Hello, good evening/morning/night/afternoon/whatever and welcome. My name is Alan Donald and this is ALL THE RAGE, the internet?s foremost comic book rumour/gossip/news column. As always we are brought to you courtesy of our terrific sponsors Dynamic Forces, and as always I advise you to buy their wonderful stuff – oh go on it?s lovely.

This week?s competition is sponsored by Dark Horse Comics and the prize is a choice TPB from their prize pool. As always it?s very easy – just e-mail us at competition@silverbulletcomicbooks.com what you believe to be the source of this weeks codenames. Basically almost every bit of goss we get tends to come from an anonymous source so I give them little names to pass the time. All of the names in one column will come from the same source last week for example the source was the Sci-Fi TV series RED DWARF (incidentally well done to Bullwinkle who won a swag of signed comics from Dynamic Forces for correctly identifying that). The source could be a book/comic/TV show/film or anything similar, so pay attention, Bond. Damn, was that a clue?

No.

Enough of the crappy intro, let?s get on with the show.


Stan Lee – Yadda, Yadda, Yadda – ?Nuff Said – OP/ED

Yawn – I know what you are thinking: ?This is hardly an All The Rage story, everyone is running with it.? Damn right, that?s why we didn?t mention it last week. For those of you blind, deaf and dumb, Stan ?the man? Lee is allegedly suing Marvel for a cut of the profits in movie and (presumably) DVD sales on Spider-Man, and potentially Daredevil, Hulk and probably every other damn movie Marvel have lined up for the next x years. Below are a small fraction of the headlines I managed to find on-line:

  • ‘Spider-Man’ Creator Sues Marvel Over Profits – Los Angeles Times 13-Nov-2002 5:51am
  • Lawsuit filed by Spider-Man creator – BBC 13-Nov-2002 4:54am
  • Comic Giant Sues Marvel Entertainment – CBS News 13-Nov-2002 4:31am
  • ‘Spider-Man’ creator wants profit cut – Jam! Showbiz Movies 13-Nov-2002 12:04am
  • Spider-Man creator sues Marvel – MSNBC 12-Nov-2002 8:39pm
  • Comic book creator Stan Lee sues Marvel Entertainment over ‘Spider-Man’ movie profits – SignOn San Diego 12-Nov-2002 7:49pm
  • ‘Spider-Man’ creator sues comic book company over film profits – Nando Times 12-Nov-2002 7:11pm
  • Comic book creator of Spider-man sues Marvel for ‘lost millions’ – Independent 12-Nov-2002 7:05pm
  • Spider-Man creator says he’s owed millions – New York Daily News 14-Nov-2002 12:38am
  • Stan Lee Sues Marvel – Hollywood.com 13-Nov-2002 8:28pm
  • Spider-Man creator sues for profits – STUFF 13-Nov-2002 6:45pm
  • Spider-man creator sues Marvel over movie profits – CTV.ca 13-Nov-2002 3:54pm
  • Spider-Man creator sues over film – Sun-Sentinel.com 13-Nov-2002 3:43pm
  • Spider-Man creator sues comic book giant for royalties – Ananova 13-Nov-2002 3:07pm
  • Spider-Man Comic Sues Publisher – Sky.com 13-Nov-2002 2:36pm
  • Spider Man’s Dad Sues for Movie Profits – WABC New York City 13-Nov-2002 10:27am
  • Spider Man creator sues Marvel – Miami Herald 13-Nov-2002 10:11am
  • ‘Spider-Man’ creator sues over movie profits – USA Today 13-Nov-2002 10:04am

On top of these mainstream newspapers and broadcasters there is the small matter of this being plastered all over every single comic book site in sight.

What is it with this industry? Nobody tries to get mainstream advertising for our products. The creative skills of some of the best professional writers and artists in the world go to waste. Yet when it comes to generating negative publicity nobody can beat us! This ain?t the first time and it sure won?t be the last and frankly I?m sick of it.

I do appreciate that there is no such thing as negative publicity and that stories such as these do raise awareness of the industry. That appreciated what is it that this publicity says to the general public? Do they think: ?Oh the comic industry seems to be bursting with creative talent, it has been around longer than I realised and it seems to be producing some very interesting products that I should look at.? or do you perhaps think that they are saying one of the following: ?The comic industry is filled with pathetic money grabbing losers who do not appreciate the nature of business, typical of a children?s medium.? or ?Those poor children?s comic writers and artists, always getting ripped off by those nasty corporations, I?ll show my support by avoiding buying the product.?

Ok, that?s an oversimplification but you get my point.

Does Stan Lee have a case? Don?t ask me. I?m not going to rehash the same old, same old that everyone else is. Every man and their dog have an opinion on this based on Mr. Lee?s previous statements, behaviours and on past cases of a similar nature. Go read some of them if you want but as you do ponder how your favourite industry is being seen by the outside world. Comics can get publicity, isn?t it time it was for the right reasons?

This Has A ?Does This Mean No More Stan Lee Cameo?s In Marvel Films? Value Of Five Out Of 10

Update: The Stan Lee story has even made the British Teletext pages (it was on Ceefax) where traditionally stories of this type are about 4-6 months out of date! Just goes to illustrate my point even further. Oh yeah in this article Mr. Lee is quoted as saying: that Marvel “trampled all over my rights”. Interesting quote, don’t you think?


OH NO! Not Another Peter David Story?! – OP/ED

I?m afraid so. It looks like the scribe behind the soon to be axed Young Justice, a number of Star Trek novels and lots of other stuff is going to end up getting more mentions in this column than dear old Alan Moore.

This week Mr. David risks the ire of one of his current employers, Marvel. Right in the middle of his battle to save the excellent Captain Marvel, Mr. David has stepped into the middle of another fight. As many of you will recall I have ranted endlessly about the dangers of Marvel?s practise of only printing comic books to order (see previous articles and below). It seems that I am not alone in my concerns. A journalist from another site raised similar issues with Marvel only to be ridiculed. Mr. David has picked up on this and wrote a very interesting article. Putting things simply Marvel are claiming that their decision is based on consultation with many, many retailers and those in opposition also claim to have spoken to many, many retailers. At the end of his article Mr. David proposed the following:

      I?m going to conduct a poll. On line, or snail mail, either one, take your pick. The poll is directed to retailers. Only retailers, please. Don?t write in as a fan and say, “My retailer told me.” I?m not looking for hearsay. I want straight from the horse?s mouth, a simple answer to a simple question, using Marvel?s own phrasing: Do you favor Marvel?s “no overprint/no reprint” policy? Don?t say, “They have the right to do it.” No one?s talking about rights. No one?s disputing Marvel?s right to do business as they see fit. All I want to know is: ?Do you favor Marvel?s no overprint/no reprint policy?”

 

      Frankly, I?ve no idea what to expect. I?ve done this small-scale over on

http://www.peterdavid.net

      , and the response was about 95% negative. But that was less than four dozen responses, and some of that was indeed hearsay. I want to do something controlled. As close to “scientific” as I can make it.

 

      If you want to do it via snail-mail, write to PO Box 239, Bayport, NY 11705. Mark the envelope “Att: Retailer Poll.” If you want to reply on-line, I?ve set up a special e-mail account ? MARVRETAILERS@aol.com

 

      You don?t have to go into detail about your opinions, but I?m not stupid: I know that some retailers will be outspoken, while others might be nervous (justified or not) about recriminations. I will respect all answers given in confidence. If you don?t want to be quoted in any subsequent articles or overviews of response, simply put the initials DNQ (for Do Not Quote) on either the letter or the subject line of the e-mail.

 

      Furthermore, in order to try and get this poll out to as many folks as possible, I am giving one-time only authorization for reprinting of this column in whatever venue that anyone chooses to do so without any further permission requests, as long as the proper copyright notice and reference to its original publication in

http://www.collect.com/interest/periodical.asp?Pub=BG

      is attached.

 

      As I write this, it is October 24. Let?s give this until December 2 for all responses to be sent in. I have absolutely no idea what sort of responses to expect. I apparently seem to be the only person in all this who doesn?t claim to know what most retailers think. I am, however, interested in finding out. I?d venture to say that most of us want to know, so we don?t jump to conclusions. Because that would be?you know?Bad.

 

    (Copyright ? 2002 Second Age, Inc. Peter David can be written to at PO Box 239, Bayport, NY 11705.)

Now normally I?d say that on-line polls are (in the words of Mark Millar) a load of old man?s wank but I?m gonna make an exception here. Mr. David is a respected comic book creator and he has opened up the poll for a good length of time and he has allowed snail mail votes too. The responses have been quite good so far apparently but it?s early yet. On the feedback section to Mr. David?s article there has been a universal dislike for Marvel?s decision but it would be bad to jump to conclusions.

What I want you to do is this. If you are a comic store owner/manager then please vote by either method NOW. I don?t mind if you vote against my personal beliefs as long as the vote is cast. If you aren?t a store/owner or manager then let your local store/mail-order supplier know about this poll and supply them with the link to the Peter David site.

I, personally, want to see as many votes cast as possible from as many different sized retailers as possible. Ok, if it turns out Marvel is right and if the retailers who vote that way supply a well reasoned argument then I?ll shut up on this but…oh come on, surely nobody wants this! Retailers must make their own minds up and not be influenced by the below (my comments on Mr. David?s site):

      This is a subject I have covered myself in my last few on-line columns (thank you again for the link Mr David). I don’t claim to have any more insight into this than anyone else

except

      that I was until recently a comic book retailer and I did have frequent contact with a number of my peers.

 

      The prevalent point of view, and indeed my own, was that Marvel’s current policy favours the unsustainable collectors market and not the bread and butter customers that Marvel should be trying to cater for and (no pun intended) butter up.

 

      Perhaps Marvel does have plans to move to a mainly Graphic Novel based output, who knows. All I can say for sure is that,

as I see it

      , there is no real justification for Marvel?s current policy; it is damaging to retailers (both by them over-ordering stock and by them not being able to get copies of hot books for customers), damaging to Marvel (pretty much for the same reasons) and by knock-on effect damaging to the industry on the whole.

 

      What is often overlooked is that it isn’t just the

hot

      books that people may miss out on but

any

      book that

locally

      experiences a surge in interest. These are books that may never be collected into graphic novels nor make it to Marvel Must Haves.

 

      Anyway that’s my view, I’ve gone and ranted for too long, I’ve no right to intrude when I get the opportunity to rant elsewhere so I’ll leave you now.

 

      Thank you again Mr David for the little plug last week it was greatly appreciated.

 

      Alan Donald

 

    All the Rage

That?s my view anyway. What?s yours? Don?t tell me, tell Mr. David. It is important that we test whether or not Marvel?s current policies are influenced by consumer preference or something else. It has been noted that Marvel responded sharply and negatively to suggestions by some people that they were wrong (though it should be noted that Mr. Quesada was quite polite to me) but to second guess would be wrong.

There are a couple of the pointers I?d like to throw out there, just stuff to be borne in mind about this ? Marvel?s reasoning behind this move has always been, if I recall correctly, financial (i.e. it is too expensive and they are still recovering from bankruptcy such that they cannot afford to overprint or reprint at whim). The second point is that it is reasonable to expect that any customer who misses an issue of a comic due to a local shop selling out unexpectedly and not being able to order more in will drop that comic from his pull-list. This customer is lost (to that title) for good. Can that be right?

Jeepers, two rants in one column, that?ll up the number of nasty emails I get this week considerably.

This Has A ?RETAILERS – Get Voting NOW!? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten

PAD – Updated

I started this so I guess I ought to see it through. The following (for those Ragemites out there who want to chat up Mr. David?s daughter to get closer to him to try and get insider info to supply me with) is from Mr. David?s site:

      GWEN UPDATE!

 

    Hot socks, kids! Gwen will be working at New England Comics on Saturdays…and possibly Wednesdays, depending upon some other factors.

So there you go.


Some Things My Wife And Warren Ellis Have In Common

No, neither are my willing sex slaves nor do either of them cook my dinner…

No, both Warren (Planetary, Global Frequency) Ellis and ?er indoors are both huge comic book fans and lovers of good whiskey.

I don?t normally promote events here, as it would start a trend that would end up with us turning into some kinda electronic billboard, so I?m not starting now. Anyway, this happened yesterday:

      ISOTOPE COMICS (Currently “Comics And Da-Kind”)

 

      SAN FRANCISCO

 

      November 16th 2002

 

      1pm to 4pm:

 

      Signing

 

      All ages, free of charge and open to the public.

 

      9pm to ?

 

    Warren Ellis Scotch Tasting

Wooooo there. Hold your horses. A comic book signing followed by a Scotch tasting! Heck when Bucky and Charlie Adlard came to sign at my shop I took them for a beer afterwards but a full blown tasting, man.

My wife and I are both lovers of a fine single malt and Dawn has quite a developed palette for the old ?water of life?. Formal wear may not be required but I have got full highland dress (with a made to measure kilt in my families tartan) ready to be worn, just think what this would lend to the atmosphere.

Whoops, what does it sound like I?m doing? Don?t get me wrong I?m not begging for a couple of plane tickets to the next one here. No, no, no…I?ll work for them, you know an interview with Mr. Ellis, a HUGE plug for your shop for the next few months, photo?s of the event on the column and of course details of what my wife and I thought of the Scotch.

You know it makes sense.

This Has A ?It Was Worth A Try, But Our Passports Are Ready Just In Case? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


More Marvel Stuff

Catherine has informed me that a number of retailers are unhappy with Marvel for reasons other than those stated above. Frankly it?s an issue that I?m surprised has taken this long to cause a fuss. I was fed up the second it happened.

The issue? – Marvel?s style of listing in Previews.

If you haven?t seen it Marvel?s current style is a great big picture of the cover or interior art, the title, the creative team, the price and? that?s it. Whereas DC, Dark Horse, CrossGen and even most of the tiny little independents give a couple of paragraphs of details about each issue Marvel does nowt, nothing, nada. There?s nothing to help retailers promote a book or generate interest in advance. Coupled with the aforementioned printing to order this means that comic shops are taking an even bigger gamble than usual, not good.

I have approached Marvel?s Editor in Chief, Joe Quesada to ask him why Marvel advertises in Previews this way. He hasn?t commented at the time of writing, but I?ll provide an update if he does reply. Having said that, it?s worth noting that Michael Doran, ex of Newsarama fame has just taken over Bill Rosemann?s job and will be responsible for Previews solicitation text? so maybe we can expect some changes here in upcoming months? Michael, care to comment?

This Has A ?Could Marvel?s Commitment To Retailers Suck Any More?? Value Of One Out Of Ten


More Moore

Jim was rather disappointed to see no real Alan Moore story last week so he sent in a couple of links for us to peruse:

http://www.stahl.bau.tu-bs.de/~hildeb/watchmen/ – Annotated Watchmen

http://www.geocities.com/area51/5768/Vendetta/ – V for Vendetta notes

Very interesting, very interesting indeed. The Watchmen annotations are very good and very thorough; they also include asides that have been added since the site was originally put up (such as a mini-debate on why Heinz says ?57 Varieties? and how it relates to the Illuminati (a bunch of evil scum bags who send out sickening emails and deserve to die)). The V for Vendetta site looks very nice but I?m a little worried by one thing I read. A full list of all the songs used and quoted was provided. One of those songs was ?Sympathy for the Devil? by the Rolling Stones, the line being of course:

?Please allow me to introduce myself, I?m a man of wealth and taste.?

Fair enough it?s the opening line of the song. The site?s creator then comments that he was sure that he knew the quote from elsewhere! Read the bloody book you are annotating, when the tape is reviewed later the cops say where it comes from. Anyway anyone who is preparing a guide to V for Vendetta should know Faust without having to be prompted, geez.

To be fair, I didn?t look through the whole site and the rest of what I saw was very good indeed.

This Has A ?Alan Moore Quota For The Week Reached? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Follow Up

Well I wasn?t sure what to expect after last weeks ?Jesus? stories. I was half expecting a bunch of fundamentalists (Christian, Muslim, Judaic, whatever) to threaten to hunt me down like the dog I am for even mentioning the name of the Son of God. But instead all I got was the following email from Nick:

      I was half-expecting to see this as one of the items in your Jesus run-down, but since I didn’t, I figured I’d slip you this URL:

http://holycomics.com

Ok, I was intrigued. I?m the kinda Christian who?ll happily teach kids about God in Sunday School but who also enjoys Funkatronics? Battle Pope. Or to put it another way, I?ve got a sense of humour and I believe God has too. I followed the link:

      COMING in 2003:

 

    UltimateJesus TM

Note on the website this was in the Ultimate Marvel logo.

      by award-winning* writer/artist Jason A. Quest

 

      A complete revamp of the Christian Gospels for the 21st Century!

 

      Discarding two millennia of continuity to attract an all-new audience!

 

      Witness! the like-a-virgin birth of the Messiah in the parking lot of a motel!

 

      Testify! in court about teenage Jesus turning bottled water into wine!

 

      Preach! to the choir as the Son of God feeds a concert audience of 5,000!

 

    Repent! for the death of the Saviour, betrayed by the kiss of a disciple!

Whoops, it would appear I?m publishing another dig at Marvel…Ah well there?s more, I wonder who they?re referring to now?:

      COMING LATER in 2003:

Captain Miracle TM

      co-created by Jason “Gayman” Quest and Todd “MacFan” VerBeek

 

      With the utterance of a single unpronounceable word (“YHWH!”) young Mikey is transformed into the World’s Miraculest Mortal!TM

 

      mailto:webmaster@holycomics.com

 

      *the Charles E. Lake Memorial Award in Modern Philosophy

 

    TM and ? 2002, Holy Comics!, Zero Mass Media

Oh dear. You really can?t make this stuff up, check it out for yourself? if you beat Marvel and DC?s legal department to it, that is.

This Has A ?Huzzah! A Mention (Albeit Sardonically) Of Mr. Gaiman Too? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Faster Than A Speeding Haddock, More Powerful Than A Dead Parrot

Here?s a story that?ll have spread everywhere by the time the column runs. I?ll keep it in because I like it and because I want to make a point. John Cleese is writing a new Superman comic book. Mr. Cleese is, of course, one of the Monty Python team, the creator and star of Fawlty Towers and of course the new head of ?Q? Division in the Bond movies.

The story will be entitled ?True Brit? and it will be an Elseworlds with little baby Supes landing in England and being chased away by the tabloids (heck they killed a Princess, a superhero wouldn?t be too hard).

Fantastic story (both Cleese?s proposed tale and the news release itself but it is the latter I am really referring to). I won?t go on and on here, I?ll say my piece and leave it at that.

I will bet you that this does not get even a fraction of the publicity that the Stan Lee story does.

There said it, now you think about that and about what is wrong with the publicity machines that work for our favourite comic companies. I could be wrong, DC might get it right but I very much doubt it.

This Has A ?Ni! Ni! – He?s Only Resting – When I Was A Lad – And Now For Something Completely Different? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Film News

The following was sent to me by Grissom:

      MTV posted these comments from Freddy actor Robert Englund:

 

      ?Buried in the plot of Freddy vs. Jason is (gasp!) a bit of social commentary. The Elm Street folks have managed to escape Freddy by stuffing their teens with pills to prevent them from dreaming. Freddy uses Jason to get around all that, and get back to the killing.

 

      “[It’s] a metaphor about how easy it is to medicate society these days,” Englund said. “And it’s discovered that people need to dream. … Freddy’s at loose ends to get people afraid of him anymore, [because] if you don’t dream, Freddy can’t hurt you.

 

    “Freddy’s trying to regenerate himself and he’s using Jason to instil fear in the relatives of the offspring of the original Elm Street vigilantes,” he said. “Freddy needs to manipulate Jason, and when he’s in the dreams he can. What happens is that Freddy creates a Frankenstein. … Freddy kind of spoils him, gives him a little too much dog food and he kind of turns on his master. And that’s the gist of the plot.”

I thought it might interest some of you. Of course, the obvious course of action for the Elm Street inhabitants would have been to MOVE. Stupid bastards.

This Has A ?Slash, Slash, Kill, Kill? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Oh Go On Then, Some More Film News

Grissom has also sent in some casting details on the Superman movie. It would seem the director and producer have, at least, got something right. Ignoring the possibly dreadful script (I?m withholding judgement for now) they have announced their requirements of Superman. The actor needs to be physically fit and at least 5?8? tall. Other reports have said the costume department should prepare for an actor no taller than 6?1?. Their additional requirements are simple, the actor should not look out of place on in a small midwestern town. Much like dear old Luke Skywalker and Yoda had no need for huge muscles (the Force was their ally) so too does Superman have no need for a huge frame. The guy?s powers come from his alien physiology, if Supes, as he is sometimes drawn, was a massive hulk of muscle he?d have looked a little odd on Ma and Pa Kent?s farm. Farming is hard work but most of the guys who do it are lean and taunt rather than of Arnie-like proportions.

This Has A ?Now If They Can Only Work Out The Script? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


More Licensing Madness!

Gil, a UK comic book distributor, has contacted me with a bit of news I?ll happily call an exclusive. On top of the unbelievable cock-ups made by US comic book companies not to secure world-wide distribution rights to such titles as GI Joe, Transformers, and Thundercats I have yet another to report, and it is a biggy. VIZ (not the magazine from John Brown Publishing), the manga import giant that has translated and presented to the English speaking market some of the finest Japanese comic books around CANNOT ship outside North America!

As Gil points out this is a HUGE almighty cock-up especially when one considers that this is the company that publishes Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Ranma 1/2. My poor source says he has a customer that has been collecting Ranma ? since it first appeared on the market about, what, 9 or thereabouts years ago.

If this proves to be true and not just a temporary embargo it effectively wipes out the mainstream Manga market outside of North America. Other companies do run some excellent titles, Dark Horse has Lone Wolf and Cub and What?s Michael but compared to Viz?

Gil has informed me that the problem arose when shops in Spain got sick of waiting for translations of Dragonball and Dragonball Z into Spanish and started to buy the English language versions from Viz through Diamond. Unfortunately the Spanish company in question had an exclusive deal and kicked up a fuss, this escalated and it was discovered that there was no license for Viz to distribute their material outside of North America.

What a bloody stupid mess. Who have they got running these companies, Beavis and Butthead?

I have emailed both Viz and Diamond Comic Distributors to ask if this is true, if so how the bloody hell did it happy and further more what the f**k are they going to do to help the poor customers and retailers effected. Strangely neither party has bothered to reply? as yet.

This Has An ?Obscure Reference That Some Of Those Effected Will Get… If We Pour Hot Water On Viz Will They Then Be Able To Distribute Around The World?? Value Of One Out Of Ten

UPDATE: Confirmation of the above from Diamond UK:

    Viz Communications: Diamond UK regret to announce that we can no longer carry Viz Communications titles. This is due to a licensing restriction, which prevents Viz Communications from selling outside of North America. We are currently investigating various possibilities, which will allow for this licensing restriction to be lifted; as and when we have more news about this we will inform you.

If We Can Ship On Time? Weekly

Gil has supplied me with another quick story for your delectation. We?ve often commented on late comics here in the past so I thought I?d supply another. Spawn #120, it arrived in Gil?s shop Thursday 14th, it had a January order code making it about 8 months late…

Hey Mr. McF, quit it with the pathetic legal actions, you haven?t a leg to stand on, get back to actually producing your comic. Ain?t too much to expect him to actually earn his money is it?

This Has A ?Soundly Told Off? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Retailer Satisfaction?

Grissom, another retailer, sent me the following:

    Diamond sucks ass.

Now, correct me if I?m wrong, this is a derogatory statement, yes? Fine, now I?m inclined to agree for many personal reasons and because of a variety of rumours I?ve had sent to me but that I can?t print (for one reason or another) but please Grissom give us a few more details next time, Ok?

This Has A ?I Didn?t E-mail Diamond To Ask If They ?Sucked Ass? So I Don?t Believe It Is True? Value Of One Out Of Ten


STARWARSSTARWARSCLONEWARSCLONEWARS

Well, here?s an unexpected turn of events. Warrick has passed me some information that there will be a new Star Wars cartoon series running on Cartoon Network! Don?t worry it is not gonna be Droids all over again.

What?s happened (from what I?ve been told) is the same as is happening with J.K. Rowling. Each of the Harry Potter books is longer than the last as Ms Rowling realises she has less and less time to fit in all the stuff she wants to do. Mr. Lucas was faced with the choice of a 6 hour film or:

CLONE WARS Animated Series on CARTOON NETWORK!!!

You heard it right THE CLONE WARS!!! And by all accounts it ain?t gonna be a small ?un either as Mr. Lucas has ordered 50-60 Episodes!

Now nobody is sure if the series will wrap up the saga by following on from Episode 3 or if it?ll lay down the groundwork for it by coming out before it does, I guess we?ll have to wait and see!

This Has A ?Can You Feel The Force? FEEL IT DAMN YOU!? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Witchblade To Return

Nick has sent me some info that suggest that the Witchblade TV series could be resurrected on a new channel before too long.

This Has A ?Believe It When I See It? Value Of Two Out Of Ten


Even More Movie News

Couple of quickies from Jim. Sony has re-optioned Powers. No news of a film yet but it means they don?t want anyone else to get there first.

They just won?t leave poor Richard Harris alone. The debate continues as to who will play Dumbledore, now in the running is Sir Ian McKellen who is apparently joint favourite with Christopher Lee. McKellen says on his website that he was offered the role before Harris passed on?

This Has A ?Let?s Mourn A Little First, Eh?? Value Of Five Out Of Ten


Comic Book: The Movie

Sara sent me the following little snippet of information:

      Just wondering if you knew about this:

http://www.comicbookthemovie.com

    Rumour is Mark Hamill is shopping around a real comic book limited series to smaller publishers that ties in with the Commander Courage (silver age setting) back story for the film. So it isn’t a comic of a film based on a fake comic, it’s more like making the fake comic real and ignoring the film. Make any sense?

On the face of it, no. But after a quick visit to the website all became clear. Mr. Hamill is gonna add a bit more depth to his upcoming Mockumentary by making the comic book real so we know about it in advance. Interesting. Let?s see who?s involved with the film:

Billy West

      : Futurama, Ren & Stimpy, Looney Tunes: The Movie, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, The Oblongs, and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie

Roger Rose

      : Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, Babe: Pig in the city, Ski Patrol, RKO 281 and VJ on VH1.

Daran Norris

      : Scorpion King, In the Bedroom, voice of Venom, Sandman, Human Torch, Prof. X, Shocker.

Chase Masterson

      : Deep Space 9, Terminal Invasion, Inhuman, host of Sci-Fi Digital.

Stan Lee

      : Co-creator of Spider-Man and Fantastic Four and many other Marvel Comics icons.

Mark Hamill

      : Star Wars, voice of The Joker, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Birds of Prey.

Jess Harnell

      : The Country Bears, Animaniacs, Lilo & Stitch, Little Nicky, Scooby-Doo, and Toy Story 2.

Donna D’Errico

      : Austin Powers Goldmember, Baywatch, BattleBots, and CandyMan 3.

Lori Alan

      : The Freshman, Father of the Bride II, Boys on the Side.

Tom Kenny

      : SpongeBob Square Pants.

Hugh Hefner

    : Mr. Playboy himself.

Nice cast. So small comic book companies, keep your ear to the ground the next person who comes knocking might be Mark Hamill himself.

This Has A ?Comic Book Of A Film Of A Comic Book Of A Comic Book Film Of A…? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Funky Physics, Or Is It Cool Chemistry?

Amazing what people will send me:

http://www.uky.edu/Projects/Chemcomics/

Willows sent me this. What you?ve got is a standard periodic table and for every element on it they have found the element referred to in a comic. What?s more they have scanned in the appearance and you can link to another site to learn more about the element in question.

This Has A ?Well I Think It?s Cool? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Cool Online Game

Tharg the Mighty, alien editor of the British 2000AD comic has graciously allowed readers the opportunity to join in his usual cull of Thrillsuckers. These nasty creatures threaten to remove all the good stuff from 2000AD leaving only the dull and mundane (there have been times they?ve won, oh boy have there been times…). To join in just visit:

http://www.2000adonline.com/index.php3?zone=news&page=newsimage&choice=hotshots

and start hunting.

This Has A ?Rigelian Fireball? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Worst Article, Ever…

Biting sarcasm, a terrifying waistline, no experience with the opposite sex (other than on-line porn) and a complete hatred of all customers. I wonder if the Simpsons creators knew just how accurate their satirical Comic Shop Guy was when they created him. I know this guy, I?ve met several of him, it?s terrifying. Grissom sent me a lovely site:

http://www.snpp.com/guides/cbg.file.html

As well as linking to a full Simpsons guide this specific link gives you every appearance of the Comic Book Guy, a link to an episode synopsis, a quick breakdown of his appearance and the script for the scenes he appears in. It?s all here ?I?ve wasted my life?, ?and I?d like some holodeck time with 7 of 9?, ?Best…Death…Ever? and so on.

Go on, it?s a naughty treat have a look but please remember not to snigger next time you visit your local comic shop.

This Has A ?I Have A Child, Therefore I?ve Had Sex At Least Once (The First Person Who E-mails To Say That Doesn?t Prove Anything Gets A Slap), Therefore I AM NOT The Comic Book Guy? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


?The Last Man? Set To Last?

A quick look at the sales figures for the last few months has thrown up something interesting. Y: The Last Man from DC Vertigo is showing a strong growth in sales having jumped from 11,797 for issue #2 up to 17,207 for issue #5. Issues #1 & #2 were rush-reprinted as a double issue allowing retailers another go at promoting the book. It?s very hard to get readers to pick up a new series after it has begun (which is why Amazing Spider-Man and other Marvel books are constantly restarting their numbering, retailers have to constantly explain to customers not to worry, for example, that Batman is up to issue #609 or whatever) so it is very heartening to see such growth with this title.

It is especially good to note that a Vertigo title is doing so well especially with the ever present rumour that the imprint may be shut down and titles such as Hellblazer will rejoin the main DCU. Success stories such as this can only bode well for the future of DC?s Mature Reader line.

The only thing missing now is a rush release TPB of the first four or six issues, as has been done with Fables – come on, DC, let?s push this fine book to success.

This Has A ?Jump On Now And See What You May Be Missing? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Viz Does Well

The debut issue of Shonen Jump?s sales figure?s are out and despite being an anthology and having a $4.95 price tag it still sold 10,010 making it Viz?s bestselling book by a mile (Dragonball sells only 5,248). It will be interesting to watch the sales figures on this title not just for the usual drop off but to see how the end of world-wide distribution affects sales. The US isn?t normally a great buyer of anthology titles whereas the UK market, for example, tends to prefer them.

This Has A ?Good To See Another New Title Debuting Strongly? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Charity Update

The Jim Lee Charity auction has ended on EBAY, and CaptainWoodchuck, the generous soul, has bought himself a signing for $6,700! Rest assured as part of our commitment to CBLDF we will be promoting the date and place of the signing when we have more details. Congratulations again, CaptainWoodchuck, and many thanks for your huge donation to this worth cause!

This Has A ?Check Out Last Weeks Column For More Details? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


More Trouble For The House Of Mouse

I have previously written articles on the shaky financial situation at Disney and of the upcoming challenges to their usage of Winnie the Pooh and related characters. Brass has sent the following from the London Daily Telegraph:

      Hey Mickey, is this you?

 

      November 15 2002

 

 

      The fresco found at the church. Photo: AFP

 

      A medieval fresco featuring a rodent with an uncanny resemblance to Mickey Mouse has been uncovered in an Austrian church. As word of the 700-year-old image spread, the minds of local tourism officials began working overtime.

 

      “This fresco proves that Mickey Mouse is a true Austrian and was not born in Hollywood,” said Siggi Neuschitzer, the manager of the tourism office in the village of Malta, in the south of the country, where the painting was found. He said he was planning to refer the painting to lawyers.

 

    ?The similarity to Mickey Mouse is so astounding that Disney could lose its world-wide copyright.”?

Unbelievable isn?t it? Well, it?s not April 1st, and the Telegraph isn?t known for publishing hoax stories so all joking aside this could actually cause the Disney Corporation some problems.

Did Walt Disney travel in Austria? I seem to recall something about travels in his past but no details.

More on this as it breaks.

This Has A ?No Wonder Mickey Was Hitler?s Favourite Cartoon Character!? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Free Comic Book Day – The Low Down

Amazing what can arrive in my mailbox. The following came from Sidle:

      As you may know, the comic book industry is planning to embark upon the next Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) promotional event in 2003, this time keyed off of the movie launch of

X2

      , the sequel to the blockbuster

X-Men

    . For the 2002 inaugural FCBD event, we estimate that approximately half a million people visited more than 2,200 comic book stores on May 4 and received close to 2 million comic books.

Yep, it?s the official Diamond mail-out. This year we?ve got a well-timed event with really good expectations from Diamond. Let?s look a little closer though…

    Participating retailers will be required to order approximately 350 Gold Level FCBD editions from the January 2003 Previews.

Hold up ? in order to participate this year, retailers have to order 350 books? A drop in the ocean for the big boys but what about the small ?uns, those who?ll get the most out of this? How much is this gonna cost them?

    (We recommend all books that are included at the Gold level be under $0.15 total, including Diamond’s $0.03.)

So, that?ll be about $55 Dollars, not too bad but I wonder how much the price?ll be for the rest of the world, Diamond are notorious for upping the non-US prices on this sort of thing. They claim it?s shipping costs but… well I?ll say no more.

So a Gold Level Sponsor. As one you get to be part of the select few that retailers have to order from. What?d ya have to do to qualify?

      You must produce a standard 32-page comic book (in color) with a glossy cover featuring the FCBD logo/banner on front cover…

 

      Contribute to the funding of the Free Comic Book Day promotional poster.

 

      You will advertise Free Comic Book Day in at least some of your titles which are on sale in the months of March and April…

 

      The charge to retailers for your FCBD edition should be no more than your printing cost plus a $0.03 per book charge to help defray Diamond’s distribution and processing costs.

 

      Barring extraordinary circumstances, you must print enough copies to fill retailers orders completely…

 

      Use your press contacts to proactively promote the event, and be willing and prepared to report your results.

 

      Appoint a primary contact person for FCBD who will be consistent for the whole program.

 

      Place an advertisement and/or banner on your website from the time of the event announcement through its completion date, in heavy rotation, linked to

http://www.FreeComicBookDay.com

      .

 

      As a Gold sponsor, you will receive prominent placement in all advertising and promotion of FCBD, as well as participation in the Free Comic Book Day 2003 poster.

 

    Your graphic will receive primary placement on the FCBD website, and in any ad swaps produced in conjunction with magazines or movie theaters. In return, Gold Level Sponsors must meet the following requirements.

Well that doesn?t sound too bad. I can see all the small companies leaping at the chance of publicity that this?ll give ?em.

Hold on.

    You must produce a standard 32-page comic book (in color)…

Only colour books qualify. That?s nice to know isn?t it, small companies need not apply, Diamond doesn?t want your black and white comics ruining our Free Comic Day.

Ok, a little unfair there is the Silver Level which is pretty similar without the contributor getting room on the poster nor being one of those that retailers must order from first. This lack of poster publicity combined with the initial 350 orders having to be from the Gold Level may make many small retailers not even bother to look at the Silver level. In some ways the even smaller companies get a better deal as they can supply a bunch of free comics to be given out to retailers without cost to them.

What quality of comics are we getting anyway? 32 pages, not bad:

    You may place ads and or marketing/editorial content in the comic to meet the 32-page requirement. This is your “FCBD edition.

No actual guidance on how much of it should be actual comic content. Worrying really. Silver Level contributors can have ads but ?marketing/editorial content? is strangely absent.

MMMM. There?s more here than meets the eye. Perhaps I?m just a sceptic. The very idea of Free Comic Book Day is incredible and it can only help the industry. Heck, the ideas one of the few things that represents hope in sight for those who have ranted endlessly about the sort of thing my Stan Lee OP/ED was about.

Of course, what if Dreamwave produce a Transformers FCBD comic? or Viz do one?or there?s a Masters of the Universe one? Would Diamond be allowed to ship any of these ?free? comics outside of North America?

This Has A ?I?m Watching? Value Of Five Out Of Ten


2000AD Team?s Vertigo Book Announced

Just had this sent in by Sara:

      The Brit team behind LENNY ZERO in the JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE have been given the go ahead for a new monthly series at Vertigo bringing back DC’s military team THE LOSERS from OUR FIGHTING FORCES. The new version is a distinctly Vertigo-esque update on the old Robert Kanigher concept, however. Writer Andy Diggle already broke into Vertigo with the recent Lady Johanna Constantine mini-series, while this is artist Jock’s first regular work in America.

 

      What’s THE LOSERS about?

 

    It’s a contemporary thriller about a former Special Forces unit who stumbled across one of the CIA’s dirty little secrets. When the Agency tried to kill them to ensure their silence, the Losers basically declared war on them, targeting illegal operations that the American public doesn’t know about. It’s part heist caper, part conspiracy thriller.

Sounds fantastic and one to watch out for.

This Has A ?All Nationalism Aside, UK Creators On Vertigo Titles, It Don?t Get Better Than That? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Sales Fall For Iconic Marvel Titles

Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America have all seen some nasty drops in sales over the last 3 months (FF: 55,040 -> 50,945, Hulk: 51,002 -> 49,852 and Cap: 63,001 -> 60,689). As drastic as these drops are I doubt these titles are in any danger.

I was a little concerned about Tangled Web (dropping from #76 in the top 300 selling comic books to #88 over 3 months), Black Panther (going from #106 up to #98 and then plummeting to #113) and KillRaven (coming in at #69 and then dropping to #96) but a quick look at the sales for these paints a different picture. Tangled Web?s sales have actually increased, Black Panther is pretty stable and KillRaven? well it dropped about 4 1/2 thousand readers, nasty by any standards but there is traditionally a drop in sales from issue #1 to #2. All the same it?ll be interesting to see if this stays as a 6 part series or if Marvel decide to cut it short, I hope not as I have been assured its a damned good read and I?ll be picking up my copies this week.

This Has A ?Nothing Nasty To Be Spotted Here, But Keep An Eye On Those Iconic Titles? Value Of Five Out Of Ten


Well, time?s up already. Where does it all go?

Join me next week when I?ll have more of the same – remember I need you guys to be out there scouring the web and the corridors of the comic book industry for gossip, speculation and rumour. All identities are protected so don?t worry, just sent the stuff in now! Just think, today a Ragemite, tomorrow your own column, Tuesday running your own website, Wednesday employed by Marvel. Or is it all just a Pipedream?

TTFN

Alan Donald – Signing off to get some sleep, the baby?s teething again.


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