Comic Wire

Tue, August 24th, 1999 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

MARV WOLFMAN WANTS A CUT OF MARVEL'S 'BLADE'

Although it's the

first of their movie adaptations to make it to the silver screen without a hitch,

not to mention riding considerable good word-of-mouth, "Blade" is causing Marvel

Comics headaches of an entirely different sort.

Veteran comic

book writer Marv Wolfman, who created the half-vampire hero along with artist

Gene Colan back in the "Tomb of Dracula" comic in the early 1970s, is suing

the comic company for $35 million, saying he never gave permission for the movie

to be made.

Marvel, and other

comic book companies, traditionally owns the exclusive rights to characters

under a "work for hire" contract, but Wolfman asserted, in a suit filed in Los

Angeles on Thursday, that he was a freelancer when the character was created,

and that Marvel never filed a copyright on the character and that there was

no contract, written or oral, giving Marvel the rights to Blade or the film's

villain, Deacon Frost.

Wolfman's and

Colan's names were added to the opening credits of "Blade" shortly before it

was released. Marvel had been the subject of intense criticism after it was

revealed it initially planned not to mention Wolfman and Colan.

The Comic Wire

could not reach Wolfman for comment by press time and Marvel Comics declines

to comment on the litigation at this time.

JEFF SMITH TO DIRECT 'BONE' FOR NICKELODEON

Jeff Smith

has come full-circle. Before he created the Eisner award-winning independent

comic "Bone," he was a cartoon animator, a background that clearly influences

his comic book work. Now his light-hearted fantasy kingdom will be coming to

the big screen, as an animated movie.


Nickelodeon Movies, which is also producing the upcoming "Rugrats" movie, announced

the deal last week.

"Nickelodeon is a place where traditional entertainment values are given a

fresh, edgy feel," said Smith in a Nickelodeon press release. "I'm extremely

pleased with this announcement. Nickelodeon Movies is exactly where Bone needs

to be."

The first collection of Bone issues has sold over 90,000 English-language

copies.

No release date for the feature has been announced.

SHAKE-UPS AT DC AND MARVEL:

'IMPULSE' GETS NEW TEAM,

'ALPHA FLIGHT,' 'HEROES FOR HIRE'

REPORTEDLY CANCELED

Once upon

a time, working with one of the Big Two comic book companies was the recipe

for financial and career stability. But as the comic market continues to contract,

even that is no longer a sure thing.

That was brought home late last week, when a DC Comics marketing representative

confirmed that "Impulse," starring one of the company's most popular new characters

of the past decade will be getting a new creative team: writer Todd DeZago and

artist Ethan Van Sciver.

The move, which has long been rumored on various Internet fan sites, has no

official start date, although current "Impulse" artist Craig Rousseau told the

Comic Wire "to the best of my knowledge, [William Messner-Loebs] is staying

with the book, although I am leaving the title as of issue 50 (or thereabouts)

to try my hand at something other than a hyperactive speedster."

Comic Wire was unable to reach Messner-Loebs at press time.

DeZago has already had a go-round with the teen speedster character, having

written "World Without Grownups," which introduced the Young Justice team Impulse

is a member of, along with Robin and Superboy, and the "Young Justice" special

"The Secret." Vac Sciver previously did the art on "Impulse" #41.

And Newsarama (available at http://www.mania.com/newsarama) is quoting Marvel

Comics assistant editor as saying that "Alpha Flight" and "Heroes for Hire"

have both had their respective plugs pulled, having fallen below a newly instituted

minimum sales figure of 35,000 copies (for comparison's sake, DC Comics has

been pulling the plug on series that sell less than approximately 18,000 copies

per issue).

Close to the kill level but not dead yet, according to writer Joe Kelly and

editor Paul Tutrone, is "Deadpool," which Newsarama points out is due for a

big push from Marvel in October. The "Deadpool Month" promotion will include

a new paperback collection of back issues and several specials. http://fly.to/superboy.

ANIMATED BATGIRL, SUPERGIRL TO MEET IN ALL-GIRL EPISODE

The first

animated cartoon meeting of Superman and Batman has just made it to video, and

fans are already eagerly awaiting the next go-round for the World's Finest heroes.

But fans of their female colleagues will be getting to see them in action together

next season as well.

Detroit News Comic Continuum (http://detnews.com/comicbooks/) is reporting

Hilary Bader, who wrote three Batman episodes of "The Batman/Superman Adventures"

last season has written "Girls Night Out," which will unite Batgirl and Supergirl

for the first time.

"It's all girls," Bader told the Continuum. "Girl villains. Girl heroes. Nothing

but girls. The boys are out of town, and the girls take over."

That means Supergirl, Batgirl, Livewire, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Bader's

no stranger to writing strong female characters: She also writes for "Xena:

Warrior Princess."

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