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All Over But The Shouting

By Blair Marnell
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Welcome to the first post-election, ATR. We can either bitch about the results or just jump into it.

I opt for the latter.

Hell’s Kitchen

With Marvel’s announcement at Wizard World Texas that Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev are leaving Daredevil in December 2005, the hot rumor going around is that Marvel’s latest exclusive artist, Michael Lark and his Gotham Central collaborator, Ed Brubaker will be the new DD creative team. If true and given the lead-time, it’s entirely possible Lark will take on other projects in the interim.

However, Ed Brubaker had this to say:

    Just to clarify -- I have NOT been approached by anyone at Marvel about writing Daredevil after Brian's run, and while I do plan to work with Michael at Marvel, it's a bit early to be predicting what we'll do just yet.
Brubaker’s response takes the wind out of some of the rumors and Brad Metzler’s name has also been mentioned as a possibility…

This Has A “Guardian Devil” Factor of Six Out of Ten


In Brightest Day

Following the release of his Vertigo graphic novel, The Originals, Dave Gibbons is said to be working on a Green Lantern project for a 2005 release date. This project may be timed to coincide with the Green Lantern relaunch by Geoff Johns and Carlos Pacheco.

This Has A “Mosaic” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Gamma Point

Over at his weblog, Peter David addressed the rumor that he was back on Incredible Hulk as the permanent writer:
    I did an interview a while back that has just appeared in The Pulse, and at the time that I did it, the decision had just been made that the limited series was going to be folded into the ongoing title. So that's fairly old news, but since the interview is just hitting now, I think people are misinterpreting and thinking there's been some new development and that I'm now writing the book indefinitely.

    Uh, no. Nothing's changed. "Tempest Fugit" will be Hulk #77-81, and #82 will be a stand alone story, and for the time being that's all that I've committed to and that Marvel's committed to. Anything beyond that depends on a variety of factors, not the least of which is sales.
This Has A “Final Conflict” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Strange Colors

Dave McCaig is a colorist known for his fantastic work on projects like Superman: Birthright and the Adam Strange miniseries. He’s also known to be extremely outspoken about the impact and importance of colorists to the overall creative process, as seen here and elsewhere. Earlier this week, McCaig took the time to answer a few questions:

Blair Marnell: How long have you been working in comics?

Dave McCaig: I've been working in comics for around 12 years now. I started off as a separator at Digital Chameleon, and quickly worked my way up the ranks there before leaving at the end of '97. My first freelance projects were in coloring things like Ghost specials and Star Wars comics for Dark Horse. The Star Wars stuff was always a treat to work on.

BM: How did you end up on Adam Strange?

DM: I was contacted by Eddie Berganza maybe 5-6 months ago, and he asked me if I'd like to work on the project. I had worked with Eddie on Superman: Birthright, and I guess Pasqual Ferry must have seen my colors on that and liked it. I colored 6 pages for a preview solicitation, but we took forever to work out a coloring style together for the series first. Eddie had to translate between us over a conference call, as Pasqual lives in Spain and his English is kinda so-so, so that took forever! We worked out some technical printing hurdles- thus the switch in the book from halftone to a more pencilly looking style in issue 2. And I think by issue 3, we've figured out a great system to do this project. He's leaving more room for my rendering style, and I'm trying to just let his awesome layouts and storytelling shine on their own without too much rendering to get in the way of the action. I think we make a good team.



BM: What techniques are you and Pasqual using to achieve the visual style of Adam Strange?

DM: Pasqual is rendering the book in pencil, then scanning in his lines and tones and adjusting them in PhotoShop. He adds energy effects and glows here and there, and applies a messotint filter to the finished black and white art before sending it off to me. I take that black and white art and color underneath it first, adjust some of the line color second, and finally add effects and more rendering on top of the whole thing. It's an interesting way to work, because often we each end up doing about 50% of the work on rendering things like faces, so it's really a collaborative effort. Things like clouds in the skies and nebulas are all Pasqual though, I just work color into them. He really knocks himself out on this book, I don't know how he finds time to put so much into it!



BM: What is your role is the production of The Batman animated series currently on the WB?

DM: I'm the lead Background painter on The Batman, but I have a lot of input on character color as well. Basically, it was my job to create the color style of the show, along side Jeff Matsuda, the show's art director. I get to figure out all the moody lighting in different areas of town, the sky colors, the filthy watercolor. I got to add the stippley grime on everything, the snowy dust in Cobblepot Mansion. I got a tiny bit of input on character design too, like adding the spirals to Jokers arms. It's a really fun job. I have to think about things like "If the chemical bath that forged the Joker turned his hair green, wouldn't it have turned things like his tongue and nails green too?" We had a good bit of debate on what color the insides of Clayface should be too, which you'll see soon enough.



I also do all the painted artwork promoting the show, based off of drawings by Jeff and crew. Stuff like the postcards that were handed at this year's San Diego con, and the first 3 covers for The Batman Strikes from DC. I do all the paintings that hang on the walls in the actual show too, which is pretty cool.



BM: You also do digital illustrations, how are those coming along?

DM: I've been doing more and more painting work lately, not only for The Batman, but also for magazines like Play, a gaming company, and a piece for the upcoming art book Panda Meat. I'm painting some trading cards for DC right now as well. Years ago, I painted a short story for Star WarsTales called "Lil' Maul" but that's pretty much all the sequential stuff I've done on my own. Jeff and I have a painted piece in the upcoming Spider-Man 2 deluxe DVD package as well. I'd love to do more, but between working 9 hours per day on the show, and coloring two books per month, it's hard to find the time!

BM: You've been pretty vocal as of late, regarding the role of colorists in the creation of comic books. Is there anything you want to add to that?

DM: Well, Rich Johnston kind of fired me up many weeks ago when he wrote a Lying in the Gutters piece in which it could be perceived that he dismissed the colorist's job as being easy, and colorists as being easily replaced. Rich says he did not intend this, and ok, I'll buy that, but the wording left it kind of open to interpretation despite his intentions. I run a message board for pro comic artists called Gutterzombie.com that is largely colorist based, and many of us got into an uproar and decided to get out there and preach the gospel of good color and what it means to comics. Colorists rarely get cover credit, royalties, or much mention in reviews, yet I think color can add a great deal to a book, or even wreck it for that matter if it's bad. I think after much discussion, the majority of us have decided that the best thing to do is just get the word out there, and help readers and other comic pros understand what exactly it is that we add to the storytelling of a comic. Mood, lighting, aiding the reader's ability to follow the narrative, pace, depth, detail. And of course, overall "awesomeness." People often just glance over the color in a book, but what would Spawn have been in the 90s without color? Dave Stewart's work on New Frontiers made me pick up the book. Good color is just an extension of good drawing. And the more we add to a book, the more fans appreciate the final product, even if they don't understand the reasons why.

BM: Do you have any future projects already lined up?

DM: After Adam Strange and my arc on JLA: Classified wrap up, I may move on to another Superman project, or possibly more work with Pasqual. It's all kind of up in the air right now, but I'm sure I'll be keeping busy! Production on The Batman goes on hiatus in January or February, but I'm not sure for how long. You'll probably see lots of my stuff on the stands during that break though.

This Has A “Bat Wave” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Game Zone

In an interview with Yahoo Games UK & Ireland, Mark Millar revealed that he has some video game projects in the works:
    I'm developing a big, top secret project for Universal via Marvel, at the moment," he divulged. "I'm also working on an upcoming trilogy of games involving some big Marvel characters for Activision. The latter is something nobody's ever done before and actually very exciting." The dates for these games are pencilled in for a succession of 2005, 2006 and 2007, though, so we're unlikely to hear much about them yet, but we'll be keeping a close eye on developments.
The “big, top secret project for Universal” that Millar refers to may be the massively multiplayer online game that Marvel and Universal announced two years ago. That game, which is still veiled in secrecy, is rumored to be on a larger scale than other online games like Star Wars Galaxies, Everquest or City of Heroes. And under the terms of their deal, Universal has access to ALL of Marvel’s characters…

Incidentally, Millar’s comments were included in a three-part Comics & Video Games Mega Feature, which also has interviews with B. Clay Moore, Kris Oprisko, and Yours Truly.

The first part can be found here.

This Has A “It’s A 616 World” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Mixed Signals

Sean McKeever is roughly a week away from the release of The Meredith Club, the second comic from his creator owned imprint, Signal Comics. When reached for comment, McKeever elaborated:
    The Meredith Club is the second of my (hopefully) line of 16-page, self-published mini-comics. The first one, Looking At The Front Door, was really well received, and artist Tom Williams has gone on to illustrate No Dead Time for Oni. This time around, I'm teaming up with another Columbus artist, Steve Black, who hardcore Indie folk may recognize from the excellent A.K.A. and Panel Comics.

    The Meredith Club is about a twenty-something guy who hasn't gotten some, or even been on a date, in years, and he has to make a decision about a dawning relationship that is pretty strange and thoroughly awkward.



    The Meredith Club is currently illustrated and we expect it to be printed by November 12, at which time it will be available for sale at http://www.seanmckeever.com, where I also have just about everything else I've written from Mary Jane to Mystique to The Waiting Place is available for order. The Meredith Club will also become available for retailer orders via Cold Cut and directly through me shortly thereafter.
This Has An “Indiscretions of Youth” Factor of Seven Out of Ten


One Down…

Earlier this week, Scott Kurtz posted an update on his drive to get PvP into newspapers across the country:
    For the last two weeks, the Kansas City Star has been running PvP in their weekly Preview insert.

    I wanted to save this announcement for the big launch of the free-syndication thing later this month, but the opportunity arose before we've put the finishing touches on that whole system.

    Three weeks ago, the KC Star ran an article about me and my hopes to offer PvP for free to any newspaper that wanted it. The next day, I got an email from the entertainment editor asking me "Are you serious about PvP being free for papers?"

    So here's the deal....

    The Star is running PvP on a 3 month trial basis, after which they'll evaluate its readership, their space restrictions and other, more mystical things of which I have little knowledge.



    If you live in the KC area, it's imperative that you let the Star know that you want them to make PvP a permanent feature of their paper and that you'll probably riot in the streets if they ever drop it.

    Please email my editor and let him know how important PvP being the newspaper is to you.

    I have close friends in KC and I visit often, so I can't express enough how much it means to me that the KC Star is the first major market newspaper to give PvP a chance.

    That’s one!
This Has A “Scratch Fury Conquers The World” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Monster in The Mirror

Barry Windsor-Smith has posted a preview of his upcoming Vertigo graphic novel, The Monster on his website. While no release date has been announced yet, The Monster is described as a 300 page story about “the disastrous effects of a Nazi program of genetic engineering, discovered at the close of World War II, upon two American families.”

This Has An “Eyes Wide Shut” Factor of Nine Out of Ten


You'll Believe A Man Can Write

Recently making his big league debut in X-Men Unlimited #4, writer Lee "Budgie" Barnett certainly isn't taking a chance people will forget his name. Well known in the UK comics community for the annual Hypotheticals panel at the British comics festival, he has a weekly column on PULSE entitled GOING CHEEP and now his latest writing venture comes to SBC.

His novel You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly, serialized in nineteen parts, starts Monday. Discussing the project Barnett told me, "The story deals with what happens when a fledgling superhero's credibility is irrevocably destroyed by a typo. He wanted to be known as The Public Defender... someone from the newspaper that interviews him misses out the 'L' in PUBLIC."

SBC Editor Jason Brice interjected at this point, "Budgie's being humble... There's a lot more to it than that, of course, including his reluctant acceptance of his powers, government conspiracies, affectionate potshots at the origins of Batman and Superman and a glorious rip on Spider-Man's."

"It's been described as Siegel and Shuster via Douglas Adams," Budgie explained, “and I can't disagree with the bloke who said it.”

Each installment features a piece of art commissioned by Barnett to illustrate the chapter, with many talented industry newcomers among those slated to contribute. A sneak peek of the first installment can be found here.

This Has A “What’s Cheeper Than Free?” Factor of Ten out of Ten


A couple of things before I’m out: Craig Johnson has a great interview with Chris Blythe and Steve Parkhouse about their self-published graphic novel, Angel Fire which is well worth reading. You can catch it here.

Also, if you haven’t seen The Incredibles yet, go. NOW.

Seriously, it’s that good. And it’s probably the best Fantastic Four movie anyone is ever going to make.

Special thanks to Corey Brotherson.

See you in seven.

Later,
Blair

PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at blairm@silverbulletcomicbooks.com. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It’s greatly appreciated.


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