Comic Wire

Tue, July 20th, 1999 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

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TIME

NOT UP FOR 'CHRONOS'

With the spate of DC Comics series ending with their tie-in issues to the upcoming DC One Million crossover event this fall, one series has been repeatedly rumored to be teetering on the precipice itself.

But "Chronos" artist Paul Guinan says that reports of the new series' demise have been greatly exaggerated.

"'Chronos' has been renewed for a second season, as they say in TV-land," Guinan told the Comic Wire Friday. "In fact, Mike Carlin will take over as editor after Dan Thorsland leaves, which is a welcome show of support. So much for rumors!"

Although the series has attracted a hardcore audience, it's not a particularly large one (which was the basis of the cancellation rumors). Guinan says DC hasn't been breathing down his neck or that of the series' writer John Francis Moore.

"I mean, sure, we'd like to reach as large an audience as possible, but from the start we've tried to make 'Chronos' accessible, compelling, and fun. That's not going to change," he said. "With Carlin at the helm, it'll be easier to tie Chronos more heavily into the DCU, so we may see more cross-pollination in months to come."

DC is also pushing the series in several ways over the weeks and months to come. The lead character, Walker Gabriel, will appear in a framing sequence in the "Legends of the DC Universe" 80 Page Giant special, DC will be shipping an extra-large order of issue nine in an attempt to get more readers to pick the series up, and Gabriel plays an important part in the aforementioned DC One Million crossover.

As for the near future of "Chronos," Guinan was willing to let a few hints drop:

"You've no doubt seen the scenario of a dystopian, fascistic, alternate-reality present created by a screw-up in the past. Well, just such a scenario is coming up in CHRONOS - but when Walker tries to fix the screwup, there are some nasty consequences for him.

"'Chronos' #9 and the DC1M issue are both self-contained stories. After those, we'll follow up on earlier story lines and tie up loose plot threads, then take the series into new territory. And don't worry about the 'cliffhanger' ending of #8 -- we'll get back there.

"Funny thing about the 'One Million' issue of CHRONOS ... Because I didn't pencil it, I had just enough time, at just the right point in my schedule, to finish work on the new 'Heartbreakers Superdigest' book I produced with my wife, Anina Bennett. I hope 'Chronos' readers will check it out; 'Heartbreakers Superdigest' is a unique publication, due out in late July from Image Comics. It's tough even to come up with comparisons -- the best I can do is that HB 'Superdigest' is kind of a cross between 'Disney Adventures' (mixed-media, square-bound anthology) and [Dark Horse Comics'] 'Martha Washington' (female hero in science-fiction action stories). … It's got Heartbreakers stories, crossword puzzle, maze, fumetti, text features, lettercol, and more, in a 104-page, paperback-sized book."

And Guinan had a special message for "Chronos" fans at the Comic Book Resources message boards, who are afraid of "Chronos" following "Major Bummer," "Young Heroes in Love" and "The Creeper" into oblivion, and who sign their posts with the phrase "BUY CHRONOS!":

"Please pass along my heartfelt thanks to all those vocal readers. Anyone who liked Christopher Jones' work in YHIL will be glad to know that he contributed a wordless, 8-page Heartbreakers story to HB 'Superdigest.'"

"Legends of the DC Universe" 80 Page Giant #1 is scheduled to be in stores this Wednesday.

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM WIZARD WORLD
In addition to a chance to schmooze with the fans and peers, this weekend's Wizard World comic convention in Chicago meant an opportunity for comic book professionals to announce upcoming projects in a high-profile forum.

Here are some rumors passed along by convention attendees this weekend. Note that until these reports are confirmed, they must be considered rumors, nothing more:

Look for the Justice League of America, including former Justice League International member Captain Marvel, on next season's "Batman/Superman Adventures." If Captain Marvel goes over well, the entire Marvel Family may be back later that season.

The "Marvel Knights" series of books published by Event Comics and Marvel Comics later this year look to be very typical of their high-profile creators' other work: one of Kevin Smith's first issues of "Daredevil" reportedly includes seven pages of Matt "Daredevil" Murdock sitting in his office talking to someone, and Christopher Priest's "Black Panther" series (set in New York City, like the aborted "Concrete Jungle: Legend of the Black Lion" series that had a single issue published before Acclaim Comics folded) will have a similar style and rhythm as Priest's late "Quantum and Woody" series from Acclaim, according to Event Comics head Joe Quesada. And sharp-eyed readers will spot at least a panel in every issue of "The Inhumans" featuring a character staring into a mirror.

And DC Comics fans reportedly shouldn't take the last page of "JLA: The Nail" #2 too literally. Sources say issue three reveals that yet another Silver Age menace is the real power behind the scenes in this dark alternative history of the DCU.

Early versions of the Fairchild "Gen13" figure were available at the convention to fans. Overheard by one of the fans: One of the sculptors asking when he'd be receiving approval on the Abbey Chase "Danger Girl" figure.

The Shi action figure should be shipping in August.

Randy Queen's Darkchylde will be receiving the action figure treatment from Moore Action Collectibles, the producers of the forthcoming Beavis and Butt-head action figures.

Chuck Dixon announced there will be a sequel to the DC Comics "Justice Riders" Elseworlds tale. While the original starred an old west version of the Justice League of America, this one will feature the Titans. When Bane shoots Batman, Robin rides from New England to confront him. Along the way, he hooks up with Wally West and other familiar faces. And when they finally catch up with Bane, they discover another villain is behind the troubles besetting the West ...

Alan Davis announced he's working on a sequel to the current DC Elseworlds hit "The Nail." No details were available, although he joked that it would be called "The Nail 2," "Another Nail" or "The Screw."

Chris Claremont announced that he's working on the next DC/Marvel crossover book: Fantastic Four/Superman.

AN 'ACTION GIRL' GOES SOLO

"Action

Girl Comics," Slave Labor Graphics' black-and-white anthology featuring comics

by female artists and other "female-friendly" strips, is intended as both a

showcase and launching pad for creators who might otherwise not get much notice

in the crowded comics marketplace.

For contributor Jen Sorensen, it looks like it's paid off.

Sorensen's first solo comic, "Slowpoke," hits the stands in November.

"Slowpoke" began life as a comic strip in one of the University of Virginia's

daily newspapers. Like her work in "Action Girl Comics" and other anthologies,

"Slowpoke" is a series of short stories, mixing absurdism and (through the eyes

of "Drooly Julie") light-hearted takes on the life of a single woman in her

20s.

For more information, check out the Slowpoke Website at http://www.indyworld.com/slowpoke/.

FORMER BLUTH ANIMATORS DITCH CARTOON CUTENESS FOR … TOILET HUMOR


Rick Remender,

Harper Jaten, and Rory Hensley all had jobs that others might envy: All three

worked as special effects animators for Don Bluth and 20th Century Fox, working

on such high-profile movies as "Anastasia," an upcoming "Anastasia" spin-off

featuring Bartok and the forthcoming "Planet Ice."

But now they're pinning their hopes on a rather less-savory character known

as Captain Dingleberry. Their first issue, due out August 5th, has gotten such

acclaim and advance orders already that two of the three have quit their animation

jobs in order to work on their self-published "Captain Dingleberry" full-time.

"We didn't do anything and we had three write-ups in the June 'Previews,'

along with being a 'Small Press Snap Shot,' 'Certified Cool,' and spotlighted,"

Remender told the Comic Wire Sunday, referring to three ways Diamond Distribution

highlights what it considers notable comics in its monthly "Previews" catalog,

"We also had a color article written about us in Diamond Dialogue. This was

all super. Then 'Wizard' [magazine] contacted us and said our book had been

sent to them by Diamond and it was their 'On the Edge' hit pick for August.

Well, this blew my mind. We had printed 7,000 ash cans with the first nine pages

of number one and had them enclosed in the 'Previews' retailer order pack. And

at the same time as 'Wizard' contacted us we began to get a lot of retailer

response on the Web. We got the orders for number one and they were great. …

Anyone who bad mouths Diamond for not taking care of [underground comics] hasn't

talked to me."

Of course, all this hoopla is about a character who, ultimately, uses bathroom-based

powers to fight crime. Think "Mister Hanky: The Comic Book." But Remender says

that characterization doesn't tell the whole story:

"First off, people are going to be amazed by how much more there is to this

book. We figured that if we took a funny and irreverent character and did both

silly and serious stories it would be a bold new type of comic. The preview

on the Web site shows just the silly end. We have stories that are very political.

We do interesting commentary on the music industry, comic, and drug culture

and try to show everyone's point of view."

If nothing else, "Captain Dingleberry" is probably the most attractive comic

book to ever feature intelligent fecal matter. The first issue sports a fully

painted cardstock cover, and the black and white interiors are of a quality

normally only associated with the Big Three companies.

"As for leaving the jobs, well, money is super, but doing what you love is

more fulfilling," Remender said. "I love comics. I like animation. But I've

worked on three motion pictures. I figure it's time to give my dream a shot.

My family and friends were a little shocked at first but as we began to get

write-ups before issue one even came out they were a lot more supportive."

Of course, "I'm not going to be blowing two grand in Vegas again for a long

time."

TASKMASTER, THE AVENGERS

RECEIVE NEW TOY TREATMENTS

Marvel

Comics toy fans enjoy a seemingly never-ending supply of new toys. This week

is no exception.

Perennial Marvel villain the Taskmaster - he of the "photographic reflexes"

that allowed him to duplicate the skills of, well, pretty much every Marvel

hero - is being offered as an exclusive figure by the Toy Emporium. The toy

ships in September and is limited to 7,500 figures. More information is available

at http://www.figureoffer.com.

And according to the Raving Toy Maniac Web site (http://www.toymania.com),

fans of the "Famous Covers" series of Marvel Comics dolls can look forward to

a fourth wave of figures in 1999, featuring Iron Man, Hawkeye, the Vision and

the Hulk.

TODD McFARLANE NAMED AN ERNST & YOUNG ENTREPENEUR OF THE YEAR

Todd McFarlane,

the former "Spider-Man" artist who helped found Image Comics and parlayed his

character, Spawn, into one of the most popular comics in the world, a successful

HBO animated series, a movie and one of the most successful new action figure

lines in the toy business, has been named a winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepeneur

of the Year Awards.

McFarlane has been named the Ernst & Young 1998 Arizona Entrepreneur of the

Year in the Communications and Entertainment category. McFarlane was among 39

finalists selected from 67 nominees and will advance to regional competition

for a chance to go on to national and international competition. Honorees are

inducted into the Entrepreneur of the Year Institute at an annual international

conference in Palm Springs, FL.

Prestigious professional services firm of Ernst & Young honors outstanding

entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, hard work, and perseverance have created and

sustained successful, growing business ventures.

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