Yes, I use the Canadian spelling; that?s what happens when the SBC guys outsource these columns abroad. So let?s dive in, eh?

His Old Stuff Was Better

A member on the John Byrne Forum recently unearthed an old sketch pad he had purchased from Byrne himself, and showed off a scan of notes that he had found on the pad. The notes outline future plots for the Claremont/Byrne run on Uncanny X-Men (past the point where Byrne eventually left the title), and contain some interesting tidbits?

Byrne elaborated on their plans for the Mariko/Sabretooth storyline:

    I’m going to break one of my own rules here, since I have, at one time or another, discussed most of the details of Mariko’s death as I had worked it out. So here it is all together, for those who haven’t seen it before (and even those who have):

Sabretooth attacks Mariko as a way of getting to Wolverine. He brutalizes her beyond imagining. (Nothing sexual. This is sheer animal violence.) He leaves her for dead, torn and bleeding in an alley.

But she isn’t dead, and the X-Men, tracking Sabretooth, find her. They race her to a hospital, and over the next several issues she lies in a coma, on life support. Other things occupy the X-Men’s time for a while, but their thoughts keep coming back to Mariko. Wolverine returns to her bedside as often as he can. Her condition remains unchanged.

Finally, he can take it no longer. He begs Jean and Xavier to do something, to save her. Xavier scans her and makes a sad discovery. She is brain dead. Only the machines are keeping her alive.

Wolverine refuses to believe it. But Jean links his mind to Mariko, and he feels the emptiness where her soul used to be. He asks to be left alone with her.

Xavier and Jean depart, to wait outside. Wolverine sits by Mariko’s beside, holding her hand, stroking her hair. He rises. He looks at the machines that are maintaining her life functions. In a sudden, swift movement he pops his claws and slashes the power cables. The machines fizzle and shut down.

Outside, in the hall, Jean and X have both “felt” what has happened. They move toward the door, but Wolverine comes out before they can enter. He stands for a moment in silence, looking at them. Finally he speaks. “She ain’t meat,” he says softly. And in an instant, he is gone, disappearing down a stairway.

Next issue, he finds and, in the most horrifying battle the Code would allow, kills Sabretooth (who was, at this point, to be revealed as his father.)

That sounds like one amazing Wolverine/Sabretooth story, it?s a shame we?ll never get to see it. In fact if Byrne would focus on telling stories like these, instead of being a drama queen, then maybe he would get more work from the big two.

This Has A ?Swallow Your Pride Already? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten


Miles Gunter (24seven, BRPD: Soul of Venice) popped in to give us a teaser about his new Image series ZOMBEE:


      is the story of a Samurai, a Ninja and a Zen Monk teaming up to battle the undead in Feudal Japan. It’s an action horror comedy very much in the vein of the

Evil Dead

      films and

Dead Alive



    is designed to amp you up. It’s like inhaling a package of pop rocks and downing a jolt cola while driving a stolen Lamborghini Gallardo down the freeway and blasting Slayer. There’s not a lot of sitting around and talking in this book. It’s 100% full throttle heavy barreled action comics with loads of freaked out violence and crazy @#$% designed to make zombie fans reel in splattergore ecstacy.

I?m always up for a twist on the Zombie genre!

This Has A ?Brains Are Like Sushi? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

Supernatural History Lesson

Ait/Planetlar will be distributing the Xeric grant winning graphic novel FIRST MOON, written by Jason McNamara with art by Tony Halbert.

FIRST MOON deals with a young man in the present who discovers a shocking family secret that sends him on a journey through history and mythology to unlock the secret of the lost colony of Roanoke.

Jason and Tony sent us some preview art:

This Has A ?Who Says Comics Are Not Educational?? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

Scenes from a Postcard

Jason Rodriguez (editor on ELK?s RUN) is currently producing and edition a 160 page graphic novel entitled POSTCARDS.

The book is based on postcards Jason has collected (some as old as 100 years ago) that deal with war, quarantines, secret admirers and sickly mothers. Jason has over 30 creators lined up including Harvey Pekar, Phil Hester, Tom Beland, Stuart Moore, Michael Gaydos, Rick Spears & Rob. G, Ande Parks, and more.

POSTCARDS is scheduled to arrive in stores right in time for the 2007 SDCC.

Jason gave us some more insights on the project (and how readers can participate):

    Between July 1st, 1907 and June 30th, 1908 there were close to 700-million postcards mailed within the United States alone ? approximately 8 postcards for each individual living here. This was the Golden Age of Postcards. The low postage and improvements in printing technology made postcards a very simple, attractive, and cost-effective form of communication.

What we?re left with now is thousands-upon-thousands of dusty shoeboxes filled with 25-cent postcards in antique shops across the country. Pieces of peoples? lives ? talks of quarantines, wars, sickly mothers, and secret admirers occasionally being shuffled through but often discarded by collectors because they?re in ?bad shape?.

We?ve moved to email. Shaping pixels on a screen with no personality ? spell-checks catch our mistakes ? communication is instant and free, allowing for meaningful conversation along the lines of:

    Jason ?


– Josh

POSTCARDS wants to bring the postcard back. POSTCARDS tells stories inspired by these glimpses into a person?s life. Why did the mysterious ?E? brave a quarantine to see his friend Elmer? Did Earl Shafer ever return from World War II? Did Anna really marry a man with a 12-year-old son, as her cousin suspected?

POSTCARDS is set to be released July 2007, but we can?t wait that long to bring the postcard back. We want your postcards. We want a glimpse into your life. If you have something you want to tell us about yourself, please send a postcard to:
Jason Rodriguez
P.O. Box 17851
Arlington, VA 22201

Include an email address on the card ? if something catches our eye we may be asking for permission to post it on the POSTCARDS MySpace page ( or Production Blog ( If something really gets us excited we may even ask for permission to feature it within a future volume of POSTCARDS. Also, feel free to include your return address ? you might get a reply postcard from someone in the book with a little bit about their life or even a sketch.

So pick out some fun postcards and get to writing – purchase proper postage (that?s 24-cents, in case you haven’t mailed a postcard within the last couple of decades) – send us a postcard. Send a postcard to your mother or your boyfriend or your friend from college while you’re at it.

Help us bring the postcard back.

This Has A ?Most Original Project Of The Year!? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

Hardcore Editing

Punisher MAX editor Axel Alonso dropped by to answer some questions, and to give us some scoops on all things Punisher:

ATR: How do you avoid stagnation/repetition in the Punisher Max series (mobster of the week)? So far fans and critics agree that Ennis’ run on Punisher Max is a seminal one?to what do you attribute that to?

AA: The supporting characters, mainly. The Punisher?s world is populated by 3-dimensional characters — including the villains who, of course, really, really deserve to get killed. And then there?s the twists: Who saw Frank?s battlefield romance with O?Brien coming?

ATR: Why do you think Ennis’ run has been so well received? What elevates it from some of the 90s pseudo-exploitation Punisher tales that were just action sequences and big guns?

AA: Garth is writing this for an adult audience. He?s not looking to push Fanboy?s buttons; he?s looking to write a compelling thriller.

ATR: What is coming up next after the MAN OF STONE arc? Who will the Punisher tackle next?

AA: Big stuff. For starters, there will be big heartbreak for Frank. Yes, heartbreak. That gristly muscle in his chest still pumps blood through his body, so it still qualifies as a heart — and it?s going to have to carry a heavy weight after the events of ?Man of Stone.? Frank will carry this load could through the following arc — ?Widowmaker? ? and deal with the full ramifications of his actions in the arc that begins in issue #50. Yes 50 issues and going strong. I don?t spoil anything about that arc, but we?ve got big plans that are sure to raise interest. Besides that, Garth is writing his first PUNISHER SPECIAL limited series, which we?ll be announcing soon. Let?s just say it started when Garth killed a character and I said, ?What the fuck are you doing??

What the hell, Ill give ATR readers the scoop on the PUNISHER SPECIAL limited series, you heard it here first:

PUNISHER SPECIAL: BARRACUDA. Yes, that’s right, he’s not dead. What –you thought that a load of buckshot to the chest in shark-infested waters was enough to put that sunuvabitch down? Suffice it to say, he’s back — minus a few body parts — and pissed as hell.

PUNISHER SPECIAL: BARRACUDA is a 5-issue limited series that picks up shortly after the events in the just-completed “Barracuda” arc, and bridges the gap to the events in PUNISHER #50. In other words, while Frank is dealing with the nasties in “Widowmaker” (PUNISHER #43-49), Barracuda is dealing with his own little problem: escorting the unfortunate hemophiliac son of a dangerous mob boss on his first criminal caper.

Pops decides that junior’s been mollycoddled long enough and sends him out to make his bones, with Barracuda as his bodyguard. What follows is five issues of pure mayhem as every crime syndicate in the country takes a shot at young “Hemo,” all hoping to pay the mob boss back for the various wrongs he’s dealt them over the years. Throw in the forces of law and order, who take a natural interest in the proceedings, and a bona fide damsel in distress, and you’ve got the recipe for series that’s going to have people talking and dispel any doubt that Barracuda isn’t the most resourceful and lethal enemy Frank Castle’s made for himself in some time.

Indeed, Barracuda will make clear his intention to return to plague Frank once again, hinting at an angle he’s working that even the Punisher won’t be expecting. We’ll reveal his angle in the arc that begins in PUNISHER #50.

ATR: Any more one shots planned? By Ennis or by other writers?

AA: We?ve got the Punisher Xmas Special out this December, ?The List,? written by Stuart Moore and illustrated by C.P. Smith. We?ve got the PUNISHER SPECIAL limited series. And I?ve got a nifty one-shot that?s coming out sometime next year that I?m also very excited about that. And then there?s PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL, our Marvel Universe title, written by Matt Fraction and Ariel Olivetti. It?s like the forty ounce of super hero comics.

ATR: Which artists are lined up after the MAN OF STONE arc? Any truth to the rumor that JRJR will be working with Ennis on a Punisher arc soon? Any chance of Tim Bradstreet doing interiors?

AA: Too soon to talk about that rumor. Let?s just say John?s got lots on his plate. As for Tim Bradstreet ? we?ve been talking about that possibility for year.

ATR: Any other projects you want to plug?

AA: Yes, but it?s a bit too soon to talk about. I?m currently working on a MAX series that?s definitely going to appeal to PUNISHER fans — not only because of the subject matter, but the pedigree of the writer involved. This is one series I?m really immersed in.

Thanks Axel ? As a huge Punisher fan I?m really looking forward to all these storylines!!

This Has A ?Lock And Load? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

That?s it for this week folks. Have a great long weekend!

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