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Thursday, April 26, 2001


David Goyer, writer and producer of the upcoming Ghost Rider movie, said that production of the film could begin as early as July if there are no strikes.

"The script is done and we're in pre-production right now," Goyer said last weekend at WonderCon. "Nicolas Cage is circling the drain. He hasn't signed on the dotted line yet, but we've had lots of discussions.

"Depending on the writers' strike and the actors' strike, if the strike doesn't happen, we'll be shooting this summer. It's a big budget, it's about $80 million. Stephen Norrington, who I did Blade with, is directing. It's definitely R-rated."

Goyer said the film takes a similar approach to Marvel's new Ghost Rider: The Hammer Lane comics mini-series.

"In terms of character, it's really simplified, back to basics," Goyer said. "It's Johnny Blaze and in the movie it's his fiancee Roxanne. And there's a character in the movie that's the devil - and that's it.

"I know it sounds odd but, its much more realistic-minded. Our model was Unforgiven, believe it or not."

Goyer elaborated on Ghost Rider's powers for the movie.

"As the Ghost Rider, he can flip over a truck with one hand," Goyer said. "He can fire flames and things like that. He's kind of like a fire elemental. There's a scene where there's this huge fire, and he goes like this (waves hand) and the fire parts like the Red Sea.

"Even as Johnny Blaze, if Johnny Blaze walks into a room with candles, the flames will bend toward him.

"He also does have the penance stare. He'll grab you and force you to relive tenfold all the sins you have perpetuated in your life. On the balance scale, if there are too many sins, you'll burn up and incinerate. If you're largely a good person, you'll be spared."

What about Ghost Rider's motorcycle?

"He does have a cycle," Goyer said. "But if he's the Ghost Rider and he touches any motorcycle, it transforms into the same motorcycle, the same demonic entity. It happens with any motorcycle, whether it's a Kawasaki or a Harley Davidson. It will transform into this kind of hellcycle."

Goyer said Ghost Rider's cycle can break the sound barrier and it leaves a trail of fire.

"We have a scene where he rides down a street and all the windows shatter and the whole street is molten asphalt," Goyer said.

In other Marvel movie news:

* Goyer said he is in talks about writing the Doctor Strange movie for Columbia.

* Variety reports that Peyton Reed, who directed Bring It On, will be directing Fantastic Four for 20th Century Fox. Reed reportedly is seeking a new writer for the film.

* There will likely be a Spider-Man movie presentation at Comic-Con International in San Diego.


Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Animation have provided The Continuum a larger version of the Justice League group shot that first ran in TV Guide this week.

Warner Bros. Animation producer Shawn McLaughlin elaborated on how Batman will be approached for the show.

"The character is not going to be different, but he'll look a little different," McLaughlin said at WonderCon last weekend. "The style evolves with every show.

"It's a little bit softer, and for want of a better phrase, a little more kid friendly. Don't take that to mean it's been dumbed down or anything like that. It's kind of between the original Batman the Animated Series and the revamp."

Executive producer Bruce Timm told The Continuum that no contracts have been signed for Justice League regarding music, but he hopes to have Shirley Walker and the other composers from the previous DC Comics shows involved.

Look for more on Justice League soon here in The Continuum.

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Marvel Comics' Bill Jemas announced on Wednesday that Marvel is continuing its direct-market relationship with Diamond Distributors. In addition, Diamond will be handling Marvel's trade paperback distribution into bookstores.

"We think that is a huge area in growth," Jemas said of the trade paperback deal during Wednesday's press conference. "Because Diamond has been a valued partner for the past 3-1/2 years with Marvel and a long time before that, with a little bit of a Heroes World hiccup in between, we think they deserve the business.

"There have been a tremendous number of rumors about Marvel moving past, beyond and away from our traditional relationships. The simple fact is, we had spoken to a bookstore distributor who had made a pitch at Diamond's business, and didn't get it. And we spoke to a newsstand distributor who made a pitch at Diamond's business and didn't get it.

"As is very often the case during negotiations, word leaks out that is premature and often inaccurate. Marvel's thrilled with begin back with Diamond. We think we've ironed out some kinks in terms of our reporting systems and technical work. Beyond that, it's business as usual, only bigger and better because of the opportunities out there for trade paperback in book stores."

"We're very excited about the bookstore opportunity," said Diamond's Chuck Parker. "It's an area of distribution that we don't have a great deal of experience in, but we feel now that we've learned a little bit more about, we're extremely excited about it."

Jemas said the trade paperback program will be "exactly opposite" of that to Marvel's no-overprint policy for comics.

"For books to make sense economically, we really have to print a bunch of them. Then we have a reasonable cost per book and we don't have to get into significant price inflation issues," Jemas said.

Jemas said part of the issue is how much backlist Marvel has produced and the other part is how well Marvel keeps track of the decline in inventory.

"Diamond has really stepped up to the plate in terms of helping us organize that," Jemas said, adding that bookstore deal with Diamond is favorable enough for Marvel to afford higher prints runs.

Diamond will store all the inventory.


Artist Tom Raney told The Continuum that he is working on Uncanny X-Men #399.

"It's my first issue with Joe (Casey, Uncanny writer)," Raney said. "It's a great script."

The next month will be Uncanny X-Men #400. Asked if it will be an extra-sized issue, Casey told The Continuum:

"It'll be a big issue... but that's pretty much all I can say at this point. It'll be big. It'll be different. But definitely not your normal 'anniversary' issue."


July will usher in what Top Cow Productions calls "the beginning of a new era" with the release of Darkness #40, written by Paul Jenkins and drawn by Dale Keown.

Darkness #40 is the first story to kick off the next 18 months of Top Cow's editorial direction.

"I feel like we're writing the definitive Darkness story," said Jenkins, who is also Top Cow's story editor. "It is a culmination of all of the vice and violence of Jackie's life and for the first time he is forced to confront his feelings."

"When we first brought Paul on board as an editor, we flew him out to Los Angeles and had an enormous story meeting," said Top Cow editor-in-chief David Wohl. "Our goal was to outline an overall strategy and direction for our core titles. Darkness #40 is the first stage of our new plan."

"Our ultimate goal is very simple, we want to publish the best written, best drawn, best inked, best colored and best lettered books in the industry," said Top Cow president Matt Hawkins. " A lofty goal, for sure, but definitely one worth pursuing."


Publisher Larry Young announced on Wednesday today that his publishing house will release a second Foot Soldiers trade paperback in September.

Written by Jim Krueger, and with art by Phil Hester, the 152-page book collects the five-issue series as originally published by Image Comics as well as a new six-page story written by Krueger, penciled by Hester and inked by Bill Sienkiewicz.

"As icing on the cake, we're wrapping the whole enchilada up in a Bill Sienkiewicz cover. Apparently, Bill liked working on the six-pager so much, he just had to do the cover, too," said Young. "His piece for the second volume makes a nice thematic match for the Alex Ross cover of Volume One, in that Alex's piece is darker and more somber than his usual work, while Bill's cover for Volume Two is brighter and more organic than his usual stuff. There's just something about Krueger's characters that makes artists stretch their muscles a little."

Here's how the series is describes:

"The Foot Soldiers takes place in a future oppressed by a police force that keeps a law no one can possibly live under. A new hope is unearthed when three boys are chosen by a mysterious old man to exhume a forgotten legacy of justice. They go to the graveyard of superheroes and rob the graves, only to find the shoes of the legends are impossible to fill. But with the rebirth of heroes, can the rebirth of villains be very far behind?"

This collection features brand-new appendices for each chapter written by Krueger, and extra never-before-seen Hester art and stories.

"We were pretty impressed with the sales velocity on the first Foot Soldiers trade," AiT/Planet Lar co-publisher Mimi Rosenheim said, "so we figured it'd be silly not to get that 'lost' Foot Soldiers stuff back into print."


JLA: Incarnations #1 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from DC Comics. The issue is written by John Ostrander, with art and cover by Val Semeiks and Prentis Rollins.

Here's how DC describes the issue:

"The generations-spanning mini-series begins. Set in the earliest days of the original JLA, the new team tries to pull itself out from under the shadow of the venerated Justice Society of America. Unfortunately, this proves to be impossible when the world suffers an attack from the mysterious sorcerer known as Wotan."

JLA: Incarnations #1 will be 48 pages and will cost $3.50.



Wonder Woman #169 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from DC Comics. The issue is written by Phil Jimenez and George Perez, with art by Jimenez, Andy Lanning and Perez and a cover by Adam Hughes.

Here's is how DC describes the issue, which is the conclusion to the two-part "Paradise Lost" story:

"This issue features a special wraparound cover at no extra cost depicting an epic Amazon battle drawn by Adam Hughes, and a 5-page section inked by Perez. It's a major turning point for the people of Paradise Island as the civil war reaches its climax -- but not without one heavy casualty. Plus the Golden Age Fury unleashes her wrath on Wonder Woman, who refuses to take arms against her sisters."

32 pages, $2.25, arrives in stores on April 25.



100 Bullets #24 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from DC Comics. The issue written by Brian Azzarello, with art by Eduardo Risso and a painted cover by Dave Johnson.

Here's how DC describes the issue, which is the conclusion of the two-part "Red Prince Blues" story arc:

"As the families of The Trust hold their summit, Agent Graves carefully prepares to make a move against one of the members. Unbeknownst to him, there's another man with his own grudge against a member of the mysterious shadow organization. He may not have the resources at his disposal that Graves does, but he certainly has the nerve."

100 Bullets #24 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.50.



Green Lantern #138 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from DC Comics. The issue is written by Judd Winick, with art by Dale Eaglesham and Rodney Ramos and a cover by Darryl Banks and Rich Faber.

Here's how DC describes the issue, which is part one of the four-part "Away From Home" story arc:

"Kyle and Jade are sent to an exotic planet as ambassadors of peace. But when a terrorist act plunges an alien civilization into Civil War, will our heroes choose peace or will they choose to fight?"

Green Lantern #138 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.25.



  • Marvel Knights editor Stuart Moore has provided The Continuum with a sneak peek at the art of Alex Maleev on Daredevil. Maleev is joining writer Brian Michael Bendis as the regular creative team beginning with Daredevil #26.

  • Devin Grayson said that DC will be collecting her Vertigo series, User, into a trade paperback, possibly a hardcover.

  • Rick Veitch is writing the six-issue Greyshirt: Indigo Secret mini-seires. Artists include Russ Heath, Dave Gibbons, Al Williamson, John Severin, David Lloyd and Frank Cho.

  • The Monarchy #4 will now ship on June 13, as opposed to the original date of May 16.

  • Coming Friday: Movie news - and much more!!!
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