Blair is off this week celebrating the holidays, lucky for him I follow an ancient Greek pagan calendar, so my Christmas celebrations land somewhere in mid-April.

7 Soldiers to Save Us All

The 7 Soldiers is an excellent Grant Morrison DCU crossover that isn?t really a crossover. It is a series of interconnected mini series where each issue tells a complete tale, but they all tie in together in subtle ways. This allows readers to choose between only reading individual issues or buying the whole line of titles to see the clever tapestry of tales that Morrison has weaved together.

Fans of the of the first set of characters in the 7 Soldier mini-series will be pleased to hear that DC has plans to feature a few of them in various titles after Morrison?s series concludes in April.

Rumour has it that the Guardian will join the new JLA. The new Shining Knight is also slated to join one of the other DCU second tier teams (The Teen Titans, the Outsiders, or the new Shadowpact). Fans can also expect to see some of the other soldiers pop up in the weekly 52 series that follows Infinite Crisis.

This Has An ?I Want To See More Of Frankenstein? Factor Of Six Out Of Ten

Not That There Is Anything Wrong With That

One of the big rumours coming out of DC these days is that one of the existing DCU superheroes will come out of the closet during the One Year Later event next summer. This is supposedly a silver age character who has been part of the DCU for decades. Let the speculation begin!

DC has also hinted that they will publish a new series that features a brand new superhero character whose civilian identity is openly gay, as well as a new solo series from Wildstorm featuring the Midnighter.

Seems like 2006 will mean a much more diverse DCU!

This Has A ?Queer Eye For The Superheroic Guy? Factor Of Seven Out Of Ten

Back with a Vengeance

Originally slated to come out earlier this year, Brendan Deneen?s SCATTERBRAIN was pushed back due to some unforeseen delays. Brendan was on his way to buy some tinsel and popped by the ATR bullpen to give us an update and share some preview art:

    As some people know, SCATTERBRAIN was originally supposed to be released in June 2005. Unfortunately, things didn?t work out with the original artist so there was a delay while we (myself and editor Rich Emms) found a new artist.

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as our new artist, Szymon Kudranksi nailed my vision of Scatterbrain and the world he inhabits. The art perfectly captures the dark tone of the story while still retaining the ?superhero vibe? that I think is important in this kind of crossover material. Szymon lives in Poland and has worked on IDW books such as 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and DRACULA?S REVENGE.

We?re officially launching SCATTERBRAIN at the New York Comic-Con on February 24th-26th. Both Szymon and myself will be at the convention and will be signing the book on both days. Additionally, I?m throwing a release party on February 25th and the guest list will include an incredible assortment of both comic book and film industry talent.

And then SCATTERBRAIN #1 hits stores in early March, with three more issues coming out on a monthly basis. Although we?re starting with a mini-series, we hope to continue on with either an ongoing book or a number of limited series. I first pitched this comic to Vertigo back in 1993(!) so I hope everyone gives this little indie book that wouldn?t quit a shot!

For readers who have had a bit too much egg nog and don?t remember what SCATTERBRAIN is about, here is the previews blurb:

      SCATTERBRAIN is superhero noir set in the dilapidated city of Devil?s Hopyard. Detective Jack Anderfold has been working tirelessly for years to shutdown the Yard?s resident criminal mastermind, the Shroud. Recently, however, another


    figure has emerged and has had much more success in damaging the Shroud?s operation: Scatterbrain.

No one really knows anything about this new, hooded vigilante, other than he has inhuman strength and agility, coupled with a terrifying power: when he touches you, he makes you experience your worst nightmare a hundredfold.

Anderfold, however, doesn?t really care about that. He?s more concerned with the fact that Scatterbrain?s appearance in the Yard has taken away from the hard work he?s been doing for years. As Scatterbrain gets more and more credit for taking out the Shroud, Anderfold slips farther and farther into his own problems: drinking and doing drugs. And his wife (and teenage son) aren?t too happy about this; they?re now living apart from one another so Anderfold has more time to pursue both Scatterbrain and his own vices.

In his increasingly-troubled mind, Anderfold believes that if he can only take down Scatterbrain, all of his recent troubles will magically disappear and things will return to normal. However, as he discovers in the first issue, you should be careful what you wish for?

This Has A ?Dark Detective? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

Licence to Neutralize

Long time comic book readers should remember ROM, THE SPACEKNIGHT, right?

He was a shiny metallic alien guy with red glowing eyes who had his own Marvel series hunting evil shape changing aliens that lasted 75 issues. Over the course of his series he ran into pretty much everyone in the Marvel Universe from Shang-Chi to the X-Men. You could even by a 6 inch action figure with little removable weapons.

Marvel published an unofficial sequel a few years ago but could not use the name ROM or feature the character in his armour because they no longer had the licence.

Well ROM fans should be happy to know that a few publishers have approached Mattel in order to purchase the licence to create a new comic series featuring ROM in all his shiny glory.

Expect whoever picks up the licence to ignore the Marvel Comics continuity because basically the series left off with ROM having banished all his enemies to Limbo, losing his armour and getting ready to repopulate a barren world with his honey!

No word as of yet if the proposals have been accepted, but expect to hear some news in early 2006.

This Has A ?Get Me Off Galador Already? Factor Of Seven Out Of Ten

Tales of a Misspent Youth

Freelance artist Pete Hernandez is self publishing a new comic through his imprint NEAR SIGHTED COMICS (Comics For People With Vision) called Black Neon Memoirs.

Set in near future New York, BLACK NEON is a 12 part series that tells the tale of big multinational corporations, new technology affecting life and death as we know it, and crazed killers.

Pete promises it to be the most violent tale to hit comics in the last ten years.

This Has An ?Every Shadow Has A Secret? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten

T and Sweet Sweet A

Over on the Image comics blog, Frank Cho has announced a new art book entitled Women: Selected Drawings And Illustrations that is due out in April.

Here is the cover:

And for those of you (like me) who want to see the uncensored version go to Frank?s web site at

This Has An ?I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten

Donkey Butter

Neil Kleid dropped by the ATR offices to sing some carols and also dropped off some preview art for issues 4 and 5 of his new Image series the Intimidators.

In between verses of ?Oh Christmas Tree?, Neil gave us a rundown on what his new series is all about:

    High concept? What if the Authority found Captain America?

Swinging 1960’s Commie-hating, true blue American icon is transported through space and time to present day Detroit where he has to help turn a team of bloodthirsty, sex-crazed, too-cool-for-school anti-heroes into role models while acclimating himself to a world where you can download movies of strippers licking butter off of donkeys to your personal telephone.

Fans should, of course, pick it up for the donkey butter. Oh, and the smart action/comedy they’ll get in every high quality issue.

You and I take for granted all the technological wonders we’ve got in our pre-Starfleet society. Digital cable and podcasts and rock videos and reality TV and the electronic mail all the kids these days seem to like. But to Astroman, words like ‘DVD’, ‘iPod’ and ‘internet’ are new and unusual. And a take-no-prisoners kill-or-be-killed super-hero team that routinely uses semen-enhanced mobile assault suits to fight the robot mafia, greedy aliens and Canadians sends Astroman’s entire worldview into question and despair. I mean, didn’t you ever see Eastwood and Sheen in The Rookie? It’s just like that. But with, you know, Irish midgets.

This Has A ?Here Come The Intimidators? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten

I Like Saying Wet Nurse

Liam Sharp was re-enacting the nativity in front of the ATR offices, so I went over to the manger and asked him what he had in store for his new Anthology magazine EVENT HORIZON next year.

Liam put down the little baby Jesus and told me:

Event Horizon 3

    , which is due out in May next year, is also going to be well over the 200 page count. Returning stories and creator teams include the incredibly popular Chase Variant, by Johnston and Bagwell, Machivarius Point by Roger M. Cormack, Necromachia by Sharp and Carter, Rumours of Ragnaroc by Holguin and Kendall. Dragonfly by Crossley, A Trace of Fragile Bliss by Emma Simcock-Tooth, and Jed Lightsear Space Pirate by Raims and Bagwell. We also have a new Wormcast story, The Weaver of Rags, by Ali Pow3rs.

As ever there are new stories, the main two big ones being “Book of the Dead: of Death and Madness” by Alan Mitchell and Kane, which is an incredible twisted quest story with artwork that channels Kevin O. Neil through Mike Mignola. And “Wet Nurse” by Mike Dubischny, a beautifully painted and poignant fantasy horror fable which really takes me back to the classic strips in Epic Illustrated.

We also have a prose piece by our newly instated submissions and prose editor, Sue Boulton, an up and coming writer in the world of fantasy fiction. Work by Al Davidson, and an adaptation of Lewis Carol’s “The Jaberwocky” by Brian Talbot, from his masterpiece-in-the-making, “Alice in Sunderland”.

The gallery section has an extensive selection of work to be featured in a new art book by Sean Phillips and Duncan Fegredo, as well as more work by Biz and Fabry. The mother of all anthologies just keeps growing!

On top of this, Bristol will see the screening of the first “Zombie Elvis and the Vikings” promo video, and making-of doc. “Zombie Elvis and the Vikings” are already getting quite a following with bootlegs of their genre-bending shlock-rock mayhem doing the rounds. Two tracks from the upcoming album will be available to download off the Mam Tor website in late January, and an EP will be available at the Bristol Con, where the band will also be playing (Venue yet to be announced.)

Also keep an eye out for the “Matt Static” shorts that will be doing the rounds on the internet?

This Has An ?Ok One Last Time: Wet Nurse? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

The Giving Tree

As promised last week, here are the winners of the ATR/Isotope Holiday Giveaway:

Oliver Sava
Burr Ridge, IL

D.J. Kirkbride
Santa Monica, CA

Andrew Matthews

Dave Long

Chet Presley IV
Houston, TX

Jason Gerick
Jackson, NJ

Jim Shelly
Columbia, SC

Jimmy Sung
Long Beach, CA

Sam Danielson
Los Angeles, CA

John Bayer
Cincinnati, OH

All of the winners will receive the following comics: Fear Agent # 1, Robotika # 1, Down # 1, Black Diamond On Ramp, Rock N? Roll One Shot and Atomeka A1 Big Issue Zero.

Thanks to everyone who entered. And special thanks to James Sime and the gang at the Isotope for making this event come together.

Merry Christmas!

Next week: ALL THE RAGE jumps One Year Later as Blair returns with a brand new column for 2006.

Happy Holidays to all our readers!!

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