Six days to Christmas, and I?m sure we?ve all got things to do beforehand. So let?s just jump right into it:

Thunder & Lightning

Last week, in an interview with IESB.net, Avi Arad mentioned that David Goyer (Blade Trinity) was in the process of scripting a Thor film. However, according to IGN, Goyer confirmed only that a deal was in the works. All of which made for a perfectly good rumor until Friday?s surprise announcement that Goyer will be writing and directing a Flash feature film. Goyer?s commitment to The Flash certainly makes his involvement with Thor unlikely at this point.

In a related note, a Nightstalkers film remains a possibility, despite the somewhat tepid response to Blade Trinity domestically. Apparently the film is performing well overseas, thus keeping the spinoff hopes alive.

This Has A ?Whistler?s Daughter? Factor of Four Out of Ten


Nuclear Man Fallout

Multiple sources have sent in conflicting rumors about the future of Firestorm. Most of the rumors have centered on a new creative team possibly coming in around issue 13. However, some rumors indicate that the series has already been canceled, with 13 to be the last issue.

It?s not entirely clear which of these rumors will pan out, but since both mention issue 13, it seems likely that issue will be either a ?new direction? or ?the end.?

This Has A ?Killer Frost? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Hulkbuster

Earlier this week, Vivendi Universal Games announced that a new Hulk video game is already well underway. The game is being developed by Radical (The Simpsons: Hit & Run) and will feature freedom of exploration gameplay similar to the Spider-Man 2 video game and Grand Theft Auto: SA.

Of particular interest to comic fans, Paul Jenkins is writing the script for the game and Bryan Hitch is providing the in-game artwork. The Incredible Hulk will be released in summer 2005, for the Gamecube, X-Box and Playstation 2.


This Has A ?You Wouldn?t Like Me When I?m Angry? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


King of the Zombies

Frank Cho is set to release a Zombie King one-shot this April through Image Comics. According to the Zombie King website, Cho has been working on this story with Erik Crowe for the last three years, in-between Liberty Meadows and his Marvel commitments. A few pages from the one-shot were also posted.

This Has A ?For God’s Sake! He’s Got An Arm Off!? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Panther on the Prowl

Reggie Hudlin?s involvement with the Black Panther relaunch was rumored for months before Marvel?s official announcement. Even though Hudlin has a background in film and television, some fans have expressed trepidation about his take on the character, especially following Christopher Priest?s excellent run on the previous Black Panther series. Earlier this week, Hudlin took the time to answer a few questions and dispel a few notions:

Blair Marnell: What?s your take on T’Challa?

Reggie Hudlin: I think you can?t talk about T’Challa unless you talk about Wakanda. The land defines the people, which define the man. What we know about Wakanda, from the template that Stan and Jack created, is that it was a kingdom that had an amazing super-science. And you go, ?jeez, how do they have this amazing super-science?? Well, we know historically there were kingdoms in Africa that had metal alloys when people in Britain were still living in caves. What if those tribes, which were very advanced, even Before Christ, never lost that head start they had culturally? They would be very far ahead of western civilization, from a scientific perspective. How could they maintain that lead? Most of Africa has been invaded and carved up, either by the Christian invaders, Islamic invaders, or the Germans, the Belgians, the French, the British? You?d have to say that this is some kind of warrior culture that?s so kick ass, that they repelled all of these invaders. That?s the kind of place Wakanda is.

So, if T?Challa is the leader of the Black Panthers, then he?s got to be the baddest cat in country full of bad asses. The mantle of the Black Panthers? leader is passed down father to son, but they still have to earn it. They have to go through an arduous series of tests, intellectually, physically, spiritually and morally before they can actually inherit the title and the uniform. T?Challa is a king but he is also, most importantly, a hero.

BM: I understand that your first six issues will be a revamp of the Panther?s origin.

RH: It updates the origin. I went back and read the classic introduction to the character, back in Fantastic Four. And they kind of did it in two pages, which got the job done back in 1966, but I wanted to take that origin and really flesh it out. I?m writing the book for two audiences. People like myself, who?ve been reading comics for thirty years. And people who may never have picked up a comic before in their life. So I really wanted to establish who he is, who his people are and what Wakanda is. And to show what a formidable character the Black Panther is. He?s going to be fighting Claw, but he?s also going to be fighting half-a-dozen supervillains. We?re going to get to know his family better than we ever have before and we?re going to understand his country better than we ever have before. We?re going to be ?adhering to the classic texts? as they say. But at the same time, fulfilling the implications of the ideas and hopefully creating a definitive portrait of the character.

BM: Do you have any plans to include the supporting cast from the previous Black Panther series? Like Ross, Queen Divine Justice and Killmonger?

RH: Killmonger goes back before that, to the Don McGregor era. But, yes, the female bodyguards, the Dora Milaje are gonna be there. Ross is gonna be there. We will be seeing characters and ideas from almost every incarnation of the Panther.

BM: Will you be addressing the brain aneurysm Panther suffered in the previous series?

RH: No.

BM: Why not?

RH: I didn?t want to get caught in all the complex backstory and thirty years of baggage? Let me put it this way, if you are a Priest fan, and I count myself as one (I?ve known the guy for fifteen years and I loved his run with the Panther) then I am sure you will love the book.

BM: What is the Panther?s relationship to the other heroes going to be like? And I ask this because Priest had set up a really interesting take on T?Challa which put him at odds with nearly everyone else. But then the next thing you know he?s shaking hands with Tony Stark again.

RH: (laughs) That?s where I?m adhering to the most important aspects of Priest?s characterization. I love the idea that he joined the Avengers to spy on them. I mean, why else would an African king join the Avengers if not for that reason? That?s the only time his membership in that organization made sense. I thought that was a brilliant idea. That kind of attitude is logical for the character. Think of it this way, Wakanda is a warrior culture that has had thousands of years of military strategy passed down from generation to generation. So of course the Panther is ahead of everyone else. His level of gamesmanship is so high, that?s only logical.

BM: Is your Black Panther project an ongoing series or a miniseries?

RH: It started out as a miniseries. But when I turned in the first six issues we immediately started talking about turning it into an ongoing series. I’m working on the second arc now. Which is quite amazing, as the normal course of business would be to put out the first six and see how they sell before committing to anything more. But Marvel is so enthusiastic and confident in the series that we’re moving on to the second arc already. There’s been tremendous support all around from Marvel. I know John wants to keep drawing the book, which I love. He was my first choice as an artist and he’s really doing brilliant, brilliant work. Dean White is doing great color work. Klaus Janson is providing fantastic inks, as always. It’s a great team and I certainly have no shortage of story ideas, so hopefully we can make the Black Panther the successful title that Marvel and the fans have always wanted it to be.

BM: What are your long term plans for the Black Panther?

RH: Aside from further character development, I really want to work on his rogue?s gallery. Great villains define a hero. Look at Batman. One of the reasons he?s such a good character is that he?s got such a great set of opponents. I want to beef up that aspect of the Panther.

BM: I?m guessing that your rogue?s gallery won?t include the Man-Ape.

RH: That?s exactly what I?m talking about. There will be no man-in-a-white-albino-gorilla suit in this series! (laughs)

BM: Do you have any other comic projects coming up?

RH: I did a graphic novel last year, Birth of a Nation, which did great for Random House. I?ll be doing another one for them next year. Also, in addition to wanting to turn Black Panther into an ongoing series, Marvel has offered me all the crown jewels (laughs) all of their most important characters. I picked one of my favorites and I just turned the first issue of that in. So that will be coming up soon as well.

This Has A ?Once And Future King? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Dead Men Tell No Tales

Kandora Publishing, a new company on the comic scene, is assembling a number of multi-genre books for release in 2005, filling a void for those who enjoyed titles like El Cazador. Their first book, Barbarossa and the Lost Corsairs, is an ongoing monthly series written by Brian Augustyn, with art by H.S. Park and colors by Transparency Digital. Even though Barbarossa is largely a fantasy title, it does have some basis in history, as series creator, Augustyn elaborates:

    The title character, Barbarossa, is an actual historical figure, a famed privateer and pirate who lived in the early to mid 16th Century. The Greek term, Barbarossa,” means “red beard” and was the nick-name shared by two Turkish brothers, Aruj, the elder and Hizir, the younger. They were the sons of a wealthy Turkish artisan and a Greek mother. The family was devoutly Muslim and the sons gladly served the Ottoman Empire against its enemies from the West. Hizir ad Aruj sailed under the flag of empire as privateers, harrying the shipping lanes and taking hostages and plunder under the conditions or war. Aruj, who had been made a slave as a young man by a Italian nobleman, went at his duties with brutal efficiency. Hizir, whom legend says was more lighthearted, did his for the adventure and excitement of the game. The brothers were eventually rewarded by Sulieman, their Emperor, by being made Regents of Cyprus (one after the other, Hizir succeeded his brother after Aruj’s death). Hizir, it is said died at a comfortable and satisfied old age in or about the year 1547.

Our story finds the younger Barbarossa in 1511, while he is still a young freebooter, sailing the fastest Corsair boat on earth around the Mediterranean, making trouble for the enemies of the Empire. My fanciful contention is that, while making a raid on a coastal Italia stronghold, the ship disappeared into a weird cosmic sea storm. When next they’re aware of their surroundings, they are on an entirely new and strange world; having left earth far behind. This world’s seas are swarming with huge and deadly monsters and the strange human inhabitants are so caught up in political intrigues and coming war that they may be even more deadly. The world of Helios is dangerous, but it also holds the promise of wild adventure and untold riches. Barbarossa and his friends want to find their way back home, to be sure, but not before they’ve taken their share of whatever they can plunder.

Complicating the adventure, in a lovely way, is the Contessa Julia Gonzaga, of Fondi. She seems to be a captive, until you realize that it was she who insisted on coming along–at the point of her expertly used rapier. An equal partner, Lady Julia is just as interested in thrills as is her host, Hizir. And both are likely equally interested in each other as well.

While on Helios, they will discover new and bizarre creatures, battles and intrigues, a wild array of planetary races, many of whom seem to be displaced (at differing points of history) from earth. Behind all of the ongoing adventure is the mysterious question of how our heroes and the others were brought to this strange place–and how they might return. The answer is out there, but it won’t be found too quickly. There’s a whole world of new wonders to be charted first!

Barbarossa and the Lost Corsairs sails into comic shops in March 2005.

This Has A ?Captain Jack Sparrow!? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


The Lion of Olympus

Over at the new Paperfilms Forum, Frank Tieri has confirmed that he is writing a Hercules miniseries for Marvel:

    This got leaked at Wizardworld Dallas, but yeah, I’m writing a new Hercules project, due in April. The big lug’s series will be 5 issues long with art chores by industry great Mark “Tex” Texeria and Paperfilm’s own Jimmy P. This is going to be big, people– especially when fans hear what it’s about– so I’d start reserving my copy today if I were you.

This Has A ?Twelve Labors of Doom? Factor of Six Out of Ten


She?s Alive! Alive!!

Mike Oeming (Powers) has posted a preview of his upcoming one-shot, 86 Voltz: Dead Girl over at his website:


You can check out the rest of the pics here.

This Has A ?I Always Wanted To Say That? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Art Attack

Here?s a few pics that were sent to me this week: Tony Moore?s cover to next The Walking Dead trade paperback, a Flare cover by industry legend Frank Brunner and Rob Liefeld?s X-force # 2 cover that was rejected by Marvel.



Enjoy.


Alright people, this is my last ATR of 2004. But we?ll still have a new ATR up next weekend courtesy of our returning guest host, John Voulieris. Then I?ll be back January 02, to kick off 2005 with a bang. So in the meantime, have fun, be safe and be happy.

Happy Holidays!

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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