Welcome back to another edition of ATR.

Another week, another deadline. Let?s get to it then?

Dead Man?s Hand

Last week?s rumored Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo project appears to have touched off another round of buzz and speculation. What I originally heard was that the project might be a ?parallel story? to their Lex Luthor: Man of Steel mini. Which tracks with the latest rumor I heard? that the new project will feature none other than?

The Joker.

Now, I don?t have confirmation on this one, but it makes perfect sense. What better way to follow Superman?s nemesis than with a story about the Clown Prince of Crime?

This Has A ?Killing Joke? Factor of Five Out of Ten


Fatal But Not Serious

I heard an interesting Marvel rumor late Friday? Word is that Adam Warren might be writing an Iron Man miniseries for an early 2007 release?

Now, what I?d really like to see is Warren writing AND drawing an Iron Man project.

Who?s with me?

This Has A ?Run From The Future? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


An Unfolding Mystery

In a follow up to last week?s Mystery In Space rumor, I?m now told that the revival will be an anthology. The earlier rumor had Jim Starlin and Shane Davis attached as the creative team. That could still be true, if they are part of a larger group of creators, or if they are telling more than one story within the mini. Further details are less clear at the moment?

This Has A ?Captain Comet? Factor of Six Out of Ten


The War At Home

I?ve been hearing some early reports about Marvel?s Civil War #1 that seem to indicate sales in excess of 300,000 copies?

Obviously, that?s just a rumor at this stage. But impressive, if true. I expect official word will be coming along momentarily?

This Has A ?Captain Comet? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Super Novas

When writing this column, I?ve always found it interesting to see which items people strongly respond to. Case in point, earlier this month I ran a page from Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo?s X-Men #188, their debut issue on the title, and it turned out to be our most popular items of the week. So, ever since then, I?ve been on the look out for more pages from that issue. And this week, I?ve got two more. Enjoy:

This Has A ?The Children Are Coming? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


E For Extinction

Word out of Desperado is that they?ve just signed a deal to publish Extinction, a two issue miniseries by Stephan Nilson and Kevin Stokes. From what I?m told, the story is an alien bacteria that is slowly killing 90% of the world?s population, while the remaining 10% of unaffected humans struggle to survive. Expect this one either later this year or early next.



This Has A ?Fall of Man? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Jack Valenti Strikes Back

In a story quickly spreading across the comic blogosphere, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) enlisted law enforcement officials for a MAJOR crackdown on bootleggers at this weekend?s Motor City Con. Thus far, Comics Buyer?s Guide has the best onsite coverage of the raids:

    In what has become an increasingly familiar occurrence at American pop culture conventions, undercover agents from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) entered the convention’s new home at the Rock Financial Showplace early on opening day, visiting the booths of dealers selling DVDs. Around 5 p.m., Michigan State Police, assisted by members of the Novi, Mich., police, raided an estimated 14 different booths in the hall, according to Con Promoter Michael Goldman.

Novi officers were seen leading four dealers from the floor in handcuffs, and police said 10 additional dealers were escorted to police headquarters. Dealers were not arrested, but instead brought to the station to provide statements and officially surrender certain merchandise, one such dealer returning to the convention said.

Several booths were back in business before the end of the day, police keeping any items on their warrant. Dealers who reopened told CBG police were targeting both films and certain television recordings they suspected of being bootlegged. Some dealers never actually closed, as police targeted a number of dealers for whom videos were a small part of their merchandise. One retailer had only 20 videos on his table, his partner said.

Officers had been pre-positioned to cover various ends of the large hall, a Novi officer told CBG — and rolling pallets were brought into the hall to remove videos that were on their list of suspect items.

The sudden appearance of uniformed officers and agents wearing RIAA apparel in the hall — and the subsequent searching and complete removal of entire booths — attracted attention throughout the hall, and convention staffers fielded questions from many attendees.

CBG also posted some pictures of the raid in progress:

The fact that the RIAA and MPAA made the raids isn?t shocking in of itself. What is surprising is the timing and location of it. If they had come to Wizard World Los Angeles just a few weeks ago, they would have also found a number of dealers selling bootleg CDs and DVDs. These dealers are a staple of comic cons and have been for several years? though that could certainly change now. I?m curious as to how the dealer?s rooms at the upcoming Wizard World Philadelphia, Heroes Con and San Diego Comic Con will look in light of this weekend?s events?

This Has A ?Hollywood Smackdown? Factor of Five Out of Ten


Adventures In Canada

In a recent post on his blog, Josh Howard ([email protected]) shared the highlights of his trip to Canada for the Calgary Comic Expo:

    First, a brief disclaimer: The fans I had the chance to meet were some of the nicest, most gracious and decent people I’ve ever met at a convention. Seriously, if it wasn’t for you guys, I would’ve jumped out my hotel window. So, thank you.

Having said that, this trip will forever go down as one of the worst experiences in my life, and will most certainly have an entire chapter devoted to it whenever I decide to write Josh Howard: The Uncensored Story, Volume 1. It’s a good thing I got home when I did, because if I had to see one more person at an airport terminal reading The DaVinci Code, I would’ve put a gun in my mouth.

But I digress.

Instead of getting into all the details, I’ve decided to just compile a short list of the 5 things I learned from visiting Canada.

5. In Canada, time has no meaning.

For example, if someone says they will pick you up for dinner at 8, or they will take you to the airport at 10:30, that could mean anywhere from an hour later to not at all.

4. The language barrier.

Ordering a hamburger, mustard only, means a hamburger with mustard along with everything else. Also, correcting the problem means just scraping everything off but forgetting the onions. In all fairness, this problem is not limited to Canada, but I have a sneaking suspicion it may have originated there.

3. To Canadian authorities, comic book artist is not a believable profession.

You might as well claim to be a puppet surgeon. The scoffing and condescension couldn’t be much worse.

2. Carrying only one item of luggage is highly suspicious for a 2 day visit.

This, along with your “comic book artist” cover story must mean you are a terrorist of some sort and must be subjected to intimidation, humiliation, and a thorough search of all your personal belongings, including a page by page examination of your sketchbooks. Which leads me to…

1. To the Canadian government, this is considered pornography (which, I was told, they have very strict laws against):


This Has A ?Run For The Border? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Confidentially Yours

Quick announcement time: on Wednesday, May 31st, I am going to be a guest on Fanboy Radio (http://www.fanboyradio.com/). I?ll be talking with Scott Hinze and Oliver Tull about the latest comic news and rumors, which should be fun. I?ve always wanted to do a live column.

In addition to that, I plan to talk about some of the behind-the-scenes ATR stories from the last two years that simply couldn?t be told in the course of regular column. And believe me, there?s been some wild $#% that?s gone down?

The show will be broadcast live at 1pm (CST). If you want to call in during the show, the number is (817) 257-7631.

See you then?


And we?re done. Have a good weekend!

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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