It was, of course, a bad week for those who liked to get their comics from Z-CultFM, with the site removing all Marvel trackers, and later, DC and Top Cow trackers, after threats of legal action that softened as diplomacy proved as effective as promises of legal destruction. This was the Civil War of comic stories this year, splitting Newsarama readers into those who thought it may have been one of the biggest stories of 2007 and those who just didn’t get what the fuss was about. “Which Side Are You On?” indeed, but wait until the other shoe drops and every Newsarama poster discovers that their friends and family have been replaced by Marvel and DC employees in disguise, dropping subtle hints that maybe Countdown isn’t that bad after all. That’s the kind of Secret Invasion that’ll get complaints going in seconds…
For those who didn’t feel that Z-Cult affected them in any way, this must’ve been a pretty quiet news week, with the biggest story probably being Aaron Lopresti jumping ship and signing an exclusive deal with DC after years at Marvel. That said, the parting was depressingly amicable:
“I’d love to give some juicy controversial tidbit about me leaving Marvel, but there really isn’t any,” Lopresti said with a laugh. “I really like everyone over there that I worked with. David Bogart, Stevie Wacker, Mark Paniccia, Bill Roseman, and Chris Allo are all really good people and I have nothing but great things to say about all of them. That being said, I just felt like after four years I was spinning my wheels creatively and I needed a change of scenery… There are a lot of things I want to do and some of them are outside of comics, so it is very important to me that I am allowed to do projects that are going to help me be creative and do my best work, as well as continue to grow and improve as an artist and storyteller. I believe that is the environment that I am stepping into at DC.”
Aaron, we want drama and gossip, not professionalism and maturity. Don’t you know how these things are supposed to go? At least say that Tom Brevoort threatened to redraw Ms. Marvel’s breasts once or something…
(Brevoort’s name did pop up this week, as the main site picked up on his blog post about the redesign of the Fantastic Four trade dress. But again, as nice as it looks, where’s the fizzle of showbiz in this story?)
Another former Marvel partner was also making news this week, as the Dabel Brothers confirmed that they would, indeed, be adapting Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files into comic books. In order to sweeten the deal for the novel series’ fans, they also announced that Butcher himself would be writing an original story for the project. But as exciting as that may be for those fans, is it as exciting as seeming proof that Grant Morrison was right and that the DC Universe is not only real, but crossing over into our universe?
Exactly (Maybe one of the known alternate Earths happens to be ours…).
But, no, the real action on the site this week was, as ever, the interviews. The ever quotable Mark Millar stopped by to talk about his new creator-owned book, Kick-Ass:
It’s really the most incredibly obvious idea and I’m amazed nobody has ever done this before, but the book just feels so unlike any superhero comic I’ve seen before. I don’t play it for laughs at all. It’s too easy to take the piss out of something like this. I just play it absolutely straight and use this as a starting point in the story… imagine this kid going out there with his mask and his baseball bat. What would happen next? The obvious answer, of course, is incredible violence and that’s where the fun begins. This book breaks down everything we love about superheroes and builds it all up again in a new way. We’re very excited about it. Johnny and I both think we’ve stumbled onto something potentially enormous here.
Alternatively, you could while away your hours getting into something even more enormous: Death metal. Interested? Why not gamble a stamp after Rick Spears and Chuck BB tell you about Black Metal?
I’m a fan of all genres in Extreme music, there is just something excellent and true about pushing music to the limits. I’m not sure what it was exactly that first attracted me to the Black Metal genre, but it probably was a combination of the music’s epic nature coupled with the often creative approach to using lo-fi production. I just really love everything about the genre including the oft mocked face paint (read; Corpse Paint). It’s just so balls out that I can’t help but respect a good amount of it. Let’s just say that my fandom for the genre and certain bands can be summed up in the fact that I recently dropped two hundred bucks on an out of print Ulver vinyl box set.
If metal isn’t your bag, maybe you’d feel more at home with the funk grooves of B. Clay Moore, Ed Tadem, Seth Peck and Tigh Walker. Or, as Image would have you refer to them, the creative teams of filp-book flashback, ’76. Clay, why don’t you tell the people where you were in 1976?:
I actually met Peck in 1976. I was picking up extra cash, running Peruvian flake from Padre Island to Salt Lake City in a modified Econoline van, and picked Seth up somewhere in Arizona. He’d been hitching his way from Mexico to Canada, trying to stay one step ahead of some small town Sheriff who caught him teaching Spanish and Gordon Lightfoot songs to his beautiful teenaged daughters.
Recognizing a kindred spirit by the way he wore his leather cowboy hat and bell-bottoms, I invited him to join my commune in Golden, Colorado. That’s where he fell in love with a Filipino runaway named Mae, who was dazzled by Seth’s skills with a bullwhip. They left our happy home, headed for Canada, and we only recently hooked up again here in Kansas City.
Also…Ed is Filipino and Tigh is Canadian. So you do the math.
Offering less salaciousness but equally welcome, Mat Johnson appeared, to talk about his new Vertigo graphic novel, Incognegro:
We’re at a really interesting stage in graphic storytelling where the audience in the last twenty years has shifted, going from children to adults, and the level of sophistication – and it didn’t have to get more sophisticated, but everything seems to have gotten so much more sophisticated. It’s an exciting thing to writing in this period when the rules aren’t set. You can do anything.
I’ve seen other graphic writers do things recently. People like Grant Morrison, people like Reginald Hudlin have done things that I just haven’t seen done in comics. When I was reading Reginald Hudlin’s Black Panther, I realized Wow! I’ve never a Black Panther written by a black person before.
Sometimes, though, you just want to read stories about men in tights punching each other. And that also translates into wanting to read interviews with the people who create those stories. Good thing, then, that there was a five part series with those responsible for Marvel’s Marvel Adventures line: Editor Mark Paniccia and writers Marc Sumerak, Fred Van Lente, Paul Tobin and Paul Benjamin.
Not that any of this could top the real catches of the week, both of which came – somewhat surprisingly – from Virgin Comics. Garth Ennis talked about his new relaunch of Dan Dare, but even that dulls beside the interview with Ed Burns and Jimmy Palmiotti about their new collaboration together, Dock Walloper. It’s not really what they said, nor the book they’re talking about – which was surprisingly fun, much more than I expected, I have to admit – that made it the pinnacle of the week, but the title of the book. “Dock Walloper.”
Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.