BUSIEK GETS TO WORK ON JLA/AVENGERS
Yes. At long last, DC Comics and Marvel Comics have cut through the red tape and pushed aside all the other hassles, and the JLA/Avengers team-up is finally happening, the companies announced Friday afternoon at Megacon in Orlando, Florida.It's been three weeks since DC and Marvel Comics fans got the word some of them had waited almost two decades for, that at long last, the companies were bringing together the Avengers and Justice League of America in a team-up book.
With fans willing to argue vociferously over what sort of visor Cyclops should wear, one could expect an announcement of a miniseries like this would evoke equally strong reactions. But for the most part, JLA/Avengers writer Kurt Busiek told the Comic Wire on Sunday, the response has been "extremely positive.
"This is a book that readers have an enormous amount of enthusiasm and interest for, so announcing that yes, the book is under way, and yes, George [Pérez] is drawing it, were definite crowd-pleasers. And my rep isn't such that I was expecting a lot of people to say, 'You bastard Busiek! Get outta the room and let a real writer in!' Not to say there weren't a couple of those, but only a couple ..."
Busiek also took the unusual step of setting up an e-mail account -- JLAAvengers@aol.com -- to get information from the fans about what bits they'd like to see in the miniseries. They haven't disappointed him.
E-mail traffic to the address has "been heavy. I haven't been counting, but the responses have been in the hundreds, though I don't think we've hit a thousand yet."
"Most of the suggestions have been unusable, because people ignored the request to list what minor bits they'd like to see and sent in suggestions for the story concept, the villains and other such stuff, which had all been decided on at that point. One guy even sent a detailed beat-by-beat outline for the story he wanted to see. But I was expecting that sort of thing, so I wasn't discouraged by it.
"And then there were the people suggesting stuff we'd already decided to do -- they may think their idea got in, when it would have been there anyway, but hey, that's OK too.
"There have been a few suggestions that made us think of things differently, or hit ideas we hadn't considered -- those messages, whether we use 'em or not, are the stuff I was hoping for."
It was only the March 2 weekend that Busiek, Pérez and editors Tom Brevoort and Dan Raspler actually got to sit down together at Megacon in Orlando, Florida, to get to talk about the series in person.
"It was a lot of fun -- very upbeat, very encouraging," Busiek said. "We had the main structure in place before we got there, and spent our time working on just how we'd put some flesh on the bones. Important stuff, but it didn't change the big picture much, that I recall."
Which means that Busiek is now getting to work on the project.
"It's under way. Not as far along as I'd like, but it's coming along."
Don't look for a guesstimate as to when fans will actually be reading the book, though.
"It'll be scheduled when it's close to done. Until then, anything's a guess -- and since, on the Internet, guesses magically transform into rock-hard fact and then people get made when they turn out not to be true, I'm not even going to guess."
In the meantime, it's not like Busiek won't already be hip-deep in superheroes, as the writer of Marvel's monthly "Avengers" book. Pérez's replacement on the book, artist Alan Davis, will be leaving later this year, after a six issue stint. But the changes to the tone of the book -- with the Avengers becoming more proactive than they have been recently -- isn't going anywhere.
"Alan's last issue is #43. And no, we're not changing the direction -- it was never a six-issue thing, and in fact, by the time he leaves, we'll be well under way with a major epic that'll take us through #50 and beyond. Hardly the time for significant changes of direction."
As for what fans can look forward to in that period:
"Lots of fun stuff -- a major clash with Kang that won't play out the way people expect. Action all over the world, and in space. New Avengers joining, old Avengers returning. Villains all over the place. Bittersweet romance. Creepy romance. Medical emergencies. Aid from unexpected quarters, at least twice. Big ol' scope, monumental danger. Portents and prophecies. And someone in an Avengers jacket.
But no word as to who the new permanent artist on the book will be, although it's been decided, Busiek said.
"Yes, but we're not saying who at present. Rick Leonardi and Karl Kesel will be doing three issues after Alan departs -- and anyone who saw their recent issue of [CrossGen's] 'Scion' will tell you it'll be great-looking stuff -- and then the new guy comes on."
And while Pérez's second run on "Avengers" was seen as a fairly impressive one in length in this day and age, Busiek's still going strong and had never expected to be on the book this long himself.
"I really had no idea -- but this is the longest I've been on any title, at least in terms of number of issues."
As for how long that run will eventually be:
"Since I haven't decided to leave, I still have no idea."
ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT FOR BENDIS TO PRINT
Well before he was a hot property, writer Brian Michael Bendis had already discovered the value of the Internet, using his Web site to communicate with his fans. These days, for the breaking Bendis news, one can get it as-he-posts-it from his message board, where he posted a Bendis Daily News Update on Saturday:
"ITEM! you know what i got today. i got a copy of the cover to ULTIMATE TEAM UP 6 BY Bill Seinkevicz. so i had probably one of my personal favorite moments of my career. i am going to grovel to the marvel biggies to let me sneak the black and white version early. it is too cool for words.
"ITEM! for sure shipping this week in ['Ultimate Marvel Team-Up'] 2. there are sneaks of it all over the web. It's worth buying just for the freakish reality that three old caliber kids are producing a top ten book from marvel.
"it's very surreal for us -- believe me. if you are a [phil] hester fan and you damn well should be -- this is definitely one of his finest and funnest moments.
"ITEM! in shipping flux -- meaning they are at the tail end of the printing/shipping route is POWERS 10 and JINX DEFINITIVE. I will know on monday if they are shipping this week or not. if they don't ship this week they will definitely ship next week."
"ITEM! i was given an advance. advance copy of the new issue of wizard. You will see that ['Powers' and 'Hammer of the Gods' artist] mike oeming has entered the world of wizard top ten artists.
"you will see an advance peak of chuck austin and greg horn's work on elektra, plus major plot point revealed.
"and unrelated to us is the cool east meets west art portfolio. chris gossett draws elektra - cool. joe lisner drawing speed racer.
"ITEM! ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM UP NEWS AND UPDATE!!
"THE ARTISTS LINE UP FOR UMTU HAS CHANGED AND NEW ARTISTS HAVE COME ON BOARD...
"remember each individual story will vary from dark and intense to zany and silly to explosive - depending on the character and the artist.
"ISSUE 1 - Matt Wagner - Wolverine
"ISSUE 2-3 - Phil Hester - The Hulk
"ISSUE 4-5 - Mike Allred - Iron Man
"ISSUE 6 - Bill Seinkevicz - The Punisher
"ISSUE 7 - Sam Kieth - Daredevil
"ISSUE 8 - Bill Seinkevicz - The Punisher, Daredevil, and Spider-Man (issues 6-8 are one storyline)
"ISSUE 9 - Jim Mahfood - The Fantastic Four
"ISSUE 10 - Jon Totleben - Man Thing
"ISSUE 11 - P. Craig Russell - Dr Strange (maybe a two parter)
"ISSUE 12 - David Mack and Rick Mays - Master Of Kung Fu
"Joseph Michael Linsner - THOR
"ARTISTS ON BOARD FOR THE FUTURE -
"Dave Gibbons - Fantastic Four
"Mike Avon Oeming And Pat Garrahy - Captain America
"Andy Kubert - Nick Fury
"John Romita jr. and sr.
"Terry Moore - Black Widow
"(terry is off schedule now due to conflicts, but we will have him when he has time)
"and believe it or not, much, much more.
"ITEM! POWERS 10 IS AT THE PRINTER. the shipping date will be announced and it will be soon. it is by far pat garrahy's finest hour.
"ITEM! i saw there was some talk of this subject on the board. for those who care, i will be flying solo as writer on ['Ultimate Spider-Man'] 8 from now on."
SPIDER-MAN'S NEW WEB (SITE)
Marvel Comics' Ultimate Spider-Man hasn't gotten his job working on the Daily Bugle Web site yet as the Ultimate Peter Parker, but the first official Spider-Man Web site hit the Internet on Friday, in the form of a Sony Pictures Web site promoting the upcoming movie.
While the movie won't be released until May 2002, the Shockwave site features movie news, 360 degree views of different sets and downloads.
And, yes, that is his costume.
ME, MYSELF AND COMIC BRIEF
Here's what's news and press releases in CBR's Comic Brief since the last edition of the Comic Wire:
- TV Guide Cable Edition previews "Farscape" comic
- CrossGen Offers retailers an anniversary special
- 15th Annual WonderCon coming to Oakland in April
- Animation pioneer William Hanna dies at the age of 90
As for last time in the Comic Wire:
- "Spider-Girl" Fans Mobilize to Save Book
- "7 Guys of Justice" Gets Accidental Variant Cover
- "Monarchy" #2 Delayed on Account of Illness