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Friday, March 2, 2001

Friday update: JLA/AVENGERS A GO

Writer Kurt Busiek, artist George Perez and editors Dan Raspler and Tom Brevoort gathered at the MegaCon in Orlando, Fla., on Friday to formally announce the JLA/Avengers crossover.

There will be four 48-page bookshelf/Prestige format books in the crossover, with two coming from DC Comics, titled JLA/Avengers, and two from Marvel, titled Avengers/JLA. The books will begin in the middle of 2002 at the earliest.

Perez will pencil and ink covers and interiors, Comicraft will letter and Tom Smith will color.

The announcement was made during an afternoon panel at MegaCon. At first the creators joked of a Teen Titans/Fantastic Four crossover, even bringing art along. But then they made the announcement, which has been rumored for some time.

For Perez, it's a chance to do the project that was stymied some 18 years ago. He admitted to a "certain sweetness" in being asked to come back for the project.

"I know it became a priority for Joe Quesada when he became editor-in-chief at Marvel, and Dan and Mike Carlin were championing every chance they got," Perez said. "Lord knows, up until this very second, I was feeling a little skeptical.

"I am grateful to everyone who has been supportive."

Perez said he has been granted a full year's leave of absence from CrossGen Comics to work on the book. Perez had a clause in his exclusive CrossGen contract allowing him to work on this project.

Perez said he knew about his involvement in event since Dec. 15, but had to keep it a secret. "That was a long time for me not to say, 'I got to do the damn book finally!'" he said.

Busiek, Brevoort and Perez have already had a long run on Avengers. Raspler, who was given an Avengers ID card, said the chemistry is good between the companies.

"We all get along very well," Raspler said. "We all have a love of the characters."

Busiek noted that he is one of just five writers to handle both Avengers and Justice League, joining Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas and Mark Waid.

The book will be set in current continuity and will document the first meeting of the teams. "If this contradicts what's gone on before, that's too damn bad," Busiek said.

Busiek said that the crossover "will be a big story, it will be a cosmic story." He noted that both Hal Jordan - his favorite DC character - and Barry Allen will be showing up, that he's already thought of the "best Captain America/Batman fight scene ever" for the first issue and that his version of Batman will be as the "world's greatest detective."

The companies released a promotional image for the series, which included Goliath, Martian Manhunter, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Aquaman, Hawekeye, Flash, Batman, Vision, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Superman, Iron Man, Atom and Wasp. The creators noted that there will be more characters than that involved in the series, although maintaining it will be JLA/Avengers, not a DC Universe/Marvel Universe crossover.

Brevoort said the event will take place in both universes.

Perez is auctioning off the original art for the ACTOR charity, which benefits comics creators. Perez also announced that his Crimson Plague has been cancelled and he will not be involved in the Stan Lee project at DC Comics.

Brevoort noted that the companies will probably release images of the crossover as work progress. "Maybe a panel or two," he said. "So people see glimpses and know it's in the works."

Look for much more on JLA/Avengers and the MegaCon soon here in The Continuum.

TICK SERIES DELAYED

A representative of the Fox network told The Continuum on Thursday that The Tick live-action series won't be premiering this spring.

The Tick, based on Ben Edlund's comic book, will now premiere either in the summer, or more likely, this fall. The Fox representative said that The Tick's premiere has not been scheduled.

Fox had begun promoting the series, even with spots on its highly rated Temptation Island, but the spots only said the show was coming soon. The network has also released the pilot episode to the press.

The delay doesn't necessarily seem to be a reflection of show's quality, but might be a safeguard for Fox against the potential actors' strike.

ORLANDO MEGACON UPDATE

The Orlando MegaCon began on Friday, with an afternoon panel from Marvel Comics and DC Comics expected to feature an announcement on a JLA/Avengers crossover.

Check back The Continuum later today for a report on the panel.

THE OBLONGS' TRIPLE PREMIERE ON WB

The WB will premiere The Oblongs, a new animated comedy, on three times on Sunday, April 1.

The first episode will be shown on 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on that date. The show will move into is 8:30 p.m. slot the following Sunday, April 8.

The show is based on the works of underground San Francisco cartoonist Angus Oblong. It will be executive produced by Bruce Helford and Jace Richdale. Will Ferrell of Saturday Night Live lends his voice as the Oblong patriarch.

"The Oblongs is an off-center show and we've matched it with an off-center scheduling strategy that is not only compatible with April Fool's Day, but will get the unique comedy the sampling it deserves," said Jordan Levin, co-president, entertainment of The WB. "This sharp comic parable of society's ills is a unique look at the caste system in America, which should be relatable to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, or at the very least, lived in a nuclear waste site."

Here's how the network describes the show:

"The Oblongs depicts the warped world of a bizarre yet loving family of have-nots who can't seem to beat the caste system of the beautiful people living high on the hill. The Oblongs takes on everything from industrialism and environmental issues to how we raise our kids and the impact of social mores on the nuclear family, but at the core it's about a family with heart, strange as they may be.

"Oddly relatable misfits, the tight-knit Oblong clan lives in a toxic valley downstream from your typical industrial waste site, which has caused a variety of bizarre physical and emotional abnormalities. At the head of the dinner table is the loving, limb-less, tirelessly upbeat patriarch Bob Oblong (voiced by Ferrell) and his adoring, alcohol- and tobacco-addicted, bald but beautifully wigged wife Pickles (voiced by Jean Smart)."

The series was created by Oblong and Richdale.

THE COPYBOOK TALES COLLECTION

The Copybook Tales, the comics series by J. Torres and Tim Levins, will be collected into a 240-page trade paperback in May by Fanboy Entertainment.

"Four years ago, I was in San Jose attending APE. J. Torres was there promoting his series The Copybook Tales from Slave Labor Graphics. When I admitted I hadn't read the series, J. conned me into buying the whole run," said Fanboy's C.B. Cebulski. "Prior to going to the SLG party that night, I went back to the hotel and read the whole TCT run, knowing I'd be seeing J. at the party later. Needless to say, I loved the series and spent a better part of the evening talking to him about it."

The Copybook Tales is a humorous, semi-autobiographical six-issue series about '80s kids reluctantly growing up in the '90s, struck a nostalgic chord with readers across North America. The Copybook Tales Collection will reprint every story and piece of art ever produced for theseries. It will also include an all-new Copybook tale, the first new material produced for the series in years.

Here's how Fanboy describes the collection:

"The Copybook Tales follows the lives of two aspiring twentysomething comic creators trying to break into 'the biz.' For inspiration, the writer, Jamie, turns to his old journals (his copybooks) where he recorded his tales of youth, growing up in the 80s. In the pages of his copybooks, Jamie reminisces on his pop culture past, reliving the days of playing Pac-Man, breakdancing to Run DMC and trying to unravel the mystery of the Rubik's Cube. Over the course of the series readers see how the lives of the younger Jamie and 'the three Mikes' (his high school buddies) parallel that of the now grown-up Jamie and his comic collaborator Thatcher as they move into maturity, deal with 'the adult world' and search for a comic book publishing deal. Readers follow as Jamie as he reluctantly comes of age, looks back on the wacky, tacky 80s and realizes how all his past experiences shaped him into the neurotic but lovable geek he is today."

"This is the first time any of my work has ever been collected, and I think it's totally awesome. It's also fitting that it's Copybook being collected and that Fanboy's doing the collecting," Torres said. "Anyone who's read Copybook before knows it's a fanboy's comic, after all. And if they allow people like Boy George and Gary Coleman to attempt a comeback, why not us? For my next trick: I'm bringing leg-warmers back in style!"

Said Levins: "Looking back on The Copybook Tales makes me realize how much fun I had working on this series, and how much I miss these characters! I've had people tell me that they can relate to the world of Copybook - 'I went through the same thing as Jamie!' or 'I knew someone exactly like Mike Stone in high school!' -- and I think that's the greatest strength of the series.

"Reading TCT is almost like reading a chronicle of my own adolescence -- not because I'm one of the series' creators, but because I collected comics, I hung out with friends in high school, and I was once a teenager. If readers fit any one of these criteria, they're sure to enjoy The Copybook Tales."

The Copybook Tales Collection will collect the six issues of the Slave Labor series, the five self-published minicomics, all the TCT covers, pin-ups, promotional artwork, other odds and ends, as well as all the short stories from other books such as the SPX anthology, including "How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love John Byrne."

FRUMPY THE CLOWN COLLECTION

Judd Winick's Frumpy the Clown is returning to Oni Press on May 16 with a second collection, The Fat Lady Sings.

Created by Winick as a syndicated newspaper strip, Frumpy the Clown is the story of an acerbic, activist clown who moves in with a typical American family.

"It's getting harder and harder to find a comic reader not familiar with Judd's work," said Oni Press publisher Joe Nozemack. "We're happy to be bringing this early collection of comics to Judd's legion of fans."

"I couldn't be happier about seeing Frumpy back in print," Winick said. "To see all of my work on Frumpy collected into these two volumes is a childhood dream come true."

In addition to following the trials and tribulations of Frumpy and his adopted family, Frumpy Volume 2 also has the clown facing off against the common cold, teaching grade school children about Elvis and Picasso, and taking political activism to new heights.

"Frumpy follows in the grand tradition started by strips like Bloom County and Doonsebury," Nozemack said. "While some of the strips comment on the culture or political climate they were written in, they never seem dated. Frumpy holds up as a very funny piece of Judd's past and we look forward to sharing the rest of the clown's adventures this May."

Frumpy the Clown Volume 2: The Fat Lady Sings collects the last of Judd Winick's Frumpy newspaper strips and retails for $15.95. This 9"x9" volume is 148 black and white pages with a color cover.

CLAYPOOL COMICS FOR JUNE

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

ELVIRA #98

By Frank Strom, Tod Smith, Bruce Patterson, John Wilcox, Jim Mooney and Louis Lachance.

Ages ago, the mystical Unalith appeared. Then, it affected the evolution (and careers) of the '60s rockers the Primitive Aypes. Now, Elvira befriends Davy, one of the Aypes, and agrees to help him and his mates invade a space station -- one that's maintained by the obsessive-compulsive computer PAL. It's time for "2001: A Space Fallacy." Also, Elvira's on location for a jungle-adventure flick, and the only one who can help her complete it is Shaboo, the Elephant Boy, in "Pach it In."

32 pages, black and white, $2.50.

DEADBEATS #48

By Richard Howell and Ricardo Villagran, cover by Howell and Vey.

The mystery surrounding Ricardo's disappearance deepens, the vampiresses Martine and Colleen fall into enemy hands, and Southie risks everything to save his undead bride Brittany. Meanwhile, the sultry Contessa's campaign against adventurer Adam Collier puts several lives in jeopardy. It's all in "Dodging and Weaving."

32 pages, black and white, $2.50.


BRIEFLY

  • According to Variety's Michael Fleming, Eminem has been offered more than $4 million to join DMX in The Crow: Lazarus, the fourth movie in the series.

  • Alex Bialy, manager of Windsor-Smith Studio, provided The Continuum with an update on Barry Windsor-Smith: Opus 2.

    "I'm pleased to report that it shipped from the printer in Hong Kong two weeks ago, and should be in stores sometime in March," Bialy said. "If you haven't ordered a copy from some bookstore or comic shop yet, now is the time to let them know that you want it, so they can get it from Fantagraphics or Seven Hills Book Distributors."

    Bialy said the book could also be ordered directly from Fantagraphics' web site.

  • Coming later Friday: News from Orlando!!!
    E-Mail the Continuum at roballs@aol.com



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