HAPPY NEW YEAR! For those of you of an orthodox persuasion you can open your prezzies tomorrow! As for everyone else, I hope you had a joyous holiday season no matter what religious flavour it was.

I?m Alan Donald, your host for this week?s round up of the latest gossip, rumour, news, and opinion. Remember this is your column so if you have any comic book news or rumours and you haven?t sent them in, go stand in the corner! Once you feel properly punished e-mail them to me and make sure you don?t make the same mistake again!

Our sponsors for this column are the very fine people at Dynamic Forces. Their site is certainly worth a look? now? go on? I?ll be waiting when you get back. Currently they are running daily specials, and if you are reading this on Sunday and can wait until midnight, you’re in for a treat! ‘Cos when the clock strikes midnight, and all day Monday (while supplies last) there will be a DF Daily Special like no other. DF head honcho Nick tells me that today?s special is a 1980s nostalgia fest, with Battle of the Planets #1/2 Limited Edition Comic, Thundercats #0 sold out J. Scott Campbell cover, Thundercats #1 sold out Art Adams cover, GI Joe: Frontline #1 Limited Edition, and Micronauts #1 Limited Edition Cover, plus heaps of other bits and bobs, totalling 19 items for only $15.20. If you are not reading this on Sunday (or it has sold out, as all DF Daily Specials have to date), then don’t worry, just keep “tuning in” to them every day for your new daily dose of the DF Daily Special. I told Nick he was nuts with those practically giveaway prices, but he reminded me he already gives away plenty of cool items via All The Rage!

And speaking of which? this week you can win a signed, limited edition copy of History of the DC Universe! Woo! The competition is simple; unless an informant specifically states that we can/should use their name we replace it with a codename. Guess the source of the codenames (film / TV / book / comic) e-mail it along with your SBC Message Board ID to [email protected], and if you are the owner of the first name out of the Big Kahuna?s hat at the end of the week you?ll win. Easy!


A Plea For Help

Here?s an e-mail that came in from Dan:

    Saw you mention these guys in CBEM and I wondered if they ever get around to doing the Nemesis figure? That was the one I was most interested (although Slaine is pretty neat) since Kevin O’Neill said if you ever made an action figure of one of his characters you touch yourself every time you touched it because all of the sharp edges.

For those of you at a loss this e-mail refers to the recent ATR RE:Action stories detailing the 2000AD Action Figures. A Nemesis figure may well have been in the works, but never made it to the shelves. Just for everyone?s information all the figures that were made by RE:Action were:

Judge Dredd
Judge Anderson (short hair)
Judge Anderson (long hair variant)
Judge Death
Judge Death (transparent variant)
Slaine (with Ukko)
Slaine (Previews exclusive ?warped face?(actually just an angry look) variant with Ukko)
Durham Red
Johnny Alpha

And that?s it. All the Dark Judges were promised, as was Dredd on Lawmaster. If you want to see your favourite 2000AD character in action figure form e-mail your favourite toy company to let them know the license will soon be available.

This Has A ?People Power? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


CrossGen Crossfire

Adrian us the following information. First up is a message board post by Mark Waid regarding Scot Eaton?s departure from CrossGen:

      Scot’s free? Woo-hoo! That’s the best news I’ve heard in days! Scot, if you’re out there, call me, buddy–pronto. Legally, as we both know, I’m not allowed to SOLICIT your work for two post-CrossGen years on my own dime, but I’m certainly allowed to write scripts that other editors can hire you to draw–and I’m dying to work with you again! I’ve already mentioned this prospect to Tom Brevoort and Marvel, and trust me, wheels are turning.

As a matter of fact–Jen, Heidi, Steve, are you listening?–I’ll make a loud public statement right here, right now, that I, Mark Waid, will do anything and everything legally within my power to line up work for ANY CG-exclusive artist who chooses to return to the freelance life for whatever reason, and I’d encourage them to make mine the first number they call if they decide to split. Not trying to lure anyone AWAY–anyone’s happy there, then more power to ’em, ABSOLUTELY–it’s just that there are a lot of good guys at CrossGen (Paul Pelletier and Steve Epting being two of my other all-time favorite collaborators), and I want the best for them regardless of where they choose to hang their hats in the future–in Tampa or elsewhere!

In the meantime, I’m very excited for Mr. Eaton. A more dedicated, hard-working, professional penciller (and guy with a bigger heart) you’d be hard-pressed to find. Hard to believe the fine folks at CrossGen ever really knew what a resource they had in him, because if they did, they’d be crazy to let him go.

On the face of it a very nice gesture by Mark Waid. A bit of a dig at CrossGen but never the less a nice idea. This was posted on the Pulse, so perhaps the reception it got isn?t surprising (aw man? I?ve gone and done it again, sorry Heidi).

After a couple of nasty emails Mr. Waid struck back:

      ???

 

      Why? Let’s see…I wished Scot luck, said that anyone who wants to work at CrossGen has my support, but anyone who ever wants to leave and is nervous about re-entering the freelance world can come to me for help.

 

      MY GOD, I’M *SATAN*!!!!

Y’know, I swear to God that one of these days I’m going to start a thread with “According to my watch, it’s now 1:37” or “Sure is a nice day out today!” just to see how long it is before I get jumped on. Any bets?

Wasn’t there any other way for you to contact Scot? One that wouldn’t have reignited speculation regarding the rumored Waid/CrossGen feud?

Well, since my saying “I enjoyed my time on RUSE” or “Good luck to Scot!” or “Hey, Mr. Alessi, nice shoes” is apparently enough for some people to “reignite speculation,” I’d say the answer is “no.” Or, to put it another way, I’m not going to watch every word I say, ever, just because some people can’t understand that SOMETIMES A CIGAR IS JUST A CIGAR. Man, some fans are just ACHING for some daily diet of controversy…

And far be it for me to stop people getting that diet. Seriously, though things got out of hand:

    Wow… Mark plays the martyr, blames someone else… Am I the only one getting a distinct deja vu feeling from all this? I’m shocked he hasn’t pointed the finger at Wizard for his “bad rep” yet…. Maybe you should start a company with Rob Liefeld, then you both can be misunderstood together…

and

    Mark?s post above just goes to show me why I was glad when he left CG. The man seems petty. His was not just an “innocent” post. Why publicly say what he said? He could have just e-mailed Scot. But he had to publicly post he was glad that Scot was “free” from CG, which must have been such a horrible place for Waid. And please don’t bother to play the innocent martry about the post. Its undertone was quite apparent. We get it. You dont like CG. Fine. Give it a rest already, dude?

Not forgetting:

    Nice try. Maybe you should give fans a little more credit than that. Your post was pretty apparent to those of us with a brain. That could have (and should have) been a private email – not a “loud, public statement right here, right now”. If you are as innocent in your post as you claim, then you’re not too smart, because it certainly looks spiteful to CrossGen. Good luck on your vendetta.

At least one person stood up for the incredible creator behind such works as Kingdom Come; Scot Eaton:

      Easy Folks, Pile off Mark Waid for a minute. This WAS the easiest way to reach me. Although I set up an e-mail that some of you have used in conjunction with my registering here I did that to respond to Mark. That post was a good direct message. We haven’t been in touch for a lot of different reasons.

More important Mark was trying to let YOU know there was no bad blood between us. I wont try to characterize his feelings about CrossGen, but he’s trying help me back into the very, very, stressful world of freelancing. He could do that privately but it wouldn’t have helped. Think of it as a guy stepping up and saying “I’ll serve as a reference for this guy!” In comics that means an awful lot and I appreciate it.

Oh, funny though, I think my watch says 1:38. Huh!

Which pretty much is what I thought the original mail was saying. Back to Mr. Waid:

But given that you’ve already made your statements, do you think there’s anything about them that might give readers the impression that there’s still some bad blood between you and CrossGen?

Well, OBVIOUSLY. Both the phrase “Not trying to lure anyone AWAY–anyone’s happy there, then more power to ’em, ABSOLUTELY” and “I want the best for them regardless of where they choose to hang their hats in the future” are clearly REEKING with evil intent.

Often, CrossGen fans are unfairly labeled as “cultists” or “drones.” Dogpiling on someone who uses a public forum to give a public endorsement to a good guy while saying ABSOLUTELY NOTHING NEGATIVE about his co-workers–in fact, being SUPPORTIVE of them–might be the sort of behavior that leads to that too-judgmental label. You may disagree, but you might at least want to consider that possibility. And with that, I’ve said my piece. Over and out.

Yet more replies came:

      Okay, I hope you’re still reading these posts Mr. Waid, because I need to interject one little tiny bit of butt kissing (’cause I don’t know how else I could ever contact you to tell you this):

Well, first, just to stay on topic, I think it’s a tribute to CrossGen’s artistic stable when Mr. Waid is so overjoyed that one of their artists is free to work outside the company again.

Second, I can’t imagine having your work and comments scrutinized online. I don’t think I will be able to look at message boards again when I get into the comics field.

Finally, my main point: To Mr. Waid:

I still enjoy CrossGen comics, but none of them have achieved the same quality as Crux when you were writing it. The comic had the heart and dialogue I’ve always seen in your writing. In spades. I think it is some of your best work and the title is lesser (but still good) without you.

You’re the kind of writer that will take a big screen type book like JLA, you’d take the time to show Adam Strange being comforted by J’onn J’onnz over the loss of his family. I wish more writers focused on this over sensationalism.

Anyway, butt kissing’s over. I hope this was an encouragement.

Ahh? a positive comment at last.

It would seem that CrossGen has managed to build up as fanatical a fan base as Marvel already! That said c?mon guy?s this is Mark Waid the guy is an incredible writer and by making the statement he did he was showing that he?d be prepared to put his rep on the line to help out any ex-CG creators.

This Has A ?Bet This Wasn?t The Tact You Thought I?d Take? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


CrossGen Exclusive With Diamond – Or Not?

We?ve had an email or two in with regard to the CG/Diamond exclusive deal. It would appear that nobody actually knows anything at the moment. CrossGen have not supplied any solicitation information to FM International for two straight months. Mr. Feller, I know you read the column, any chance you can drop us a line with regard to this matter and the rumoured change to ?premier? status in Previews?

On another CrossGen note I?d like to say my comments a few weeks ago about CG ?screwing new writers? or whatever it was I said may have been put in such a way that they could be misinterpreted. I was merely underlining that we?d had a few reports of CG promising to read new writers? material and then not having the time to do so. It has been pointed out to me that CG has hired new talent and that they fully intend to work through all the submissions that they received in due course.

This Has An ?As Always, Watch This Space? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Supergroup Update

From Henry:

      Just read today’s column, and noticed the comments on the

Supergroup HC

      . The story was actually the biggest arc so far (tied with ‘Retro Girl’) at 6 issues (#15-20). When I asked about it on Bendis’ board, he replied with “yeah – meant to hype this. it does have a boatload of extras including a full color big making of by mike and pete- a cover gallery, a couple of text pieces… it?s a hell of a package.”

So it sounds like this should be a damn good book.

These HC versions are becoming like DVDs (in fact Bendis pushed the Ultimate Spidey HC as a ?DVD-esque? version)!

This Has A ?Meant To Hype This Sheesh?? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Marvelous

Email from Bill:

      I’ve been reading your column, and I’m really surprised that you haven’t said anything about Marvel’s new submissions policy, RE: writers getting their work looked at.

It is true, DC doesn’t read ANYTHING these days, or even look at artwork. Which is a real shame. The whole legal issues, copyrights and making sure no one screams “you ripped off my idea!” and files a lawsuit, it seems most companies believe it is just too much of a hassle to bother to look at unsolicited material.

But, Marvel updated their whole policy, and now, when one sends Marvel a writing pitch, they sign a form and send it to Marvel’s legal department first. All this is at Marvel’s official site, under their submissions section. Just thought ya’d like to know. Cause, well, Marvel rocks. They seem to understand that the only way the industry can survive is to shepherd in new talent, and not weld the door shut so completely you’d have to either publish independently or be working in the industry for the better part of a decade to get anything read. Or, I might just be saying that cause I’m an aspiring writer myself.

Why haven?t I mentioned it? Every time I try to read the submission guidelines on the Marvel site it comes up ?page not found? (I?ve tried a few times over the past few months). This seems to b a problem with a lot of content at Marvel.Com. Maybe somebody there could explain why?

This Has A ?Help Desk Needed? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


More Free Comics

Here?s some mail from HJ:

      Just saw your links to

The Jock

      and

Nowhere Girl

      on ATR and the shout out for more examples of free comics online, so I just thought I’d send you the new address for

ODDCASES

      – the minicomic versions of which are now sold out, having been snapped up at Bristol and Caption almost as soon as they were put on tables. It was also one of Sequential Tart’s ‘Read This Or Die’ choices a while back, There are 53 totally free pages of story currently available on OPi8.com – the direct link is:

http://www.opi8.com/sequence/list.php?dir=oddcases

This is one to watch; an emerging hit from the British comics scene.

This Has A ?Your Message Here!? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


A Question Of Image

Big Figure writes:

      What the hell happened to the man who basically restored people’s faith in Image Comics, (certainly mine at least, as a fan and retailer) Anthony Bozzi, who used to be the Director of Marketing at Image, as well as all-around good guy and comics enthusiast? When everyone else is pushing the shit Image books, he would recommend

Powers

      ,

Red Star

      and other stuff that actually deserved a push. He basically was an advocate for good comics no matter whose logo was on them, and it’s sad that now that he’s gone for whatever reason, Image hasn’t really been the same. I’ve heard some whispers here and there that certain creators HATE Jim Valentino and have either left Image or decided to pitch elsewhere because Anthony Bozzi is no longer there to really give their project the special attention it deserves and lumping it in with the rest of the toilet paper.

He ended up getting fired about a year and a half back or so and I have yet to figure out why, although I heard it had something to do with a personal problem that Valentino had with him. You’ve been really good with scoops before, just figured I would throw this in your direction, see if it’s something you can unearth some info on. Thanks again, as always, love the column and keep up the great work.

Without giving away any identities this is not a small retailer by any stretch of the imagination. I haven?t been able to unearth anything as yet (but what with the holidays ?n? all I haven?t really had a chance to knuckle down to it properly) BUT I?m throwing it open to the readers to see who DOES know. I know for a fact some big boys down at the ?i? read this column every week so maybe they can help or perhaps you are Anthony Bozzi or a friend of his maybe you can shed some light on this. C?mon folks don?t let me or the retailers down? What happened to one of the good eggs at Image?

This Has A ?Missing In Action? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


Daredevil ? How Badly Do You Want To See It?

It?s going to be the next BIG comic book movie. It looks absolutely fantastic, just right. The fans are going wild and all the magazines love it.

Where can you see it first? LA? NY?

Nope.

The place to see the Dare Devil movie first is the UK!!!

The US release date is the 14th February 2003, but the UK release date is the 13th February 2003. Go figure.

This Has A ?Strange But True? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


A Case Of The Diggles

Here?s a bit from Andy Diggle?s website:

      I received a box of the second issue of

Hellblazer Special: Lady Constantine

    this morning, which was a nice surprise – especially since the first issue only went on sale yesterday here in the UK! I guess the printers are getting ahead of themselves in good time for Christmas. It definitely read better than the first issue – more action, more monsters, more supernatural shenanigans. Next time I’ll just cut to the chase.

Now, I can?t comment as my local comic guy gave my copy of the aforementioned comic book to a certain Senior Editor at SBC (or rather he hadn?t got his reorder in on time for my copy to arrive with the main delivery and he refused to let me have Mr. Lemon?s copy) but I will be getting mine soon. It?s most likely that Mr. Diggle is being far too hard on himself but either way it?s kind of ironic that he of all people is complaining that he needs to ?cut to the chase? in his work after his comments at Dreddcon that he believed that 2000AD creators did well in the States because they knew how to ?get to the point? quickly.

Just to check if Mr. Diggle was being too hard on himself I check out SBC?s Line of Fire Reviews:

      The Verdict:

Fans of Hellblazer, or even of Sandman, could do worse than to pick up this miniseries. It?s an intriguing, if not quite compelling, look into the history of the Constantine lineage, and includes a few treats for anyone versed in the Vertigo mythology.

Read the full review at:

http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/reviews/104077765391180.htm

This Has A ?Relax?You?re Doing Great? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


13 Comics?

It?s everywhere. Marvel are? shock, horror putting up the prices on 13 comic books. They are going up in price from $2.25 to $2.95. Hardly a big story as virtually all of the Image (and imprint) titles are $2.95 as are those from many other companies but this has shaken the web to it?s very core (well, sort of. I mean the whole point of the WWW is that there is no core so I?m talking metaphorically here. You knew that, right?).

I?ll admit I?m pissed off. I think all comic books are too expensive anyway and this sort of thing is just taking the piss. The alternative is cancellation. Well? let?s look at those titles in full shall we?

      The comics affected by this increase that are ones selling roughly less than 50,000 copies a month:

Agent X

      ,

Black Panther

      ,

Captain Marvel

      ,

Exiles

      ,

Iron Man

      ,

Marville

      ,

Soldier X

      ,

Spider-Girl

      ,

Thor

      ,

Thunderbolts

      ,

Ultimate Adventures

      ,

Weapon X

      , and

X-Statix

    .

Hold on. Surely that should be 11 titles as Marville and Ultimate Adventures (much as I do like them) are due to be cancelled within the next couple of issues. NO it should be 10 titles as Captain Marvel has won its battle in the U-Decide stakes and will continue running at $2.25. That?s what was promised.

But no, it?s 13. Marvel have decided to show everyone that they can pull cheap publicity stunts and lie to the fans and creators along with the best of them. U-Decide was a stunt based around Peter David?s fight to keep Captain Marvel running at $2.25. He won?

This Has A ?It Went As Many Predicted? Value Of One Out Of Ten


Will The Real Dumbledore Please Stand Up

It shot across the web like wild fire. Michael Gambon was going to be the actor to play Dumbledore in the next Harry Potter film. He was reported to have beaten off Christopher Lee and Ian McKellen. Then came the retractions. Warner Brothers denied the casting very strenuously.

Could it be that Mr. Gambon was cast and the leaking of the information lead to his firing? Well this is WB/AOL/DC, the company whose comic book arm doesn?t believe in generating buzz for new projects and who have allegedly fired creators for leaking info. Could be?

Could it be that this is a load of rubbish and my leak from a while back (that the late Mr. Harris? double will be playing the part) is true?

Only time will tell.

This Has A ?The Loss Of A Great Actor Has Been Overlooked In The Scrabble To Recast Him? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Superman Isn?t American

He?s Kryptonian. Um? is that it?

Oh, no, sorry. Bill has sent me info that th new Superman flick will star a UK or Australasian actor rather than an American. Rumour has it that the director was sick of dealing with stroppy big name actors.

This Has A ?Faster Than A Speeding Barbie, More Powerful Than A Steak And Kidney Pudding? Value Of Six Out Of Ten


Charity Isn?t Just For Christmas

Remember to support the CBLDF in any way that you can. The easiest thing to do is to keep an eye on the link below and check out any auctions they may be carrying out on eBay and bid for anything you can afford. This is an extremely worthy cause:

http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&userid=cbldf&include=0&since=-1&sort=3&rows=25

This Has A ?Do It? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Crystal Ball Gazing

Now I was going to run a nice set of predictions for the year this week but I?ve kinda run out of time? oh I?ll do a few.

  • Sony will take over Marvel (bit of a no brainer) and if they don?t then AOL may snap it up.
  • Stan Lee and Marvel will settle amicably.
  • Marvel(Miracle)Man will be published by Marvel comics featuring Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham. This may even happen before 1602 EVER gets published. The Canadian toymaker will sue. He will lose, as Sony will get Mr. Gaiman far better lawyers.
  • CrossGen will get premiere status in Previews.
  • It will be leaked that Vertigo is about to shut down. It will be announced that Vertigo has never been stronger.
  • Comic book companies will ride the wave of several GREAT comic book movies in a row along with events like Free Comic Book Day and products like CrossGen?s Travellers to really promote the industry as a mainstream form of entertainment, the industry will be saved! Or they?ll cock up again.
  • There will be a new ?entry level? comic book aimed at the 9-16 year old market in the UK. It?ll run for 6 issues and die out.

As always the real news will be unpredictable.

This Has A ?Pure Speculation? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


That is it for another week, well not just any other week the first week of 2003. Happy New Year to you all and I hope to see you back next, and every, week.

Remember to send me any info you have no matter how big or small. I will ALWAYS protect your identity unless you specifically request otherwise. Remember to enter the competition this week, w think it?s pretty straightforward.

Thank you again for reading; your support is greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

TTFN

Alan Donald ? Signing off from a wet island.


 

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