The Hunt Is On

Rage informant Molly Molly Mole told me DC will be launching a new Manhunter series later in the year. No, not Martian Manhunter — the other dude. Marc Andreyko (Casefiles: Sam & Twitch) is writing the series and Jesus Saiz (21 Down) is illustrating. When I asked Andreyko for confirmation he replied, “Yup, I am writing and Jesus and Jimmy Palmiotti are doing art chores on a new Manhunter book. The great and powerful Joan Hilty is editing and I believe it is scheduled to come out in August.”

I also asked Marc how his Manhunter will be different from the less than memorable stuff of the past. “This new Manhunter book will have nothing to do with the Paul Kirk Manhunter stuff (besides the fact that the goodwin/Simonson stuff is brilliant, the subsequent incarnations have been less than interesting). So, based on a suggestion from Dan Didio: how about a female manhunter? I ran with it from there. This manhunter is Kate Spencer, a federal prosecutor specializing in metahuman crimes. Frustrated by the way these supervillains seem to evade true justice, Kate has had enough and decides to take matters into her own hands.

The art on the book is by Jesus Saiz and Jimmy Palmiotti and, no lie, it is some breathtaking stuff. This book is gonna make Jesus a superstar (which is why I’m holding his loved ones captive, so he stays w/ the book! 🙂 ).”

This Has A “Dude From CSI” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Credit Sharing

Ah yes, welcome once again to the odd world of Rob Liefeld. It’s been a while, but this week wily old Rob got into another scuffle with a comic book creator. This time he faced off against popular writer Kurt Busiek.

It started off innocently enough, or so I thought, at the Millarworld message boards as Liefeld supplied new deadline info. for his projects.

On page 53 of the thread, Liefeld revealed that the ridiculously late Youngblood Genesis #2 is at the printer and will be available at the Wizard World Los Angeles convention, March 19-21. He also offered — surprise — excuses for Extreme Studio’s tardiness. “Here’s the deal on the deadlines of the books… Since early fall I’ve been juggling a number of time intense projects, most if not all comic related,” Liefeld said. “Top Secret Misc. Project was moved to the front of the pack and once the first 2 editions were completed, we were crunched for time in relation to the L.A. show so it came down to simple math. My colorists availability was open for only about six days and Genesis was much further along than Bloodsport, already having nearly half the issue colored, so Genesis was put through the system and B-Sport will follow in the next opening between coloring of ‘Top Secret Proj.’ Wonder Con is a possibility….”

Liefeld also added that Bloodsport will now be just three issues instead of the previously solicited four. According to Liefeld, the 30 page finale is scheduled to ship in the fall of 2004, followed by hardcover and softcover compilations some time after that.

During the update Liefeld credited Busiek with writing Bloodsport: Genesis instead of bestowing the more accurate title of “plotter” upon him. For those that don’t know, Busiek originally wrote plots for a Youngblood series called Year One in the early 1990s, which was abandoned because — shock — there were problems finishing the art. Years later Liefeld resurrected the book as Youngblood Genesis. he had Busiek’s blessing. The new incarnation follows Busiek’s plots and is scripted by SBC’s own Brandon Thomas. According to Busiek he asked to be credited as plotter around 1999. Liefeld agreed. And the first issue of Genesis did indeed give Kurt credit for the plot. Sounds like everything is cookies, right? Well no. You see, since the agreement Liefeld has continually referred to Kurt as “writer” when he promotes the book. So when Liefeld made the “slip” again on Millarworld, Busiek immediately took offense. He first posted a single word — sigh — then followed up with a more detailed response, expressing his displeasure with Rob:

    This has been gone over so often I’m surprised people don’t know what it’s about, but I guess that’s part of why Rob does it.

I didn’t “wash my hands” of the project when it was called YEAR ONE, and I have no problem with my name being attached to it. I did the work, I got paid, I’m fine with having my name on it.

However, all I did was plot it — I would have done the rest of the writing, but it didn’t get drawn for years, and by the time it was something Rob wanted to finish, I had too much other stuff to do. So at various points, Rob and Eric Stephenson both asked if I’d have a problem with someone else finishing it up. I told them to go right ahead, and they could even use my notes for #4, even though they hadn’t been paid for (I never did a plot on #4 because by then it was clear the art wasn’t getting done). My only request was that I only be credited as plotter.

Rob knows I only plotted the book, and he agreed to credit me that way. But his word isn’t worth much, and he’s been crediting me as “writer” for years, in a transparent attempt to fool people into thinking I did more than I did. First, he claimed that since they hadn’t settled on a scripter yet, it was fair to list me as sole writer (why was he soliciting it if he didn’t have a scripter?), then that I’d co-written with others (except that those were correctly credited) and now, apparently, he thinks (or will claim) it’s not confusing to credit both a “writer” and a “scripter” (when’s the last time you saw that?). Or maybe he’ll claim he’s just kidding around, to see if I’ll jump when he pokes me.

Whatever the case, the bottom line is that I plotted the first three issues of this, and he agreed to credit me as plotter, not writer. Eric Stephenson will back me up on the fact that I made the request, that he talked it over with Rob and Rob agreed.

Here are a couple of links to the Usenet threads (one of them interminable) that started all this kerfuffle four years ago, the fourth time Rob announced the book and the second time he actually solicited it:

Usenet Thread One

Usenet Thread Two

At this point, I’m annoyed enough by Rob being such a weasel about this that I’d like to ask anyone who’s a fan of my work not to buy YOUNGBLOOD GENESIS. Nothing against Brandon Thomas, who’s a nice guy, or Chad Walker, who I’ve never met, or Dan Fraga, who’s always been a good guy to talk to. I hope they find better work elsewhere. But if Rob won’t keep even simple promises that don’t cost him any money to live up to, it would be nice if there was a price to it.

I doubt this’ll have any effect, because readers don’t much care about this sort of thing except as gossip. But what the hell.

If Rob starts crediting me correctly, then swell, go right ahead. Until then, my request: Don’t buy it.

There you go, Rob, more free publicity.

In subsequent posts, Kurt also speculated on Rob’s inevitable response. “Maybe he’ll be playing the ‘we credit you accurately in the book, so who cares about how we promote it online’ game, but that doesn’t really seem to fly either, does it?”

Busiek also said he’s most annoyed that Rob has broken an agreement. “It’s a little thing, but it’s not really up to Rob to decide that what he agreed to do doesn’t matter enough to live up to. He agreed to it, he knows that it’s a sore point (not only is it the only thing I asked for, but this is something like the third time we’ve done this in public), and it’s not like it’d be hard to live up to the deal he made.”

True to his combat nature, Liefeld did reply to Kurt on the boards. He said he was surprised by Kurt’s reaction.

    To the point, Kurt wrote the plots, yes, otherwise known as the STORY. Without a plot, there is a blank page with no character interaction, no ideas, period. The artist has nothing.

Arguing back and forth about the credit is just tiresome, Kurt is credited as plot in both books, but the plot was written by a writer who happens to be Kurt Busiek. The Walkers drew the story from the verbal word pictures that Kurt imagined on his written page. Some pages have dialogue and in many cases, Brandon Thomas used that same dialogue. So the fact that I’m in the habit of saying that Kurt wrote the book and Brandon scripted is not intended to set off Mr. Busiek. I look at pages he wrote and I refer to him as writing them, seems all too reasonable to me. Certainly not the stuff of firestorms….

Rob followed his response with another post, saying, “Asking fans to not buy the book you were paid to write…wow. Baffling…”

He also mentioned that the upcoming Genesis compilation will feature Kurt’s written plots in their entirety. “We’re all proud of the book, it was formed from Kurt’s unique perspective, and Brandon as you will see is very faithful to it.”

But hell, why wait to see some plot pages in 2010 when Rob’s associate Jimmy Jay has already posted a couple on the boards. Here they are:

UPDATE: Liefeld had a change of heart and apologized to Kurt, who accepted the gesture. Here’s what Rob had to say:

    After re-reading the posts given about a day’s distance from them, I would like to offer the following apology.

I apologize to Kurt Busiek for any ill will created by my mentioning him as writing the Genesis book.

While I certainly didn’t intentionally mean to create a stir or defend him and I don’t entirely understand the intense feelings in the situation, I am sincerely sorry for casually tossing the term writer instead of plotter or plotted by especially considering that Kurt has stressed in the past that this as a particular point that is important to him.

I am a big fan of Kurt’s work and have no desire to offend him now or in the future and I apologize for being careless. It will not happen again. Kurt will continue to be credited as “plot by Kurt Busiek” throughout Youngblood Genesis and I promise to be careful in referring to his work on the series.

In case you’re wondering about the timing of this, it’s simply that this evening, I just looked at this from another perspective and really wanted to set this straight so hopefully this will be taken in the sincere manner that it is offered.

Nice apology. I hope Rob continues to put on the other shoe.

This Has A “Size 13 Boot” Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Bend it Like Bendis

Brian Michael Bendis has been dishing out some new Ultimate Spidey and Daredevil info. at his message board, along with some insider affection for Marvel Comics in 2004. When asked about upcoming Spidey stories, Bendis broke it down:

    60- 65 carnage arc- punisher makes a cameo

66- 67 special wolvie team up that you have to see to believe.

68- 69 special high school story.

70 – 75 hobgoblin, muther fuckers!!

Bendis also added that readers will finally find out what Flash was trying to ask Peter in issue #41. “65. Promise. Already written.”

On another thread Bendis revealed he’ll write Daredevil for “At least another year and a half. another three arcs. At least.” He also said that Black Widow will be making another appearance in the book.

After a few posters criticized Marvel and said 2004 was DC’s year, Bendis chimed in, saying, “You’ve seen the solicits for July — if this is DC’s year, they better get moving.

Take it from an insider, this is the year DC stares at Marvel with their mouths hanging open as they mutter to each other: shit, wish I would have thought of that.

DC will produce some outstanding books this year. But Marvel is poised to get new readers in from all over… WITH GOOD COMICS.

The Marvel U is about to get very interesting.

This Has A “Three DD” Factor of Seven out of Ten


Fantasia

Josh Adams, son of legendary creator Neal Adams, is illustrating an epic, online comic book called The Story of Fantasy. The project is being written by SBC’s review guru Tim Hartnett, who will debut the series in a new column called I Hate Fanboys. When I asked Tim to describe Story he told me it takes place in a fantastical, magic world.

    There is a central city at the heart of a kingdom, where a great evil is coming. No one is quite sure what this evil is, or what form it will come in. Since the kingdom is an isolationist state, the populace does not know how to deal with it, and our story begins with several characters examining their lives in the midst of the coming apocalypse.

It’s a very psychological examination. This is your city. Do you stay and fight? Do you run elsewhere? What do you do in your final days? How will you help to keep order? Our story has several, diverse protagonists. There’s a great deal suspense and intrigue as several city occupants begin to realize that the “coming chaos” may be more close to home than they imagine.

Several themes are explored: loyalty, patriotism, youth, fulfilling one’s life; I’m being very ambitious with this project. It stemmed from a novel I began to write in 1996, and there’s no better medium suited for it than comics. With Josh on board, and his amazing layouts, this will be quite an adventure.

And it’s free, too…

When asked why he decided to draw The Story of Fantasy, Josh said, “This is my chance to get out there and it couldn’t be with a better writer and story. My name may have a heavy history but I am following it up with a pretty heavy future.”

There isn’t a solid release date for The Story of Fantasy, but here are some sketches Josh sent me:

This Has A “These Are the Days of High Adventure” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Bat Caps

Animation Insiders Batwave News has screen caps from yesterday’s Kids WB! Fall preview of the new animated series The Batman.

This Has A “Very Dark Knight” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Scratching Post

I’m told creator Sam Kieth (Four Women) has written and drawn a new, supernatural Batman mystery called Scratch. The story will run five issues and should hit stores early this summer.

This Has A “Relieves Itching” Factor of Six Out of Ten


Three Pints of Ale

Artist Ale Garza (Gen 13) has given posters at Millarworld a peek at his pages for the upcoming Spider-Man Unlimited #3 tale, “The 6th”. Written by my dawg Brandon Thomas, the story features a big fight with longtime nemesis The Vulture. Here’s a look:

In the same thread Garza also mentioned he has a Marvel book in the works.

This Has A “Pub Crawler” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Couple of quick things before I go. Buy She-Hulk #1. Killer first issue. Like a lot of you guys I was gonna leave the book on the shelf, but an interview with writer Dan Slott convinced me to give it a shot. Glad I did, cause I loved the hell out of the book. Read it three times.

Second, go to www.villainsupply.com immediately for good laughs. Awesome stuff. And make sure to let me know what you think.

Out,
Markisan

PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at [email protected] 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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