I have the best IM conversations. Here’s one that went down a couple days ago with a friend who shall remain anonymous.

MARKISAN: Hey, you read Batman/Superman #4?
MARKISAN: That book kicked ass!
FRIEND: I liked it better than #3. I thought Bats and Supes were goin’ to stop fighting and blow each other until the end of the book.
FRIEND: Seriously, Loeb did a lot better with the narrative this month. It wasn’t all, “Bruce is so cool.” “No, no, Clark is really the cool one. I wish I could fuck his wife.”
MARKISAN: Ha ha! The parallel thought balloons don’t bother me that much. At first I thought they would..
FRIEND: At first it wasn’t bad, but by the third issue it’s like, dude, if you
could just stay off each other’s nuts for three pages…you may be able to escape!

Wild On
There’s this rumor going around that Wildcats writer Joe Casey will be penning a new Black Panther series for Marvel. Current Hulk artist Mike Deodato has been attached to the project as well. Before I even had a chance to contact Joe he shot me an email saying the rumor is “completely untrue.” He also expressed admiration for the work of former BP scribe Priest calling him “THE Black Panther writer.”

So, no new Panther by Casey, kids. But those of you who dig his stuff will be happy to know Joe is going back to do some work for Marvel. I asked him if he could drop the titles or offer a teaser, but he hasn’t emailed me back. Other sources have told me that Casey will be doing something “Avenger-related.” But those bitches be sketchy.

Well lookee here, it looks like the Joe Casey Avengers project may be less sketchy than I thought. Splashpageart.com features an Avengers proposal pic by (Sleeper) artist Sean Phillips. The text at the bottom reads, “Sean did this piece to pitch for a possible Avengers project recently.”

Phillips drew Casey’s initial run on Wildcats and he will be contributing some flashback pages to an upcoming issue of Wildcats 3.0. In a previous Rage story Sean told me, “I owe Joe a lot for taking a chance on me originally for Wildcats after Travis Charest left, so I’m always keen on working with him more.”

I’d bet money Casey and Phillips are working together on this Avengers project.

I also hear Mike Deodato has shot down the BP rumor, saying he’s working on a self-contained story for Hulk #70. When he’s finished with that he will be illustrating a new five issue Hulk arc from #71-75.

This Has A “Cat Got Your Tongue?” Factor of Six Out of Ten

Racial Profiling

Speaking of Priest, the upcoming Captain America/Falcon writer has taken offense to a story in the rumor column Lying in the Gutters . The original material in question read:



      It’s alleged that Christopher Priest, all too frustrated by angry gangsta rap, has created a total spoof at


      , crafting the song

You Ain’t White

    which could possibly be characterized as White Power hardcore rap. Bless.

I wonder if it will be referred to in his upcoming Captain America/Falcon series?

In his http://phonogram.us/admin/weblog.htm Blog Priest wrote an “Open Letter to Rich Johnston” calling the subtext racist and asking the gossip writer for a public apology. “Rich, it really is hard enough just surviving in this business during these volatile times,” says Priest. “Having somehow, to my great and enduring horror, become a BLACK writer, when once upon a time I was as much a writer as anybody else, only compounds the problem.

“Laying off racist bias on CAP/FALC before you’ve seen even one paragraph of what we’re up to is totally unfair. And, while I’m sure you meant no harm (and you’ll likely make full advantage of this note to further undermine me and my work), I just wanted you to know I’m perplexed by the hostility and wanted you to be aware (because I’m betting you’re not) that the posting is completely offensive and patently racist. I’m sure you made what you thought was a harmless enough joke but one that was loaded with unfair racial inferences about me and about CAF.”

Johnston soon replied to Priest’s accusations.

    Priest, I emailed you about this last week and received no response until now. I had a number of emails telling me you were behind this spoof, from a number of separate people across the industry. You still haven’t told me if you are… that’s fine. Your prerogative.

But no I don’t understand how racist the subtext of the post is. Because there is no subtext. Doesn’t subtext demand intention?

There was no racist bias towards Cap/Falc intended. No hostility. No undermining of work intended. For fuck’s sake, haven’t I championed your work on Q+W, BP and Crew?

In any past dealings I have only referred to you as a writer, not as a black writer, surely? I don’t think I’ve ever referred to the ethnic background of anyone unless it was strictly relevent — to Joe Illidge interview springs to mind, of David Choe’s allegations. When has it ever been an issue for me? In this post I only refer to you as a writer. I can’t imagine a different posting if I’d been told, ooh I dunno, Geoff Johns was behind the spoof, and linked it with a mention of his Green Lantern project I’d just been told about.

Public apologies are fine. I’d just like to know what I’m apologising for.

Rich has since had the story removed from his site. When I asked Rich about this incident, the rumor maven says it took Priest two weeks to respond to his initial email. They have been going back and forth on the issue and Priest still wants an apology.

Keep your eye out for Lying in the Gutters tomorrow. Rich will probably say something about this.

Update: Priest has offered an “An Open Apology (of sorts) to Rich Johnston on his weblog. He says a violent illness prevented him from responding to Rich’s inquiries sooner. He also says he did not write the rap song “You Ain’t White” and clarifies his position on “racist subtext.”

      My point is being a bit distorted, as I’m not saying Rich is a racist but the subtext of the joke is racist because it’s not a joke that could have been made about anyone else. It’s not a joke that would even BE a joke if I weren’t black. The “You Ain’t White” song title and, most irritatingly, the suggestion that


      will be some kind of damned minstrel show– would a joke like that have been made if Waid were returning to Cap? The subtext of this joke was there’d be (a possibility) of race-themed rap music in


    , something extremely unlikely if Waid were writing it.

And the end of his letter Priest says he is a Christian and Christians should apologize when the offend one another. “Even if we don’t understand it,” he adds. “All I’d need to know is that I’d caused someone injury, and that, in an of itself, would be sufficient for me to offer up a sincere apology, without further offending the person by making them turn cartwheels explaining my own boob-osity to me.”

Reading Priest’s Christian conviction has softened me a bit. Apparently I also offended Rich. I attempted to let him know I would be running this story, as a courtesy, but somehow the message wasn’t received. So I apologize for that.

If anyone else is offended by this column, you will just have to suck it up.

This Has A “You Ain’t Bad! You Ain’t Nothin’!!” Factor of Eight Out of Ten

MAX Headroom

My source, MBB, tells me there may be a Wolverine MAX series in the planning stages. This would not take the place of the current Wolvie title, it would be a second book. From what I understand mature Wolvie books have been pitched in the past and have always been rejected, presumably to keep from alienating younger audiences.

My sources say Marvel is testing out the idea of moving established titles to MAX with Garth Ennis’ new mature Punisher book. If this book is successful, Marvel will supposedly allow other books to make the jump. In fact I hear X-Statix is one of the titles being considered. I emailed writer Peter Milligan about the possibility. He has not replied.

This Has A “Cuttin’ Sick” Factor of Four Out of Ten

Asteroid M

If you’ve been reading this little column or Lying in the Gutters you probably already know that industry bad boy Rob Liefeld is rumored to be spearheading an X-Force revival, along with one-shots and mini-series associated with the project, for Marvel . Over the last couple months you may have asked yourself, “How in the sweet, round ass can Marvel even think about handing over X-properties to Liefeld, given his crappy track record of releasing books late and doing other whacked shit?” Well earlier in the week a shaky source told me Ultimates writer Mark Millar was on board to write Big L’s Marvel comeback. Given Millar’s clout in the industry at the moment I didn’t immediately dismiss the possibility. However, I’m now told that Millar is not handling any writing chores, but he did help Rob smooth the deal over with Marvel.

Weird thing is I can’t help but wonder what Mark gets out of this. Can you imagine the conversation between Millar and Liefeld?


    Dude, I so need your help!

MILLAR: Oh, fer fuck’s sake, mate. Can’t ye just draw me bloody Bloodsport and be done with it? What have ye got into this time?

LIEFELD: I want to go back to Marvel and do X-Force again, man!! It’s gonna be the bomb! I’m tryin’ to do this deal but those Marvel dudes are like, all hesitant.

MILLAR: Can ya bloody blame them, ya wee cunt! Yer deadlines are shite. Ye’ve gone and bloody pissed off every God damn bastard in comicland. And ya say “dude” more than that fuckin’ father turtle in Finding Nemo.

LIEFELD: Dude.. harsh. Can’t you just, you know, put in a word?

MILLAR: (sigh) Oh fer fuck’s sake. I’ll talk to Joey da Q fer ya. But you sure as hell better be gettin’ on tha Bloodsport. Have that shit done in 30, mate.

LIEFELD: Thirty months! Awesome! No problem Millar-dude!

Hmm.. you know, on second thought it’s also possible Millar just wanted to help out a friend. Of course that would have been a very boring answer.

In other Rob news, the Arcade Comics king says his company is “currently designing a book that will collect all of the unfinished [Awesome] work, including the Youngblood 87. We are currently setting up new offices and staffing up in order to get more work out to the public.”

Thanks to MBB for the assist.

This Has A “Some Sea Turtles Can Live Over 100 Years” Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Return Trips to Krypton
I’ve heard that New Superman writer Brian Azzarello has had disagreements with the editors at DC over the direction of the book. I’m also told he’s been pressured to do rewrites. I asked Brian about this and yep, you guessed it.. he didn’t reply.

This Has A “Too Much Lead” Factor of Five Out of Ten

Alien Nation

Titan Books interviewed Alien Legion creator Carl Potts at http://www.titanbooks.com/books_chat_carl_potts1103.html.

When asked what the future holds for Alien Legion, Potts brought up the 3D animated TV series I’ve mentioned here in the past. “I’ll also be trying to get a live action feature film going again soon,” says Potts. “I’d love to do more comics and possibly get a prose novel series going if the right offers or situations present themselves.”

This Has A “New Frontiers” Factor of Five Out of Ten

Justice Be Done

I’m told an entire shipment of the Justice League Adventures #26 to the Phantom of the Attic in Pittsburgh, PA was the victim of a very bad printing error.

The first few pages and the last pages are missing. When you open the book you immediately discover the cliffhanger from last issue has already been resolved.

So my first question is, has anyone else noticed this? Second question is does DC plan to send out a corrected version?

This Has A “Bad Page Rate” Factor of Six Out of Ten

Unlocking the Cage

Remember Superman Lives, the film that was supposed to star Nicholas Cage? Do you care? Well, me either. That is until I read a short interview with former Superman Lives concept artist Brian Lawrence at http://www.superman-v.com and I realized just how close we came to seeing this on screen..

Um.. that isn’t Superman. It’s freakin’ Voltron.

If you can somehow resist the urge to say “Form Blazing Sword!”, there are a few more spacecraft designs available. Access them directly at http://www.superman-v.com.

This Has An “I’ll Form the Head!” Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Down Another Dark Road

A reliable source tells me Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Dark Days) will be writing a new book for IDW drawn by Kieth Giffen (Thanos, Lobo/Authority Paramilitary Christmas Special). I should have more details soon.

According to Giffen in an upcoming interview with the Dispatch, he actually has two new IDW projects coming out. “I’m working with Andy Kuhn on a huge project. Once it’s done it’s going to be 125 pages. It’ll come out monthly, I guess, and then collected into a trade paperback. It’s called Common Foe and it is where I try to redefine the concept of the Vampire set in World War II. And I’m [drawing] a project with Steve Niles called Gut Wrencher.”

This Has A “Formerly Known As the Vampire Guy” Factor of Eight Out of Ten

Black Sheep

Hopefully everyone read last weeks interview with Tony Isabella on Black Lightning and minority characters in comics. I’ve been getting a lot of great feedback (Thanks!) and a few people even sent me additional questions. One in particular caught my eye. Multiple readers asked me if Isabella has ever given any thought to creating a new character, possibly for a creator-owned series. So I decided to ask Tony via email. Here’s his answer:

    Eddy Newell and I have done some preliminary work on a new character and even had a publisher interested in the project. But that publisher went under after screwing around with us for almost a year. For me, the problem with a creator-owned series is…how do I make sure Eddy (or another artist) gets paid? I can afford to write a few scripts before the money kicks in, but a working artist can’t. The companies who can afford to pay an artist a decent wage usually want to retain too many rights to the material. Look how long DC has managed to tie up the Dakota Universe (Milestone) characters.

As for doing another African-American character, which I would like to do, you know the usual pundits and trolls will either castigate me for ripping myself off or for not doing something exactly like Black Lightning. That challenge doesn’t scare me off, but it is something I have to think about as I proceed. I can’t recall if we covered this in the interview or not, but, as much as I love comics, I don’t really expect to write them in the future. Let me amend that. I don’t expect to sell them in the future.

I’ll be going back to full-time writing in 2004. I plan to create/write comics. However, I don’t expect to sell these comics and will then turn them into novels and screenplays. It’s my three-strikes plan. I’d love to get back into writing comics. But, even if I never write a comic book the rest of my life, I still have a great life with a great family and lots of ways to use my skills.

This Has A “Third Time’s A Charm” Factor of Ten Out of Ten

See everyone in seven.


PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share email me at markisan@silverbulletcomicbooks.com 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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