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ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN ‘GEEKSVILLE’

[Rich Koslowski]
Rich Koslowski

Here is the first false cancellation rumor of the new millennium put to rest: “Geeksville,” published by Image Comics, is not ending with issue five.

The rumor began with John Kovalic bemoaning the cancellation of “Geeksville” in the pages of his comic, “Dork Tower.” He’s since retracted the comment on his Web site, but the rumor had already escaped onto into fandom.

“As the saying goes, ‘the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,'” series co-writer Rich Koslowski told the Comic Wire on Tuesday. “I don’t know why John thought we were ending with #5. We are friends, and talk comics a great deal, so I think we just mixed signals somehow.

“I’ve noticed that rumors like these swirl around quite a bit in this crazy, little industry of ours. Oh well, whattaya do?”

“Issue #5 is at the printer now and will be out sometime in January,” co-writer Gary Sassaman told the Comic Wire. “We have already solicited for issue #6, in the current ‘Previews’ [catalog].”


MARVEL OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES ‘ULTIMATE MARVEL MAGAZINE’

In a long-expected announcement, Marvel Comics finally made their attempt to recapture the newsstand audience official on Wednesday.

As had been previously reported, reprints of the Ultimate Marvel comic series — currently “Ultimate Spider-Man” and “Ultimate X-Men,” with a new Spider-Man team-up series on the way — will be the anchors for a full-length magazine featuring other Marvel Comics material.

“The Ultimate Marvel Magazine will revolutionize the comic book industry and will help to resolve two of the major issues facing comic book publishers – distribution and appeal to tweens and teens,” Matt Ragone, Marvel Vice President Retail Sales, was quoted in the press release. “We recognize the difficulty some consumers currently face in finding the specialty stores to buy our comics. By developing the product in a magazine format we are able to ensure there will be ample distribution and that it will be available everywhere.”

The first issue of Ultimate Marvel Magazine is scheduled for a January 16 newsstand release and will be priced at $3.99.

“Ultimate Spider-Man” and “Ultimate X-Men” both relaunch their respective franchises in the present, with a modern take on the concepts and characters. Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, for instance — only a cipher in the original Stan Lee story — has become a garrulous former hippie as reinvented by writer Brian Michael Bendis.

The magazine will feature slightly abridged reprints of the comics, and will reportedly eventually feature other comic reprints to supplement the interviews and feature articles, although the Wednesday press release did not mention non-Ultimate Marvel reprints.

While Ultimate Marvel Magazine will reportedly be available in comic shops through Diamond Comic Distributors at some point, the main thrust of its distribution will be through Curtis Circulation Company and I.D. Wholesalers (Regional Magazine Wholesalers), getting the magazines to newsstands and mass market retailers. The rise of the direct market over the past two decades was accompanied by comics losing shelf space in venues outside dedicated comic shops.

Marvel representatives have been saying for some time the company intends to push the new initiative as hard as it can, and the press release echoes those sentiments: “The largest publishing initiative in the Company’s history, Marvel will back the Ultimates program with a major marketing and promotional campaign that will include print advertising, content on Marvel.com, ads promoting the other Marvel comic book lines, and the distribution of promotional samples through its licensing and promotional partners.”


CROSSGEN PROMOTES ASSOCIATE, SHIFTS LAND TO NEW TITLE


Greg Land fans who are scooping up back issues of CrossGen’s “Meridian” in preparation for his arrival on the title take note: He’s not going to be handling the book’s art chores after all.

The former DC Comics artist is still making the move to CrossGen, of course. But he’ll instead be penciling “Sojourn,” a new title set to launch in July.

The company announced the change in plans on Wednesday.

Instead of Land, the new full-time “Meridian” penciller will be Steve McNiven, who’s already been working on the title as one of CrossGen’s associate pencillers.

“We’ve been so impressed with Steve’s work on Meridian, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to take him off the book,” Mark Alessi, CrossGen’s CEO and publisher, said in a press release issued Tuesday. “It’s rare that you can find a talent that takes so well to a particular book, so we figured, why make the change? Greg Land didn’t have a problem with it, especially since the change in plans afforded us the opportunity to give Greg and his inker Drew Geraci a brand new title for them to design from the ground up and make entirely their own.”

Beyond saying that writer Ron Marz would be joining Land and Geraci on the title, CrossGen was reticent regarding what “Sojourn” will be about: “‘Sojourn’ will introduce its own new cast of characters, but long-time CrossGen readers may spot a familiar face or two lurking in its pages, including the exploits and whereabouts of one previously seen. Sojourn will also reveal additional layers of the CrossGen Universe’s expanding mythos, and provide readers with a fantastic new read set in the five lands of a new fantasy world.”

“Steve McNiven drawing ‘Meridian’ is a great thing,” Land said in the press release. “As excited as I was to draw it, his work just seems to fit the book. Now Drew and I have the opportunity to create an entire new world and new characters and I get the chance to work in a genre I’ve never had the opportunity to work before, but have always wanted to. ‘Sojourn’ is going to be a lot of fun.”


REVENGE OF THE COMIC BRIEF


Here’s what’s news (and press releases) in CBR’s Comic Brief this millennium:

  • “Just One Page” Charity Comic Call For Donations
  • Alison Dare Packs Her Bookbag For New Miss Adventures
  • Humanoids Publishing solicitations for product shipping April 2001

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