Planet Buzz


McFarlane Throws A Gauntlet Down

Less than two weeks ago, Marvel Comics and Neil Gaiman announced a plan to restore sanity to the whole Miracleman debacle. But the comics industry is nothing if not filled with guys with big cajones.

Having already announced that Miracleman would be appearing in an upcoming issue of Hellspawn, Todd McFarlane files papers to trademark the name today, November 13.

A trademark is different than a copyright, a little loophole in legal language that allows for different Captain Marvels to exist at the Big Two. (But kids, this doesn't mean you can have your very own Captain Marvel. No. Because I said so, that's why.) So while McFarlane could possibly have the trademark on the name (and interested parties have 30 days in which to challenge it), Neil Gaiman could still end up with the copyright on the character older fans know and love.

Never mind that a week ago artist Alan Davis suggested that he never gave up the rights to his artwork from the early installments of the series. And it has come to light that original publisher Dez Skinn may not have had the rights to the character in the first place.

Ow. It burns. It BURNS.

And all because fans just want to be able to read some pretty nifty stories by some of the giants in the business. How did it get this hard?

Not Getting Enough Ultimate Spider-Man?

Marvel Comics agrees. The company announced last week that in February (and apparently just for February) Ultimate Spider-Man will be published bi-weekly, still from the regular creative team of Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, and Art Thibert. Issues #17 and 18 will pit Ultimate Spider-Man against Ultimate Doctor Octopus, with the winner facing Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 6.

As far as we can remember, this title has pretty much remained on time, so Marvel might just pull this one off.

Speaking of On Time…

CrossGen Comics has accomplished a milestone in the industry. As of last week, they have shipped 100 titles without missing a single deadline. Considering the volume of high-level talent they have, this is quite an accomplishment, and we do salute CrossGen for providing reliable quality books to the public.

Once upon a time in the comics business this was called "standard practice."

Madman Returns!

Well, sort of. While Mike Allred is busy wowing fans with his work on X-Force, Oni Press has been negotiating to reprint Allred's early work on his flagship character, Madman.

An amnesiac (and possibly revived corpse) named Frank Einstein, Madman has both a hip costume and a hip sensibility, alternately battling and embracing weirdness in Snap City. Director Robert Rodriguez keeps promising that he will do a film adaptation of the character right after he finishes the next Spy Kids movie.

Oni Press will release Madman: The Oddity Odyssey in February, followed by the full-color Madman Adventures in June. Additionally, Madman Adventures will include the first appearance of Frank Einstein, long out of print.

For those new to Allred's work, these collections will be worthy additions to your library. No fooling.

The Authority Has Lost Its Authority?

Silver Bullet Comics' Rich Johnston reports that DC is ready to throw in the towel on The Authority. Having already cancelled one special issue and indefinitely postponed the next three regular issues of the title, it may have proven more head ache than they thought it was worth.

Suddenly Bill Jemas doesn't seem so crazy to offer to have Marvel publish it.


Just In Time For Hallowee…Ooops.

Sony Pictures released new artwork for Spider-Man last week, this time unveiling Sam Raimi's vision of The Green Goblin.

Fans are still falling all over themselves trying to convince people that this isn't really the final look, that somehow CGI will make it all better.

Guys, this is a poster, not leaked conceptual art.

This is it.

He looks like a Silverhawk.

Get over it.

The Money Is Out There…

Twentieth Century Fox announced last Wednesday that writers/producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz have entered negotiations for The X-Files 2.

Intended as a stand-alone story from the series' admittedly way too dense (and, if ratings this week are any indication, now way too boring) continuity, the film would be aimed for a Summer 2003 release.

Though neither have been contacted yet, both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have stated that they would be glad to be involved in the film franchise; it's the show that had them tired.

Great. Next Month's Wizard Will Mention This On Every Other Page

Production Company Catch 23 Entertainment has optioned Black Bull Comics' Just A Pilgrim for feature development.

Created by Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquierra, Just A Pilgrim spins a post-apocalyptic tale of a religious fanatic wandering the wasteland of a scorched Earth. If he cannot save other survivors' lives, he will at least try to save their souls.

The first mini-series wrapped up a couple of months ago, with a second one announced for the Spring. Black Bull has released a trade paperback, but without a "Soon To Be a Major Motion Picture!" starburst.

No, no, NO. Action Figures Come AFTER The Movie…

First, Todd McFarlane and Clive Barker joined forces to create a line of action figures. The result was the terribly twisted (but, okay, yes, cool) Tortured Souls collection, each figure in the series coming with a chapter from a novelette by Barker.

Then McFarlane got the bright idea to send a set to movie studio heads for Halloween, as a gesture to say, "hey, I'll forget about doing Spawn 2 if you will."

Next thing you know, somebody looked closely at these figures and said, "hey! Kids love playing with these things. Let's make a movie."

And so, Universal Studios announced this week that they have paid McFarlane and Barker for the rights to Tortured Souls, with a piece of the merchandising for anything after the initial six-figure set.

So when are we getting that live-action Transformers movie, huh?


A Ragtag Fleet Of…oh, never mind…

Fox Television has pulled out of producing a Battlestar Galactica telefilm/pilot upon the departure of director/producer Bryan Singer.

With his producing partner Tom DeSanto, Singer had gotten USA Networks and Fox very excited about the project, provided that he could fit it in with his schedule on X-Men 2. This week, Singer decided that he couldn't do it.

But DeSanto is still there, trying to keep the project alive. And to be quite honest and in agreement with Harry Knowles at Ain't It Cool News, DeSanto was always the real driving force here, just as he really was on X-Men. Singer may think this stuff is cool, but DeSanto is the guy who is one of us - a fanboy done good.

Keep your fingers crossed that somebody with power will wake up to that fact.

Bryan Singer has left the Battlestar Galactica TV movie project. Tom DeSanto remains, but Fox is trying to pull out.

Derek McCaw

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