mark your calendars, Earthlets; this is a prog you DO NOT want to miss.

In a small way I almost wish that the Origins storyline wouldn?t end. In my heart of hearts, I know it must, but damn I love it so.

I certainly hope you liked that 2000AD news. I know I did? In personal UK comics news, I just thought I?d mention that I managed to find myself a copy of the 1981 Annual of Battle Picture Weekly, in great condition even. Yeah, I?m pretty stoked over it.

This Gets A ?Tharg Conquers All? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

Blogonaut: King Clone

Another regular thing I?d like to do here is feature a link and mention to a cool comics-related blog. Sure, I feature Apropos of Something in here this week, but I just wanted to fit another one in. You think it?s cheating? Hush, you.

Dan Abnett is one of my all time favourite writers, so it makes perfect sense that I use this space to plug his blog as soon as I can. Right, I realise it?s not that exciting, but I find it interesting and I?m a big fan, so suffer. Here it is: The Primary Clone.

My only complaint is I wish you?d update more, Dan. What, are you too busy? *wink*

This Has A ?Stay On The Scene Like A Writing Clone-Machine? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten

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