Welcome back to another edition of ATR.

I just finished moving for the second (and hopefully LAST) time this year, which has completely thrown off my schedule, hence the delay. Next time I move I?ll just take a week off?

Anyway, you wanted the latest rage? Here it is:

The Money Train

Word among industry insiders is that DC is once again spending a MASSIVE amount of money to land their latest ?star acquisitions.? And John Romita Jr. is one of the artists that DC will be making a major push for, when Romita Jr?s Marvel exclusive contract is up later this year. Apparently, DC made a similar offer to Romita Jr. the last time his contract was up, but the pending offer is said to be ?substantially bigger?, though no official contact is expected until the end of his current deal. Make no mistake, Romita Jr. is highly coveted for his star power, not to mention his consistently high output. Given that the Romita family name is almost synonymous with Marvel and that Romita Jr. has spent the bulk of his career at the company, it would be shocking if he jumped ship. But it would be a huge coup for DC?

This Has A ?Grey Area? Factor of Five Out of Ten


Great X-Pectations

There?s a rumor going around, that Trevor Hairsine and Ed Brubaker are working on a HUGE Marvel project for this Fall. Possibly something X-men related?

This Has A ?Mutation Equation? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Band On The Run

Over at Millarworld, Mark Millar let slip some details about Go!, which he describes as ?the final MW project from Phase One.? When asked if Go! Was somehow related to Run (Millar?s unproduced miniseries with Ashley Wood) Millar replied:

Go!

    is a completely new thing. It’s got a couple of ideas from other projects, but it’s a 4 issue mini and should be announced in a month or two. Don’t want to say anything else right now, but it’s good stuff. I’m doing the screenplay at the same time and constantly tweaking both. This will come out with the last of my Marvel stuff at the end of the year and then there’s the big gap between this and the next wave of books, those books being Millarworld 2 (currently planned for late Summer/ Fall 06). Some amazing artists lined up here. REALLY amazing.

This Has A ?Live Fast, Die Young? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Faster, Raven! Kill! Kill!

Word out of the Comic Book Expo is that Alan Davis might have a new Killraven project from Marvel, in-between something with a potentially higher profile?

This Has A ?616? Factor of Six Out of Ten


You Can?t Take The Sky From Me

Here?s a first look at some interior pages from Dark Horse Comics? upcoming Serenity miniseries, written by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, pencils by Will Conrad and colors by Laura Martin.


Each issue of the Serenity miniseries will be shipping with three covers by different artists. The first issue features Mal by John Cassaday, Inara by J.G. Jones, and Jayne by Bryan Hitch.


This Has A ?Take Me Out To The Black? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Four Coffins

Now moving from Sci-Fi Western to Horror Western, the next issue of Western Tales of Terror should be hitting the stands in about three weeks. WToT #4 features stories by Joshua Hale Fialkov, Stuart Moore, Saul Colt, and Jon Hook with art by Mark Dos Santos and Marlena Hall, Jason Copland, Joseph Bergin III and Jared Bivens.

And we?ve got a preview of the story by Fialkov, Dos Santos and Hall below:



This Has A ?Per Un Pugno Di Dollari? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

Jai Nitz (Heaven?s Devils) is teaming up with Kevin Sharpe (Sigil) on Season of the Witch, a new miniseries coming out from Image later this year. Season of the Witch has had an interesting road to fruition, as Nitz elaborates:

Season of the Witch

      started out, like most ideas, as something else. Back in 2002 it started as an

Amethyst

    pitch for Vertigo. A vertigo editor had asked me to pitch some existing-but-dormant DCU characters as Vertigo series. I bought a run of Who?s Who and went to work. One character I remembered fondly from my youth was Amethyst. I decided to pitch it as a darker tale where a 14-year-old girl takes over a fantasy world and runs it into the ground because she?s a political novice. That?s how it originally worked anyway.

Vertigo wasn?t interested, but I still liked the idea. I did some research on ?great political novice blunders? and retooled the story. As I did, Marvel announced the Epic line. So I pitched it to Marvel as a Magik limited series with the same premise. Marvel was interested, and I honed the pitch with Stephanie Moore (the Epic editor at the time). We got the pitch pretty tight before Epic folded up its tents and left town. I thought the pitch was pretty much dead as of then. Until?

I was looking for an artist to finish up issue four of Heaven?s Devils and I got referred to a guy named Kevin Sharpe. I knew Kevin from his self-published comic called Book and his CrossGen work. He did a bang up job on Heaven?s Devils #4 and he did it in record time. I told him I had a creator-owned sword & sorcery idea if he wanted to work together again. He did. I had to retool the script again to play up Kevin?s strengths. Kevin is no slouch, so I didn?t have to ?stupid-proof? the story the way you do when you don?t know who your artist will be.

So the story has changed here and there since its inception, but it?s basically a story about a 14-year-old girl taking over a fantasy world and the fallout from her actions. She?s a political, social, and physical novice. Her inexperience gets her into trouble that she doesn?t understand. It?s a commentary on the life and times of under-18 Hollywood starlets or teen-queen singers and the drama that they deal with. Imagine if a 14-year-old Brittany Spears was put in charge of the world. How do you think she?d have handled the economy after the Internet bubble burst? How do you think she?d have handled September 11th? The Iraq War? Just imagine. I try to bring up and answer these questions in Season of the Witch.

Also, the idea of a youth in a magical land isn?t new. The aforementioned Amethyst comes to mind in comics, but there?s also The Wizard of Oz, Alice Through the Looking Glass (or Alice in Wonderland if you prefer the cartoon), the Chronicles of Narnia, and others. Wizard of Oz was about America converting to the gold standard, Alice Through the Looking Glass is about the absurdity of the British rule at the time, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a thinly veiled allegory for Christianity. Season of the Witch is about getting too famous too fast and not knowing what to do with the power.

As far as what it will look like in the comic shop? Season of the Witch is a four-issue limited series, but we?re doing a zero issue to show fans what they can expect. The zero issue will have a 12-page original story, Kevin?s character designs, some pin ups, and some information from me. I think the original story is very strong and will be a good indicator of what readers can expect from the regular series. Why is this important? Issue one will be in Previews when issue zero comes out. That way fans can tell retailers to order number one or retailers can increase their orders as needed. Also, I?ll make the entire 12-page story available for free to any retailer that requests it. Retailers can contact me at [email protected]. I think that CrossGen, Conan, and Red Sonja proved that there is a market for well-crafted fantasy comics. I believe in the genre and I believe Kevin and I can make it work. That said, I?ll do everything I can to help retailers support the book and get the word out to fans. You should pick up the comic if you?re a fan of sword & sorcery and tell your retailer about it. Every copy counts with creator-owned comics.

This Has A ?Third Eye Blind? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


School?s In

Astro City and Rising Stars artist, Brent Anderson will be teaching a workshop called Cartooning for Comics at Sonoma State University, in Northern California. The workshop will be held from June 27th through July 1st and is specifically geared for younger readers to begin creating their own comics, though comic fans with kids of their own are also encouraged to come.

This Has An ?Academy X? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Three For Three

More alternate covers are a comin? from Dynamite Entertainment?s Red Sonja. And for your viewing enjoyment, we?ve got the first look at three covers from Red Sonja #3.

First up, a painted cover by Gabriele Dell’Otto (Secret War).

Then we have one from Michael Kaluta.

And finally, a cover by industry legend, John Romita Sr.

This Has A ?Crimson Tide? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Manga Rage

Those of you who went to the Comic Book Expo last weekend may already know this, but the team behind Silver Bullet Comic Books has just launched a new website: MangaLife.com.

As the name suggests, Manga Life will focus specifically on Manga-related news, reviews and feature stories. SBC founder, Jason Brice is onboard as publisher and Craig Johnson is the Manga Life editor-in-chief. The site is already live with dozens of reviews and a feature interview with manga-ka (manga creator), Queenie Chan. Chan will also be contributing to the site in the near future.

Manga Life is also looking for hot new writers. If you?re interested in joining the team, drop them a line at [email protected].

This Has A ?Land of The Rising Sun? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


And that?s a wrap. Next week?s ATR will be coming to you from the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as the E3. I?ll be covering the show and hooking you up with the latest gaming news and rumors along with our usual ATR coverage.

See you soon.

Blair

PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at [email protected]. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.


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