Tieri vs Liefeld vs Fraga - Now With Added Monarchic Goodness

By Rich Johnston
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Trans Metropolitan

The solicitation for issue 9 of Wildstorm's Monarchy title reads as follows:

    "In this epilogue to 'Making The Metropolitan,' the Monarchy's newest member spreads his criminal wings over Los Angeles, learning what it means to be a super-villain under the heel of the Monarchy. Meanwhile, Jackson King receives a startling history lesson from Jon Farmer, and Agent Morro goes on a date as the brewing conflict with Chimera threatens to erupt into full-scale war!"
Janine Young, writer Doselle Young's partner wrote to the Monarchy discussion board at DC's website:
    "Knowing how you guys like to speculate, I thought it only fair to warn you that the solicitation for #9, in almost all particulars is, well, wrong. No lesson from Jon Farmer to King in issue #9, and Metro won't quite be under the heel of the Monarchy just yet, and agent Morro will not appear, either.

    "I believe Confessor already noticed that #8 solitation wasn't entirely accurate, and you're owed an explaination for that. In Doselle's defense, it's not that he's revising for the sake of revising. It's that solicitations come out 3 months in advance, and, well, things happen that can change a script in 3 months--radically.

    "Unfortunately, the solicitation stays the same even if the script is changed for reasons beyond the writer's control. Ideally, writers are suppose to create a script 3-4 months in advance of when it's due out. The solitation for that issue goes out based on that script. Sometimes it doesn't work this way. Sometimes the solitation is written up and gets sent out before the final script is in. Either way, a writer can be asked to change his script between the time the solitation goes out and the final script is in the hands of the artist.

    "Why would he be asked to change his script? All sorts of reasons. A character he thought was up for grabs might no longer be avaliable. Or something like 9/11 happens, and a story that was fine is no longer fine. A script may also change after the comic has been drawn. This is a collaborative medium, and if the artist was inspired, and a page has something cool on it the writer didn't expect (or is missing something the writer did expect) then changes need to be made.

    "And yes, sometimes the writer comes up with a really great idea and it's too late to change the solitation...but not the script. A mixture of such things happened with issues #8 and #9. Doe's philosophy is that whatever is best for the story, that's what you do--even if it means deviating from the solitation.

    "Hope this makes speculating more rather than less fun for you all. Or, at least, a bit easier. And I hope that you're not too dissappointed by the 'revision' of the story from what the solitation led you to expect."
So, speculate away! It's been a poorly kept secret that there's been a ruckus about this book at Wildstorm, including recent cancelletion rumours yet to be confirmed or denied. So what demands have been placed upon Doselle's shoulders? And are they justified or not? Maybe one day we'll find out...

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out Of 10

Next week All The Rage will bring you more visuals from the Marvel That Never Was... see he last two columns for more details.

An earlier version of the column went out to All The Rage donators on Saturday morning. If you'd like to join this select crowd, check out the columns two and three weeks ago.

As Seen On TV

I reported on this from the Bristol Comics Covention earlier this year, but here are the National Comics Awards Night video clips in full - chatshow host, discoverer of Vic Reeves and general comedy god Jonathan Ross, alongside star of Spaced, Big Train and Faith In The Future, Simon Pegg, talking about some of their favourite comics, including Spider-Man, Batman, Watchmen, Sandman, Neil Gaiman, 2000 AD, Warrior, The Spirit, Fantastic Four, Preacher, Tintin, Asterix, and, er, Twinkle.

Check them out, here…

This Has A Swearing Value Of 8 Out Of 10

Deadline Alive?

I'm hearing early rumours of something very exciting indeed. One of my fave comics when but a teenager was Deadline, the comic that spawned Tank Girl and the soon-to-be-reprinted Wired World may be returning, in spirit if not in name.

A music-based young British anthology comic with financial backing and a decent news stand distribution behind it is in the works. I'm on tenterhooks.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 4 Out Of 10

Short Heroes

On what some have seen as the 'low' first printing of Marvel's Heroes (hell, the UK doesn't seem to have received any copies so far), Tom Brevoort shocked quite a few by posting, "We actually only had advance orders of about 50,000, so 100,000 copies given that fact was a pretty good estimate, in my opinion."

Only 50,000 initial orders? There's being prudent and there's being a mental case. But apparently a large number of retailers missed the front page of Diamond Dateline (in big type no less) announcing this project - makes you wonder how some retailers manage their shops on a day to day basis.

Plus of course, there seems to have been real problems from Diamond's side. Diamond are infamous for only passing on only a percentage of the initial orders from retailers to publishers, and "shorting" those retailers on the comics as a result - while the publisher only supplies what they received orders for. But this usually doesn't happen to the Big Five Exclusive publishers. It did this time. Well, at least the Ebay sellers will be happy...

This Has A "No I Haven't Got My Copy Yet" Value Of 9 Out Of 10

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Last week's Rob Liefeld's Robservations column at took a general overview of a lot of stuff Rob had seen of late, comics, TV, movies, that kind of thing. This included an attack on current Wolverine writer, Frank Tieri. Before Quesada's rise to power at Marvel, Rob Liefeld was working on Wolverine. Soon after that, he wasn't.

Liefeld's original statements included the following, "When is Marvel going to come to its senses and get Frank Tieri off of Wolverine? It doesn't matter who he gets to draw his stories, from Sean Chen to Dan Fraga, his writing remains stale and terribly unimaginative. No matter how many guest stars or clumsy celebrity appearances the book squeezes between its covers, they can't cover up the fact that this title stinks…. and isn't the loss of over 30,000 sales in the last ten months cause for concern, especially from a company claiming that the bottom line has never been more important?"

Rob also made a number of valid points about how nothing of import to the character actually happens in his title book, rather that it reacts not creates. However many pointed out that the same criticisms Liefeld made about Tieri's work could also have applied to his own run on the book.

Frank Tieri certainly took issue with Liefeld's column on the X-Fan message board. Excerpts include the following by Tieri:
    "Nothing he has EVER said can be taken at face value-- it's always sprinkled with half truths, self-promoting propaganda and out and out lies. He's burned every bridge in his career and all this is him relighting one he burned quite a while ago when Marvel kicked him off Wolverine.

    "You think I didn't expect this from him eventually? He's been known to rail at Joe Quesada and Marvel, Marvel's use of Cable and Deadpool, the new X-Force - anybody see a pattern here? Marvel woke up and booted his ass out of there, so now the girl he so desperately wanted to go to the Prom with is ugly when she turned him down. Poor little Robbie doesn't get to play with the toys he wants to play with anymore - and it was inevitable he would soon turn his attention to his last toy, Wolverine. First it was Sean Chen, an artist whose pencils Liefeld shouldn’t even be allowed to sharpen, right after Liefeld got canned (he said something to the effect that Sean was boring— as ridiculous as anything he’s ever said, considering how awesome the work my partner has produced on this title). And now it’s me.

    "What Liefeld fails to mention is that under my stint, sales have actually INCREASED nearly every month, as we’ve slowly began to recoup the readers Liefeld probably drove away with the insipid dreck he called comics."
Dan Fraga, creator of Gear Station, ex-Liefeld employee, and Wolverine artist under Tieri, added his two cents, saying:
    "C'mon guys. I've known Rob for over 10 years. I was inside his "inner circle" for 8 years. One thing I can tell you is this: Rob twists things to favor him, and make him seem like the one who's right.

    "Do you want to talk about failed attempts? For his own publishing company, Rob had a book tailored for Will Smiths wife, just long enough to get a movie deal with her husband. Once the papers were signed, the book was over. That is called using people, a fine trait that Rob has. Where Rob failed was in the fact that he swiped The Mark idea from another failed Marvel title called Star Brand. This is why the concept never took off for him. It's a swipe of a bad idea. Don't get me started on Rob and swiping either. Want to see where Cable came from? You don't need to look any further than the cover of Marvel comics Star Wars #16. Yep. Truth. I'm just tired of Rob pontificating from his little soapbox. He is living on past merits. I was a fan, I was his best friend. You can only travel so far on old accomplishments. Sure he created the look for Cable, yes he created the look for Deadpool, and yes he sold a lot of comics once. This is a 'what have you done for me lately' world. It's been almost 10 years since the start of Image. Rob hasn't done one thing great since. I know, I was a part of the crap machine called Extreme. Rob almost had it with Awesome. Almost. Face it, the talent on the Awesome books loved the money, not Rob. He is as guilty of what he accuses the rest of the comics world of doing. Failed comics, bad writing, transparent marketing and bad business. He still kicks himself for turning down the New Line Pictures offer to buy his company. Ego is what stopped him, it always will.

    "All Rob needs to do is, shut up and make good stuff. If he had any self awareness of how bad his stuff is looking, he'd try to get better. But, guys, the guy thinks he's great. He really believes he is a top-notch illustrator. Again, it'll never happen. I wish it would though, he used to inspire me. Now he just makes me laugh.

    "Working with Frank was a pleasure. Putting 'N Sync in the book was my doing. Not a Marvel 'hype' idea. Wolverine's sales haven't been going down. They have been going up. Rob should solicit a book with Diamond so he can get some accurate numbers. My question remains. Why wont Rob prove he has it to prove us all wrong?

    Answer: because he can't."
Naturally Rob had a few replies of his own on the SpinnerRack Nessage Boards. He wrote:
    "I could care less about Teiri [sic]. Guy's a hack.... He's widely regarded as one of the worst writers in the business and got his gig because he was a drinking buddy of Quesada. At least that's what a handful of Marvel editors told me about him a year ago. I can't tell you how many artists have contacted me and asked me if working with him is a good idea. They tell me their reservations and I generally find myself agreeing with their concerns. He's not exactly getting the pick of the litter."
Rob Liefeld on his "removal" from Wolverine:
    "For the record, Marvel never canned me from either project officially. They just stopped paying on the vouchers that I sent in. Doesn't take a genius to figure out what's going on at that point. I called editorial several times with no answer, ditto for Quesada and after no response, turned my attention to other matters. Shafted? I believe so, but I'm more amused than bitter. If I was a struggling freelancer who needed the cash, it would be one thing, but I'm not about to work for free."
As for Star Wars #16, Rob replied:
    "You can read the Star Wars issue and you'll see there's no other similarities. If I had to guess, I'd think Dan was trying to stir up trouble.

    "The one absolute error in Dan's post is the idea that I signed a comic book deal with Jada Pinkett Smith in order to create a movie deal with Will Smith on The Mark. Everyone who worked at Awesome who can read time and follow a calendar will see that the dates don't match up. The Mark was sold to Will Smith in July of 1997, the deal was finalized with contracts in December of 1997. Menace, the book created by Jada Pinkett for Awesome began in January of 1998 and was temporarily shut down in March of 1998 when the primary investor had financial problems. I resumed production on the series in the fall of '98 and the book came out at Thanksgiving of '98. The series didn't continue because Jada decided not to go forward with it after the first issue which I know she enjoyed. I've had the pleasure of seeing Jada a number of times since then [and] she continues to be as warm and friendly as she was at the outset of the project. Menace is hers to turn on or off. Dan's version is in no way representative of the events that occurred, but is indicative of the poison he continues to spread. For the record, I believe Dan is fantastically talented and have never said otherwise, it was a pleasure being his friend and collaborator for several years. I wish him well. He however has chosen a path of resentment and remorse when remembering the period of Extreme and Awesome. That's his choice. I don't live in a world of regret, not about a single decision. Dan mentions a deal that New Line Cinema offered me, it was a great deal, over 10 million dollars for a minor percent of the company. It's a funny story and the subject of an upcoming column I'm working on so you can read all the ridiculous details. He fails to mention the deal Acclaim made to me pre-Valiant for 30 million dollars. I turned that down too, not out of ego but out of loyalty to Image at the time and primarily because of fear of the unknown…"

    "As far as artistic merits go, I have always maintained that I'm a work in progress. I will continue learning as long as I live. To do otherwise would be a great tragedy. When I draw comics, I like to draw in a certain style and hopefully will continue to improve as I go. I can draw a portrait or a life drawing as well as the next guy. I can't paint very well, but you have to start somewhere right? I've never said I'm a great artist and I won't now. What is a fact is that I've been fortunate enough to entertain some fans along the way and kept the cash registers ringing for retailers for as long as I was able. I haven't done much visibly for the industry lately, other than buy alot [sic] of comics. Behind the scenes I'm playing around and working on a few projects that will soon see the light of day. Nothing terribly important, just fun stuff. I'll be the first to tell you that the achievments of my past are just that, in the past. And as far as the Mark goes. The inspiration for the Mark has always been the Bible, not Star Brand which is a blatant rip off of Green Lantern. But it has some choice work by John Romita Jr. and Jim Shooter. Check it out!"
Dan Fraga replied:
    "As Rob stated before, I do hold resentments, but like most things, time will heal those wounds. I am proud of the things Rob has done in the past. It's just a hope of mine that he'd return to the hungry nice guy he was from '89 - '94. In this business, it's always best to make decisions as an action, rather than a reaction. Unfortunately, things in the later years were always a reactive process of keeping up with the Joneses. I'd love to see Rob and his new team make something that we all react to. That's nostalgia at it's finest. It was a pleasure to know Rob in the early years, I will always treasure those days."
Dan also talked about his time with Extreme, saying:
    "I am proud of some of my work that I did with Extreme and Awesome. Kid Supreme, Black Flag, and S.W.A.T. were the ones I loved. But when I say crapfest, I mean books like Troll, Team Badrock, BattleStar Galactica, Cyber-Punx, and the other slew of books created just to take up a piece of market share. I hated having to ***** myself out when the crunch time came in on books like Deathmate Red, Extreme Predjudice, and the other cross-overs. They all had great concepts in them, but Rob and Extreme's biggest problem was the execution of these great ideas. Often, I'd be asked to draw 5-8 pages in a day for books that I wasn't supposed to be part of just to make it to press. I appreciated the influx of cash it brought, but it was a poor way to work. A majority of Extreme's product was made that way. That is the problem with a reactive business model. Rob always was looking at what the other guy's were doing and trying to get a product out which was similar or competitive so he would stand out. When this happens, you have to rush all of the time and play catch-up, 'keeping up with the Joneses' is what it is. It was bad. That's why I lay down the challenge to Rob. I want to see him produce a book that sets a standard instead of following one. Rob was good at setting standards 12 years ago. I want to see that he doesn't become John Byrne. I still have a soft-spot for Rob's work, I only want the best for him. I am just damn sick of him talking out of his neck about stuff he is guilty of. I think if he was to do an impressive body of quality work, he would fair better in his debates. He is truly the pot calling the kettle black."
This Has A Ready-To-Rumble Value Of 7 Out Of 10

Heis And Lows

Mike Heisler took time out on the Warren Ellis Delphi Forum to talk about his time working with Alan Moore in WildCATS. He wrote:
    "I edited most of Alan's run on WILDCATS and found it to be an extremely frustrating experience. Not due to anything that Alan did -- he's easily the most professional writer that I've ever had the chance to work with. But he picked up the disastrously late book in the middle of a cliffhanger (the first issue I handled was Alan's second issue, and it ALREADY featured a fill-in artist). Shortly afterward, we found ourselves having to squeeze in a couple of tie-ins to a line-wide crossover that neither of us asked for, which necessitated bringing in even more fill-in artists so that the book would meet its schedule. Immediately after the crossover, Jim Lee became the book's regular artist -- for all of one issue, before crushing HEROES REBORN deadlines forced him to give up the book again...

    "...Jesus, I think I'm having Viet Nam flashbacks.

    "Anyway, the post-FIRE FROM HEAVEN issues, which I think constitute most of the second TPB, allowed Alan to get back to the meat of his story, which I think was damned fine.

    "After WILDCATS, we spoke to Alan about doing some other stuff for the Wildstorm U, and he came up with VOODOO. After taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 months to draw the first issue, our artist drew the cover of the second issue and then vanished into the ether.

    "I talked with Alan around the time that all of these books were wreaking havoc with my blood pressure and asked him to consider doing something for our new Homage line, something that he could do at his own pace with an artist of his choosing, something that wouldn't be disrupted by 'continuity.' He got back to me the next day with an idea he'd had for a Victorian-era superhero team. I told him it sounded brilliant... and then I left Wildstorm before I ever got a chance to see it coming together. But I think things turned out all right."
This Has A Nostalgia Value Of 8 Out Of 10


Talking about nostalgia, the story of why Dark Horse alienated James Marsters, the actor who plays Spike in Buffy The Vampire Slayer made its reappearance. So since we never covered it the first time around, lets dig it all up again.

Marsters was one of the cast members who also contributed writing work to the comics series, specifically a tale about Spike and Drusilla. However, I hear Marsters wasn't too keen on the art when he finally saw it, he wanted a visual style that gave himself and Dru the sexiness and glamour of the rebel vampires that the TV series did so well. But Dark Horse reportedly told him they wanted to do a more horrific art style for a while. Since Marsters and his co-star Juliet Landau were the only cast members that didn't have likeness approval written into their contracts, they decided to go ahead anyway.

And Marsters hasn't written anything for Dark Horse since…

This Has A Rumour Value Of 4 Out Of 10 And Rising…

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