Roundtable Returns – Part 3

JEFF: WHO’S BARRY BONDS?!?! He’s…ooooo, you almost got me there. You Brits crack me up with your dry understated humour. OF COURSE you know who Barry Bonds is! He’s the assistant to the Vice Chancellor of the Ministry of Silly Walks! Because, you know, he walks silly, what with that syringe of human growth hormone sticking out of his arse, the wanker.

COREN: Barry Bonds is a baseball player who has the single season homerun record. He’s also been using steroids, but denied that before a Grand Jury, thus indictment I think. It’s more that he perjured himself than he used steroids.

JEFF: Don’t forget that he not only cheated on baseball but also cheated on his taxes, regularly reads Mark Millar’s Spider-Man and is a total dick. Which in this country either gets you indicted or ELECTED. You guys ready to trade us Tony “B. Brian” Blair yet?

LOGAN: Please, please, PLEASE for the love of all that’s Holy, come take Blair – it’s ok, we don’t expect a trade, he’s free. Yes, that’s right – FREE I TELLS YA!!! I hate him. I hate him soooooooo much. He makes Bill Clinton look sincere.

Did anybody catch the footage of Blair and Bush at the G8 summit when they didn’t realise the microphones were on? Final, final, FINAL confirmation (as if the World needs it) that Bush views Blair as his own personal little bitch.

Oh, and as for Barry Bonds – it’s ok to cheat, surely? I mean, it’s not as if Baseball’s a REAL sport is it? Just a bunch of fat blokes who hit balls as far as they can and do the odd spot of jogging. Now cricket, THERE’S a real sport.

Heh. Heh. Heh. I’m just kidding folks….. :o)

“MR. MXYZPTLK” BEADLE: Hello everybody, I’m Doctor Ni… I’m Beadle, forum moderator at IP and comics geek like pretty much everyone else on the Roundtable (only without an ounce of writing talent to do this stuff properly). And since I’m only pseudo-staff, I can consider myself a guest at this Funny Books Hotel. That means I’ll be stealing the bathrobes, pissing in the shower and pretending I’ve taken nothing from the Mini-Bar.

The mutant power-loss thing is really very simple. Wanda’s powers are linked directly to Joe Q’s powers of continuity – chaos magic. This means that if one of Joe Q’s team of writers wants to actually use a mutant then Wanda’s power senses this and suddenly they’re not depowered anymore, even if they were originally the poster-boys for power loss. The biggest name depowered in House of M? Iceman. “But Joe… I wanna use Iceman!” Badda-boom-badda-bing, the popsicle’s back! The most striking image in 198 of a depowered mutant? Chamber. Claremont pipes up, and bingo-bango (really gonna have to start thinking of some new magic words) Chamber never really lost his powers in the first place. Claremont doesn’t even need to use his own powers of continuity chaos, cos Wanda does it for him. Simple. Maybe not as straightforward and logical as punching time, but still…

As for Civil War, I think it’s going well. I don’t want Tony to end up as a villain at the end of it, but the story is gathering pace nicely. At least stuff’s been happening, which is more than can be said for 4 out of 7 issues of House of M. And it’s giving Speedball some upper-card exposure. With Nova getting some lead-time in Annihilation and Speedball getting this kind of push, it’s actually getting good for the New Warriors. Maybe not for Nita and Dwayne, but then Dwayne was a f*cking awful character anyway. I mean really – what sort of a name is Night Thrasher? It sounds like someone having a wank watching late-night porn. And he fought Juggernaut and the Sphinx with a skateboard?

What’s scary about Civil War though is that some of the stuff that everybody questioned over the last couple of years is actually starting to make sense. Most people questioned the wisdom of that last New Warriors series. Reality TV? Really? Ouch. But now it makes sense.

Oh, and baseball sucks and stuff.

WILL: As much as I hate Blair (and believe me I do) I really don’t see why everyone is bad mouthing him for the talk with Bush. You know they’re friends, and Bush is a pretty informal guy so I don’t there’s anything in there that showed a lack of respect or deference. The only thing that did worry me was the way Blair see himself as the vanguard of American foreign policy, but hey that’s not exactly a new story, is it?

BEADLE: I don’t think the bad-mouthing is BECAUSE of the talk with Bush. Bad-mouthing Blair is more a kind of national sport. Like Midget Darts but without the midgets.

LOGAN: Well, I don’t want to get into this too much because (a) it may bore our American cousins and (b) this isn’t the forum, but just to clarify –

Firstly, it was the content of the chat between Blair and Bush that concerned me, not the tone. You’re absolutely right, Will, Bush is an informal guy, and the tone suggests a genuine understanding and friendship between them. What concerned me, however, was Blair openly offering to go the Middle East to help prepare the way for Condoleeza’s visit…WTF?!!! Our Prime Minister volunteers to travel to the hotspot to prepare the ground for a follow up visit by Ms Rice? But then, that’s exactly the point you made, Will, so I’ll shut up about that now.

As far as bad mouthing Blair goes, I bad mouth Blair because of the litany of broken promises, corruption and lies that have accompanied his time in power.

There have been 80 different tax rises since 1997 under this Government – 80!!! Tax Freedom Day – the day when you stop working for the Inland Revenue and start working for yourself, fell on May 25 in 1997…this year, it will fall on June 3rd. We have to earn over an extra full weeks wages to cover these tax rises, and yet, what do we get for our money?

We were promised a crack-down on law and order, and yet the crime rate figures have spiralled upwards.

NHS waiting lists have gone up – as has NHS spending, and yet very few improvements to the quality of service and basic hygiene level of hospitals have been put in place. £100 billion a year on a Health Care system that is clearly failing the public it’s supposed to treat – despite the best efforts of the Doctors and Nurses who work for it – is a shocking statistic. Labour keep throwing money at the problem, and yet the lion’s share of that money goes on administration, not down to the grass roots levels where it’s desperately needed.

Education standards continue to fall, and immigration is out of control and un-checked.

Blair refuses to sack Prescott, despite his behaviour easily being on a par with the worst excesses of the Major Government years, and those ministers who are sacked – Mandelson and Blunkett spring to mind – are often bought back in via the back door as quickly as possible, only for said Ministers to make exactly the same corrupt mistakes AGAIN and then get caught out AGAIN.

There is constant contempt shown for Democracy and the Democratic process. Blair refuses to give us a referendum on the EU Constitution, despite the fact that many other European Countries have been given this right, and despite the fact that every poll taken of the British public so far shows that this is what they want, because he knows that the British people will vote NO. Similarly, we were promised a referendum on joining the Single European Currency, but this has now been shelved since it became apparent that the Government would lose the vote overwhelmingly. Mark my words, the process of taking us into the Euro via the back-door has already begun, there will be NO referendum under a Labour Government simply because Blair knows that it is a vote they will lose, and he will not subject himself or his legacy to this.

The Government has lied about their election pledges. In their last election manifesto, Labour pledged, among other things, to: grant an amnesty to asylum seekers so that we can try to bring the numbers under control, give proper, unbiased school choice for ALL parents, merge costly and under-manned Police Forces to create greater unity and efficiency of service and homebuyers’ packs to allow first time buyers and low income earners the basic right to own their own property. All of the above PROMISES have one thing in common – they have been officially shelved and deemed “unworkable” by the Government. I’m not saying they don’t have the right to ditch policies that prove unworkable or unrealistic, but surely, it’s better to do the research first and get it right straight away, rather than make promises to help you get elected, and then ditch them only a few years after gaining power?

To cap it all, book makers are now offering odds of 6-1, yes, 6-1, that our Prime Minister will be arrested over the whole cash-for-peerages scandal, in which rich supporters of the Labour party were encouraged to “lend” money to the party in exchange for a posh title and a seat in the House of Lords.

The legacy of the last Tory Government was of sleazy men in kinky sex scandals. The legacy of this Labour Government will be tax rises that hit all but the richest, contempt for the wishes of the people that put them into power in the first place, and a greedy, grasping accumulation of personal wealth and power.

Sorry, I got on a rant there, and after promising I would keep it brief, too. Jeez, I’m as bad as the Politicians. We don’t have to put this in the Roundtable, as it’s not really relevant, just wanted to clarify that I’m not just attacking Blair for the fun of it. I’m attacking him as the leader and figurehead of a corrupt Government.

Sorry to bore you all chaps – the above fits quite nicely with some research I’ve been doing for work, so I thought while I had the info to hand, I might as well use it.

Rant over. You can all wake up now. :o)

JEFF: On Beadle’s point about Tony, I can’t help but wonder if somebody at Marvel was sitting around one day listening to Black Sabbath and realized that the Iron Man of heavy metal fame wasn’t a good guy (probably wasn’t a guy at all, or am I giving Ozzy too much credit for utilizing metaphor?) and thought, “Gosh golly gee whiz & shit! We should make our Iron Man a murderous nutjob too! And as you said, Mighty Joe Q would have replied, “Great googly moogly & shit, you’re right! And if people don’t like it we can always have Bendis, Claremont and Wanda wish it away. Or slap a Max imprint on for one issue, thus completely removing it from contin….continu….HAHA….conti….OH MAN! I can’t even say it with a straight face!”

Like Ric Flair, who never quits, can’t we put Stan Lee back in charge for a little while? Or for a longer while, maybe Denny O’Neil?

Poor Brit brothers…life under a wannabe American politico sucks hairy hippo nuts, don’t it? Any chance you guys would abolish the PM post and just put the power back in the crown? William and Harry seem like they’re coming along nicely.

BTW, for us idiot Yankees over here, why isn’t the Queen Mum actually the Queen? She had relations with the King but wasn’t married to him? I could probably just look this up on Wikipedia….

LOGAN: Do you mean the recently deceased Queen Mum Jeff, me old mucker? If so, it’s because she “lost” the title of Queen when the King died. She only married into the Royal lineage, rather than being born to it, so had no right to rule by herself.

As a result, when Elisabeth became Queen Lilibet II, she had to lose her title, but seeing as everyone loved the old bird so much, the title of “Queen Mum” was created just for her, so that she could stay on the Royal payroll (unlike Diana and Fergie, who were struck off with obscene haste when they split from their husbands) and continue to be a drain on public money well into her dotage.

WILL: Well a big reason is that she’s dead, and the smell would be off putting at state occasions.

But the real reason is that the Monarch of the consort has no claim to the throne. Technically the Queen Mother was never Queen, but Queen Consort which is an ever so slightly different title which instead of meaning “monarch who is a woman” means “woman who is f*cking the monarch”. For men it’s more clear-cut the husband of the Queen usually getting a Dukedom or if he’s really good the title Prince Consort.

And I agree with Logan so much it hurts. Although some of the promises they’ve abandon deserve to be abandon because they are bloody stupid. Sadly, the Tories are no better. As an isolationist Tory it pains me to see them so in hoc to the neo-con Muppets.

LOGAN: Will’s explanation is factually correct. I was just being facetious and a smart arse. I’m not a Republican, in fact, my area of writing expertise centres around the Monarchy, and I have high hopes for King William, but certain aspects of it just plain ol’ stick in this boy’s craw.

JEFF: Ah, thank you, mate. It always seemed strange to me that she didn’t carry on, but the marriage vs. birthright thing makes sense. Always nice to get a point of view from other cultures. Except the French of course.

LOGAN: Don’t even get me started on the bleedin’ French…

JEFF: OK lads, maybe you can clue me in on the Peter Milligan thing. I believe he wrote Human Target, right? I liked that. But his X-Men stuff, in my opinion, has been far from good. In fact, I can’t think of anything superheroic that he’s written (by that I mean mainstream, I suppose the human Target could be considered a superhero but it’s Vertigo) that I’ve enjoyed. Is he just one of those guys better off to be a Vertigo, off the beaten path writer? Or do I just not appreciate his style with the Superheroes? I’m guilty of that with some others. I can’t freakin’ stand Judd Winick superhero stuff, but I’d buy Barry Ween 365 days a year if he’d put it out that fast.

WILL: The common rule with Milligan is that he needs the creative freedom to go nuts to actually produce good stuff. He’s not like Moore or Morrison who can work within the editorial constraints of mainstream comics and still produce AAA work. He has done some great stuff including X-Statix (where Marvel let him go nuts), Bad Company and the classic Skin (a comic so controversial its printers refused to print it). I’ve also only ever heard good things about Shade. But yeah, it’s all pretty niche and off the wall, which is good because y’know that’s actually daring and interesting as opposed to Wolverine vs. Hulk Round 113027.

And of course if I was being a smart arse I could bring up the example of King William III. Basically he and his Dutch friends saved us from the Catholic tyrant King James II and we were all ready to put James’ nice prod daughter Mary II on the throne. However, King Billy had other ideas and basically told us that if he wasn’t made King as well if (and Mary) were going back to Holland. So we bended the rules a tad and for about ten years Britain had two monarchs, and William even got to be King by his lonesome for a while.

And I quite like the French, their like the ultimate cocky heels. I just get a kick out of a country that’s as rabidly nationalistic and self-centered as they are. In many ways I wish Britain produced a political class that was a self-confident as Chirac and co.

LOGAN: I agree that Milligan’s X-Men run was mediocre at best. The only Milligan stuff I’ve ever read that really floated my boat was his initial X-Force run. When the title changed to X-Statix, it seemed to lose much of the anarchy and off-the-wall flavour that made it so refreshing and enjoyable.

I dunno, I guess Milligan is one of those writers who works at his best when he can throw off editorial shackles and do things the way he wants, and is allowed to give full vent to his particular writing style and tone. Some writers can take the dictates of editors and still work a good story around it, in fact, some writers happily do this – I suspect Chuck Austen stayed on the X-Franchise for as long as he did – despite the low quality of many of his stories – because he did what he was told when it came to content and characterisation. You could make the same argument about Claremont – can anybody honestly, hand on heart, say that they’ve consistently enjoyed his UXM writing at any point since he returned? I’ve read overwhelmingly negative reviews. And yet, Claremont kept the gig – and continues to be given key writing opportunities at Marvel. Why? Probably because when Editorial tell him “this character has to do this, and you have to make sure character x and y do this and say this and that this, this and this character appear in this story”, Claremont smiles, nods, and goes away and writes something around that direction.

Milligan was probably told the same thing, and in fairness, went away and tried to do it, but in doing so, it curtailed the imagination and anarchy that he usually interweaves into his stories, therefore curtailing his usual writing voice. So what we were getting wasn’t Milligan enough. It was semi-Milligan. Quasi-Milligan. The margarine of Milligan. The diet coke of Milligan, just one calorie, not Milligan enough.

WILL: I actually think Claremont has more to do with the fact that his name does still sell X-Men comics and to stop him making any play for greater ownership rights. However, I think your 100% right about Austen (and the modern day example Daniel Way), being the editor’s bitch is a good way to get by without any talent.

And I think most Milligan fans expected his X-Men run to be crap. Marvel weren’t going to allow him to run wild as he had done with X-Force/Statix and what’s more Larocca isn’t the type of artist that meshes with Milligan. I think a similar thing happened when he took over Batman for a six month run. However, a more devoted Milligan fan (looks at Manolis) could fill us in better on that.

COREN: Milligan, I think, writes best when he’s working from his own template of characters as well. When he did X-Force/X-Statix, he got his own crew he could build how he wanted, he didn’t have to deal with crossovers or being in the mainstream, etc. etc. Would the same be true of Human Target?

Honestly, I think that’s what he and Grant Morrison are suited for. Coming up with stuff and then going off and writing in their own little corner and not trying to play with others.

JEFF: I can’t see how Claremont could ever get any kind of ownership rights. The X-Men were around a long while before he took over. And frankly anyone he DID invent, he can have. They can all play in Soverign7’s universe together. And no one will ever see it. I think Chuck gets a bum wrap. I’ll try to say more on that another time. One last thing about Claremont–when he left X-Men to tinker at DC, it was because he didn’t want to do what the Editors told him to do. He wanted to make Wolverine a villain. Larry Hama was writing Wolverine’s solo book at the time and threw a bitch fit about it. “I don’t know how to write a Wolverine bad guy comic! Whaaa! Whaaa!” So they told Chris no and Chris said, “Screw you guys, I’m going to DC!” in his Eric Cartman voice. And of course that wouldn’t have mattered one bit if it happened now because Joe Quesadilla would have just declared either Uncanny or Wolverine to be out of continuity. But Chris isn’t a big corporate yesman lackey type. I’ve met and talked to the man. I don’t always like his comics (I don’t think he has much new to say on X-Men, I wish they let him work on something else…maybe Thunderbolts, Defenders, etc.) but I respect that he’s not Joe’s bitch. That would be Frank Tieri.

MANOLIS: Did someone call my name?

I’ll agree with what was said above. Milligan thrives on creative freedom. Like Mike Allred has stated in an interview X-Force/X-Statix was considered to be a creator-owned X-Men. Of course Marvel still owned the right, but this is speaking in terms of creative control and editorial interference, with the sole exception of the Diana arc where the plug was pulled by the stockholders themselves. Look at those two titles and the Doop/Wolverine series to see what having Milligan on X-Men would ideally read like, especially his excellent take on Wolverine.

Now, regarding the actual X-Men run that saw print, it is indeed mediocre, and Milligan hasn’t really denied it in private conversation. In fact he seemed glad to get off that title when he did. He has chosen this odd unpopular cast because he was hoping these secondary characters would allow him bigger freedom from the higher-ups to run free, but he discovered that’s not the case. He got a lot of editorial interference not allowing him to run the plots he wanted, pushing extraneous plots and characters in his stories (the Wakanda story, the Decimation arc, the astonishing cast, the ONE…).

The greatest mistake during his run in my opinion is the omission of character narratives. If you read any Milligan-penned story, you will find he uses a first-person narrative in every single issue, as his means of getting in the characters’ heads and explaining their psychology. This is what Milligan does better than any other writer out there; he’s the best character scribe. In his X-Men run we only saw two brief glimpses of that, with very short narratives from Rogue and Polaris in an early and late issue, and some narratives from the Horsemen in the back-up issues. I haven’t confirmed this, but I hazard a guess this wasn’t Milligan’s choice either as he’s never steered away from his usual storytelling style before

LOGAN: Wow. I never knew ANY of that. I stand corrected, at least on the past, but I still feel that something’s missing from his current stuff. I’m also on record on the Roundtable as saying that I thought Chuck Austen wasn’t as bad as he was made out to be, and that he did actually turn in some good stuff – personally, I loved his Romeo and Juliet tribute, and his work on Exiles.

JEFF: I actually DIDN’T care for the Romeo and Juliet routine, but that’s probably because I think your boy Bill Shakespeare is the kind of no-talent hack that Quesada would put on a flagship title. He was the Mark Millar of his time. Now I realize that probably bursts the bubble of our cross-the-pond admiration society, but being force fed his work, being forced to learn iambic pentameter (a word that doesn’t mean a FUCKING thing) just because some asshole Lit major had nothing bet to do that come up with words to define Shakespeare’s *ahem* style (the f*cker didn’t even have the common decency to rhyme his “poems”). If it hadn’t been for the movie “Uncommon Valour” I wouldn’t have had even a passing appreciation for Julius Caesar as a literary work. The rest of his shit blows dead goat testicles. It would have made for great comics at Extreme Studios back in the early 90s.

But on Chuck, I appreciate that he tried to do SOMETHING with Archangel, virtually nobody else wants to have anything to do with him. His Exiles was fun, Tony Bedard’s hit his stride nicely there now. I know there were people out there who were sending Check Austen death threats and talking about his wife and other assorted f*cked up bullshit. Those people should be strapped to the border fence between Mexico and the US and used as piñatas. As much as I dislike Millar and Tieri’s writing, as much as I pick on Fabian Nicieza for Thunderbolts, or anybody else in the industry, as a reasonably decent human being you don’t threaten to knife them at a convention or involve their parents, spouses or children. That is FORBIDDEN. That is what gives our hobby a bad rap in a lot of people’s eyes. The mainstream press doesn’t cover a lot of conventions, they don’t show throngs of respectful fans lining up to get an autograph from George Perez or some custom art from Andy Lee (which if you’ve never seen the Zen Art master’s work, you’re missing out). They don’t show the smiles and laughter at a panel discussion. They will show some ubergeek who stabbed his sister with a homemade claw apparatus pretending to be Wolverine. Musicians, actors, popes and presidents have all been murdered by complete idiots (except for Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson knew exactly what he was doing), there will come a day when some retard fanboy will kill a creator and going to conventions will be like going to an Evolution class in Afghanistan.

Sorry about that rant, but it really pisses me off how Chuck got treated. He had been in contact with Daron at one point for some interviews, but changed his email and disappeared from the internet because assholes threatened his family. Then again, maybe the end result is best for everyone. Chuck’s gone “home” to manga with “Boys of Summer” and the retards can go back to killing stray cats (the felines, not the band). And maybe more creators should spend less time on the internet. I see tons of Bendis presence everywhere, but then I read his actual comics and cringe at the lack of consistency and coherence. Quit making dick jokes and tighten up your storytelling.

I get pissy when I’m without phone and electric for long, don’t I?

MANOLIS: Chuck Austen had actually done an interview with our site, 3 years ago, right before he withdrew from the public eye.

This was back around the time he had first taken over the title and brought Paige Guthrie on board only to ‘kill’ her off a few issues later, which is what fuelled this interview with him, during my short-lived ‘Leave it to the Greek’ spin-off column.

Chuck Austen was a polarising online personality, but a great interviewee! Although the execution of his stories lacked any finesse, he did have interesting ideas for the x-men, and I enjoyed most of his characterisation. After all, he brought Northstar in the team and addressed his lack of boy-loving!

LOGAN: While we’re doing the whole “hand across the Atlantic” thing, perhaps I can pick YOUR brains about a recent aspect of American political culture.

I gather that Dubya has used his Presidential veto for the first time since he came to power over five years ago to stop abandoned embryo’s being used for stem cell research.

Now, from what I’ve read, these embryo’s are to be destroyed – they are, for want of a better term, unwanted and unneeded embryo’s that are in storage and will, sooner or later, be disposed of.

So what’s the problem with using them for stem cell research and maybe, just maybe, as a result, moving towards a cure for things such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Cancer? I don’t get it – why would Dubya want to veto this plan when the potential benefits to humankind are so great? It’s not as if the embryo’s that would be experimented on ever had a chance at life – they were scheduled for destruction fer crissakes!!!

JEFF: It’s the buggaboo of religion. Dubbya has no problem signing off on the murder of Iraqis, Afganis, Lebanese, or felons in Texas prisons when he was governor. But oh Heaven forbid we try to SAVE anyone with research involving dead…well, who knows if embryos quite count as sentient beings anyway. That’s why I’d trade ya for Blair. I’d take a corrupt politico over a blithering idiot with a religious bent any day.

WILL: Well as far as I can tell…because he gasps actually believe in it (and its not about legalising stem cell research but about the level of federal funding that it gets). Politically there’s really no upside on this, most Americans (some polls show 60/70% majorities) are in favour of more stem cell research and it’s dividing his own party down the middle. I suppose it could be some play to the Evangelicals but I doubt it, I think its Bush just doing something he believes in.

LOGAN: Cheers Will, thanks for that.

Just went back and checked what I read, and you’re right – it’s more to do with the level of funding. Colour me mis-informed! Heh.

I guess you have to give kudos to him for standing by his principles, even if they are at odds with your (my) own personal ones.

Y’know, at the risk of sounding maudlin, I can understand the whole “pro” life debate about the sentience of embryo’s here. Y’see, I found out a few years back that the reason my real Dad and Ma split was because my Dad wanted Ma to have an abortion as he “wasn’t ready” and she refused. He gave her an ultimatum, she chose me (thank f*ck!), and he had it away on his toes.

My Step-Dad – who has been a part of my life since I was 2, so he’s my Dad, full stop – is seriously ill at the moment, hence the reason I’m having to work two jobs to make up for the monetary short-fall, hence my being unable to contribute more full-time stuff to the site. His illness might – just might – be better understood and even cured if stem cell research was carried out.

So, I dunno. On the one-hand, there but for the Grace of God go I when it comes to giving life a chance, but on the other, I’m watching someone I love very much suffer when, if we could carry out the research we needed, he might not have to.

Or maybe the above isn’t relevant to this argument and I’m just using this forum as an outlet for my own catharsis. Go figure. :o)

IAIN: They just said on the radio that Axl Rose refused to go on stage the other night until he had been fed a roast dinner. The crowd was kept waiting in stifling heat for an hour while he sat down to roast lamb and all the trimmings. Awesome. I’m still kinda mad that GNR were playing in Glasgow last night and I didn’t even know about it till yesterday, so missed it. Gah! I know the guy’s a prick but, still, it’s impossible to hate when Paradise City kicks off….

I’m going to put Appetite For Destruction on right now.

Oh, no, change of plans, “You Only Live Once” by The Strokes is on the radio now. Tremendous fun. Probably to an illegal extent. If they ever release a better track they’ll have to hand out contraceptives with it.

Anyway, the San Diego Comic Con kicked off on Thursday. Here’s all the main announcements so far, with presumably more to come this weekend:

IDW has a shitload of new Transformers projects lined up, including a four-issue adaptation of the movie (soundtrack must be provided by readers) in October, with Bob Budiansky returning to the franchise at long last.

IDW is also bringing Scarface to comics… yup…

Coming in late 2006, or perhaps early 2007, from Bendis and Frank Cho, comes THE MIGHTY AVENGERS, a brand-new ongoing series.

Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi are the new creative team on WOLVERINE, beginning with issue #50 in January.

It’s now SuperMAN & The Legion Of Super-Heroes.

From the “worst kept secret” drawer, Richard Donner speaks about his upcoming work on ACTION COMICS with Geoff Johns.

Marvel are turning HALO into an ongoing series, which hopefully has a far better storyline than the one in Halo 2.

Morrison, Vaughan, Lee and the rest talk about all things WildStorm. And Xorn. And EX MACHINA ends with issue #50, unfortunately:

And read this report of the big Spider-Man panel featuring Stan Lee, Romita Sr., Romita Jr., Quesada and JMS, it’s a very good read. Note the apologetic phrasing of JMS’s words when “Sins Past” is brought up and be scared at the follow-up story implied. Oh, and the Lee/Romita Jr. FANTASTIC FOUR: THE END is getting closer and closer.

Finally, Bryan Singer is planning a Superman sequel for 2009, possibly featuring an alien threat, though he hasn’t got an official deal with Warner for it yet.

Also: Heath Ledger will play the Joker in the next Batman movie?

Cue Photoshopped Brokeback Mountain poster featuring Batman and Joker…

PAUL: Heath’s a solid actor. Curious to see if he can go over-the-top enough to play Mister J.

BEADLE: Surely if they’re bringing Heath Ledger in to go all Brokeback on Batman then he should be playing Bane? Bats with a broken back and Supes standing round pissing himself laughing. Then they can bring in Azrael who is probably finished chasing Smurfs as Gargamel’s cat anyway.

OK. Clearly needing caffeine and a slap round the face.

In other news, Lee is apparently still God. Love that interview. And they’ve pretty much confirmed that JMS wanted to do the Sins Past story another way until Joe Q’s editorial thumb came down. For f*ck’s sake – is it only Bendis that’s allowed to come in and shit on everything when he feels like it without editorial directives? Which brings us to……

Oh the joy of it. Now BMB gets twice as many Avengers to f*ck up. Colour me unthrilled. Which ought to be a word, even if it ain’t already. I’ll forgive them slightly if Leisure Suit Wonder Man is really back, and completely if he comes back with Beast. We need more Wondy and Beast.

And finally, just to tie everything together from earlier, we’ve slagged off Bush and we’ve slagged off the French. So passing up the opportunity to include my favourite quote of all time, with Dubya slagging off the French, would be churlish. “The trouble with the French is they have no word for entrepreneur”. That line should be included in every discussion about Dubya ever; the man’s a frickin’ genius.

IAIN: George W Bush = Vince McMahon

Tony Blair = Eric Bischoff

Stan Lee = STAN F’N LEE.

Some more news coming out of SDCC…

– Coming in 2007… Stan Lee and Jack Kirby on FANTASTIC FOUR

– Paul Dini is working on a BLACK CANARY & ZATANNA graphic novel

Abomination and Mandarin are the villains in the HULK and IRON MAN movies

– MY NAME IS EARL… and I have a comic book

Nic Cage and son to write for Virgin Comics

– Several new DVD animated features from DC, including THE NEW FRONTIER, SUPERMAN/DOOMSDAY and TEEN TITANS: JUDAS CONTRACT

Terra from TEEN TITANS is getting her own mini-series

– Adam Hughes will write and draw ALL-STAR WONDER WOMAN next year

– Mike Carey is doing an ULTIMATE VISION mini-series

Michael Turner continues to have cancer problems

Also, as loathe as I am to mention comic book awards to any of you lot anymore, here are the results of the 2006 Eisners

And yay for the winners of Best Single Issue, Best New Series, Best Limited Series, Best Archival Collection and Best Penciler/Inker. Maybe for Best Ongoing Series too, though calling it that is a bit misleading.

WILL: I see George Bush more as a Dusty Rhodes type figure. A rich, high flying guy pretending to be a working class redneck. Of course Bush has a bit more self control than Rhodes, but then again Rhodes can actually talk.

And why the hell is the bearded one writer of the year? I’m sorry but Grant Morrison produced more work than Moore last year, work that was of a higher quality too. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

And I’m sorry Whedon slavishly copying Claremont’s formula ten year’s
after it overstayed its welcome does not make for the best ongoing
comic, even when the industry is in such a dismal state.

BEADLE: AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!

They gave Ladronn an award. The one man whose art can stop me reading a comic, irrespective of how good the writing is. Excuse me while I go stick spoons in my eyes.

MANOLIS: I love Ladronn!

The quality of his work does depend on the time he is allocated though. His cover work is simply stunning, as you can see from his recent Hulk covers. When he is assigned monthly interior work though, his art’s detail disappears and we get a poor Kirby knock-off.

BEADLE: Maybe that’s just it. I’ll admit the Hulk covers have been more than decent, but his monthly stuff on Cable used to make me want to drown kittens.

IAIN: Beadle, I’m getting worried about this kitten complex of yours…

BEADLE: Evil little bastards. I hate the way the meow pathetically like they’re victims, yet all the while they’re plotting world domination.

JEFF: I thought it was lab mice that were plotting world domination. Narf! Poit.

BEADLE: Ya know, when I was first typing that, all I could hear in my head was “Same thing we do every night Pinky….”

Glad to see someone else understands the genius of the Brain.

IAIN: I love Bobby Heenan!

WILL: More a Jim Cornette man myself

PAUL: I have to agree… Cornette = Comedy gold on Play by Play. It’s a pity TNA isn’t using him in that role.

JEFF: At this point I’d take Larry Zybszko or Tony Schiavone’s useless ass over Don f*cking West. Holy Six Sides of Shit does that dude suck. Being a home shopping network pitchman shouldn’t qualify you to be… Hell, WHAT is he exactly? He doesn’t call the matches, the Professor does most of the Play-By-Play, and he doesn’t know jack and/or squat about any of the moves so the Professor does the colour as well. Mein Gott, West is sucking payroll when they could be using mothaf*ckin’ Shark Boy more!

And THANKS BE TO JESUS that TNA lets Homicide pop Vertabreakers on AJ Styles. That shit is FUCKING GREAT!!

WILL: Shane Douglas is made for colour commentator. Not only is he doing nothing that great as a manager (and Cornette is perfect for the role of ‘GM’) but he and Tenay would compliment each other quite well, giving us a realistic, match based commentary. I worry that the likes of Raven and Nash would be too comedic.

And btw, what the f*ck was going on with Victory Road? Can someone
tell D’Amore that the first rule of booking is that you don’t book tag matches back to back, let alone three tag matches back to back (and put the two 6-men next to each other). And don’t even get me started with having the tag titles contest in an inter-gender six man tag match. Jesus christ Cornette, just whack the fat Canuck with the
tennis racket for me.

IAIN: The first rule of booking is “Don’t let the guy with hepatitis blade”.

WILL: Yeah, but like anybody would be stupid enough to forget that rule 🙂

KEVIN: I thought the first rule of booking was you do NOT talk about booking!

JEFF: Shane Douglas would be outstanding. On Raw/Smackdown I’d like to see Dean Malenko get a try. He’s got a Tazz-like encyclopaedia in his head of move names, but without all the Brooklynisms, and not for nuthin’ that shit gets old, I’m just sayin’.

Who’s doing Smackdown now anyway?

When is the King going to go away? His Mickey Mouse on Viagra gimmick was tired after the first two weeks of, “OHMIGOD JR!! PUPPIES! OH BOY I LOVE PUPPIES!” And that was like, 1997 or so. If he can’t draw on his long career of actual, old-school Memphis wrestling and actually offer some insight on the match in progress, then who needs him? He doesn’t entertain me, so focus on the sport or sht the Hell up, assclown! I miss Jericho. I don’t miss him being referred to as Y2J six years after that joke ran aground.

And to bring this back to comics, speaking of the King, did anyone give “The Galactic Bounty Hunters” a try? I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It didn’t feel Kingly enough. It’d look better if they gave it Ladronn a week before getting to the printers so he can do his aforementioned Krby rush job on it. Or maybe it’s the colouring that throws me. Kirby doesn’t seem right with gradients and lens flares. Kirby seems right with four-color dot matrix hues.

And along the same vein, anybody read Godland, and if so why should I? It reminds me of the Kirby days too. Joe Casey, I think, is the writer. Any thoughts?

PAUL: I picked it up, but I actually haven’t gotten around to reading it. I really liked the art though thumbing through it… does a decent enough job of capturing that “STARK RAVING MAD 70s era-Kirby feel.”

And it has a catgirl.

WILL: The sad thing with the King is, is that this guy is an absolute legend. Seriously, the in-ring stuff he was doing in the eighties is fecking brilliant and well worth his own 3-disc DVD. But instead of using his vast knowledge to improve the product (i.e. teaching wrestlers how to throw a worked punch) they just waste him doing shitty colour commentary.

And Jeff, JBL is doing colour commentary at the mo for Smackdown. From all accounts and the 15mins I’ve heard of him (damn my like of SKY Sports) he’s doing a smashing job.

BEADLE: If his commentary during the Booker/Rey-Rey match this weekend is anything to go by, JBL has got a big future in colour commentary with the E when he hangs up the tights.

JEFF: Well, ya know, he is a WRESTLING GOD! I’ve always liked JBL. I miss me some Ron “Damn.” Simmons though. As long as it ain’t the King and the Coach, which is akin to driving used Taco Bell sporks through your semicircular canal, it don’t much matter. Smackdown’s got all of three talents on the show. Dave Boy Batista, Kurt An…no wait…Randy Ort…shit, wait a second…well…OK, they got ONE. Rey Rey needs surgery, either before or after his Legacy of Eddie feud with Chavo. Booker, the FIRST AND ONLY AFRO AMERICAN CHAMPION IN WWE HISTORY, has a long history of back and knee problems, and as sloppy as SD wrestlers have been lately, I bet this reign falls short de to somebody landing on his knee. At least the wrecking ball that is Mark Henry is out of the ring. Booker’s OK, but this is his reward for putting in a good effort and not being a punkass backstage. I doubt he’ll re-up when his contract comes due. Now, I loves me some Finlay and the London/Kendrick team (and I can’t think of any reason why those two or the Mexicools aren’t in ECW) but those guys aren’t going to draw ratings, which unfortunately is what it all comes down to. And if anybody would have benefited from an ECW move, it’s Matt Hardy. Pushed away from his less-than-correctly handled fed with Edge on Raw; he’s probably wishing he’d have gone to TNA. I could see bouts with and against Christian there being well received. And I could see him “losing it” in ECW and being sorta the new Tommy Dreamer if handled correctly. It’s a shame Vince and Steph (the baby is probably Vince’s, by the way) have neutered SD and ECW so badly. Both need more talent and ECW needs to grant Dreamer and Paul E. complete creative control. After all, THE MONEY still goes to Vince, so that should be all he needs to worry about. The McMahon ego is the single biggest problem with that company. Good thing that NEVER happens in comics (coughbendiscough).

I miss Eric Bischoff. There, I said it. 😉

WILL: Yeah because given Paul Heyman creative control equals = money lol.

(Don’t get me wrong I like Paul Heyman and he can book good shows, but there are fundamental flaws in his booking style that stop him properly drawing money)

And the problem with Smackdown isn’t the McMahon ego (indeed for the first year of the brand split the McMahon ego made it the number one show) but the WWE’s bizarre self-fulfilling prophecy that this is the number 2 show. I mean, surely it’d make more sense to make the Network show the premier show as its available in more households? And to be honest, withstanding the current health problems that are outside the E’s control, Smackdown would be a perfectly healthy show if they had the balls to move Shawn Michaels to it at the beginning of the year (something that’s been desperately needed for over two years now, damn he’s stale on RAW).

And with the success of JBL’s commentary run it’s possible he could stay on the booth. Maybe he could stay as SMD colour commentator and do some heel ring work for ECW?

LOGAN: Oh man, I’d LOVE to see JBL on ECW, if only to pick up the backstage gossip when the ECW wrasslers beat the shade out of JBL.

Speaking of JBL, I agree he’s awesome on colour. (Yes, it’s the English spelling, we’re going for the Queen’s English here, dammit!). To be fair, though, even when he FINALLY got over as a Main Eventer, it wasn’t so much for his in ring skill as his – frankly – superb mic and promo skills.

Bless ‘im.

WILL: I always liked Ben Morse’s idea, make him the GM of Smackdown. That could still be a cool idea, especially if he did old school like Watts, Vince and Bischoff and combined the ‘ownership’ role with being a leading commentator.

PAUL: Hey guys… been away from a few days back from my family’s annual camping trip. Yeah I missed an annual get-together of my online friends, and the San Diego Comicon… but I learned a very important lesson.

Dark Chocolate makes the BEST Sm’ores.

Going back to the way they wrote the New Warriors – it is perhaps my biggest problem with Civil War. Zeb Well’s Mini-series was really a nice unpretentious good natured humour book that well we don’t see enough of in the direct market. Sure it wasn’t as funny as Wildguard or as scathing as X-Statix but… I really liked it, and for me seeing them die in the opening of Civil War really killed my enthusiasm over the event for a few months.

FLOYD: I feel really out of this discussion as I’ve got no intention of reading Civil War. I broke my ‘no more Marvel’ resolution recently to buy a back to back Capt America/Avengers comic but no more! I don’t actively dislike Marvel; I’m just flat out keeping up with the 2000AD stuff I read.

What are ‘Sm’ores’? I remember Buzz Lightyear talking about them in
Toy Story II.

PAUL: Sm’ores are a traditional campfire snack consisting of a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate (usually a Hershey bar) sandwiched in between two gram crackers.

A subject of much contention among many Americans is how to properly roast a marshmallow. Some believe that the marshmallow should be delicately held above the tip of the flame until it reaches a golden brown colour, while others simply flambé the confection.

THE END!