UPDATES!

The word, expressed from DC, is that they are cancelling some titles, but developing new ones to take their place. That there is no cut off number and this is but speculative paranoia. That there is no move away from more creator owned or creator participation deals ? indeed there may be more. If significant work is done on books, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be killed. They may be reformatted, however. That there is no new wave of unemployment. That there are no known plans to merge Titans and Young Justice into New Teen Titans.

But another source seems to indicate that Dan DiDio changes his plans depending on who he speaks to. That internally at DC, it?s all about increasing high-profile creators, increasing creator ownership and pushing the editorial/creative relationship. Yet externally he?s expressed a desire to return to more company-ownership in order to facilitate other-media exploitation and other synergy programs.

And that despite the above assurances, I keep hearing a number of DC Universe firings will happen this week when Mike Carlin is away.

I hear this is down to Mike Carlin now being a Vice President, as he doesn’t take orders from DiDio. And that these redundancies may be timed to take place while he’s out of the office. Without O’Neill or Goodwin to temper Carlin anymore, things might start to get a little awkward shortly.

There were also those concerned that Andy Helfer might be on his way out, but that a recent signing of a TV writer to a book has secured his position.

As to the Wizard story, it seems it?s got terribly jumbled in the Chinese Whispers.

The Wizard announcement of Loeb/Lee on Batman was to have been exclusively announced in this week’s issue of Wizard rather than waiting for its Philadelphia convention. And while editorial staff held back the usual advance copies of Wizard all the comic industry top knobs get, some copies did get out before Wondercon and were seen around the place. With Jim Lee attending, no one at DC/Wildstorm or Wizard wanted Lee to be in the position where he wasn’t able to confirm something that someone could point to and say “Look! Jim! Batman! Quotes from you!” So the announcement was made at WonderCon, with mention of bundles of cool art and articles in the new Wizard.

As to the Black Panther rumours, here?s a new, and slightly more welcome, version. I hear that Priest is still doing the book. Marvel were planning to replace San Velluto with the artist Oscar Jimenez, restart the book with another #1 and a big media push and a controversial storyline. However, Jiminez dropped out, Marvel changed plans and Dan Fraga has signed on.

Priest wrote in his weblog:

      “I woke up today and heard I was dead. Actually, the news said I’d been fired off of

BLACK PANTHER

      , the comic book I’ve written for Marvel Comics for four years. I’m not sure that I’d have been surprised to read about it online before anyone at the office told me, but, *whew*, as it turns out, its just a rumor.

BLACK PANTHER

      recently swept the online “Squiddy” awards for Best Ongoing Series, Best creative Team (myself, and artists Sal Velluto and Bob Almond), Best Writer (me), Best Inker (Bob), Best Comics Character (Black Panther), and our editor, Tom Brevoort, won Best Editor (no surprise, he always wins Best Editor). I am hugely flattered and very grateful to the online community for their continuing support for

BLACK PANTHER

      , a book that has struggled for survival almost from inception. It’s been a real labor of love to be creative under the looming threat of cancellation, an issue I address in The Death of The Black Panther, a brief look back at where we’ve been, and forward to where we’re going with the

BLACK PANTHER

    series.”

You can read about The Death Of The Black Panther here. Here’s some snippets to whet the appetite.

      “THE DEATH OF THE BLACK PANTHER, which begins this summer in

BLACK PANTHER #48

    , signals a major evolution in the creative focus and direction of this series….”

“The Black Panther is becoming a villain…”

“Panther suddenly finds his ends increasingly justifying his means…”

“But, and you’ve heard this before, things will never again be the same. They can’t be. It is, simply, time to move forward. And time to reconcile this book’s ambitions with the reality of the marketplace in which it competes…”

“THE DEATH OF THE BLACK PANTHER begins in issue #48.”

      All The Rage urges its readers to buy

Black Panther

    . Two trades are available, as is the ongoing series. Try it, you might like it. And make sure you’re here next Sunday for a WonderCon special

This Has A Combined Rumour Value Of 6 Out of 10


Clock Goes Round

I understand that Image Comics may be setting up a new line of superhero comics. Who says you can never go back?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 3 Out Of 10


Tread Lightly

DC freelancers started murmuring discontent over the last couple of weeks – well, more than usual, anyway. The word on the comic creator grapevine was that a lot of titles were being axed. DC?s press people denied all knowledge of anything like this, but a well-sourced word is that anything selling under 20,000 is for the chop, except for specific projects where they want to keep the talent sweet ? such as Doom Patrol, for Tan Eng Huat.

Warren Ellis, picking up on a number of vibes, wrote a column where he recommended the cancelling of a number of titles, and the introducing of creator-participation contracts across the board. An attempt to be seen as prescient when the titles do start to fall?

Maybe, maybe not. I’ve heard that DC are making a move away from more creator owned or creator participation deals. Danger Girl was something that DC spent a lot of money on, paying creators in advance and then publishing the books to falling sales, only for the creators to then sell on the movie rights and game rights without DC seeing a penny. And even creator participation contracts reduce the amount of money the company makes off selling such options. This may well start happening less, not more.

I heard DC are not keen to pay more for top creators, the way Marvel did ? currently paying three times the equivalent DC rate for their top guys (and they all are guys), simply because of the current low sales figures unable to justify such expenditure. Sounds rather Catch 22 here – which came first, the egg or the bacon?

But a variety of sources suggest DiDio may not have quite the free rein some have suggested. He can?t fire people, cancel books that are on contract or radically change the creative teams. I hear from one that he?s concentrating on promoting change from within ? but finding resistance.

From another, I understand that DiDio also has a Quesada-sized bee in his bonnet about continuity in the DC Universe. His current phrase is reportedly, “You know this is all make believe, right?” When up against the Batman or Superman editorial groups, this may not go over so well.

However I’m again told that for every five fights, he wins two. So he’s starting more fights on the machine-gun principle – he’ll miss a lot but he’ll hit something.

Look for DC to cancel as many non-finalised Elseworlds, Prestige Format books and Hardcover originals as they can. It appears that DC’s backlist of projects “in development” has books on it which are seven years old. It currently takes the average DC pitch one and a half years to make its way from the editor’s desk to the comic store with the involvement of many people pulling the project one way, then the other, with minimal impact on sales. Recent changes in the pitch process may speed things up, but not as quickly as some would like.

As well as the cost-cutting on titles, it looks like more staff will go. Heidi MacDonald’s recent redundancy is the first in a new wave. It’s also worth remembering that she didn’t rise through the ranks like the other Vertigo editors?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 5 Out Of 10


Titanic Days

However one rumour that’s been repeated a number of times is that oft-favourite of British comics, cancel a title and merge it with another. So get ready to watch Titans and Young Justice merge, retitled New Teen Titans in the near future.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10


All The Tears That I Cried

Mark Millar, when not coked up to his eyes in Australia, found time to post to the DC Authority Message Board:

      ?I just logged on and spotted that they’re doing a new

Authority

    trade. Why is this the first I’ve bloody heard of this? No offence to the other guys in the book (because I love them), but this is precisely the opposite of what Wildstorm and DC promised me six months ago. The first trade was Warren’s first two arcs, the next trade was Warren’s last and my first and the third was supposed to be the two main arcs of my run. What the Hell is this?

?Then again, they promised me nobody was going to f*ck with the rest of my run after they let Frank Quitely go to Marvel so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

?Does this mean my two four issue arcs are going to be spread over two bloody expensive trade paperbacks as Quitely suggested on the other thread? Could this run be screwed up any MORE for the fans? Thank God I work for Marvel now!?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out Of 10


They Don’t Know

Look for a new Wildstorm title by Justin Grey, co-writer on other new Wildstorm title 21 Down, called The Resistance. I hear it’s being kept quiet.

Well, it was, anyway. Hmm, it’s got that Authority, Planetary, Monarchy, Establishment ring to it, hasn’t it?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10


Free World

I hear that Wizard may be a little narked at DC. The word is DC’s Marketing VP, Bob Wayne was to have given the exclusive confirmation of Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee on Batman at Wizard World East convention, in Philadelpha. Except, I hear that Wizard, the magazine thought DC had previously promised this news exclusive to them (as opposed to the convention). The resulting internal kerfuffle led to DC giving the exclusive to Wondercon this week instead.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 4 Out Of 10


Fairytale Of New York

Although the word on the street is that Heidi MacDonald had to be escorted from the building to that very self same street, witnesses report that the entire parting was amicable. And the redundancy payment could pay for a decimal point or two of Kahn’s package. However, it was noted that just as she was leaving, a sudden, violent storm arose. It’s a peculiarity of DC’s office building that, in strong winds, it makes a loud creaking sounds. With the sky turning black, and the building sounding like it was going to going to do a WTC impression at any second, Heidi was heard to shout, “See what happens when you mess with Heidi MacDonald? Monday the rain of frogs is coming!”

We’re waiting, Heidi.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10


Walking Down Madison

On the Warren Ellis forum, Heidi wrote:

    “Rich, Michael, whoever is out there, here’s my exit anecdote:

A week ago yesterday, April 12th, I went out to a concert. When I came home, I realized that I had left a small clip-on lamp on the back of my bed on. Worse, in my tizzy of changing to go out, I’d left a T-shirt over the lamp.

And now the t-shirt had two huge holes burned in it.

So basically, I almost burned down my apartment.

But I didn’t.

At that moment I said “Life is beautiful.”

But I also thought that there were two choices: either my apartment not burning up was good karma that made up for some shitty things that had already happened…or it was good karma to make up for something terrible that was GOING to happen.

Well, now I know.

But if I had to chose between losing my home and losing my job, I’d take the job any day, even one that I cared about as much as editing comic books.

So, the way I look at it, I’m already 50/50 in the karmic balance.

And the many, many words of support and friendship from everyone have actually put my karmic Q into the stratosphere.

So yeah, I am already exploring other options and figuring out where I can do the most good.

Thanks again. You guys are the best. Warren and Colleen, it was fun. And buy Y #1 and BIGG TIME when they come out. Those are the last things that will have my name on them, and I’m still very proud of them.”

Already on my pull list, Heidi.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 9 Out Of 10


Can’t Stop Killing You

A prominent Marvel colourist was heard recently talking about Black Panther and that the entire creative team on the book had been culled. Christopher Priest did not respond to emails.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 4 Out Of 10


There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis

Alistair Pulling’s latest comic has a Eisner nominated Mike Cary introduction and has got gay people in it. There. Alistair, that should do it. Click here.

It’s got an introduction by Mike Carey, and it’s got gay characters in it, which means it must be controversial.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 9 Out Of 10


My Affair

This week I was awarded the Squiddy for Best Comics Journalist for this column and also got a mention in the New York Times. The Bristol Comic Convention leaflets also come to British comic shops, including the listing for All The Rage Live. It’s on in the Little Talks Room, 1pm, Sunday. Just in time for most of you to have got over your hangovers. And I’m looking for volunteers:

  • To spend the convention finding out stuff and reporting in.
  • Bouncers on doors to help kick out pros who sneak in yet refuse to participate in the gossip process.
  • Hygienic Assistants to hold a few things up at appropriate moments.
  • Comic book professionals prepared to engage in the sordid, filthy gossip process on stage. You may disguise your identity if you wish?

Should be a fun one this…


 

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