Welcome back to another edition of All the Rage.

This is the big one, my 100th column as the regular host of ATR. And it?s been over two years since I came onboard?

But as I mentioned last week, this is also the end of my run.

You may not remember this, but I was a frequent guest host and source for my predecessor, Markisan Naso. He had a great ATR run, which I thought was going to last for years. So I was more than a little shocked when Markisan decided to step down and SBC Publisher, Jason Brice offered me the job with Markisan?s blessing. I took the gig, figuring I?d write it for about a year, tops. Obviously, I stayed longer?

I started just after I had graduated from film school and tried to balance writing the column with my TV and film aspirations. However, I?ve found that ATR is an enormous drain on my time. And not just the time it takes to write the column, but also in the time it takes to chase down leads and stories. Between a full time day job and riding shotgun on ATR, I haven?t had nearly enough time to work on my scripts. Something had to give and this is it. Frankly, this has been a problem for a while now and I probably should have left sooner. But I wanted to see my run through to a proper conclusion.

My departure doesn?t mean that the column is ending. ATR is an institution. It will continue. And it?s my pleasure to announce that the seventh host of ATR will be John Voulieris. John has been my guest host for the last two years and he?s more than earned his shot. So, just give him the same chance you gave me and give him a hand by sending your tips to [email protected].

John?s first column will be up next week. After that, we have something special in the works?

Before I sign off, I want to extend my profound thanks to my friends and supporters: Jason Brice, Mike Storniolo, John Voulieris, Keith Dallas, Brandon Thomas, Michael Diaz, Clifford Meth, Markisan Naso, Darren Schroeder, Beau Smith, Craig Johnson, Sean Maher, Jim Shelley, Matt Nixon, John Dokes, Jim McCann, Lee Dawson, Jeremy Atkins, Amy Huey, B. Clay Moore, Jim Demonakos, Joe Keatinge, Ross Richie, Gianluca Glazer, Annie Pham, Jim McLauchlin, Heidi MacDonald, Corey Brotherson , Stephan Nilson, Alex Segura Jr., Shane Bailey, Jessie Garza, Josh Howard, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Chris Ryall, Dan Taylor, David Gallaher, Bon Alimagno, Dave Lanphear, Marie Croall, Scott Hinze, James Sime, Jai Nitz, Mark Andrew Smith, Val Staples, Allen Berrebbi, Tim Seeley, Susan Bishop, Douglas Merkle, Michael Netzer, Max Criden, Egg Embry, Marlan Harris, Daniel Lundie, Mark Millar, the Millarworld regulars and especially to all of the ATR readers out there who stayed with me for the duration.

I?m Way Outta Here?

Blair


Wait?

You didn?t really think I?d leave without one last round?

Especially not this week, at the much-anticipated Heroes con? As you might recall, last year, the comic industry rallied around Shelton Drum?s long running show when Wizard tried to muscle in on it. A mistake that they seem intent upon repeating?

Needless to say, I wasn?t about to miss this convention for anything. And as expected, a number of interesting news and rumors where swirling around?

Keeping Up With The Johns

One of the most repeated rumors coming out of Heroes Con had Geoff Johns taking on another DC superhero revival next year as a six issue miniseries. However while following up on it, it seems that the ?revival? isn?t happening.

But I do hear that Johns will be working on a new title at the end of this
year…

This Has A ?Rebirth? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


To World?s End

With the release of Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man?s Chest mere days away, there are multiple rumors that the comic rights are being heavily sought after and an announcement may come as soon as the San Diego Con. Right now, the leading contenders appear to be Dark Horse and IDW, but that doesn?t preclude another suitor from swooping down and sailing away with the Black Pearl?

This Has A ?We Named The Monkey Jack? Factor of Six Out of Ten


If This Be Doomsday?

We?ve got an update about the new Superman direct-to-video animated feature mentioned here last week. Fanboy Planet has a report that indicates that the project will involve Doomsday and was at least at one time based on the ?Death of Superman? storyline. One of our ATR Agents, ?Captain Boomerang? confirmed that Doomsday is in the film. He also mentioned that Timm is co-writing the feature with Duane Capizzi, the writer of the widely panned Superman: Brainiac Attacks. ?Boomerang? expressed some sympathy towards Capizzi for the Brainiac debacle and seemed to indicate that he wasn?t entirely to blame. He also mentioned that voice recording has already begun for this feature, which may mean it will be coming much sooner than originally anticipated?

This Has A ?Giant Polar Bears? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


War Zone

For a while now, there?s been a rumor that John Romita Jr. would be doing a stint on The Punisher once he wraps up The Eternals. However, word from on high is that it?s not happening?

This Has A ?Broken Mircochip? Factor of One Out of Ten


World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator

Alright, I?ve got good news and bad news for Hellboy fans. The bad news is that the much-anticipated Hellboy: Darkness Calls miniseries has been pushed back, tentatively to February 2007.

The good news is that I have confirmation of the long requested Abe Sapien project. It?s going to be a miniseries that provides a definite explanation of his origins. No word yet on the creative team for this one, but I can?t imagine Mike Mignola letting this story be told without writing or co-writing it?

This Has A ?Drums of the Dead? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


I, Optimus

I had an interesting conversation this week with a buddy in the animation biz.

?Rust?: There?s gonna be a new Transformers cartoon next year.

Me: Yeah?

?Rust?: And it?s gonna suck.

Me: Really?

Anyway, he went on to describe the premise of the series, which takes place about 100 years from now. That?s not what you might think? It doesn?t advance the Transformers timeline. Instead it ?re-imagines? the original Transformers crash landing ?in the world of I, Robot?. So all of these sentient giant robots won?t even be unique on the planet?

What the hell is the point of that?!

This Has A ?Bad Soundwaves? Factor of Five Out of Ten


Return To Darkness

Look for a new Darkness five issue miniseries to come out from Top Cow next year around the release of the video game. Each issue is said to be based on a level from the video game and may even be titled ?Darkness: Level One?, ?Darkness: Level Two?, etc?

This Has A ?Darklings Attack? Factor of Six Out of Ten


Beat The Press

One of the downsides of the weekly column format is that some of your scoops are inadvertently lost when a company puts out a press release before you can capitalize on the info. Case in point, I heard that Will Conrad (Serenity) would be the artist on Freshmen II, but couldn?t post it before Top Cow officially announced it.

That?s fine? I always try to bring something new to the table. And while they made the announcement, they didn?t have anything other than the cover to show.

I do.

So, here?s your first look at Conrad?s rendition of the Freshmen. Colors by Blond.

Now, what this means for the next Serenity miniseries isn?t clear. Conceivably, Conrad could do both, but the schedules may overlap. I don?t know for sure one way or the other?

This Has A ?Back 2 School? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


She Slays

Speaking of Joss Whedon related concepts; I?ve heard a few things about the forthcoming Buffy season eight comics. As Whedon himself noted a few weeks ago, the first mini is going to be four issues and he is also laying out the story for the rest of the season. I?ve been told that the storyline is roughly 20 issues, spread across multiple miniseries and that Whedon will be recruiting some of his former Buffy writers to handle the bulk of the writing chores, though Whedon may return to write the ?season finale? himself.

I?m also told that the first issue starts with Buffy and some of the other Slayers on a covert ops mission?

This Has A ?Once More With Feeling? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


The Lady Dragon

One of the comics being teased at Heroes Con was Cyn, based on Cynthia Rothrock. For those who aren?t familiar with her, Rothrock is a martial artist who has appeared in dozens of films over the years with an impressive fan following, including the SBC?s own Beau Smith. There have been rumblings of a similar comic book in the past, but this one appears to be closer to fruition. It?s being produced by Team Mushim, which consists of Marlin Shoop, James “Bukshot” Bukauskas, Tom Chu, and Josh Krach the writer. The publisher should be determined in the next few weeks and the debut of the book is tentatively set for next year?s New York Comic Con.

This Has A ?China O’Brien? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Land, Ho!

Rick Spears (Teenagers From Mars) was also at Heroes con last weekend, talking up his new Image book, Pirates of Coney Island that will be drawn and colored by his Valentine collaborator Vasilis Lolos. Spears wasn?t able to get me art before the deadline but he did mention that Pirates is going to be an eight issue miniseries starting in October.

This Has A ?Stab Out My Eye!? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Return of The Bootleggers

Now, for the other type of pirates? I don?t know if anyone else has mentioned this yet, but the bootleggers were back at Heroes con. Not in their usual numbers mind you, but they were there? with a few differences. For starters, the focus seemed to be more on foreign films and TV shows than American movies. This seems to stem from a belief that the bootleg TV shows aren?t being targeted to the same extent as the movies. Though a few dealers couldn?t resist putting out their bootleg Superman and Star Wars (original trilogy) DVDs?

This Has A ?Kidnappster? Factor of Six Out of Ten


Ninja, Please!

The good folks over at Boom! Studios have let slip what their next ?Tales? anthology will be after Pirate Tales: none other than Ninja Tales. The Boom! Studios team of writers will likely reteam on this with a number of artists as they have in the past on Zombie Tales and Cthulhu Tales.

Now, if only they would take my suggestion and do a Ninjas vs. Pirates one-shot? They told me that ?then some one would have to win.?

But? don?t you understand?

When Ninjas fight Pirates, everybody wins!

This Has A ?Way of The Ninja? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


The Irredeemable Art Attack

You know, I remember back in August 2005 when I first had the news that Robert Kirkman and Phil Hester were teaming up on Ant-man. And I also remember how it was shouted down as B.S. and hearsay.

Good times, good times.

But hey, just to show there are no hard feelings, here?s a couple pages from Ant-man for your viewing enjoyment:



And I?ve also got some pages from Punisher: War Journal by Matt Fraction and Ariel Olivetti.



 


Raging Stars

Over the last few years, I?ve come across a number of comic creators. Some on their way down and some on their way up? There are a few in particular who I feel are going to make a major impact on this industry. These are the creators you should keep an eye on?


Paul Renaud

Paul is an artist living in France who is phenomenally talented. And that?s underselling him. I?ve called him ?the second coming of Adam Hughes? but even that doesn?t begin to describe what he can do. His art reminds me of Alex Raymond, Al Williamson and Mark Shultz, but he brings his own style to bear as well. Up to now, he?s been largely unknown in the US, though he has done some work on Budd Root?s Cavewoman?



I said up to now, because his anonymity is about to end. Paul is teaming up with Rick Remender on a book that is going to be HUGE.

Mark my words.


J.K. Woodward

J.K. is another incredible artist on the rise. I first noticed him two years ago when he was painting Crazy Mary for Digital Webbing. He?s since gone on to work with Peter David as the artist on Fallen Angel for IDW. And I feel it?s only a matter of time before he gets the recognition he deserves.


 


Valerie D’Orazio

Valerie was as an assistant editor at both Acclaim and DC for about six years. Since leaving her position, she?s been writing the Kamikaze Girl column for another comic news site and recently started a blog called Occasional Superheroine (http://occasionalsuperheroine.blogspot.com/). I?ve been very impressed by her insight into the comic business and her passion for storytelling. She is also developing a creator owned title called Vamptopia, an “Anne Rice meets Quentin Tarantino meets Kurt Vonnegut Jr.” story which she is looking to adapt into various multi-media. Any interested artists or companies can reach her at [email protected].

In the interim, she sent along some conceptual pics by Duanne Barbour, (http://www.cloudeagle.com) and Luis Rivera (http://lururinu.deviantart.com/):

 


Skipper Martin & Christopher Provencher

Skip is an editor of film and television that happens to be a friend of mine. He?s also a great storyteller. He told me about his book, Bizarre New World last year and I thought it was brilliant. It?s got one of the best high concepts I?ve heard in a while (which I won?t spoil) and it?s a natural fit as a comic.


He hooked up with Chris over at Digital Webbing and it?s really been coming together quickly. I worked with Chris on this year?s April Fool?s Day column, so I can attest to how versatile and inventive he can be. I?m really looking forward to reading this one and it won?t be a long wait? The first issue is almost completely done before they?ve even started pitching it to the publishers.


 


Felipe Smith

What can I say about Felipe?

Felipe is one of the most exceptional OGM creators I?ve come across. He?s already put out two volumes of his book, MBQ, with a third in the works. But that?s not enough for Felipe. He constantly goes out and actively sells his book to anyone and everyone. And it works for him?

Case in point, a few weeks back he was hanging out in front of Undefeated in Hollywood, while people were lined up and camping out waiting for the latest Nikes to go on sale. Felipe not only stayed the entire night and sold his books directly to the people in line, he also drew a 14 page comic about the experience while he was there.



You can check the rest here.

MBQ for Life!!


And Now For A Taste of Things To Come?

I was a writer long before I was a rumor columnist.

So, it shouldn?t be too shocking to hear that I?ve got a few comic projects of my own that have been in the works for a while now. They?re all at different stages of development, but the one that?s almost ready to go predates my involvement with SBC and ATR by several years. The hard part was finding the right artist?

But I found him.

And while it?s still too soon to talk about? there?s no reason I can?t provide a teaser.

When the time is right, I?ll show you more?


So Long, And Thanks For All The Rage

That?s it for me here at ATR. But I?ll see all of you in the future?

And the future starts now.


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