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Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2000

WILL MEUGNIOT TALKS SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED

Even though the series has been out of production for nearly a year, Spider-Man Unlimited producer Will Meugniot told The Continuum that more episodes might be made.

"There's always a possibility, if the show performs well," said Meugniot, who currently works at Stan Lee Media. "As long as the contracts are in place that would allow Saban to do more episodes, I suspect there's a possibility for more new episodes if the show's successful."

Spider-Man Unlimited was pulled by Fox Kids after three episodes in October 1999, but the network has returned the series this month, with intentions of airing all 13 episodes that were produced at Saban Entertainment. Meugniot said that he and story editor Larry Brody were already looking ahead to the second season when Fox Kids yanked the show.

"Our plan had been, and Larry's scripts were working to it in the second season, that by the end of Episode 26, Spider-Man would be returning home from Counter-Earth," Meugniot said. "Actually, Larry had written six more scripts and we had started doing a little bit of pre-production on them."

Meugniot designed the characters for Spider-Man Unlimited - some of the designs are published here -- and said there was an intentional anime feel.

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"We were trying actually to do something a little bit different from X-Men and the previous Spider-Man show," Meugniot said. "The show was going to be animated by Koko, the studio that did a lot of the Batmans. So we thought we would try to do something a little bit ambitious on this one. I did the primary character design on it, and tried to steer it a little towards the anime feel. Also, we were playing around with the art direction on the color a lot, like the Capcom video games, and try to go with the real color intensity of the video games."

Spider-Man Unlimited features several Counter-Earth versions of Marvel characters, including the Goblin, a mysterious vigilante who debuts in Episode 3; Machine Man, who revolts to become a good guy; Vulture, a human rights activist; and Electro, a humanoid eel. The show at one point was even going to have Deathlok, until concerns regarding Marvel's licensing the live-action movie rights to the character caused his removal.

Look for much more from Meugniot -- including his comments on the original X-Men series (and the show's much-rumored lost episodes) and the Captain America series that was canceled before it ever aired - in a special Continuum Q&A this weekend.

SPIDER-MAN ACTION FIGURES

Toy Biz has announced plans to release the second series of Spider-Man Classic action figures this spring, probably in March.

The second series will include Classic Spider-Man, Battle Ravaged Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider and Rhino.

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The first series, expected in January, will include Man-Spider, Venom, Spider-Man and Alien Costume Spider-Man.

In other Toy Biz news, commercials have begun airing for the X-Men Classic figures, which are now in stores.

X-MEN: EVOLUTION'S QUICKSILVER

In addition to the made-for-TV character Spyke, Quicksilver will be introduced in this Saturday's episode of X-Men: Evolution on Kids' WB!.

Here's how the "Spyke and Speed" episode is described:

"Evan and Pietro, fellow students and constant competitors, discover that they are both mutants with super-powers - which increases their competition to dangerous levels!"

The episode was written by X-Men: Evolution story editor Bob Forward.

"Quicksilver is an adrenaline junkie, an anything-for-a-thrill, hyped-up competitive type who can't stand keeping his powers under wraps and loves pushing people's buttons, especially if they have powers," Forward told The Continuum.

Pietro is a transfer student from the same inner-city area as Evan. He's a fast-talker and a know-it-all who assumes a leader's role with the bad mutants.

In presenting Quicksilver for animation, director Steve Gordon told The Continuum he wanted to convey a need for speed.

"We kind of wanted him to look like a coke fiend," Gordon said. "A lot of times, there's just whites all around his eyes. And there had to be something unusual about his hair. We did a modification of the comics, but we made it look like a contemporary hairstyle by making it long on top and short on the back and sides."

Quicksilver's costume is a also modification of his costume from the comics, and creates a neat green speed line when he's running.

"We wanted to do the lightning bolt, but we wanted to hip it up a little bit," Gordon said of Quicksilver's costume. "We wanted to make it very sleek. All the characters, if you look at them, have got their normal colors working from the comics into these designs. That was a concept that Marvel felt was important."

Quicksilver, who eventually becomes a hero in the comics, was the last member of the bad guys added to the show, replacing Sauron.

"They were just looking at an interesting villain," Gordon said. "Where it goes next season, I don't know."

And what about the fact that in the comics Quicksilver is Magneto's son?

"We hint at his relationship with Magneto but don't really address it in this season," Forward said.

"We touch on it. We don't do much with it, but it's there," Gordon said. "The fanboys will probably read more into it than the average kid watching will."

Quicksilver's voice is done by Richard Cox.

STATIC SHOCK TACKLES RACISM

This Saturday's episode of Static Shock on Kids' WB!, "Sons of the Fathers," deals with the subject of racism.

In the episode, written by Static Shock story editor Chris Simmons, Virgil finally convinces Richie to let him hang at Richey's house, where he discovers that Richie's father is racist. Meanwhile, after Static has captured Talon, a revenge-minded Ebon discovers that Richie has ties to Static and captures him.

Kids' WB! has heavily promoted the episode, sending preview tapes to the mainstream press.

"First of all, two big thank yous to Warner Bros. Animation and Kids' WB for being so enthusiastic and supportive about this episode, from its initial conception all the way through the finished product," Simmons told The Continuum.

"Anytime you wish to tackle a delicate, hot-button issue like racism within the fabric of a series, especially a Saturday morning cartoon show where your primary focus is to entertain your audience and have fun, you run the risk of violating your prime directive. But the inherent nature of Static Shock's makeup lent itself perfectly to exploring the issue of racism.

"Needless to say, I'm infinitely pleased about how well the episode turned out. There's a wonderful balance between laying out the issue, then dealing with it while staying completely true to the characters and their specific points of view. By the end of the episode, Virgil and Richie's friendship emerges even stronger than ever. And with all that, we still deliver an action-packed, humorous show, as always.

"Dan Lauria, who played the father on The Wonder Years, gives a powerful performance, giving Richie's racist father a depth and dimension that makes the episode further insightful. He is matched perfectly by Kevin Richardson, who voices Robert. Their shared scenes are electric."

Simmons said that Static Shock will not become an "issue of the week" series.

"It is indeed a fun, high-adventure series by definition," Simmons said. "But it is nice to explore important issues from time to time. And based on the response we hope to get from 'Sons of the Fathers,' maybe we'll get a chance to do it again."

CONNER/PALMIOTTI'S NEWEST ANIMATED PROJECT

Mainframe Entertainment and Studio B Productions on Monday announced their first co-development project intended for television, Surf n Turf, based on a property created by comic-book artists Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti.

The show, a comedy, will feature multiple segments and multiple styles, blending computer and traditional cel animation.

Here's how Mainframe describes the show:

"The story takes place in the SandCastle Restaurant somewhere in California. Chef Turf, a short, gruff, tattooed, wisecracking bulldog from Brooklyn, has a temper as short as his legs. Surf, the restaurant's Maitre d', is a sweet, live-for-the-moment, air-headed lobster whom everyone loves because of the empathy he exudes to his clients, friends and fellow fish... even the ones about to be cooked.

The series, now in development, will have a free flowing format where, on occasion, stars Surf and Turf, will give way to other segments: including Escape From Aquatraz and Nick And Scratch. These segments are independent of the main story but all take place in the SandCastle Restaurant. Escape From Aquatraz is a prison comedy where a group of convict fish are trying to escape the restaurant's "catch of the day" fish tank before they are turned into a blue plate special. Nick And Scratch operate the Valet Parking at the SandCastle and, while they are Vehicular Placement Engineers by trade, they are actually accidents waiting to happen.

Mainframe Entertainment and Studio B plan to share all development costs.

Said Studio B Partner Chris Bartleman, "Surf n Turf will be slick, smartly written and hilarious. The perfect series in which to showcase the combined talents of our studios."

Mainframe is also developing an animated series based on Gatecrasher, the comic book created by Palmiotti, Conner and Mark Waid.

FABIAN NICIEZA TALKS THUNDERBOLTS, CITIZEN V

Thunderbolts writer Fabian Nicieza provided a few details about Thunderbolts #50, the double-sized issue shipping in March.

"Well, we will resolve all of the issues surrounding the secrets of Scourge, who his bosses were and why they wanted him to kill the T-Bolts," Nicieza said. "Said revelations will create a whole new host of problems for our happy cast of characters, and some of the answers require further investigation, which will be conducted by Citizen V in the CVB Limited Series starting a few weeks after T-Bolts #50! Nice when a plan comes together, isn't it?"

Thunderbolts #50 will be the last issue for artist Mark Bagley, who will focus on Ultimate Spider-Man. Nicieza said that Patrick Zircher, who drew Thunderbolts #45 and #49, will become the regular artist as of Thunderbolts #51.

The mini-series Nicieza referred to is Citizen V and the V-Battalion, a three-issue series that starts in April and will be drawn by Cable artist Matt Ryan. "The first batch of pages have come in and they look really, really slick," Nicieza said. "Should be a fun series."

The mini-series' hook?

"When someone is trying to take over the world, what's the best alternative, stopping them, or usurping the methods being employed so that YOU can take over the world yourself?" Nicieza said.

"Or, to put it another way, let's say you've been fighting the good fight for 50 years, what would you do if a ready-made solution to creating peace on Earth presented itself to you - and all it required is... compromising your ethics... just... a... little... ?"

GREEN LANTERN: 1001 EMERALD KNIGHTS

Green Lantern: 1001 Emerald Knights, an Elseworlds one-shot in the Prestige Format, will arrive in March from DC Comics.

The book is written Terry LaBan, with painted art by Rebecca Guay.

Mike Carlin edited the book, picking up from former Green Lantern editor Kevin Dooley.

"This was something that I actually championed with Kevin before I inherited it because I felt it was important to have Elseworlds really look and feel different than what you see in the DC Universe," Carlin said. "This is not just that they are wearing turbans or things like that. Rebecca's artwork is so different from anything you see in the general DC Universe comics, including the painted artwork that we run in our upscale stuff. I really felt it was important to get this stuff out there.

"The story is a fairly literal translation of The Arabian Nights fable. But it really is fun to see characters like Kilowog as genies and things like that. For the real Green Lantern fans, it should be fun. For people who don't normally read Green Lantern - or comics at all - it should be very accessible. And I actually think that this is something that if somebody has a girlfriend or wife who might not like comics as much as you wish they did, this would be the thing to try them on."

The book will be 64 pages.

HUMANOIDS PUBLISHING FOR MARCH

Following are March solicitations from Humanoids Publishing, with information coming from the company.

METABARONS: PATH OF THE WARRIOR TPB

By Alexandro Jodorowsky and Juan Gimenez.

Collecting issues #1-5. Discover the lineage of a character first created by Jodorowsky and Moebius in The Incal, as the history of the warrior clan known as the Metabarons unfolds in this volume. Metabarons tells the story of the ultimate bloodline of warriors. We follow each successive generation as they struggle to overcome the forces amassed against them, continue the traditions of their clan and fight against a world corrupted by greed, power and terror. Path of the Warrior follows Othon, the first Metabaron, as he loses his family and his world in a series of tragedies that lead to the creation of the Metabaron clan.

152 pages, $14.95.

LEO ROA, BOOK 1: THE TRUE TALES OF LEO ROA

By Juan Gimenez.

Leo Roa is an aspiring young journalist who ends up an unwitting chess piece in a strange mystery involving a murder, missing data, and the identity of the space-pirate Captain Drake. When Leo's friend is murdered in a plot to destroy data concerning Captain Drake, he must run for his life as he realizes the missing data is still in his possession. Along the way he faces angry alien pets, starship chases, a love hungry villain, and an army of pirates as he stumbles across the answers to the mystery. Written and illustrated by Metabarons artist Juan Gimenez.

60 pages, hardcover, $14.95.

FIRST LOOK: DANGER GIRL: KAMIKAZE #1

Danger Girl: Kamikaze #1 will arrive in stores on Jan. 10 from WildStorm Productions and DC Comics. The issue is written by Tommy Yune, with art and cover by Yune and Vince Russell.

Here's how DC describes the issue:

"A new evil lurks in the depths of East Asia, taking Abbey, Val and Sydney from the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong to the ancient jungle ruins of the Angkor Empire. Right on the heels of the gripping conclusion of their mission against the Hammer, the Danger Girls must face a shadowy new nemesis known only as the Kama Syndicate. After losing the trail of an infamous arms dealer, the Danger Girls send Valerie after a lead in Kowloon, relying on her computer-hacking skills to recover nuclear secrets stolen from the former Soviet Union. But when a beautiful -- and mysterious -- Chinese operative enters the scene, all hell breaks loose. What was supposed to be a simple search and retrieval mission turns into an explosive firefight over Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor. And the adventure doesn't end there: The Danger Girls unearth something terrifying dating back to World War II. What had long been thought lost with the defeat of the Japanese Axis threatens to resurface and terrorize the world once again."

J. Scott Campbell is providing an alternate cover. Danger Girl: Kamikaze #1 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.95.

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BRIEFLY

  • Todd Dezago told The Continuum he has written an Atom story with his friend and inker, Rich Faber.

    "It's a two-part tale that will appear in an upcoming Legends of the DC Universe," Dezago said. "Rich and I have been friends for a few years now and he was dying to try his hand at writing, but wanted to collaborate on something first to 'test the waters.' (Personally, I think he's done a great job!!) We have both loved The Atom since we were kids and so..."

  • Memphisto Odyssey's video for "Crash" is currently airing. The song is part of the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker soundtrack, and there are images from the film in the video.

  • George Perez is co-writing Wonder Woman #168-169.

  • Coming Thursday: X-Men news, DC news - and much more!!!
    E-Mail the Continuum at roballs@aol.com



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