I know what you’re thinking. What’s the deal with all the ATR writer changes lately?
Well, here’s what I know: the ATR revolving door swung open for Alan Donald a few weeks back so he could switch places with J. Hues and write Rolling with the Punches. Now Mr. Donald is writing The Final Draft, but truth be told, I’ve never even spoken to Alan. However, I hear the man has a hearty British accent, so I probably wouldn’t understand him anyway. My boss here at SBC also has an indiscernible New Zealand twang, from what I’m told. Thank God most conversations happen over instant messenger where these guys can type out sentences. As for the vocally talented Mr. J. Hues, well he unexpectedly defected to Future Comics, where he now serves as some kind of promotions guy (Read this interview). So unfortunately, he’s left you.
That’s where I come in. I’ve been charged with filling that hole in your big, fat comic book heart. If you can’t pronounce my name or would have preferred one of the SBC vets to take up the reigns, believe me I understand. I wasn’t expecting to be here. Hell, I voted for Bittman to take over. But as luck would have it, I’m your bitch now.
And before you ask, let me just say that I’ll try my best and be the Rage Rock you deserve. But in the event that my tenure here is short-lived (as one online journalist has already predicted), you can rest assured that SBC will just get some other guy you don’t know to write up rumors and tell you sweet, pernicious lies. For now I think I’ll just use a line by the great James Garner, who once said, “Just so you understand, I’m on my way to Australia.” Until then I’ll do my best to stock the shelves with all the finest comic book candy I can find and avoid the razor blades inside.
I have inherited the fine folks at Dynamic Forces as sponsor, which means a hotline straight to DF President Nick Barrucci’s office. But whenever I call all I get is a recorded message telling me about today’s great Daily Special… which happens to be The Complete Image Package. You get: Warlands #1 DFE Alternate Cover signed by Pat Lee; Wildcats/X-Men: The Silver Age #1 signed by Jim Lee, Scott Lobdell and Scott Williams; Rising Stars #9 DFE Alternate Cover signed by John Livesay; and Tomb Raider #4 DFE Alternate Cover signed by Jae Lee. The message goes on to say, “Today’s DF Special is filled to the max with signatures from the Image Universe. The master from Dreamwave Pat Lee to Jae Lee and his sweet image of Tomb Raider to Jim Lee’s incredible artwork in Wildcats/X-Men Crossover, this package has it all from Image Comics. Instead of standing in those two hour lines at conventions to obtain these hard to get signatures, we make it easy. Just by the press of your finger on the keyboard, you too can own this package. Remember, this will only last for one day so hurry while supplies last.” And now my hand really hurts because of writer’s cramp from transcribing the message. Boy, that Nick Barrucci sure can talk fast when he wants to!
Alright, I have rumors to get to, so enough of this chatter!
Superhero Signal Turned On?
Never one to shy away from quality self-promotion, Warren Ellis cracked open his Bad Signal diary last week to reveal that he’s working on a “Job No-One Would Expect Me To Do”. According to the email list, he has already started writing the full outline for this mysterious project. So what the hell could it be, you ask? Could Warren finally be finishing Ministry of Space #3? Could Morning Dragons be more than just a two year wet dream? Well, impatient reader, allow me to speculate further.
Given Warren’s open disregard for superheroes in the past it seems unlikely that this new gig would be something like say, Superman. And it’s just way too obvious that a superhero book would be the unexpected toy in Ellis’ secret cereal box, in my humble opinion. Me, I’m thinking more along the lines of a romance comic, a la Mark Millar’s recently announced Trouble, but with lines like “I love you, you big fat, beautiful bastard,” and “F#$@ your poem and get me a drink.”
But before my imagination got carried away, I decided to email Mr. Ellis to get the lowdown on this thing. He was far from forthcoming.
- Me: Could you elaborate on this some more?
As luck would have it, I happened to receive another email from Bad Signal a couple days ago. In it Ellis talks about why he isn’t writing superhero comics these days. He says things like, “I don’t think there’s any need for more superhero comics” and “If I mock the vast mass of superhero comics as ‘pervert suits’, then I do it because the vast mass of them are generic and often very bad, and because I find it amusing to do so”, and “You’d never catch me going back to work-for-hire full-time”.
Still, Warren does offer a glimmer of hope for those of you longing for him to squeeze back into the spandex. “If I had a knock-down brilliant idea for a superhero comic tomorrow, I’d do it.”
So, did Mr. Ellis come up with a stellar superhero idea to help decorate his new DC home? I guess we’ll see. If he has, let’s hope we don’t have to wait as long for the big return as we have for the next issue of Planetary.
Note: The Bad Signal email also revealed that Warren pitched a creator-owned original 128-page sci-fi serial at the same time as the “no-one would expect job”. I asked him if he could reveal anything else about this project and again he responded, “No.”
This Has A “Superhero Comics are the Supreme Evil of the Industry and Should Be Stomped and Obliterated Into Tiny Paper Chunks” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten
To Me, My Ultimate Green Monster
Speaking of superhero comic book possibilities, I was directed to the Broken Frontier message boards, where a guy named Chris maintains that the next Ultimate mini-series will be Ultimate Hulk vs. Ultimate X-Men. He says the series will be drawn by Trevor Hairsine, who recently finished up a very short stint on Captain America.
“Trevor Hairsine is drawing this as we speak. Ultimate Hulk vs. Ultimate X-Men, but I still don’t know who’s writing it yet. Give me time though!”
I immediately e-mailed Joe Quesada about this, but I haven’t heard back yet. If this is true, I think Hairsine will render a very impressive Hulk. But let’s just hope the guy draws the entire mini. Having bailed on Cla$$war after
3 issues and Cap after only 3 as well (both in the middle of their respective story arcs I might add), he doesn’t have the best track record for completing things. We don’t need a Frank Quitely Jr.
This Has an “Another Marvel Ultimate Smash” Value Of Six Out Of TEN
You’re My Angel.. Let Me Save You Tonight..
One of the biggest rumors going around comicland is whether or not Peter David’s new Fallen Angel series is really a continuation of Supergirl, featuring the distraught but delectable Linda Danvers (especially when drawn by Ed Benes).
Well, I believe this to be completely true and I present the following evidence:
- Peter David has dropped hints about a connection between the Girl of Steel and Fallen Angel at his website. In one post Peter details the two possible plans he had for a continuing Supergirl series. When describing possibility B, he says, “The plan was a continuing storyline with Linda about which I will not, at this time, go into detail, except to say that Supergirl fans should keep reading my DC work.”
- In an interview conducted by CSN (available at NEWSARAMA, Peter is also quoted as saying, “Let’s put it this way: I strongly suspect that some fans will infer connections between the two. Me, I’m handling all such queries in very much a don’t ask, don’t tell manner. Except I suspect people will keep asking. But I still won’t tell!”
- Supergirl is hot. The character in Fallen Angel is probably hot. Yeah, she’s all covered with robes and darkness and leather wrists straps, but how many female comic book characters do you know that aren’t… hmm.. sorry, the whole Supergirl in straps thing suddenly made me lose my train of thought…
Oh yeah, Peter. It definitely works for me.
This Has a “Superheroine S&M” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten
Possession Is Nine Tenths Of The Law
If you read the Rage last week you know that J. Master Hues included a little blurb about Geoff Johns’ new horror book, The Possessed, being strangely similar to an older Wildstorm title by the name of Nightfall: The Black Chronicles. This little rumor, sent by some guy Hues dubbed MBDAMOBD, attracted a lot of attention from the creators of both projects. It seems that all parties agree that The Possessed is a completely different animal. Having read Nightfall and now the script to issue #1 of The Possessed, I’m in one hundred percent agreement. But don’t take my word for it. Below are letters from Geoff, Possessed artist Liam Sharp and even Ford Gilmore, the writer of Nightfall.
From Geoff Johns:
- I GUESS they say any press is good press…
Look — It’s like comparing the EXORCIST with BLADE.
The simple fact is — the only coincidence these two books HAD was a character with a cross on his hand. We’ve since replaced it, now that I’m aware there was a character with one already around. It’s unfortunate that no one caught this earlier, especially since this was at WILDSTORM, but it’s early enough and it’s not a major part of Father Burroughs, that we could remedy this. But any similarities in concept, plot, characters, etc. ends with that.
Here’s the ORIGIN BOX on THE POSSESSED.
“Possessed as children but ultimately freed, each of these individuals continues to struggle with the horrors that once plagued them. They have made a vow to exorcize the unseen evil that continues to infest this world — an evil that preys on the rare innocence left in humanity. With a combination of ancient tools and advanced technological weapons, they face these terrors without hesitation. These men and women were once — and always will be — THE POSSESSED.”
Ford is a longtime friend. I’ve known him personally for years because we worked on film development together back when I was with Donner and he was with Goodman. Read the first issue of THE POSSESSED and, like Ford and Tomm, you’ll know it’s a completely different world, concept, comic book.
No one’s trying to “screw” anyone.
There’s a preview of it coming up in DC HORIZON where anyone curious can see the first six pages or so of issue #1. And while I’m here — here’s a sneak of the cover of #2.
- Geoff (Johns) just pointed out your article to me. There’s no doubt at all that the characters have similarities. Earlier today our editor alerted me to this fact, and the artwork will be changed accordingly. Creativity is full of such pitfalls. We don’t know everything that is produced at all times, whether we are song writers, novelists, film makers or comic book creators. I have never seen Nightfall prior to this, and it’s a surprise to me as much as anyone, but at the end of the day it’s not a surprise that we have had similar ideas to somebody else.
There have been many times over the years when I thought I had an original idea, only to see it played out on TV, or in a movie, comic, novel, whatever. Anybody who has created works of fiction will have sympathy with this. It happens all the time. But neither myself, Geoff, Kris or Wildstorm would knowingly put out a piece of work that was entirely based around somebody else’s idea, unless, of course, it was parody. It would be bad judgment, bad practice and basically just plain BAD. But whatever superficial similarities there may be, I suspect (not having ever seen an issue of Nightfall) that that is all they are. Superficial. Where there have been unintentional similarities, and while we still have time to do something about it, they will be put right.
For my part I have worked extremely hard on this project to try to make it a title worth buying. I’ve thrown everything I’ve got at it. After a two year break from the industry it would be the dumbest thing I have ever done to come back with a complete rip-off of another creator’s hard work. If I have inadvertently appeared to be riding somebody else’s coat tails, then I am deeply sorry about it. I hope that both Tim Coker and Fred Gilmore will give our book a chance in it’s own right, and hopefully enjoy it for the differences, not the unintentional similarities that have been brought to light.
From Ford Gilmore:
- My name is Ford Lytle Gilmore, and I am the writer of
NIGHTFALL: THE BLACK CHRONICLES
- . I am writing regarding your “Separated at Birth?” blurb in the most recent “All the Rage.”
While I appreciate “MBDAMOBD’s” love of NIGHTFALL, I think that they’re wrong in calling THE POSSESSED a rip-off our book. When Tomm and I first started working on NIGHTFALL five years ago, we always intended it to be a fusion of horror and noir (which is how we pitched it to WildStorm), emphasizing crime elements over any paramilitary action. It is markedly different in tone, style, and execution from THE POSSESSED. While there might be some surface similarities, I think that’s going to be the case between most any projects in the same genres.
I’ve known Geoff Johns for years and consider him a friend; he’s an upstanding guy and wouldn’t rip off other creators, regardless if they were friends or not. The same is true of Jim, Scott, Ben, and everyone else at WildStorm and DC; they’ve been great to work with on a number of projects, and it’s ludicrous to think that they’d treat creators like “MBDAMOBD” suggests. It’s flattering for our book to have been remembered so fondly by “MBDAMOBD,” but I hope that s/he and any other fans of NIGHTFALL pick up THE POSSESSED when it comes out. What I’ve seen of the book looks fantastic. Geoff, Kris, and Liam have crafted a cool mini that’s the kind of thing that I’d like to see more of from our industry.
I think it would be a crime if your blurb in yesterday’s column affects THE POSSESSED’s sales adversely. I hope you’ll run this letter in its entirety on your site and clear-up this issue.
Consider it run, Ford. I know that I’ll be picking this series up.
This Has an “Unlawful Possession” Value Of One Out Of Ten
Just Like On The Discovery Channel
If you haven‘t heard, there‘s going to be a new Ren & Stimpy cartoon on TNN. The same network is producing episodes of Stan Lee’s new Stripperella toon. Well, a very reliable source tells me that in the very first episode, Ren and Stimpy come out of the closet! Yeah, that‘s right — they’re gay. At least for one ep anyway. Man, I have definitely missed that show.
I couldn’t even bring myself to follow up on this rumor. Let’s just savor it.
This Has a “Can Animals Even Be Gay?” Value Of Five Out Of Ten
Caught in the Red Tape
To get some perspective on this, I turned to my good friends Matt and Dan, who happened to be full to their hearts in Guinness at the local pub. The following is an amalgamation of what they both said. When transcribed in spoken order, the answer becomes surprisingly coherent.
Matt & Dan: “D.C. pissed at Millar for being pissed at them?! They’re the ones who pulled the plug on their best book! I understand editing content for mass distribution, but taming the grand finale on a book you can’t even buy on the spinner rack at the local A&P is ludicrous. And now they’re pumping the Authority for all it’s worth, while all the core fans are still pissed? Let’s break it down — you hire Millar to do a story and he gives it his all. You might as well try to sell it, and leave the locker room banter to the junior-highers. D.C., you’re only hurting yourself.”
This Has A “DC Stalinite” Value Of Seven Out Of Ten
Jim of All Trades
I talked to renaissance man and all around nice guy Jimmy Palmiotti (writer of 21 Down, inker on Reload) the other day and he tells me that film contracts for Beautiful Killer have been signed with Strike Entertainment. “Strike’s Marc Abraham and Eric Newman are producing, with Jessica Alba and Chris Henze who will exec produce the pic, at least that’s what I am told so far,” Jimmy says. “What happens next is that Strike goes into big time development…and I won’t be too far behind, being involved as one of the projects producers as well.”
Jimmy also informed me that Blackbull Entertainment is collecting all three issues of Beautiful Killer in a trade this summer. There will be “extra character development art added by series artist Phil Noto, and Adam Hughes.”
And, if that wasn’t enough, Jimmy says that he will soon be busy with Painkiller Jane for the Sci-Fi network and with another cable TV project he can’t talk about yet. With all these Hollywood deals going on, it’s amazing the man has time to write and ink comics.
This Has A “Hardest Working Bastich in Comics Award” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten
And last but not least, there is the little matter of Huesy’s “Best Message Board Site” Contest. Since his ass is gone, I am officially shutting this thing down. Why? If I get one more email that says “Broken Frontier, baby!” I will actually go blind. However, I am not without compassion. Since people like finality to things I hereby proclaim Millarworld as the best message board around. It’s the only place I post regularly and the excellent Won Kim moderates. That’s enough to put it over the top.
Oh, I’m sorry, you thought this was a democracy? Tell that to DC.. baby.
PS If anyone has any rumors to share please send them to me immediately. Just click on my name at the top of the page and you’re halfway there. If you don’t want your name revealed then just give me an alias or let me know that you don’t want to be mentioned in any way. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It’s appreciated.