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November 2000

Comic Brief ArchivesMonday, November 20, 2000

Willem Dafoe to be Green Goblin in Spider-Man
Posted by
Jonah Weiland - 00:31 PST

Today's Hollywood Reporter tells us that Willem Dafoe (Speed 2, Clear and Present Danger) has signed on to play the Green Goblin in the upcoming Spider-Man film:

Willem Dafoe has committed to star opposite Tobey Maguire in Columbia Pictures' "Spiderman" as the Green Goblin, nemesis of the comic book superhero. Shooting is scheduled to begin in January with director Sam Raimi at the helm. Based on the Marvel Comics character, the feature film adaptation follows photojournalist Peter Parker (Maguire) who was bitten by a radioactive spider during a science demonstration in high school. He thus acquired superhuman strength and the agility of a spider as well as clairvoyant powers. Meanwhile, his next-door neighbor (Dafoe) becomes the Green Goblin after an experimental formula blows up in his face. The formula increases his intelligence and strength but also drives him insane.

Comic Brief ArchivesFriday, November 17, 2000

Greg Rucka and Oni Press serve Queen and Country Bimonthly
Posted by
Jonah Weiland - 16:28 PST

Official Press Release

[Queen and Country]Oni Press is pleased to announce the March release of the first issue of QUEEN & COUNTRY, an ongoing, bimonthly espionage comic book from the pen of acclaimed writer Greg Rucka (WHITEOUT, DETECTIVE COMICS). This all-new series will focus on Tara Chace, a British intelligence agent known to Oni readers as Lily Sharpe, one of the main characters in the first WHITEOUT series. Borrowing a format from other great adventure series like SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE, QUEEN & COUNTRY will feature rotating artists on four-issue story arcs. The first arc will feature art by Steve Rolston, the creator of the online cartoon JACK SPADE & TONY TWO-FIST, with covers by Tim Sale (BATMAN: DARK VICTORY) and colorist Matthew Hollingsworth (ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD AGAIN).

�I have been a fan of great spy stories for as long as I can remember,� Rucka commented. �Unfortunately, the last few decades has seen popular entertainment making the genre more and more, for lack of a better term, cartoony. For my take on the form, I like to point to a British TV show called �The Sandbaggers.� It showed a world of espionage that was much darker and full of real consequences, and that�s the sort of world I want to portray in QUEEN & COUNTRY.�

�I almost look at this series as a combination of the best elements of Greg�s most well-known comics work,� said Oni Press publisher Joe Nozemack. �The character Tara Chace is a realistic, strong female protagonist, the kind Greg has done so well in both WHITEOUT series and in the HUNTRESS mini. And with the gritty, urban landscapes of the first story arc, we�ll get another chance to see Greg make a city environment come alive the way he has made Gotham such a living presence in DETECTIVE.�

For the first four-issue story, Oni turned to relative comics newcomer Steve Rolston. �We wanted a fresh feel for this series,� Nozemack explained. �We wanted somebody who wasn�t familiar to most readers, and who could bring something new and unexpected to Greg�s work. While some online fans already know Steve�s work, this will be his first big exposure to the readership at large�and I doubt it will be his last!�

�Overall, I want this to be a slick, classy package,� Rucka added. �I want the book to look like a spy comic should look, and I think Rolston is bringing a wonderful dynamic to his art. To have an amazing artist like Tim Sale consent to do the covers, well that�s just icing on the cake.�

To get the story rolling, QUEEN & COUNTRY #1 jumps right into the action, with Tara performing an assassination in Kosovo and immediately being on the run for her life. The following issues will show the consequences of her mission.

�This book should leave the reader breathless,� Rucka concluded. �In the real world of intelligence and espionage, the players don�t have time to take a break, to go on holiday or enjoy a pint down at the pub. They are on duty 24-7, and as a writer, I can�t let my fans feel any pause, either. I need to drop you into the action running and never let you look back.�

QUEEN & COUNTRY #1 will feature 32 pages of black-and-white story and art, with a full color cover. With a cover price of $2.95, it will ship to comic book stores on March 23, 2001. Future issues will ship on a bimonthly basis. It contains harsh language and mature content.

Source: Oni Press

Australian ban on From Hell lifted
Posted by
Jonah Weiland - 10:57 PST

Eddie Campbell has posted on his Web site notice that the Australian ban on his comic, with writer Alan Moore, "From Hell" has been lifted. Here is the text from Eddie himself:

"From Hell has been cleared by the Office of Film and Literature Classification in only fifteen days. Andrew Frith of Quality Comics in Perth phoned me yesterday to say that the book was given the green light and that they should come and retrieve their impounded copies. However, a curious detail; Andrew informs me that the ban against Volume Seven still stands. It remains to be established whether the giving of this information is to be interpreted as a face-saving manouevre by the officers concerned. I am still investigating the possibility of an Australian edition of the book. It is already available in bookstores in the U.S. and England in preparation for the arrival of the movie around April.

Eddie Campbell, November 15"

Comic Brief ArchivesFriday, November 10, 2000

Acclaim owes $4000 to Starlin and Q&As; about Quantum & Woody
Posted by
Michael Thomas - 01:01 PST

[Unity 2000]Acclaim's revamping mini-series Unity 2000 is still plagued by delinquent accounts, and yet Quantum & Woody will have a new life soon after that.

After an astute reader contacted CBR after we ran our interview with Acclaim Comics' Jim Perham. We learned that Shooter was not the only one who had not been paid in full.

On Jim Starlin's Web site (www.starlin.com), he has posted an advisement of his non-payment of $4,000 from Acclaim, citing that they have not acknowledged his emails or phone calls. It also prominently displays the email address of Perham, de facto head editor of Acclaim Comics. He said that he's averaging about one hate email a day from Jim Starlin fans.

The situation has snowballed from when Shooter was behind on submitting plots for Unity 2000 to Acclaim.

"So far, in fact, that Mr. Starlin started complaining that the down time was costing him big bucks," Perham said.

"So I quit," Starlin said, "and then Walter Black offered my attorney, Harris Miller, the $4,000 bonus if I did the last two issues."

Perham said that the bonus would be paid upon completion of the mini-series, which might have been fine had it finished in March 2000. But Starlin contended that the bonus was to be paid upon Acclaim's receiving issue 6's pencils and there was never an agreement to receive the bonus post-publication.

"I never would have agreed to stay on Unity 2000 if I knew it was going to be more than six months before I got paid the finishing bonus I was promised," Starlin said.

Perham doesn't want people to think that Acclaim doesn't pay for services rendered. "Mr. Starlin has been paid for every page he penciled... and was paid for them months ago. The only monies owed him is this bonus, which I'm working to get paid as quickly as I can."

As of this writing, Shooter is still awaiting full payment for his part on the series also.

"[Mr. Shooter] hasn't been paid yet either [in full], but both he and Mr. Starlin are the next payables to be taken care of."

Just to be thorough, we wanted to check on the rest of the U2K creative team.

"We were late to Joe Rubinstein on his last two checks," Perham admists, "but he's been paid up through the first nine pages of U2K #6. He just vouchered for the final 13 pages of U2K #6, but he and I worked something out where he'll hold those pages until I have a check for him, which is a fair deal to everyone concerned.

"Digital Chameleon has been paid for everything they've done on the series (colors for issues 1-4), as has Chris Eliopolous (letters for 1-4). The remaining books (and some re-coloring and re-lettering that had to be done) are being done elsewhere."

With all the bad blood around, it has been rumored that Walter Black has been ousted, but the rumors are not true.

"Walter is still with us as publisher, but is much more active on the strategy guide side of the business than comics," Perham said. "He has over 20 years experience in the regular book trade, so that's really his area of expertise."

As a silver lining to this story, it should be announced that fan favorite Quantum & Woody will return to the stands in early 2001.

"We have several issues (#22-27) of Quantum & Woody 'in the can' and we will be bringing them out beginning with issue #22 in February," Perham said. "I can't comment on any plans beyond issue #27 until we see how the fans respond to the return, and I discuss things with Christopher Priest and Mark Bright." � Michael Thomas

Comic Brief ArchivesThursday, November 09, 2000

DragonCon founder indicted in molestation
Posted by
Jonah Weiland - 09:45 PST

DragonCon founder indicted in molestation

The following is from the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The founder of the popular Atlanta science fiction convention DragonCon was indicted Wednesday on charges he sexually molested two Gwinnett County brothers. Edward Eliot Kramer, 39, was indicted on two counts of aggravated child molestation and two counts of child molestation for crimes against the boys, ages 13 and 15. Kramer was arrested Aug. 25 for allegedly sodomizing the 13-year-old. The 15-year-old later told investigators he also had been molested while visiting in Kramer's Duluth home, said Curtis Clemons, an investigator with the Gwinnett County Police Department. Kramer, who has worked with troubled children in DeKalb County, was released on $75,000 bond on Monday but placed under house arrest with an electronic monitor. His attorneys argued that he could not stay in jail because he has severe arthritis and a skin condition requiring oatmeal baths and regular trips to a doctor. He has been ordered to stay away from anyone under age 16.

Comic Brief ArchivesWednesday, November 08, 2000

DOJ concludes investigation of Diamond Comic Distributors
Posted by
Jonah Weiland - 11:21 PST

Official Press Release

On November 6, 2000, Diamond Comic Distributors received written confirmation from the U.S. Department of Justice that it had concluded its investigation into the business practices of the comic book industry. The Department's decision reflects a determination that further investigation is unnecessary, and that legal actions because of allegations of monopolistic practices are unwarranted.

"When we were first informed by the Department of Justice in the Summer of 1997 that they would be examining our industry, we provided any and all information requested of us," said Diamond Founder and CEO Steve Geppi. "We were confident that we had conducted our business in a fair and ethical manner and that the DOJ would concur. Now, over three years later, they have finished an exhaustive look at not just Diamond, but the entire comic book industry, and have agreed with us that there is no cause for action. Obviously, we felt that was the case all along, and we're pleased with the Department's decision."

DIAMOND COMIC DISTRIBUTORS, INC. - the world's largest distributor of English-language comic books and related merchandise - is based in Timonium, Maryland, with strategically-located Distribution Centers servicing more than 4,000 specialty retailers worldwide.

Source: Diamond Comic Distributors

Comic Brief ArchivesWednesday, November 01, 2000

Judge tosses out $24.5 million judgment against Todd McFarlane, calls just award a 'mistake'
Posted by
Jonah Weiland - 16:45 PST

Official Press Release

TEMPE, AZ - Stating that judges shirk their duty when they fail to rectify a mistake made by a jury, Missouri Circuit Court Judge Robert H. Dierker announced on Halloween that he threw out the $24.5 million judgment against Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, originally awarded to Tony Twist in July. The former hockey player had sued McFarlane for unauthorized use of his name in the comic book series Spawn.

Judge Dierker, who presided over the original case, threw out the judgment stating that the case lacked "credible evidence that McFarlane at any time intended to injure Twist's marketability, to capitalize on the market recognition of the name Tony Twist, or in fact derived any � benefit whatsoever." He added that when McFarlane first used the name Tony Twist, the plaintiff had no market recognition and "was earning precisely zero income from endorsements."

"As I read this judgment, it was plain to me that the judge found the case lacked the credible evidence expected in a lawsuit of this magnitude," McFarlane said, "Mr. Twist with his contingency lawyer spent nothing on this case, while I'm out a half-million dollars and two years of my life defending my name because I knew I was right. Sometimes doing the right thing is the most difficult. I find it amusing that the corporate entities named as defendants in this case took the path of least resistance before the fight was finished."

McFarlane plans to pursue repayment of some costs from Twist.

Throughout the 22-page judgment, Judge Dierker stated that his court had seldom seen less credible evidence, and called the testimony of two of the plaintiff's witnesses "equally unworthy of belief" and "wholly unbelievable." He also noted that "Spawn is a work of fiction," and "there is no resemblance between plaintiff and the comic book Twist whatsoever."

Judge Dierker also states that "the court cannot find a single case, certainly no Missouri case, in which injunctive relief has been granted to prevent the use of a name by a writer or publisher in a work of fiction."

Source: Todd McFarlane Productions

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