Hello again. Six weeks in and I haven?t been fired. Although I have been fried. Sorry, in-joke. Extra kudos for the person who explains what it means on the message boards. If you have already read this column and are wanting to see the updated section, please click here.

First up, congratulations to all those who won last week?s competition. The correct answer was The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. The lucky winners will be receiving copies of Necrotic: Dead Flesh On A Living Body from After Hours Comics and Buddy Scalera. Look out for this terrific and spooky 66-page graphic novel in your local comics store.

The response for our little All The Rage competitions has been phenomenal ? so much so we have to change the rules a little, to make it fairer for those sleepyheads who aren?t awake in the wee-small hours of Sunday morning to read All The Rage. You still have to be a registered member of the message boards to enter, but from now on simply email competition@silverbulletcomicbooks.com with your answer as to the source of the Ragemite’s secret IDs (it could be a book, film, tv show, comic…) and your message board ID. This time next week we?ll draw the lucky winner and announce here. Simple? We hope so?

This week?s prize comes courtesy of Dark Horse Comics! Yay, Dark Horse. Far be it for me to bias my column towards these marvellous people (I?ll leave that sort of thing to The Pulse ? cue SFX: cat hissing and growling!) but I would recommend at the very least a visit to their website if not the purchasing of their wares. They have a fantastic range of quality books, including film and TV adaptations like the Buffy and Star Wars titles, a whole slew of manga titles selected from the best Japan has to offer, as well as tons comics produced by the top names in the industry this side of the Pacific.

Joining Dark Horse as worthy of ?biggie ups? are the charming folks at Dynamic Forces. They sponsor this column each and every week. I would heartily recommend a visit to their site via the banner advert above. They have a number of very cool products they want to sell you, and who am I to object? Nick and the crew at Dynamic Forces will also be providing some deliciously collectible goodies for you to win in the weeks ahead, so keep watching.

Enough ass kissing ?n? stuff, time to get on with the main event. Now all I need to do is think up a source for the code names? damn.

Marvelman To See Print

Neil Gaiman has made his intentions with regard to Marvelman abundantly clear on his website:

      We’ll see what happens. I had a good chat today with Mark Buckingham, and we’re certainly looking forward to getting the material to which we own the copyright back into print as fast as possible, along with the never-seen

Miracleman #25


This is fantastic news for all of those who have been waiting for this title for years and for those who will finally be able to experience just how good this work is for the first time.

Who will publish it? Marvel were asked about publishing the book either as Miracleman or the purists? favourite Marvelman but gave us a firm ?No Comment At This Time?.

This Has An ?At Last? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten

Spend An Evening With Mr Smith

Great news for fans of Kevin Smith in the US and Canada, An Evening with Kevin Smith is being released on DVD on December 17th. This 215-minute documentary features Kevin Smith answering fan questions at a variety of American Universities. When queried as to when the rest of the world will be able to share in the wonders of this DVD the folks at View Askew responded by saying as yet no decision has been made.

This Has An ?Okay If You Live In North America? Value Of Five Out Of Ten

Wildstorm Still Raging

The Top 300 comics for October have recently been published, and once you disregard the actual numbers as virtually irrelevant (they do not include late orders, advance reorders, or any order from outside North America) and look at the trend, you can find out some really interesting stuff.

And the first is to do with the Wildstorm Mature Reader line, the Eye of the Storm. Certain rumour mills have been calling this a failure from the start, which is gard for us to believe at ATR as Wildcats Version 3.0 in particular has been going down a storm (ahem) in Rage Towers. With issue one having sold out, and some retailers in the UK reporting a high level of reorder activity on issues two and three, it looks like the line has a palpable hit at last.

This is not to say that the first release, Stormwatch: Team Achilles is a failure, though, as issue four of that series looks to have held pretty much steady from last month?s orders for issue three. The significance here is of course the three-month lead time retailers operate under, where is it traditional for #1 of a book to be heavily ordered, only to find orders for #2 and #3 steadily decrease as retailers gamble their customers will pick up #1 as it is a #1, but some will drop off with #2, and some more with #3. Of course, by the time #4 comes around, retailers know what the buzz is on #1, and can adjust accordingly ? i.e. retailers are telling us that they believe everyone who has stuck with the book through to #3 will carry on to #4 and beyond.

With the imminent appearance by the Authority, we could even see orders start to rise, which would put pressure on the prices of back issue copies of #1 to #3 (and maybe #4) so we say get your back issues while you can, then flog them on EBAY when everyone is looking for them but can?t find them. Maybe this will encourage Wildstorm to rush-release a trade of #1 to #4 or (or #1 to #5) to keep the momentum going?

And, of course, Sleeper is yet to come out?

This Has A ?Why Aren?t You Reading These Books?? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten

Vertigo?s Death Row

Checking the same site as above for the performance of Vertigo titles, shows the top four (of twelve titles) to be The Filth, Fables, Hellblazer and Y: The Last Man ? no surprises there.

The bottom four are interesting ? you have Vertigo Pop Tokyo #4 (of 4), Crusades #20 (last issue – it has been cancelled anyway), 100% #5 (of 5), Midnight Mass #7 (of 8 ? controversially converted to an eight-issue mini-series from an ongoing series early on ? obviously to do with sales).

So with the top four obviously safe, the bottom four being cancelled or ending normally (or even abnormally), does this mean the middle four are in danger of cancellation? Top of this batch is Lucifer, followed by Hunter: The Age Of Magic? these two are probably safe for now.

Then comes Codename: Knockout and Fight For Tomorrow. FFT is #2 of a six-issue series, so will be allowed to come to a close. But, as for Codename Knockout ? well, a little birdie by the name of Matt tells me to expect news of its cancellation in a few weeks.

This Has A ?Bye Bye Baby? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten

So Much For The Recovery?

Bullock reports that the comic book industry reports a drop in comic orders for this month compared to the same time last year. This drop isn?t too bad and the figure is virtually identical to 2000. What this means is that the industry is pretty stable but it does bear monitoring.

This Has A ?We?re All Going Down? Value Of Three Out Of Ten

Wild Rumour Alert!

Thanks to John for passing on a terrible rumour circulating that Time Warner/AOL is about to shut down its comic book publishing division, DC Comics, as being unprofitable and too much hassle. I don?t place much stock in this and I was hoping that DC would dismiss the rumour out of hand, unfortunately they had no comment.

This Has A ?Don?t Believe A Word Of It? Value Of One Out Of Ten

Taking CrossGen?s Pulse

Abby insisted I mention this. Readers of other columns similar (at least in their aims) to this one and of our message boards will have noted that ?The Pulse? website has come in for some flak recently over their relationship with CrossGen comics. So bad is the obvious collusion that a certain columnist branded them as ?Mutual Masturbators?. Now far be it for me to join in such petty attacks, but what the hell, not everyone surfs the whole of the net!

The Pulse is a news and gossip site – it does a good job until you get to a CrossGen story, any CrossGen story. Suddenly the ?news? article stops being a few paragraphs long and instead we are ?treated? to twenty screens of ass-licking and deliberately syrupy interviewing. To make matters worse, CrossGen have sent out a mail telling everyone to check out the Pulse website. Of course, it does help that one of the contributors to The Pulse, Jen Contino, was ?invited? to conduct rather, um, easy, interviews in the back pages of recent CrossGen comics.

For pity?s sake, people, at least try to be subtle with this stuff!

Oh, did I mention that All The Rage was now sponsored by Dynamic Forces? You really, really should check out some of the stuff they have coming out. And of course, we love Dark Horse this week too!

This Has A ?I?ve No Shame? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten

More Moore

Another week, another Alan Moore story. Just because Moore is widely considered to be the greatest comic book writer ever he seems to be a bit newsworthy.

This week we have news that Avatar will be producing a two-part miniseries (is that really a miniseries? Come on surely it?s just a two-parter?) called The Courtyard. This is Alan Moore?s take on the style of H P Lovecraft, so you think it would be excellent.

Except it?s really just an old Moore short story, being developed into a comic book by hot (according to Warren Ellis) new writer Antony (?Don?t Call Me Anthony?) Johnston. AJ has a new comic out imminently, Three Days In Europe, which might prove a better indication of whether he?s up to the job.

As is usual with these things, all those involved in the project seem terribly excited so I suspect it?ll be publicised a bit better when it?s about to be released. Let?s just hope we don?t end up with interminable releases of an issue zero with slightly different covers?

This Has A ?Cthulhu-Written? Value Of Six Out Of Ten

Extraordinary Delays

Harvey tells me told that the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film will be delayed due to the flooding in Prague. The film (based on the fantastic comic book series by Alan Moore and Kevin O?Neil) stars Sean Connery and looks set to be a better adaptation of Moore?s work than the critically acclaimed but rather lacklustre From Hell.

This Has A ?No More Moore Stories, I Promise? Value Of Two Out Of Ten

Conan The Comic Due Soon

Jim lets us know that big changes have been announced with regard to the Conan trademark and brand. For years the warrior was a mainstay at Marvel, but his sales dropped so dramatically on his last few outings that it has been over 2 years since he last hit the shelves.

The rights to the Cimmerian have recently been snapped up (well 20% of them) by the Swedish company ?Paradox Entertainment?. The usual smokescreen is up but the obvious rumbling is that a new comic book series is on the way. Warner Brothers have the option on a third Conan film and Arnie has privately expressed an interest (industry insiders have said it?s probably the only thing that?ll save his career). A computer game is due out soon too, so the time is ripe.

As far as the publisher is concerned nobody knows anything for sure, but Dark Horse are the kings of licensed properties? watch this space.

This Has A ?Hack And Slash? Value Of Six Out Of Ten

Thunderbirds Are? Boring

Chester picked up a report on Ain?t it Cool News that the new Thunderbirds live action movie is rapidly approaching the rocks. Jonathan Frakes is in a director or producer role, and there?s a stated intention to introduce Thunderbird Six into the mix ? never mind that T-Six originally appeared in a previous movie version as a bi-plane, let?s not worry about that. Their reporter has apparently gotten hold of the script to the movie that by the sound of it is truly dire. There is some hope that this may just be a first draft, but Hollywood isn?t exactly renowned for treating properties like this one with respect.

This Has A ?F.A.B.? No, Not Really? Value Of Three Out Of Ten

Get Ready For Empire And L.E.G.I.O.N. ?03

Well, well, well, one thing that will happen with the Titans biting the big one shortly is that artist Barry Kitson will be looking for a new job. Except it seems that a new job may have found him, as a couple of postings by Kitson himself on the DC message board refer to the imminent return of L.E.G.I.O.N. and Kitson to the art duties of that book ? presumably when he finishes up drawing the remainder of Empire, the ?Image Gorilla? book written by Mark Waid, which looks likely to be slotted into the schedules as a six or eight issue mini-series early in 2003.

We anticipate a big launch for the book, coupled with a relaunch push for related book The Legion, probably in June or July 2003.

Thanks to Liz for picking this one out.

This Has A ?Everything Old Is New Again? Value Of Five Out Of Ten

?The First Amendment Is For Other People, Not Us? Department

Dennis spotted the following was posted by Image Comics on the Jinxworld Message Board amongst other balmy locales:

      Hello all,


      We can no longer allow posts regarding the Gaiman/McFarlane case on our message boards as we can be held legally liable for anything posted here. The message boards here are privately owned yet allow public access therefore this is NOT a first amendment or ‘free speech’ issue. Everyone is allowed their opinion on the case, but please do not post them here. The moderators of each message board have been instructed to delete all posts regarding the case. We apologize for any inconvenience and ask for your patience and understanding. Thank you.


    Image Comics

It should be noted that this was put up after Mr. McFarlane lost his case. What isn?t clear is why this step was taken. If Image is worried about being liable for things on their message boards then why do they have them at all? I?ve seen far worse things on the Jinxworld Message boards than words of support for Mr Gaiman or whatever.

Let?s face facts here, folks, and let?s not kid ourselves. There is only one reason for this step and that is face saving. Mr. McFarlane lost his case and it has become very clear online that he is far from the most popular person in the world. Image being owned in part by Mr. McFarlane obviously doesn?t want such negative chatter on their sites so they have suppressed it. They?ll argue the toss on this but ignore them – their arguments don?t hold water. This is a cynical and pretty immature strategy from a company that should be bigger than this.

You also notice how the posting is marked ?Image Comics?, not any particular individual? for example, Jim Valentino, the head of Image? Or their legal counsel? Or anyone at all?

This Has A ?Petty And Immature? Value Of Nine Out Of Ten

Attacking Typeface

Paul Jenkins was recently asked if he had any objections to his (jointly created with Mark Buckingham) character Typeface being used by others. Typeface originally appeared as a Spider-Man baddy in Peter Parker: Spider-Man and he is due to appear in Tangled Web soon too. Paul?s reply was:

    I think this is brilliant. Quite possibly because Typeface is the crappiest character I ever came up with, and right in the middle of a bloody alien crossover month, no less. Ted’s a great guy and an absolute genius, so I’m very flattered. Even so, I know he’s using Typeface because the character is so lame.

I don?t think that is fair. Typeface is one of the crappiest characters ever, not just from you, Paul.

This Has A ?Vote For Your Favourite Crappy Character On The Message Boards? Value Of Eight Out Of Ten

Dramatic Death In Episode Three

Samuel L. Jackson has been recently talking about his role in Episode 3 of the Star Wars saga. It was revealed that as Yoda, Obi-Wan etc will all survive the film Mace Windu?s death will have to be a major event and that his will be the biggest character to die. Mr Jackson also revealed that the film will feature the slaughter (or at least beginning of) of the Jedi.

This has been a lot of anticipation from fans on how exactly Mr Lucas will handle the 3rd and potentially darkest Episode of his epic but this news should sit well with fans who are hoping for a more visceral and edgy film.

Mr Wicker was kind enough to pass this one along.

This Has A Darkness Rising Value Of Eight Out Of Ten

Spider-Man Relaunch Delayed?

A late-breaking rumour from Deanna says that scheduling problems have killed off the idea of the Spider-Man relaunch happening in January or February, as originally intended. In fact, it seems that Marvel are keen that once the relaunch is underway, nothing interferes with the monthly publication of the books, so to get ahead of schedule ? thanks to JMS?s notorious slowness and distractions from the world of TV, Kevin Smith?s distractions from the world of film, and Paul Jenkins? distractions in his recent nuptials and upcoming Top Cow books ? the relaunch has been put back until June or July of 2003.

I?m told that this is why Zeb Wells has had his Peter Parker: Spider-Man arc extended from the originally planned two issues, to seven issues, and why Kevin Smith has had the time to write fill-ins such as the upcoming Daredevil / Bullseye mini-series?

This Has A ?Spider-Sense?Tingling!? Value Of Four Out Of Ten

JMS Strikes Back

Scant hours after this column going live, we have received a rather lengthy correction from J. Michael Straczynski regarding the above item. How to win friends and influence people… indeed! Here’s how the Spider-scribe kicked ATR butt:

      I bring your attention to the following quote from your latest column:


      “In fact, it seems that Marvel are keen that once the relaunch is underway, nothing interferes with the monthly publication of the books, so to get ahead of schedule – thanks to JMS’s notorious slowness and distractions from the world of TV….”


      Having worked as a journalist for everyone from the Los Angeles Times to TIME Inc., it always dismays me when someone who puts on the appearance of being a journalist, or even simply reporting on what seems to be correct, does not bother to do the work required to actually verify what he is reporting when, in fact, such verification is easily acquired. Instead of doing this, you have simply repeated an erroneous and false accusation which seems to have acquired currency on the net, and is repeated by people who can’t be bothered to find out the facts. That you have engaged in such behavior as well, smearing my reputation by passing along false information, is doubly dismaying.


      To the allegation you note above, I refer you to the Diamond Shipping Archive, which lists the following schedule for all the books I’ve written during my tenure on The Amazing Spider-Man.


      4/11/2001 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30


      5/9/2001 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31


      6/13/2001 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #32


      7/11/2001 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33


      8/15/2001 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #34


      10/3/2001 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #35


      11/14/2001 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #36


      1/9/2002 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #37


      2/6/2002 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #38


      3/13/2002 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #39


      5/8/2002 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #40


      5/30/2002 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #41


      6/26/2002 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #42


      7/24/2002 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #43


      8/28/2002 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #44


      9/25/2002 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #45


      You will notice that issues 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34 were ALL published either exactly one month apart or less. Five books in five months.


      You will note also that issues 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45 ALL average out to one per month, nine issues in nine months. (With two books technically appearing in one month in May.)


      The aberration — which affected only TWO ISSUES, 35 and 36 — centered around the period of the September 11th attack which a) caused a number of books in the New York production line to slow down, one of them being that month’s ASM, and b) I was asked by Marvel to put aside the issue I HAD been working on (which became 37) in order to write and insert the World Trade Center special issue into the 36 spot. Between this hiccup in the writing process, the printing process, and the need for JRJR to properly research the photo reference material, it put a gap in our delivery dates.


      But from from 1/9/2002 through to the present, the situation has again been EXACTLY as it was in the period from 4/11 to 8/15/2002: one book per month, or better.


      So please explain to me where I might find this “notorious slowness and distractions” in the Spider-Man titles that is SO egregious that it has supposedly caused Marvel to push back its new Spidey launch? (Something that has, by the way, not been communicated to me.)


      I hope that you will have the decency to print this email in full, and apologize for your remarks, which have the potential to harm my career and my work in the public eye.


      Next time you smear somebody in so casual a fashion, repeating what “everybody knows” but nobody has bothered to check, please take the time to get your facts straight first.


    J. Michael Straczynski

Thanks for the correction. You are right in saying that it takes scant effort to verify (or disprove) information such as this, and I will attempt to do so to the best of my ability in future.

If you would like to address this issue more fully, please let us know and we will make sure you have a forum in which put these matters to rest. Once again, our sincerest apologies.

This Has An “Our Asses Handed To Us On A Plate” Value Of Ten Out Of Ten

Film Shorts

Cat in the Hat – Mike Myers is apparently going to star as the Cat in the Hat in a motion picture of the same name. Tim Allen was apparently going to star in the movie inspired by the work of Dr Seuss but apparently he dropped out leaving the Austin Powers star in the spotlight.

Beowulf – Neil Gaiman is apparently working on a script adaptation of the epic poem Beowulf. Mr Gaiman, famous for his excellent work the Sandman and for beating Mr McFarlane (yeah!) in court has apparently written a script in the style of the film Excalibur.

X2 – Loads of stuff is flooding the web with regard to the sequel to the X-Men movie. It all looks pretty damned good to me. Patrick Stewart is reported to have labelled the first film as being an extended trailer for the later films such as X2. According to my source Mr Steward considers X2 to be the first X-Men movie adventure rather than a sequel. There will be a climatic scene in the Oval Office and a US General features as one of the baddies.

Superman – Josh Hatnett is reputed to be signed on to play Superman in the latest movie (the solo film not Batman Vs?) The star of Pearl Harbor and Blackhawk Down has been attached to this project before but this time the speculation is even worse than before. Another source apparently confirms that Anthony Hopkins is set to play Jor-El and that many changes have been made to the script that Ain?t it Cool News originally reported on.

Spider-Man 2 – Work on the Spider-Man sequel will be delayed by a few months to accomadate Kirsten Dunst?s schedule.

Battlestar Galactica – Finally it looks as though the Battlestar Galactica TV series may actually be made after all. No airdate has been set but the Sci-Fi channel has apparently given an eight-figure sum for work on it.

Death – Gaiman is currently working on a short Sci-Fi film of his own scripting. He has revealed on his website that he is using the project as a trial run for the far more major motion picture he is intending on (and very soon will be) scripting and directing (most probably based on the character of Death from his Sandman comic series). Keep your eyes peeled for the short film first.

This Has A ?Boo-sucks For Hollywood? Value Of Ten Out Of Ten

The Rise of The Fall

Ed Brubaker. Writer of Batman and Catwoman. Jason Lutes. Creator of Berlin and Jar of Fools. Put them together and you?d have a dream project, right?

Already been done. ?The Fall? was serialised in the anthology title Dark Horse Presents, then collected in a lovely graphic novel version by Drawn & Quarterly. It?s a story of a young man, who inadvertently discovers clues to a murder that happens years ago. He proceeds with his own haphazard investigation, bringing danger to those close to him. The story is set in Seattle, in the Fall? and the title refers to ?Fall? in this way, and in other ways too. SBC liked it very much, check the review out here.

However, now there?s a new twist to the story. We are informed that movie rights are currently being negotiated to bring this to the big screen. This could be the next Ghost World, or Road To Perdition, with a murder twist. The book is structured that a translation to film would be incredibly easy, go out and hunt down a copy now to see for yourself?and say you saw it before the film came out.

Addendum: On reading the above item Ed Brubaker wrote to All The Rage to offer the following words:

    The rights to the Fall have actually been optioned by David Goyer’s production company, Phantom Four Films and I’ve written the screenplay. We’re already going through the polishing phase now.

Yay, for Ed!

This Has A Pulled Up From Obscurity Value Of Eight Out Of Ten

U-Decide? To Cancel All Three Books

Peter David and several other top Marvel people agreed to a challenge, the best selling book after six issues would continue on. At stake was Captain Marvel, a great read from Peter David. Things are looking great. As always Peter David?s work has been critically well received and the sales have been quite good (he?s outsold the others in the challenge easily). Mr. David however isn?t all that impressed.

Boston reports that on PAD?s website he has urged fans not to get too excited, the title has lost a lot of orders between issues one and two – and he believes Marvel might just scrap the title after issue #7 and thus keep to the word of the agreement.

This Has A ?You?ve Got Just The One Chance To Buy It? Value Of Seven Out Of Ten

The Return of Comics? Greatest World

You know how it goes, you wait ages for a superhero line of comics then three come along at once. First, there?s the reinvention of the superhero line from Image? and now, is it Dark Horse?s turn? Rumour has it that Dark Horse feel their concept of Comics? Greatest World – a whole range of interconnected superhero titles launched amid much fanfare but poor sales ten years ago ? was ahead of its time. Whether the new line would retain that banner is unknown, although probably not due to the adverse sales connotations it brings with it.

But having been in touch with Dark Horse they assert there is no truth in the superhero line rumour, except they do have something *big* planned for mid-2003 and “we’re told a copious supply of chocolates will prise the details from their grasp.? Alfred, prepare the batplane for a trip to Belgium.

This Has A ?Please Don?t Bring Back X? Value Of Four Out Of Ten

Alex Ross Is God? It?s Official

One of our Ragemite spies, Bruce, found an interesting article on an Australian message board, about a graphic design magazine called ?IdN? which recently published a ?comic world? issues, featuring interviews with Alex Ross, Daniel Clowes, Dave McKean, amongst many others. Here is the intro from the feature on US comics:

      Richard Outcalt’s

Yellow Kid

      first appeared in the New York journal in 1896. It signalled the birth of modern comic-strip character. And it identified the US as the market leader in comics trends around the world. In 1934 came the first monthly comics book,

Famous Funnies

      . And Four years later, Superman made his first appearances in

Action Comics

      , by Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster. When the Second World War erupted, Superman was followed by a host of other superheroes – Captain America, Batman, Flash Gordon, Plastic Man, Green Lantern and so on.?


    ?Perhaps the major figure in this wave of comics fever was Alex Ross, who was responsible for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and Plastic Man among others. He spawned a genre of heroics, idealised, larger than life action heroes that still dominates the business to this day, even though it had proliferated into such categories as science fiction, jungle adventure, Horror, underground and monsters.

Nice one, Alex, wonder if DC are going to credit you properly ? ?Alex Ross Presents? on the first page of each DCU Comic, perhaps?

This Has A Credit Where Credit?s Due Value Of Two Out Of Ten

They Think It?s All Over? It Is Now

Well, there we are.

Do you surf the web? Are you a comic book professional? Are you a fan? Do you have any news, gossip or just plain old rumour? If so email me NOW and I?ll investigate the story. You can have as much or as little publicity as you want. It so happens that most of my sources wanted to remain anonymous this week but we will give publicity if desired.


Alan Donald

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