Very short ATR this Sunday. I’ve been running around like a madman this weekend. Way too much to do in the real world.

Er, my boss Jason wrote this first item. I don’t really understand it, so I figure it’s best to get it out of the way..

Jimmy The Medium

Rumor from on high (very high!) has it that Jimmy Palmiotti is going to be supplementing his income by conducting seances. The inker extraordinaire is channel spirits from beyond so that fans may communicate with their departed loved ones. One fan was reportedly amazed at Jimmy’s abilities and accuracy, finally learning who got post-humous possession of his father’s best suit. Jimmy also passed on that the fan’s father forgive his child for making him go to see a Saturday matinee session of “The Smurfs and the Magic Fluke” when a big game was on TV.

This Has A “Bizarre, Yet Strangely Touching” Factor of Six Out of Ten

Lightning Storm

In order to tell this story I have to give away something that happens in Green Arrow #31. It happens after the climax, but you still may not want to know before reading the book.

Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella is pissed at DC for allowing his character to become a cold-blooded killer in last week’s Green Arrow #31. In his latest Tony’s Online Tips column at, the veteran writer made it clear that he is greatly offended. He writes:

    At a time when I certainly didn’t need any more stuff to deal with comes the incredible news that DC Comics has published a story in which Black Lightning, the character I created for them back in the 1970s and revived to critical acclaim in the 1990s, commits a cold-blooded murder. The issue hit the comics shops on Wednesday and I started receiving e-mails from angry and saddened readers at 2:00 am Thursday, followed by similar phone calls throughout the day. I do apologize for not answering all the e-mails or returning all the phone calls, but, as you can imagine, I need some time to digest this latest insult to my creation.

There will be some sort of “official response” from me in the next few days. Until then, beyond that this represents yet another chapter in the long history of bad faith and disrespect DC Comics has shown ever since I created Black Lightning, beyond this wanton violation of Lightning’s character and morals, I want you to think about this:
If you don’t consider the great Milestone Comics characters like ICON and STATIC, and that certainly seems to be DC’s policy, DC has only published three ongoing super-hero comics whose title stars have been African-Americans. Two of them, GREEN LANTERN and STEEL, were continuations or spinoffs of titles which starred white characters. Only BLACK LIGHTNING was an original.

Only three black super-hero headliners in the entire history of DC Comics and now one of them, almost as a “we need a shock to end this issue” easy way out, has been turned into a cold-blooded murderer. That’s an egregious wrong that extends well beyond the wrongs done to the character and his creator.

We’ll talk about that soon.

According to sources DC really enjoys fucking around with Isabella’s baby. I’m told Hanna Barbera decided to change Black Lightning’s name to Black Vulcan on the popular 80’s cartoon Super Friends in order to avoid paying Tony royalties and DC did nothing to prevent it. DC also gave BL an illegitimate daughter which completely contradicted the character’s strong morals, not to mention they did it against Isabella’s wishes. And now the murder.

I’m hearing that the homicide may be a deliberate attempt to remind Tony that Black Lightning belongs to DC and not his creator, who has been quite vocal about the character’s treatment over the years.

In a heated discussion on Dwayne McDuffie’s message boards Isabella also comments on Green Arrow writer Judd Winick’s knowledge of Black Lightning.

    Gee, I wonder if I can still find the e-mail wherein Judd Winick told me he *knew* he was doing right by Black Lightning.

He never had a clue who the character was.

When a poster stated that DC is allowed to do whatever it wants with the characters it owns, Isabella responded:

    Even beyond my personal issues, I think readers should be outraged that one of DC’s painfully few black super-heroes (and the first to have his own title) has been turned into a cold-blooded murderer. It’s not like there are dozens of headline black heroes in the DCU.

On another note…if I don’t care about my creation and the readers don’t care about my creation, then what was the point of my working so hard on my stories and their reading them?

Static creator McDuffie also chimed in:

    Until you’ve had something you created twisted into something you’re no longer proud of, I don’t think you have the perspective to tell the creator of a character whether he should be upset.

For those who aren’t familiar with the character, Black Lightning is Jefferson Pierce, a former Olympic athlete and inner city school teacher who currently serves as Secretary of Education in President Lex Luthor’s administration. For several years he was also a superhero. He wore a belt that gave him the ability to project bolts of electro-magnetic energy and create force fields. Later he was able to internalize this power. Isabella established Black Lightning as a strong moral character.

In Green Arrow #31 Jefferson fatally electrocutes the C.E.O. of the Elevast Corporation, after discovering that the company was responsible for hiring Drakon, the super-powered assassin who killed his niece, Joanna.

This Has A “Black Bolt” Factor of Eight Out of Ten

The “S” Word

The latest Superman movie rumor is that British actor Henry Cavill (the Count of Monte Cristo) is the frontrunner for the McG (Charlie’s Angels) helmed feature. At age 20, Cavill is billed as a good fit for a planned trilogy of films expected to show Superman’s growth from Smallville misfit to Metropolis’ favorite son. Apparently producer Jon Peters and director McG are backing the young thespian based on his acting talent.

I have to tell you guys, at this point I don’t much give a fuck about this latest Superman casting trend. I’m still baffled by Hollywood’s decision to let this McG guy behind a camera. For some damn reason I watched the “Making Of” special feature on the awful Charlie’s Angels DVD and it was basically McG running around the set, talking nonsense like he just injected a Mountain Dew commercial into his aorta. Fucking guy has a name that sounds like he should come with a six pack of nuggets and a Battlesuit Grimace toy and I’m supposed to be happy he’s on project Superman?

Somebody in Hollywood needs to be punched.

This Has A “Take One to the McRib” Factor of Six Out of Ten

Abandonment Issues

Former Black Panther scribe Priest has posted a new entry on his blog once again expressing his disappointment in Marvel Comics over the quick cancellation of The Crew. He also talks about writing the final issue of the series. “I make no secret of my disappointment at the short sighted decision to dump CREW before it even got a decent look in the marketplace. I just finished rewriting what is now the final issue, dumping what was originally a fun turn in the road for our boys, but is now their awkward swan song. We had a lot of fun ideas and developments with this Crew, ideas that likely will not find expression at Marvel because the taint of death is now attached to these characters and plot lines.”

Despite his frustration the writer says he has now begun work on his new Marvel project.. “The new project is completely separate from CREW or PANTHER and, much as I’d like to rescue elements of the prematurely abandoned Crew, it’s probably best to let the new project be its own idea. I hope CREW fans will give the new book a look, and hope the market is a bit kinder to it.”

This Has A “Crewless” Factor of Five Out of Ten

Three to Get Ready

Spidey writer J. Michael Strazcynski was recently asked what it would take for him to finish his creator-owned series Rising Stars on JMS News. He says he’s asked the book’s publisher, Top Cow, for three things. “For Dream Police back, since they’ve had it now for 3 years and have done nothing with it…for confirmation that the Joe’s Comics title belongs to me, and for an apology for deliberately keeping me out of the loop on my own project at the feature stage and misleading me about drafts that had come in.

“Once those three things have been attended to, I can finish the series.”

This Has A “Dead Star” Factor of Seven Out of Ten

In the Running

Former Automatic Kafka artist Ashley Wood has posted a preview pic of his upcoming book, Run! at his website

Run! is the brainchild of writer Mark Millar (Ultimates), who plans to take over the comic book industry with his new creator-owned, cross-company comic line. If for some reason you live in a bubble and you haven’t heard about the new Millar library, go HERE and read the official press release.

Millar has been talking up his upcoming creator-owned projects a lot lately. In fact a number of previews and interviews are running or will be running on various comic news sites. Apparently you’ll be able to view the first 14 pages of Wanted by visiting the different sites. Look for previews at,, and

This Has A “Speed Force” Factor of Six Out of Ten

Punishing Fists of Fury

I was very amused by an interview with actor Thomas Jane who talks about playing the Punisher in the upcoming film. The Comics Continuum feature, found at, focuses a lot of the fighting style of the Punisher. In one quote Jane basically calls Jackie Chan movies unmanly. Check this:

    When you say martial arts, it implies some movie lingo of Jackie Chan. It’s not the case at all. In real-world martial arts, they’re extremely simple, brisk moves that are designed to take out the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible and move on. That’s how a Navy SEAL trains and uses his different techniques that he picks up along the way. [The Punisher is] a cannibal; he’ll use absolutely anything from any culture to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. He’s always staying one step ahead of everybody else. It’s a cutting edge of material, of weapons, of guns and knives and hand-to-hand.

I think it’s been misconstrued that because I’ve been trained in martial arts, I’m going to be like wha-pu, wha-puing around. It’s not the case at all.

LOL. This is going to be a sweet film. The Punisher is scheduled for an April 2004 release.

This Has A “Wu-Tang Crane Kick” Factor of Ten Out of Ten


PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at or IM me via AOL Instant Messenger. My screen name is Automatic San. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It’s greatly appreciated.

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