There was almost no ATR this week?

It started off innocently enough, with an ?Invalid Page Fault.? Usually, if I hit the refresh button, the problem goes away. Not this time. What I quickly found out, was that almost the entire web was inaccessible to me. Things got worse when I tried to restart the computer. It just froze completely. I couldn?t even turn it off manually.

Now, I?ve had this computer since 1998. It?s the first one I?ve ever owned, and it?s been fairly reliable. A couple of problems here and there, but nothing major? until now. Over the years, I?ve become so complacent with it that I haven?t been properly backing up my files. Nearly all of my important files from the last six years are still on this system. If it goes, I?m screwed. And for a while there, I was?

Tech support was worthless. They seemed to know even less than I did. Though that might have been intentional. Throughout the call, they kept referring me to their ?paid? technical support, by claiming to be ?untrained? for my specific problem. Does it make any sense to have untrained personal handling tech support calls?! The tech support I originally paid for was supposed to cover the life of the machine! Why should I have to pay twice? Unfortunately, as the problem continued, I was desperate enough to try it. But again, same result.

To make a long story short (?too late?), a friend of mine is a computer science major. He managed to get it back up and running. I don?t really understand what the problem was, but as long as it works I won?t complain. That was too close. I had to learn the hard way, but it could have been worse. I?m getting my files off the hard drive as quickly as I can. And I seriously think it?s time for a new computer.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Now then, here?s the latest news and rumors:

Some Assembly Required

***Spoiler Warning***
Don?t read this if you are worried about ruining surprises!
Readers who have seen the Avengers Disassembled preview in the latest Wizard already know that the first team member to die appears to be Ant-Man (Scott Lang). If true, this could be connected to a rumor I heard earlier this year about the cancellation Daniel Way?s MAX Ant-Man miniseries. From what I was told, the series wasn?t canceled due to content, but instead was taken off the schedule because it didn?t fit in with Marvel?s long-term plans for the character. Interestingly enough, the character referred to was Hank Pym, not Scott Lang. This has led to speculation that Pym will resume his old identity.

In other Avengers related news, incoming writer Brian Bendis announced on his message board that he has finished the last issue of the Disassembled arc:

    The last issue of the arc is double sized as is 500. Its a big a story. I have jitters!!

And is there a special all new Avengers thing shipping the same month, a month before the relaunch?

This rumor gets a green light or whatever…

This Has A ?Hey, You Stole My Line!!? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


War Zone

More rumors floating around about the Batman family of titles? Word is that the upcoming War Games crossover is directly at the behest of DC editorial. Despite some misgivings, editors are taking total control over the creative direction of the Bat-books. According to some accounts, they’ve even issued edicts to writers and artists to fall in line or be replaced. Furthermore, any creators who can?t keep up with the hectic pace will be penalized.

Needless to say, some creators aren?t exactly ?comfortable? with their new situation?

This Has A ?Dancing in The Pale Moonlight? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Lost Horizon

Paul Dini, one of the key creators behind the Batman and Superman animated series, announced last week that he was leaving Warner Brothers Animation. He issued the following statement on his website:

      A number of folks who visit this site have followed my writing and producing career at Warner Bros. Animation over the past fifteen years. It is now with a mixture of excitement and sadness that I announce, effective immediately, I am leaving WBA, at least for the foreseeable future. From assorted Spielbergia through

Batmen

      present and future, onto

Superman

      ,

Duck Dodgers

      and finally closing out on

JLA

      and a certain super powered pup, I was lucky to work on some great projects with a truly gifted assortment of artists and writers. I?ll miss them Part of me hates to leave ol? Termite Tower (the somewhat presumptuous name the

Tiny Toons

    crew and I gave our digs in Sherman Oaks when we started back in, yikes, 1989!) but new opportunities are calling and it?s time for me to go. On the horizon I look forward to doing more live feature film writing, more comic book writing (my own characters and others) and generally stretching myself in other creative areas. But a nice long vacation is what I need right now and I think I?ll lose myself on a desert island for a while.

Speculation regarding Dini?s next undertaking has centered on ?Project X?, of which Dini has said only that it is ?not a cartoon, movie or comic book, but something completely different.?

However, Toonzone is now reporting that Dini will be writing for the upcoming action/adventure TV series, Lost. The series will premiere on ABC in September, and was created by J.J. Abrams (Alias).

This Has A ?Finding Your Own Shangri-La? Factor of Six Out of Ten


Mr. Singularity

Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night) is currently working on Singularity 7, which will be his first full-published comic as both writer and artist. The series envisions a dark future, in which seven disparate people are brought together in a last ditch effort to save the human race from a nanotechnological plague.

When asked about his inspiration for the series, Templesmith replied:

    I’ve read a few ?speculative future: this is what nanotech can do for us’ type books, and try to stay abreast of the news really. The concept of what nanotechnology can do for us is pretty mind blowing if you think about it. Other than that, I’m no real scientist, and don’t pretend to be an expert. The book isn’t hard science. I just don’t believe you should ever stop learning, so I’m always looking for interesting things and facts.

Basically, the heart of Singularity 7 is about change, survival and what you do to ensure that. Using nanotechnology, and what it’s capable of to push the story wherever it might go. Genre wise… it’s got elements of a few things, but I’m not really one to try and classify anything exactly. That’s for others to do depending on what they think of it in the end really.


Singularity 7 will be a four issue miniseries. The first issue is due out in July.

This Has A ?Gravitational Forces? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Positive Reinforcement

Randy Milholland, the writer/artist of Something Positive and New Gold Dream webcomics, recently posted the following message:

    I’ve been getting some complaints as of late, and I’d like to address them as well as make all of you an offer.

I am the first to admit my spelling is FAR from wonderful. Yes, I do have proof-readers, but you have to understand: I work forty hours a week at my normal job, and at least as much on Something Positive. See, that’s a lot of time, isn’t it? And, no, I don’t mean forty hours of drawing. I’m talking about site maintenance, responding to emails, ad sales and THEN drawing. By the time I’m able to squeeze doing the comic in, it’s usually very, very late. And I’m tired. And whoever I’m getting to proof my work is either just going to bed in one time zone, or waking up in another. Neither are going to be at the top of their game.

So I spend a lot of time just working. This wears one down. So do the aggravating and condescending emails. No, I’m not talking about people emailing me to say, “You misspelled a word,” or, “there’s a broken link on the site.” That’s cool. I appreciate those people. I’m talking about emails that go on and on about my “apparent inability to place letters correctly” and make bold claims like, “I’m one of those freaks who is just about incapable of making or overlooking these kinds of errors, so if you’d like to make use of my preternatural English abilities.” Both are real quotes from people who “love the comic in spite of [my] inability to spell.” (Another quote).

So, I’m going to make you an offer. If you can lighten my workload, I’ll go out of my way to see to it the spelling – and the update schedule – improve. On both S*P and New Gold Dream. How do I want you to do that?

Help me quit my job. Seriously. Click on that donate button and give me a buck… fifty center… five bucks. Whatever. I’ve more than enough readers that if over half of you did that, I’d have a year’s salary and could quit my day job – and that’s forty hours freed up for the comics. Go ahead. Do it. If you are really bothered by my lack of updates or my need of extra proofreading, help me quit my day job so I can devote the time to doing it. No, ad sales and merchandising aren’t enough to help me do that. They’re supplemental. They definitely help, but I’m not going to be living off of them (and since S*P is now looking for a new webhost because of some issues with Speakeasy, I’ll likely have to be paying twice or triple my monthly hosting costs because this comic pushes about 300 gigs of bandwidth a month).

I would love nothing better to do than spend all my time working on S*P… okay, that’s not true. I wouldn’t mind having sex once in a while, but I’m trying to be realistic and instead just asking people to hand me money out of the kindness of their hearts (yes, that’s more realistic). But I’m serious about this. If you guys REALLY want me to put more time into the comic (and, y’know what, I want to do that), help me quit my job and I will be all too happy to do so. I’ll be working for you almost 24-7 (I get lunch breaks and I don’t do windows). So, everyone who’s spent the time crafting a snark email – if you can devote time to that, devote a buck to the problem improving. I’ll even work on some special gift for everyone if you guys can pull this off. I DARE YOU!. ?R

And his readers have answered the challenge. Over $19,000 in donations has been raised? in just over two weeks. Milholland?s response was succinct: ?Jesus, you people are amazing! Thank you!?

Periodic fundraiser updates have been posted on the front page of his http://somethingpositive.net/>website, below the current comic. At this point the question is not whether the goal will be met, but when.

This Has A ?Good, Good Vibrations? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


24 Hour Party People

By all accounts, this year?s 24 Hour Comic Day was a rousing success, with over 50 locations onboard for the event and 500 participating comic creators. Nat Gertler, the founder of 24 Hour Comics Day, recently announced the selections for the upcoming trade paperback: 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2004. Creators who made the final cut include comic veterans Chris Gossett, Paul Smith and Josh Howard, as well as a few lesser known talents from across the comic industry. When asked for comment on his selections, Gertler replied:

    Putting this book together was an amazing effort. The fun part was reading through all of the hundreds of submissions. The tough part was in choosing the hundreds to -not- put in the book, winnowing it down to just 24 stories. If I could, I would’ve put out a book with everything in it… but that book would be so many thousands of pages that it would crush your lap as you tried to read it. As it is, I think it’s pretty amazing that we’re issuing in early July a 500-page comic book on which the drawing hadn’t even been started April 23rd.

Gertler also passed along these preview pages by Jennifer Omand, Eric Wolfe Hanson, Ken Lashley, and Paul Smith.


This Has An ?Experiments of Human Nature? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Iron Giants

Christopher Moeller (JLA: A League of One) recently posted a preview of his upcoming JLA: Cold Steel miniseries. Moeller is writing and painting the three issue prestige format series for a 2005 release. On his website, he described the series:

    The JLA is approached by a race of aliens under attack by a horde of aquatic invaders. To help them, the JLA’s tremendous powers will require some enhancement…in the form of giant robotic armatures.

As you can see below, he?s having some fun with the robotic designs. I think the one with the tail is meant for Aquaman?

This Has A ?Giant Lobo? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Web of Intrigue

Earlier this week, a demo for the PC version of Spider-Man 2 was available online, and then quickly removed from several sites. It was rumored to have come from a pirated beta version of the game, or even from a Russian soda promotion. However, what really incensed gamers was the fact that none of the promised gameplay features were anywhere to found. Gamespot solved that part of the mystery with the revelation that there are two versions of the game:

Spider-Man 2

      for the PC will be a child-oriented, mass-market game along the lines of

Finding Nemo

      , instead of the open-ended,

Grand Theft Auto

    -style console game.

Gamespot also discovered that the demo came from a Cheez-Its promotion, and was pulled because they have the exclusive rights to it.

As for the console version of Spider-Man 2 (X-Box, Playstation 2), no one outside of the dedicated game press has seen it yet. With the release date coming up in about three weeks, we?ll soon know whether it delivers the goods or not.

This Has A ?Here Comes The Spider-Man? Factor of Six Out of Ten


4 Color Election

Joe Quesada, Kurt Busiek, J. Scott Campbell and nearly 50 other comic creators are teaming up for a special project: getting fans registered to vote. At this year?s San Diego Comic Con, a star-studded line up of pros will be manning a booth for the ?grassroots voter registration drive We Want YOUR Autograph.? A formal press release should be going out in the near future.

Any professionals who want to volunteer their help, can find more information here: http://www.wewantyourautograph.com/volunteer.shtml

This Has A ?Stand And Be Heard? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


One more thing before I sign off: I?d like to give a special thank you to Oz Perdomo for his help with my computer problems this week. Thanks again!!

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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