My Great Gram died.

She was a firebox of a lady, stuffed with bright magic and tales of the old country. I remember how she would always take my face in her tiny hands whenever she greeted me. Sometimes they would shake, but I never thought they rocked from age. I just thought they were filled with electrical energy. She had this invisible ignition switch that flipped on the second she saw the people she loved.

I doubt I?ll live to be 98, but if I do, I hope I have that same spark when I go. I?ll miss you, Gram…

Sorry for the short column, amigos.

Early Retirement

Planetary writer Warren Ellis has taken issue with various news sites who ran headlines announcing his retirement from comics (not SBC, kids). The retirement talk was prompted by an interview Warren did for Waiting For Tommy a couple week ago.

On his Bad Signal listserve Ellis wonders if people actually read the interview. ?What I said was that, at that moment, it looked to me that 2004 would probably be my last very active year in American comics,? Ellis wrote. ?In fact, I specifically said that this isn’t me saying I’m retiring. What’s getting back to me is that people are apparently bitching because I’m announcing a slate of new projects when I said I was retiring.?

Ellis says his plan is to do work across four or five different idioms, then reevaluate the landscape at the end of the year. ?I’m trying to keep my eye on the future. And the future moves around, and you have to keep your thinking fluid. You have to be able to take on new ideas and not get locked into dogma.?

Ellis also mentions that he?s in talks to ?put original creator-owned work initially written in English in one or two places it hasn’t been before.?

The infamous Waiting For Tommy interview came about when Warren Ellis offered the online comics media a rare opportunity to ask him four questions. Each site had to submit its inquiries within 12 hours of the initial offer. Ellis’s responses varied from curt and effusive, depending on what was asked and who asked it.

While some newshounds dismissed the offer as a publicity stunt, at least one website EiC was rankled by the strictness of the deadline. Missing out by mere minutes, the EiC in question was so seriously pissed he nearly exploded a vein in his head. In a fit of rage the EiC made the snarky comment, “Oh, you ATE John Cassaday and that accounts for the delays. Sorry.”

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


Writer Stephan Petrucha has given the Rage a five-page preview of his new Moonstone series Meta-4. The now defunct First Comics originally published 3 issues of Meta-4 before it went bankrupt. Pre-dating The X-Files by 3 years, Meta-4 told stories that centered on UFO and other paranormal phenomenon. It was a critical success. Before the book disappeared Warren Ellis even gave it a glowing review in SFX magazine.


This Has A ?I Believe? Factor of Nine Out of Ten

Tom Boy

I?m told that highly respected fantasy novelist Michael Moorcock (Elric Saga) will be writing a Tom Strong book for DC/America?s Best Comics.

This Has A ?Such Big, Strong Hands? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Another Hit of X

At this point most of you know Rob Liefeld has some X-projects coming out for Marvel. The major rumor (run in Rage a while back) is that Rob has been given editorial control over the characters he developed and illustrated for X-Force in the early 90s. A new X-Force book is rumored to be released, along with one-shots and mini-series spotlighting former Force characters.

So it shouldn?t be a huge surprise to learn that Rob Liefeld?s X-Force books will also be part of Marvel?s RELOAD, the huge X-title revamp that begins in May. But since this is Liefeld we?re talking about, multiple sources speculate that the X-Force books won?t be a part of the initial launch. Instead they will be rolling out as a second wave of RELOAD.

With rumors flying that Buffy creator Joss Whedon may be taking over New X-Men a little later than the revamp start date of May, a RELOAD round 2 seems plausible. Then again, with Liefeld involved, so does a RELOAD round seven..

This Has A ?Late to the Party? Factor of Five Out of Ten

The Right Letter

I hear that acclaimed creator Scott McCloud (Reinventing Comics) is writing and laying out a new Superman project for DC.

In the late 90s Scott wrote a 12-issue run of Superman Adventures (#2-13), the all-ages comic based on the WB Cartoon. He also penned Justice League Adventures #16 which ships in February.

This Has An ?S? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

Twist and Shout

On Captain Marvel writer Peter David has been commenting on a variety of things, including Marvel Editor Axel Alonso?s Newsarama comment that Peter ?is all too vocal about what he thinks of Bruce Jones’ version? of the The Incredible Hulk. Peter says he doesn?t have an ax to grind with Axel and doesn?t see the statement as a slam against him. ?I think it’s a little vague since I’m not sure what “all too” means, David writes. ?People kept asking me, and I finally read enough of them to form an opinion and responded. I guess whatever the “just vocal enough” limit would be, I exceeded it. Oh well.?

Peter wasn?t so kind when expressing his opinion on Todd McFarlane, who saw his court case with former hockey player Tony Twist rejected by the Supreme Court earlier this week.

For those that don?t know or don?t remember, here?s a brief history leading up to this decision: Years ago McFarlane named a criminal enforcer ?Tony Twist? in his comic book, Spawn. Turned out the real Tony Twist wasn?t amused by this. The St. Louis Blues hockey player took the Toddster to court and argued that the character hurt his image and cost him endorsements. Twist ended up winning the case and was awarded a tiny sum of $24.5 million by the jury. But this decision was quickly overturned on appeal, before a second trial was ordered by the Missouri Supreme Court. Last month McFarlane appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping the court might clarify free-speech protections for artists who use celebrity names in their works. McFarlane?s appeal was backed by popular author Michael Crichton (Timeline), Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, novelists Scott Turow and Jeremiah Healy, and actor Harry Shearer (The Simpsons). But despite this celebrity support, the Supreme Court kicked the case back to the lower courts to be retried.

David, whose dislike for McFarlane has been very public over the years, couldn?t resist commenting on the recent court decision or emphasizing that Todd is being.. well, a dick. He wrote:

    Despite the amicus briefs submitted by a flotilla of recognizable Hollywood names, this is not a First Amendment case. This is, and always has been, a Todd’s-Being-A-Dick case. My lack of sympathy for Todd in this has zero to do with our history (or his charming stunt of naming two members of the KKK “Peter and John” after Byrne and myself in another “Spawn.”) If Todd had created a hockey character named Tommy Twitch who started pounding on other players in the first two seconds of a game, and Tony Twist sued, I’d be 100% on Todd’s side. Fair use, parody, satire. Or if he’d had Tony Twist skate onto panel, wave, someone says “Hey, Tony!” and he skates off and Twist sued, again I’d be saying, “C’mon, the guy should be flattered. No harm was intended.” If Todd weren’t a hockey fan, never heard of Tony Twist (I know I hadn’t before this), and it was pure coincidence, I’d support him.

But that’s not what happened. Todd thought it would be funny to name a criminal after a real person–a criminal who also showed up in the HBO “Spawn” animated series, exposing the characterization to millions of viewers. Here’s the problem with doing something funny: There’s always people who are going to think it’s NOT funny. I should know: I’m the guy who was accused of being anti-Semitic because I named some evil aliens in a Trek novel after the objects on a sedar plate.

Tony Twist didn’t think it was funny to be characterized as a criminal. Big surprise. So he sued Todd. Big surprise. Okay, actually, in this litigious society of ours, it’s NOT a big surprise. So Todd should not have been surprised when it happened. Which means that, if he’d given it a scintilla of thought, he wouldn’t have done it. But he didn’t give it any thought, or if he did, he went ahead anyway. Why? Same reason he jerked Neil Gaiman around: Because he’s being a dick. And because he figures he can (and should) be able to get away with it…not because he has a First Amendment right to do so, but because he’s the Toddster.

I thought at the time, and still do think, that the jury’s initial monetary award to Twist was ludicrous. But what’s even more ludicrous is the notion of Todd embarking on yet another court go-around when he could be spending his time on more important things, like not drawing comics.

Speaking of comics, Peter also mentioned that he has two Marvel projects ?in the hopper? which will probably launch late this summer. ?Sorry to be so secretive, but I just think there’s going to be a hell of a reaction when the projects are revealed, and I want to coordinate everything with Marvel’s promotions people,? David wrote.

And finally, Peter said he?s been meeting with Marvel to discuss ways to promote his book, Captain Marvel, beyond issue #25. ?I have fairly demented notions and we’re waiting to see if we get them approved,? David said. ?Should know within a few days.?

I have to say I?m interested in finding out what Peter has planned. If I had to choose target areas for improvement at Marvel, ?promotions? would be pretty high on the list. Captain Marvel is a book that deserves more readers.

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

The first half of Mark Millar?s one and only online interview of 2004 is up now at Part two will be posted on Monday. Tim, Jason and I wrap things up with a barrage of Marvel questions. I think the second half is even more entertaining than part one, so be sure to check it out.


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

About The Author