For the last few weeks I have not been here. You may have noticed. If you didn’t, you must leave the premises immediately. I cannot be responsible for your safety.

Those who were concerned about my absence have been asking me where the hell I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. The answer is nothing exciting. I’ve been working the 9 to 5, conducting household repairs, shopping for futon covers and napping. Those are the highlights of my vacation. Unfortunately the whole point of my little hiatus was to make time to accomplish some long delayed creative goals. But somehow I ended up filling my days with pneumatic power tools and pillow cover samples instead.

This is what happens when you live with someone.

Let me quickly say it’s not Nicole’s fault. She’s a great person and fun as hell to be around. But after you shack up with your love for a while this strange thing called domestication occurs. You can’t fucking stop it. You can’t even hold it at bay. You just buckle and succumb. And then you pick up a screwdriver or a dust cloth or some shit, and you do things called chores. It’s horrible.

You ever see the Neverending Story? You know, the classic film where this black vortex called the Nothing is taking over the dream realm of Fantasia. There’s a boy warrior named Atreyu who talks to a crotchety turtle and rides an albino dragon through the sky as he tries to save his world? Well, in the film there’s also this Henson wolf dog called Gamorrk who is the servant of the Nothing. All he wants to do is help the Nothing tear apart Fantasia. He figures he might as well embrace the change that’s coming.

Exact same deal with a live-in girlfriend. She serves the Domestication as it slowly and methodically dissolves away the old life of drinking and fighting, and dying, and drinking some more..

And yet despite this analogy, change isn’t all that bad. I have to say that I’ve been quite content over the last month. Well, minus the evil otherwise known as housework. Besides, Fantasia survived the Nothing and came back even bigger and better than before. I think I’ll try to do the same.


And speaking of change, we have new sponsors here at Rage HQ since I last lounged at the tiki bar… X-World have arrived with some great deals! If you look about the page you should see a banner for JLA/Avengers #1-4 signed by Kurt Busiek. Click on it now if you know what’s good for you!

Okay, enough of that crap. Time for a beer and some Rage.


Feeling the Byrne

A recent search of various websites and message boards has prompted legendary comic creator John Byrne to ask a question — When did people start dissin’ him and his work?

On the John Byrne message boards he writes, “As I read, I began to realize that the many, many, many ‘Bad Byrne’ stories, viewed at a distance, begin to take on a kind of Mandelbrot pattern — a bud produces a bud which produces a bud which produces a bud which produces a bud which produces a bud which produces a bud. . . and so on. Stories building upon stories, each on moving further and further from any sort of central truth.

“Which is the thing I suddenly realized was missing: the central truth. The flash point. The touch stone. The armature upon which all the stories are built. There doesn’t seem to be one. Or two. Or three. No point in my career to which I can look and say ‘Ah! This is where I went wrong! This is where I lost my way, and lost my fans.’

“Instead, there are layers upon layers of interconnected stories that do not seem to have any sort of starting point. Like what I have said about the ‘Byrne’s stuff doesn’t sell anymore’ stories, which began circulating when I was doing THE FANTASTIC FOUR and outselling my X-MEN run by something like 2 to 1. Like all the tales of my being “mean” to fans — usually ‘little kids’ — at Cons, without any first hand (true) stories to back them up.

“Where did it start? When did dissing my work (and me) become the quick shorthand for showing how cool and “in the know” a fan/dealer is? It’s been around for a long time now — and like all things that have been around for a long time, its beginnings seem lost in the mists of antiquity. I have seen others — Todd McFarlane springs to mind — commit far greater “sins” against the fans and the retailers without becoming the Great Satan I have found myself cast as. It is almost as if there was some moment, a dozen or so years ago, at which a vocal slice of “fandom” simply decided one day to start tearing down John Byrne.

Question is. . . why?”

Byrne has also begun a thread at http://www.network54.com/Hide/Forum/thread?forumid=248951&messageid=1064163814&lp=1064203493 calling for fans who read negative posts to take action. He writes, “Here’s a NEW CRUSADE for EACH and EVERY ONE of YOU!

I just got back from poking around the DC Message Board — always a mistake — and what do I find in virtually every thread that mentions my name? Telepathy! Mind reading! Over and over!

So let’s ALL get out there and stomp on this every time we see it. Not just when it references me. When it references anyone . When you come across a poster who is professing knowledge of why someone (a writer, an artist, an editor, another poster) is doing something, whip out the Roto-Rooter and cut ’em a new one! Take no prisoners! Spare no one!

This is (arguably) the single most damaging aspect of ‘fandom’ — and we need to squash it whenever we see it.”

This Has A “To Crush My Enemies, See Them Driven Before Me, And To Hear The Lamentation Of The Women” Factor of Six Out of Ten


Alien Legion

On November 11 FOX is releasing yet another boxed set of the Alien films, but this time you’re gonna get nine freakin’ DVDs. The mega-set is called Alien Quadrology and apparently anything that has to do with the property is being tossed on these things, including interviews, TV spots, production footage, documentaries, design featurettes and Easter eggs.

So what does this have to do with comics? Well, a few days ago I heard there will also be some other goodies on the discs, namely digitizedAliens comics from Dark Horse.

So I contacted Dark Horse publicist Lee Dawson to find out which comics would be included. Unfortunately Lee had this to say, “Markisan, actually we gave them all the comic and trade covers, no interiors. Not sure if it will all actually make it on the discs but we’re hoping!”

How much does that suck? Every other Alien-related piece of crap is on these DVDs and FOX is on fence about comic covers? Seems to me that a lot more than covers should have been considered for this collection. At the very least, I think we should be getting the complete comic film adaptions as still pages. But no, we have to cross our fingers and hope that the Batman/Aliens cover shows up as an Easter egg thumbnail in the optional language section?! Nice.

This Has A “Michael Biehn Autographed Shotgun” Factor of Five Out of Ten


Pub Scrawls

I once emailed JLA/Avengers writer Kurt Busiek about something I heard and he told me he didn’t comment on rumors. He said he saw no benefit in it. I told him it would benefit me. He didn’t seem amused.

Well, despite Mr. Busiek’s disenchantment with gossip, he has found his way to ATR anyway. Recently Kurt participated in a Millarworld chat in the Pub section. For those who have never visited the Pub, let’s just say it’s a place where anything goes. Insults are welcomed, bad taste is required and professional comic creators are often scared away.

To the surprise of most Millarworld posters Kurt not only visited the Pub, he sustained an interesting conversation on the board. When asked why he was hanging out in the Pub, the Astro City writer told posters that he was fending off an “amazing allergy attack” and awaiting “the ability to string sentences together.”

Impressed by Kurt’s intestinal fortitude, Pub posters mentioned that Mark Waid once came to the board and never returned. Busiek replied, “Well, Waid’s a pussy. Doesn’t everyone know that?”

Later when asked about a possible steel cage fight with Waid, Busiek said, “I dunno. Every time I’ve gone head-to-head with Waid in a trivia match, I’ve beaten him.

“But a steel cage? I dunno. I hear he bites.

“Or wait, was that a review I was reading…?”

In addition to namecalling and boasting, Kurt mentioned that his alcoholic beverage of choice is I.P.A., but he also enjoys a variety of microbrews. The fan-favorite writer said he has a soft spot for New England style clam chowder, Rowntree Drifters (whatever the hell those are), Snickers, Reese’s, Charles Chips and the puffy Cheetos.

Kurt’s eating preferences ironically led to a small discussion on his rotund appearance and the rumor of a cameo in JLA/Avengers. He wrote, “After a week of people assuming that I’m the Big Belly Burger Boy in JLA/AVENGERS (a character created in 1987, based on Andy Helfer, I think), I’ve just come to the conclusion that comics fans can’t tell fat bearded guys with glasses apart.

Naturally, this often leads to confusion amongst themselves…”

This wasn’t Kurt’s only snappy comeback. After being labeled an “attention whore” he quickly responded with sarcastic bravado, “Have I mentioned I’m a professional writer?”

Later in the thread Busiek was asked if Mark Millar dared him to visit the Pub message boards. A casual observation was also made about the inevitable mind destroying tendencies of the Pub on new visitors. Confused, Kurt said, “I don’t really understand. I just pop in to Millarworld, like other places, and do a search to see if people are talking about something I’m connected to (see: attention whore). Someone asked a question or something here, so I responded. Beyond that, it’s a conversation.

“I haven’t seen anything here terribly mind-destroying — and no, that’s not meant as a challenge.”

In response Pub posters did challenge Kurt to read various webcomics. He replied, “Sorry, but as noted, my reading time’s been curtailed the last few years. I don’t have a lot of time between deadlines, daughters and illness, and I’ve got a huge stack of stuff to get through in what time I do have. No offense meant to anyone.”

Ultimately it wasn’t Kurt who had to worry about being offensive. The thread eventually imploded when one poster exclaimed, “I hope you feel better, but I hope you hook me up with your daughters if they are at least 16 years old while you are still drugged up.”

Kurt abruptly left the boards, but not before he called the poster an ass.

The puffy Cheeto popping scribe did return to the boards with a new thread some time later. Kurt graciously accepted the email apologies sent by disgusted millarworlders.

Note: The original thread was destroyed so I can’t provide a link.

This Has A “Snickers Satisfies Fat Bearded Guys” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Crosstown Traffic

The latest word on the CrossGen financial front is that the company’s CFO left because of the cashflow difficulties plaguing the comic publisher. And according to a reliable source some very prominent CrossGen creators have started making phone calls to other editorial offices looking for work.

My source wouldn’t name names, but did say, “Just pick the top five.”

I emailed CrossGen for comment but I have not received any replies.

This Has A “Crossing Over with Mark Alessi” Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Vampireri

My God that title is awful.. Ah, screw it. I can’t think of anything better. To make it up to you there’s a pic of the new Vampirella model, Kitana Baker (AKA Miller Lite Catfight Girl) below.

A while ago I was told that Weapon X writer Frank Tieri was contributing a story to the new Vampirella Comics Magazine. I emailed Maureen McTigue, editor at Harris Comics and she told me that Frank’s story is slated for issue #5, out in April 2004. “The artist will probably be Kevin Lau. It’ll be black and white. The story is creepy and I had to completely wait for the punchline when Frank pitched it since I didn’t know how to react at first. We both laughed about that.”

No art for the Tieri story was available, but Maureen did give me a breakdown of the creators who will be contributing to the first four issues of the magazine. “First issue begins a six part story by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray with art by Gabriel Rearte,” she said. “That’s called “Vampirella Must Die”. Steve Lieber contributed the first black & white story, “Vampirella: The Killing Floor”. Second issue has a story by Stuart Moore and John Lucas called “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Bullets”. Third Issue black and white is by Jeff Parker. Fourth issue black and white is by Becky Cloonan. And there you have it.”

This Has A “Makes Me Almost Want To Drink Miller..” Factor of Six Out of Ten


Beau Knows Tough

Since I took over ATR I have enjoyed talking to many comic book professionals. But I don’t get star struck. I don’t gush over comic book people like those guys on Fanboy Radio. I don’t really care how famous or influential a comic book creator is. I talk to them the same way I talk to the homeless guy who sleeps under a Taco Bell lamppost. Except, you know, I don’t go around offering Geoff Johns money.

But there is one guy in this industry who gives me pause. His name is Beau Smith. He doesn’t impress me because he writes good comics — he does by the way — it’s because he’s actually a badass. He used to box in the Golden Gloves. He was in one of the first tough man competitions. He’s worked with the infamous Todd McFarlane. In other words, Kurt Busiek will never call him a pussy.

IDW Publishing will be rolling out a three-issue sequel to Beau’s 1995 gunslinging monster series Wynonna Earp this December, so I thought I’d ask him a few questions about the new book and about his approach to writing. And yes, I’m well aware of the recent Newsarama interview. It’s a good one, but quite frankly, it’s not as good as this. In addition to the Q&A Beau has also allowed me to print the first scene of Wynonna: Home On the Strange #1 from his original script.

Markisan Naso: It’s been a while since the first Wynonna Earp series, why the hell did it take so long to write the sequel?

Beau Smith: The main reason that it took so long was because it was hard to find anyone interested in doing a creator owned project. I was still Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Todd McFarlane at the time and he was just interested in doing toys at the time as well as forgetting comic books in general. So it was a no go there. There was some interest at Wildstorm/DC , but that fizzled out after a few talks.

A little time goes by and I leave Todd to go to work for my old buddy Ted Adams at IDW Publishing. Ted and I worked together going back to Eclipse Comics in the 80’s. We also did some time together at McFarlane’s place. Ted had always believed in Wynonna Earp as a comic and entertainment property. He asked if I wanted to do it through IDW. So we got the wheels rollin’ from there. It never took me anytime to write the sequel. I’ve had this story line and many others in my head for quite a while.

MN: What is the new series about and how does it differ from the first?

BS: This series differs from the first more so with art than story. The thing that made the first series so popular was the dark humor and twist on pop culture monsters.

This time I wanted to get a little deeper into the relationship and just what Wynonna shares with her ancestor , Wyatt Earp. To do that I wanted her to face the same enemies that he had….America’s first original organized crime family — The Cowboys. History has sometimes called them The Clanton Gang as well. It was old man Clanton that first formed these bad guys into an organized outfit, when he died Curly Bill Brocius took up the role of leader. Old man Clanton’s nut ball son Ike Clanton was also a key member in
this group.

To do this…I made them immortal. The Cowboys have made a murky deal to become Immortal. To complete this and become truly immortal Wyatt Earp and any of his direct offsprings had to be dead. When Wyatt Earp died of a heart attack in 1929 The Cowboys thought they had sealed the deal. They went on to become the head of the global paranormal crime family. That takes us up through today.

Immortal life was good for The Cowboys until they started to feel some outside drain on their immortality. It seems unknown to most, Wyatt Earp in the early 20’s had a brief affair with a young actress while working as a technical advisor on his buddy Tom Mix’s western movies. From that many years later comes Wynonna Earp.

She shares a very strong DNA line with Wyatt. That along with a “last breath promise” from Wyatt Earp, has made life not so jolly for The Cowboys. Curly Bill has taken a paranormal contract out on Wynonna Earp. Now every monster, vampire, disgruntled zombie mailman and hillbilly gremlin is out to kill her and collect the reward.

The final showdown I’m keepin’ under wraps. It will be a very climactic ending that will tie up some hard line loose ends.

MN: How has the long delay between series affected your approach to the Wynonna character? Are you a different writer than you were when you wrote series one?

BS: The delay has done nothing but make me more cranky and creative. When those two things come together I end up having more fun and turning out more entertainment. It should be against the law. I admit…I don’t usually like to wait this long. That’s where the cranky part comes in. It gave me time to get pissed off at reading so many other comics that take themselves way too serious. Not every issue of a comic has to be serious-hero-cries-a lot-and-acts-like-a-sissy story. It doesn’t have to be taking icon characters and adding a little modern day perversion to make them cool. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean that writers should over write. The beauty of writing comic books is enhancing the art, not smothering it with huge text and word blocks. A good writer knows how to balance dialogue with the motion of the art. If they wanna talk too much let em’ write a novel. Get outta’ my back yard!

I’m a different writer every time I write something new. It’s something that cannot be helped. Every day this old dog gets exposed to something new. I file that away or absorb is like a giant sex sponge and release it when the time is right. That’s the best part about life, something new happens every second. The thing as a writer is to put it to work for
yourself.

MN: What do you want readers to take away from this new Wynonna series?

BS: I want them to have some fun. I want them to be entertained. I want them to smile, get wide eyed when they see the great art of Carlos Ferreria and Silvio Spotti. These guys know how to blow shit up and also give a beautiful light to a dramatic moment. I also think…know…that we have the best colorist in the business on this book. His name is Salvatore Aiala. This guy can make stuff come alive. He is a master at giving life to black and white line art. I also want them to want more of Wynonna Earp. I don’t do this for the check. I do it because it’s fun and if I didn’t I know I’d be in jail somewhere for dope slappin’ some moron that pissed me off.

MN: Why are you so damn tough?

BS: Now, Markisan….that is a question that has been asked from both sides of the fist. One, like you, out of seeking knowledge and the other is when someone thinks they can put another notch on their gun belt by takin’ down the old dog.

In respect to your way of askin’, I think it started when I got into the comic book business back in the 80’s. The comic book industry for the most part was run by, written by and drawn by former hippies and wannabe liberals at that time.. They weren’t used to someone like me of a more conservative nature coming along. That branded me as different right off the bat. I used to box in the Golden Gloves, I was in one of the first Tough Man contests in the late 70’s, In college there was a time when I was hired out to beat the turds out of guys that smacked their girlfriends around. I’m also known for being quite good with the large arsenal of guns that I own. Those things have made others in this industry tend to think that my knuckles drag on the ground when I walk. I have to admit, I was not a very nice person before 1980. In 1983 my son Nick was born and that kinda changed everything for me. I had someone in my life that I put ahead of me. I also wanted to be around to watch him grow up. It put a more mellow shade on my mean streak. I knew that I had to change when I found myself bashin’ some moron’s head into the hood of my truck. He had cut me off in traffic while I was drivin’ Nick around. I looked up and saw Nick sittin’ in that car seat watchin’ me bounce this guy’s face off the hood…..I knew that wasn’t a good thing for him to see. So I kinda’ stopped that stuff and have become the true Teddy Bear that you see today. Of course, Nick is almost 21 years old now….maybe now that he’s all grown up and on his own I can start hurtin’ people again.

MN: What is this non-IDW project you are working on?

BS: Non-IDW stuff would be Maximo for Dreamwave. I wrote the video game of Maximo II coming out in Jan. 2004, so my old buddy, Pat Lee, snatched the rights up to a bunch of Capcom stuff for comics…he had his boys call me up to see if I wanted to write the Maximo comic. I signed on real quick like. Pat is also the guy that did the last two issues of the 1996 Wynonna Earp series. Great guy and very talented.

I’ve got a mess of proposals lined up to send out. Here are a just a few:

Cossack: A crime action thing.

Courting Fate: A college romance comedy that I co-created with the talented and lovely Lora Biondi. Kind of a Friends meets Archie.

Lost and Found: Sci-Fi Time travel Action.

Maximum Jack: Co-created this with Scot Eaton. High adventure/action

200 People To Kill: A turn of the century western. Action.

Theodore Roosevelt: The Lost Journal. Historical Action

Of course I would love to manhandle some Marvel and DC characters again. So we’ll see how that goes…Like I said…I may go back to hurtin’ people again.


That concludes our interview portion. But we’re not done. Here’s the script for the first seven pages of Wynonna Earp: Home On the Strange.

Wynonna Earp: Home On the Strange #1
by Beau Smith

Page One

Panel One-We can see 80 year old Wyatt Earp walking through the little gate to his cottage in 1929 Los Angeles. He is wearing a white shirt, buttoned to the top, dark slacks and black shoes. (See reference to Earp at 80) There is a morning newspaper tucked under his arm as he walks. It is early in the morning. Show the sun just up and a beautiful morning sky.

Caption: Sunday. January 13, 1929. 7:05 am

Caption: 4004 West 17th Street. Los Angeles, California.

Panel Two-Show Wyatt entering the front door of the cottage. The only light is that of the morning sun coming through the windows.

Caption: The home of Wyatt S. Earp. Former Marshal of Tombstone, Arizona.

Panel Three-Show Wyatt walking down the hallway that empties out into the darken living area. There is a small table in the hall with a drawer.

Caption: But that was 47 years ago.

Panel Four-Even though he is 80 years old, his senses are still razor sharp. His lawman’s alertness has warned him that something is wrong. This shot has him stopping dead in his tracks beside the table.

Caption: Another lifetime.

Panel Five-Close up of his face. We can see his eyes squinting a bit and looking to the side as if he knows there is something wrong in the house.

Caption: But the senses of the 80 year old lawman were still razor sharp.

Panel Six-Close up of his hand slowly opening the table drawer. In the drawer we can see a revolver.

SFX: (Drawer) Creeeck!

Panel Seven-Show a stranger’s hand grabbing Wyatt’s wrist as he was about to grasp the gun.

Caption: But time has taken it’s toll on his reflexes.

Page Two

Panel One-Show Wyatt struggling in the grasp of a couple of men. Their forms are hidden in the shadows of the room not quite lit by the morning sun. They are twisting his arms behind him as he struggles.

WYATT: UUUGhh!

Panel Two-One of the men has his arm around Wyatt’s neck making it hard for him to get away. It also makes him face a third man off panel. Wyatt grimaces a bit as his head is held in a tight position. There is a voice from off panel.

VOICE: (Off panel) Good to see you again, Wyatt.

Panel Three-Show Wyatt’s face as he is held by the two men. There is no look of surprise or panic. Wyatt Earp does not panic. He looks like a man that has seen storm clouds coming for a while and now that the storm is here there is no surprise.

VOICE: (Off panel) I’m a bit disappointed. I expected you to be surprised to see me and the boys again.
WYATT: No. Kinda’ like knowing storm clouds are just over the horizon.
WYATT: You don’t act shocked when the rain starts coming down.

Panel Four-Shot of the man from off panel. He is sitting in a chair in Wyatt’s living room. Some morning sun coming through, but the man’s face is covered in The shadows. That man is Curly Bill Brocius. The shot of the two men holding Wyatt have their backs to us.

CURLY BILL: You’re right about the rain, Earp.

Panel Five-Curly Bill stands. His face is still covered in the shadows. We can see that he is dressed in the attire of the day in 1929. Dark suit, white shirt and tie. There is a bright red hanky in the chest pocket of his suit. Remember, Curly Bill and the rest of the Cowboys always wore a red sash in the day. It was like their gang colors if you will.

CURLY BILL: It’s gonna come down….

CURLY BILL: Real hard.

Panel Six-Shot of Wyatt’s eyes as he squints to focus on the face he can now see. Not fear, just the realization of seeing a man he thought was dead.

CAPTION: As the man stepped from the shadows into plain plain view a dark hunch that Marshal Earp had carried for over 40 odd years became a sick reality.

Page Three

Panel One-Shot Of Curly Bill standing before the held Wyatt Earp. He is the same age he was when Wyatt killed him over 40 years ago. Only difference is that his curly hair is no longer long and his mustache no longer bushy. His hair is short and well cut as is his mustache. Curly Bill is a dark featured man. There is a smug smile on his face. We can also see the other two men clearly. They are Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury. Both also dressed in dark suits of the day with a red hanky in their suit chest pocket. Ike and Tom are both young as they were back in the days of Tombstone. Ike’s hair is slicked back and is a dirty blonde. Ike has a well trimmed goatee and a cruel smile on his face. Tom is younger, blonde hair and parted in the middle. He is also smiling. Wyatt is stoic as they hold him in what must be a painful grasp for an 80 year old man.

CAPTION: Curly Bill Brocius, Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury.

CAPTION: Back from the dead….or did they ever really get there?

CURLY BILL: Should be real easy to recognize me and young Tom McLaury. Seeing that we’re still the same
age we were when you shot me down that day on river and when your lunger friend Doc Holliday cut young Tom down with that shotgun next to C.S. Fly’s picture store.

CURLY BILL: Of course you remember Ike Clanton. Now he didn’t die by your hand or that of one of your murderin’ brothers. But you Earps drove poor Ike to a life on the run. Caused him to be down right nervous. Made it easy for that other fella to shoot Ike for admiring his his cattle.

Panel Two-Show Ike tightening his arm around Wyatt’s neck a little tighter and enjoying it. Wyatt grimaces, but doesn’t give Ike any satisfaction with a yelp of pain.

IKE: But know we’re back, Law Dog…more than you even wanna know. We’ve been waitin’ for this day for a long time.
IKE: Your dyin’ day!

Panel Three-Wyatt looks out of the side of his eyes at Ike. As always, even when facing death he is cool and composed.

WYATT: I wouldn’t call it waiting, Ike. More like skulking. Buzzards like you don’t start circling until death has done the job for you.

WYATT: Alive, dead or whatever you are….you’ll always be a coward.

Panel Four-Ike tightens his choke hold on Wyatt. Ike is pissed and wanting to kill Wyatt right then. Wyatt grimaces, but no scream of pain.

IKE: Coward? You’ve chewed on my leg for the last time, law dog.

IKE: I’m gonna choke that high and mighty air right outta’ you!

Panel Five-Curly Bill stops Ike’s arm from choking Wyatt. Bill is smiling a smug smile.

CURLY BILL: No, Ike. That ain’t the way it’s gonna be. You know how this has to play out.

IKE: Agrrr…are ya sure, Bill? Can’t we just bust him up real good first?

CURLY BILL: Yeah I’m sure. We gotta’ think of the long haul..the bigger scheme of things.

Page Four

Panel One-Ike and Tom have released the harder choke hold and have resumed restraining Wyatt with the former firm grip. Wyatt looks at Curly Bill with the look of stone cold composure. Bill is still looking very much in charge.

CURLY BILL: You see, Wyatt…today is truly your dying day. Even if we had never showed up you’d still end up with copper in your eyes.

CURLY BILL: Ike is right…we have waited. A long time. Ya see, Death is just like anything else. It can be cheated. Ya just gotta be smart enough to take advantage of the opportunity to side step a bit.

Panel Two-Closer shot of Bill as he speaks . This is shot from behind the other three. More morning sun is coming through the windows now.

CURLY BILL: Life and death are pretty complex things, Wyatt. They play off each other. Now I don’t claim to understand it completely, but I know enough to see that me and the boys will be around for a long time.

CURLY BILL: You ever wonder why a bullet never creased your hide during all the violence that you danced with in your life?

Panel Three-Flashback Scene in sepia tone to establish it so. Use the movie Tombstone as reference for this scene if you like.. It is the shoot out at the O.K. Corral. Show Wyatt shooting his pistol as bullets fly around him. Show his brother Morgan getting hit with a bullet in the shoulder in the background (Not fatal).

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) Think about it, Wyatt. When you, Your murderin’ brothers and that damn Doc Holliday ambushed poor Ike and the boys beside Fly’s that day.

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) Bodies fell left and right. Your own kin even took bullets…..but not you.

Panel Four-Flashback scene. This is when Wyatt and his friends were on their Vendetta Ride after Curly Bill and the others that had killed Wyatt’s brother, Morgan. Please make these flashback scenes in sepia tone to establish it is a flashback. (Please check out the movie Tombstone for this scene for reference if you like) What we see here is Wyatt wading about knee deep into the river. He has a lever action rifle in his hands as he walks in the water. On the other side of the River on the bank is Curly Bill. He has his .45 out and shooting it towards Wyatt as do the men with him. They all look smug because what Wyatt is doing is almost sure suicide. Make sure you show that the bullets that they are firing at Wyatt are missing. Some are going through the billowing duster coat that Wyatt is wearing and some in the water beside him, but none are hitting him.

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) And who can forget that day by the river? Surely not me.

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) We had you dead to rights. You had no cover. We had ya outnumbered and you just waltzed into that river like you was God Almighty.

Panel Five-Flashback-Sepia Tone-Show Curly Bill and his boys still firing, but looking shocked that all their shots are missing. Earp is still walking towards them firing.

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) There was no way we could’ve missed. No way in Hell.

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) But some how….we did.

Panel Six-Flashback-Sepia Tone-Show Wyatt cutting Curly Bill in two with his rifle. Bill’s gun flies out of his hand as he is shocked at his middle being riddled with bullets from Wyatt’s gun.

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) But you didn’t.

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) You cut me down that day. The only thought in my brain before it shut down was…..

CAPTION: (Curly Bill)…How?

Page Five

Panel One-Back to present. Curly Bill is picking up a photo off the near by table as he talks to Wyatt. Wyatt is struggling a bit as Ike and Tom hold him.

WYATT: Could be because you and the back stabbers you rode with weren’t used to facing a man straight up.

WYATT: Like when you murdered my brother Morgan that night. That was more your style of killin’. From behind and in the cloak of darkness.

CURLY BILL: Oh, speaking of your brother….I suspect you’ll be seeing him soon enough.

CURLY BILL: Instead of all these barbs you’re throwin’ our way, you should be thanking us. You can have ya a little family reunion…in Hell.

Panel Two-Shot of Curly Bill holding a photo of Wyatt and his wife Josie. They are not as old as now, but a few years younger and in Alaska. Bill is looking at it as Wyatt struggles harder.

CURLY BILL: Ol’ Josie….oh..pardon me…I mean Mrs. Earp!

CURLY BILL: Funny, you always calling us thieves. Why you stole Josie away from our friend Johnny Behan. That was rather underhanded of you.

Panel Three-Bill is sitting the photo back and looking at another photo in a frame as he addresses the straining Wyatt.

CURLY BILL: Of course underhanded is the Earp way. After all, you left that whore Mattie Blaylock for this little Jew actress.

WYATT: You should’ve stayed dead. I can redo my work if that’s what it’ll take.

Panel Four-Curly Bill looks has the second photo in his hand looking at it. It has Wyatt, Tom Mix in his cowboy outfit. There is also a pretty young blonde actress with them in the photo. She is dressed in a cowgirl outfit. This is a photo taken on the movie set.

CURLY BILL: Lucky for us neither one of your whores was able to sire you a child. That would’ve upset our plan a bit. We’d had to wait longer before things were right.

IKE: I bet it wasn’t them whores that couldn’t produce a little Earp bastard. I bet the old law dog ain’t ain’t got enough sack to spread a litter!

Panel Five-The three bad guys all find that funny. Earp is stone cold and wishing he was younger…or had a gun. Bill is pointing to the photo.

CURLY BILL: Harah! I read where the folks that make all those Tom Mix westerns had you around for
advice.

CURLY BILL: Hmmph! They should’ve asked me. I could’ve set them straight on what it was really like.

Panel Six-Close up of the photo. Bill’s finger is pointing at the young actress.

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) I would’ve set a pretty little thing like her straight as well.

CAPTION: (Curly Bill) Did you get a poke from pretty little things like this one while you were tellin’ your big lies, Earp?

Page Six

Panel One-Shot of Wyatt’s face. He is stern, yet we can see a small bit of concern in his eyes. The woman in the photo is the one he had an affair with and would be Wynonna Earps ancestor.

CAPTION: (Make this caption different from those of Curly Bill. This one should be like the ones at the start of the story.) Never had it been so hard for Wyatt Earp to hide his emotions.

CAPTION: Not Josie, not Tom Mix, no one knew that Wyatt Earp and the young actress in the photograph had been lovers. If these murdering dogs knew she would never be safe.

Panel Two-Bill is now looking at his fancy pocket watch. The morning sun is coming through much more now.

CURLY BILL: Well, Wyatt…as fore told…you’re time has come. It’s quite a shame you’re not gonna be around in the next few decades to see what we’ve got planned.

Panel Three-Bill is smiling at Wyatt with a smug look as are Ike and Tom. Wyatt looks as though he could shoot them with his eyes.

CURLY BILL: You see, when you’re somewhat immortal as we are, you’ve got lots of time to see that your plans are well laid.

CURLY BILL: And after today there’s be no more Wyatt Earp to upset the fine balance between life and death in the small deal we made.

Panel Four-Wyatt is making another try at struggling from the grasp of the two younger men. He is pissed. They just smile.

WYATT: Go straight to Hell, Bill!

Panel Five-Close up of Curly Bill. He looks smug like he is in on some sort of private joke. We can see small flames in his eyes.

CURLY BILL: Why, Wyatt…we’ve already checked out of that hotel.

Page Seven

Panel One-Shot of Wyatt in the grasp of Ike and Tom. He is sweating and looks like there is some sharp pain shooting through him. He is having a heart attack. Ike and Tom look at him. Bill is glancing at his watch. He knows it’s time.

WYATT:(IN PAIN) Aaargghh!

CURLY BILL: Yup, 8:05 am. It’s time.

Panel Two-Wyatt is slumping over clutching his chest. Ike and Tom are smiling and letting him drop to the floor. Bill is putting his watch in his pocket and being very casual about it.

WYATT: uuUGhh….

IKE: I’ve waited a long time to see you die, Earp. I just wish it was by my gun!

CURLY BILL: Too bad Josie is out of town, Wyatt.

CURLY BILL: I’d love for her to see this.

Panel Three-Wyatt is on the floor. We can see he is fading, but he is saying something faintly. He is circled by the feet of the bad guys as they look down. This shot is from their POV.

WYATT: (Faintly and Small) It’s not over….

CURLY BILL: What’s that, Wyatt? I can’t hear you too good when you’re dying on us like that.

Panel Four-Bill is crouched down and listening to Wyatt as he repeats himself and his body is fading fast.

CURLY BILL: Speak up, old man….

WYATT: (Faintly and fading) It’s not over….cough.. I’ll be back…..

Panel Five-Close up of Curly Bill as he listens to Wyatt’s last words. They are the same words that he spoke before he started his Vendetta Ride after Curly Bill the first time. We can see by the look on Bill’s face that even he is spooked to hear these words again. Wyatt is looking at Bill as he says it. For just those few seconds there is that stone cold look in Wyatt’s eyes. For those few seconds he is the young virile Wyatt Earp again. Ike and Tom can’t hear Wyatt. They are not in this scene.

WYATT: (Small) And Hell’s comin’ with me.

This Has A “Face Full of Truck” Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Double Your Pleasure

On Gail Simone’s You’ll All Be Sorry message board she started the thread “Know What’s Fun?” which implies she is currently co-writing a comic book with Mark Waid (Superman: Birthright). What that comic is, I have no idea. Some have speculated that it could be JLA, as Simone has expressed an interest in that book and current DC plans for the title are to do arcs with various creators. I emailed Mark Waid and asked what the project is, but he hasn’t replied yet.

This Has A “Gail Force Hits Waiding Pool Factor” of Eight Out of Ten


Blood Shots

Rob Liefeld has provided the website, Extreme Genesis, a one-page preview from Youngblood: Bloodsport #2 and two page previews from Youngblood: Genesis #2 at http://perso.wanadoo.fr/extremegenesis/Arcade2.html.

This Has A “Less Online Crap, More Drawing, Rob” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Blood Rights

A couple weeks ago on the Millarworld message boards Youngblood: Genesis writer Brandon Thomas stated that Marat Mychaels, his collaborator on the upcoming Arcade Comics series Brigade, wasn’t being offered work as an artist any more. Thomas vowed to help change that.

I contacted Marat to find out why he hasn’t been able to score gigs. I also asked him if he thinks he has something to prove.

“The whole not getting work thing was taken a bit out of context…,” Mychaels says. “I was joking with Brandon, saying that Rob won’t let me pencil anymore, just do lettering and production work ( I did that on both YB Genesis and YB Bloodsport ).

“I also said that I have something to prove and Brigade will be the book to do it on especially with Brandon writing it. I think B is a really good writer and I think we are going to turn heads. But, I also have to say that I’ve been doing comics for over 10 years and always seem to get work somewhere so it’s not like I fell of the face of the industry. For the last 5 years I’ve been primarily working on my creator owned book Demonslayer. It has been published by Image, self-published for an issue and the last couple of years I’ve been at Avatar with it. It’s what I wanted to concentrate on so that’s what I did.

“About 5 months ago I decided I wanted to get back into mainstream comics and worked up some Nightwing samples I sent them to Rob (Liefeld) for his opinion on them and he offered me a new Brigade series on the strength of those samples. The Nightwing samples and the Brigade work has since gotten me work at Crossgen and a very high profile project coming up at one of the big two publishers, so getting work has not really been a problem. As far as Brigade, well it’s going to be a lot different from the original series. But, a lot of the old characters are back. It’s going to be a high-octane action comic with a lot of meaty story to it. I think people will dig it…time will tell.”

In a postscript Marat admitted that he was an artist under the radar. “I believe I would do better work on a monthly then a lot of folks out there but that’s not up to me. I think the problem is that everybody associates my work with the initial Brigade run from the early 90’s and what they forget is that I was a 19 year old kid when I drew those books. I have grown tremendously since then as an artist and when the new Brigade hits I think people will realize that. Some folks in this industry just take a bit longer to get noticed…but if you got the goods eventually you get your props. I’m planning on knocking people on their ass with some of the new stuff that’s coming out.”

 

This Has A “Marat’s Dick Pics Look Good” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Cloaking Devices

There is a rumor going around that Marvel is planning a new Cloak & Dagger series and the artist originally assigned to the project was Franchesco of Digital Webbing and Veggie Tales fame. According to my source he was dismissed from the book when he refused to make design changes based on Marvel comments. Some have speculated that former CrossGen artist Steve McNiven (Meridian) may be filling the art void. I’m told McNiven has mentioned he is working on a new Marvel title featuring familiar characters.

If anyone can hook me up with Steve’s email, or if by chance you are reading this Steve, drop me a line.

This Has A “Did McNiven Eat His Vegetables?” Factor of Four Out of Ten


Renewing the Vows

Cult-favorite writer Priest recently resurfaced from self-imposed exile to talk about the cancellation of his Marvel book, The Crew on his weblog.

“By now you know CREW was cancelled. That just kind of got the dominoes falling, both emotionally and financially, as I was kind of stunned that this book, in which Editor Tom Brevoort and Artist Joe Bennett and I had all become so emotionally invested, was getting the ax mere weeks after the first issue hit the stand. Being Priest, I have, of course, had books yanked from under me before but this one had so much energy and Joe and I were just clicking and the characters were coming alive and so many good ideas were being tossed about the office, that, well, speaking for myself, I took it pretty hard.”

Priest says that he couldn’t bring himself to discuss The Crew in any forum after hearing the news. While he doesn’t blame Marvel for the cancellation he says he wishes the company would have given the book more of a chance. “The best of that series hadn’t even made it into scripts yet. My impression was Marvel was more committed to the book than they apparently were. Otherwise, I’d have never paced the series the way we did, with the slow rollout of the individual heroes. Heroes we invested a great deal of time and energy and a great deal of ourselves into. And just as the kids are starting to walk on their own and talk and breathe and become, well, important to us, we get the news that, without having made any effort whatsoever to sell the book, it’s been deemed a failure and summarily cancelled. It didn’t seem fair.

“It just seemed, to me, the book’s demise was a little pre-ordained.”

According to Priest, the emotional blow of the cancellation prompted him to seriously evaluate his 25 years in the comic book business. He figured 25 years was more than enough. Then he got a phone call that changed his mind. “Tom called and said two words nobody in comics has ever said to me. I was all prepared with the nice, ‘Look, Tom, thanks, but, really, I don’t think I can do the new Rhino miniseries,’ when Tom said two words that left me, literally, speechless. Some guy holds a gun, ‘Decide — you in comics or out — NOW!’

Priest says that he’s in for now. “In the meantime, the sucking chest wound of the CREW cancellation has dulled to a throb, low enough for me to at least sit up straight.

“To everybody I’ve kept waiting — I’m sorry. It’s been a terrible, terrible summer for me. But things are looking up…”

As for those two magic words.. Priest’s not talking. “If you don’t know the two words, I probably shouldn’t tell you what they are yet. I never know when things are made public (in fact, I am often the last to know), so I’ll wait for Marvel to do its thing.“

There had been some speculation that the two words are New X-Men, but Priest recently shot this rumor down on his blog when one poster said he deserved a shot at a high profile X-series. “Those ain’t the two words. But they are two damned good words. Two nobody else ever said to me, that’s for sure.”

Unfortunately, The Crew comic wasn’t the only Priest project to be abruptly cancelled. The writer had been working on an official Crew soundtrack CD for six weeks before the ax dropped on the book. The disc was designed to promote The Crew “not to the mainstream comics market, but to the hip-hop market of VIBE, THE SOURCE, XXL, RAP PAGES and similar magazines,” Priest says.

For the low price of $1.99 the CD would have offered:

(2) complete issues of Crew (encoded on-disc or linked to Marvel’s website)
(11) complete scripts (the Entire”Black & White” Black Panther arc, for background on White Tiger, along with 4 complete issues of Crew (the individual hero issues)
An 11-page excerpt of Black Panther #52 (a crucial story point that links into Crew in DotComics format
A Multi-media slide show w/Crew soundtrack (great for retailers)
An Expanded Making of The Crew essay
A Behind The Scenes: Making of The Crew: The Official Soundtrack essay
An Interview with Brevoort
An Interview with Priest
Creator bios of inker Danny Miki, penciller Joe Bennett and Priest
Bennett’s original sketches
Reviews from TheFourthRail.Com
Easter egg stuff on the musicians and producers
14 Hip-Hop and rap tracks

Priest says that Marvel has about a dozen copies of the demo disc. He adds that no bootleg copies will be made in order to protect those people who invested their time creating the soundtrack. However, a remixed version of one of the songs from the album can be sampled at http://phonogram.us/archive/music/fallen.wma.

This Has A “Crew-cial Decisions” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Signal to Noise

Current Red writer Warren Ellis has announced he will be writing two new creator-owned ongoing titles next year on his email list, Bad Signal. He has also submitted a revamp of a DC Universe book to DC President Dan Didio, who has been reminding Warren to fulfill his promise to do a DC U job.

This Has A “Doing Didio” Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Hell Hath Ennis

Over on http://www.insanerantings.com/phpBB2/phpBB2/index.php rumor has it that the upcoming movie Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves and Bush singer Gain Rossdale will be based on the “Dangerous Habits” storyline from Hellblazer 41-46. “Habits” was written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Will Simpson.

This Has A “Hollywood Has A Dangerous Habit of Hiring Keanu” Factor of Five Out of Ten


Hot Wheel

He said he’s never do anything for ATR again, but former Rage writer Alan Donald sent me some information on a real life superhero this week. Ironically my friend The Captain also sent me an article on the same subject. It seems that Great Britain is home to a popular costumed avenger known as the Angle-Grinder Man. Operating in London and Kent, this whacko fights the injustice of wheel clamping with a giant, circular power saw.

Or, in his own words, Angle-Grinder Man is a “wheel-clamp and speed camera vigilante cum subversive superhero philanthropist entertainer type person” who offers “free clamp-removal service” to “all good, decent law-unabiding people” who don’t want to pay to have their cars released.

I’m not kidding. Angle-Grinder Man has a hotline for those that need his services. You can find out more about this clown at http://anglegrinderman.co.uk/. Just be prepared for everything from political tirades to nude pictures of the man in action.

Thanks for the help, Alan. We’ll use the signal should you be needed again.

This Has An “Angle Slightly Askew” Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Oh, before I forget, I asked Nicole to stand in for me and answer this week’s question about why women don’t dig comics on The Panel. For those who don’t know, The Panel is Alan Donald’s new column on SBC. He asks industry professionals heady questions about the comic book industry. Take a look. My woman done me proud.

Out,
Markisan

PS If anyone has any rumors or stories to share email me at markisan@silverbulletcomicbooks.com or IM me via AOL Instant Messenger. My screen name is Automatic San. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It’s greatly appreciated.


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