Welcome back to another edition of ATR. Thanks to John for filling in last week. That said, let?s get started.

The Twin Snakes

There?s a growing buzz among Sony PSP owners about a forthcoming Metal Gear Solid title. For those of you aren?t familiar with the creator of MGS, Hideo Kojima, he?s basically the Frank Miller of the video game industry. And it seems that Kojima and Miller will be collaborating in the near future on a ?digital comic? of MGS for the PSP. On his blog, Kojima lists the title as Metal Gear Solid BD. And in an earlier post on his English language blog, Kojima had this to say about Miller:

    Miller is more than just an artist. He is an innovator and pioneer. I like people who break new ground, I have respect for them.

The other interesting thing coming out of this is that it appears that Sony has plans of it?s own to distribute comic and manga content through the PSP. Apparently they?ve secured the trademarks for “PSPMagazines,” “PSPBooks,” and “PSPComics” in Japan. However, there?s no indication yet that they intend to do the same in the US?

This Has A ?Revolver Ocelot? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Ultimates Unleashed

The Fantastic Four DVD coming out on Tuesday includes a trailer for the Ultimate Avengers animated feature. Toonzone scored an advance copy of the DVD and posted several screenshots:






You can check out the rest here.

This Has A ?Manhattan Project? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Trigger Happy

The Beautiful Killer creative team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Phil Noto are working on a new project together called Triggergirl6. Early word on the story is that it takes place in the future and follows ?a genetically engineered perfect weapon sent on a mission to take out the President of the United States.? Palmiotti?s frequent writing partner, Justin Gray is also onboard. I?ve been told that there are already offers in to publish it, though no decision has yet been made. Current plans are for the miniseries to come out next summer. Additionally, there are also plans to use Triggergirl6 in various multimedia, with Kristian Hedman and Keith Arem (Ascend) on board with the creative team as well.

This Has A ?Future Is Not Flux? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Zen In The Art of Archery

Chuck Dixon has dropped a hint that he will be writing something Green Arrow related in the near future. Though there?s no word yet as to whether it will be in the GA monthly series or something else?

This Has A ?William Tell? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Tales of Colossus

Long time ATR readers may recall reading about E-Ville Press, which is a new comic company formed by a few artists working at Pixar. However, Mark Andrews? original graphic novel, Colossus is no longer slated to be released though E-Ville. Instead it will be coming out from Image Comics this March.



This Has A ?Medieval Iron Giant? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


The Write Stuff

These days, it just doesn?t seem like a rumor column without something about Alias. One of our sharp eyed ATR readers sent me the link to this post by Sean J. Jordan, former editor and PR director of Alias (http://www.sean-jordan.com/):

      I’ve never said this before about a book I’ve written, but…

Don’t buy Devil’s Keeper #2

      .

 

      Let me explain this in some detail. Years ago, Mike S. Miller held a talent search contest looking for a writer to help him with his story, “

The Devil’s Keeper

      .” I was the top choice, and Mike and I spent about three years tweaking and tuning the story, writing it as a screenplay and, eventually, a comic book that we published through his company, ALIAS Comics.

 

      The idea of the story is that 500 years ago, an ancient order of monks who practice a form of kung fu known as “Shang Ti Do” (“The Way of the Heavenly Emperor”) were almost entirely wiped out by a vicious demon prince known as “Chi Tao.” The monks are a threat, you see, because they have the power to ensnare evil spirits in special crystals.

 

      In the present day, the last living master of this art loses his son (and heir to his mastery) in a fight with Chi Tao. Master Chang begins training three students to take his son’s place, but Chi Tao is working in the background to use all three to destroy their master and release the devils trapped in his family’s vault of crystals.

 

      This is actually a pretty fun setup, especially since Shang Ti Do allows these students to have superhuman powers and abilities. But somehow, the script I turned in and the finished product barely resemble each other, something I blame almost entirely on the editing and the art direction.

 

      First of all, the book looks terrible. The excellent cover by Mike S. Miller is really the only good illustration in the book. The art is adequate, but the action lacks the grace and style of martial arts. (I wrote this scene while I was studying Kenpo Jutsu Karate, and I did my best to describe realistic martial arts technique in the script.) Characters throw punches and kicks that don’t match the kung fu style, and they don’t use their weapons with proper form. In short, the art doesn’t even

remotely

      sell the action.

 

      Also, the coloring job is absolutely terrible — the characters are all clad in orange gis that look exactly alike, which means that they don’t stand out well from one another. The only real difference between them is their hair and skin color, but that’s off too — Tyrone is supposed to be African-American, but his skin is a strange color of brown with a lot of bright highlights. Paul is supposed to be Asian, but he doesn’t even remotely look the part — his skin is almost gray, his features look Caucasian and his hair, which doesn’t match his ethnic style at all, isn’t black.

 

      And then there’s the abrupt shift in coloring as the scene moves from the dojo into a Chinese restaurant. Suddenly, everything appears to have been colored with a crayon, with lines that are far too thick and colors that are plain and washed out. Inexplicably, the following pages switch to the old style of coloring and back to the new, finally settling on an awful-looking end page.

 

      Art aside, the script itself has a lot of changes that were never run by me. When I originally won Mike’s contest and landed this gig, he commented that part of what he liked about my writing was that I don’t make my characters wisecrack when they’re fighting — I let the action and the art speak for itself. Odd, then, that he approved an issue that makes the characters utter some horrid one-liners and exchanges in this issue, such as:

 

      TYRONE: Bring it on, Kiddies!

 

      ASHER: You asked for it!

 

      TYRONE: Yes I did!

 

      TYRONE: And now I got it!

 

      TYRONE: But don’t worry, Doll–

 

      TYRONE: I’ll give it back!

 

      TYRONE: Awe [sic] man… And I was playing nice. Come on, now… let’s see what you really got!

 

      TYRONE: You had enough? Cuz I got desert [sic] right here…

 

      TYRONE: You done, son?

 

      TYRONE: Ca’t hurt the man-o-steel

 

      And so forth. It’s like, in the editing process, the editor decided the characters didn’t have enough attitude and that Tyrone wasn’t enough of a black stereotype. I’m mortified, because the whole point of Tyrone’s character is that he takes his martial arts training so seriously that Chi Tao deceives him into betraying the others later on.

 

      I don’t mind editing if it’s competent and it improves the writing, but this is a total hack job. Not only does it introduce several grammar errors and misspellings, it weakens the story and hurts the development of the characters. And again, no one consulted me to ensure that it was actually something I wanted my name on. (And before you say, “Well, at least you got paid!”, let me say up front that I have received no money for working on Devil’s Keeper to date and I doubt I ever will. Thus I feel I have a right to be angry here since the only reward I’m receiving is seeing my work in print.)

 

      About the only thing that was done RIGHT in this book was the lettering, which was handled by my good friend Bill Tortolini of Lithium Pro. And I wouldn’t blame him if he wanted to distance himself from this horrid final product. I know I do.

 

      The sad thing about this issue is that the script was actually good (which you’ll see below if you read it), and if the art director had used some imagination (and a competent colorist!), the book would have been much better. Instead, it’s such an embarrassment that I’m going to urge readers NOT to buy it unless they’re dead set on supporting the series, and I’m also going to post the original script on this website for those who are concerned about understanding the continuity.

 

      Here?s the script (

http://www.sean-jordan.com/ALIAS/dk2.htm

    ).

This Has A ?You Are Not The One? Factor of Five Out of Ten


Word?s Apart

That?s not the only tale of editorial woe I?ve read lately. Over at the CBR forums, Dan Slott had a story of his own to share:

      I can TOP that. There was an editor at DC who once told me that I could pitch him some Elseworlds ideas. Now I LOVE “What if?”, Elseworlds, and ANY kind of Alternate Realities– AND I had a TON of Elseworlds ideas in my notebooks. So I was JAZZED! I was PUMPED! And I was ready with some SWEET proposals!

 

      So I set up a meeting with the guy. I went over to DC, arrived at the agreed upon time, and was left waiting in the lobby for over a half an hour. The editor came out, quickly apologized for being late, said he was super busy, rushed me to his office– and one by one, quickly shot down ALL of my Elseworlds ideas.

 

      He told me where he thought I was going wrong. And that I should go back to the drawing board. He saw SOME promise, and was willing to give me another shot. Was I up for it? I told him I was game. And we set up another time for another meeting.

 

      I went home, and busted my @$$ coming up with more Elseworlds stories. Came up with a few gems. Ran ’em past the “think tank” (guys like Tom Brevoort and Ty Templeton), got the thumbs up, and wrote up a whole new stack of proposals.

 

      The next meeting? The guy leaves me waiting in the lobby for over half an hour AGAIN! Quickly apologizes. Says he’s a busy man. Takes me into his office. Shoots down all of my Elseworlds proposals. But says, this time, that I’m on the right track. And with a little re-tooling, some of my proposals can be saved and worked into something. Am I game? Sure. So we set up another meeting.

 

      I go home. I rework the proposals, following all of the editor’s notes. And, the next week, go in for our meeting.

 

      The guy leaves me in the lobby for close to half an hour AGAIN! This time though, I get on the phone in the lobby and make some calls. When the editor finally comes out to the lobby to get me, I motion to the phone– that I’m wrapping up a conversation. I wrap it up. And when I hang up the phone, the editor tells me that HE’S an editor, his time is valuable, and I shouldn’t make him wait for something like that. (It was under a minute– I was WRAPPING UP a call!) Now that he’s pissed, the editor rushes me to his office, immediately shoots down my revized Elseworlds proposals– without really listening to them– and gives me “The Speech.”

 

      He tells me that he’s been thinking about ALL of the ideas I’ve been pitching him. And, on the whole, they’re too grand, too epic in their scope. I point out that they’re all very character-driven. And he agrees, but he says that the backdrop that they’re played out across is just too big and operatic.

 

      “You see, I want

BLADERUNNER

      ,” he tells me, “And you’re giving me

STAR WARS

      .”

 

      I will NEVER forget those words as long as I live.

 

      I sat there a little stunned. Then I pointed out that

STAR WARS

      was one of the greatest mass market successes of all time. And that it far outperformed

BLADERUNNER

      . And why would he want to be the editor that turned down

STAR WARS

      ?

 

      He said I had a point. But, in the end, he was the editor, and if he wanted

BLADE RUNNER

      then THAT was what was important.

 

      I told him that, hey, if he wanted

BLADERUNNER

      , I could give him

BLADERUNNER

      .

 

      And to that he said, that no– he didn’t think that I had a BLADERUNNER in me. He thanked me for my time and said that he didn’t think we needed to take any more meetings in the future.

 

      Years later, I was talking to an editor at DC– and found out that HE was editing Elseworlds. I asked him if I could pitch him some stuff. He said sure. So I dusted off a bunch (not all) of my Elseworlds pitches. As I was pitching idea after idea to him, he said he was impressed by how MANY ideas I had for Elseworlds. I told him that I had EVEN MORE if he wanted to see them– and different versions of the earlier pitches too. When he asked how THAT came about, I told him that I’d originally pitched them to that OTHER DC editor (who was no longer working at DC at the time).

 

      The editor was confused. He told me that the OTHER DC editor was working UNDER him back when I made those Elseworlds pitches to him– and that he HAD NO AUTHORITY TO TAKE OR APPROVE ELSEWORLDS PITCHES AT THE TIME!

 

      I was stunned. For the rest of the meeting, I couldn’t think of anything else other than how that OTHER editor had jerked me around and wasted WEEKS of my life.

 

      About a year after THAT, I was walking down the street, thumbing through a

NEWSWEEK

      , when someone called out to me. It was the FIRST editor. He asked if I remembered him. I said I did. He congratulated me on the

ARKHAM ASYLUM LIVING HELL

      mini-series. Said it really surprised him, was very good, and that he had me pegged all wrong. Without provocation, he said he was sorry for wasting my time all those years ago. It was all very surreal. I thanked him and said I had to go.

 

      He pretty much did all of the talking. Outside of saying that I did remember him, thanking him, and saying that I had to go– I didn’t really say anything else to him. And I went home.

 

    Some day, I really WOULD like to do a couple of those Elseworlds. I always thought they were pretty good.

This Has A ?Living Well Is The Best Revenge? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back To Camp

Greg Thompson and Robbi Rodriguez are set to bring out Hero Camp 2, tentatively some time in 2006. Rodriguez has been posting some early character sketches for the new mini over at the Image boards:


You can check out the rest here.

This Has A ?Crystal Lake Memories? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Art Attack

It?s been a while since I ran an ?Art Attack?, but there where a few pics I saw this week that I just had to share.

First up, a pinup of Wendy by Steve Bryant (Athena Voltaire) done for The Middleman Vol. 1: The Trade Paperback Imperative.

It?s the holiday season again, so that means it?s time for another Al Rio Christmas postcard. Here?s this year?s model:

You can get yours here.

And, finally? the world of Tron by Phil Noto.

Just a commission, I believe. But damn? it?s really cool?


Alrighty then, we?re done. See you in seven.

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.


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