Saturday, January 31, 2004

Men of mettle: Occasionally -- but only occasionally -- Wizard magazine is more than just a shrine to Jim Lee or Marc Silvestri. Take, for instance, this month's #149. Oh, sure, there's an eight-page preview of Lee and Azzarello's Superman #204 (not to mention an unimpressive sneak peek of Millar and Dodson's Spider-Man #1).

But never mind those distractions. Buried in "The Buzz Bin" column is this nugget of comic-book goodness:

"Look for DC's revamp train to pick up more passengers this summer, as the Metal Men return in a new series by Evan Dorkin (Milk & Cheese) and Mike Allred (X-Statix). Early word suggests that Dorkin and Allred will ditch the 'human spirits infused with robot bodies' for a completely fresh approach."

Did I miss a previous announcement of a Metal Men relaunch, or is this the first mention of it? Forget the Superman reboot and X-Men "Reloaded." I can't wait for Dorkin and Allred's Metal Men.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Quickie reviews, part one: As I mentioned yesterday, I finally made it to the comics store, and returned with a handful of books -- some newer than others. So bear with me if some of the comics are a little stale.

TALES OF THE VAMPIRE #2 (Dark Horse): I haven't read the first issue of the anthology, so I'm not entirely sure what to make of the opening story by Joss Whedon and Alex Sanchez. I presume the four-page tale carries over from issue to issue; at least I certainly hope it does. Either way, I have a feeling I'm missing something. There's an old vampire chained to a stone chair telling a story to a group of children. And ... that's it. Luckily, the book's other two stories make up for the unsatisfying opener.

Jane Espenson and Scott Morse's "Spot the Vampire" evokes the works of Edward Gorey, light-hearted and simple on the surface, but dark and delightfully wicked just beneath. In a cheery Christmas-shopping setting, the reader is encouraged to pick the vampire from among the holiday hustle and bustle: "A woman named Edith is buying a wreath, but it could be a cover. I can't see her teeth. ... And this child, small and helpless, stares up at the pine. Could someone so small tear your throat from your spine?"

Although Brett Matthews and Vatche Mavlian's "Jack" seems like a standard Jack the Ripper-as-vampire tale, there are a couple of nice surprises that lift it above the mundane. Mavlian's fine lines are well-suited for the subject matter, lending moodiness and beautiful detail to the architecture and alleyways of Victorian London.

Grade: B

Tomorrow, I'll bang out some capsule reviews for DC: The New Frontier #1, The Losers #8 and Batman #622-623.

Here there be dragons: This has nothing to do with comics -- at least not directly -- but I just love this story and accompanying photo. Besides, how often do you get to post a picture of a (fake) baby dragon in a jar?

We don't need another (super) hero: CBR also runs a press release from Super Hero Happy Hour creator Dan Taylor announcing he has to drop the "Super" from the series' title because of trademark issues with Marvel and DC:

"The decision to change the title was brought upon by the fact that we received a letter from the trademark counsel to 'the two big comic book companies' claiming that they are the joint owners of the trademark 'SUPER HEROES' and variations thereof," Taylor said in the release.

So from here on out, the self-published title will be called Hero Happy Hour.

Hellspawn: At Comic Book Resources, Mike Mignola talks about the genesis of the Hellboy franchise, and from what spark the supporting cast was born. Okay, not really:

"I have no idea. I don't remember what went on there. I guess it comes out of growing up with Marvel comics and if I think back, my original idea was to do a team book- I have no idea why, it's too much trouble- but I came up with this team book and one of the first drawings I did of 'Hellboy' had him surrounded by this group of other characters. I remembered I was trying to come up for the name of this team and the only thing I could come up with I liked was Hellboy, so I shifted it from being a team book to being about Hellboy with this floating supporting cast. I think Abe Sapien is because I lover the Sub Mariner and loved the visuals of the underwater stuff- there's no high concept to it, just 'oh, I like water guys.' Why do I have a girl who spouts fire? I have no idea, I don't remember what I was thinking about or why I thought it'd be a good idea."

Wooly swamp-love: At Ninth Art, Audrey Ference explores sexuality in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing:

"Though obviously the two are never shown having intercourse (and it's not clear that they do), we see their bodies 'joining together' in trippy sex-vision. Instead of an external sexuality for the delight of the readers, the two share a private sexual fulfillment that the reader is allowed to observe. Their communion is beautifully rendered on the page, awash in swirls and spirals and full-page sparkly 'orgasms', without showing anything that could be considered titillating or censorable. In what may be a bit of a wink to the Comics Code, Moore reverses a typical 1950s movie and television censor trick: instead of showing character eating a piece of fruit to allude to a sexual act, Abby must literally eat Swamp Thing's fruit to commit the sexual act."

Arrested development: The Associated Press (via marks the 100th anniversary of Peter Pan with a look at J.M. Barrie's life and legacy -- and the tangled web of copyright laws that surrounds Neverland:

"But much good has also come from Peter Pan. In 1929, Barrie donated the copyright to the story and characters to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, which used the royalties to pay for research and equipment. Barrie's will prevents the hospital from disclosing how much it earns from Peter Pan royalties.

"Last year, however, Canadian author Emily Somma filed a lawsuit in San Francisco claiming the hospital's Peter Pan copyright had expired in the United States. She sued preemptively after the hospital warned her to halt publication of her book, After the Rain, a New Adventure for Peter Pan.

"... U.S. copyright protection for Barrie's works featuring Peter Pan normally would have expired in 1987, a half-century after the author's death. Lawyers acting for the hospital contend that a 1976 U.S. law extended the copyright protection for Peter Pan until the year 2023, but Somma's legal team disputes this."

Thursday, January 29, 2004

The way we were: Jeffery Stevenson wades into comics blogging with fond memories of the spinner rack as the conversational water cooler of a generation, and the recent discovery of its replacement:

"Late one Saturday night recently, I needed to pick up a book for some research, so I decided to check the Waldenbooks at the mall near my house. As I walked toward the back of the store, I noticed a gathering of over a dozen young teens in the corner of the store. So, I took a closer look and saw they were all hanging around the big digest-sized manga display/kiosk in the store--the one with books on every side that you could walk around. They were all flipping through books and socializing like I used to. Telling each other about their favorite characters and stories. Talking about new stuff coming out. Recommending books to people new to manga that came over to check out the display. Talking about movies, books, games and other fun kid stuff."

Comics relief: After more than a month, I finally made my way to the local comics store. Have I mentioned lately how limited the shop's selection is? I really need to go the online retailer route. Really. I did, however, manage to leave with the following books:

Tales of the Vampires #2
Batman #622-623
DC: The New Frontier #1
The Losers #8
New X-Men: E Is For Extinction trade paperback
Powers: Little Deaths trade paperback

If all goes well, I may actually post some reviews in the next couple of days.

Darling, we're the young ones? At, retailers have begun to respond to yesterday's news about a parent upset by the "edgy" content of DC's Outsiders #8. In the website's "Talk Back" section, Buddy Saunders of Lone Star Comics warns that, left unchecked, problems like that "could lead to a loss of young customers."

Young customers? In a comics store? Hm.

Mr. Saunders goes on to recount Lone Star's long and fruitful history, ending with this encouraging (if puzzling) thought:

"Getting kids into comics these days isn't easy. But it is worth the effort. The dimes and dollars from many a kid's pocket has helped Lone Star become the largest comics retailer in Texas. The comics industry needs more strong retailers. Now is a good time to open a comic store. If you are thinking such thoughts, I hope you will follow our time-tested example."

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Famous first? Newsday (link via Journalista) marks the 70th anniversary of Famous Funnies and, apparently, the birth of the American comic book:

"The sounds of the American comic book have echoed through our culture for decades. While most of us today know it as the medium of the high-minded Man of Steel, the truth is the comic book was born under much less heroic circumstances.

"In 1933, Maxwell C. Gaines and two of his fellow employees at the Eastern Color Printing Co. in Waterbury, Conn., came up with the idea of packaging the color 'funnies' that appeared in Sunday newspapers into a book format."

But surely The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck, published almost a century earlier, beats out Famous Funnies. Eh, maybe we have different definitions of "comic book."

"... Breeding lilacs out of the dead land": Graeme had the skinny yesterday on Marvel solicitations, but now the official April offerings, complete with cover images, are posted for our viewing pleasure. Graeme has already commented on some of the books, but I don't have anything better to write about:

The House of 1,000 Corpses -- I mean, House of Ideas -- reanimates Fantastic Four #1, with new dialogue by Sean McKeever and art by Makato Nakatsuka, as the classic tale joins the ranks of Marvel Age.

The Marvel Knights realignment begins with the debuts of Joe Quesada's Daredevil: Father miniseries and Millar and Dodson's "action-packed, hyper-realistic" Spider-Man. In Marvel Knights' 4, Marvel's First Family goes camping! And in Elektra, our heroine finally comes to terms with her death and resurrection. Sure, it's taken her 35 issues, but, hey, she's been busy.

Meanwhile, in the X-universe, it's Chuck Austen Month: Five, count 'em, five X-books, including a cringing two-issue fill-in on New X-Men.

And, finally, we bid farewell to two titles: Human Torch and X-Treme X-Men.

"Klaatu, Barada, Nikto": Yesterday, posted its analysis of Diamond's Top 300 comics -- for October? The retailer site released the December figures on Jan. 13, its November analysis on Dec. 22, and September numbers on Oct. 8. I guess someone forgot about October.

Or maybe I'm really a visitor from the future who's traveled back in time to warn you to change your wicked ways -- or be doomed to a life in which top comics sales drop below 200,000 again. Repent! Repent!

In any case, if you're interested in the old news, you can read ICv2's overview, in which the site notes the post-Hush sales slump.

On a different note ... Is anyone else watching Traffic: The Miniseries, the USA Network production based on the movie (which, in turn, was based on a miniseries)?

I sheepishly admit to never seeing the movie, but I have seen the original BBC miniseries. The USA version updates and expands the concept, throwing in elements of the "War on Terror" and illegal immigration. I'm enjoying the hell out of it. I don't even mind Balthazar Getty.

USA will rerun the first two installments today beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern, capped off by the debut of the miniseries finale at 9 p.m. If you miss Traffic, I'm sure the network will show it again. And again. And again. I mean, it's USA. What else do they have to show besides Monk and reruns of Law & Order: SVU?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

A method to their madness: Dara Naraghi points to an interesting essay at about the madness at the center of the Batman universe:

"... Indeed, a remarkable number of Arkham inmates have been driven to madness as a result of their work as investigators of the human mind. Several are psychiatrists; Harley Quinn, originally Dr. Harleen Quinzel, is portrayed as an ex-Arkham psychiatric intern who fell in love with The Joker. The influence of her patient caused a folie à deux reaction causing her to abandon her previous life and personality. The fictional creator of Gotham's forensic psychiatry centre, Amadeus Arkham, fared little better. He was originally a psychiatrist who converted his gothic childhood home into Arkham Asylum out of a desire to help the criminally insane and lost his mind as a result. An enduring character from Batman's early years is Professor Hugo Strange, a psychiatrist who became obsessed with Batman to the point of insanity and now seeks to destroy him. A more recent example was given in the 2003 series Arkham Asylum: Living Hell (a title that speaks for itself) where the initially sympathetic psychiatrist turns out to be shape changing psychopathic criminal in disguise! Psychiatry it seems, is not a profession that produces pleasant thoughts for the writers of Batman."

Monday, January 26, 2004

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble: Who said using thought bubbles as a storytelling device is outdated? I give you John Byrne and Chris Claremont's JLA #94.

Phantom pains: So, should we file this week's My Sharper Image under "Oops, nevermind"?

After raking a Norristown, Pa., retailer over the coals for supposedly refusing to order Phantom Jack, Mike San Giacomo finally talks to the store owner, and comes back with the full story:

"I just had a talk with the owner of Comics And More and I'm happy to say that we straightened a few things out.

"Owner Jay Roden said he would be happy to order Phantom Jack for anyone, he would order an extra 15 copies for the store, but said that he was pissed at me. Personally.

"This came as a shock, since I did not think I ever spoke to him.

"He reminded me that I spoke to him briefly a week or so ago after my sister told me she tried to order the book from him and he said he could not find it in the Diamond Preview catalog. I didn't know he was the owner. I called and introduced myself and went right into it, asking why he could not find it. Turns out he was looking in the December book, not the January.

"I thought the conversation was normal, but Jay said I came off rather angry. At one point in that conversation, when we straightened out the month discrepancy, I asked if he wanted to call my sister back and confirm the order, he said she should call him. I said I would handle it.

"'You didn't say "hello, how are you," you just got right into it. I'm too old to be talked to that way,' Roden said. 'So I decided we would not order any copies of the book other than those ordered by people who put down half the amount as a deposit.'

"I'll take a whack at myself here and admit I could have been more pleasant, I was busy and rushed. So, that part was my fault. I've learned from it and so should you all. BE NICE.

"Roden said his manager was just plain wrong when he would not let me order the comic and pay for it. He said the manager was wrong when he said that NO pre-orders for the comic had been accepted. He said another guy had ordered 8 copies of issue one and Roden said he would get them in.

"'I'm not crazy,' he said. 'If someone wants to spend money, I'll take it.'

"I SHOULD ADD that I know of at least two people (me for one and a friend in Norristown for another) whose orders were flat-out refused by the manager. So there is a problem down there with communication between owner and manager.

"That settles the most nagging part of the whole situation. It did not make sense and I'm glad to hear that it has been resolved."

Ask me no questions ... At Newsarama, Mike San Giacomo wonders why a comic shop in Norristown, Pa., won't order his Phantom Jack.

At Artblog, Matt thinks he might have the answer: "Is it possible that the owner knows your work from the internet and just thinks you're a giftless tool?"

One Newsarama reader has his own snarky theory: "Maybe the art was too cartoony."

The one and only dominator: reports that -- surprise, surprise -- manga continues to dominate the BookScan graphic novel list:

"Aside from four volumes of strip reprints and two titles from DC Comics, everything else in the top 25 is manga. Dark Horse's new manga line, co-published with Digital Manga, is well represented. The first volume in the Hellsing series has remained at #8 for the past three weeks, while the first volume of Trigun, which has been out for over two months, only recently slipped out of the top 10 and still resides at #14. The second Trigun book (#22) is just starting to hit the bookstores and it should make the top ten next week."

I tried to get the information from the source, but the Nielsen BookScan website is an impenetrable void. The UK site boasts actual information, but nothing that does me any good. I suppose they want us to pay for the service or something. The nerve!

But back to the ICv2 article. I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

"Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2, which came in at number 20, was the top American comic book collection, followed closely by Batman Hush at #24. JLA Liberty & Justice, which was the direct market's #1 trade paperback title of 2003 came in at #49, while Neil Gaiman's Sandman: Endless Nights was at #56. Alan Moore's venerable Watchmen graphic novel has sold over 800 copies so far this year and occupied the eighty-sixth spot on this week's list. With eight titles in the top 100, DC Comics was the top publisher of American material, narrowly edging out comic strip reprinting specialists Andrews McMeel, which had seven spots."

On target: I'm not a fan of Fabian Nicieza, and I don't think I could care less about Hawkeye. But SBC's Loretta Ramirez does a good job interviewing the writer about the archer's new adventures.

Sure, it's still an article about a guy in purple-and-blue Spandex, but Ramirez breaks with comics Q&A tradition by actually knowing a little bit about the subject, and asking some relevant (and different) questions.

Genius in furs: Okay, maybe the Velvet Underground wordplay is a bit of a stretch. Anyway. At Ninth Art, Marcos Castrillón pens an appreciation for Juan José Guarnido and Blacksad:

"But BLACKSAD has it all. Instead of taking the sort of liberties with physics that the anthropomorphic characters and fantastic settings afford him, Guarnido takes the other road, and turns up the level of detail of its art. The world does not seem real. It is real. Guarnido's experience as a cartoon animator allows him to make every expression and every movement seem natural and lifelike, despite the cartoony origin of the characters."

Sunday, January 25, 2004

A Knight's tale: At The X-Axis, Paul O'Brien gazes into his crystal ball to see the future of Wolverine and the other Marvel Knights transplants:

"This title is shortly to be reassigned to the Marvel Knights imprint. As we all know, Marvel Knights is the imprint for edgy, new comics aimed at the more mature reader. This is why it's being dumped with four existing comics which won't be changing their style at all, and if anything will be watering themselves down by starting their Marvel Knights runs with conventional tie-ins to continuity.

"Wolverine will be fighting Sabretooth and doing something connected to Weapon X! Talk about edgy! Meanwhile, X-Statix will fight the Avengers, in a riff on the Avengers/Defenders War. God knows nothing says "edgy" like a riff on a hugely overrated superhero crossover from a quarter of a century ago. It's the future!"

Code of silence: Publishers Weekly makes note of CrossGen's silence regarding its lingering money woes, and its lack of response to requests for comment.

The article brings readers up to speed with news of the defection of VP of Sales Robert Boyd to ADV Manga, the ending of several CrossGen series, and employee layoffs.

And this can't be a good sign: "In addition, Book Wholesalers Inc. (, a wholesaler that serves public libraries, noted in its December online newsletter that 'all of CrossGen's spring 2004 titles have been postponed until fall 2004.'"

Well, damn: Blogger ate another post!

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Talking with a legend: (no chortling, please) interviews comics legend Gene Colan, who talks about his early inspirations, artistic technique, his lengthy career and, um, playing Eric Roberts' stand-in:

"... Many years ago there was a film being shot in New York called The Ambulance. The original title was Into Thin Air. Eric Roberts was in it, James Earl Jones, Red Buttons ... It was a story about a comic book artist and Stan knew the director, Larry Cohen, and so Stan was in the film, very briefly. They needed an artist to fill in for Eric Roberts because he can't draw. I was picked to do the artwork. I went down, showed my work to them and I got the job. So, I had a brief time with the film, making the picture. I had to wear Eric Roberts' ring because there was going to be a close-up of him sketching, not showing anything but his hands and I was considerably older than him so they had to put a little makeup on my hands. They did other things with my work in it."

Colan also touches upon his problems with Jim Shooter, which led to the artist's departure from Marvel:

"He found fault with too much of what I did whereas prior to him coming aboard nobody found fault. I mean occasionally Stan would correct something but it was so occasional it was hardly worth mentioning. But this was a different story and I could see it coming. I had to go out to Connecticut once with him for a radio broadcast and we drove, he drove the whole way and I just knew that by his absolute silence in the car and the same thing coming back that he was not a friendly fellow.

"Then of course it escalated once Stan left it escalated into bad stuff and finally it came to the point where I felt like I had to make a decision about staying on or not staying and I decided with my wife's help certainly to make that decision to leave. They called me down to the office, the VP, Shooter, and myself to try thrash it out. The company wanted me to stay but Shooter was in charge of the art dept. He was the Editor-in-Chief and I knew that he was not going to let go of his point of view he was pretty dogmatic about it. And although he said little at the meeting, hardly anything, I just knew that he was not going to change or make my life any better than it was. His very silence at that meeting proved that. I decided to make that jump. Fortunately there was somebody over at DC, the writer of Tomb of Dracula who had I've been associated with for quite a while he called me over to DC because he was no longer working with Marvel and he asked me over. So, I got over there. I literally walked across the street for another job."

It's a pretty decent interview, once you wade through the initial, excruciating "so, where were you born" questions.

Friday, January 23, 2004

"Get us out from under, Wonder Woman": At SBC, Greg Rucka responds to mixed fan reaction over his new direction for Wonder Woman:

"Those people who want to see Diana punching Bad Guys, they’ve got three options as I see it; they can be patient and wait for it, because it’s coming, and anyone who has any sense of dramatic structure at all (meaning, say, that they’ve watched network television) knows that; they can drop the book and pick up one of the 97 other titles out there where there’s a fight every other page; or they can go to the back-issue bins. But I will not introduce a fight for the sake of a fight in any story I write, and I will not pander. I get 22 pages a month to tell the story I want to tell, and I’m going to do it my way. That’s my job, it’s what I’ve been hired to do, and I do it well enough that I can make a living at it."

Strange days, indeed: Sword of Dracula writer and all-around nice guy Jason Henderson offers a six-page preview of Strange Magic, which debuts next month in the, unfortunately, ill-fated Epic Anthology.

Forever Knights: Newsarama checks in with another update of the cosmically realigned Marvel Knights line -- which now includes former X-titles Wolverine and X-Statix?

Let's hear Axel Alonso's definition of the discerning Marvel Knights reader again: "We figure that the Marvel Knights reader is probably not somebody who lies awake in the middle of the night pondering who’s stronger, Hulk or Thor?"

So, what's the inaugural X-Statix-Marvel Knights story? A five-part X-Statix vs. Avengers "pure brawl."

Absolutely terrifying: Artblog provides an image from the Jump to Japan: Discovering Culture Through Popular Art tour that most likely will keep me awake at night.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

"And I hope you like jammin', too": reports that science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson is resurrecting a Star-Jammers monthly series for Marvel. Although the information was gleaned from the jacket of Anderson's The Saga Of Seven Suns: Veiled Alliances trade paperback, Marvel wouldn't verify the project.

Let's see, Star-Jammers take flight again. Claremont and Davis on Uncanny X-Men. The return of Excalibur. Lobdell on a new Alpha Flight. Cable/Deadpool. Thunderbolts, again. Iron Fist. She-Hulk. Am I missing anything?

I guess George Santayana was right: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Rock the vote:'s Tony Whitt plays catch-up with a list of the best and worst comics of 2003 as voted on by his readers. Whitt goes so far as to thank each of the voters by name. All 15 of them ...

Terminated, with X-Treme prejudice: Well, it's official. X-Treme X-Men will end in April, only to be replaced in May with a relaunched Excalibur.

Film threat: Am I the only one who loathes the "design" of The Pulse's main page? I realize it probably makes things easy on their end, but I constantly miss updates to their irregular columns like "The Beat." Everything gets lost in the clutter.

When I wasn't looking, Jai Nitz posted another installment of his occasionally entertaining "The Hustler." This time around, he offers some fairly interesting concepts for Marvel movie spinoff books, including Nick Fury and SHIELD (written as a Clancy-inspired spy thriller) and Iron Man (A Christmas Carol meets Three Kings?).

Although I like the dryadic (is that a word?) Man-Thing sketch by Josh Searcy, Nitz's spin on the premise is a little weak, and would turn the book into a Smallville-esque threat-of-the-week series as a new villain pops through the Nexus of Realities each issue.

Nitz refers to Man-Thing as a "blatant Swamp Thing knock-off." If you'll allow me a moment of geekishness, I'd like to point out that he's wrong in that assertion; the two characters' debuts were far too close together for one to be a knock-off of the other (besides, Man-Thing actually appeared first). End geekishness. Sort of.

I actually like Nitz's idea for Namor, particularly in the wake of the Tsunami title of the same name. His concept isn't groundbreaking, but reduces the character to his basic elements -- torn between two worlds, militant thinking, etc. -- and builds him back up from there.

Troubles on the Frontier: DC Comics also announced that Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier will switch to a bimonthly shipping schedule beginning with May's Issue 4. Disappointing news, but New Frontier seems worth the wait.

Exclusive stories: DC Comics has announced it's signed Arthur Adams to a three-year exclusive agreement. No word yet on what he'll be working on, other than more Action Comics covers.

DC also has hired Vertigo Pop! and Big Books writer Jonathan Vankin as a Vertigo editor.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Restless days and sleepless nights: Well, that was a wasted day. I was up most of the night because of a minor health emergency in my family (everything's fine now), and spent most of today dazed from lack of sleep.

Although I didn't get around to comics blogging (sorry about that), I did do further research into my two latest obsessions: changeling folk legends and the cultural circumstances that spawned them, and the troubling practice of foundation sacrifice (in which people were entombed in walls, floors or structural supports to appease spirits and ward off harm).

The two aren't directly connected, except that both involved the ghastly treatment of children, but I've found myself fascinated by them. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what I'll do with any of the information. I imagine at least some of it will end up in one comics project or another.

Speaking of comics projects, here's an update for anyone who cares (and even those who don't): My 16-page "Bad Elements: Good For the Soul" is just awaiting final scheduling in Digital Webbing Presents; it looks as if it'll appear sometime this summer. Art is by Brian Churilla, with grayscales by Eric Erbes. I'll post preview art as soon as I'm able.

Brian's also finishing up an eight-page horror story that should appear in the DWP Halloween issue.

Within the next couple of weeks, I hope to write two more short-story scripts (one a horror story set in 14th century France, the other a sad little fairy tale set in the deserts of western China). Then I dive into the deep end as I start work on the Bad Elements series. Well, at least that's the plan.

But enough about me. I'll return to the regularly scheduled comics blogging tomorrow.

Monday, January 19, 2004

"April is the cruellest month ..." DC Comics posts its solicitations for April and, well, not a lot jumps out at me. One book -- Joe Kelly and Ted McKeever's Enginehead -- seems to appear out of nowhere, while another -- Paul Dini and Bruce Timm's Batman: Harley & Ivy -- takes me by surprise, simply because I'd forgotten about it. Maybe I'm not paying close enough attention.

April also sees the launch of two more Focus books, Touch and Fraction (the latter featuring art by Timothy Green II, whose work I enjoy).

Oh, yeah, and the big Superman overhaul begins (with Arthur Adams providing cover art for Action Comics).

The way we were: At Newsarama, Matt Brady dissects Diamond's figures to come up with the top-selling comics and graphic novels for 2003.

It comes as no suprise that "events" like Batman: Hush, 1602 and JLA/Avengers dominate the Top 25 books of the year, with Batman #619 (the end of "Hush" storyline) clocking in at No. 1. Newsarama estimates that issue "saw over 310,000 copies ship through Diamond in total." I know it did well by today's market standards, but that seems high to me. Eh, what do I know?

DC held the first three spots on the Top 25 graphic novels list with JLA: Liberty & Justice, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1 trade paperback and Sandman: Endless Nights. IDW's 30 Days of Night trade paperback clocked in at No. 4.

Perhaps most interesting, at least to me, is the contrast between the Top 10 comics (by quantity) for 2002 and 2003. While 2002 was dominated by the likes of Transformers and Origin, 2003 saw Batman take firm control of half the slots.

But what does it all mean? Damned if I know. Clearly, marketing gimmicks disguised as storylines sell lots and lots of books, but we already knew that. So, there's no lesson learned.

It's Millar time (again): In Part 2 of SBC's epic interview, Mark Miller gets to the disturbing core of the Joe Quesada-Bill Jemas relationship:

"If Joe provided the ovum for New Marvel then Bill certainly pumped in the semen and fertilized the egg. There are some new faces on the business end now providing completely different semen which, of course, will produce a completely different... Actually, could we just change the subject for a minute?"

On a less troubling note, Millar is surprisingly candid when asked about the cancellation of the Trouble trade:

"Are you kidding? It bombed. Sales on the first ish were actually really good (about 55K) which was nice for a romance comic, but it completely missed the mark. The art was nice though and I quite liked the ending. It seemed like a good laugh when pitched to me in a bar last December."

Friday, January 16, 2004

"To fight the unbeatable foe ..." At Newsarama, Brian Hibbs gives us a grim-and-gritty version of "The Comic Pimp" in which he questions Diamond's monthly sales charts, defends direct market retailers and takes a few jabs at Marvel's controversial no-overprint policy:

"See, the key number-one thing to remember when you're dealing with the Direct Market retailer is that retailers are the publisher's customer. Books live and die on our commitment, and our ability to bring the book to market. If the retailers have no faith in a project (your Reign of the Zodiac, or your Tsunami books, or your Rocket Comics, or whatever), then those projects won't get any traction in the market - regardless of how good or bad they are, regardless of the talent involved, regardless of almost anything.

"Because we buy non-returnable."

"... it was the winter of despair ..." John Jakala contrasts how Marvel and DC approach the idea of "diversifying comics." He pins his analysis on current events: yesterday's interview with Dan Buckley and Joe Quesada, the launch of DC's Focus line, the announcement of Marvel Age, and the inking of an agreement between DC and Humanoids Publishing.

To my mind, it's a pretty accurate assessment. Go read it.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Millar's tale: Silver Bullet Comic Books goes three-on-one with Mark Millar, who talks about, well, all the things Mark Millar usually talks about.

Valley of the dolls: Do you ever see an artist's work, and feel as if you already should be familiar with it? That's the case today with Ray Caesar, whose website is singled out by Artblog. His art is beautiful, if maybe a little creepy.

Hey, kids, it's Joe and Dan! Marvel's Joe Quesada and Dan Buckley give Newsarama's Matt Brady a rough time:

Brady: "Changing tracks a little bit - something that can't be denied was that Marvel received a good amount of publicity in 2003 - and late 2002 - but at the same time, it was about gay cowboys, dead princesses and a black Captain America. Is that the kind of publicity that Marvel is after?"

Quesada: "Funny, as I remember it, there was a fair amount of press over those three #1 movies. That was last year wasn't it?"

Brady: "Sure, but speaking comic-wise …"

Quesada: "Alright then, but seriously, though, what are you and your journalistic brethren going to report on? When I look back on this year, we printed hundreds of comics and launched dozens of titles, almost all of which were in our opinion meaningful. And yet, I don't recall seeing an article outside of the normal press push stuff that we do on Runaways or 1602, two books that should have screamed 'Comics are alive and growing!' We want the same press we have always wanted, that which focuses people on all the good stuff we are doing and drives them to the product.

"We're going to continue to do what we do, and make the content and product choices we think are best. We hope that our fans, retailers and reporters will recognize that the industry is not going to grow by picking at the inconsistencies, but on broadening the message that comics are our there, alive and as thrilling as ever."

It's definitely a lengthy interview, but I'm not sure how informative it is. It's mostly the "Joe & Dan Show," with the two evading questions as they try to demonstrate how well they play off each other.

One early item that did jump out at me, though, was this sentence from Quesada: "I think what was most encouraging among the high points was the fact that we were able to continue launching new franchises basically out of thin air like 1602 and Supreme Power."

Isn't Supreme Power just a new take on an old franchise? And does this mean we can expect a sequel to 1602 (or is it wishful thinking on Marvel's part)?

Facing forward: J. Torres checks in with a couple of "Comic Book Idol" winners, and takes a look at projects coming out this year from the likes of Jay Faerber, B. Clay Moore, LeSean Thomas, Steve Niles, and Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis. For next week he promises an interview with Scott Morse.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Rex et Imperator: PopImage talks at length with Rex Mundi creators Arvid Nelson and Eric J about the upcoming collected edition, where the series is headed, and why they're sticking with Image Comics.

Everyone knows an Ant can't ... Marvel has indefinitely postponed the Ant-Man miniseries from Daniel Way and Clayton Crain. Let the speculation begin!

Humanoids interface: The usually low-profile Paul Levitz emerges to elaborate on the newly minted DC Comics-Humanoids agreement:

"The European graphic novel is a venerable, beautiful artform, that’s not quite like what any American publisher does, and it’s never had any real effective distribution in North America on any significant scale, with a couple of exceptions like Tintin, but 98% of the stuff never really got anywhere.

"I think there’s a logical way for us to connect an audience that may now be ready for it with this material that is deserving of a greater readership in this country and Canada."

Curse you, real world! Curse you! Sometimes, the mundane elements of daily life intrude upon my gingerbread world of blogging, arcane research and scriptwriting. This week is one of those times. Yes, I have a deadline, so there will continue to be incredibly light blogging for the next several days.

I suggest visiting the many fine blogs listed at the left of the screen, and checking back here later this evening. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Dr. Moore will see you now: Stuart Moore makes a case for projection and self-loathing among comics readers:

"The public-hates-superheroes thesis goes like this: Normal, adult, non-fan-type people are disdainful of stories featuring characters fighting in brightly colored costumes. Therefore, the dominance of these books contributes actively to an unjust view of comics as an unsophisticated entertainment medium.

"... People in their thirties and early forties are controlling a lot of the general entertainment media right now, at the operational level. This has led to an increased respectability for comics -- all comics -- in mainstream-media magazines and TV shows. That wasn’t true ten or twenty years ago, when the writers and editors at these media outlets were on the other side of the generational divide.

"And these people aren't repelled by superheroes. Entertainment Weekly runs reviews of superhero titles alongside Fantagraphics and AiT/PlanetLar books. MTV produces Spider-Man specials -- tied in with the movie, yes, but without any hint of shame or disdain for the character's superhero-comics roots."

Monday, January 12, 2004

Wasted days and wasted Knights: Marvel's Axel Alonso explains what it takes to be a Marvel Knights afficionado:

"We figure that the Marvel Knights reader is probably not somebody who lies awake in the middle of the night pondering who’s stronger, Hulk or Thor?"

But Hulk and Iron Man? Now that's another story entirely.

"The first book coming over will be Incredible Hulk, with that month’s issues #70 and #71. 'It's the beginning of a new arc, and it will be our first big, superhero brawl since Bruce [Jones, writer] came on the series – we’re bring in Iron Man for the story,' Alonso said. 'We reasoned that the Hulk universe is one big enough to include cyberpunk, and Iron Man fit that picture. Hulk has a weird science backdrop to start with, and Tony Stark is a guy who wears a supercomputer hooked up to an arsenal, so we reasoned that it made sense.'"

"What? Oh, right, Focus": DC finally remembers that it's launched a new line, Focus, then proceeds to seal its fate by describing it as a "hard drama in a real world setting" and, yes, "gritty."

But, on the off-chance it fails, co-editor Matt Idelson makes sure we know it wasn't his idea: "This line was something Andy Helfer had just initiated before leaving DC."

Switch-hitting: Also at Publishers Weekly, Heidi MacDonald files a brief feature about Dark Horse's success with English-language manga, and its move toward "authentic manga":

"[VP of Business Development Michael] Martens said Dark Horse, which publishes many manga titles in the traditional reading style, is considering switching completely to the 'authentic' format. The forthcoming and much anticipated Ghost in the Shell, Vol. 2 (Aug.) will be right-to-left and DH will reissue the original GITS, Vol. 1 (June) in the new format and with a smaller trim size. Popular, long-running series such as Oh My Goddess, Martens said, may be reformatted. 'We're studying it. We don't want to alienate longtime readers,' he said."

"... the success of Tokyopop and now Viz and other manga publishers convinced Martens to embrace the original Japanese style. 'We were told by the bookstores repeatedly that there's a new manga reader out there. We wanted to find that audience while still trying to maintain our policy of sticking to good stories,' said Martens. 'The authentic format has really clicked and broadened our audience.'"

Evolution. Devolution. Whatever: Publishers Weekly (subscription required) takes a turn at the X-Men: Evolution pie-throw with a terse review of the new trade paperback:

"Labeled 'All Ages,' the slender, digest-sized volume adequately rehashes the basic scenario for kids who weren't following earlier versions of the story. In the process, though, this work simplifies everything, so that everyone looks manga-cute and talks like the slogans posted in public school hallways: 'Share Your Problems; Be Yourself; Let's Work Together.' The results are pleasant but insipid. In addition, dark and muddy printing hinders the art."

I'm not sure how something can be "pleasant but insipid," but I think Devin Grayson has found her new slogan.

Would anyone care for a dead horse, slightly used? In a wrap-up of last week's "Leearama," Jim Lee answers readers' questions and responds (again) to Millar devotees' incessant bitching about the "Authority debacle":

"... this is fairly old news and I have addressed some of the issues you raised in several online interviews. In a nutshell, it didn’t work out but editors have the right to ask for changes in the work and the creators have to the right to move on when they feel the working situation is no longer tolerable—their prerogative. I am a huge fan of Mark’s and Franks’s but I also happen to believe that when such disputes arise, that such dialogue remain private and between editors and creators. Not everyone agrees. Again, their choice. We will always strive to bring the best creators to every title we publish."

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Living life by the book: I haven't been reading many comics lately. Before yesterday, when I received Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom #1 -- thanks, Ron -- it had been more than a month since I'd last bought one. It's not an earth-shaking declaration; I'm not announcing that I'm "through" with comics. I just haven't been reading them lately.

For better or worse, what I have been reading is books -- honest-to-goodness, tiny-type-on-paper books. Again, that's no great revelation. I'm somewhat fantatical when it comes to research and reference materials. My poor bookcases groan and creak with the weight of texts devoted to ancient Mediterranean civilizations, life in Regency and Victorian England, modern police procedures, world religions and mythologies, European folklore, the Middle Ages, and the history of witchcraft and magic.

But recently, I've begun reading prose fiction again. I'm not certain when or why I stopped, but I did. If there was a conscious reason, it most likely had something to do with a fear that other writers' ideas might infiltrate my comics scripts or derail my plotting plans.

It's a legitimate concern, I suppose, but it's one that's been overridden by my obsessive desire to hoard books, and my apparent inability to say no to mail-order book clubs.

Book of the Month Club. Science Fiction Book Club. History Book Club. Quality Paperback Book Club. Yes, I belong to them all. They pass me around, and have their way with me. I feel guilty, and maybe a little dirty, but deep down I enjoy it.

I'm finishing Anthony O'Neill's The Lamplighter, and eyeing Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, which tempts me from the corner of my desk. Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City is en route. I won't even mention all the nonfiction books I've ordered; it's frightening.

So, I don't really need many comics right now. I do, however, need another bookcase.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

How do I get an intern? James Kochalka's intern Nancy (a k a "Pants") has begun keeping a message-board journal of her experiences working for the cartoonist:

"Today James and I made minicomics! Lots of folding and stapling. I had stuff to do here all day, which is nice. James also had this cool idea to spraypaint a part of the cover, and those came out pretty cool. So keep an eye out for The Cute Manifesto with the awesome dollops of paint on top.

"Yesterday, before I left, I helped take down the Kochalka family's Christmas tree. James was sad about letting it go.

"Eli farted on me today, but he was still pretty rockin'. "

I just have to get one of my own!

Friday, January 09, 2004

Closed captions: At Broken Frontier, Matt Maxwell thoughtfully mulls over the demise of the caption in comic books:

"Captions. We remember those, don’t we? Oh sure, we still have captions these days. We use them for recaps or to dump backstory on readers. Very rarely, if at all, are they really used as a platform for artistry. I don’t know if it’s regarded as a game or contest, to see how little text one can use in a story and still get the story told. It seems like narrative captions are seen the same way that voiceovers are seen in movies these days (more on that comparison later) as things to be done away with altogether, as failures on the part of the writer to show character through dialogue or action."

It's a good column that brings up some equally good points, some of which I'd considered before.

I, too, occasionally miss the well-written caption, whether in the form of the first-person internal monologue or the less-frequent third-person omnisicent narration. In the hands of the right writer, captions could be things of beauty.

However, I think their near-extinction was brought about, in large part, because they became the tool (crutch) of so many writers who were less skilled in their craft. Captions became synonymous with purple prose, and considered artifacts of a sillier time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and comics were considered disposable reading for children. Illogical gaps in storytelling quickly could be covered with a flowery caption explaining just why the terrible sea monster had suddenly appeared to plague our hero.

I wonder, too, whether their disappearance can be tied to the shift in the past few decades from plot-style scripts ("Marvel style") to full scripts. When more writers were giving pencilers loose page descriptions then scripting dialogue for the finished art, captions were an invaluable device to make sure the story and art matched.

Lastly, though, I wonder whether the decline of the caption is tied directly to mainstream comics' attempts in the past decade or so to emulate movies. Taking their cues from screenwriters, comics writers adopted the mantra, "show, don't tell." It's a sound philosophy that further distances contemporary comics from their predecessors. No longer do we have a panel in which Superman punches a monster, accompanied by a panel that reads, "Superman hits the monster!"

But in that move to mimic "cinematic storytelling," I'm afraid many writers forget that comics isn't just a visual medium. Its true strong suit, when it's done right, is that it blends words and art to tell a story. And if the story is best told by using captions then, dammit, use captions.

One issue may be better served by two-page spreads and sparse dialogue, while the next requires lengthy captions and more conservative art. Storytellers shouldn't be afraid to use all the tools at their disposal, no matter how outdated their snickering colleagues tell them they are.

Just tell the story.

Collective consciousness: The Pulse interviews some of the creators behind the new online comics collective operating as Protean Void Comics. One of the group's members is Amy Kim Ganter, whose "Reman Mythology" online series and other work are just beautiful. I've been a fan for about a year now, and it's nice to see her get some well-deserved attention.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I don't think I'd sign my last name, either: At SBC, "Zach S." takes a cue from Rich Johnston and introduces the decidedly unfunny "Looney Bin" with pretend resolutions from comics pros:

"Brian Michael Bendis: I resolve that this year, two thousand and four AD, I will completely take over Marvel Comics. Not just the 'Ultimate Marvel' line, but to write - even draw - every comic Marvel will publish. I should probably have that accomplished by September, so then I can begin to take over the Marvel editorial staff. I'll start off editing my own books in the 'Ultimate' line, then I'll branch out to all the other books. By the end of the year, I should be ready to become Stan Lee. Also, I know this is a bit much, but hear me out; I will stop making my dialogue so long. I will condense the amount of words I have my letterer shove into the little dialogue balloons. This will help not only the letterer, but the artist as well. Both of my resolutions should be fairly easy to accomplish. I've managed to actually shorten this written resolution from its original 8 pages. Happy New Year."

"Chuck Austen: For the new year, my resolution is simple: to thwart Brian Michael Bendis's plan, and claim Marvel as my own. Unlike Brian, I don't wish to write every book at Marvel, just the X titles. By doing this, I can create the largest 'soap opera' X-arc ever. That's all."

Seeking salvation: Two thoughts struck me as I read the eight-page preview of Mark Millar and Peter Gross' "Chosen":

1. Millar can't write kids' dialogue. "Stroke-mag"?

2. The premise seemed better the first time around, when it was called "Good Omens." And written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. (Yeah, I know that was about the Antichrist, but it's the same general idea).

Oh! Here it is, "I-R-O-N-Y": Now, really, should Matt Brady be allowed to make fun of anyone, let alone The Pulse?

"you get the idea that the word is getting out to start taking the piss out of these cookie cutter interviews? I mean, Ryan and Andrew did it, Nicieza did it, and now Daniel..."

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming of Jim Lee, Michael San Giacomo and the "Phantom Jack" hype machine. (Link via Dirk and Comicon).

Thought we were done with you? Chris Allen picks up where Sean Collins left off in handing Rich Johnston his ass:

"... Rich really loses the award not just being a crybaby about being scooped on the news about Joss Whedon being the new NEW X-MEN writer, but for having the worst, least defensible excuse for sitting on the news: he wanted to make sure he got to read Whedon’s X-MEN. Dude, you’re either committed to breaking rumors and stories, or you’re a fanboy pussy."

Chris also finds time to take his throw at the John Byrne dunk tank:

"John Byrne would rather you buy his work in monthly issues or not at all, and if you’re not the direct market pig getting his weekly feeding at the specialty shop trough, then fuck you, apparently."

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Translation: "Our current comics suck"? Marvel's manager of sales explains why they're slapping a new coat of paint on part of this Old House of Ideas and calling it "Marvel Age":

"Plain and simple, thought Marvel Age, we are dedicated to bringing new readers into the comic book industry, and to us, this seemed the best way to do it – take our best stories and the most contemporary art we can find, and match the two together. So – we’re not kicking out the Ditkos and Kirbys of yesterday or calling it inferior, because we pay homage to them in our Masterworks and Essentials, and anywhere else we can, and we're giving them credits in these books as the inspirations for the original stories, but we wanted something that was really going to capture a new audience for today with a contemporary feel."

Creature feature: Despite my best efforts, I've become a creature of habit. Any deviation from my admittedly loose schedule -- I work from home -- throws everything out of whack. Such was the case this morning, when I left the house at 7:30 a.m. to run errands -- most importantly, sending my artist some money, and buying guppies -- then returned early this afternoon. I sat down to blog, then decided a nap sounded like a better idea.

So, anyway, at nearly 7 p.m. I'm now in the mood to blog. Of course, by now everyone's picked over the good stuff, so I'm stuck with repeats and leftovers. So, please excuse me if you've already read some of these items. I'll do better tomorrow. Really.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Stealth marketing? Hm. Maybe the Mighty Millar Marketing Machine needs a little fine-tuning. Or maybe this guy lives under a rock. In a cave. In Siberia:

"I think 'Wanted' is another great book that might go unnoticed. I only found it because I stumbled over the last copy behind some other image stuff. I don't know how well the first issue sold but I think it's a great read that might take awhile to get going and might not get the advertising push it will need to stay afloat."

Next on his list of arcane comics finds? "Batman: Hush."

What? You mean someone's currently writing "The Authority"? Ed Brubaker at Newsarama:

"... I just liked the idea of what the Authority was within comics -- a great superhero team book that really pushes the envelope and at the same time, it's kind of a black comedy about comics in some ways. There's a playfulness to the way Warren set the book up, that Mark Millar really followed up on -- and Robbie Morrison, too, though I've not read his entire run yet ..."

It's that time again: The judges have been announced for the 2004 Eisner Awards. And with that, the official call for entries goes out.

Um ... surprise? Marvel says good-bye to flack Michael Doran.

And a nation mourns.

Update, of sorts: The Pulse reports that Wilson Ramos, who handled Marvel's art returns, also was let go.

Talkin' about his generation: (no jokes, please) talks to legendary comics writer Len Wein about "Gene Pool," the X-Men movies, Man-Thing, and the trouble writers of his generation have finding work at DC and Marvel:

"... I just had another project that DC passed on yesterday. ... It was a pitch for a terrific Batman Elseworlds. I think they've decided that they don't want to do those anymore. But [DC Comics President] Paul Levitz loved it and various editors liked it. But unfortunately the person who makes the decisions over there decided they don't care if its good, bad or indifferent just that they don't do Elseworlds anymore. I wonder if he would have said the same thing if Grant Morrison had the same idea."

Monday, January 05, 2004

Making nothing out of ... something: At SBC, the often-puzzling Brandon Thomas takes a standard what-I-bought-this-week column and attempts to stretch it into a high-minded prognostication of the year to come:

"Going through my first batch of new comics for the year suggests a pattern of sorts, a blueprint that if followed, can be used to divine the future of your favorite companies. Here are the highlights from week one, along with added commentary of where this is all going."

To be fair, he did divine the future using four whole comics: "Superman/Batman," "Planetary," "Rex Mundi" and "Ultimate Fantastic Four."

Well, you know the old saying, "Where goes 'Rex Mundi,' so goes the industry."

As a result of his magical mystery tour, Brandon offers this earth-shaking pronouncement: "DC may have them in sheer numbers, but only one camp has Bendis, Millar, and Straczynski. The House of Ideas will lose a bit of ground to an encroaching DC, but their top creators still maintain their strange-hold on the majority of the chart."

Next week, tune in as Brandon burns a copy of "Spider-Girl" then tries to see the future in its ashes.

More "Best of ...": At The Fourth Rail, Randy and Don kick off their Best of 2003, covering Best First Issue, Best New Series and Best Original Graphic Novel, among others.

One more thing to worry U.S. publishers: ICv2 reports that Silicon Times, a publisher of Chinese and Korean comics (manhua), has signed a deal with Diamond, making the company the exclusive U.S. distributor of its English-language titles.

Silicon Times plans to release 30 English-language books this year. First up, "The Delicious Season" by Rainbow Buddy.

The verdict is in: Reviews of "Ultimate Fantastic Four" #1 have begun popping up. The consensus? "Hey, it ain't half bad."

You like me? You really like me? Thanks to Alan David Doane for the kind words. Who says the days of payola are over?

Shiny, happy people: At Previews Review, Christopher Butcher looks at the books shipping this week, and offers some funny-because-they're-true observations about DC's trade policy (if you can call it a "policy"). But I particularly enjoyed his "plea" regarding "bright, flashy" superhero books:

"Look to complex and mature works for mature and complex stories, quit criticizing SESAME STREET for a lack of depth, unrealistic human proportions and an ending telegraphed from the beginning of the show. Go read something challenging, rather than demanding that children’s material BE challenging. It’s not doing any of us any good."

And so it begins: Just when you thought it was safe to read Newsarama on Mondays, we're assaulted by "My Sharper Image," the sequel to Michael San Giacomo's "My Epic Journey," a painful study in minutiae thinly disguised as an interesting peek behind the curtain of the comics industry:

"The journey is not over yet. I expect to post two or three more of these between now and when Phantom Jack #1 comes out on March 3. They will run on irregular Mondays as news warrants."

Oh, good.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Comics Quote of the Year: Yeah, I know we're only four days into 2004, but I think I've found a strong, if unlikely, candidate in the form of The Fourth Rail's Don MacPherson:

"I want to have John Cassaday's babies. And I don't dig guys, nor do I have a uterus."

Friday, January 02, 2004

It's a small, small world: Who'd have thought Cumberland, Kentucky was a bastion of Spanish architecture? They call it "The Madrid of the Appalachians," I hear.

Making a mountain out of an ant-hill: Puzzling reaction continues to yesterday's interview with "Ant Man" writer Daniel Way, with several Pulse readers outraged by his comments and behavior.

Apparently, Way should've taken more seriously the adventures of a third-string character who can shrink and talk to ants. Or maybe it was the mindless, emailed interview he should've taken seriously. At this point, I'm not sure what they're upset about. But, needless to say, they're upset about something:

"Congratulations Daniel Way, you come off as a total prat."

"That's just sad. Comes across like a 15 year old who just learned a bunch of 'dirty' words and is doing his best to shock someone. 'The most challenging part is sitting down to write when all I really want to do is get fucked up and get laid.' Absolutely ridiculous. Someone high up on the food chain at Marvel needs to have a serious talk with this immature dolt."

Note from me: Come on, Marvel counts among its "treasures" Ron Zimmerman, Chuck Austen and Mark Millar, and he wants them to have a "serious talk with this immature dolt"?

"After reading an interview with this guy, there is no way in Hell I would spend money on this."

"Good interview, Jen. I was considering picking this up and now I know why I won't. Comic book creators that apparently don't give a crap about...much of anything really...continuity, existing fan base, etc. Funny, yes, but will the book be any good? Unlikely."

Ah, the Comicon forums. God bless 'em.

Sharing the Love: At SBC, Andi Watson talks about "Love Fights," "Namor" and "Breakfast After Noon." But there's still no update on "15-Love" (the return of Millie the Model).

UPDATE: It's apparently Andi Watson Day, with The Pulse contributing an interview in which he comments on the long-rumored "15-Love":

The Pulse: "Is the Marvel Manga 15-Love still in the works?"

Watson: "So I'm told. I think it's being reconstituted into a different line. At least half the art is done and all my scripts are in."