Welcome back to another edition of ATR.

We?ve got several major scoops this week, so we had to run the column a little earlier than usual. We couldn?t have the other news sites beating us to the punch now, could we? So, if any of these items pop up somewhere else, just remember where you saw them first?

Gus Gorman Returns

Back at the end of February, Variety reported that Warner Brothers is already moving ahead with sequels for both Batman Begins and the forthcoming Superman Returns. However, the potential dates for the sequels fell in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Two to three years can be an eternity in Hollywood, as a quick reminder of Superman Returns? time in development hell should tell you. The problem facing Warners is how to speed up the turnaround on these films. And they?ve come up with an interesting solution? Our sources at WB have uncovered info that the next Superman sequel will have Brandon Routh’s Man of Steel teaming up with one of today’s hottest comedians, as this preliminary promotional art reveals?

That?s right, the next sequel will be a remake of Superman III, with Chris Rock taking over the role of Gus Gorman, made famous by the late Richard Pryor. Bryan Singer will be back in the director?s chair, immediately following his remake of Logan?s Run. Doing back-to-back remakes is a little unusual, but Singer seems up to the monumental task of making a good movie out of Superman III. As in the original film, Lois Lane will be written out of the story quickly, leading to the introduction of Lana Lang. Beyonc? Knowles, who at one point was rumored to be up for the role of Lois back when McG was involved, is said to be the leading candidate for Lana.

In other Superman related news, lifelong Man of Steel fan, Jerry Seinfeld has signed on to write an issue of All Star Superman, to be published at the end of Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly?s 12 issue run? sometime in the year 2010.

This Has A ?Tobacco Laced Kryptonite? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Mars Needs Women!

Following a bidding war between Dark Horse and IDW, an unexpected publisher has swooped in and picked up the Veronica Mars license. And the winner is? Avatar Press, a company best known for pornographic bad girl comics. Naturally, this has caused some concern among VM fans. However, an Avatar rep was quick to assuage their fears:

      We at Avatar are huge fans of

Veronica Mars

      . Rob Thomas, along with his cast and crew have created one of the strongest female protagonists in years and have consistently delivered sharply written stories. Stephen King, Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith have all been outspoken with their praise for the show, as have a number of TV critics. The series poses a high standard to live up to, but we fully intend to be true to the source material just as we have been with

Frank Miller?s Robocop

      and

Stargate SG-1: Daniel?s Song

    . Rest assured, Veronica is good hands. She won?t do anything in the comics that she wouldn?t do on the show.

Having read that, here?s the first cover:

Looks like they?ve installed that pole at the Java hut?

This Has A ?Haven?t Thought of You Lately At All? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Hulk Is A Force of Nature

Buoyed by his success at the Oscars, director Ang Lee will finally get to make the Hulk movie he always intended to create: Hulkback Mountain.

This was first rumored back in February, when Lee was quoted in the New York Daily News as saying “The head of Marvel Comics sent me a note congratulating me on my recent success, with a P.S.: ‘If we make the Hulk gay, would you come back and make a second for us?'”

And apparently, they were serious. The deal came together just in the last week. As widely reported, Eric Bana will not be back for the sequel, but the CGI Hulk based on his likeness will still be used. Most of the cast from Brokeback Mountain is also onboard, albeit in different roles. Anne Hathaway and Michele Williams will be playing Betty Ross and Marlo Chandler, respectively. While Jake Gyllenhaal will portray Rick Jones. Marvel is reportedly Gung-ho about the film. They want this to be the first superhero movie to win the Oscar for Best Film.

On the comics front, they?ve already lined up an all star creative team for the Hulkback Mountain adaptation: Orson Scott Card and Mike S. Miller?

This Has A ?YOU CAN?T QUIT HULK!!? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Pride In The Name of Love

DC?s upcoming girl?s line of comics has not gone unnoticed by their competition. In particular, Dark Horse is moving ahead with a girl?s line of its own. Having already lost MegaTokyo to CMX, Dark Horse is not going to be caught off guard this time. They?ve scheduled their line to launch this summer, nearly a full six months ahead of DC?s. And one of our most trusted ATR Agents has passed along the cover from their first book:

As you might expect, Pride & Predator takes a few liberties with Jane Austen?s classic story:

    Elizabeth Bennet ends her relationship with the terminally acerbic Mr. Darcy and is swept off her feet by the dashing Mr. Predator? Who has absolutely nothing to do with a series of grisly murders in London. No? nothing at all?

This Has A ?Taking A Trophy Wife? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


The Ghost of Sparta

In a surprise move, Sony will be following Virgin into the comic market later this year. Having already established a large fan-base with their Playstation Games, Sony will tap into that with an adaptation of the one of the best action games of all time: God of War.

God of War creator, David Jaffe will be writing the series, with Tim Seeley (Forgotten Realms) and Blond providing the art. The first issue is planned for February 2007 to coincide with the release of God of War 2: Divine Retribution for the PS2. Because of Sony?s marketing muscle, expect an aggressive publicity campaign along with comics available in every Gamespot, Circuit City and Best Buy. There are also plans to sell the comic digitally for the PSP.

However, that won?t be their first title. Instead, the line will be launched in September, with We (Heart) Katamari, based on the Katamari Damacy series.

Some retailers have scoffed at the move, but kids love Katamari. Hell, who doesn?t love Katamari?!

Though the series will be slightly retooled when it comes out in Japan. Felipe Smith (MBQ) is doing the covers over there?

This Has A ?King of All Cosmos? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Original Gangsta

And now for the really BIG news of the week. This is gonna be in the next Previews, so I might as well say it now. Disney and SLG have hired a creative team for the upcoming Gangsta-Tron series. James Mase of Urban Shogun (http://www.urbanshogun.com/ ) is providing the interior art and colors. And the writer is? me!

This will be my first comic project (aside from some web comics a few years back). Now, you may be asking ?how did he get this job? Was it because of his mad writing skills and incredible street cred?? Well? yeah. But also because Disney and SLG realize the value of shameless and relentless self-promotion.

So guess what I?m gonna be talking about nonstop!

This Has A ?Bling, Bling, Baby? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Get Rich or Die Trying

Not that I have to worry or anything, but rapper 50 Cent is moving forward with his own plans for comics and manga based on his life. There were rumors that he was going to go through APC or Markosia. Even 360 ep seemed like it might make a bid, but now it appears that 50 Cent will be starting his own company to put out the book.

The first issue is actually going to come with a fifty cent cover price, as part of their ?Get Fiddy for Fifty? promotion. Though with the track record for similar comic licenses, I expect that the first issue will be delayed, the second issue will be two months late and the third issue will never come out.

This Has A ?Die Like A Man? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Go Gadget, Go!

As regular readers of TV Shows On DVD saw last week, DIC has reacquired the rights from Disney for several of its animated series. There is expected to be a major push to release these properties on DVDs, but it now appears that DIC has comic book ambitions as well. In particular, two of their top shows have been repurposed and reworked for today?s readers. The first up is Inspector Gadget, which is taking The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest approach of jumping ahead about ten years from the previous series. All of the characters are back? Dr. Claw, The Chief, Brain? and Gadget?s niece Penny, who is now modeled on the Pre-Kevin Federline Britney Spears in a transparent attempt to appeal to the aging and mostly male comic audience:

Though considering the name of the company, I can?t be that surprised.

And the second property on its way is the grim and gritty Care Bears revival we?ve all been waiting for? The Scare Bears.

From the description:

    Unicef? they bombed the Smurfs and snuffed the Snorks, but they couldn?t take care of the Care Bears! After an attempt on their lives, the remaining bears were rebuilt into the instruments of destruction you see before you. Vengeance is on their minds and terror is in their hearts.

But they? still? CARE.

This is expected to be their breakout hit, but with that tag line, I expect Pixar to sue shortly…

Hey? did I mention that I?m writing Gangsta-Tron?

This Has A ?Scare Bears Scare!? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


The Big Easy

Mere months after their untimely demise, Speakeasy has made a dramatic return this week. However, they?re no longer a comic company. Instead they are now completely focused on what they consider to be the next big thing: Pogs!



However, Speakeasy?s return is already causing controversy among retailers. Of particular contention is Speakeasy?s theory that the first pog makes money, the second pog breaks even, and then the third and fourth pogs lose money. So to save capitol, the remaining pogs will all be released online for free at Speakeasy?s soon to be revamped website. Not that this will do much to engender confidence among retailers, who will only have two pogs to sell, if that. But Speakeasy seems to believe that this will bring in fans by the thousands.

Industry annalists were largely baffled by the strategy, though Rich Johnston was quick to call it ?the greatest thing ever!?

I wonder why?


This Has A ?Delusional Ravings? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Battle Lines

That?s right bitch, I went there?

I?m far from the only one who?s tired of you? You limy British twat. It?s time to clean out the gutters, so consider this an official declaration of war. To everyone else out there, I pose a simple question:

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?


 


If you believed anything in this week?s column? you should really check the date more often?

APRIL FOOLS

Yep? this is our second annual AF column. Of course we had to try to out do last year?s edition, but I think we pulled it off.

This week?s column was made possible by the contributions of these incredibly talented artists:

Superman and Chris Rock was painted by Ingrid Hardy (http://spaces.msn.com/samples9/), a freelance illustrator with over 15 years of professional experience.

The Veronica Mars pinup was drawn by Steve Bryant, creator and artist of Athena Voltaire (http://www.athenavoltaire.com/), an excellent book that should have a new home soon. The colors were provided by Blond (http://www.blondthecolorist.com/), whose current projects include Forgotten Realms: Sojourn for Devil’s Due, Army of Darkness for Dynamite Entertainment, and City of Heroes and Hunter Killer for Top Cow.

Hulkback Mountain: courtesy of Hal Saville (http://www.superinhuman.com/). He threw in a couple of Easter eggs in there for sharp-eyed viewers. See if you can spot the Hulk Dog in there?

Pride & Predator: Pencils by John Heebink, the artist of Rick Remender’s Image series Doll and Creature. Colors by Chris Chuckry, whose current books include Fantastic Four – First Family at Marvel, Next and ShadowPact at DC. Pride & Predator logo designed by Dave Lanphear, whose latest projects can be found on his Artmonkeys blog http://artmonkeys.blogspot.com. Starting this summer, Dave is going to pencil and letter a new book called Deep Blue for TightLip Entertainment (http://www.tightlipentertainment.com/). Dave also asked me to mention that PSPcmx wants to revamp 2005’s beta digital comic site http://www.PSPcmx.com, and is seeking book publishers and book creators to offer books at the PSPcmx portal in downloadable format, and they are also seeking commercial sponsors to invest and market on the site.

God of War: Drawn by Tim Seeley, the writer/creator of Hack/Slash and Loaded Bible and the artist of Forgotten Realms for DDP. Colors by Blond.

We (Heart) Katamari was drawn and colored by Stephanie Lantry, a popular artist on the comic convention scene. Her self-published book, Journey Into Misery is available at her website: http://go-comics.com.

The Japanese Katamari cover was drawn and colored by Felipe Smith (http://www.felipesmith.com/mbq/), whose MBQ V2 is coming out on April 11th. You can order it online here.

Gangsta-Tron: Return of The Bling was penciled and colored by James Mase (Writer/Artist for UrbanShogun.com).

50 Cent pencils by Neil Edwards, the artist of the new Mr. T series. Colors by Blond.

Inspector Gadget: Pencils and Inks by Christopher Provencher (http://chris.theskit.com/bio.html). Christopher is currently working on Bizarre New World with Skipper Martin. I?ve already seen some of the interior pages, which are fantastic. Just as a reader, this is now one of my most anticipated projects?

The colors are courtesy of Dave McCaig (http://www.dave-co.com/gutterzombie/). In my opinion, Dave is one of the best colorists in the industry. Among several current projects, he?s coloring Ultimate Hulk VS Wolverine for Marvel.

The Scare Bears cover was drawn by one half of the Silky Bureaucrats, Dave Crosland (http://www.hiredmeat.com/), with colors by Ian Sokoliwski (http://www.angelfire.com/comics/red_bee/). Ian is the colorist on the Shadowflame 10th Anniversary trade paperback by Bloodstained Productions and JGM Comics – due out later this year. A preview can be found here – http://www.jgmcomics.com/Shadowcomic/shadowcomic.htm.

He?s also coloring the Paradox miniseries by Arcana Third, which is in stores now. A preview can be found here – http://www.arcanastudio.com/paradox/.

Speakeasy Pogs: Designed and made by Stephan Nilson of Across The Pond Studios (http://www.acrossthepondcomics.com/ ). Rich Johnston: CGV picture is courtesy of James Dodsworth, with special thanks to Mark and Sabrina for finding it.

ATR VS LITG Banners: Designed by Dave Lamphear and our old friend, CapvsBats (http://www.capvsbats.com/).

ATR Agents vs. LITG Gutteratti: Art by Marlin Shoop, an up and coming artist who I believe has some work coming up soon out of DDP. Colors by Ian Sokoliwski, in his second pinup for us this year. Logos designed by Dave Lanphear.

Gangsta-Tron vs. The Flying Friar: Art by Christopher Provencher (his second pinup this year) with colors by Blond. Logos and text by Dave Lanphear.

So, to everyone who contributed, I would like to extend a HUGE Thank You. This wouldn?t have been possible without your help.

I?d also like extend a special acknowledgement to our MVPs: Blond, for coloring FOUR pinups this year, including three on short notice. Ian Sokoliwski and Christopher Provencher for each contributing two pics, Dave Lanphear for his incredible design work and photoshop skills, Stephan Nilson for his continued support of this special edition, Jake Valentine for helping to bring in some last minute contributors and to the folks out at Digital Webbing (http://www.digitalwebbing.com/).

And that?s all from Rage Central. See you next week.

Later,
Blair

PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at [email protected]. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.


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