Fans of Michael Kaluta's work, now that DC Comics' "Aquaman" is coming to an end likely won't have to do much more than turn around in their favorite comic shop to find his next big name project.

[Kaluta image]"I did 13 illustrations that will be included in the new D&D Monster Manual," Kaluta told the Comic Wire on Saturday. "All my pieces, with the exception of the Halfling, were monsters, like the Xorn, the Kuo-toa, Roper, Phasm and Greenhag.

"I've also just finished 10 more, for a slightly different D&D book, [Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerun] a more fantasy based part of the game ... I did the Aballin, the Abashai, Bullywug, Siv, Bat Deep and Boneguard, among others."

Kaluta's also got other work in the pipeline:

"I have finished a cover for a Christopher Golden Fantasy/Horror hardback titled 'Straight on 'til Morning.' It is limited and is heavily illustrated by many known artists, due out in January 2001.

"Beyond that, there's little new work coming out, but, there are two new books on my work slated for publication this year ... the first is 'Echoes' from Vanguard Productions and is a book of drawings, most never seen before: work from film and television design, game design and glimpses into other projects that never went anywhere, like the 'Illustrated Anne of Green Gables.' It'll be 120 pages in the regular paperback and the hardback, and there'll be a special hardback edition, signed and numbered, with 16 extra pages. This book is due out around the 20th of October.

"The second book will be coming from Spain, from Norma Editorial. It'll be mostly color and about 80 pages long. It'll be published in English by NBM here in America. So far there is no firm title, but the book is being shown at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, so I expect they've settled on one by now! This book is due out in November, but might come out in December."


Note: Adult language in following story.

[Authority #20]When Warren Ellis left DC/Wildstorm's "The Authority," conventional wisdom said that, no matter how good Mark Millar's work on the title might or might not be, sales would take a hit. Ellis, after all, was synonymous with "The Authority" for many fans, ever since he took over writing the team's precursor title, "Stormwatch," several years before.

Conventional wisdom, it turns out, was wrong.

"Just had some excellent news from [editor] John Layman at Wildstorm," Millar told the Comic Wire last week. "Apparently, 'Authority' has been jumping between fifteen hundred and two thousand copies -- a fucking ISSUE!"

DC, Millar says, is thrilled, "Wildstorm are delighted (I think we're now their top-selling monthly) and I'm chuffed to bits.

"Didn't even know this was happening, but apparently #19, #20 and #21 jumped almost two thousand copies every month. If we keep this up, I might even get a royalty cheque and be able to pay off my overdraft!"


While the character isn't a breakout hit, the blank-faced Question has had a loyal following over the years, both at Charlton and, for the past 15 years, at DC Comics. The character got an uncredited major role in the recent "Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood" miniseries, and next year, look for miniseries writer Greg Rucka to turn his attention back to the character once more.

"Cry for Blood" artist Rick "Burchett and I are going to start work on a Question story shortly, that will most likely run as a back-up in ['Detective Comics']," Rucka told 4 Color Review last week. "[Huntress] will be very present in that story," he said.

To Rucka, "Cry for Blood" was more of a "Huntress/Question" miniseries than a "Batman/Huntress" one, title be damned.

"I knew exactly where and when Batman would appear in the story, and I knew the influence he'd have on Helena's actions, but I always saw the story as more about Helena and Vic than about Huntress and Batman. Though I think it's a mistake to downplay Batman's influence in the story -- he's truly the most influential character … nothing that Helena did in 'Cry For Blood' was not, in some way, swayed by his presence."

As for which Question fans of the character can expect to see in "Detective Comics" next year, it's likely to have more in common with Batman editor Denny O'Neil's take on the character than the original Steve Ditko version.

"Denny's take is, to me, the definitive one. I've nothing against the Ditko Question, but the fact is that, personally, I find that incarnation rather boring. Denny took an essentially dull and violent vigilante with a single gimmick and invested him with character," he said. "And I personally think Denny's run on 'The Question' is one of the best series out there, that it truly did break rules and boundaries. Whenever I write Vic, I always write with Denny in mind."


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