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Friday, Dec. 8, 2000


Will Meugniot, producer of Spider-Man Unlimited, provides insight into the making of the Fox Kids series, never-before-published designs and storyboards from the Captain America animated series and the final answer on the "missing episodes mystery" of X-Men in a question-and-answer session with The Continuum.

For the complete interview and artwork, CLICK HERE.


Marvel Studios' Rick Ungar told The Continuum that production on the Mutant X television series could begin as early as April and that developments will soon be announced on the Thor television series.

"We anticipate getting in front of the cameras in April," Ungar said of Mutant X. "If you've done it really well, you hope to have eight to 10 scripts in your pocket before you go to shooting."

As for releasing details about Thor, which has been in development at Artisan Entertainment?

"Soon," Ungar said. "Something is happening there."

Getting back to Mutant X, Ungar said it is not based on the comic of the same name. In fact, Ungar doesn't even want to call it an X-Men spin-off.

"Everybody wants to make it that, but sorry," Ungar said. "It would probably be fair to say it's a new generation of characters, but it's not the X-Men. The X-Men are the X-Men."

Ungar said the initial idea of Mutant X came from Marvel's Avi Arad. Ungar has written the series bible and a treatment.

Here's how Ungar describes the series:

"Basically, it starts about 20 years ago, where the government and private industry get involved in the genetic research, which led to what is now known as the Genome Project, where they map out the actual evolution of genetics. What we find out is that they've kind of figured out some time ago the secrets to the rest of us. They work with the government and basically create young new mutants, which can be made to specifications. If somebody is an All-Star athlete and would like to have their son or daughter be an incredible athlete they can kind of make this happen - if they have the right connections.

"This does happen and there are a number of Genome Project children that are created. For most of their lives, they function as ordinary people, except they do have this extraordinary talent. Somebody who has been bred for athletes is probably somebody who is on the Olympic swim team.

"What ends up happening is, it's kind of a ticking timebomb. When they hit the age of 18 to 20, something goes wrong. It turns out they didn't understand the genetic mapping as well as they thought they did. And the talent that they created is mutated into super powers. And this creates an entire generation of mutants, different from all the mutants we've all known and love, being that instead of being born as them, they were basically created.

"You now have a somewhat embarrassed government that is aware of this. They have a way of tracking these people, and they're not real happy about their fairly serious mistake, these people all over the place. It becomes important to the government to get these people back. That becomes the thrust of the show, the attempt of the government to either capture, destroy or put to government purposes these individuals. And our team of Mutant X are pretty much dedicated to locating or saving these mutants."

The leader of the team is a mutant who becomes super-intelligent. He's slightly older than the other four members of the team, who are in the 18-25 age range.

Ungar, who is executive producing with Arad, said the series' villain is pretty interesting.

"He is in some ways reminiscent of the Cigarette-Smoking Man in The X-Files," Ungar said. "He has unusual characteristics, this villain. But he does work for the government. There are some interesting aspects to what motivates him."

Mutant X is being produced with Tribune Entertainment and Fireworks Television. Like other Tribune shows - Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict - Mutant X will have two show-runners, one in Los Angeles to oversee writing and another in Toronto to oversee production.

"I really like their system," Ungar said. "I've produced a lot of television, so I have a sense of how that works. It's a good system because we like the writing done here where we can keep close tabs on it."

Look for much more on Mutant X and Thor soon here in The Continuum.


Static Shock story editor Chris Simmons said the staff at Warner Bros. Animation is "psyched" over the renewal of the Kids' WB! series for a second season. The network confirmed the anticipated renewal Thursday morning.

"All through the first season, it was great to see how both entities -- Warner Bros. Animation and Kids' WB -- stayed committed to making the show as successful as possible," Simmons said. "It is a cool show, and the fact that everyone involved believed in it from Day One made it a joy for me to work on.

"Most of all, thanks to the fans out there who gave us BIG ratings from jump, and stuck with us through a timeslot change. Your loyalty is very appreciated!

"We're looking forward to an even more exciting second season. The best, as they say, is yet to come!"

Since its debut on Sept. 23 on Kids' WB!, Static Shock has been a consistent performer. Airing on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. after a brief stint at 10:30 a.m., the series is the No. 1 broadcast program among its time period competitors, season-to-date, in the key demographics of Kids 2-11, Kids 6-11, Boys 2-11, Boys 6-11, Boys 2-5, and Girls 6-11. In addition, the series ranks No. 3 among Kids' WB! programs in Kids 2-11.

"We have had a wonderful partnership with the creative team at Warner Bros. Animation throughout the development and production of the show. We are excited that kids have responded as strongly to Static, a new kind of teen superhero with real humor and heart, as we expected they would," said Donna Friedman, senior vice-president of Kids' WB!. "We proudly look forward to 13 all-new powerful episodes of Static Shock on Kids' WB!'s Fall 2001 schedule."

"We are extremely proud of Static Shock and are thrilled that it has been picked up for a second season, keeping its teenage protagonist, Virgil, and his super-hero alter ego, Static, in the esteemed company of such Warner Bros. Animation super-heroes as Batman and Superman," said Jean MacCurdy, president, Warner Bros. Animation.

In related news, while Kids' WB!'s Friedman told The Continuum that Batman Beyond would return to the network next season, it's unclear if there will be any new shows. No new shows are currently in production.

"No one has said anything to us, meaning the producers and crew, about new Batman Beyond episodes," Batman Beyond producer Paul Dini said. "Static Shock has been renewed, but that's all we have heard."


Writer/creator Ed Brubaker told The Continuum that DC Comics is canceling Deadenders with #16.

Brubaker released the following statement:

"Perception has been against this book from the start. From the beginning, we've been plagued by predictions of doom, despite the fact that DC got behind the series debut in a way they never have with a creator-owned book.

"With that much skepticism from readers and retailers alike, it's not too surprising the series didn't do very well in the long run. Aside from a completely loyal and supportive base of readers, no one seemed to pick up this book. DC put out the trade but didn't promote it, which was disappointing, but most books selling where Deadenders was wouldn't have gotten the trade treatment in the first place, so I don't really have a lot to complain about. I'm sure the book was only around this long because people at DC genuinely liked it and wanted it to succeed.

"But #16 is the final issue of the series. I offered to wrap it up because I didn't want to do a book that was losing money for my publisher every month. My plan was to end it later, but this was the issue that was decided upon.

"I would like to thank all those at DC who supported this book from the start - including Paul (Levitz) and Jenette (Kahn) - and all the fans who became pushers, essentially, trying to get their friends and retailers to try the book. I think it was beginning to work, but it was too late, I guess. I'm not really sad, because I have so many other things in the works right now, but I think we did a good monthly comic that was unique in its approach in a lot of ways, and I hope to be able to work with Warren (Pleece, Deadenders artist) again soon. And to all those readers who have discovered my work through this series, I hope they will follow me to other endeavors."

Brubaker is writing Batman and Catwoman for DC.


Spyke, the made-for-TV X-Men who debuts in the "Speed and Spyke" episode of Kids' WB!'s X-Men: Evolution, bears a resemblance to the comics' Marrow, but that's only coincidental, the show's creators told The Continuum.

"With Spyke, we kept kicking around ideas," producer Boyd Kirkland said. "What can this guy do? What could he be? There were all kinds of possibilities.

"When I suggested this idea, I didn't know about Marrow. And as what I suggested and the artwork evolved, Frank (Paur, series director) said, 'This character is a lot like Marrow.' And I said, 'Who's that?' It didn't develop with the idea in mind that we were going to make another Marrow. It just sort of ended up that way. You try to think up a character with powers that nobody's done already. It will end up being like somebody who already exists, I'm telling you."

X-Men: Evolution director Steve Gordon said there is a difference in powers between Spyke and Marrow.

"Spyke can throw the spikes," Gordon said. "We spent a lot of time working out how he can use them. He can throw them and sling them. We played with a lot of ideas on how he can use them.

"In a lot of ways, his power was based on the idea of Iceman almost, what he can do with his stuff where throws it and use it as an offensive weapon."

Gordon said that Spyke, who is the nephew of Storm in the show, is not in pain when the spikes grow out of him, but there is a biological result to the action.

"What we do show, even though we don't make a big point of it, is that he has to drink a lot of milk to make up for the calcium that he loses," Gordon said. "There's a show where he's grabbing every carton of milk he can find and is just chugging it down. We don't make too big of a point about it, but it's there for anyone who is interested in."

In his civilian identity as a student at Bayville High, Spyke has blonde hair and wears contemporary clothes.

"We played with a lot of different hair styles with him, something kind of hip and contemporary," Gordon said. "We were originally pushing for kind of these tied down braids, but we didn't go that way. We went for more of a Dennis Rodman type of cut since he's into basketball and skateboarding. His hair, like his aunt, is not the black hair color. It's yellower and gives him a little more unique work. It's like a flat top with a cut-in.

"We knew he was going to be a skateboarder so we looked into skateboarding magazines for his look. It's very much contemporary and hip."

In other X-Men: Evolution news, Kids' WB! will repeat the "Rogue Recruit" episode on Saturday, Dec. 16 and the "Mutant Crush" episode on Saturday, Dec. 23.


The trailer for the Tomb Raider live-action movie appeared on entertainment shows on Thursday night and on the movie's official site on Friday morning.

Entertainment Tonight conducted an interview with Tomb Raider star Angelina Jolie from the set.

"In the beginning, I thought, 'Oh, how can I possibly be this woman? I don't want to be this woman.' The pressure..." Jolie said. "I was crying the first few nights. I thought had joined the army. I came back bruised and swollen."

Jolie, 25, wound up doing many of her stunts, though.

"I can't wait to do a sequel, and that's on the record," Jolie said.


Following are Claypool Comics' solicitations for March, with information coming from the company.


By Frank Strom, John Heebink, Mike Manley, Jo Duffy and Tod Smith.

Elvira and two pals attempt to finance their own low-budget movie, starring themselves in their quest to find the nudie sorceress who haunts the woods. The naked truth 's all in "The Bayer Witch Project." Also, Elvira's shampooing in the shower looses the deadly menace of three big Hollywood egos, in "Mess in a Bottle," by Jo Duffy and Tod Smith.

32 pages, black and white, $2.50.


By Peter David, Richard Howell, Al Bigley and Kim DeMulder, cover by Amanda Conner and Bill Anderson.

Party, party, party all the time! That's Hot-2-Trot's latest obsession, and the rest of the Soulsearchers are concerned about her enthusiastic excess. If she travels down that path, she'll come to -- "A Bad End."

32 pages, black and white, $2.50.


Uncanny X-Men #389 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Chris Claremont, with art by Salvador Larroca and Tim Townsend.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"The election has come and gone. The life of every mutant has been impacted. Where do the X-Men go from here? And can Professor X pull them together enough to help a desperate Cecilia Reyes?"

Uncanny X-Men #389 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.25.



Cable #88 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Robert Weinberg with art by Michael Ryan and a cover by Ian Churchill.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"Guest-starring Nightcrawler. In the aftermath of 'Dream's End,' Nathan Summers is tormented by the knowledge that the future is doomed. Can Kurt Wagner restore the Chosen One's hope?"

Cable #88 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.25.



Amazing Spider-Man #26 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Howard Mackie, with art by John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"What is the connection between Peter Parker's father and a one-time enemy of Spider-Man? Find out as the wall-crawler investigates the life of his dearly departed dad."

Amazing Spider-Man #26 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.25.



Impulse #69 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from DC Comics. The issue is written by Todd Dezago with art by Eric Battle and Buzz and a cover by Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher.

Here's how DC describes the issue:

"Part 2 of an unusual tale that ties into events from Green Lantern: Circle of Fire. The stubborn speedster finds himself battling a world-quaking creature on the planet Rann. Guest-starring Green Lantern and Rann's champion, Adam Strange."

Impulse #69 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.50.



Scion #7 will arrive in stores on Dec. 20 from CrossGen Comics. The issue is written by Ron Marz, penciled by Rick Leonardi, inked by Karl Kesel and colored by Paul Mounts.

Here's how CrossGen describes the issue:

"Ethan and his family mourn the loss of one of their own as a royal funeral is held. Soon after the body is laid to rest, a stranger from distant lands arrives at the Heron castle, offering his services as war adviser and taking particular interest in Ethan's sigil. As thoughts turn to revenge against the East, Ethan is forced to make a decision that could mean turning his back on his family forever."

Scion #7 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.95.



Black Panther #27 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Christopher Priest, with art and cover by Sal Valluto and Bob Almond.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"Will there be war between Wakanda and Atlantis? Tensions erupt as the Black Panther, the Sub-Mariner and Doctor Doom play a deadly game of chess. Guest-starring Storm and the Avengers."

Black Panther #27 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.50.



  • Famke Janssen, who played Jean Grey in X-Men, is guest-starring in two episodes of Fox's Ally McBeal. Janssen's episodes will be on Monday and on Monday, Jan. 11.

  • An official announcement is expected soon, perhaps even on Friday, about the casting of Cliff Robertson as Uncle Ben in the Spider-Man movie.

  • Each issue of Marvel Knights' Daredevil: Yellow mini-series will be 32 pages with a cardstock cover and will cost $3.50.

  • Marvel has provided The Continuum with a look at the cover to Thunderbolts #50, left, the double-sized issue that ships in March.

  • Coming Monday: Image Comics news -- and much more!!!
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