Issue #37

The last time I ran a round-up of what projects creators are currently working on, it was so well received I've decided to make a semi-regular feature of it. Like today, for instance:

Me first, of course. Sure, it's a Batbook, it has costumes etc, a wacko interpretation of the Joker, two Batgirls, and cameos by Batman and the Black Canary, but DC 1STS: BATGIRL/JOKER is out today, and it also has some hyper Bill Sienkiewicz art, a story by me, more strange art by Terry Moore and Jimmy Palmiotti, and a Kevin Nowlan cover. So don't forget to have a look when you hit your comics shop this week. If you need a review to help you make up your mind, click here.

Also, MORTAL SOULS #2 is out today as well: a nasty story of a world -- ours -- controlled by the dead, who hate us, and of the cop who gains the ability to see who the dead are. The first issue got some big raves, and things get really nasty in the second. From Avatar. Coming up later this year from Avatar is MY FLESH IS COOL about an assassin who takes a drug that enables him to complete his missions from the safety of other people's bodies, and what happens when the drug becomes widely available to the discerning crack-smoking public. What would you do if you could be anyone, without answerability? Following that will be SACRILEGE (The Gospel According To Dud & Zero) about a pair of half-assed bounty hunters who get their hands on history's most dangerous secret: the immortal talking head of Jesus. Even Avatar's never published anything like this.

Of course, as soon as the art is finished on them, AiT/PlanetLar Books will be publishing the WHISPER graphic novel DAY X, with art by Aman Chaudary; the thriller VIDEOACTIVE, with art by Troy Cypress; and my western RED SUNSET, and within a couple weeks I hope to profile here the cool western art John Garcia's drawing for it. In June, AiT/PlanetLar will also be publishing BADLANDS: THE UNPUBLISHED SCREENPLAY in advance of July's BADLANDS trade paperback reissue, with art by Vince Giarrano. (For those who came in very, very late, BADLANDS is a crime story set in '63 and starring the man who really shot John Kennedy.) Many other things going on as well, including some trade paperbacks – look for the trade of MORTAL SOULS probably late winter, with several others in the works at various publishers - but loose lips sink ships. Give me a couple months.

So what are others up to:

Bryan (HEART OF EMPIRE; TALE OF ONE BAD RAT) Talbot: I'm currently penciling and inking a one-off story called BAG O' BONES for FABLES #9 from DC Vertigo, written by Bill Willingham. Also just penciled and inked a GENTLEMAN GHOST pinup for the upcoming HAWKMAN SECRET FILES. Meanwhile I'm developing concepts for 3 different graphic novels, one of which I hope to start immediately after finishing the FABLES job.

Mark (THE AMERICAN; SMALLVILLE) Verheiden: My most pressing "project" remains being Supervising Producer of the SMALLVILLE television show. (Anybody want to know how those cliffhangers in the final episode of season one are resolved? Send $5000 in small, unmarked bills to...) But aside from the show, I've written a SMALLVILLE one-shot story for DC, which will be coming out around the time season two of the series begins to air. It's my first comic book in several years, art by Roy A. Martinez, and working on it reminded me how much I love (and miss doing) comics. So, with luck, I'm hoping to do more in the near future.

Ronn (ELVIRA) Sutton: In ELVIRA #112 (Claypool Comics) a long-submerged forgotten continent rises from the sea and brings forebodings of doom in its wake. Naturally this means its a prime spot for a "Movie Macabre" remote shoot and Elvira's on the move to discover the secrets of Altoonis. Its all in "Doom is a Four-Letter Word!" the first chapter of the three-part "They Still Love Me in Altoonis!" featuring my 25th pencilling assignment on Claypool's Elvira title. Script by Strom, Inks by LaChance. August release.

Leonard (SUPERGIRL; JSA) Kirk: I have one more issue of SUPERGIRL to finish penciling before I leave that series. I'll be on JSA full time after that. Technically, I'm already on JSA full time and have been for the past six months. The extra money is nice but the work has got me beat. I also drew a small insert for the ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN SPECIAL that comes out in a few months. I've also been working (when I can) on a small press project called NATURE'S GUARD. And, every now and then I'll do a pin-up or cover or whatever that comes my way. The last one was a cover for the small press comic anthology 3RD EYE. (I have no idea when it comes out.)

Evan Young & Jareth Grealish: From Fintan Studios, what if there were a man... a hero... that no one could ever remember? THE FORGOTTEN is a four-issue series out in 2002 that introduces Clarence Flynn as Philadelphia's newest and darkest investigator. With the ability to alter people's memories, Clarence has undertaken the task of tracking down the murderer of an exotic dancer in a South Philly motel room. "the forgotten" is a noir mystery with a supernatural twist, and has appeal for fans of all comic genres. The first issue came out in April, and the series appears bi-monthly, with the next issue arriving in June.

Shannon (TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN) Wheeler: We're working on the next issue of our magazine, TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN, featuring "The Gay Twin Towers" by Jed Alexander; a Brian Michael Bendis interview; Denis Kitchen's "Bushmiller Society"; "Kevin Smith Is A Thief"; and new comics by Rick Geary, Jhonen Vasquez, Tony Millionare, Derf, Shannon Wheeler and more.

Mike (THUNDERBOLT) Collins: I'm currently writing and laying out a 180 page graphic novel based on -and using art from- a major Welsh language animated feature, THE OTHERWORLD. Riffing on the Welsh story cycle, the Mabinogion, I've been given a free reign to turn the animated art into 'real' comics pages... not just old style six panel grid, but designed to appeal to the regular and novice comics reader.

The project is getting a massive launch in November (at Harlech Castle, last I heard!) at the same time the movie comes out. We're in negotiations to do foreign language versions of the book (which in this context also means English!) The project is funded by S4C who are the major Welsh language broadcaster.

Tom (THOR; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) deFalco: For the past few months I've been working on a book of interviews called COMIC BOOK CREATORS ON SPIDER-MAN, featuring interviews with Stan Lee, John Romita, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Sal Buscema, Roger Stern, Ron Frenz, David Michelinie, Todd McFarlane, J.M. DeMatteis, Mark Bagely, Howard Mackie, Paul Jenkins, Mark Buckingham and Brian Michael Bendis. It was a fun project and even I learned some new things about everyone's favorite webhead. It will be published by Titan Books and should go on sale in July 2002. And, of course, SPIDER-GIRL is still chugging along.

Trina (GO-GIRL) Robbins: If you happen to be traveling in Vienna any time before June 23, head for the famous Secession Gallery (founded in 1902 by Gustave Klimpt and his Jungendstyle gang), and check out SHE DRAWS COMICS, the largest exhibit of women cartoonists ever shown, which I curated, on exhibit from April 24 -- June 23. If you can't get to Vienna, the gallery has produced a catalogue in the form of a comic, to go with the show. I edited the tradea paperback form of the comic/catalogue, and co-wrote it with 27 other women, who drew the interior pages (plus I did the cover). The book, titled (duh!) SHE DRAWS COMICS, will be available through Diamond distributors, or you can order copies on my website.

Lovern Kindzierski: I recently colored a hardcover project for Dark Horse that Craig Russell adapted from the Neil Gaiman prose piece "Murder Mysteries". The RING OF THE NIBELUNG TPB from Dark Horse is out now and the other three should follow at two month intervals.

Gary (THE AUTHORITY; OUT FOR BLOOD) Erskine: Due to the success of Garth Ennis' war story series last year, Garth's writing a new one but I'm drawing the whole bloody thing ( thanks to editor Will Dennis! ) Out in February next year, theoretically. I missed putting forward the last issue of THE AUTHORITY but that was a 'rush' job for John Layman ( great editor... no longer at Wildstorm ) so probably best. Although professional criticism has been good I expect to be lynched at Comics 2002 in Bristol by the fans. The real news is DC's THE FILTH for Vertigo. Written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Chris Weston I have the arduous task of inking the best stuff Chris has done for ages... possibly ever! The guy has excelled himself. I'd love to show you but DC are keeping it under wraps. Coloring by Matt Hollingsworth is also stunning. As far as the 'spiel' for the book I would stick to the DC promo released earlier. They really want to keep an air of mystery about it... and I don't blame them. It will be a blast!

Rich (ALL THE RAGE) Johnston: An Original Graphic Anthology featuring twelve of my short stories. From slice-of-life, to warped reality, to crime, to intergalactic fun, this 72 page piece of nonsense will be published by Twist And Shout Comics for Christmas. When they book is ready to be order, a 12 page preview of all the stories will be made available online and given away in comic shops.

Steve Niles: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT #1 is an unabashed, straight forward horror story which takes place in an Alaskan down that falls under months of darkness and attracts some unwelcome, undead visitors. With art by Ben Templesmith. In FUSED #2, the story of an innocent man stuck inside a massive steel robot-suit continues and in this issue we see exactly what happened, why and who's to blame. Book also features an extra 4 page back -up introducing THE IMPLEMENTERS!

Al (THE SPIRAL PATH) Davison: I'm publishing SPIRAL DREAMS under my 'Astral Gypsy press' banner, following from the graphic novel of the same name published by Slab-O-concrete. It is my continuing 'Dream Diary' and issue one contains 'The Invisible Library' a 24 hour comic inspired by Scott McCloud's challenge. The book is 32 pages including a 'Hypnogogic Gallery' selection. The A5 format B&W £2.00 + £1.50 p&p. can be ordered via my Web-site. Or e-mail me.

Erik (SAVAGE DRAGON) Larsen: Yeah-I'll be doing SAVAGE DRAGON for Image Comics. It's about this green-skinned amnesiac who becomes a cop and later gets fired and leads a government team then kills a deadly time-traveling foe which results in the world radically changing into a post-apocalyptic nightmare run by a machine-controlling dictator who he later topples. I expect to include a lot of cool monsters, weird freaks, explosive action and women with big cans.

Mike (NEXUS; THE BADGER) Baron: I just finished a WITCHBLADE novel for Byron Preiss. I think it will be out in August.

Ed (BATMAN; DEADENDERS) Brubaker: This month I'm pushing POINT BLANK, a 5 issue self-contained mini series coming this August from Wildstorm Productions new mature readers line, drawn by Colin Wilson with covers by Simon Bisley. POINT BLANK is basically an homage to pulp novels and movies like GET CARTER, with a bit of superhero deconstruction thrown in for good measure. It's a fast paced gritty crime drama that takes the reader through a mystery and on a short tour of life in a world of superheroes at the same time. It has some of the nicest art I've ever seen, which can be sampled at this link. An ongoing title, SLEEPER, spins out of POINT BLANK starting in December, the same month as POINT BLANK's final issue. You don't need to read one to understand the other, but it's is preferable. Though POINT BLANK stars characters from the Wildstorm world, it's cnew reader friendly. You don't have to know anything about these people to read this book. It's all there in the mini.

Jonathan (BIG BOOK OF THE '70S) Vankin: Well, if you want to give VERTIGO POP!: TOKYO yet more publicity, be my guest! As you know, No. 1 (of 4) comes out July 10. No. 2 is now scheduled for Aug. 7. With art by Seth Fisher, and coloring by Chris Chuckry. VERTIGO POP!: TOKYO is a story about a guy who moves to Tokyo for reasons he's not even totally sure of. Basically, he likes the high-tech gadgets that you can buy there, months or years before they come out in the states. When we meet him, he's purchasing a state-of-the-art digicam. Lost and lonely, he falls for a Japanese high school girl. But she's obsessed with a flamboyant, arrogant rock star. She thinks she can use her new American friend in her plans pursue the rock star - and to become a star herself. That's what she dreams about. As it turns out, the rock star is also being pursued by a yakuza gang who want a piece of his considerable action. Then, the fun really begins, and our American hero captures it all on digital video.

George (ENEMY ACE) Pratt: I can't remember if I posted the last time you did this, but I'm working on a Wolverine project called WOLVERINE: NETSUKE for Marvel. I'm writing and painting the four-issue mini-series, and it takes place in our time as well as Feudal Japan. I'm trying to bring about some kind of conclusion to the Wolverine and Mariko love story. The first issue's scheduled for September. Then, I imagine, it will come out monthly. A couple of sample images can be viewed on my web site.

Nate Southard: The first issue of DRIVE, a three issue crime series will be coming out somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas from Frequency Press. It's a story that asks the important question, "What happens to all those cab drivers that get caught up in car chases in the movies?" A preview of some kind will be available at San Diego, where I'll be wandering the con floor on a guerilla marketing spree.

Carla "Speed" (FINDER) MacNeil: FINDER TPB #4 is still cooking at the printers... out in a couple weeks. FINDER #27, still on the drawing board, will be a July book. FINDER FOOTNOTES #8 (bag-o-three plus little ashcan booklet, lovingly handcrafted), is due in August. Talisman reprints FINDER issues #19-#21, plus intro and 'director's extras' in the back. The story's up for two Eisners this year. This one's made my readers cry and wish death upon me; it's for the book fiend in all of us. The next arc, "Dream Sequence," begins in the Footnotes (issues 23-25) and continues through #26 (now in shops) and #27, to be completed in #29, due out in November. That one's about Magri White, who's living vicariously inside his own head. My haunted-head story. These are all from Lightspeed Press, written and drawn by Carla Speed McNeil.

Antony (FRIGHTENING CURVES) Johnston: ROSEMARY'S BACKPACK Teen adventure. Written by Antony Johnston. Drawn by Drew Gilbert. $12.95. Published by Cyberosia. 112-page graphic novel. On sale in September. "Rosemary Grant is a normal fourteen-year-old computer geek; shy, introverted, with no time for anything other than hacking and schoolwork. But one morning, Rosemary's life is turned upside-down when she literally bumps into a stranger, who switches her school backpack for one he's carrying...and this one talks!" Sometime after that we should see the start of NIGHT RADIO, with me writing the willfully obscure murder-mystery 150 WEST. And November sees Part One of 3 DAYS IN EUROPE goes on sale from Oni, with art from the very talented Mike Hawthorne. 3 DAYS IN EUROPE is a Romantic comedy, drawn by Mike Hawthorne, with covers by J Bone, published by Oni Press. 5-part series. #1 goes on sale in November. "New Yorkers Jack Pentura and Jill Boscombe have been going out for three years, but their relationship is on the rocks. So Jack has planned a special, surprise Valentine's weekend vacation for them both, in Paris. The only problem is, Jill's been busy too - and has booked them a surprise Valentine's vacation in London... Over the next three days, one of them will fall in with thieves and end up on the run from the cops, while the other will bed a rock star and, well, end up on the run from the cops. This is one vacation they're never going to forget."

Jeff Parker: In September I'll be soliciting THE INTERMAN under the company name Beast. (It's already got a thumbs up from Diamond.) THE INTERMAN is a 128-page paperback in color, a globe-spanning adventure story that works through the world of spies and hitmen. Van Meach, the title character, physically adapts to any environment and situation, and can learn languages and skills quickly. Now he needs to learn why an alliance of nations has sent hired killers around the world after him-- and is there another Interman?

Rob (CASTAWAYS) Vollmer: THE CASTAWAYS TP is shipping from Absence of Ink Press on June 5th: A graphic novella cut from the fabric of America itself, following the adventures of young Tucker Freeman as he hops a train, armed with only fifteen cents and his natural wits to find his place in this broken America of the Great Depression before the realities of being young, poor, and homeless consume him. Illustrated in a lush blue tone by Spanish comics artis, Pablo G. Callejo. Additional art contributed by Farel Dalrymple (POP GUN WAR) and Nepalese artist Rajiv Golay. 56 pages, blue tone and Perfect bound at $5.95.

Dan (OBERGEIST) Jolley: I'm writing SABRETOOTH: MARY SHELLEY OVERDRIVE, a four-issue mini-series from Marvel due out on June 12. It's being penciled and inked by Greg Scott, and colored by JD Mettler. MSO is one night in the life of Victor Creed, a.k.a. Sabretooth, in his "civilian" capacity as a hired killer. There are no costumes, the whole thing takes place in the space of about nine hours, it's chock full of mutilations, automatic weapons, and rough mutant sex, and Wolverine is never even mentioned. Plus you get to see what Victor Creed likes to eat for dinner.

Jeff Limke: I have a 6-issue mini-series coming out from Kenzer and Co entitled DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: BLACK AND WHITE. It's Kenzer's attempt to go with some material that's a bit edgier and less dependent upon the Heroic Quest archetype for a story. That's where I come in.... Her simple theft of a royal messenger should have given Tinélith a bit of coin to live on and pay off some of her debts. If only the messenger's pouch had contained only coins Instead of magically sealed scrolls, too. Now the City Guard of Rel Mord and the Royal Army of Nyrond want them back and they're not very concerned if that means Tinélith's alive or dead.

Mike (GI JOE) Norton: I'm drawing RADISKULL AND DEVIL DOLL, the comic adaptation of the atomshockwave.com cult classic internet cartoon. Josh (GI JOE) Blaylock and Tim (LOVE BUNNY and MR. HELL) Seeley are writing it. That should publication in July from Devil's Due Publishing. This August will see the debut of JASON AND THE ARGOBOTS from Oni Press. It's a touching story about a boy and his intergalactic war machine. J. Torres writes the stories, I provide the pictures. And of course there's GI JOE which is still monthly through Image/Devil's Due, which I do the design work for.

Matt (THOSE ANNOYING POST BROS.) Howarth: I just sold a few JLA scripts to DC, and am finishing up my third text BUGTOWN novel (which I'll be digitally self-publishing).

Which proves one thing, anyway: if you're one of those comics fans who constantly complain there's nothing new or different out there, you're just not looking hard enough.

If you're a working professional (meaning actually having a published comics or graphic novel project coming, and please don't take this as anything more than I have to draw the line somewhere, but that doesn't include mini-comics and online comics) and you missed out this time around, just e-mail your data in, including your name, publisher, a brief description of the project, and any online promotional site for it, and I'll run this feature whenever I get enough listings. Someone's got to tell the world this stuff exists, right?

The week in psychopolitics:

Remember the last week or so (I know you're not supposed to) when it seemed like every administration official seemed an inch away from throwing up their hands and declaring the end of Western Civilization at the hands of implacable terrorists, and not just al-Qaida, who, inspired by 9/11 and their insane hatred of the West, were likely to come swooping down on us at any moment? A "high-ranking official" originally "leaked" the "news," which was then "verified" by no less a figure than Our (usually invisible) Man On The Front Lines, VP Dick Cheney himself, who declared "the prospects of a future attack on the U.S. are almost a certainty"... "not a matter of if, but when." FBI Director Robert Mueller, a true believer in the self-fulfilling prophecy if a whistleblower from Minnesota who has starkly illustrated the FBI's blundering regarding terrorist suspects pre-9/11 is credible, "There will be another terrorist attack. We will not be able to stop it." (Which conjures up the obvious question: then what the hell do we need you for, Bob?) Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld then threw his panic attack into the ring, disclosing, "We do face additional terrorist threats. And the issue is not if but when and where and how." Then Warren Buffett, not an admin official but widely touted at the time as "someone in the know" (hey, he's a billionaire; if he's not in the know about these things, who is, right?) dourly declared "We're going to have something in the way of a major nuclear event in this country." (Later, less publicized reports, suggested Buffett was talking out of his hat and basically trying to scare the government into becoming a guarantor for insurance companies, his current campaign of the moment. Despite this, Rumsfeld backed him up in Congress a couple days later, stating "we have to recognize that terrorist networks have relationships with terrorist states that have weapons of mass destruction, and that they inevitably are going to get their hands on them, and they would not hesitate one minute in using them. That's the world we live in.")

Later, Cheney vehemently denied these statements were timed to blunt growing suggestion the government failed to put 2 and 2 together pre-9/11. (Due to the whistleblowing, the FBI now seems poised to fall on its own sword on this one.)

Okay, so here's the kicker. A couple days ago, flush with his arms treaty victory in Russia, the Hand Puppet himself gave an interview to the European press in which he basically says it was all just speculation. Mueller was just, you know, speculating. Turns out Cheney and Rumsfeld were just speculating too. Turns out – get this – if there were a credible threat they probably wouldn't publicize it at all! (Which makes sense, really.)

In other words, all this panic talk was just talk. Apparently to generate widespread unease instead of just panic.

Or the President has it wrong.

Which means either they think we're all dumbasses, or someone very highly placed in the government is. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

For more Bushenanigans, check out this recent BOONDOCKS strip. Overstating the case a bit, but...

Those wishing to comment should leave messages on the newly redesigned Permanent Damage Message Board. You can also e-mail but the chances of a reply are next to nil these days, given my workload, though I do read all my e-mail as long as it's not trying to sell me something. IMPORTANT: Because a lot of people apparently list it in their e-address books, this account has gotten a slew of virus-laden messages lately. They're no real threat but dealing with them eats up time I don't really have, to the extent I can no longer accept unsolicited e-mail with attachments. If you want to send something via attachment (say, art samples) ask me first. If I say okay, then send. Unsolicited e-mail with attachments will be wiped from the server without being read. You can also leave messages for me and have discussions on other topics at my Delphi forum, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE. Please don't ask me how to break into the business, or who to submit work to. The answers to those questions are too mercurial for even me to keep up with.

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I'm reviewing comics sent to me – I may not like them but certainly I'll mention them – at Steven Grant c/o Permanent Damage, 2657 Windmill Pkwy #194, Henderson NV 89074, so send 'em if you want 'em mentioned, since I can't review them unless I see them. Some people have been sending press releases and cover proofs and things like that, which I enjoy getting, but I really can't do anything with them, sorry. Full comics only, though they can be photocopies rather than the published version. Make sure you include contact information for readers who want to order your book.

If you want to know something about me, you can probably find the answer at Steven Grant's Alleged Fictions.

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