Happy Earth Day, everyone! Every time you recycle, Captain Planet is forced to wear wings.

Yeah, okay, I realise that I write a column that covers an industry that has to be responsible for at least part the mass slayings of tress? But you know, maybe it?s a good thing? If trees are allowed to over-populate, they?ll run wild and go crazy on any warm-blooded animal they encounter (those random encounter tables can be a real killer). I?ve seen the Lord of the Rings films. Trees don?t mess around. And it?s bad enough that there are bears outside. Waiting to get you. Just imagine if they worked with rampaging trees who are running amok. I shudder at the thought. The bears alone are what keep me indoors chained to my desk in mortal terror whilst conquering various peoples and races, forcing them to harvest resources for my pixelante war machine and making me a stranger to my wife and children in my own home. I just don?t need any more reasons for being on this damn thing.

But seriously, folks: Have a great Earth Day.
(Or if you are reading this after 22 April, I hope you had a great day.)

Now for some serious Rage…

More Fantastic Morsels

I would like to dispel the rumour I relayed last week that Fantastic Four will be having a major creative team change come #550. My sources were good, no doubt about that (and I don?t fault them), but very reliable information was sent my way that there will be no change at #550 and the current and very talented line-up of McDuffie and Pelletier will go on past that issue.

This Has A ?Stretching For The Truth Factor? Of Nine Out Of Ten.

News Flash ??

Not wanting to leave you DCU folks out in the cold this week, I did come across a rumour that Mark Waid may have something to do with The Flash again in the future. I sent the ninjas out and even did some dirty work myself and all I got were some answers that still keeps this information within the realm of rumour. Although I heard Geoff Johns? name bandied about to. We?ll see.

This Has A ?It Could Be A Fast Batch Of BS AT This Point? Factor Of Five Out Of Ten.

Splinterview: The Sleepless Mr. Ellis? Again!

Yeah, yeah, insert remark about how creator Warren Ellis is in ATR a LOT lately ?here-. I?ll bet that there?s a joke there that goes something like “The other guy has Alan Moore, this guy has Ellis”. That?s cool. I don?t mind. I can take it. Thing is, this Doktor Sleepless project or Avatar Press (more news can be found on Doktor Sleepless there, too) is looking to be quite amazing and I would be insane to pass up on Warren commenting on it for All The Rage. If anything, what he has to say on it has me even more amped about this upcoming title?

ATR: You’ve said recently that you want this title to be the “new Transmetropolitan” (in a fashion, anyway). What do you mean by this, and can we expect scathing, satirical, social commentary?

WE: By that, I mean that it’s a long-form novel of sociopolitical science fiction. By which I mean it’s a big comic about the future, and about the future as a tool with which to study the present-day condition. It’s been five years since I finished Transmet, and I feel now that there’s enough new material to talk about to warrant a new novel.

Transmet was a work of optimism. It was about Truth, and Authenticity. Doktor Sleepless, frankly, isn’t. It’s about liars, secrets, fraud and death. We’re in a period where we distrust authenticity, because we’ve just been lied to too much. The minute someone stops being a cartoon and starts being real, we beat the shit out of them. I mean, half the bloody internet gets its news from Ze Frank and Strong Bad. What influences people are fictional personalities. We only trust fakes now. We want to become fake. We don’t want to look real. We distrust our own skin and our own nature. More British soldiers have been killed by human error than hostile fire in the last twenty years. The Mars Global Surveyor was broken by human error. We don’t want to be diagnosed by doctors anymore — we want to be sprayed with speckled computing or given a RFID sounder in a capsule that does the work for them. The real world is frightening.

Someone… and I mean, some complete bastard? could really take advantage of that. Meet Doktor Sleepless.

ATR: How long can we expect Doktor Sleepless to run and what kind of things can we hope it will touch on? What items of society, whether gaping wounds or minutiae, do you plan on using?

WE: Doktor Sleepless will run as long as it runs. I know how it ends, but I don’t know when it ends. I don’t have the sort of Five Year Plan that I did with Transmet, it doesn’t have those built-in one-year meta-arcs that step you towards the conclusion. This one’s much more organic, and I’m giving it the space to go wherever it wants to go.

The hated Bono, during his fly’s-eye-shades MacPhisto phase, once said, “You didn’t like who I was, so I became someone else.” And so it is with John Reinhardt, one-time boy genius of the American coastal city of Heavenside. Some people will tell you Johnny Reinhardt was a nice guy with too many ideas. Some will tell you he was a delusional prick who should have been locked up in an asylum until he died. The truth? Well, who cares about the truth? He disappeared a few years ago, leaving his immense Gothic family home on the Heavenside hills empty and abandoned. And all the counter-cultural things he started have kind of died off, or withered at best. Because no-one would listen to him. And why would they? He was rich, gifted and yet attempting to “tell it like it is,” in the old term.Three years of world travel taught him that he didn’t know enough, and wasn’t fake enough.

So the man who returns to Heavenside today uses the name Doktor Sleepless when he commences his pirate radio broadcasts across Heavenside, and floods the place with strange signs and stranger books.

But perhaps he’s never been away. He knows too much about, say, the Grinders, the people who home-brew bio-electric body modifications. He seems to know a lot about Tags, the implantable wireless computer chips that deal with everything from your rental of police services to recording your voting record. Some people say he’s never been away at all.

What’s the book about? It’s about Doktor Sleepless. Is he really John Reinhardt? Did he ever leave? What is he really up to? Does he honestly want to raise the voice of subcultural dissent in Heavenside? Or is that a means to an end?

(And who the hell is that Nurse who walks around with him?)

Sing, his ex-girlfriend, has been trying to hold together the Heavenside counter-cultural scene together for the last three years. She assumed Johnny was dead or otherwise lost forever. She knows things about him. Enough things to be scared — not just for herself or for Heavenside, but for the country.

ATR: You have a lot of projects under your belt… How -do- you keep up with it all? Are you jucing up with some strange glowing substance or do you have clones or something? I imagine that you spend most of your waking (and some sleeping?) hours writing…

WE: Actually, I’m typing this with an inch of soil under each fingernail from an
afternoon of planting up my girlfriend’s mother’s garden. But, yeah, this isn’t a job you can do half-arsed. I work long hours.

ATR: As of this moment, what is driving you in what you do?

WE: Getting it all said before I run out of years.

Next week ATR should have some interior art to show off for Doktor Sleepless thanks to some flying chinchilla death-robots. Don?t miss it.

This Has A ?The Doktor Will Be In? Soon? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten.

Indie Front: Markosia and Avatar Treats

I have a nifty Indie Front for you this week. Let?s get rolling?

Markosia is no stranger here, and for good reason. Take a look at this page from Starship Troopers – Damaged Justice #4 (story Tony Lee, art Sam Hart). This has significance since it?s the first appearance of the exo-suit. That?s right, you saw it here first, kids.

You may be aware that Tony Lee has an upcoming title called Hope Falls that he is doing with good pal Dan Boultwood. Here?s the postcard art for the Bristol International Comic Expo.

Huh? Well, I can?t think of two better people I can have my ravings sandwiched between.

Here?s a page from Hope Falls (inked but not coloured yet):

And something else coming up from Markosia is The Witness with Brian Augustyn (!!!) on writing duties and art by Seth Frail coming in August. Here?s the data-blurb:

?The cities at the edges of the American Mid-West corn-belt are plagued by crime, drugs and danger. The low profile that part of the country enjoys gives criminals like Max Quantrill free reign to build a huge illicit empire in Crystal City. Now the city is protected by an unknown hero who sees everything and acts swiftly; call him…The Witness.?

And what?s some information without getting to see the cover?

Since Avatar was mentioned earlier with Doktor Sleepless and all, I just want to take a chance to give you a heads up about another upcoming title from them that caught my eye, More Than Mortal #0. Here?s their description on it:

?The hugely-successful fantasy series More Than Mortal returns at Avatar with original creator and writer Sharon Scott! In ancient Ireland, the land was riddled with both internal clan rivalries, and external invasion a time of legends, great warriors, and fierce druidic magic. Although the Tuath gods no longer walked the land, their power and influence still pervaded. The battle between Man and dark Faerie had been waging for decades. The battle came to a head during a bloody siege at a temple in Kildare where Midir and his Faerie horde were devastating the Celtic army. It seemed all was lost that an entire people and their way of life would be destroyed. Desperate, a group of druids conjured a powerful spell, a plea to the Land to protect itself. The druids gave birth to a Guardian that day a being that emulated the very essence of Ireland and its distinction: beauty, strength, independence. She was an elemental, part of the land, and bound to defend it- she became Brigid The Protector. This book features these stunning covers: Regular, Wraparound, Battle and Premium by series artist Wellington Alves and maestro Juan Jose Ryp.?

Looks pretty damn cool to me! It?s certainly something right up my alley. Oh and here?s a visual reminder of why you should check out ?major zombie epic? Plague of the Living Dead #2:

Man, I love me some zombies. Hey, what about zombies made from tacos?
Crap. Once again, ATR falls victim to my voracious appetite.

More info on Avatar can be found at http://www.avatarpress.com.

This Has A ?What About Zombies In Exo-Suits?? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten.

Comicarchy In The UK: Titan, Futurius, Hellboy Goes to England

It?s about time I get some UK comics love in here. Also, I would like to do some poking around in comic scenes from around the world for some possible future material. Any suggestions? I?m already covering Asian comics (when I can) with Manga Hunter S over at Manga Life and I?ve thought about checking out the French comics scene (which I hear is HUGE). Suggestions on what to investigate would be greatly welcomed!
Anyhoo, back to one of my primary loves: UK Comics.

Here are some goodies in that department?

For those of you across the pond who dig the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as much as I do, Titan Publishing has a new comic-magazine coming out May 10th. It will be a weekly 52-page offering, with one new TMNT story in the Fast Forward continuity as well as serialising the Mirage movie tie-ins newly coloured for the UK market. The first issue deals with the first part of the Raphael story. There will also be plenty of other new Turtles features to round this magazine out. I?m also told that though it appeals mainly to the younger set, Turtles fans both juve and old should get a kick out of it.

Titan also has some other neat stuff coming your way like Dreamworks Tales (with new Shrek, Madagascar, and Shark Tale comics) hitting newsagents on 21 June and July 19th brings you Transformers written by Simon Furman with a panoply of artists as well as reprints of IDW?s Transformers material.

Then we have Daniel Lundie. He keeps sending his goons to bug me. I told him that his bacon tithe had been upped and he wasn?t meeting quota. But did that stop him from bothering me to show off more Futurius: Tales From The Plex pages here?

Hell no.

That?s one of the many reasons why I like him.

This title is on shelves now, so please go out and pick it up? or at least flip through it (and then buy it). While you are still hanging around on your ?puter there, go to this website and read some interviews with the creators of this great indie book.

All hail Hellboy creator Mike Mignola! You can hail him in person at the Birmingham International Comics Show (going on October 13-14th). I bet Tony Lee and Lee Barnett will be there. Damn their eyes! I so want to go? Maybe one day.

That?s all the time I have right now to cover some bits on UK comics. Keep in mind that I?m always needing new stuff for this section. Please drop me an email with information or whatever if you so desire.

This has an ?I?d Like To See Guy Ritchie Do A Turtles Movie? factor of eight out of ten.

Comic Web: Silent Ringo, a Slither and The Scoop

I’ve profiled the painfully cute Silent Kimbly comic before, and I’m happy to do so again… especially when veteran comics artist Mike Wieringo takes a crack at it!

Very nice work, Mike. And Silent Kimbly is a great comic to read if you haven’t picked up on it yet. Go here for more: http://www.silentkimbly.com.

Then there’s Boy On A Stick And Slither. Always good for the cutely dark humour! One of my regular faves.

Over at Drunk Duck Webcomics, Jens Altman is running his Scoop comic which asks “What happens when a tabloid reporter is assigned to uncover a superhero’s secret identity?”. So far, so good and it updates three times a week.

This has “Slithering Silent Kimbly Has a Creepy Ring to it” Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten.

Closing Time With Tidbits For Good Health

Here are a couple things I have seen on the internets that you might find of interest?

Top 15 Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels.
I?m sure I?ve seen this around before, or something like it, but it?s always good for a laugh.

Nazi Robot Attack!
Not even comics related, but damn is this good. It would make a great premise for a comic, yeah? WWII mechs? That?s all sorts of awesome.

That?s it for this week. Next week?s column is already in the works as there is always a lot to do. Hope you enjoyed this installment!

Means to pester and/or stalk me:


Until next time, dear readers?

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