Welcome to our Post Wizard World LA edition of ATR.
First off, I apologize for the delay in getting this up. As my editor, Jason, mentioned yesterday, I started a new day job this week. Coming right on the heels of a convention, I just didn?t have the time to finish the column before Monday night?
But enough about me. You want to know what I heard at WWLA? Then read on?
The Descent of Man
A rumor going around the show was that another artist has signed an exclusive contract: Leonard Kirk, who is currently working on the first Batman ?One Year Later? story with James Robinson on Detective Comics. Given his current assignment, it was thought that DC had the early line on Kirk. However, it now appears that he is taking a deal with Marvel for an undisclosed period. Thus far, there?s no word on what his first project at Marvel will be?
This Has A ?Powers And Principalities? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
A Southern Man Don?t Need Him Around Anyhow
One of the wilder rumors spreading at the con was that Neil Young has a graphic novel in development at Vertigo. Take a second to absorb that. This was my response:
Me: ?You mean Neal Adams, right??
Source: ?I mean Neil Young, the singer.?
So, apparently Young has been working on this project with Joshua Dysart (Swamp Thing). There?s no artist currently attached and from what I hear this has been a problem. The Vertigo editorial team supposedly wants to find someone and move forward before Young either starts another music project or loses interest. However none of the proposed artists have met approval by Young as of yet?
This Has A ?Back To Greendale? Factor of Nine Out of Ten
The Bloodsucker Proxy
Another rumor going around comic circles is that Harris is switching to a reprint model for Vampirella due to their dissatisfaction with the sales of Vampirella Revelations. Basically, what this means is that the series will likely not continue beyond the third issue and that new appearances of Vampirella will be few and far between. Only older material would be published (or republished), which would effectively marginalize the character. However, multiple sources have confirmed that Dynamite is interested in getting the rights from Harris and putting out their own Vampirella comics with a renewed focus on content and heavy promotion? Basically the same strategy used on the Red Sonja relaunch. While most in the Harris camp seem to acknowledge that it would be a good move, there is some resistance from the top that may keep this from happening. Apparently, they don?t want to look like they?re giving up. But if they do in fact, switch to the reprint model, then that?s exactly what they?re doing.
This Has A ?Rivers of Blood? Factor of Six Out of Ten
Zenescope has picked up the rights to produce a prequel miniseries for Se7en. From what I?ve been told, it?s going to be seven issues, one for each of the seven deadly sins. The stories will be divided among different creative teams and follow ?John Doe? (Kevin Spacy?s character) before the events of the movie?
This Has A ?Don?t Look In The Box? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Hard To Speak
For the last couple of weeks, I?ve been hearing that Arcana and Alias have been actively picking the bones of Speakeasy for comic projects in need of a new publisher. I?m not sure if any have actually been signed with either company as of yet, but apparently their interest lies not with the books themselves, but with any media rights they might generate. And they?re not alone in that regard. I?m told that a number of creators have found very few options that would allow them to keep their media rights intact. Not everyone offers a deal like Image, and most of the Speakeasy exiles will not be going there. These days, the media rights are often seen as the only way a creator can make any money on their own comics. It doesn?t always work out that way (or even work that way most of the time) but it?s still the hope that creators cling to. Though at this point their options seem limited: either go with a larger company and give up most or part of their rights, self-publish, or go with a smaller company that may ask for less. In this regard, I hear that Ape Entertainment is emerging as a favorite, and more titles may follow The Black Coat there.
In other Speakeasy fallout rumors, I hear that Barry Levine (late of Ardustry) has been shopping the HBO projects (mentioned here last week)around to different comic publishers. And he may also have a few licenses beyond the HBO shows?
This Has A ?Mice Among Men? Factor of Four Out of Ten
Blind Leading The Blind
In the nearly two years I?ve been writing this column, I?ve never run a blind item? until now.
Which small press comic company has let it be known that they are thinking about hiring Adam Fortier as an employee? Never mind the fact that they haven?t even asked Fortier if he?d be interested (and I doubt that he would be)? It just seems like a badly planned publicity stunt that could go horribly wrong. The publisher in question doesn?t seem to understand that this would also entail taking on Speakeasy?s baggage with fans and retailers.
But hey, it?s their company. If they want to go down that road, let them.
This Has A ?Bad Fantasy? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
The Magical Money Tour
And on the other hand, there?s Alias? Most people wouldn?t have expected them to outlast Speakeasy. I certainly didn?t. Which isn?t to say it?s all smooth sailing over there. Their page count has been reduced, their prices have been raised and their Previews ads have been getting smaller. These are usually signs that a company is going away. But there seems to be something else going on here. A few creators have indicated that the only reason they are still with Alias is that their books are being printed for free. So? free printing from a company that famously stopped printing any books other than their own late last year. At the time Brett Burner said ?there is simply not enough profitability to continue producing the standard 24- and 32-page saddle stitched books.? Then how can they afford to print books for free? Where?s the money coming from? Rumors abound that there is a silent partner in the company who is being fronted by Burner. However, there?s nothing to substantiate that as of yet?
This Has An ?Angry Monkey? Factor of Five Out of Ten
There?s word of another new project coming out of Boom! Studios. Andrew Cosby and Johanna Stokes are co-writing a three issue miniseries called The Savage Brothers to be released later this year. As the title implies, the lead characters are ?dreadneck? brothers making the most of a supernatural apocalypse? kind of in the vein of The Goon. I think this one is coming in June.
You?re Gonna Crash
Word on the con floor is that Jason Rubin (the creator of Crash Bandicoot) is working on a creator owned book with some current and former Top Cow artists, which may also serve as a concept for a video game. The book is at least year away but Wildstorm is already rumored to be interested?
This Has An ?Iron Crush? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
Newly Marvel exclusive artist, Skottie Young is said to be in early talks about a new Spider-Man related miniseries. From what I hear, it wouldn?t star Spidey himself, but it would feature someone who would spin out of the core books?
This Has A ?Just Not Madame Webb? Factor of Six Out of Ten
Frank Espinoza?s creator owned book, Rocketo is starting to draw a lot of attention from the big two, particularly DC. From what I heard, there?s been mention that he?d be a good fit down the line for a Shazam project. Though Espinoza may have another creator owned project coming up as well. There was a lot of talk in artist?s alley about his ability to turn out multiple pages in a day, which may allow him to work on more than one project at once?
This Has A ?Hidden Sea? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
Now Is The Spring of Our Discontent
As you may have heard, Wizard World was DOA on Sunday thanks to the LA Marathon. It was a colossal mistake to have the convention on the same weekend as the marathon. If it was a mistake? The theory among industry professionals is that Wizard probably got a substantial discount for holding the show during this particular weekend. And mind you, it is just a theory? that just happens to make sense. So take it as you will?
This Has A ?Pinch The Penny? Factor of Three Out of Ten
Alright? that?s a wrap. ATR Agent John Voulieris has the floor this Sunday. And then, if all goes to plan, I?ll be back the week after that.
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.