College is over.

It finally hit me this week, I?m really done. Time to move on to the real world and get a new job. Which is easier said than done. I?ve got a few leads but nothing definite yet. It?s really frustrating, because I need something ASAP, and I don?t want to backtrack into retail or unpaid internships. Been there, done that.

I put together an updated resume this week that I?ll be sending out to some local companies shortly. So, wish me luck. I hope it leads to something.

In the meantime, here?s the latest news and rumors:

The Marvel Age of Animation

Marvel and Lions Gate made some waves this week, with an agreement to create eight animated features, to be released direct-to-DVD. This isn?t surprising, since Marvel signaled a renewed interest in animation earlier this year.

None of the proposed animated features were announced in the press release. However, since Black Widow, Iron Fist, and Punisher 2 are on the upcoming slate of live action movies from Lions Gate, it stands to reason that corresponding animated features will be made for each one. Other movie studios are already moving in this direction, with animated companions for genre films like Van Helsing and Chronicles of Riddick.

The other Marvel characters up for an animated feature are currently unknown. However, there are some strong possibilities. Four years ago, Marvel struck a deal with Artisan Entertainment to ?http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/036/036909p1.html?fromint=1>develop nine Marvel properties in features, TV, direct-to-video, or on the Internet.? Sound familiar?

The Marvel properties in that deal were:

  • Captain America
  • Longshot
  • Black Panther
  • Power Pack
  • Mort The Dead Teenager
  • Deadpool
  • Morbius
  • Antman
  • Iron Fist

Artisan and Marvel also reached an agreement to make The Punisher, which was shifted over to Lions Gate after they purchased Artisan. In theory, the other properties were also shifted over to Lions Gate. However, back in February, Lions Gate and Marvel announced only three upcoming feature films, including the aforementioned Iron Fist. This suggests that the options for some of these properties may have expired. The deal could still be in place, but they haven?t said either way.

Lions Gate?s animation production partner, Cin?Groupe, will handle production of at least one of the proposed animated features. Under the terms of the agreement, Marvel ?will chose animation production partners from a roster of studios.? Personally, I?d like to see Rough Draft Studios (Star Wars: Clone Wars) get a shot at one. Another good choice would be Project Firefly, which is comprised of former Disney Feature 2D animators who were left behind in the Mouse?s mad dash to 3D. Film Roman (X-Men: Evolution) has experience with one of Marvel?s top franchises, but are primarily considered a ?TV animation? company.

Marvel and Lions Gate could also take the Animatrix approach, and hire top anime directors like Mahiro Maeda and Shinichir? Watanabe to adapt their properties. That would probably bring in the Tokyopop audience they seem so interested in.
Of course, there?s also the possibility that they?ll farm out the animation to the lowest bidder, or follow this disturbing trend. (Note to Marvel: It?s animation, not Tech Support.)

This Has A ?Gone In 24 Frames Per Second? Factor of Six Out of Ten


Round Robin

Wondering how long DC is going to run with the new female Robin? From what I hear, it won?t be much longer. Word is that the former Spoiler/current Robin will be crippled or killed in the upcoming Batman: War Games crossover. Furthermore, Tim Drake’s dad will be ?disposed of?, paving the way for Tim to become Robin again. Afterwards, Tim is expected to remain Robin for the foreseeable future, both in his own book and the related Bat-titles, Teen Titans, and so on?

If true, this rumor tracks with Dan Didio?s recent comments at Wizard World East. During the DC panel, he mentioned that the current Robin storyline has direct repercussions on how War Games plays out. He also said it would ?change Batman?s relationship to his support staff.?

To which, I say ?Death in the Family, anyone??

This Has A ?Status Quo is Here Again? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Hulk Out

There?s an interesting Hulk rumor floating around this week. Bruce Jones? long running storyline is said to be finished in two double-sized issues (#75 and #76), before the series goes on hiatus. In the interim, Jones is paired with Jae Lee (Hellshock) on a six-issue Hulk/Thing miniseries, which Marvel announced last week at Wizard World East.

However, they didn?t mention Peter David?s upcoming Hulk miniseries at all. This has led to speculation that plans have changed. The popular theory has David in place for an Incredible Hulk relaunch, with Jones possibly moving to a second Hulk ongoing series. When contacted, David replied:

    I love rumors. I’ve noticed lately my most exciting projects are rumors. That, and fans seem to like my work better in retrospect (the first Captain Marvel series, people complained it was too humorous; the second series, they complain it lacks the humor of the first. That sort of thing. If Fallen Angel is ever canceled, it’ll be hailed as the greatest work of my career, four years later.)

If I’m writing a relaunched Hulk, it’s news to me.

This Has A ?Hulk Smash Puny Rumors? Factor of Three Out of Ten


Slott-Lifting

She-Hulk writer, Dan Slott posted the following message earlier this week at Comicboards.com:

      Hi,

 

    I’ve been reading some posts that I find very disturbing. It seems that there’re quite a few fans out there that see nothing wrong with “Byrne-Stealing”.

“What,” you might say, “is this ‘Byrne-Stealing’?”

Glad you asked. “Byrne-Stealing” is comic-speak for reading an entire issue in the store– and THEN not buying it. As someone working in comics, I have to say that’s just plain wrong.

By “Byrne-Stealing” you are grubbying up a retailer’s inventory, getting the ‘entertainment value’ out of the product BUT not helping its sales, and (eventually) affecting the income of everyone working on the title.

And it is work. Writers go through numerous drafts. Pencilers have to produce at least a full page of art every workday. Inkers, letterers, and colorists have to do very labor-intensive/creative jobs– usually under the gun. And that’s not even taking into account all of the work it takes to land the assignment and GET into this industry. If we’re doing a good job, we NEED the sales. The sales are votes. They keep the book alive. And WE get to keep working– paying our bills, feeding our families, and whatnot.

Also, if you LIKE the book, those ‘votes’ ensure that YOU continue to get said book month after month.

Well… What if you DON’T like the book?

Well, if you don’t like the book, don’t read the book. It’s that simple. If the book isn’t worth your time to read, then it shouldn’t be worth your money. Don’t buy it. If it IS worth your time to read… well then it SHOULD be worth your money. And you SHOULD buy it.

If you see a book, and it looks interesting, by all means– pick it up. Read the first few pages. Think of that as the little pink spoon you get at the Baskin Robbins. If you like the taste, buy a pint. But, if you went into a 31 flavors, took a pint out of the freezer, and wolfed down the entire container… Well, then the guy behind the counter would expect you to PAY for it. That makes sense, right?

Remember, the second half of the phrase “Byrne-Stealing” is “stealing.” When you read the book w/o paying for it, that’s what you’re doing– plain and simple. As someone who does this every month– and has to pay bills for phone, cable, electric, groceries, and rent– I’m asking those of you who do this to PLEASE stop. I’m one of the people you’re ripping off.

But it’s a victimless crime, right? Just like sneaking into a movie or downloading a song off the net?

First off, that’s wrong too. You’re not just taking money out of Steven Spielberg’s pocket, or Britney Spears, or even some “faceless corporation”… Eventually, there’s trickle down and you’re hurting a working-Joe, like a stunt double, make-up person, or graphic designer. And in the comic industry? Heh. We WISH we made that kind of dough.

This is a SMALL industry. As much as the OTHER guys can’t take the hit– we REALLY can’t take the hit!

I’ve read one poster on the comicboards who says that his local comic shop is cool with him reading an ENTIRE issue in the store.

This is total BS.

Sure, the guy-behind-the-counter might not care. But guess what? It’s not his store. Just ask the RETAILER if it’s cool. I wonder what he’ll say? This guy hopes to sell EVERY copy he orders. The last thing he wants if for someone to read the ENTIRE thing and put it back on the shelf.

But comics cost so much, right?

Well, if you continue to Byrne-Steal, less comics get sold. The fewer comics get sold, the more the companies will have to charge to stay profitable. Deadly cycle there. So, how do you stop it? If it’s a comic you like… Buy it.

But I’m just one person, how can THAT hurt? No. You’re not. You’re part of a very large group of people that ARE hurting the industry. If it’s going to stop– it has to stop with YOU first. I mean, you like comics, right? And you really like all of these stories about noble, heroic characters who face incredible odds. Wouldn’t it be ironic (to the point of hypocrisy) to use the “I’m just one person” defense and THEN “Byrne-Steal” a comic ABOUT a character(s) who believe that ONE person CAN make a difference?

Does any of this sound unreasonable?

Look, I just want to keep doing a job I like… while living under a roof and eating. Not too much to ask for right?

ttyl
Dan

As you might expect, this set off a spirited debate between Slott, and those who didn?t agree with him. And Slott remained very active in the discussion, by posting over thirty messages in the thread. I emailed Slott, to ask what prompted his first post, but haven?t heard back. So Dan, consider this an open letter:

First off, I can see where you?re coming from. Understandably, you?re interested in how well your book does. The more copies it sells, the longer it keeps going. That?s a given.

What seems to be your concern here, is that copies of your book might not sell after they?ve been ?handled? by a previous customer. Or worse, if someone reads an entire issue then puts it back even if they liked it. So it may ease some of your fears, to hear that the majority of comic shops I?ve seen no longer allow customers to read the comics on the shelf. However, I tend to gravitate towards the stores that do allow it. Why? Allow me to explain:

I?ve been reading comics most of my life. And buying them almost as long, which has led to a massive (and at times, unwieldy) collection. I stopped counting after #3000. But as prices have gone up, I?ve spent more money for fewer and fewer titles. I?m not about to walk away from the hobby, though I am far more selective with what I buy than I used to be. I have a ?pull list? of titles I read regularly, but I also like to buy on impulse. If a cover catches my eye or I?ve heard good things about a book, I pick up an issue and flip through it. Does this count as ?Byrne-Stealing? to you? Because, I have to admit, I don?t like everything I try. Those are the books I put back on the shelf. But if I like what I see, I buy it. My first issues of Sleeper, Astro City and Planetary were all discovered this way. All three are now on my ?list.? This is the way I?ve always tried new books, and I make no apology for that.

Perhaps it?s not your intention to paint everyone with the same brush, but lightly tossing around the word (and let?s just cut the Byrne out of it) ?stealing? to anyone who flips through a comic in the store is not going to find favor with many fans. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Word of mouth is the key. Whether online or in the comic stores. Especially if your book doesn?t have full promotional support. More than ever, you need the ?buzz? among fans that enjoy your book, so that they?ll recommend it to others. It can?t save every title, but it can still be a powerful tool. If through that, someone is interested enough to try your book in the store, that?s half the battle, right there.

In closing, I wish you the best of luck with your current and future projects. And try to take it easy.

But if you really want something to worry about, there are http://dcplusplus.sourceforge.net/>better things?

This Has A ?Prospective Buyer? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Samurai Showdown

Shi creator, Bill Tucci is reportedly finished with the first issue of Shi: Ju-Nen. Below are some of the finished pages.


The miniseries was delayed a few months ago, due to Tucci?s severe finger injury. However, word is that the first issue will ship ?in a week or two.?

This Has A ?Death Returns? Again? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Imperialism

Arcade Comics reportedly has a twelve issue Youngblood series with a ?name writer? attached. Amazingly, all twelve issues are said to be in the can, with the first issue to be solicited next month. When contacted, Arcade Comics confirmed that a new series, Youngblood: Imperial will be coming out in the fall, and it will be listed in the next issue of Previews. They also confirmed that Youngblood: Genesis and Youngblood: Bloodsport will be resolicited through Diamond.

However, their only response regarding the Youngblood: Imperial creative team was a polite ?No Comment.?

This Has A ?Just Talkin’ ‘Bout Shaft.? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Micro-Nots

ATR informant, ?Bug? sent us the following item:

Micronauts

    is dead, and no one knows it yet. Not only has no replacement artist been named after Pat Broderick leaves… Not only is issue 5 not solicited, but word is that issue 4 will now not even be coming out. Issue 3, which just shipped, is the last issue.

No statements have been made because no one wants to jeopardize the movie deal currently in the works, and screw the loyal fans who are waiting to hear news of their beloved series.

When asked about this rumor, Devil?s Due Publishing declined to comment.

This Has A ?Sub-Atomic Explosion? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Back the Attack, Brother!

Picture this: a video game staring Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and an incredibly out of shape He-Man as they take on the Bush administration. Along the way, Howard Dean, Michael Moore and seven other playable characters join the ?heroes? as they travel through ?America?s Heartland?, GI Joe occupied Iraq and finally the White House. Over the course of the game, Bush and his cabinet transform into monstrous Robeasts, while John Kerry saves the day? by becoming Voltron.

Seriously.

This ?copyright infringement suit waiting to happen? actually exists, and is available for free online. The game was designed by Starving Eyes, a marketing, music and clothing art-house based in Boston. Depending on your politics, you may find the game hilarious, depressing, or incredibly offensive. Possibly all three. Fair warning, this is an unrated game, with mature themes. Mature in the South Park sense. So this is definitely not for kids or anyone easily offended.

Having been dually warned, you can find the game here.

This Has An ?And I?ll Form The Head!!? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


One more thing before I?m out: The Uncanny Dave Cockrum Tribute now has a preview site online: http://www.cockrumtribute.com. The proceeds are going directly to Dave and his wife, Paty, who badly need the help.

Later,
Blair

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


About The Author