Hello and welcome back. Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year! And for all those of the Scottish persuasion, like myself, Happy Hogmannay for next week.

Another mad week for me this week, Dreddcon last Saturday (check out the convention report HERE, ill wife and baby, reviews to write, Christmas presents to buy, and Christmas presents to wrap. Dear, oh dear, all that, a full time job and a stack of comic books to read…if I get through all this I?ll keep my distance from any Kryptonite that may be lying around.

Next week I guess everyone and his dog will be running a review of 2002 and a look-ahead to 2003, so why not bleat along and follow the crowd like the sheep I am? Baa. What I?d like to do is run some rumour-based feedback on 2002 and 2003; e-mail me at aland@silverbulletcomicbooks.com and let me know the best rumours you read in 2002, and any you?d like to hear and see come true in 2003 ? we?ll talk about the best of them, with my own spin on my own stuff next week. There?s a prize for the best stuff too?

Speaking of prizes, I?ll give ya prizes. Each week we run our fabulous competition to win anything from a massive stack of signed comics to a groovy graphic novel. The competition is simple; in place of an anonymous source I?ve assigned or Ragemites codenames. Identify the source of the codenames (film / book / comic / tv / etc.), e-mail competition@silverbulletcomicbooks.com and be the first one out of the hat and you win, easy!

This week?s prize is another hefty Tom Strong Book One Signed, Limited Edition from those generous souls at Dynamic Forces. Last week Elias won a manga TPB from the equally generous Dark Horse Comics. Last weeks source was The Rocky Horror Show. Please note I asked the Big Kahuna to reject The Rocky Horror Picture Show as I included the narrator who did not appear in the film version of this exceptional stage show (he is replaced in the film by the Criminologist). Pedantic, yes but it?s my competition and much as I love the film I prefer the original.

Is that it for the stupid and pointlessly rambling introduction? Not quite? I missed a few things. I?m Alan Donald, and this is All The Rage the internet?s foremost rumour, news and opinion column. We are sponsored each week by those incredibly wonderful people at Dynamic Forces and I?d consider it a special Christmas treat if you would be so awfully kind as to visit their site by clicking on the link above.

On with the show!


Old Flame Returns To DC

Don?t ask me how I know, I?d only lie to you, but Firestorm is definitely returning to DC for at least a mini series if not an ongoing one. I can finally put all the rumours on this to bed.

This Has A ?I?m Going To Look A Right Twat If They Cancel This At The Last Minute? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Nice Try

Odd one here, an e-mail from Atkins with an invite to visit the following site:

http://www.rocketcomics.net/

What?s special about it? Well, aside from being a very cool teaser, Rocket Comics are going to released though Dark Horse in June. When I first got the e-mail I thought, ?great, an exclusive, hot news? then I thought about how well done the teaser site was ? and then the very next email to arrive in my inbox was the full press release from Dark Horse about their Rocket Comics line?

Am I the victim of a cheap publicity stunt? Assuming I?d run the link with a ?hey, look at me, here?s an exclusive? whilst everyone else looks at the press release and goes ?huh??

I don?t mind cheap publicity stunts. I don?t mind people e-mailing me to promote upcoming work. I do mind people pretending they?re sending me something really hot and then me finding that my next email is an official announcement of the same news with more info! That AND finding said ?exclusive? all over the web. I?ll pimp your stuff, just don?t get me over excited.

Or was it just unfortunate timing?

This Has A ?I Have A Large Bottom? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


More Crossgen

The following came in from Driver:

    CrossGen being slow and changing their story on submissions is nothing new. When they originally announced the formation of Cross Generation Comics as a new comics company they did so with an open call for new talent as well as seasoned vets. A detailed critique of the applying talents work was promised for all of those who sent packets with reviewable material in service of applying for a creative position. The result- mostly established creative talent was hired and the no name applicants got a form letter of rejection, sans any personal critique. Which basically says they likely did not have anyone with hiring authority review the application packages, but instead picked out the submissions sent in from established creators like Ronald Marz, Barbara Kesel and Bartholomew Sears. If they did that in 1999, why would the leopard change its spots in 2002? Marvel Comics ran their nation-wide talent search in 2001, and that was the last time any of the premiere publishers ran an authentic open casting call that was honestly done in the effort to open the door to new creators and invigorate the company with fresh talent. Hopefully they will do follow suit with that idea during the upcoming 2003 convention season.

I?m not going to try and belittle any of your points, they are well made. It would appear CrossGen has repeatedly let down new talent, that is certainly undeniable. One thing I will say, though, is that they are a new company and despite all the money behind them I can?t blame them for initially giving into market forces and going with bankable names to get established. That said personal letters would have been nice and this is yet another unfortunate mistake by them.

As far as the new submissions for Code 6. I?d say CrossGen?s response last week did seem to be quite honest. It doesn?t change the fact that they should have sorted this out by now nor that people are being let down quite badly. The fact is they are understaffed and not intentionally letting people down.

Now as far as Marvel?s talent search goes I wouldn?t know, they didn?t do it in the UK. They do, however, as all major companies do (with the exception of CrossGen who have yet to come), look at art portfolios at the UK comic convention and I know several companies have picked up art talent over here.

There is one major comic book company that has picked up new writing talent at an open forum for the last 3 years, 2000AD. The UK anthology title may not be the biggest seller in the world but its influence is undeniable. Many of the biggest names in comic books got their break in 2000AD and this continues to this day with former 2000AD editor, Andy Diggle?s Lady Constantine book coming out this week, for example. Every year at Dreddcon fans are invited to pitch story ideas, the first two times 2000AD picked up two new writers and published their stories (and gave them the opportunity for more). This year is the same, the pitchfest winner and at least one other writer have been given the all clear to submit at full script that the editor will read.

Breaking into comics is hard. It doesn?t matter if you are an artist or a writer. Artists do have the advantage in that an editor can quickly look through their work and decide if it is right for them or not. Any opportunity that a Writer gets where he/she knows their work will be read should be applauded. It?s hardly surprising that CrossGen was swamped. If DC or Marvel would at least bother to read script submissions rather than constantly sending ?returned unread? letters then perhaps there wouldn?t be this bottlenecking. That said CrossGen should have been prepared in advance for this kind of reaction.

There? a balanced response for once. I can play Devil?s Advocate with the best of them.

This Has A ?Winding Up To Pitch? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Calm Down…

No codename here, I?ve had an email from The Pulse?s Heidi ?Ace? MacDonald:

    ?Without going too ?Pulse? with the praise here, there?s also the overall design to consider??

Oh PUHlease.

I have written exactly ONE piece about CrossGen since I started — the
George Perez interview — and it was completely normal.

As for Jen, she likes to praise EVERYONE, not just XGen.

Stop with the cheap shots or I’ll be raging on your behind!

This has a “tongue in cheek” value of 9 out of 10.

Yes, well…quite.

My wife was rather worried about the whole ?raging on your behind? and ?tongue in cheek? thing, she thinks you are trying to come onto me in a round about kind of a way.

Seriously, as I?m rather prone to saying, you read my column! Wow! Why?s it taken you until now to bitch about it?

This Has A ?I?m Stopping Now Before I Dig Myself A Big Hole? Value Of One Out Of Ten


For Goodness Sake Not Another CrossGen Story, People With Think I?m An Ace-Hole

Cohen sent me in the rather belated rumour that CrossGen will be going exclusive with Diamond due to financial reasons. I did some digging and found an opinion on this from Gene Smith of Alien Entertainment. So rather than me have yet another go at Diamond I thought I?d let someone else:

    Will CrossGen go exclusive with Diamond? Let’s hope not for the sake of the industry. Diamond controls the comic and many of the speciality market products like a dictator and with 95% or more of the total comic distribution business who can challenge them? What this means for consumers is higher prices and late or slow release on many items that are and are not exclusive to them.

Take a look at the DC Direct line of toys and statues for example and you will see what an exclusive deal can mean to both the publisher and distributor in terms of pricing. Many of the toys are way overpriced and if Diamond is out of stock there is nowhere else to go and buy it. DC and Diamond make a higher profit margin with their “exclusive” deal and it make good business sense for them to do it so it’s tough to fault a publisher for wanting to make more money.

When it comes to magazines and video/DVD product Diamond can’t keep a street date to save their lives. Many of the magazines arrive 1-3 weeks after they appear on the newsstand and since they are not returnable retailers have to take the loss. Most of these items are listed as a caution 4 which means Diamond will ship when they can, if they can, or as it fits into their shipping schedule.

Most retailers will not speak out publicly but almost every retailer I know does not like Diamond.

A note to CrossGen and all other publishers: “Only competition will make Diamond a better company and the industry stronger”.

This Has A ?Diamond Bashing Quota Filled? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


2000AD Film

I promised I?d get more on the whole 2000AD film thing, didn?t I? Well, here?s the deal, the finance is secure for the up coming Judge Dredd films. The share offer was to try and get funding for other projects. Unfortunately they didn?t get enough this time out so the option will be opened again. I would strongly urge those of you with a few bob to consider this. 2000AD has some great characters that could be licensed to make fantastic films very cheaply. The profit margins, if some of these are done right, could be huge whilst still producing a wonderful film in the spirit of the original strips.

This Has A ?One To Consider? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten


More On Warren Ellis And The Web

Crowe sent me the following mail-out from Warren Ellis?s Bad Signal mailing list with regard to his withdrawal from the internet:

    It’s official: orderingcomics.com is being discontinued, effective immediately. I stopped writing anything for it a couple of months ago, and officially pulled out in November? My position at Artbomb.net is now limited to consultation, the year’s – worth of the BRAINPOWERED column, and the very occasional review. I’m writing up GET YOUR WAR ON for release next week, and that’s about it.

Back in 1998, 1999, all I heard from other creators was how they were trying to get out of comics into other media. There were guys flying from NYC to LA every week to try and get film meetings.

For the last couple of months, all I’ve heard from other creators is how they’re trying to get out of comics. The cracks are showing. Original work isn’t being supported. The book distribution crisis earlier in the year put The Fear into everyone. Black and white comics sales have hit a ceiling (again). “Hot” books are dying on the sales racks, stinging retailers. Much the same litany as last time. I’m doing lots of comics. I want people to do lots of comics, in the hope that they’ll do more stuff that I want to read. But this time everyone can live or die on their own. I’m sick of hearing the same old thing. Shit or get off the pot. 2003 will be what they want it to be.

I?ll let that stand for itself, you really should be on this mailing list.

This Has A ?Lets Hope Things Aren?t Quite As Bad As All That? Value Of Four Out Of Ten


Collins Covers…

Top comic book artist Mike Collins has an interesting new gig that might interest a few of you. He?s the new cover artist for the drum and bass group Shy FX & T-Power. Collins admits he?s hardly the groups target market but he loved the job and he especially likes being able to go down to his local Virgin Megastore and see his artwork up on the shelves for all to see.

This Has A ?Change Or Die? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten


Todd Buys British

Do you know who owns the licenses to a huge back catalogue of Fleetway (a British publisher)?s comicbook characters? The Canadian toymaker, that?s who. McFarlane apparently bought them a while back. His acquisitions are muddied up in the late Robert Maxwell?s take over and basically don?t include 2000AD products or Roy of the Rovers, but do include the characters from Lion and Valiant (such as Steel Claw, Robot Archie and The Spider).

Why? Only he knows…

Of course, The Spider is the self-same character appearing in Paul Grist?s Jack Staff series, soon to start in full colour with a new issue one from? Image. Coincidence?

This Has A ?Your Guess Is As Good As Mine? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Chaos In Chaos

A quick one sent by Saywer: Apparently CrossGen (oh no, not again…) may have to cancel their up coming Lady Death series. The Trustees for the now bankrupt Chaos! Comics are declaring that they want to sell the company and its properties in one go. They are also declaring that they don?t recognise the sale of Lady Death even though it occurred before the company was made bankrupt.

Only time will tell if anything comes of this but it certainly bears watching.

This Has A ?Only The Lawyers Will Win? Value Of One Out Of Ten


Bashing The Bishop

Former 2000AD and Megazine editor Dave Bishop came in for a bit of stick at Dreddcon over the weekend. Every member of the new creator panel had the same story – submitted to Dave Bishop, got a nasty letter back, submitted to Andy Diggle, got a job. There was definitely a lot more not said on this subject than was actually uttered. Mr. Bishop, incidentally is now writing under a pseudonym and apparently also writing, directing, set building and starring in a Christmas play in the village of Bigger, if reports are to be believed.

This Has A ?See The Dreddcon Special For More? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


DC Keep Royalties Down?

Probson has sent me an allegation that DC comics ?micromanage? their sales figures in order to avoid paying extra royalties to creators. The allegations states that DC use many methods to reduce pay outs including setting disproportionately high target figures, poor advertising for the first print of some comics (then upping the ads to make money on the graphic novels) all to avoid paying out initial sales royalties.

I don?t know how much truth there is in this ? surely something like this would be very hard to do and not be caught at, at least over a lengthy period of time? Of course, they do seem to go to second printings on popular comics awfully often nowadays, but wouldn?t royalties be equally applicable on all printings and trade collections, not just the first?

This Has A ?Digging For A DC Contract To Check? Value Of Four Out Of Ten


Marvel Vs Diamond – Who Damages Comics More?

Few bits and pieces following last week?s column. First up Amazonia Monkland:

    Interesting little addendum to the whole Ultimate cover stock deal… not sure if this happens to your comics over in the UK, but here in the US, I’ve noticed something about almost each and every Marvel comic that comes out. About 3-4 millimetres from the spine, on the back cover, there is a very faint crease that runs the entire length of the comic. It’s hardly noticeable, you really do have to look closely, but it’s on very nearly every single Marvel comic I’ve bought in the past few years. I’ve asked around, in my comic shop and on Usenet, and most people say they have the same thing. …And it’s being blamed on Diamond, of course. At least it’s only a five out of ten.

Yes, I’m sure there’s a production line at Diamond that is exclusively charged with creasing every single Marvel comic that passes through their hands. Makes perfect sense.

Oh, except the cardstock ones, of course- then the Diamond production line shifts to scraping the fold so that the spine is roughened….

It’s the printer. When the comic is folded, the machine crunches down a little too hard. Simple as that.

Diamond-caused damages are actually relatively light (says someone who gets in ~1500 books a week). The ham-fisted morons seem to reserve their clumsiness for blister packs, DFE stuff, and books. In general they can’t be bothered trashing comics. They reserve their moronitude for counting comics: One, two, three, another one, another one, I guess that’s eight…

-Lev

I guess an apology is in order as Diamond, it would appear, only damage toys, products from the wonderful (visit their site) Dynamic Forces and books. This wasn?t my experience as a retailer. I found virtually every comic to suffer from at least ?white spine? or cover creases.

Next up is J. Hues whose column you really should read:

    j.hues

I’m going to have to back up this specific damage not being Diamond. In the past several months, I’ve noticed this particular crease on all Marvel books (non-cardstock) and yet it appears on no non-Marvel products. Thus, it makes sense that this crease comes from Marvel’s printing process.

This of course doesn’t stop Diamond from crushing the corners and damaging the books in other ways, but this gentle crease would actually be very difficult to incur during shipping. And while Diamond does take special pride in damaging blister packs, don’t let them be said to be above rolling the comics, so that they slide with half along the side of the box, or kicking the corners of a stack of books to either crush the spine or fold over the edges. I believe Diamond to be an equal-opportunity product damager.

I notice that while they don’t damage everything, there are damages EVERY week!

Having not seen the crease in question I will happily agree and take back the blame for this single crease on this single run. I?m terribly glad that you?ve noticed the same kind of comic damage as I had and that I had reported to me by UK retailer, nice to know we?re not getting any kind of special attention over you.

Next up it?s… hey it?s BobRo:

    Based on the description and consistency of the creases in the Marvel books, my guess is that it occurs during the binding of the books. Which means that it will be present on virtually every copy.

So, if every copy has a crease, then a “perfect” copy would include that crease, wouldn’t it? How could CGC make a 10.0 rating for something that cannot possibly exist? (Oh, wait, this is a company that seals up reading material in plastic boxes so no one can read it!)

BobRo

Oh yes, the CGC question that was originally posed. Thank you for answering that for us. As for your comments on CGC? comics are for reading, not sealing away.

This Has A ?Free All The CGC Comics!!! Let Them All Be Read!!!? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Radio Fun

Here?s something I was sent, can anyone help the poor thing out?

      Subject:

Radio Fun

Radio Fun. I am looking for people who remember reading the comics as children and/or collectors who are passionate about the comic.

Do you remember Radio Fun? What can you tell me of your memories?
Why was the comic so important/popular at the time of publication?

I am initially looking to collect people’s thoughts and feelings. Ultimately I would like to contact some people with a view to taking part in the programme.

My deadline is January 22nd 2003.

Angela Sherwin [angela.sherwin@bbc.co.uk]

This Has A ?I?m Clueless? Value Of Five Out Of Ten


Double Take

Spotted by Montoya on ICV2; didn?t I run this, like, an age ago?

    Superbowl Ad for Hulk Movie?

Would Be a First for a Marvel Film
December 18, 2002

At least one source is reporting that there will be an ad for Ang Lee’s The Hulk during the Superbowl January 26, 2003. If the ad does appear, it would be a first for a Marvel movie in this pre-eminent venue for television advertising. Asked to confirm the story, Marvel spokesperson Brien Reinert would only say, “At the moment we can’t confirm that there will be any Hulk advertisements in the near future.” Could be a non-denial denial; stay tuned.

This Has A ?Old News? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten


Silly, Silly (Please Tell Me It?s Silly)

Every now and then a comic book or film company will make up a story to try and trace where news is leaking from. I sincerely hope the following spotted by Fields is either that or the product of a reporter with an over active imagination:

      Eminem as Batman?

 

    by Bob Gough

More wild casting rumors about who?ll be next to put on the cape and cowl of Batman.

Detroit rapper Marshall Mathers (a.k.a. Eminem) is reportedly being talked to for the role in the still-being-planned Batman vs. Superman movie.

–NW Magazine, Movie Hole, Sci Fi Wire

This Has A ?PLEASE GOD DON?T LET IT BE TRUE!!!? Value Of One Out Of Ten


Re:Action – Poke It Again… Nope Still No Reaction

What a crap title, is that the best I can come up with? Re:Action, the toy makers who were responsible for the brilliant 2000AD action figures a while back may well have gone bust. 2000AD?s owners have been unable to get any reply from them for some time and their website has disappeared. The company produced one line of 2000AD figures but promised further waves to include The Dark Judges, Dredd on his Lawmaster (bike) and Mean Angel. Unfortunately they massively over produced the first wave, failed to secure a distribution deal with mainstream toy companies and were left well out of pocket.

Rebellion have been very diplomatic throughout and have even started to sell the figures themselves but it is obvious that they are fed up. When asked if they were looking for a new toy manufacturer they had this to say:

      The agreement with Re:Action runs out soon. We will be consider product and licensing ideas with any Action Figure companies that wish to become involved. We would love to start making

2000AD

    figures again as soon as possible.

This Has A ?Get In Touch Now? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


Catch Up On The Unluckiest Man In Comic Book Retailing

I really must insist you visit the Newsarama site to read the Busted! interview with Jesus Castillo. It is fascinating and it goes to prove that there is simply nothing more to the story than he sold an adult comic to an adult. His description of the whole thing is unreal, you couldn?t write stuff like this. However you must remember that it is real and Mr. Castillo is more than just a name or a cause, he is a real person, this interview will help you to realise that. I hope it will also prompt you to do something to help the CBLDF.

You could do worse than to visit:

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

This page is a complete listing of all the CBLDF Ebay auctions on at the moment. Keep coming back to it and bid where you can.

This Has A ?This Is Important? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten


And that?s not all… I?d like you all to email me at aland@silverbulletcomicbooks.com with a) Your favourite rumours for the past year and b) The rumour you?d like to see, go wild (and heck you never know you could end up being close to the truth after a few years back the idea of Stan Lee working for DC or suing Marvel would have been considered freaky). The most interesting, original and down right coolest rumours will win a fabulous prize. Get your entries in soon and we?ll run ?em next week.

Next week will be my retrospective and your favourite rumours (both those that were real and those you?re gonna make up).

I?ll be back in the New Year so keep your eyes and ears open and remember this column is only as good as its sources so make sure you let me know anything you hear no matter how big or small.

Merry Christmas, try and find a little time to think about what it all means amongst the orgy of gifts and food.

TTFN

Alan Donald – Signing off from an island buried under a sheet of ice.


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