Call to the Bullpen

A couple days ago at the ComixFan message boards, legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont revealed that artist Oliver Coipel will be penciling Uncanny X-Men #448 and #449. Coipel, who just finished the Avengers arc ?Lionheart? and also penciled The Legion, is stepping in for artist Alan Davis.

When asked when and if Davis would return, Claremont replied, ?It’s Alan’s book, he’s here for the duration. But given the modern production schedule (which invariably involves publishing substantially *more* than 12 issues per year), it’s prudent for publishers to platoon their top pencilers, to allow them to produce at their very best while minimizing the risk of burn-out. Also, far better to plan these arcs ahead, rather than grab for whoever’s available as a last minute substitution. Alan’s back for 450, with a vengeance!?

Claremont referred to the Davis, Coipel art rotation in baseball terms, saying, ?We got a pitching battery here to die for.? So, look for Coipel to do more arcs when Davis needs a break.

This Has A “Middle Reliever” Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Giving up the Girl

In an email newsletter, writer Dylan Horrocks announced he is leaving Batgirl. Apparently Horrocks has been talking about quitting the book for some time. But before he got the chance to resign, DC gave him the boot. ?They beat me to it ? and I’m off the title after two more scripts,? he wrote.

Horrocks said that he will be getting out of the mainstream and going back to writing his own books again. ?Rather than trying to get another mainstream gig, I’ve decided the time has come to concentrate on my own comics instead. I am so over writing monthly superhero comics – it’s time to get some real work done!?

Horrocks said his main priority will be to put out his Drawn & Quarterly series Atlas regularly and get Dirty Comics finished. ?Thankfully, I’m back into drawing with gusto (that Supergirl story I drew for Bizarro vol.2 really clinched it). God, but it feels like I’m emerging from a long, grueling journey and coming back home.?

This Has A “Dirty Work” Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Cruz Lines

At the Updates and Other section of his website, former Uncanny X-Men and X-Man artist Roger Cruz said he?ll be returning to Marvel to work on a new title after he completes a Brazilian comic. No word on whether Cruz will be drawing a new series or an existing one.

This Has A “Back to the House” Factor of Six Out of Ten

Challenge of the Unknown

In an interview with 411 Mania Wayne Chinsiang, writer of Heaven LLC and Bad Ideas for Image, challenged Rob Liefield to a boxing match at an upcoming comics con. ?Dude, here’s a fucking exclusive for you,? he said. ?I, Wayne Chinsang, of tastes like chicken, am officially challenging Rob Liefield to a boxing match at the Chicago Comic Con this summer. I’m 100% serious. Bring it on, Rob! I saw you walking out of the Hyatt last year with your pudding cups, and I should have fought you right then and there.

?So, Rob Liefield, if you are reading this, email me at, and accept my boxing challenge. And, if you win, I will claim you as my lord and saviour. I will write an original graphic novel script, which you will illustrate, and I will hand over all rights to you. You can make ALL the cash on it. I will GIVE YOU a book. But if I win, you must STOP FUCKING MAKING COMICS, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!!! PLEASE GOD OR ALLAH OR BACON DOUBLECHEESEBURGERS!!!?

This Has A “I?m Lovin? It” Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Middle Ground

At his forum at Com.X Comics artist Joshua Middleton confirmed that he is leaving NYX with issue #4. In an attempt to explain his departure, Middleton expressed frustration with Marvel on the project without naming names. He wrote:

      My decision to exit the book at this point, two issues shy of the originally planned six (I was assigned the first arc), is a combination of unforeseen conflicts, poor planning, and simple lack of production.


      To do good work takes time, and most importantly, careful planning. Good work is never the product of wishful thinking, nor are good working relationships. When goals are set and relationships and schedules are built around those mutually agreed upon goals, it is important for all parties involved to honor their commitments from the outset to the best of their abilities. When things go awry, honest assessment and full disclosure is imperative in keeping everyone united in finding a realistic solution to whatever has thrown the ship off course. Denial and that damnable wishful thinking cause immeasurable damage to a relationship built on trust. When you’re chasing the carrot, you inevitably get the stick.


      With this in mind, I felt it was best that I end my involvement on


      to hopefully facilitate the achievement of the decidedly different goals of Marvel and myself. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity I was provided with and the support I received while working on the title.


      There are many unforeseen obstacles to overcome in publishing as in life and blame could hardly be found in having to change the rules of the game to accommodate such events. It is only irritating when a train clearly destined for derailment is knowingly and continually boarded at the station, even when announcements of the inevitable are repeatedly being made.


      In the end, I will spare the details as to how Marvel could have done better in assisting this Prima Donna in achieving artistic excellence, and will simply say that it was my own lack of enthusiasm which ultimately led to my demise as interior artist. In my heart, I know that one must believe in what they are doing or the work will suffer immensely, if it is completed at all. I tend to think I am especially sensitive in this area, and though I try to keep things in perspective, if content or circumstance prevent me from properly engaging my heart, the work is over before it begins (though admittedly I may have manufactured a means to forgive myself too easily with this sentiment).


      If indeed it does speak to my lack of professionalism or my inexperience as a comic artist, or simply my arrogance, I have still managed to somehow forgive myself for quitting a game I could never win, and in many ways, had no desire to play in the first place. I sincerely hope that fans of my work on


    will forgive me, too, and that I can hopefully win their attention once more on whatever is next.

Kind of a flowery, vague-ass message here in my opinion. Not at all like the bold Middleton of the past who got canned by CrossGen for making harsh statements against the publisher. Guess he?s learning to play the game.

So, what will Middleton?s next project be? On the Image Forums Kabuki creator David Mack offered up a hint. ?It looks like he’ll be drawing something I’ve written,? he wrote. ?You may hear an announcement about it soon. If it all comes together, it is going to be grand!?

It?s possible this project could be something X-related. If you?ve been following this column you know that Mack was scheduled to take over the writing chores on Ultimate X-Men after Bendis left, but he was mysteriously removed from the project to make room for a run by Y the Last Man writer Brian Vaughan and an upcoming stint by X-Men 2 director Bryan Singer.

I interviewed Mack about Ultimate X-Men before he was taken off the schedule. At the time he seemed like he was pretty well along on the book. Now that David has brought Kabuki over to Marvel under the new Icon imprint, it?s highly unlikely that Middleton will be working on a project with Mack outside of the House of Ideas. And I doubt those X-Men issues Mack wrote will be trashed. I bet we?ll see a mini-series, or Mack and Middleton will be scheduled for an Ultimate X-Men run sometime down the road.

This Has A “Urban Decay” Factor of Six Out of Ten

Rich History

Former Borderline creator and Editor Phil Hall is writing some sort of history of the comics industry. At his Borderline magazine blog he is giving frequent updates on the progress of the book. Apparently, he also has a hard on for Lying in the Gutters columnist and Holed Up writer Rich Johnston. Hall keeps saying he needs to get in touch with Rich about the project but hasn?t yet gotten around to it.

So I guess I get to play matchmaker. Rich, email this guy and get the story. I wouldn?t dare come between you and Phil. 😉

This Has A “Love Connection” Factor of Nine Out of Ten

I did a couple interviews recently. One with Jay Faerber on his upcoming projects and another with Colleen Doran on her new DVD, Scenes from the Small Press: Colleen Doran. Look for those on SBC soon.

For some reason I?ve been recommending books lately. I?d be remiss if I didn?t tell you guys to go out and get The Losers from DC/Vertigo. I just picked up the first 11 issues and enjoyed the hell out of them. The Losers is like an action movie on paper. It?s kinetic, fun and in dire need of more readers. Give it a try.

Have a good week,


PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at 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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