Welcome back to another edition of ATR. We?ve got a lot of things to go over this week, so let?s get down to it.

Patch Me Through, Aleph

The unaired Global Frequency pilot was leaked onto a torrent site earlier this week, and it quickly became a highly sought after download for fans of Warren Ellis? original miniseries. And while the potential TV series may be dead in the water, it remains a fascinating glimpse at what might have been?

Be aware, there are some SPOILERS ahead, if you plan on watching it?

The show opens with some onscreen text that neatly sums up the premise:

There are rumors of a conspiracy called the Global Frequency

A group of spies, experts and ordinary people?

They save us from the threats that no one else sees or understands.

The Global Frequency is real.

And then it brings us to San Francisco (by way of Vancouver) and introduces us to Sean Flynn, played by Josh Hopkins. He?s an ex-police officer who happens to come across…

Half a body, literally.

And a phone which puts him in touch with the Global Frequency. Which includes Aleph (Aimee Garcia), Miranda Zero (Michelle Forbes) and Dr. Kate Finch (Jenni Baird)

As you can see, the show seems very dark, which makes it difficult to see things clearly. This was probably something that would have been fixed in post production, but it?s really distracting. Watching it reminded me of Smallville? it really has the feel of a WB show, which is no surprise considering who ordered the pilot?

Anyway, Sean is recruited into the GF as he and the good doctor are dispatched to find a man whose brain essentially makes him a walking bomb. If the plot sounds familiar, it?s because it?s borrowed heavily from the first issue of Global Frequency. When they catch up with him, he starts to go off again?

Though somehow, his ?energy? doesn?t effect glass or water, thus sparing our heroes.

Though, afterwards, as they gather themselves and look for clues to resolve the crisis, the pilot starts to demonstrate what makes the concept so unique: the ability to bring almost any character into the plot at a moments notice. Sean practically pulls someone off the street for an assist late in the episode.

Now, I don?t want to spoil anything else, on the off chance you might see this. So, instead I?ll just give you little taste of what went down

Overall, I really liked the pilot. It had a lot of potential and it?s too bad it never made it to series. I can?t help but feel that if it had been made in this pilot season, when every network was tripping over themselves to clone Lost, that things might been different. This was a lost opportunity and the WB should be kicking themselves for letting it fall through their fingers.

But I suspect they?re happy enough running Beauty and The Geek instead?

This Has A ?Bombhead? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Reasons To Fear

Rick Remender and Tony Moore?s Fear Agent isn?t coming out until October, but the buzz on this book is steadily increasing. Remender recently dropped an important piece of info that no one else seems to have picked up on yet? namely that Corey Walker is also on the book and will be alternating with Moore on art. As you may recall, Moore and Walker were the original artists of The Walking Dead and Invincible, respectively, two of Image?s biggest hits in recent years. On top of that, Remender has been having a breakout year with Sea of Red and Strange Girl. With all three creators on the same title, this book could potentially be HUGE. And from what I?ve heard, Image not only recognizes this, they are going to get behind it with a BIG promotional push, starting in San Diego? where additional Fear Agent announcements are expected.

Oh? and I?ve got one more Fear Agent related item in this very column?

This Has A ?Practical Sorcery? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Magic Bullets

Christos N. Gage, the writer of last year?s well-received Deadshot miniseries, is set to launch Paradox, his first creator owned title later this year. From what I?ve heard, it?s a miniseries that takes place on a parallel Earth, where technology runs on magic and the conventional science we know is believed to be only a myth. Arcana Studios is the publisher, with newcomer Luis Henrique Ribeiro on art chores. Gage?s Deadshot collaborator, Steven Cummings will be providing the covers.

This Has A ?Practical Sorcery? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Dogs of War

In a message on his forum, Chuck Dixon mentioned that he is working on a Team 7 project for Wildstorm, with an official announcement likely to come at the San Diego Comic Con.

This Has A ?Covert Ops? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

The Age of Gargoyles

Earlier this week, Greg Weisman broke his silence about the new Gargoyles comic coming from Slave Labor Graphics. As Weisman explained it, the genesis for this revival grew out of his partnership with Greg Guler (one of the Lead Character Designers for the Gargoyles animated series) and Martin Lund. Together they formed a new company, called Creature Comics:

      Our initial goal was to license and launch a new


    comic book. Marty would handle the business end. Greg G. would handle the art end. Yours truly would handle the writing (and to a lesser extent be the big mouth mouthpiece for the group — hence this ramble).

Of course, this was nearly TWO YEARS ago. But Marty does NOT give up. Money was our first problem, i.e. we had none, and *surprise, surprise* Disney wasn’t keen on the idea of licensing the Gargoyles property for free. In fact, because we were a start-up (up-start?) company with no track record, they actually wanted a LARGER license fee as, in essence, insurance, in case we screwed up. The good news was that they did LIKE the idea of having two of the original creators being in charge of the creative. (This would fortunately be of importance down the road.) They just weren’t wild about a bunch of “amateurs” being put in charge of their property.

But as I said, Marty does NOT give up. Still, for the time being, we put a pin in the Gargoyles idea. If that was too expensive, we’d start with an ORIGINAL property — one that Creature Comics could own. We’d prove ourselves on that. Then after we were huge successes, we’d be able to go to Disney again with that track record they felt they needed. Turns out we had a problem here too. No money. (Funny how that keeps coming up.) So Creature Comics morphed into Creature Comics.com. We’d launch the comic on the web. This seemed like a plan. But life/reality/actual paying work kept getting in the way. (We — meaning Greg G. — did manage to create a logo though, which should be revealed soon.)

Meanwhile, as I mentioned, Marty was busy NOT giving up. He maintained contact with Disney. They were still interested in having the Gargoyles creators on a Gargoyles comic book. (And I figure the relative success of the DVD didn’t hurt our situation either.) It was just that pesky start-up status that they couldn’t deal with. But believe it or not, Disney suggested a solution. They were (are) currently in the process of making a licensing deal with Slave Labor Graphics… i.e. a comic book company with an actual track record!

Now, as of this writing, to my knowledge, the deal between SLG and Disney is not yet fully, totally realized. As I understand it, they’re VERY close. But it’s not signed. So normally, I would TOTALLY not be discussing ANY OF THIS (this whole ramble would not exist). But Dan Vado, who runs SLG, spilled some beans last weekend. So we talked with him, and he was okay with us talking to you, with us being cautiously optimistic?

Gargoyles was NOT part of SLG’s original pitch to Disney. But Disney hooked Marty, Greg & myself up with Dan. Everyone (Disney, Dan, Marty, Greg, Greg) really liked the idea of CCC packaging the creative on a new Gargoyles comic for SLG. So THAT is the plan.

But I have to add the caveat, that at the moment, it’s STILL only a plan. Because SLG hasn’t signed on the dotted line with Disney, they have — for obvious reasons — not yet made any deal with us at CCC. As I said, I’m cautiously optimistic. But s–t happens, you know? So cross your fingers for us, but… well, it may still be a touch premature to ACTUALLY hold your breath.

Anyway… I’ll be the writer. THE ONLY WRITER. So those of you looking to trade me in for Joss Whedon or Neil Gaiman are SOL. Greg Guler will be the Art Director. He may not pencil every issue, but he’ll be making sure that every issue looks damn good. Marty, as usual, will handle the business end of things in his capacity as Executive Vice President of Not-Giving-Up.

Our direction is pretty straight forward. The book we’ll be styled to look like the series, and my plan is to pick up pretty much where “Hunter’s Moon” (second season finale) left off and do the “third season” that I wanted to do (as opposed to the Goliath Chronicles version)? I’m also eventually hoping that this thing is such a massive success that it’ll lead to all the spin-offs we’ve been talking about for years. Not to mention those ORIGINAL PROPERTIES that CCC would own and that we still hope to do someday. But to some extent that won’t be up to us. It’ll be up to all of you.

Marty & Greg & I are all VERY excited! I’d say SPREAD THE WORD!!! But frankly, it’s all a bit premature. We hope to begin finalizing things in the next month or so. (Dan’s “leak” has certainly lit a bit of a fire. Hmmmm…. wonder if that was his plan all along? Why, that little scamp!) Greg G. and I are both planning to be on hand for a bit with Disney & SLG at the San Diego Comic Con, so look for us there.

And of course, I’m hoping to be able to tell you a LOT more at the GATHERING 2005 (the annual Gargoyles convention) in Las Vegas. Marty’ll be there too. You can all hoist him on your shoulders, cuz honestly, he’s the real hero in all of this. I get the juice, but he squeezed it.

So that’s the scoopage, folks.

This Has A ?Steel Clan? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Seeing The Forrest For The Trees

The trio of Todd Livingston, Robert Tinnell and Neil Vokes have a number of projects coming out within the next few months, including sequels to their hit graphic novels, The Black Forest and The Wicked West. Recently, I caught up with Livingston for an advance look at what?s to come?

      In spite of the success of

The Black Forest

    and all the wonderful feedback we?ve received, I personally thought that it was too light and fun. What I really wanted to do was a serious book that had an important message. So, what I convinced co-creators Bob Tinnell and Neil Vokes that we had to do on the new book is reach out and teach our readers a lesson. And that lesson is: don?t try to create super soldiers out of apes. Oh ? and also, don?t walk around the Castle of Shadows without reinforcements.

The Black Forest 2, which hits stores September 7, is actually quite a bit lighter and fun than the original. It?s pulpier, if that?s possible. And by containing the whole story in the Castle, we get a chance to explore the characters of Jack and Archie. Also, that totally saved us a ton of money on locations!

TBF2 unfolds as German scientist Dr. Bosch has been sent to the Castle of Shadows to replace Avery Dye ? only to find that Jack and Archie have already disposed of him. And while their methods differ (Dye using magic, Bosch using science), their goal is the same ? to create an unstoppable army for the Kaiser. It?s up to Jack and Archie to prevent this, but they?ve up and got themselves captured and tortured. This is where we start the book!

Naturally, they manage to escape (although I won?t reveal how). Archie enlists the help of a very unlikely ally, while Jack gets to screw a nice girl for a change. If I had to describe the book in one word, it would be:

So, there?s a whole lot of action and story packed into this 64 page book, plus a new 11 page Wicked West story drawn by Neil, and an essay linking The Black Forest characters to the Wold Newton Universe! When they presented that to us ? we were completely floored! We totally got our geek on!

This autumn is shaping up to be pretty big for us. In August, we?re releasing a graphic novel through Image called Terry Sharp, by Bob Tinnell and Adrian Salmon about English people fighting other English people because they worship Satan. It?s got a real The Saint meets Curse of the Demon vibe and the art is spectacular. I mean ? you?ve never seen this kind of thing before. It totally rocks.

Also, just noticed I totally use the word ?totally? in nearly every paragraph.

Then in October, we?ve got a book coming from Speakeasy called The Living And The Dead by Bob and myself and illustrated by Micah Farritor. It?s a 128 page, color book with an Afterword by noted film historian/author David J. Skal. It?s demented and perverse and your mother would not want you reading it ? so you totally should. Honestly, this could be the best thing we?ve ever written. Ironically I find myself talking about it the least because I don?t want to give anything away!

Meanwhile, Neil will totally be illustrating The Wicked West 2 for a January 2006 release by Image. A little known fact is that if Neil?s hands stop drawing for more than 30 seconds, they will rot and fall off. So, as his friends, Bob and I keep giving him stuff to work on. It?s not for us ? it?s for him. As far as extras in TWW2, I?m writing a Belle Dorado crossover story for it, which will be illustrated by Alex Saviuk! I don?t think we?ve decided completely on what else is going in there, but I?m lobbying to put a sagebrush in every copy! The original Belle Dorado story appeared in Western Tales of Terror #2 (with art by Eric J) and was a hoot to write. I?m jazzed about Alex and I working on a Belle story together, because I found myself missing the characters like Lindsay Lohan misses pizza!

So, if there?s something you?d like to see as an extra in one of our books, email us at our website www.theblackforest.net and let us know ? or go to our forum there. We?re really receptive to reader feedback. Plus, it?ll be nice to hear something that isn?t ?How come my comic store is always sold out of TBF or TWW?? The answer to that, of course, is since we are not DC or Marvel, the retailers only bring in a certain amount of copies. So to be sure you?re going to get a copy of a book (any book ? not just mine), there are three things you must do — and I can?t stress this enough: Pre-order, pre-order and pre-order. Okay ? that?s totally only one thing. But we?ve had some laughs and you?ve learned a lesson, so my work here is done. Now I can go back to writing about monsters and stuff.

This Has An ?Ape Soldier Assault? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Spawning Over

There?s word going around that Angel Medina might be doing some Marvel jobs in the near future, including a potential Spider-Man miniseries.

I wonder if this is related to the rumors about Mario Gully possibly being up for stint on Spawn?

This Has A ?Violator?s Gone Clown Shit, Again? Factor of Five Out of Ten

The Quiet Aftermath

According to a recent statement on Devil?s Due Publishing?s forum, the current Aftermath titles and planned trade paperbacks are now on hiatus and will pushed back to early 2006. The announcement also refers to other Aftermath projects, including a crossover and more ongoing series, also on tap for 2006. It?s worth noting that Josh Blaylock mentioned some of this back in March, when the plan was still to release the remaining issues and the trades this year. Exactly what changed in the interim isn?t clear?

This Has A ?Eating With A Long Spoon? Factor of Five Out of Ten

Space To Breath

Later this summer, Rob Williams (Cla$$war) has a new serial running in 2000AD entitled Breathing Space, which revisits Luna-1, the setting of some classic Judge Dredd stories. However, the story is not directly tied to Dredd, as Williams elaborates:

Breathing Space

    has been a series two years in the making, so just seeing it released is a relief for me, but the fact that it looks as gorgeous as it does makes the wait worthwhile. And yes, I know everyone publicizing a new series raves about it, but the art here is something special.

Breathing Space is one part sci-fi crime thriller, one part old school western starring the new sheriff in a frontier town. On LUNA-1, Earth?s Moon Colony, the men who import oxygen are the movers and shakers, the elite, but someone is brutally killing them, one by one. The cop charged with finding and stopping the Earth Murderer is Judge Marshal King, a man fighting through a personal crisis of his own, who has come to the moon to get away from his problems, to start afresh. King needs to prove to himself that he still is a good Judge.

He?s going to get the chance.

The Eisner-nominated Pete Doherty (Shaolin Cowboy) started drawing Breathing Space originally but then we suffered delays the way that comics sometimes do. Laurence Campbell (The Disciples) eventually stepped in to take over but Pete stayed on to color the series and between them they?ve created something that looks stunning. They?ve just captured the dark mood of the script perfectly all shadows, cold grays and dark blues. There?s a sense of claustrophobia and danger about the artwork, this is comic art that does the same job a skilled cinematographer does on a Hollywood movie. The feel and mood is tangible from the first panel. I love it, you can probably tell.

Yes, the story is set in the Judge Dredd universe, but non-Dredd aficionados needn?t be scared off. We have a ?no continuity? rule and an all-new cast. But, having said that, I did re-read the classic Brian Bolland LUNA-1 stories from years past and included a few of the old landmarks, made a few subtle references. None of this is central to the plot, and if you?re new to the Dredd world you won?t know any different, but if you do know your classic Dredds you should get a kick out of seeing these places again.

Breathing Space runs weekly in 2000AD through August and September from # 1451 until 1459. The Diamond ordering code for issue 1451 is JUN05 3119, 1452 is JUN05 3120 and so on.

This Has An ?I Am THE Law!? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Awesome To The Extreme!

And now, the second Fear Agent related item of the week: artist Tony Moore channels his inner-Liefeld with his latest rendition Fear Agent?s main character, Heath Huston.

Meanwhile, over at Millarworld, Mark Millar has posted his own artistic masterpiece from an upcoming Top Cow book:


That?ll work.

This Has An ?Only The Inker Can Save It? Factor of Six Out of Ten

Master of The House

He?s back?

That?s right, ladies and gents, CapvsBats is making his triumphant return this week. You see, the Captain read House of M #1, and he loved it. Just LOVED it, I tell ya! And he wants to share the love, so to speak. Therefore, ATR presents CapvsBats? latest remix?

House of BM

To be continued in next week?s ATR, true believers!

This Has A ?Flatulux!? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Stick a fork in me, I?m done. Special thanks to Damien, Jason and Cap.


PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at blairm@silverbulletcomicbooks.com. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.

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