Hello again. Hope you had a good week; it’s a pleasure to see you here again. This is All The Rage, SBC’s rumour, news and opinion column. At all times remember the Rumour Barrier you clicked through I wouldn’t want anyone to get upset. I don?t set out to attack anyone – All The Rage is here to entertain as much as inform.

Yet another week without a column competition, how will I cope? You, on the other hand, can get your butts over to the SBC-wide contest page and try to win a page of original Jae Lee artwork. This is the Last week of the Jae Lee contest, and all you have to is answer four questions to be in the draw to win a totally unique piece of comic book art. Just to remind you, these are the questions you need to answer:

Q1. What was Paul Jenkins’ first work as a comic book writer?
Q2. What was Jae Lee’s first work as a comic book artist?
Q3. In what year was Dynamic Forces established?
Q4. What previous projects have Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee worked on together?

On with the show.


Morrison on Avengers? Don’t Believe The Hype

http://forums.millarworld.biz/viewtopic.php?t=888&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=20

Nice idea on the millarworld forums… a secret source in the US, close to Marvel, has declared that Grant Morrison will follow Geoff Johns on the Avengers, after Johns departs with issue #76, due at the end of 2003. Our source says that this is bullshit, but a far more credible alternative is presented in the form of… Mark Waid.

This Has A “Wait And See” Rating Of Three Out Of Ten


Quick Bendis Update

Once the next big arc on Daredevil concludes with issue 50, Bendis and Maleev take a short sabbatical from the title, to get ahead on other books and pursue some of Bendis’s other Marvel work – a series of minis and oneshots by a host of well-known artists. This would, of course, seem to imply that #50 is the resolution issue to the whole “Matt Murdock is Daredevil” storyline. Into the breach steps David Mack, writing and painting the sequel to the “Echo” storyline reprinted in the trade Parts Of A Hole Mack’s arc will run for five issues, then Bendis storms back with issue #56 and a whole new direction for DD.

One thing to watch out for is even closer links between Daredevil and Alias, hopefully not in a romantic light, but with Typhoid Mary coming back to the title with #47 or #48, speculation mounts that she and Jessica Jones from Alias are closely related, or maybe even one and the same….

This Has A “You Are Following The Best Two Books In The Business, Right?” Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Open Your Draws!

That cheeky ogre Shrek! Ooops, no, make it that cheeky DC Editor Shreck? Word has it that he?s pulling a swifty. Here?s a snippet from DC?s solicitations, followed by a note from an anonymous source:

      The 6-part story “Archer’s Quest,” written by bestselling novelist Brad Meltzer, reaches its dramatic conclusion in GREEN ARROW #21. With that issue, Meltzer leaves the Emerald Archer behind, to be followed in #22 by a special issue written by Scott Beatty and illustrated by the regular

GREEN ARROW

    art team of Phil Hester and Andy Parks and a painted cover by Matt Wagner.

And the source says:

    This [GA #22] is actually a FILL IN issue that Schreck had done for the Kevin Smith run? but Kevin wouldn?t allow him to print it.

Why ever not? Read the issue to find out!

This Has A ?Found In The Bottom Drawer? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


No Future?

I’ve been sent quite a long and comprehensive account of an alleged soap opera that’s happening behind the scenes at Future Comics. Loads of gossip and scandal that any tabloid would kill for but the only real ATR part of it is that Future Comics are apparently in severe financial trouble. My source tells me that they are hiding the fact they are close to bankruptcy so that they’ll still be able to shift comics to retailers (who’d buy current issues if there weren’t going to be any more?).

As for the rest of the e-mail? I’m afraid it isn’t my sort of thing. I don’t want to offend you as you’ve obviously put a lot of effort into this and I’m glad you mailed it to me but I’m afraid sordid affairs and so on are not going to appear in my ATR.

Of course, anyone who wants the full details is more than welcome to buy me a pint at the UK Comics Festival on 24th/25th May ? by my reckoning this makes five unpublished stories to be related in person only?

However, in response to the anonymous source’s allegations, Bob Layton wrote in with the following e-mail:

    Normally, I would let rumors, such as the on you posted on Sunday, roll off my back like so much water. However, such talk could be damaging to our efforts at Future Comics, a company which is still struggling to get a solid foothold in the comics market. Concerning your post about the condition of my company– nothing could be further from the truth.

Here is a clarification, which should cast your “sources” in a different light: Recently, I was forced to conduct a “housecleaning’ of the company’s personnel, after numerous abuses of privileges came to light. Some of my “trusted employees” had been using company money, credit and resources for their individual needs. Additionally, I discovered that sensitive company information had been transmitted out of the company, via e-mail, by these same “trusted” individuals. Shortly after those dismissals, we began to be besieged by acts of sabotage, including break-ins, e-mail viruses and, of course, rumor mongering.

These are a matter of record. In fact, Future Comics will be issuing a press release early next week which clearly defines the damage caused by those acts of vandalism, which has slowed our operation down for a few weeks. What you have been receiving as FACT is merely the machinations of a few bitter, disgruntled employees. Alan, I would be happy to send you a copy of our current bank balance, if that would convince you that our financial situation is stable. We currently have enough money in our coffers to keep publishing until late summer, even if we never made another cent in the direct market. So, the allegations are an out-and-out lie.

Future Comics’ founders Dick Giordano, David Michelinie and myself, have always had reputations of solid professionalism and integrity.
You may speak to either of my partners concerning this matter and you’ll get the same response that you’ve received from me.
Please don’t aid these individuals in their efforts of petty revenge. We both have better things to do with our time.

Sincerely,
Bob Layton
Future Comics/President

Your mileage may vary on the veracity of the rumours, given the original source was anonymous. Interestingly, though, a third source (also anonymous) does provide an alternative and legitimate explanation why Future Comics may have been late issuiung payments to various parties.

This Has A “Good Read But Not Our Bag, Baby…” Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Film Notes

 

  • Look out for Elektra: Assassin within the next two years, possibly even before the Daredevil sequel. Jennifer Garner has said that she’s up for it, she’s also signed up to star in either a sequel or spin off. The director and others have been dropping hints all the way through production about the future for Garner’s character. Combining that with some recent information I’ve been sent, and it becomes clear that the next film will be a combination of Frank Miller’s classic story and Brian Michael Bendis’s recent take on the character.
  • There?s talk of a Wolverine spinoff movie that’ll look at his time in the Weapon X project and that will piece together his past. I can’t see this happening before the 3rd X-Men film.
  • It has been confirmed that the Lizard won’t appear in the Spider-Man sequel. Doc Ock will be there and expect a PP MJ love story, presumably one reason why PP and MJ get back together at the end of the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man #50.These Have A “Movie Fun” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten

    Comic Notes

     

  • Detective Comics will be getting a new art team from issue #788, Ryan Sook and inker Mick Gray. One gets the feeling it may have been sooner except that Mr. Sook had to finish Arkham Asylum: Living Hell first. Bridging the gap until Mr. Sook’s work is done there will be a filler run with art by Patrick Zircher. I?m hoping that Mick?s work on this book won?t affect his involvement in Promethea, sterling work from the guy on that comic.
  • Kurt Busiek has signed up with the media group Energy Entertainment to bring his one-shot comic Superstar: As Seen On TV to either film or TV.
  • Look out for the new Dick Tracy animated series coming soon. Also look out for a new Dick Tracy comic book from Dark Horse Comics set to come out around the time of the series? release.These Have A “Week In 3 Paragraphs” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten

    FREE STUFF!!!

    This is one of my favourite recurring stories. Free comics are cool and free comics on the web are, well, diverse to say the least.

    My first offering this week is one I’ve pushed before: Death Takes a Holiday.

    http://www.nextcomics.com/comics/template.php?comicnum=31

    With more on http://www.nextcomics.com/

    These are extremely funny and Jim Massey Must MUST MUST get a syndication deal.

    Completely different is Sheer Weight of numbers at http://www.nerdbait.com/webcomics/sheera

    This is a very personal and original strip. Look for more strips on:

    http://www.nerdbait.com/webcomics/webcomics.htm

    Here’s one that’s kept well up to date… it’s in a blog!

    http://www.livejournal.com/users/scooterboy1234/

    And more from elsewhere:

    http://comicworldnews.com/forum/ib3/ikonboard.cgi?s=2431567fcc3b73b755fbd92c56f460ae;act=ST;f=15;t=525

    Oh and here’s one that’s got 3 online comics including one from Warren Ellis.

    http://www.artbomb.net/comics.jsp

    These All Have A “Worth Looking At” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


    Monopoly Mashing

    Do you remember I reported on the story that Hasbro had been fined for price fixing in the UK? There have been more developments this week. Two UK chains have been handed out record fines for their involvement, much, much bigger fines than the manufacturer. The retail giants, Argos and Littlewoods, have been fined a combined ?22.5 Million.

    For those who don’t remember Hasbro, who manufacture Transformers, GI Joe and Star Wars toys amongst others were found guilty of making arrangements to keep the price of their products artificially high.

    Great news as this fine and investigation are for shoppers the toy industry have been remarkably frank and…brutal in their response. To be honest some of the responses I have seen are very worrying. Jon Salisbury from the Toy News sums up the stupidity and head-in-the-sand attitude very well. Stick with me here. You need this junk to get to the point. I’ll fast forward a bit:

      [Things that are illegal under UK and EC competition laws are] Agreements include agreeing prices or other trading terms (eg where companies agree not to compete on price by agreeing, for example, to charge the same price for a particular product); sharing markets (eg Bid rigging, refusing to supply certain customers or markets); applying dissimilar terms to equivalent transactions (thereby placing other parties at a competitive disadvantage) and imposing tying clauses (eg supplying one product only if another unrelated product or service is taken).

    Recognise yourself in any of that? Get the feeling that it may be time to consult the lawyers?

    and from another section:

      A typical conversation between a supplier and a retailer where a third party is discussed – say another retailer – is basically illegal

    Perhaps I’m just a jaded customer who is sick of paying through the nose. Perhaps I’m just sick of a country that seems to do all it can to artificially inflate prices on anything but I find the toy industry?s attitude to be quite worrying. The competition laws are straightforward and any layperson can see the sense in them but the toy industry can be seen all over the place claiming that they’re confused. They seem to think it’s their RIGHT to screw customers and that competition should be avoided at all costs. It doesn’t come across properly in the quotes above but the overall tone from Toy News and various other publications is that of an ‘old boy network’.

    Enough. Bottom line, will we see cheaper toys? Let’s hope so. Will these fines mean anything to the international community? Possibly. It shows that the UK is taking price rigging seriously, it could have a knock on effect in the EC and consumer groups around the world may cite the example when putting pressure on their respected governments. Is it the end of it? I doubt it. The toy industry is so used to screwing customers it’ll take some time to remove the habit. Thank God for comic and action figure shops that set their prices solely based on what will sell, sometimes higher than the high street, sometimes far lower but always unrigged, independent and subject to market forces.

    This Has A “Getting Off My Hobby-Horse Now” Value Of Six Out Of Ten


    Tharg Wants You!

    Here we go again…another great chance to get in on the ground floor of a top comic company, Rebellion. Other companies that want me to promote their opportunities should mail ’em in:

        WANT TO WORK FOR 2000 AD?
      POSITION: Junior Production Assistant.

    ROLE: To provide support to both the Designer and Production Assistant of 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine comic magazines.

    PRINCIPAL DUTIES: Scanning in artwork across both magazine titles and the graphic novels using a high-end Fuji Flatbed scanner and Colorscope software.

    Laying out strip pages within existing Quark Xpress templates.

    Preparing artwork for print using Photoshop/Illustrator software.

    Producing Postcript and PDF files of all pages using Acrobat Distiller.

    OTHER DUTIES: Archiving all issues onto CD/DVD and monitoring back-ups.

    Picture researching both comic art and other visual imagery.

    Packaging and supplying finished pages to the printer.

    Supplying artwork and various other visual imagery to the Webmaster.

    Ordering consumables and maintaining stock.

    Other administrative duties as and when required.

    SKILLS: Knowledge/experience in the necessary Apple Mac software (see above) although some training will be provided.

    A good eye for detail and a high level of accuracy across all tasks.

    Ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines in a fast-moving environment.

    Knowledge of the comic market preferred but not essential.

    PLEASE NOTE: This is not a DESIGN position although some design work may become available in the future to the right applicant who demonstrates the necessary ability and willingness to learn.

    WHAT NEXT?
    Please apply in writing, forwarding your CV and covering letter saying why we should employ you, to Graham Rolfe, The Studio, Brewer Street, Oxford OX1 1QN, or, e-mail jobs@2000adonline.com. The closing date for applications is 21st March 2003.

    Sounds good.

    This Has A “Opportunities Aplenty” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


    Um…What?

    Had a message in this week that confused me a bit. It was addressed to both myself and the ever-gorgeous Rich Johnston. Here’s the first bit that got me:

      the internet comic sites (i have to confess, i am increasingly loathe to call these sites, “press”)

    and then:

      i have to note that charged words like “gestapo-like” and the use of “blood bath” in an earlier column are what lead me to be dismissive of the comic book internet press… that’s opinion… not reporting. and yes, i know, your column is partly an opinion column, but i see that kind of writing in “news” stories as well.

    I can’t speak for Rich, but if you want his opinion on “journalism” you can find it on the Dynamic Forces site when he introduced his current batch of interviews. All the Rage is not the comic book ?press.? I honestly think you do need to go and read that rumour barrier properly. I am not a reporter, I am a columnist – if you want the press go to Silver Bulletins.

    The news that I present is mixed up with the rumours and the opinions. The idea of All the Rage is that I present rumours as they come to me, I present news stories that interest me and that I voice my opinion on both when it suits me. I don’t believe for a second my opinion is all that important but I present it a) because my boss has told me to and b) because doing so prompts people to think about subjects they may otherwise have ignored. Whether you agree with me or not is irrelevant, the fact that you’ve thought about a subject is what’s important.

    Now, what else were you saying?

      both of you consistently rag on dc for having a “tight lip” when it comes to talking to the internet comic sites? and not allowing employees to leak info. and now you write this: “Michael Doran is allegedly trying to turn Marvel into DC by instigating a full-scale Gestapo-like crack down on any leaks. The new Marvel policy is now apparently the same as DC’s, announcements come through the PR guy or else someone loses their job.” that is a press flack’s job!!! to control the flow of information to the news media! doran is getting PAID to do this. if people at marvel have free reign to talk to the press, why have a public relations executive?

    Hold up there. I’ll answer that. Marvel has for a while had an unofficial policy of leaking some info on upcoming projects in order to create a buzz for that project. In my opinion, Marvel is considered to be the fans? favourite and the fans love to know what’s coming next. DC is considered to be cold and sterile (the company rather than the books, I’m a DC freak as many know) by many fans and there isn’t the same buzz or anticipation of new projects because of DC’s policy of firing those who leak info.

      why do these policies seem to piss off you and your predecessor so much? and don’t say because it hinders your ability to get “gossip.” that shouldn’t be cause for such vitriol. seriously, think about it… “gestapo-like?” the gestapo were the secret police of one of the most inhumane governments the earth has ever seen. are you really comfortable likening doran and his dc counterparts to the gestapo?

    What is important are the fans and the industry on the whole. Marvel’s unofficial policy built a strong fan base; got everyone talking and made creators feel their projects were important. DC don’t have the same kind of fan loyalty and? surely it’s obvious. As for the whole Gestapo-like thing…well, after my comments on the Hitler doll it’d be very hypocritical for me to say I’m totally comfortable with them on reflection.

    HOWEVER it’s a very, very common phrase in the UK and I believe the US too that is used in this kind of circumstances all the time. I’m sorry if you’ve not come across it before and if it offends you that was the last thing I intended to do.

    This Has A “Responding Constructively” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


    Marvel Follow-Up

    Very interesting email came in after last week?s article about the perceived panic stations situation now evident at Marvel:

      I heard that pretty much everyone other than Brian Michael Bendis is getting their scripts back with a lot of notes from Quesada, who’s reading every script personally now. And that people from Sony are sitting in on story meetings. I also heard Axel Alonso is quitting to go elsewhere. He just had a baby, so maybe he wants more stability.

    Is it true? Hell I’ve no reason to doubt my source?s word so it all depends on the accuracy of his/her own source. As far as Axel Alonso goes this does have a certain ring of truth to it. Rumours have come that Karen Berger may be leaving Vertigo for pastures new (maybe being bumped upstairs at DC, maybe time to move on a la Helfer & Raspler?) and it doesn’t seem to be too much of a stretch to imagine Dan DiDio getting his cheque book out to entice Mr. Alonso back to Vertigo to head up the whole line (I know at least one UK creator, not the source of this info, who’d love that to be true, not out of any dislike for Karen Berger but out of love for Mr Alonso.)

    Um, one other thing? I take it Mr. Alonso’s partner has had a baby and he isn’t just a freak of nature.

    This Has A “Brimming With Possibilities” Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


    New Company

    Here’s something that grabbed my interest:

        Viper Comics a new comic book publishing company has launched one of its new comic series as a free on-line comic book. Everyone at Viper has been working around the clock to make a February 2003 deadline. The company wants to familiarize comic fans with Viper Comics characters. The on-line comic series “FANGS” has made its debut at

    http://www.vipercomics.com

      . The on-line comic series will be updated weekly.

    This Has A “Yet More Free Stuff” Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


    I’m done. It’s far too late at night and I want to sleep.

    Thank you for coming. Remember to send me any stuff you hear, everyone is anonymous unless they say so.

    TTFN

    Alan Donald – Signing off to sleep.


 

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