Planet Buzz 03-07-02


Should We Start Calling Them KrossGyen?

Crossgen Comics announced last week that they have scored quite a coup. Izdatelstvo Komiks Ltd. (English translation: Comics Publishing, Ltd.) will begin publishing Mystic, Sigil, Scion, Meridian, The First, and Crux for Russian distribution in September 2002. The books will be available in 15 Russian-speaking countries, bringing CrossGen's total to 26 foreign countries and five languages other than English.

When you consider that last year was the first time that Marvel Comics managed to publish a comic in Russian (Ultimate X-Men), it looks to be quite an honor for Mark Alessi's company.

Izdatelstvo Komiks only selects what it considers to be the best for translation and publication, as the two-year-old company carries the responsibility of teaching the former Soviet Union just what comic books are all about. Up until 2000, they didn't have any. Of course, they had trouble getting toilet paper until recently, too.

Not Quite Free, But Doing What They Can…

Remember Free Comics Day? That great publicity stunt set for May 4, the day after Spider-Man opens? Well, it's going to be great for the big companies who can afford to take the loss, and already have high-profile properties to lure new readers (Star Wars, Tomb Raider, Spider-Man, Batman).

For the smaller publishers, free is kind of hard to do. In response, Second2Some Studios will release the first issue of their next mini-series, Fade From Blue, at the low price of $1, with every subsequent issue of the series to be only $1.50.

Second To Some describes the series as "…the story of four half-sisters brought together by tragedy and stuck together by circumstance, is geared towards a mature audience with a story angle that should attract as many female readers for its drama as it will male readers for its sarcasm." This follows on the heels of studio's science fiction mini-series Two Over Ten, which we mentioned a few months back, and which was worth more than $1.50 an issue.

…and Look Who Else Takes Pity On Our Budgets…

Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada announced that Marvel will be lowering its prices on trade paperbacks in the next few months, realizing that with rare exceptions for hardback or truly special reprintings (not just hype), trades should actually cost the same or less than it would have cost to buy the individual comics in the first place.

Quesada and Bill Jemas downplayed the significance, noting only that it was directly in response to fan feedback. See, kids? They do listen.

100 Bullets To 100 Micrometers

Dave Johnson, who has provided the covers for Vertigo's 100 Bullets, will be taking over cover duties for the upcoming Micronauts series from Image Comics and Devil's Due Productions. Originally the studio had landed Michael Golden, the man who drew the original Marvel series, to do the covers. A heavy workload forced him to back out of the project.

A heavy workload, or the machinations of Baron Karza?

Due in June, Micronauts #1 will also feature a pin-up from Image co-founder Jim Valentino. It's the second major flashback title from Devil's Due, which has made a huge splash with its revival of G.I. Joe. That series was able to carry on continuity from the old Marvel one, but Micronauts will have to start from scratch, since the previous Marvel characters are still active in the Marvel Universe as "The Microns."


And Now The Casting Is Complete

Comics 2 Film reports this morning that the role of Battling Jack Murdock, Daredevil's boxer father in the film of the same name, has been cast. David Keith, seen recently in Behind Enemy Lines, nabbed the role.

According to the site, the character's boxing uniform and general personal will be a heavy influence upon Matt Murdock adopting the Daredevil identity. And of course, it is Battling Jack's death that pushes his son into becoming a costumed hero.

Cheer Up, Charlie…

Warner Brothers has taken a crucial step in developing their adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by hiring wrtier Gwyn Lurie to script. (And let's not call it a re-make of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- somehow I think we'll all sleep better that way.)

The studio has had the rights to the book for three years, but an earlier attempt to develop a script failed. Rumors even flew at one point that Marilyn Manson would be tapped to be Willy Wonka (started by Manson), which while not as crazy as it sounds, proved unfounded.

Lurie has the approval of the Dahl estate, which had earlier read her adaptation of Dahl's BFG, being developed by Paramount.

Who Was That Masked Man?

Sony Pictures announced this week that it had purchased the rights to The Lone Ranger for a big-screen outing. They hope to do a better job than the last film adaptation, The Legend of The Lone Ranger, which starred Klinton Spilsbury (not the dough boy) and was so bad that even this young fanboy knew it.

To recap, The Lone Ranger is actually John Reid, one of five Texas Rangers ambushed by the Butch Cavendish gang and left for dead. Nursed back to health by Tonto, Reid dons a mask and avenges evil as The Lone Ranger, never accepting payment for his deeds, and known by his calling card: the silver bullet.

As for the actual Texas Rangers, they're excited about the news.

"I'd definitely go see it ... Everytime I hear that song, it sends chills down my neck," said Joe Davis, president of the Texas Ranger Foundation and himself a Texas Ranger for 24 years, "I get choked up just thinking about it." That song, of course, being the William Tell Overture, though most people just think of it as The Lone Ranger's theme.

How this affects the WB's plans to put a Lone Ranger series on the fall schedule remains unknown.


Pixar Makes Us Wait…

Buena Vista Home Video finally announced a release date for the DVD of Pixar's Monsters, Inc. last week. Unfortunately, the CGI-animated film will not be available until September 17, a possible drawback in its bid to become the first Best Animated Feature in Oscar history.

On the plus side, Pixar really needs the time in order to give us all the extras they think we should have. Buena Vista will release the film in two versions: a normal single-disc "special edition," and then a 2-disc exhaustive "everything you could ever want to know" edition that Disney has become adept at.

Me? I just want to see the movie again.

Derek McCaw


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