I just saw Serenity? Wow. Now, THAT was a fucking movie.

On Leather Wings

Bruce Jones mentioned this week that he is working on Man-Bat miniseries, which is good timing, since I?ve heard a rumor about who may providing the art for that project. The way I hear it, the artist in question will be Mike Huddleston, who collaborated with Phil Hester on The Coffin a few years back. Huddleston also drew Mnemovore, which is hands down, my favorite miniseries this year. I can?t recommend that one highly enough.

As for Man-Bat, I expect that one to hit sometime in 2006.

This Has A ?Langstrom Research Facility? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Remenders of The Day

Rick Remender, a creator having a breakout year writing Sea of Red, Strange Girl, Night Mary and the upcoming Fear Agent, has let slip some details on another new book coming out next April through Image. According to Remender, the new book will be written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, from Mr. Show, with Remender and Hilary Barta providing the art.

Remender also mentioned that Doll and Creature, his graphic novel with John Heebink and Mike Manley will be colored and re-released through Image in March 2006.

This Has A ?Bethany Black? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


The Days Are Numbered

Following up on last week?s story, artist Sean Phillips has revealed why the 28 Days Later? comic never came to print:

      The

28 Days Later?

      comic book was to be a prequel showing what happened between when the virus got out and when the main guy woke up. It was going to be an insert in the Guardian or Times newspapers running in three segments the three weekends before the film opened. Unfortunately Alex Garland only wrote the first segment, the first seven pages, which I drew before 20th Century Fox changed their mind. I did get Alex to write me a great

Batman Black and White

    short story though!

And for a look at what might have been, here?s the first three pages from the 28 Days Later? comic:


This Has A ?Day of The Dead? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Blue Kryptonite

There?s some potentially exciting news on the Superman II DVD front. Word is starting to spread about a Special Edition DVD set of all four Christopher Reeve Superman movies to coincide with the release of Superman Returns. Several sites are reporting that Warner Brothers has struck a deal with Ilya Salkind to release Richard Donner?s footage from Superman II that was cut out when he was replaced by Richard Lester. ATR readers may recall the fan made Superman II Restored International Cut DVD from earlier this year that attempted to do the same thing before Warner Brothers quickly came down on them. If the reports are true and everything comes to pass, this new release could easily have more new footage than even the RIC. The Superman II Special Edition is rumored to be set up like this: disk one would have Richard Lester?s theatrical cut of the film, while the second disk would have Richard Donner?s cut of the film, with storyboards standing in for scenes Donner never had a chance to complete. Of course, what everyone wants to know is if the infamous lost scenes with Marlon Brando will be included in Donner?s cut?

Here?s hoping?

This Has An ?Arctic Patrol? Factor of Six Out of Ten


And The Monkey Goes Out The Door

Another departure from Alias was announced this week, with word that Monkey Pharmacy Productions will be taking Elsinore and Monkey vs. Lemur away from the publisher. Alias Publisher, Mike S. Miller stated that Elsinore was canceled “for scheduling/non-delivery issues.” He elaborated on the point on the Alias message boards:

      Ultimately, you’ll notice that

Elsinore

    has only come out up to issue 3. It should be up to issue 7 right now. We have been VERY patient and VERY helpful to Monkey Pharmacy, constantly trying to help them to get the book out, yet here we are on issue 3.

We won’t put up a fight about them leaving. Long story short.

And no, Brian Denham didn’t draw anything beyond issue 3, except for a few recycled pages in issue 4.

Good luck to Ken and company though, they are good people.

However, later in the thread a poster claims to have received a copy of Elsinore #4 for review some time ago, and posed the question as to whether the delay was due to Monkey Pharmacy being owed money for the production of their book. Miller responded:

      The funding that

Elsinore

    received was for coloring. Coloring was never an issue in the books? lateness. Thus it was not due to a ‘failure of support’ that the book is 4 months behind.

If it weren’t for Alias going above and beyond our contractual agreement with Monkey Pharmacy and paying Brian Denham additional funds, issue #3 never would have come out.

However, some Alias insiders have voiced skepticism to that account, adding that ?The company line seems to be that it canceled books for non-delivery, etc? But only a fool keeps delivering issues when you’re not getting paid for them.?

This Has A ?Fantasyland? Factor of Five Out of Ten


Let?s Get Ready 2 Rumble!!!

Has anyone else noticed that parts of the comic industry now resemble a WWE pay-per-view? Just in the last month, we?ve had APC creators fighting, Alias vs. Runemaster & Monkey Pharmacy and John Byrne vs. Everyone. Well, add another match to the card. This week?s grudge match is between noted Sci-Fi author, Harlan Ellison and Gabe & Tycho from Penny Arcade (http://www.penny-arcade.com/). It started last week at Foolscap VII (http://www.foolscapcon.org/) a convention in which Ellison and Gabe & Tycho were co-guests of honor. Gabe elaborates:

    So Tycho and I are up in front of the audience with Harlen [sic], and Hank (the con organizer) presents us with some jester hats (?Fool?s caps?). Tycho and I put ours on because we are polite, but Harlen [sic] – who is apparently too cool for school – refuses to wear his. I turn to him and say, ?Don?t you want your hat?? and he tells me to ____ off. This caught me off guard, I mean I have no clue who this ____ing coot is. Then he points to a pad of paper he has and asks if I?m aware that his paper is also called foolscap. Now, I?ve never heard that term before, I pretty much just call it paper so I shake my head ?no.? This really isn?t a fair question. I mean, it would be like me asking him about Photoshop or if he can remember what he had for lunch. The guy was essentially setting me up to look stupid in front of all these people. So then he asks me if I even attended college and I say ?No, I did not.? Then, he says ?did you at least finish high school??

I said that I had, but you couldn?t really hear me because the audience is laughing at me along with Harlen [sic]. So once they stop, I turn to him and I say, ?While I?ve got you here I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the Star Wars stuff you wrote.?

I didn?t know him very well but I felt like mistaking him for someone who writes Star Wars books was the sort of insult that would cut right to his brittle old bones. The audience seemed to agree because I could hear a lot of ooooooooh?s and oh no?s over the laughing. Some people in the front even suggested a fist fight was now in order. I look over at Harlen [sic] and he?s staring at me like he wants to choke me. He then says ?so that?s how it?s going to be.? Now keep in mind that he?s the one that started hostilities when he told me to ____ off. I?m just the one that finished it. The guy tells some pretty funny stories about how witty he is and how he?s always saying clever things at exactly the right moment. When confronted with someone who was unwilling to take any crap from him he had no clever retort. The great writer just glared at me and then walked off stage. I don?t doubt that given enough time he could craft a perfectly worded and extremely vicious response but up there on stage in front of all his fans the man didn?t have ____.

I don?t blame Harlen [sic] for not knowing who I am. I honestly don?t expect him to. I don?t expect anyone that old to know who I am. I did expect him to be polite and at least respect the fact that I was a fellow guest of honor. That was apparently too much to ask for from the great Harlen Elison [sic].

Though Tyco later adds:

    Let’s Be Clear, Here

We’re talking about a person that a couple total _______s find rude.

However, Penny Arcade fans are not ones to let sleeping dogs lie. Two days later, Gabe revisits the subject:

    I got a call last night not from Harlan himself but from a sort of go between. Apparently some of you tried to destroy his website yesterday. I?m trying really hard not to smile. I certainly appreciate that many of you are pissed at Harlan but it?s really not fair to take it out on his webmaster. If you?d like to post on his boards you?re certainly free to do it, I?m not going to try and stop you. I think it?s important to keep your vicious insults directed at Harlan himself though.

Since the con I?ve had the opportunity to learn a little bit more about Mr. Ellison. Many of you have sent me stories about him that are pretty amazing. He?s certainly very well known in the Sci-Fi community. Honestly I think it would be cool to be friends with him. I think he might know Timothy Zahn.

Ellison has also posted his account of the situation at his website:

    What the surly teenager posted on his website as having happened, did NOT, in fact, transpire in that way. Like Mr. Tycho’s “gut feeling” or “assumption” or “telepathic intuition” or whatever it was, everything the surly teenager posted was HIS perception of an interchange that lasted for less than two minutes. His assumptions and interpretations are his own, and he’s entitled to them. Weird and sad and skewed as they may be.

But for him, for Mr. Tycho, and for all of you, I am telling you they are no more accurate than MY understanding of the matter. I don’t expect the surly teenager to pause even a moment to consider that his interpretations are wonky, he’s incapable, I suspect, of assuming responsibility for ANYTHING he does, like some mook standing in front of Judge Judy. And he certainly isn’t going to cop to fronting someone who meant him no harm, not in front of his worshipful gamer-tots. But this is the bottom line:

I did not know them, I had no negative feelings toward them, and I was neither rude nor discourteous to them.

Never insulted them. Never wanted to insult them. Didn’t do it consciously or reflexively. Just didn’t do it. ALL insults and disparagement came from the surly teenager. Mr. Tycho shouldn’t be defending his associate’s bad behavior; after all, Mr. Tycho was standing right there beside me.

My assertion is demonstrably more accurate than what the surly teenager posted to arouse his adolescent admirers. As verified by the CHAIRMAN OF THE FOOLSCAP CONVENTION, Hank Graham, who has stated very clearly THERE WAS NO JESTER’S HAT FOR ME. If that is so, then all that follows in the surly teenager’s memoir is equally as skewed, equally as misinterpreted, and equally as unfair to me.

We were in each other’s company less than two minutes. We were all four–Gabe & Tycho, Hank Graham, myself–on the stage in a small room. They were making “gifts” to the Guests of Honor. The first was an orange peeler. I did the expected “take” and looked at this small plastic kitchen implement with mock humor and confusion. I then got a SECOND one, intended for Kathy Roche-Zujko (my ex-secretary, who now lives in Bellevue, with whom we hung during the weekend, and who had picked Susan and me up at Sea-Tac). It was a thankyou from the ConCommittee for her good offices. With TWO of these items, I continued to do the aversion shtick, edging backward toward the audience, past the surly teenager, with one of the orange peelers behind my back and, openly to the entire room, slipped it to someone in the audience. Everyone laughed.

I then returned to my place next to the surly teenager, as Hank Graham placed jester’s caps (signifying “foolscap”) on Mr. Tycho and the surly teenager. Mr. Graham then handed me a lined yellow tablet in a plastic sleeve–foolscap, in the classic meaning of the word–and said, “Here’s YOUR foolscap.” I am a writer. Getting foolscap was appropriate. I am neither a clown nor an asshole, as so many of the PA adolescents who have no idea of my fifty-plus years’ work perceive. It was fitting and proper that I should get a pad of … well … foolscap.

The surly teenager then asked me, not very loudly, “Don’t you want to wear your hat?”

As there WAS NO HAT for me, I pretty much let slide the gibe.

Well, two aspects of the moment that followed:

1) Someone in the audience said something to ME, DIRECTLY, that I now understand as not having been heard or linked properly, by the surly teenager. I can’t remember what it was, but it was a remark made my someone I knew, in a jocular vein, and I tossed over my shoulder the pro forma fuckyou or gofuckyerself or whatever it was. It was no more serious or rude a fuckyou than a Bart Simpson bite me or eat my shorts.

But it wasn’t addressed to the surly teenager, who had already made snotty remarks at me, not once, but twice.

If the surly teenager misheard and thought he was EVEN IN THE EXCHANGE, I was unaware of it.

Till I got home and saw the foofaraw here.

I was, thus, neither rude nor disrespectful to him.

So he misinterpreted from the git-go.

Which invalidates everything that he says followed. Most of which took place in that arid wasteland between his ears.

Next, I replied to him: “There’s no hat for me. HERE is my foolscap, and I held up the pad. He stared at it, slack-jawed, uncomprehendingly. I repeated the word, trying to indicate that writing paper for a writer was originally, and has been traditionally, known as “foolscap,” not an unknown word to me, any more than it is to any of you here; nor was its double-entendre lost on the audience, who also knew the word.

(One of the most troubling aspects of the cultural ignorance of surly teenagers is that though they are tabula rasa about most everything but what Shakira is wearing these days, they are insulted and defensive and arrogant and dismissive and rude when one tries, however innocently, to educate them, whether it’s about something as minuscule as “foolscap” or something as powerfully important as that the Holocaust really happened. They all have ipods, but very little information.)

(To point out this reality, of course, only imbeds the deeper, the urban legends that anyone old enough to remember FDR simply cannot get “into” the venue of the young. It ain’t the young, mi amigos, it’s the iggerunt.)

So the surly teenager was clearly as unfamiliar with this common term as he would be of hubris, the Elgin Marbles, Kilroy, and Eddie Cantor. Not to mention Marta Toren, Gertrude Ederle, Jesse Owens, Benito Mussolini, and El Greco. Not STUPID, merely ignorant. Two different things, as I must have pointed out a hundred times in other contexts during my many panels and lectures. I asked him, then, not realizing he must have an instant flee-or-fight reaction-formation to anyone questioning his intelligence–whether in reality, or as he perceives it–if he had gone to college. I was merely making chat. The conversation was between us, and the audience COULD NOT POSSIBLY have heard the interchange, thus putting the interpretatiuonal lie to his assertion in his posting that everyone was laughing at him.

Everyone was laughing. But not necessarily at him.

And definitely not because of our “college” interchange.

He replied, no, he hadn’t gone to college.

Now–and he never even considered THIS–I wanted to know what his educational background was. Here was a fellow whose work at PA was accomplished…

…and unlike the arrogant stupidity of those who say they’ve never heard of me, and never read me, and never will, snarky tots and brain-dead gamers, I’m forced to conclude…when I was apprised many months ago that my co-Guests of Honor were Gabe & Tycho, I familiarized myself with their site, their work, their contributions in the community, and the wide audience they had…

…if they did the same, for me, they gave no indication. In fact, the surly teenager made it clear from the moment we mounted the stage, that he hadn’t a clue as to who I was, my fifty-plus years of work, my social activism, or anything else. Like many of his benighted generation, he thinks that being a surly teenager is the noblest state, and the world began when he came into it. He is clearly culturally and historically arid, and that’s a shame, but it had nothing to do with me. I do not seek the approbation of monkeys, and that the surly teenager knows me not is as pressing a concern to me as the placement of the swirling rocks in Saturn’s inner rings.

Of course, Ellison had a lot more to say. Short version is he?s pissed, largely because someone took a verbal swipe at Ellison?s wife on his message board. He?s also added ?This is the end of it for me. No more explanations, no more attempts to set the matter straight. Only a fool makes enemies needlessly.?

This Has A ?Laughing Fool? Factor of Five Out of Ten


The Juice Is Loose

A local Los Angeles Comic Con being held this weekend has invited someone outside of comics as a ?special guest.? Now, this in itself is not unusual, regular con-goers should be familiar with the sight of outside celebrities like Rob Van Damn, assorted pornstars and former WWF/E wrestler Virgil. However, in this case, the guest in question is O.J. Simpson?

Seriously?

It even made the mainstream media, and it is apparently being used as a test case for more Simpson personal appearances.

I?m shocked, shocked I tell you!

Shocked that Wizard didn?t think of it first.

This Has A ?So Hard It Hertz? Factor of One Out of Ten


Oh My Gosh, I Was Wrong? It Was Earth All Along?

And finally, artist Salgood Sam (Sea of Red) has posted (http://spiltink.dreamhost.com/blogs/2005/09/hey-kids-comics-news-for-september.html ) a six-page preview of his work from the upcoming Revolution on The Planet of The Apes. Enjoy.



This Has A ?You Finally Made A Monkey Our of Me? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Alright, I?m off to the West Hollywood Book Fair. The Beat will be there, along with Neil Gaiman and other comic creators. So if anything breaks out of that, I?ll update the column. John Voulieris is at Wizard World Boston, so there may be an update from him too.

See you soon.

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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