The Roundtable

NOTE: The individual opinions of each Roundtable contributor are their own, and is not representative of anybody but that contributor.

Marvel commissions a second X-FORCE mini-series without Rob Liefeld’s involvement… [Credit: Lying in the Gutters]

PAUL “FIRST-TIME INTERVIEW” SEBERT: Because *you* demanded it… *sighs*

Yeah, *you* – the guy that demanded this crap… I don’t know who you are, but I’ll find out where you live…

MATT “STARMAN” MORRISON: So you’re not interesting in working for Marvel even though you were begging them for work a few months ago? Pull the other one, Rob. It has bells on. Are any of the idiots clamouring for X-FORCE really demanding it be brought without Liefeld? Really? Then maybe they aren’t as idiotic as I thought. Then again, idiocy is not a trait one should quantify.

IAIN “THE HOST” BURNSIDE: Does it have boobs on? ‘Cos he’d pull it if there were boobs involved…

JOHN “NEARLY MINT” BABOS: I only bought X-FORCE for Rob’s art, so I won’t be getting any follow ups.

JESSE “BRINGER OF THE SNARK” BAKER: Good. Let Fabian N or even Louis Simonson write the book (complete with an out-and-proud Shatterstar) and get Adam Medina (the dude who drew Jeph Loeb’s X-FORCE run) to draw it and we’d get a good X-FORCE book at long last…

JAMIE “RABBLE ROUSER” HATTON: I’m so torn on this news. Love because it’s X-FORCE without Liefeld… Hate because it’s not Milligan’s X-FORCE… Love because I miss some of those characters, and haven’t looked at an issue of Liefeld’s X-FORCE since I reviewed it… Hate because it’s probably going to suck…

Oh, to be of two minds on the topics of ‘X’ – such is my life.


Dreamwave Productions goes out of business. [Details: Lying in the Gutters]

Matt Morrison: I didn’t read any of their titles… but I hope that someone else picks up the Transformers licence as those books were very well-received by the fans and I personally sell a lot of them to younger readers who couldn’t give two swift kicks in the rump about Superman but they love robots.

Iain Burnside: Hmm. They weren’t so much “well-received” as “nit-picked to death” by the vast majority of the fans. Dreamwave’s flooding of the market with superfluous titles like MICROMASTERS, MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE, MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: ARMADA, SUMMER SPECIAL, two of the four G.I. JOE crossovers and a poster book special – not to mention the intended BEAST WARS and MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: ENERGON books that will likely never see the light of day – certainly must have contributed to this. What sort of business move is it to continually solicit new books when the current ones are constantly delayed and their creators not paid, even though Pat Lee pockets all of the funds from the Marvel work the company did into a separate bank account? Sheesh…

Still, the Transfan in me hopes that Devil’s Due will pick up the licence. With the new CYBERTRON cartoon starting this year, not to mention the pipe-dream of a new G1 movie before 2008, there is still clearly enough interest in continuing the books.

Paul Sebert: Ah Dreamwave… So much talent, so much potential… Alas I feel that Dreamwave was a classic example of a company that put all its eggs in one basket. I imagine there’s probably a part of the story involving the deal with Hasbro that has yet to come out yet.


Will Eisner passes away, aged 87. [Condolences: Here]

Matt Morrison: There are no words. Sad? Yes. Loss? Yes. But in the end nothing can describe what the man did for our hobby.

Iain Burnside: Pardon my ignorance, but I’ve never read any of Eisner’s work. Anybody want to recommend a good place to start?

Matt Morrison: He’s most famous for a detective superhero called “The Spirit”. There are many trade paperback collections of his work with that character. He’s also written a number of brilliant graphic novels. Searching for his name on BN should bring up quite a few of them…

Jamie Hatton: It is the duty of every man and woman who love and enjoy this hobby, to go and pick up a copy of CONTRACT WITH GOD. You may love superhero stories. You may love war stories. You may love historical or sci-fi or horror or any number of genres. You owe more than you know to the man they named the most prestigious comic award after.

He will be missed, but his legacy lives on in every piece of pulp you
purchase on Wednesday. Remember that.

Iain Burnside: Done and done. Or will be done eventually, at least.


Frank Miller to write Jim Lee’s ALL-STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN. [Press Release: Here]

Matt Morrison: Should be interesting. Frank’s always had a good grasp on the core of the characters, though his work has been limited to Elseworlds and possible alternate realities (though I think most accept YEAR ONE as being in continuity). I’m not as pumped as I would be if he were coming back to write DAREDEVIL, but I’ll give the book a shot at least.

Iain Burnside: Basically, this is an Elseworlds title dressed up in new duds. I’m slightly concerned that Miller will feel a pressure to essentially remake DARK KNIGHT RETURNS after the mob mentality that greeted DARK KNIGHT STRIKES BACK with a shovel to the face and a knee to the groin. No matter what he does, it’ll be
better than any other Bat-books have been in the past decade (possible exceptions for Loeb, Dini, Winick and Morrison’s work) and it’ll stomp all over the sales chart thanks to Jimbo’s patented Bat-pecs.

WILL “LITTLE BRITAIN” COOLING: I think it’d be more likely that he’d stubbornly repeat what he did with the excellent-but-flawed DK2 than run away from the fans. I’m still excited about the pairing and I think that together they could deliver a great story.

Paul Sebert: It sounds nice on paper, and the DC ALL-STARS book is a great concept but my mind’s still trying to wrap around the idea of Frank Miller doing an all-ages book and just how long this art team will be around.

Also – you want to know what the real difference between Marvel & DC is? If Marvel announced a project like this, taken outside of regular continuity, with single-issue stories, handled by top-tier talent, and given a huge, huge promotional push both the die-hard fanboys and the continuity Gestapo would be crying bloody murder. Jesse Baker would ask for the writer’s head on a stick in one of his reviews, while old-time fans lament Joe Quesada’s destruction of the iron-clad tradition of continuity. A laughably ineffective boycott would be launched on numerous message boards. Oh and of course it would sell like hot cakes.

But of course since this is DC and not Marvel doing this everyone’s cool with it. But hey, I’m excited. Bring on the post-continuity age of comics!


The DC ALL-STAR imprint defined. [Credit: All the Rage]

Paul Sebert: I’m interested. Very interested. I’m just wondering how long they’ll be rotating the talent on this. I understand this is DC’s approach to answering Marvel’s Ultimate line… but well I doubt a guy like Jim Lee or Frank Miller’s going to stick around for 75+ issues like Bagley and Bendis have on Ultimate Spidey.

Jesse Baker: I’ll probably buy a couple of issues of Morrison’s run since he’s doing a decidedly UN-ULTIMATE Ultimate Superman book that is 10 self-contained issues and a two-parter. Miller/Lee’s Batman is going to be a complete and utter train wreck and let’s be frank, Frank Miller’s BATMAN: YEAR ONE was unreadable sh** and DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN basically proved that DARK KNIGHT RETURNS was a total and utter fluke on Miller’s part since every other non-DKR Batman story he’s written has been garbage.

Jamie Hatton: So they are doing their own Ultimate books, except without the long origin stories. Fine. Good. It was only a matter of time – now WIZARD magazine can stop printing articles about it. Plus, get a load of the little bit at the end about the argument between Didio and Lee about how these books will be titled. ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN or BATMAN & ROBIN: ALL-STAR. The amusement factor is that if you push them all together, they are easily accessible to someone not looking at the massive amount of Bats/Supes trades. If you put them in the midst of all of that, someone might pick up another mainstream title.

Keep em’ separated – get new readers. Stop trying to trick them, that’s why they left comics in the first place… they thought Superman was dead!

Will Cooling: OH YESSS!!!!!!!! I want Dan Dido’s children – yes all of them! I don’t care about the stretch marks, the mood swings, the morning sickness and the agonies of labour (the free milk would be cool though) but the man’s a fecking genius. First he takes the most inventive and twisted genius willing to bring his A-Game to mainstream comics (which Milligan and Ellis don’t) with the sexiest, most exciting, mind bending artist in mainstream and puts them on the purest, most magical sci-fi concept in comics.

Secondly he takes the hottest artist of the moment (despite a slightly crappy ’04) who revived the title and is the most iconic artist of the past 15 years and then add the man who made Batman what he is today and is probably the most revered and influential superhero writer in modern comic history.

And then to make it all the sweeter, free them from the shackles of
continuity and tell them to do whatever the hell them want. It’s
absolute genius.

As for the stories we’ll see – well Morrison/Quitely is certainly going to be gold and Miller/Lee is going to be interesting. I think its going to have more in common with DK2 then most people think which isn’t all that bad because despite its rather scatty storytelling the writing was quite good in places. Thankfully we’ll have Lee’s gorgeous art instead of what we got which was great in places but crap in others!

Still whatever these are seriously great comics and confirm the move
away from characters to creators as the sellers of comics. No one is
talking about Batman or Superman in this just what Miller/Lee and
Morrison/Quitely will do with them.

I’ve just realised what dumbasses Marvel are!

Okay I’ve been thinking (uh-oh) but Bendis’ NEW AVENGERS isn’t really
an Avengers comic but instead an entirely different concept and type
of team. So why didn’t Marvel instead of cannibalising the Avengers
and pissing off its readership (so as Mark Millar pointed out leaving
THE ULTIMATES as the most old-school Avengers title) launch a separate title out of an AVENGERS DISSASEMBLED mini and then leave the likes of Scarlet Witch, Vision, etc for an old-school Avengers written by say Kurt Busiek. That way you gain an extra title that sells 90,000 a month (I think Bendis/Finch and the fact that four of Marvel’s Big Seven are in it are bigger selling factors than the Avengers name) in addition to the dependable 60,000ish of the Avengers.

Thoughts?

Iain Burnside: Well, my guess is that Marvel thinks the combination of AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES, NEW THUNDERBOLTS and YOUNG AVENGERS will be enough to placate the old-school Avengers fans – at least until HOUSE OF M has kicked off and we get ready for the next big status quo shake-up. By the way, I really doubt a new Busiek team-up book starring the less well known Avengers would sell 90,000 a month… try 50,000 at best.

Jesse Baker: Not really. EMH is a glorified vanity project for Casey and one that seems to have a decidedly “Avengers Suck” slant towards it given how it’s main themes are how the Avengers suck, was doomed to die a horrible death from day one, and should never of formed in the first place (which is shocking given how Casey has repeatedly stated how much he loves the Avengers franchise), YOUNG AVENGERS is a poorly conceived attempt to ape TEEN TITANS since NEW WARRIORS is apparently on Joe Quesada’s “Sh** List” in terms of concepts he hates and won’t let see the light of day unless it is to mock them as being stupid, and NEW THUNDERBOLTS (the only thing that would qualify as “placating old Avengers fans”) will be killed off the first sign of sales going downhill according to Tom Brevoort.

MANOLIS “SPANDEX” VAMVOUNIS: NEW WARRIORS is coming back in ’05 by Zeb Wells, although as a humour book, in the vein of the Giffen League.

Jesse Baker: By all accounts, HOUSE OF M is not going to be a shake-up so much as it’s going to be Bendis kicking dirt into Chris Claremont’s face by making Magneto evil and at the same time bastardizing AGE OF APOCALYPSE with the whole storyline revolving around Wanda being tricked into warping reality into a world where Magneto is King and humans are slaves to mutants, which in turn will serve as giving Bendis an excuse to not give a f*ck about continuity as well as allow Marvel to purge everything that is politically hated and despised from cannon via a blanket cosmic reset button that the series will provide. Which means I wouldn’t be surprised if come this winter, Spider-Man, X-Men, and every other Marvel franchise will have Donna Troy/Hawkman/LSH size holes in their collective history that will make things even more confusing to new readers thanks to Bendis and HOUSE OF M.

Manolis Vamvounis: Bendis will be collaborating with Claremont for HOUSE OF M, right? It’s supposed to be an X-Men/Avengers crossover, after all. I think alternate realities are fun, if handled right. The original EXACLIBUR and AGE OF APOCALYPSE are good examples. But Marvel hasn’t had a good track record with their big events for a quite long while (I don’t really want to think back to the Twelve and Maximum Security). Not since Operation Zero Tolerance, in my mind. Say what you want for Scott Lobdell, but he was always a master plotter when it came to big crossovers. My only hope is that after HOUSE OF M, Hawkeye will return, along with a more traditional Avengers line-up.

Jesse Baker: And what the hell makes you say that about the sales figures? If anything the lack of a “Classic” Avengers is proof positive that Marvel is sh**ting their pants/pissing their shorts over Bendis’ sales for NEW AVENGERS flat-lining. A “Classic Avengers” would kill Bendis’ Golden Boy rep by cutting at least half of his sales, making NEW AVEBGERS sell 50,000 to 60,000 instead of 90,000. And the fact that Marvel is playing extortion racket with retailers over variant covers for the first six issues of NEW AVENGERS shows you that they are pissing and shitting their pants with the knowledge that Bendis is going to be bleeding out his a**hole in terms of losing readers the longer his farce of a run continues. Having a “Classic Avengers” book running at the same time as Bendis’ book would be the kiss of death, which is not good for Marvel given how they’ve invested too much time and energy in making Bendis their number one guy, to the point that all writers have to copy Bendis’ hack writer writing style if they want to keep getting work.

Manolis Vamvounis: I think the Bendis ‘Vengers would sell well regardless, because Bendis has his own niche of fans, and he’s using Marvel’s big guns. This is a project aimed squarely at cashing in, and no-one at Marvel seems even mildly apologetic about it. Getting Busiek on a classic Avengers book right now wouldn’t even approach half of Bendis’ sales. Busiek doesn’t have the pull he once did. Unless of course, they managed to lure George Perez back on board!!

Will Cooling: To clear up some confusion-I meant to say that Bendis’ book would get 90,000 (which it would) and then an old-school Avengers title featuring the likes of Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Giant-Man, Wasp, She-Hulk, Vision would if the right names of attached not lose too many readers off the Avengers pre-Bendis numbers.

I’m with Jesse on HOUSE OF M; that plot sounds utter shite and we seem to be heading back to the nineties where writers would over-use
Magneto whilst stripping him of all the pathos that made him
interesting in the first place. To be honest I’m getting bored of
Bendis; the decompression is starting to serious hurt even his “magnum opus” in DAREDEVIL while PULSE isn’t even a shadow of what ALIAS used to be and ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN lost a lot of steam after Hollywood (as for Avengers-well lets not go there).

Still at least they haven’t cancelled SHE-HULK yet.

Iain Burnside: I wonder if HOUSE OF M will kick off with Cap reminiscing about the end of Disassembled, then suddenly sitting upright and shouting “Hang on! What the %$@* was MAGNETO doing there?!?!?”

I’m definitely not going to be buying the series either. If it turns
out to be a worthwhile read, which I seriously doubt, then I’ll pick
up the inevitable trade. That’s another thing to take into account
when it comes to guestimating Marvel titles sales figures – how many
people are simply waiting for the trade? They know they won’t have
long to wait and that it’ll be cheaper, better quality, come with
extras (usually), and be more durable – not to mention they can wait
to see if the reviews are favourable. I know that’s why I didn’t
bother getting Millar’s SPIDER-MAN and WOLVERINE books and why I
definitely won’t get the trade of the former and *might* get the trade of the latter. It’s also why DC can get away with printing about five copies of IDENTITY CRISIS #1 before the HC is released.

You gotta wonder what Marvel are going to do in a couple of years time when Millar is on his pre-DC contract sabbatical, Ellis has finally tired of work-for-hire, and Bendis is unable to get by on his name alone due to the increasingly tiresome and predictable nature of his work (NEW AVENGERS, SECRET WAR, THE PULSE… you’re all guilty of
under-performance…). Sadly, the only “new” creators Marvel seems
intent on really getting behind at the moment are the Young Guns
artists. That’s fair enough, but if they’re stuck with mediocre
writers and repetitive editorial policies then they’re still going to
struggle.

As it stands, the only actual Marvel Universe titles I’m interested in are Kirkman’s MARVEL TEAM-UP, and that’s only in it’s infancy, and
Whedon’s ASTONISHING X-MEN, which, to be fair, is only a 12-issue
maxi-series. All the other ones (SUPREME POWER, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, RUNAWAYS, SHE-HULK, ULTIMATE X-MEN) don’t mean squat to the actual
“universe”.

Meanwhile, the DCU is looking hotter in 2005 than Kirsten Dunst in a wet dress.

This has been a long and fruitless rant, but I’m just killing time at
work… Five more minutes and I’m a free man…

Will Cooling: Sadly I’d say that Ellis’ writing ever since his Marvel debut have shown he was always “tired” of work for hire (for the love of god can we have one woman who doesn’t sound like Jenny Sparks?).

Bendis had a shit 2004; THE PULSE was crippled from the start by the
asinine decision to put Mark Bagley on a title that was completely at
odds with his artistic style but even with that the changes to the
character of Jessica have been for the worst. DAREDEVIL and ULTIMATE
SPIDER-MAN have been okay-ish but neither have set the world on fire
and the decompression is getting to the point that there’s no reason
why anyone sane would get them in singles – there’s just no enjoyment in the (five minute) reading experience. As for Avengers; well he went in with a chip on his shoulder which has made the “shocking” deaths distasteful and produce quiet a boring book by all accounts (I read like two issues before jacking it in). The less said about UFF and SECRET WAR the better. The brutal fact is that he’s obviously
overstretched – he’s writing 5 titles a month-most of which ship 18
times a year (which means you’re looking at approaching 100 issues a
year) and its obvious he’s using decompression and other formulaic
writing tools to save time. Bendis would be a lot better off if all
his titles went to monthly and he dropped one, so getting him to a
realistic schedule.

I also agree with Iain in just waiting for trades – with the exception of the cancellation threatened She Hulk-what’s the point in getting the singles and putting up with the inferior paper quality, adverts and irregular scheduling when you can just wait for the trade that will come out just 1 month after the last issue shipped? DC got it right not flooding the market with these, treating more like paperback editions of books than videos of movies.

Also while Iain may be right about the Young Guns (still can’t get use to calling Hairsine a “young gun” when I loved his [much
superior] stuff 10 years ago) but the forcing of them into schedules
they can’t meet is just stocking resentment against them and hurting
their marketability.


Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey are cast as Lois Lane and Lex Luthor in the Superman movie. [Credit: AICN]

Matt Morrison: Okay. I had to look up who she is and haven’t seen one flick with her. Still, Singer knows his stuff so I’ll forego a judgement call on having a blond Lois Lane (at least the photos I seen show her as a blond) if only because we have the man… one of the few great actors of stage and screen that we have today… Kevin bloody Spacey playing Lex Luthor. Good call on that one and a hopeful sign that the production has been taken away from the morons who were hoping to cast Tim Allen as Brainiac (no joke… “Your primitive Earth technology needs… MORE POWER!”)

Iain Burnside: If they can continue to cast the elder characters with talented if not ludicrously famous actors (talking about Jor-El, Perry White, the Kents, etc.) then we should be in for a fun ride. With Singer involved it’s likely that everyone involved is capable of a fine performance. The only real question mark is over the script.

Jamie Hatton: “How do you shoot the man of steel in the back? What if you miss?”

Iain Burnside: That… is brilliant. I was just thinking that Spacey channelling the last ten minutes of USUAL SUSPECTS into Luthor would be a pretty sweet deal. Of course, it does depend on what version of Luthor they go for. Mad science guy? President? Legitimate businessman? Kryptonite-injecting purple-and-green armoured nonk? And more importantly, what’s a nonk?

Jamie Hatton: Spacey is going to rock so hard. Bosworth, no idea, but we had no idea that a pretty boy named Hugh Jackman was going to pull off the Canucklehead. I have faith.

Iain Burnside: You do? Hands off, she’s mine.

Paul Sebert: Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor…?

Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor…?

Oh please, oh please, oh please, in the name of Bendis, McKeever, and UDON Studios I beg that they don’t screw this up.


Natalie Portman cast as Evey in the Wachowski’s V FOR VENDETTA movie. [Credit: AICN]

Matt Morrison: She’s a good actress, all George Lucas projects aside. I’m more worried about the Wachowski’s adapting Alan Moore than anything…

Iain Burnside: It is set in London, and filmed in Berlin apparently. Also, unlike any of the other Moore properties that wound up in the multiplexes, it is being helmed by a duo that quite clearly adores the comic book industry and has a fondness for pseudo-anarchy dystopias. I trust ’em. As for Portman… well, it’s the same basic character arc that was in LEON… Good enough for me.


Projected Marvel TPB list for 2005 found on Amazon. [Gander: Here]

Paul Sebert: Keep in mind these lists on Amazon are subject to change. Last year Amazon featured numerous listings for trades that alas never saw the light of day including some hardcover sized collections from the ill-fated Tsunami line of all things. You know all things considered, even though I enjoyed a lot of books from that series, maybe it’s a good thing there Marvel doesn’t have a product with the brand name “Tsunami” anymore.

Oh, for the record and I can’t wait for the Power-Pack and Spider-Man/Human Torch digests. The Best of the Fantastic Four hardcover sounds pretty cool as well. Oh and for some reason a “Batman Begins: Colouring and Activity book” is on the list, as is a trade for Daniel Way’s ill-fated Epic mini-series “Gun Theory.”

Jesse Baker: I pray the NEW WARRIORS TPB is the Fabian N series, which desperately needs to be collected. And yeah! More Englehart Avengers collected in TPB, this time being the story that introduces Hellcat and Beast onto the Avengers. And a second X-MEN VIGNETTE TPB!!!! But do we need MARVEL 2-IN-1 collected in Essential TPB format? Why not put out NEW MUTANTS, X-FACTOR, or the WEST COAST AVENGERS instead? Hell, WCA is perfect since Marvel can get the entire series out in about 4 volumes, five if they collect all of the cross-over stories in their entirety (which would finally take care of the problem of getting Operation Galactic Storm collected in TPB format)…

Iain Burnside: If an X-MEN VIGNETTES vol. 2 TPB is actually released in our world and not this little fantasy land of joyful make-believe that Amazon inhabits, then I will kiss each and every one of you.

You have been warned.

Will, calm down.

Jamie Hatton: Stoker’s Dracula HC is a must buy… so pretty… sooooo pretty. And did anyone notice the solicit for ‘SPIDEY BLACK CAT’? Oh, god it’s not even April and they are trying to prank us.


Jeph Loeb discusses the new SUPERGIRL book. [Right: Here]

Paul Sebert: Jeph Loeb, I love you… but really, unless Peter David’s involved I don’t really care about Supergirl in any shape or form. Sorry nothing personal.

Jesse Baker: Why is this book green-lighted again? The only time Supergirl was worth a sh** as a character was when PAD wrote her or she was going by the name Power Girl and teaming with the JSA. DC should just have the balls to retcon Power Girl the one true Supergirl and go from there, since Power Girl at least has a personality that would make her more interesting than any of the non-PAD Supergirls that DC has shoved down everyone’s throats.

John Babos: Mark your calendars. This is first time that I 100% agree with Jesse.

Paul Sebert: I hate to say it… but I agree with him too.

I think hell might have frozen over.

Matt Morrison: Uh… yeah. Peter David has done a lot of good work. SUPERGIRL was not good work. I say Huzzah to Jeph Loeb. Huzzah to him and to Supergirls that don’t require a flow chart to explain. She’s Superman’s cousin. Period. That’s all we need to know. End of conversation.

Iain Burnside: I neither agree nor disagree with him, for I have never read PAD’S SUPERGIRL books. If DC had a clue about trades then they might have reprinted his run to coincide with Loeb’s book and Marvel’s trade series of PAD’S INCREDIBLE HULK. Alas, no.

Manolis Vamvounis: That would be a bad move actually. Since they’re launching an ‘all-new, all-different’ (sic) Supergirl, they wouldn’t want readers to have the ‘old’ version in their minds because it would just cause confusion, as some people would be bound to assume that they’re the same person.

Iain Burnside: Oh, I know that. I just like to bitch about it, nonetheless.


Simon “Living Legend” Pegg approached to do comic book SHAUN OF THE DEAD sequel by both DC and Marvel. [Thanks: CHUD]

Paul Sebert: Simon Pegg’s a hilarious comic talent and I’m glad both DC and Marvel are talking to him… because really between WALKING DEAD, TOE TAGS, REMAINS, and heck anything else IDW publishes, the Zombie Comic trend really is due for a send-up.

Matt Morrison: I really do have to see this movie, but it’s always checked out when I get to the video store… but what the heck. One more zombie comedy book is unlikely to glut the market at this point.

Jamie Hatton: British Smarminess with a zombie background done in comics? It’s like HELLBLAZER meets WALKING DEAD – I’m there. Generally, movie sequels in comic form don’t go so well, but it at least relates to things I like, so why not give it a whirl.

Will Cooling: The writers of SHAUN OF THE DEAD did quite a good comic prequel in 2000AD with Frazer Irving on art. They certainly have a good (if slightly traditional) grasp on comic storytelling and given the freedom and time to do an OGN they’ll probably turn in a good job.


BLOODHOUND cancelled with issue #10 and HUMAN TARGET cancelled with issue #21. [Credit: The Beat]

Paul Sebert: Dammit, Dammit, Dammit… BLOODHOUND was one of the best new books to debut in 2004 and a really smart crime drama to boot. Then again considering the fact the only people who bought the book were website critics I’m not surprised by this happening. I picked up the first issue of HUMAN TARGET, just couldn’t get into it. Still it is a pity.

Will Cooling: DAMMIT! DAMMIT! WHAT IS F***ING WRONG WITH PEOPLE? I mean give them a s***ty superhero story with sensationalist murder and rape or an X-Men comic with characters no one likes and events that mean nothing because they’ll be reversed in less than a years time and it’ll sell in the hundreds of thousands. But give them inventive stories, give them interesting characters, give them pacing that means it actually takes more than 5 minutes to read and a complexity of narrative that makes re-reading a worthwhile exercise instead of a desperate attempt to get your money’s worth and what do they do? They won’t touch them with a bargepole. And now we’re losing one of the best comic series of recent years, which I’m kicking myself for not catching up on after taking a personal issue caused break from US comics. It’s this shit that’s killing the industry and results in the same old, same old being the order of the
day.

Man this has pissed me off!

Iain Burnside: Although I don’t give a s**t about HUMAN TARGET and never read BLOODHOUND, I agree wholeheartedly with your statements. I am also as drunk as Mark Millar in creative flow, so who the f**k knows what I mean. STREET ANGEL rules. Everyone else sucks. Somebody draw my scripts, please. Wah, wah, Marvel bad, DC good, poo-poo head. Et cetera.

Did Morse ever get this drunk on a Roundtable?

ANDY “GOLDEN ACE” CAMPBELL: Good form! šŸ˜‰

Matt Morrison: You know, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s 9:30, the liquor stores are all closed and all I have in the house is the remnants of a six-pack of Red Stripe, I’d consider trying matching that bet…


Thankfully, THE LOSERS is apparently safe to finish its entire projected run. [More: Millarworld]

Will Cooling: Glad to hear that THE LOSERS is safe although it sounds pretty dicey so for the LOVE OF GOD buy it in either singles or trades. If you don’t and it gets cancelled ahead of time I swear to God that I’ll make Jesse look like a hippy… getting laid… whilst eating dope flavoured ice cream… listening to Jimi Hendrix… whilst President McGovern is sworn in.

And that, my friends, is a scary thought.

Matt Morrison: Yeah. Dope flavoured ice-cream? Like anyone smokes it for the taste…

Will Cooling: Well I don’t know what hippies want… after all my favourite American President’s Nixon (no joke).

Matt Morrison: Because he was at least honest about being a greedy, manipulative scumbag?

Will Cooling: No, because he was a friggin’ genius – the Southern Strategy including backing southern Supreme Court justices paved the way for the Republican hegemony today (whenever I saw the mainstream media getting its knickers wet over anti-war protests I always got the urge to scream “McGovern lost, you morons”) whilst his foreign policy with regards to China dramatically weakened the Soviet Union. Not a big fan of his domestic policies – a tad liberal interventionist for my liking. Still his ’72 victory and neutering of Wallace/Dixiecrats paved the way for Reagan and his whole story is so captivating and tragic that I can’t help but be drawn to him.

(Regan second with Theodore Roosevelt third)

Matt Morrison: I see no conflict between our two statements. šŸ™‚

Will Cooling: True…he was a liar and a scumbag who stole the ’68 election and only won the ’72 one because he forced Wallace to run as a Democrat (instead of as a third party candidate) with tax evasion charges but he was no more one than JFK (stole the ’60 election) and most probably any other President we care to mention.

So in short, Matt and myself are agreed – Nixon is the best American
President of all time…of course George III did a better job of the
running the country anyway but that’s another tangent.

Matt Morrison: No, Thomas Jefferson was the greatest president we ever had simply for inventing the rotating chair seat, the fold-out bed and the tomato! And buying a lot of land on the cheap from the French…

Will Cooling: I disqualify anybody who signed the Declaration of Independence; no good traitorous, ungrateful, backstabbing, funny talking bastards. Besides what did Jefferson do but perhaps qualify for being the world’s biggest hypocrite (“All men are created equal” is a fine motto for a slave owner), being the first Treasury Secretary and cheating the French… and the last almost everyone has done (i.e. we convinced them to support the creation of Palestine in 1917 so we could take away a part of the Ottoman Empire that we had promised them in The Treaty of London 1915, and so ensure that their future colony Syria wouldn’t border Egypt, and then there’s the Faashoda Incident when we managed to grab the Nile Basin in return for a load of desert to the East).

In short Jefferson stinks whilst Nixon rocks!!!

Wait, actually I think I made a mistake about Jefferson – he was the first Secretary of State with Adams as the first Treasury Secretary.

I apologise for my senseless and hurtful mistake even though it was
Iain’s fault.

Iain Burnside: Nah, the best President you ever had was Morgan Freeman in DEEP IMPACT.


Marvel will announce a new ratings system and revamp their PREVIEWS catalogue. [Credit: Millarworld]

Jamie Hatton: The way they solicit in PREVIEWS does very little for me either way, so feh. I’m going to read the damn catalogue anyway. Now the ratings thing intrigues me more, and again I can already smell the topic of censorship on the horizon – but given the most recent outcries from the radicals who want !!!!EVERYTHING CENSORED!!!! and America: The Book to not be in libraries, and the same types of people that keep the CBLDF around – I think this is smart business by Marvel.

Make it easy to recognize when an ALL-AGES title slips into the PG-13 realm because their PSR+ thing was doing very little to inform. All
I knew was All-Ages was cute and MAX had boobies. I need a bit
more grey area than that.

Paul Sebert: What? But their current system is already easy to work with. I mean take PSR for example – it stands for… uh, er… Public Standard Rating right? Parent Suggested Reading? Portable Sythetic Roosters? Please Surrender to Robots? Planet of the Symbiotes Reaked?


New Manga News Service website launched. [Go: Here]

Paul Sebert: Looks like the site is off to a decent start. I’ll probably stick to Anime News Service.


IDENTITY CRISIS #1-7 to be reprinted in April. [Credit: CBR]

Jamie Hatton: I’m torn on this. Are the books really that hard to come by? Issue one has already been reprinted a couple times and issue #2 was reprinted once as well. Why flood the market with more of the same? I’m not a speculating collector by any stretch, but it just seems cheap to have retailers buying the same books again when they probably have a batch of reprints on their shelves already. Is there that much of an outcry for the individual issues now?

Paul Sebert: If you haven’t read this story yet… if you haven’t already formed an opinion, if you absolutely positively can’t wait for a nice trade paperback… Boy is this release for you…


Reginald Hudlin talks BLACK PANTHER and SPIDER-MAN. [Discussion: CBR]

Jamie Hatton: I’ve been cracking jokes about this guy since I found out that he was taking over BP. I will say that he sounds like he truly loves the medium. That interview gave me a bit more respect for him. Whether that means he can write a comic, lord knows – but he seems to know what he likes, and I can’t fault him for that.

But the minute there is a PANTHER PAJAMMY JAM!!! I’m writing a letter.

Paul Sebert: Wow… working with John Romita Jr. and Taking over MK Spidey after Miller finishes up his run. This fellow must have impressed some people pretty high up. I know the guy’s movie writing career is well… colourful at best but well, I recall a time not-too long ago that a lot of people were giving Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa flack just because he did a very bizarre surrealist play prior to writing MK4. And well, as it turns that didn’t stop Sacasa from writing two of Marvel’s stronger titles in the form of 4 and NIGHTCRAWLER.

Besides, I think before anyone makes any cracks about Hudlin’s background they should check out some of the critical praise that his work on the graphic novel BIRTH OF A NATION has drawn.


SPIDER-MAN: BREAKOUT mini-series to start in April, spinning out of events in NEW AVENGERS. [Details: The Pulse]

Paul Sebert: I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of Bedard’s run on EXILES even though it feels like that book’s sort of exhausted the possibilities of its “SLIDERS with Superpowers” concept. Still, BREAKOUT certainly has an interesting premise to it. I just hope that artist Manuel Garcia has new costume in mind for Crossfire that isn’t as crotch-tastic as the codpiece-centric original.


Hugh Laurie cast as Perry White in the Superman movie. [Credit: AICN]

Matt Morrison: Well, unlike the infamous MagnoliaFan who used some rather gratuitous profanity in discussing this bit of casting, I actually applaud this bit of casting. Yes, having a British comedian famous for playing bumbling fools playing a grizzled American newspaper man is something of a stretch, but Laurie has done a lot of work outside of what has made him famous that shows he has the range to pull off Perry White.


DC to release cut-price VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE TPB in April. [Details: Newsarama]

Matt Morrison: Six #1’s for five dollars? Heck of a deal.


EXCELSIOR cast revealed. [Credit: VAAUUUUGHHHHAAANNN!!!]

Paul Sebert: Over at Brian K. Vaughan’s blog, you can now see the cover of RUNAWAYS #3, revealing 5 of the 6 members of the new team EXCELSIOR. Oh and I must say it looks extremely badass.

Oh and for the record B.K.V has already stated that 6th member of the team is not Daredevil. So I’m going to have to guess it’s Juston from SENTINEL.

Jamie Hatton: Chamber’s back WOOOOHOOO!! (No sarcasm)

Who’s the gentleman with the flying yellow discs though? Neat look.

Manolis Vamvounis: That’s Ricochet. He’s one of the Slingers, Marvel’s failed attempt at a Spider-Man teen super-team spin-off book. Four teenagers were approached by a shady individual and handed the superhero identities that Spidey had invented while he was hiding from the authorities, back when he was framed for the murder of some bloke. That was a fun series, with beautiful art by ChrisCross (his second project, after X-MAN, and right before CAPTAIN MARVEL), with a neat array of plot twists and a lively teen cast. Unfortunately it was doomed from the get-go, thanks to the unfortunate tie-in to a dismal Spidey cross-over and because of a badly thought-out marketing scam, that had the first issue come out in 4 different variant editions, each of which had a different cover and a different middle story!


The new Scorpienne (sic) revealed, due to debut in AMAZING FANTASY #7. [Hilarity: Newsarama]

Matt Morrison: Oh lord. So Mac Gargen getting the symbiote really is a permanent thing and now we’re going to be stuck with yet another teenage girl version of a previous character. (That comment is aimed at X-23 and Archne or whatever they are calling the girl form Amazing Fantasy now and not May Parker, just so we’re clear on that)

Manolis Vamvounis: cheating bastards… šŸ˜›

Scorpion wins the poll, but they seemingly wuss out and only keep the name ‘Scorpion’ to create a new female teenage hero. Scorpion was always a cardboard-thin Spider-man villain, but I always enjoyed his design, with the huge sting on the back. I remember reading in Rich’s column, that Alex De Campi left the book because she wouldn’t work with Philip Tan. So they take her off the book, and then they get rid off Tan and replace him with (the far superior artist IMHO) Leonard Kirk…

the mind boggles

But imagine if this trend continues and Marvel keeps on introducing new 15-year old female versions of popular heroes and villains… It will be the birth of a new alternate universe, and the AMAZING FANTASY line, where all the Marvel Heroes and Villains are…

-everyone together now-

15-YEAR OLD GIRLS!!!

You get Arana, Sassy Scorpion, X-23, Thor Girl, Namorita (the already existing versions) will be joined by: X-Girl, Hulk Lass, Prom Abomination, Miss Teen America…

I could go on all day!

(I think I will!)

Iron Miss, Magnette, Princess Zemo, the Absorbing Lass, Strange Girl, Silver Skater Girl, Speedballette…

Paul Sebert: Hmmm, the jury’s still out on this one as it’s too early to tell. I’m glad to see they’re using the AMAZING FANTASY banner in a showcase type roll for new characters. The character design for her is pretty striking. Kind of reminds me of Ibuki from STREET FIGHTER III.

Oh, and signing artist Leonard Kirk is a major feather in Marvel’s cap as anyone who’s read BLOODHOUND knows he’s one of the most under-rated graphic storytellers in the industry. Unfortunately not many people have read BLOODHOUND.

Oh, and I find it amusing that a number of people complaining about this being an unnecessary revamp, when it’s not a revamp at all but a new character with an established name. You know… sort of like Nova (The Human Rocket) as opposed to Nova (Galactus’ Herald), or Captain Marvel (Photon) vs. Captain Mar-Vel vs. Captain Marvel (Shazam!).

Just for the record… I think in their next arc on AF after this, Marvel’s going to give the name of an established C-tier heroine like Hellcat or Firestar to a 15-year-old boy just to screw with our heads.

Oh, and the more I look at it, the more I like Scorpi-chan’s design.


Alvin Sargent signed to write SPIDER-MAN 3… and perhaps 4… [Credit: AICN]

Matt Morrison: Coolness as his script for Spidey 2 was one of the best superhero movies ever. But can we guarantee Michael Chabon helping out with the story as well?


Psylocke to return in UNCANNY X-MEN #455. [Preview: Pop Culture Shock]

Jesse Baker: Far be it from me being the cynic, but am I the only one who assumes JQ finally let Chris bring Psylocke back in exchange for him shutting his mouth with regards to whatever Bendis does to Magneto in HOUSE OF M?

Will Cooling: Jesse… that’s one genius insight and probably true.

Man, Bendis is really to doing his best to prove you right about him, isn’t he?

As for Psylocke I think my feelings can be summed in the word “meh”.

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