Welcome back to another edition of ATR. Still trying to get back in my weekly groove, but there?s no shortage of things to talk about?

Pym Particles

In a late breaking rumor, we?ve received word that a new Ant-Man project may be in the works for Marvel. This new project is said to feature a more ?ant-like? Ant-man, with an emphasis on humor. It?s not clear which Ant-Man will be in the book, though Hank Pym seems likely, as Scott Lang is very convincingly dead. But what makes this project sound particularly intriguing are the creators rumored to be involved: Robert Kirkman, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks.

This Has A ?Tales To Astonish? Factor of Six Out of Ten

Everybody?s Talkin? At Me

It looks like Marvel isn?t the only comic company featured in a magazine spread this month. Some sharp eyed ATR readers let me know that Top Cow?s franchise characters were on display in the most recent issue of Giant Magazine. The theme of the piece revolved around placing these characters within the context of classic pop culture from TV, film and music.

The write up for the article is online here. It actually gives an interesting update on Top Cow?s current movie and video game licenses.

This Has A ?Say Hello To My Little Friend? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Do No Harm

Keith Giffen and Alan Grant are reteaming this December on Jeremiah Harm from Boom! Studios. The book is described as ?Tough guy action? but without the funny.? So, unlike Lobo (Giffen and Grant?s previous collaboration), it?s not a comedy. Rael Lyra is onboard as the interior artist, with covers by John Mueller.

This Has A ?Not Your Superhero? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Taking Sides

Speaking of Boom! Studios, the Boom! Blog has an interesting item ?From the mind of Mark Waid, writer with too much time on his hands.?

I love it? Those would have been perfect for convention giveaways?

This Has A ?Thanagar Forever!? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

It?s A Cruel, Cruel Summer

Eric Stephenson?s upcoming graphic novel, Long Hot Summer has been enjoying a media blitz as of late. And while most of the attention has been focused Stephenson, Jamie McKelvie?s art is also turning a lot of heads. Earlier this week, McKelvie checked in with some background on how the project came together:

      This is my first major work, having previously completed a couple of short stories for

Four Letter Worlds


Negative Burn

      , although we had planned to do

Long Hot Summer

    before either of those opportunities arose. Eric was passed some samples of my work by Mark Ricketts, who in turn was shown them by Mike Hawthorne, who I met at MOCCA a couple of years back. A bit of a roundabout way to start working with someone, but I couldn?t have asked for a better writer to work with on my first comic. Eric?s been really helpful and encouraging, and of course it helps that I had a great script to draw from! I?ve really relished the opportunity to work on such a subtle script. I love playing around with expressions and body language, and so much of the impact and emotion of this story is told through that. It?s really gratifying when someone tells me that they?ve got what I was trying to show in a glance or a shrug.

The story of Long Hot Summer is about a love triangle set against the backdrop of the 1980s Mod scene in California. The main character, Steve, is always looking out for his mooch of a friend, Ken, until the day that Ken’s new girlfriend meets Steve. From there on in it gets progressively worse for their friendship. Steve is one of the cool guys in the Mod scene – he always dresses sharply, has an impressive record collection and is rarely seen without his sunglasses on. Ken, on the other hand, is seen as a joke by most of the group. He?s always a little slobby, and never seems to have money for cigarettes or gas. Steve is really the only one to take him seriously, which makes it especially difficult for him when Ashley begins to hint that she?s more interested in Steve than Ken. It’s quite a personal story for Eric – elements of it are taken from his experiences, although it’s not a straight autobiographical tale.

I?ve loved drawing the Mod scene. Given the geography of the US I don?t think it ever really caught on there the way it did here in the UK, so I?m not sure how many people are aware of it. You have to pay close attention to the styles of clothes, the scooters, the posters on bedroom walls, all that sort of thing. Even now I?m sure people will be able to pull me up on details I?ve got wrong – I know I drew a shirt that should have had a button down collar without one! Drawing a specific time period and location has been pretty challenging too, especially as I was about 7 years old growing up in the middle of England at the time the story took place. You wouldn?t believe how much effort you can put in to trying to find a picture of an authentic 1980s American answering machine. It sounds silly but I wanted to try to ground the story in the details of the period as much as possible. I even had to make sure I was using the right Denny?s logo.

We?re doing LHS as a digest-sized OGN of around 80 pages, so it’s a bit of a departure in format for Image, following in the vein of Four Letter Worlds. We both felt it would be the best way to present the story, though, even if it did cause me layout headaches trying to fit the dialogue into some of the panels! I?ve been working on this book in one form or another for so long that it?s actually going to be weird working without Eric. My next book, Suburban Glamour, is a solo project. Although it is coming out with Image, so I?ll still be technically working with Eric. Or for Eric. I suppose he?s kind of my boss now, even though I know he hates it when we say that. Sorry, boss.

This Has A ?Mod Squad? Factor of Ten Out of Ten

Shadow of The Colossus

Here?s a quick look at David Hine and Jorge Lucas? Colossus: Bloodline miniseries coming out next month from Marvel. Enjoy.

This Has A ?Titanium Man? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Got Places To Go & Jedi To Kill

And also for your viewing pleasure, we?ve got a cover by Adam Hughes for an upcoming Star Wars miniseries from Dark Horse. Early word is that the mini follows Darth Vader as he hunts down and exterminates wayward Jedi post Episode 3. Sounds like fun?

In other Hughes news, the second part of his Cursed Chest fan film is available online here.

This Has A ?Lil Epic? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Lounging About

As regulars and visitors of The Isotope Lounge can attest, one of the store?s unique features is the collection of ?Comic Rockstars Toilet Seats.? And now curious web denizens can see them too. Check out the link here.

This Has A ?New Use For Sharpies? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Here Comes Da Funk

Over on his forum, Jim Mahfood had this to say about his next project:

The Further Adventures of One Page Filler Man

    is my next major project. It’s an original graphic novel that will probably clock in at over 150 pages and will be out in Dec. I’m about 30 pages into it and it’s pretty over the top, hilarious, surrealist super hero shit. Pretty fun, I think ya’ll will dig it?

And don’t forget that Wha Huh?! comes out a week from this Wed!!!

This Has A ?Silky Bureaucrats? Factor of Eight Out of Ten

I Pity The Fool

It?s funny how all hell can break loose out of a simple press release. Such was the case last week, when it was announced that Richard Emms had left APC to join Markosia.

After some positive initial responses, Michael Netzer came forward with this statement:

    The sad part about Richard Emms is that he’s gone the way of other comics publishers who know how to suck their creators dry and discard them like a bloody rag afterwards. The creators on whose back Richard Emms made his living.

Richard Emms has been dodging three creators who came to aid APComics on Mr. T #3. Mike Kelleher, James Taylor and myself have been told by Emms that he will not take responsibility for Mr. T‘s writer and project manager, Chris Bunting, who brought us in to help out. The work we produced for APComics will not be paid for, Emms said.

I’d like to feel some sympathy for Emms predicament, but under the circumstances, it’s difficult. Our correspondences were characterized by connivery and excuses he persisted with in order to save himself a few hundred dollars.

A comics publisher who can allow himself such thievery perhaps deserves to have his enterprise collapse.

And in a later post he adds:

    Well said, Carl. I’ve received several correspondences from comics creators regarding what I posted here about Emms and telling of their misfortune with him. We’ll see how long this new “con Job” he’s pulling on Markosia lasts.

Harry Markos responds:

    As Managing Director of Markosia I feel that it is time for a response, now that my company has been dragged into this ‘dispute’.

As far as Markosia is concerned, Richard Emms has been employed as Publishing Director with a view to co-ordinating our various projects, as well as bringing in some excellent new projects that he has either been involved with in the past, or which he thinks have the potential to succeed.

Richard Emms is not pulling a ‘con job’ on Markosia, as the last poster has claimed. We have complete faith in Richard and his experience in the comic industry is a great boon for my company. We are very pleased indeed to have him on board and the results of his excellent hard work will be there for all to see in the next few months when our first titles are released.

Emms also responded with his side of the story:

    Firstly you have no rights to start accusing me of problems that have been completely out of my control and in the hands of a guy who was trusted to make sure we did not run into problems such as this.

I warned Chris (Bunting) of the lateness of Mr.T way back in April – when I was witnessing delays on pages even for a 6 page preview issue.

I have been in the business long enough to understand and see potential problems when artwork is not handed in on time. You have to be in a publisher’s position to understand the financial implications of such failings if deadlines are not met. And indeed these failings are partly to blame for the demise of APComics as well as several books of ours never seeing the light of day in the UK and USA – and still sit in a warehouse, with several Markosia books that were printed some 2, 3 or 4 months ago and have been neglected to be sent to us in timely fashion.

Mr.T #3 – which you worked on – fell into extreme lateness. I contacted Chris before I left for the SDCC and told him that if we did not get this book to print the week I got back from the SDCC then we would have to cancel and resolicit – after all we would have the majority of the book finished. This is a common practise for indie publishers who fail to meet deadline but still have confidence with its titles. Chris assured me that Randy and his team would complete on time and that we would hit deadline.

Now here comes the interesting fact that was told to me by Chris only a few weeks prior to all this ____ hitting the fan.

I was worried, some months ago, that Mr.T was falling into lateness so I decided to try and look for inkers who could get us back on track.

Chris told me – by phone and e-mail – that “in no was Randy and his team to be replaced by anyone!!!” – this, he said, he was told, by Mr.T‘s agent on the phone, which I respected… as we have had so many art teams, pages and covers turned down because they did not feel happy with the way Mr.T was being represented in the comic book series.

So when I returned from the SDCC and Chris has hired 3 inkers that have different styles to Randy and completely different to that of what had been produced prior, surely one has to be a bit “concerned” that these pages would be turned down.

If we went to print – this book could have been “pulled” by Mr.T’s agent if he was not happy with the final product. Something that would have cost me thousands to do. My moto is “better safe than sorry”. After all I have to adhere to the contract that was signed.

I then decided to cancel the book after reviewing each page and talk to Mr.T’s agent explaining the problems that had arisen. I wanted to be honest about the screw-ups that had happened and I offered to resolicit issue #3 for a December shipping date. T’s agent was happy to do so and was happy for Chris, Neil, Dash and I to continue to work on the book.

I’m afraid at the end of the day, Chris panicked. This guy has worked long and hard hours to get Mr.T off the ground (along side me) and I’m sure he didn’t want this book to fail in anyway. I really do think your work is of a very high standard – but when the publisher is at the mercy of a contract of which artwork needs approval and that you’ve been told that the art team has to “stay” whatever the costs, has spent thousands of dollars on “unused” pages – surely you can see my position. You have to draw the line somewhere (‘scuse the pun).

For me, letting go of APComics… well, it has been a very hard time, but I believe it was the right decision. Working with Markosia has allowed the creators who have projects currently at APComics to continue… of which I don’t expect a penny from. I’ve worked many hours without any financial rewards – in fact Mr.T #1 has made me a personal loss of some ?2500 ($4000)… so anyone accusing me of being a “con man” – well, matey, you are barking up the wrong tree.

Which brought out Chris Bunting for his take on the situation:

    Keep playing the blame game, Rich.

Who’s fault is it now? Mine? Randy’s? your dog’s?

Answer me these questions:
Just why was Mr.T #1 late?
Why is Mr.T #2 late? In fact, where is it??
Why is Mr.T #3 late?

As for approvals etc, for intents and purposes, I WAS the approval person. Plus your constant attempts to replace a worldclass inker with another who frankly was sub-standard, esp on a title as high profile & big as Mr.T, just wasn’t going to happen. The variant cover the latter did? Point blank refused. But you know all this, Rich!

No, I didn’t “panic”. Do I sound like the panicky sort? As editor, project manager, liason and approval person all in one … and I might add I have also been listed by Rich on many occassions as APC’s actual EDITOR IN CHIEF … I took it upon myself in capacity as such to act in everyone’s best interests while Rich took an extended break at San Diego. Two extra days right? With an all important deadline looming right? That’s a bit odd…

Now your excuses are changing as per normal Rich: saying you were convinced it’d be Randy and his team doing the inking. Now with the above in mind this is very much a side issue, if that … but you knew Randy would be at SDCC too. I didn’t assure you of completion until you returned, when the other guys were helping out: in fact the opposite. I requested repeatedly before you left for SDCC that I and/or you look round for extra help to get Mr.T #3 completed for the all important deadline in time. Your response? “I won’t have time Chris”. You won’t have time to look after your best selling title? That’s very odd. So please just get your facts straight at least, Rich.

Yes … apparently Mr.T, APC’s bestselling title ever has made a loss everyone. (I can’t work it out either.) And don’t go on about a contract with the license holders, Rich, and completely dismiss it when it suits you.

And so the world can see, and I have stated this again and again: yes, Rich should do the right thing and pay the guys (and everyone else) and stop all this nonsense.

One other thing, as expressed on the APC forums already by myself: Rich changed his mind at one stage, agreed after all to run Mr.T #3 as it’d been done, and he even began lettering it up. Therein lies the real tale.

It’s very sad it’s come to this, but I stand by what I’ve said here, the APC forum and the email’s Michael Netzer’s copied on here.

And from there, the discussion got a bit more heated. Though cooler heads seem to have finally prevailed. According to a statement on Netzer?s website last night, the situation appears to have been resolved amicably.

This Has A ?B.A. Baracus? Factor of Five Out of Ten

Tempting Fate

And finally, here?s a look at Terry and Rachel Dodson?s new cover for Kevin Smith?s Spider-Man & Black Cat miniseries.

Personally, I can?t wait to hear an explanation for Daredevil?s sudden appearance in the story. I think it?s just going to remind people that Smith has yet to finish his Daredevil: Target mini? And God knows when that?s gonna happen?

Aw? Crap. Not this again?

Okay? we?re back. And I?ve really got to remember to stop invoking Armageddon?

And we?re done. See you next week.


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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