• Which comics convention was known in days of old for enticing guests by hiring prostitutes to welcome them?
  • Which comics journalist walked into a hotel room at a convention to find a number of male comic book pros involved in a small orgy with each other… and couldn’t bring himself to report it.
  • Which comic book creator was known for kicking up a ruckus in convention bars until the organisers could find him an amenable redhead?

March Fool

Well, my source for last week’s Uncle Ben rumour, who claimed to be a Marvel editor and gave me reason to believe they had to be a Marvel insider, turns out to have been a lot higher-up in Marvel than I suspected.

It was none other than Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada himself playing silly buggers. As it were. After being challenged to reveal his true identity, Joe told me “One of the reasons for the disinformation, Rich, is because I wanted to make sure that you of all people would be sniffing in the wrong direction 😉 How’s that for respect!” Hmmm, seems it was an attempt to increase the speculation and rumours about upcoming projects and to teach me a lesson in the process. Well, the former certainly worked…

This column scored record hits for the SBC website and generated tons of mail and interest. I’m just thankful I only gave the rumour 2 out of 10 – the source was anonymous and there were a few inconsistencies along the way, but…

The thing is, I actually quite liked the rumour. Yes, it would get press attention. Yes, it fitted in with JMS’s recent Spider-Man premise, just as Spider-Man gains a new motive for doing what he does, he loses an earlier inspiration. And it would have been clever symmetry with Jenkins’ recent story where Peter recalls Uncle Ben giving him the gift of laughter. But, for the minds of die-hard Spidey fans everywhere, it looks like you’re safe. For now. So maybe, we might get the school-shooting story instead. Unless of course it’s all some kind of double bluff…

You know, I never had these kind of problems with Paul Levitz…

This Has A Rumour Value Of… Oh I Don’t Know Anymore… Eight Ferrets?

The Calling

I hear we may have a name change for Ministry coming up ? maybe something that doesn’t end in ‘y’ maybe? And joining Ian Edginton on script is artist Charlie Adlard…

This Has A Rumour Value Of 6 Out Of 10

He Is The Lawsuit More Like

This image from a recent Marvel ad for the new USAgent series has caused a small stir. A resemblance between the design of USAgent and Judge Dredd had been previously noted by fans, but this advert seemed to give it away.

2000AD owners, Rebellion, are understood to already be talking with their lawyers and editor Andy Diggle posted on alt.comics.2000ad, “I’d like to activate the legal droids”. Kurt Busiek had a very different take on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe saying,

    “It was an attempt to take USAgent’s classic costume, eliminate the elements of it that were present in the Cap costume, and use what was left as the basis for a costume that was more like a motorcycle cop’s or a riot cop’s than a traditional superhero’s.

“As such, we wound up going to the same well as Dredd’s designers — his outfit is a hyper-fetishised riot cop’s uniform, after all — but we were going to a real-world source, not to Dredd himself.

“We realized early on that therer would be at least some similarity ? mostly the visored helmet and the black leather, neither of which are unique to Dredd — but didn’t think it would be that big a deal, since it’s not the same costume design by any means, nor is the character’s name, powers, role or personality copped from Dredd. So we figured, “He’ll have a few cosmetic similarities to Judge Dredd, that stem from the fact that both characters are going to the same real-world touchstone as a starting point, but so what? The differences will outweigh any similarities by a wide margin.

“That’s a far cry from it being an intentional “homage.”

“What people are upset over, I think, is that the Marvel sale people slapping a “He Is The Law” slogan on a USAGENT ad is a deliberate swipe of Dredd’s most famous line, and as such makes the whole thing seem not just like theft, but like Marvel is rubbing everyone’s noses in it. It was a stupid line to put on the ad.

“In reconceptualizing the USAgent, I was far more influenced by Tommy Lee Jones in THE FUGITIVE than by Dredd — what we turned him into was a super-federal-marshal dealing with the super-villain problem, which still isn’t Dredd. Some visual similarities, yes. But not the same character, and nothing more than a few surface similarities that don’t add up to much in the final analysis.

“But that ad line was a very stupid thing to do.

“I read the first few pages of USAGENT #1 today — they’re very nice work by Ordway, and nobody who reads them will confuse the Agent for Dredd.”

Good reasoning… but is it enough to avoid 5 years in the Cubes?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 6 Out Of 10

Startling Stuff!

So this is what I hear from inside the Marvel camp. I’m pretty much sure the source isn’t Joe Quesada this time. But I’m dropping the Rumour Value a couple of notches just in case.

The “Black Captain America” thing we’ve heard all about (see below for Bendis’ take on how it started) is a part of an upcoming line called Startling Stories or similar. Not ‘What If’, ‘Elseworlds’ or that clunky sounding ‘Alternativerse’, it will telling non-continuity stories using Marvel characters ? in this case the individual in question is the pre-test subject for the Super Soldier Serum, before being then given to Steve Rogers.

Also in the Startling lineup are the previously mentioned Hulk project with Azzarello and Corben, the story of Thor told from Loki’s point of view by Scott Cunningham. Hopefully, it won’t fall apart in the same way as Congo Bill did, and if it does, Axel Alonso will be on hand to save it again!

This isn’t the mature Marvel line ? this is likely to, as did Vertigo, revive lesser high profile characters such as Iron Fist, Man-Thing and Shang Chi ? and joy of joys, Moench and Gulacy are meant to be involved with the last one.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 6 Out Of 10

First Principles

Earlier this week, Bendis posted to his Message Board “just want to remind you that i did NOT write the new issue of hellspawn that ships tomorrow. i have a copy and i can tell you it has nothing to do with me or my original script. and the biggest clue of this fact is that that cygor thing shows up… also, todd does mention my quitting the book in the letter colunm. the reason that i quit that he gives is totally incorrect. and he also forgets to mention that he fired me from sam and twitch because i didn’t want to do hellspawn anymore and was going to continue USM… i was more than happy to keep writing sam and twitch for its entire run and tried for months to keep my tmp business private, but i can’t have misinformation being put out there about me. i was super professional with them and i deserve much better.”

If Bendis’ version is to be believed, his departure from Sam And Twitch does rather conflict with an earlier Todd McFarlane statement of principles from Spawn #3:

“Just a quick update on the friendly goings on behind the scenes. In last issues letter column I announced that Dale Keown was to be jumping on board the Image wagon. his book wasn’t to come out until 1993 because he had committed himself to the Incredible Hulk up to issue #400. Or so the thought. By coincidence shortly after the news of Dale and Image got out, Marvel mysteriously pulled both issue 400 and 399 away from him in one o their famous arbitrary decisions that usually have no reasons. Dale wanted to end on a high note but for some reason the 30 or so previous issues he had done didn’t instill enough confidence in them to warrant his continuation on a book that he wanted to do for another couple of months.

“This is one of the reasons why Image exists. Because most creative people don’t like having the rug pulled out from underneath them at any given time.”

What was that line about power corrupts, absolute power…?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10

Black America Today

On The Lodown, Bendis also talked about the Black-Captain-America-That-No-Longer-Exists saying,

“Well, the whole idea of that was Bill Jemas (Marvel exec and Ultimate founder) came into the meeting he said you know if they really did Captain America, every experimental thing they did in World War II they did to black people. This is true, this is fact right? So really Captain America probably would be black. So we started talking about it and he goes “OK, let’s make Captain America black.” And I’m like see, that’s a gimmick though… And what’s funny is, we argued about it for six hours. Me and Joe (Quesada, Marvel Editor in Chief) were on “the no” and Mark (Millar, Ultimate X-Men writer), who wants to fuck everything up, (Laughter) Mark and Bill were on “the yes”. And the four of us argued and then later that night we had to meet the people from the Superman conference, Joe Casey and Jeff Loeb and we told them this argument to see if we could break the argument and it just polarized right down the middle and everyone was just yelling about Captain America ideas. So the good news is that Captain America is going to be great from now on, because we came up with a million great Captain America ideas that they’re definitely going to implement…”

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10

Waiting For The Hamner To Fall
In response to a poster’s comment on the Warren Ellis Delphi Forum that he wished that artists like Doug Mahnke and Cully Hamner “would quit dicking around on superhero books” and do something substantial, Hamner replied, “Next year, you’ll be getting a three-issue, non-super-hero, creator-owned mini-series written by Warren, and pencilled and inked by me. I will be done dicking around very soon.”

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10

Extra Bath

David Currie, retailer of American Dream Comics in Bath is off to LA to appear as an extra in Spider-Man. Not that interesting, but true.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10

Miracle On Earth?

Something missed by many in Hellspawn #6 is a shadowy figure writing a letter to the mayor, complaining about how terrible New York has become. He signs the letter “Mike Moran”

For those of you who need the extra push, Mike Moran was the civilian identity of Miracleman, who committed suicide in the original series.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10

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