Who Wrote Authority #28?
This week rumours started to reach me from a bunch of American freelancers, concerning a rift between British comic book writers Mark Millar and Grant Morrison. And that Grant Morrison pitched in and ghosted the original draft of Authority #28 (uncredited) when Millar was in hospital.
A writing team for much of their career in the nineties, they co-wrote for 2000AD, Swamp Thing, Skrull Kill Krew, and more. Millar was Robin to Morrison?s Batman and as Morrison had already established himself as a writer in US comics, Millar was able to use that rep to leapfrog from his UK comics work at a relatively young age ? after writing the series Saviour aged seventeen. However, Millar remained in relative obscurity compared to Morrison, who wrote some of seminal works such as Zenith, Arkham Asylum, Animal Man, and Doom Patrol. Millar’s most critically acclaimed work, Swamp Thing, languished in sales and the book was cancelled ? and even that had the first few issues co-written with Morrison. And so Millar wrote Superman Adventures, the occasional short story in the Secret Files series and saw concept after concept knocked back by Vertigo (including a revival of Saviour with Alex Ross). That was until the Warren Ellis recommended him to succeed writer duties on Authority. With artist Frank Quitely, this already-a-break-out book hit further sales peaks and became Wildstorm?s best selling and one of the industry?s most prominent and controversial titles, gained more mainstream newspaper coverage than any DC book since the Death Of Superman. This success saw him write Ultimate X-Men, lifting him to a new level of attention more in keeping with the likes of Alan Moore and Kevin Smith and seeing him turn down previously high profile books like Spawn and Darkness. Grant Morrison also saw a revival of interest on New X-Men, but other projects like Marvel Boy and The Invisibles, while critically well received, weren?t getting the attention they should have deserved.
And recently things have not gone too well for the “we’re not a couple” couple. They haven’t spoken for almost a year now and there seems to be a rift based around Grant Morrison ghost writing the original script for Authority #28 as a favour when Mark Millar was being treated for suspected cancer early last summer. That Morrison agreed to ghost write it in secret, then proceeded to tell all his West Coast friends. When Millar got pissed off at this, Morrison told him that it had been brewing for a long time. Now they?ve pretty much cut off communication.
Some have always suspected that Millar and Morrison have shared writing duties more often than was credited. And the oft-repeated story is that Millar and Morrison would spend hours each day on the phone talking to each other with the inevitable cross-pollination that brings.
Any allegations that Millar was simply coasting on Morrison were smashed after his solo success on Authority and Ultimate X-Men. But how solo was it?
Mark Millar tells me, “Basically, we’ve never written anything for each other uncredited. We’re both too good and too busy to do ghost jobs, but Authority #28 debacle came out of me going into hospital for some amusingly intrusive cancer tests at the same time Art desperately needed script. Fate lent a hand in the shape of Grant Morrison who ghosted the original script for Art. Once I was back on my feet, I tweaked it to make the style a little closer to what had gone before and suit any DC revisions (roughly two or three pages) and that’s that, really.”
So all of you wanted Grant Morrison to come in and write Authority – looks like he already did!
Grant Morrison did not respond to All The Rage enquiries.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10
I also heard another story doing the rounds, that DC have approached the failed Superman coup team to reform to take over the title ? Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Mark Waid and Tom Peyer. After they were asked to take over the book then knocked back by DC?s internal politics the first time round, maybe once bitten twice shy?
Mark Millar would not confirm or deny he?d been approached but told me, “I’ll happily write Superman… if they let me make him one half of a gay couple with a certain caped crusader. Otherwise, Make Mine Marvel, baby.”
Mark Waid replied, “News to me.”
Neither Morrison nor Peyer responded to enquiries.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 5 Out Of 10
Stormy Stormy Watch
Stormwatch: Team Achilles is a new series from Wildstorm, by Micah Wright and Whilce Portacio. Originally a proposal entitled Team Black Razors, playing on previous Wildstorm continuity, this title has been renamed and refocused to attract those readers floundering after the recent Authority shenanigans. However, its direct links to that series are few and far between.
It’s a hard military-style book and eschews superheroes for a grunts-with-guns approach, albeit one with some high-tech weaponry. And their mission is to kill all the superheroes they can.
Wright, while an unfamiliar name in comics, has been working for Warner Brothers animation after kicking up a stink over union rights at Nickelodeon. He’s worked on several well-known projects such as Rugrats, The Angry Beavers and Invader Zim and his own aborted series (now gaining renewed interest), Constant Payne.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 9 Out Of 10
Ben Abernathy, subject of last week?s mid-week update in an attempt to beat an announcement that never happened, tells me, “I am doing some limited freelance for Marvel, yes. I’m aiding the reprint department in the wake of some shake-ups there, helping them locate and assess the film interiors of a few of their harder-to-find books.”
As to his involvement in the Marvel/Oni deal, he writes, “I’ve know the Oni guys before there was an “Oni”, so I am good friends with them. But a Marvel deal — trust me, if I was THAT big of a player in the comic book industry, I would probably be running my own company or something!”
This Has A Rumour Value Of 9 Out Of 10
I get the word that Bob Schreck, editor of the Batman titles, is trying to grab himself a little Bendis! Brian Michael Bendis, writer for Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, Alias, and Powers. I understand Schreck wants Bendis to write one of the ongoing Bat titles. Word is though that Bendis is inclined to decline, happy as he is doing most of his work for Marvel.
As regular All The Rage readers will know, it?s wasn?t too long ago that Bendis was trying to get work on the Batbooks and was repeatedly knocked back.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 4 Out Of 10
The UK saga of Elektra And Wolverine #2 continues. Earlier this week, retailers received the following notice:
Elektra & Wolverine The Redeemer #2
- : Due to an operational error there is a problem with the supply of
Elektra & Wolverine The Redeemer #2
- (OCT011847). We are working to resolve this situation as soon as possible. In order to avoid confusion we are delaying the release of
Elektra & Wolverine The Redeemer #3
- (NOV011822) until the situation with #2 is resolved.
Later in the week, this had changed to:
AN IMPORTANT NOTICE CONCERNING ELEKTRA & WOLVERINE: THE REDEEMER
Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer #3 (NOV011822) is shipping to your store this week. Unfortunately, the copies of Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer #2 (OCT011847) that were slated for stores in the United Kingdom, and which shipped in the U.S. on January 16, are currently lost. Diamond is presently conducting an exhaustive search for the UK copies of issue #2. We will distribute them as soon as possible (if we are able to locate them.) Diamond apologizes for this inconvenience and thanks you for your patience and understanding.
Where the copies are, no one knows. And certainly Marvel won?t have overprinted enough to cover this new demand.
Could this be a reverse case Elseworlds Eighty Page Giant?
On the other hand, the incredibly late Star Wars Tales #10 and Jedi Quest #4 from Dark Horse, also majorly delayed, arrived this week. With a Garth Ennis/John McCrea Stormtrooper story to boot.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10
Keep It In The Family
Thanks to a certain individual downing a few voddies, I hear that fresh from signing on to Warren Ellis? Night Radio anthology series, Anthony Johnston (no relation) is also signing up for a couple of new comics projects also from Avatar. Another move away from Avatar?s reputation as a gross semi-porn comic publisher with? interesting attitudes to paying creators, and are gaining a rep for treating both established and new talent well and very professionally. Long may it continue!
This Has A Rumour Value of 80% Proof
The big question from last week?s Authority is just what happened on the page where The surgeon suddenly has a hole in his chest? Especially Rush who seems to be floating in the air.
I?m told that it’s meant to be a lights on, lights off affair, with the original art featuring Rush getting her neck snapped, presumably by the Midnighter, hence the Surgeon?s reaction. The artist, Art Adams was told to move the body up, putting the head above the panel?s gutter, for taste reasons ?and obscuring what was actually going on.
So, yes, she is dead. They all are. Who wrote that bit though, we may never know?
This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10
I hear that Fletcher Chu-Fong from Marvel?s sales department has defected from Marvel, to DC to take the role of what?s informally known as Convention Boy. All The Rage understands this is down to Bill Jemas hiring a new guy for the Sales Group without telling Ralph Lancellotti, the VP for sales. This happened without consulting Matt Ragone or Chu-Fong, the two-man sales team. And no one knew he was turning up when he did. Jemas then tells Chu-Fong that this is to help out on his workload. Seeing his position as being a little precarious, when DC happened to call and make an headhunter-style enquiry about his status, Chu-Fong took the opportunity to jump. On handing in his notice to Marvel, he was escorted from the building.
This Has A Rumour Value Of 6 Out Of 10
As for the Ultimate book that no one knows is an Ultimate book, that Joe Quesada alluded to at a recent Newsarama interview, how about an wee bet covering your bases on Marvel Boy and Skrull Kill Krew?
This Has A Speculatory Blind Shot Value of 8 Out Of 10
The Authority On The Authority
Warren Ellis’ recent clarification that he always saw the Authority characters as the bad guys, an interpretation most British readers were happy with (hey, we’d had number one bad guy Judge Dredd patrolling our streets for twenty-five years) but sad unhappily with a number of American readers, came back to me when re-reading the Hellblazer: Fear And Loathing Trade Paperback. Ellis writes the introduction, in which he states:
- “What’s John protecting these things from? Authority, With the capital A. These are stories about what authority does to people, about the poison in its foundations. You can substiute Authority for Government, for the Establishment, even for God, and it all means the same thing, someone exerting control they did not earn and do not deserve, grinding lives into shit because they feel like it.”
This was written in 1996, folks.
This Has A Fear And Loathing Value Of 7 Out Of 10