We’ve got a special guest co-host this week. Ladies and gents, give a welcome back to your friend and mine, former ATR writer Markisan Naso.

MARKISAN: Thank you, Blair. I never thought I’d do this again.

BLAIR: So, M… What’ve you been doing the last couple of months?

MARKISAN: Well Blair, I’ve been taking it easy. Went on vacation to the southwest where I bitchslapped rattlesnakes and whittled a cactus into a stein.

BLAIR: Been hanging with Beau Smith, then?

MARKISAN: Ha! Unfortunately no. I’ve never actually met the man. Just talked to him through IMs and email. He’s a tough bastard with a heart of gold. My kind of guy.

Hey, what is this? An interview?

BLAIR: Nah, I just have one more question – did you bring the beer?

MARKISAN: Always, B. But no twinkle berry wine coolers for you. Sorry, I know how you love that crap.

BLAIR: Fuck you! [laughs]

MARKISAN:: Ha ha! This is gonna be fun.

BLAIR: Alrighty then, we’re ready for the first item of the week..


Thor Patrol

BLAIR: There’s a rumor going around that Thor will be relaunched in the near future, with Mark Millar onboard as writer.

MARKISAN: Yeah, I heard that. At first I thought it was a strange choice. But Millar is great at revamps. And he’ll bring the ‘splode.

BLAIR: Personally, I was hoping the Neil Gaiman rumors would pan out.

MARKISAN: Dude, you want Neil Gaiman to write everything! I don’t want my Thor sipping tea and blowing stardust in some dreamworld. I want him to smack frost giants in the head with Mjolnir, shouting, “Tis on, whore-mothered beast!”

BLAIR: You say that like it’s bad thing… I know I’m in the minority, but I liked 1602. That had the best-written Thor in years.

MARKISAN: I didn’t read that. But you know, I don’t drink berry coolers either.

BLAIR: Any berry coolers here came from you, pal.

Anyway… if Millar’s coming to Thor, I wouldn’t expect him to stay on more than a 12 issues. Millar doesn’t usually stay for extended runs.

MARKISAN: No. He’ll do 12 and get the hell out.

This Has An “American God” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Make Mine Rob

MARKISAN: Speaking of Millar, I’m told he’s actually trying to get Rob Liefeld a consultant position at Marvel. He’s also lobbying for Liefeld to take over a publishing wing to try and hook young readers. This isn’t the first time Mark has gone to bat for Rob. He helped Rob get the X-Force gig a while back. I covered this in an old Rage.

You know, I’m beginning to think Millar and Rob are hot for each other. In a recent Millarworld thread Mark showered Rob with some flowery affection. Then Liefeld comes back and starts a thread titled, Why I’m thankful for Mark Millar. Jesus, it’s like reading an issue of Superman/Batman!

BLAIR: “Clark is so great! Have I mentioned lately how much I looooooooove Clark?”

MARKISAN: “Bruce has such a manly chest! With my super-hearing I know when it rubs against his spandex!”

[laughs] I don’t know why Mark wasted his time writing Trouble. The best romance in comics is the one he’s having with Rob. Jesus, just get a hotel and get it over with.

BLAIR: [laughs] Dude… I don’t think Liefeld as a consultant is gonna fly over at Marvel. It didn’t exactly work out the last time they tried that.

MARKISAN: Well, I actually think Rob would be a good consultant. He has great ideas and terrific enthusiasm. And I think Mark is right when he says that kids are excited by his art. But what Marvel shouldn’t do is give him his own “wing.” Rob isn’t good at managing projects. We’ve seen that over and over again.

BLAIR: Yeah, tell me about it… Exactly how long has it been since Youngblood: Bloodsport # 2 was supposed to come out?

MARKISAN: Got me. I think Rob recently said issue #2 is coming out in early 2005.

This Has A “Bosom Buddies” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Moore Movie Crap?

BLAIR: It’s been a big week for Alan Moore projects on film. First, Empire Online reported that a V for Vendetta film is going forward with first-time director James McTeigue (AD for the Matrix Trilogy) and AICN had a report naming Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy) as Darren Aronofsky’s replacement on Watchmen.

MARKISAN: No shit? That’s good news, man.

BLAIR: I dunno… There’s yet to be an Alan Moore derived film that hasn’t sucked ass.

MARKISAN: True. I wish he’d be more involved. From what I’ve read he basically just sells the rights, takes a pile of cash back to Hogwart’s Castle, or wherever the hell he lives, and turns a blind eye to the movie process. He doesn’t care what Hollywood does with his stories.

BLAIR: I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t care or simply doesn’t have any control. All the studios seem to care about is cashing in on his stories. Paramount is already pushing Watchmen for a summer 2006 release. They want it to be their “big tent-pole” movie for the year, which is just freakin’ wrong. That’s the kind of thinking that led League of Extraordinary Gentlemen astray. Now, if they have a good director, a great script and a decent cast, then maybe it’ll be watchable. But c’mon, you know they’ll probably just get someone like Jimmy Fallon to play Rorschach.

MARKISAN: I still haven’t seen LXG. But from what I’m told, casting Jimmy Fallon in that film probably would have improved it.

This Has A “From Hell” Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Darwyn’s Evolution

MARKISAN: So I talked with Darwyn Cooke recently. He wrapped up his fantastic miniseries DC: The New Frontier last month. He took a little break and now he’s working on a bunch of cool shit. At the moment he’s illustrating an issue of Solo, Mark Chiarello’s new title for DC.

“I’m scheduled for the 5th issue, and I’ve currently completed about half the book. The beauty of this project is it’s allowing me to stretch a few muscles that the mainstream books can’t accommodate. For example, each story will be somewhat different from a technique point of view. There will be straight-up color comix, painted work, crafting duo tone and a few other things I’ve been eager to try.

“Also, from a story point of view, Solo allows for almost any type of storytelling and subject matter. I’ve got a real classic Batman story, where he runs into the hoods from Selina’s Big Score sitting beside a twisted tale of misplaced love involving a man and a vacuum cleaner. Also look for Slam Bradley, Selina and a character I’ve been itching to do — The Question.

“The 48 page book will include six stories, gag panels, strip cartoons, free coupons for Mennonite baked goods and a whistle that will stop time.”

Darwyn told me he’s also working on a short story for his buddy John Lucas’ upcoming Monsterhands, as well as some pin-ups and covers. He said he’s going to take the plunge into the creator-owned world as well. “I agonized over where to publish, whether to self publish, 6 issue mini, 12 issues blah blah blah. I’ve just decided to go ahead and do the bloody book as a book and I’ll worry about who publishes it in the new year.

“So, in 2005 I’ll be putting out a 144 page graphic novel featuring an idea I’ve nurtured for several years. Like New Frontier, it will deal with themes like heroism and hope but it will be a contemporary story. I consider that my next real challenge; to take the thoughts and themes of New Frontier and explore them in a world that young and old can relate to. I don’t think there is a more moving story to be told than that of normal people doing ‘super’ things, and that’s where I’m going with this one. It’s kinda ironic – I have the whole thing mapped out and I’m working on the story details but no final name as of yet. Because this Graphic Novel will probably lead to others, I need to consider the title a little further.”

BLAIR: Those are some pretty tight pages… And Cooke’s been on a roll lately…

MARKISAN: Definitely. DC: The New Frontier was my favorite mini this year. I’m excited about his creator-owned project. But you know I should mention I’ve also heard a rumor that Darwyn is developing a new VERTIGO series with former X-Statix and upcoming X-Men writer Peter Milligan.

BLAIR: Nice.

This Has A “Good Cookin’” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Call to Arms

BLAIR: Former JSA artist, Steve Sadowski is rumored to be in negotiations with IDW for a book set in medieval times.

MARKISAN: It’s not Medieval Spawn I hope..

BLAIR: It’s not even the restaurant, as far as I’m told.

MARKISAN: Medieval Times? I hear they serve a lot of meat there. And there are wenches. Steve should ask for wenches as part of his IDW deal.

BLAIR: What the hell…wenches for everyone!

MARKISAN: I’ll have to talk to Beau about that…

This Has A “Fetch Me Ale” Factor of Six Out of Ten


Justice League Limited

This one isn’t a rumor, but I thought it was interesting. Iron Man writer Warren Ellis penned an upcoming episode of the cartoon Justice League Unlimited. He’s been talking about it on Millarworld. Ellis said he made twice as much for the ep as he does for a comic script. But don’t look for Warren to make a second career out of cartoon scriptwriting. He said it’s four times the work.

Ellis also described what it was like to write with restrictions: “Similar to the Marvel Ultimates stuff — kid-friendly = restrictions on language and violence. I’ve been around with US TV animation before (Hitch and I almost sold a series to ABC Family once), so I was aware of the kind of restrictions beforehand. That’s why the episode is, if you like, ‘fantasy violence.’

“Killing robots is okay, kids.”

Warren’s ep is titled “Dark Heart.” It’s already playing in Canada. “Dark Heart” hits U.S. airwaves December 18 on Cartoon Network at 8:30 Eastern.

In other Ellis TV/movie news, I’m told another one of his comics has been optioned. Not sure which one. And the Global Frequency TV series is still alive and kicking even though it has no home.

BLAIR: Well, Global Frequency may not be dead, but it doesn’t have a lot of options at this point. It’s not likely to be picked up by one of the four major networks and UPN probably isn’t looking for another action show. On cable, FX or Sci-Fi would probably be their best options, if either network is willing to bankroll a series of that scale.

MARKISAN: I doubt Sci-Fi would. Bastards took Farscape off the air because it cost too much.

BLAIR: HBO or Showtime would be ideal, but those are longshots.

MARKISAN: Oh definitely. But the pilot was shot for regular TV. SHO or HBO would have to throw in a band of foul-mouthed midgets and some lesbian scenes to get it up to pay cable standards.

BLAIR: Now you’re talkin’.

This Has A “Bad Signal” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Captain David to the Bridge

BLAIR: Earlier this week, Peter David confirmed his involvement with an upcoming animated film:

“I have signed with IDT Entertainment to write the screenplay for a new GR theatrical project, Gene Roddenberry’s Starpoint Academy. An original Gene Roddenberry concept in conjunction with Majel Roddenberry, Starpoint Academy is intended as a full length animated CGI film. IDT exec and Silver Bullet contributor Clifford Meth will be acting as story editor on the project, which is also being seen as a potential springboard for graphic novels and other venues.”

MARKISAN: Er… the only decent Gene Roddenberry projects have been in the Star Trek universe. This sounds like Andromeda or some crap. Still, PAD is one of my favorite comic writers, so I guess it could be good.

BLAIR: I’m amazed that Andromeda is still on the air. On Sci-fi, no less!

MARKISAN: Oh, that station is full of ass. Stargate SG-1 anyone? Farscape was Sci-Fi’s best show and they cut it to make room for MacGyver in Space?!

BLAIR: And reality shows. Don’t forget the reality shows…

MARKISAN: How can anyone forget, Blair? I think the fuckers breed.

This Has A “Sorbo” Factor of Six Out of Ten


Random Exposure

Viper Comics has slated the Random Encounter webcomic to make the jump into print in March 2005.

MARKISAN: What’s the book about?

BLAIR: Oh, it’s about some kids who’re thrust “into a maelstrom of confusion, freakish aliens, precipitous resurrection and enigmatical secrets.” Something like that.

MARKISAN: I don’t know dick about this book, but I wish the creators well.

BLAIR: It’s by a guy named Niccolo Balce. Between this and Oddly Normal, I think Viper Comics is reaching out to the all-ages crowd. And why not? Better them than Archie.

MARKISAN: I think I’m gonna need more beer if I’m to talk about Archie.

This Has A “Bump In the Night” Factor of Seven Out of Ten


BLAIR: That’s all for this week. Thanks for sitting in, Markisan.

MARKISAN: You owe me a six pack of Guinness.

BLAIR: You got it. We’ll do this again some time.


Shifter

In a late breaking story, Sean McKeever has addressed the cancellation of Mystique on his website:

      Yes,

Mystique

    is ending.

For those keeping score, this is the third Marvel series I’ve had canceled–fourth if you want to count Mary Jane, which many folks do, even though it technically isn’t–and, yeah, it sucks. You start to worry that maybe Marvel will decide that it’s because of your writing talents that your books are projected to dip into the red-ink zone, you start to doubt your abilities a little, et cetera…

But, really, I’m not too worried. You’d make a steaming pile in your pants if you knew how many things I’ve got under consideration at 10 East 40th Street. It appears that Marvel’s confidence is waxing, not waning.

I guess the thing that really blows about Mystique is that I had some great ideas on where to take it, but I was never going to be able to do some of it, even if the series continued.

As a character, Mystique is as multi-faceted and fascinating as they come. Just to name a couple elements of her character, she’s a former terrorist and a bisexual. Unfortunately, when you’re writing a book labeled for ages 12 and up, it’s kinda tough to explore those avenues. Really, Mystique needed to be a Marvel Knights series.

Understandably, that wasn’t a change Marvel was willing to make on a title that had already been running as long as Mystique (though they did it with X-Statix, but that was probably a very different situation). To the credit of editors Cory Sedlmeier and Mike Marts, I was given a good amount of leeway in depicting her as ruthless and homicidal, for which I’m grateful.

Marvel Knights or not, I had a radical shift planned for the title. It was going to become much more dark, personal and sexy in tone. Mystique would have had a first-person narrative. She would still be a super-spy, put the parameters would totally change.

Basically, it would have been Mystique Alone Against The World. After the events of QUIET (the story currently running through the series) she would have no one on her side, and no one willing to trust her. She’d wind up as a key player rather than a pawn, mucking with the X-Men, SHIELD, world governments and a clandestine anti-mutant organization hinted at in #18. (Oh, yeah–and she totally would’ve mixed it up with Carol Danvers.) And while doing so, she would recruit and manipulate younger mutants (some of which I introduced in my first story arc, UNNATURAL) into following her, creating a new Brotherhood of Mutants, not in name but in spirit.

And I would have given her a new girlfriend.

It would have been a lot of fun to dive into this new era of Mystique’s amazing life. Maybe someday I’ll be able to pitch a new Mystique series, but I just don’t sense any interest at Marvel, so I guess it’s best for me to focus my energies on other projects.

My thanks go out to artist Manuel Garcia; editors Sedlmeier and Marts; and to my predecessor, Brian K. Vaughan, for getting the ball rolling. And thanks, of course, to the loyal readers who stuck with the book after Brian left. I’ve had a blast adding to Mystique’s ongoing drama, and I look forward to one day being able to do so again.

The last issue of Mystique will be #24 in February. That’s the bad news. The good news is I have Something Else coming out from Marvel in March. But more on that in the coming weeks…

This Has A “New Horizons” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Alright, folks. Quick announcement time. Next weekend is Thanksgiving, so I’ll be out of town for the holiday. But ATR will be up next Sunday with a guest host, John Voulieris. John’s been a frequent ATR contributor and he’s got a good eye for material, so it’s sure to be interesting reading. I’m looking forward to it myself.

I’ll be back in two weeks. In the interim, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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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