McFarlane; Fans With A Sense Of History Grow Giddy…
Yes, last week
two legends in the comic book world finally decided to fight it out
like real men …in the courtroom. And it's about time.
Neil Gaiman filed
suit against Todd McFarlane over copyright issues and owed royalties,
alleging that though Gaiman created the characters of Angela, Cogliostro,
and Medieval Spawn (all key figures in Spawn money-making mythos
both paper and plastic), he has not seen a dime in royalties from the
In addition, of
course, Gaiman also seeks control of the rights to Miracleman,
created (but deeded to Gaiman) by Alan Moore. McFarlane claims to have
bought the rights when he purchased the assets of the defunct Eclipse
Comics, a company that had done the American reprints and Gaiman's continuation
of the series.
has acknowledged that his claim to Miracleman may be spotty,
he has dropped hints that the character would be appearing in Curse
of Spawn, and that he doesn't care if anybody else has a claim.
I am far from the
first to point out the irony that McFarlane joined in the founding of
Image Comics expressly claiming that Marvel had exploited him as an
artist, and that he was tired of being just a cog in the machine working
on characters owned by a big company. On the other hand, sports fans
already knew that Todd has a lot of balls.
Due to an error
at Diamond Distribution, the recent release of the latest Howard
The Duck #1 got underpacked, and thus undershipped, by 15%. Marvel
called this an allocation problem, and has since made sure that every
comic book store eventually received every copy of the book that they
It was most likely
an honest mistake, but it does bring to mind the speculator frenzy upon
the release of the first Howard The Duck #1, released in the
mid-'70's. That book got bought up by unscrupulous speculators intending
to make a killing. Thus actual newsstand copies (back when there were
such things) were very, very hard to find. It wasn't until the fourth
issue that distribution and feeding frenzies had stabilized and people
began to actually buy and read the title. (Though clearly, not a one
of those readers went on to write the movie.)
Bring A Couple of Inkers Back Into Comics…
Once again CrossGen
has increased its roster of exclusive artists, this time reaching into
the worlds of animation and game design to bring back "new" inkers.
After having made
his mark inking many of the books in the late Valiant line of comics
(X-O: Manowar, Solar, Man of the Atom, and Shadowman), Tom Ryder
left the industry to work in animation, storyboarding some series for
Sony. CrossGen has lured him back to work on the May release Way
of the Rat, over the pencils of Jeff Johnson.
Rounding out the
team will be colorist Chris Garcia, a former freelancer whose work on
Mystic and CrossGen Chronicles landed him a full-time
In addition to
Ryder, CrossGen has hired Brad Vancata. A graduate of the Joe Kubert
school (literally), Vancata has knocked around the industry for over
a decade, inking high-profile projects for both Marvel and DC. In recent
years he spent time doing design work for the Spider-Man ride at Universal
Studios' Islands of Adventure, and has most recently been storyboarding
a variety of games for the Playstation 2.
Vancata will work
with Smith doing a fill-in on Negation #6, though plans are in
place for the two to move onto their own title sometime later this year.
Schaffenberger Dead at 81
We've lost another
spent time at every major publisher doing the forties and fifties, including
a nice run on The Marvel Family (that would be those guys now
known collectively as Shazam!, not the Marvel Captain Marvels
nor the Marvelman/Miracleman Family), before settling in at DC.
did some defining work on the Superman Family, most notably Supergirl
and Lois Lane.
his art had a cartoony edge, appropriate for the often whimsical features
he was given to draw.
Okay, so we knew
it would happen. Kevin Smith will be leaving Green Arrow in a
couple of months, so DC has finally named the guy who will take over
the writing chores. It's …Brad Meltzer.
Meltzer is currently
a top crime novelist with his latest, The Millionaires on the
New York Times Best-Seller list. A long-time comics fan, he plans to
continue in Smith's vein, citing his jealousy over the cleverness of
crossing Green Arrow with Stanley And His Monster.
This kind of quirky
thinking promises, in Smith's mind, "…a helluva ride." And having a
crime novelist write comics certainly hasn't hurt the Bat-books, where
Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker have both told some terrific stories. So
let's give Meltzer a chance, and wonder if he'll stick as many penis
jokes into the book as Smith did.
Image To Release
Michael Goodson's Dream Comic…
Continuum has an interview with Jimmy Palmiotti concerning his upcoming
project with Garth Ennis and Amanda Conner, Pro. Set to be released
in July, Pro tells the story of a waitress/hooker/single mom
given super-powers as the result of a cosmic bet. (Sort of like DC's
late Major Bummer, except for the waitress/hooker/single mom
While this sounds
a little more tasteful than its initial description (Palmiotti once
called it "pure evil," but didn't make it sound like this was a bad
thing), it's still enough to outrage a lot of people. Palmiotti warns
that kids will have to get their "dirty old uncle" to buy it for them.
And since Ennis
is writing it, it will be like the crack cocaine of comics. Thanks,
Near the end of
the nail-biting action of Superbowl XXXVI, and after the blood-rushing
action of Britney Spears' Pepsi commercial, you may have seen an ad
for a movie starring Mike Meyers as Austin Powers. What you may have
also noticed is that, interestingly enough, not only was this movie
"not yet rated," but it is not yet titled.
Of course, you've
probably also seen posters in movie theaters for a film titled Austin
Powers In Goldmember. Not anymore.
complained to the MPAA, who administers these sorts of things, that
the title Goldmember was a violation of their intellectual property
and that New Line Cinema had to cease and desist from using it for the
third Austin Powers film.
Never mind that
the second Austin Powers also used a parody of a James Bond title. That
was then; this is now. And allegedly Mike Meyers has left MGM high and
dry on a couple of different potential franchises, so they didn't feel
like making nice.
Obviously, as of
Superbowl Sunday, New Line had no idea what to call the film. But worse,
it's possible that Meyers will not actually be able to use footage of
himself as key new villain Goldmember. It's an ugly fight that may go
down in cinematic history for its almost absurd pettiness.
Pass the popcorn.
I love watching this kind of stuff.
Say, Can Anybody
Spare A Quartermain?
The Hollywood Reporter
has made claims that Sean Connery has entered into talks to star in
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, based on Alan Moore's
popular mini-series for Wildstorm.
Recounting an adventure
so great it brings together some of England's greatest heroes of the
19th Century, the film had been fast-tracked with director Stephen Norrington
(Blade) at the helm. If Connery does take a role, it seems likely
that he would be the aged Alan Quartermain, though we probably shouldn't
rule out Professor Moriarty.
No reports have
leaked out one way or another as to whether the production will still
be using James Robinson's screenplay, rumored to veer wildly from the
line-up of the comic and including Tom Sawyer as a federal agent.
Through The Heart
issuing press materials listing Daredevil with a November 2002
release date, Fox has officially announced that the film will be released
on Valentine's Day, 2003 (that's February 14 for those without romantic
Also set in stone
now is Jennifer Garner as Elektra and Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin.
Long cast, of course, are Ben Affleck as Daredevil and Colin Farrell
is still looking for a Foggy Nelson, reading through Hollywood's list
of chunky guys, including Howard Stern's new sidekick Artie Lange. (And
just yesterday Howard harangued phone-in guest Joe Quesada for not letting
him read for some Marvel property.)
Lady Death To
Hit Twin Cinemas Everywhere
Carl Macek has confirmed that plans are moving forward to animate Chaos!
Comics' Lady Death for the big screen. In conjunction with Asian animation
house ADV Films, production has begun.
Chaos! And ADV
are looking to create a new model for cooperation and design between
Asian studios and Western creators, hoping for a final product that
moves beyond traditional anime into a brand-new style.
The WB Tries
For a Super-Fall
In a recent interview,
WB Executive Jordan Levin confirmed that Birds of Prey was on
the slate for fall pilots at the network. He went on to say that as
a comics fan himself (and gee, he should have access to a huge line
of characters), he wants even more comic book-based programming.
Just today the
network announced that it would be developing The Lone Ranger
for the fall, as well as a new property called The Black Sash,
about a martial arts master turned masked avenger. Hmm.
Anyway, on the
heels of Levin's interview, more information about the Birds of Prey
pilot has slipped out. The two main characters will be Barbara Gordon/Oracle
(as expected) and The Huntress, fighting crime in Gotham City ten years
after a climactic and devastating "final" battle between Batman and
The Joker. (And yes, it is rumored that the creators are not shying
away from having Barbara paralyzed by the Clown Prince of Crime.) Barbara
will have been Batgirl in her past, but this version of The Huntress
seems closer to the old Earth-2 version, as it will be hinted that she
is the daughter of Batman, now in self-imposed exile.
The two crime-fighting
women will encounter teenage runaway Dinah Lance, who they dub the Black
Canary, partially because of her metahuman sonic cry.
No formal casting
has been announced, but let us humbly suggest Annabeth Gish as The Huntress.
She needs a new gig, and despite some lame plotlines, she has proven
that she can kick butt on The X-Files. Just a thought.
Secret in Television
Unable to stand
the strain of secrecy any longer, Brian Michael Bendis has confirmed
on his message board that he has written the pilot and several episodes
for the upcoming Spider-Man TV series, to be broadcast on MTV.
that though there will be elements similar to his work on Ultimate
Spider-Man, the TV series will be attempting to follow movie continuity
(which he also bragged about having seen). But if an element seems to
work really well in the comic book, he may reuse the idea for television.
The series will
be done in CGI, but with the look of a 2D cel-based show.
this and more in the Fanboy forums.