Comic Wire

Mon, December 4th, 2000 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

BUDDY SCALERA: COMICS PROFESSIONAL,
DEADPOOL CO-WRITER
PREVIEW: 'DEADPOOL' #49

[Deadpool 49]
Deadpool #49 Preview
In the recent shake-ups of Marvel Comics' X-Men books, one spin-off title almost no one considered to be on the chopping block was "Deadpool."

And while the comic has been distancing itself from the X-corner of the Marvel Universe since it went monthly, the title has been repeatedly dogged by cancellation rumors, until what has become a textbook example of fan outcry and support saved the title.

Which isn't to say the book hasn't had its ups and downs: So far, the book has had two runs by distinctive creators who brought their own passionate fan bases to the book during their run. Now, a new run, written by Jimmy Palmiotti, has begun. And joining Palmiotti in December is co-writer and new-to-professional comics Buddy Scalera.

His debut issue, December's issue #49, sets up things to come.

"This is a one shot encapsulated story that can be read and enjoyed individually, but it sets in motion a series of subplots that will be running through the next couple of issues," Scalera told the Comic Wire on Friday. His luck changes. Deadpool's the unluckiest superhero in the world, and now his life changes. … It almost looks like he's going to have a good life, but what fun would that be?"

Fans of the Joe Kelly or Christopher Priest runs will immediately notice that the title is a little different under the new regime.

"He's the same guy, but he's been through a lot. We had to find the happy medium … We had to find the one that worked for us, and was true to the character. … Jimmy's a really grounded guy … He had to make Deadpool a guy with a gun who kills for money. … If you find murder and mayhem funny, and we do, you'll find this book funny.

"It's not the joke every second book that Joe wrote. But we can't write like that. … I don't want to look like a second-rate Joe Kelly. So we're just trying to do what we do well, which is laugh at other people's misfortune."

Scalera is best-known right now for his years of involvement with "Wizard" magazine, and Web site WizardWorld.com, a role that continues in a diminished capacity today. But lest anyone think otherwise, those years of work weren't intended to get him a job in comics. But when the opportunity arose, he didn't say no.

"I've been trying to break in as a writer for some time now. I have always known that I could tell sequential comics stories, just like most fans feel they can. … You do one type of writing, and you gravitate to other types. I've done some movies, and I've done some indie comics stuff. … I've had some Deadpool stories in the back of my mind.

"Jimmy kind of said 'OK, we'll do them.'

"Was it a matter of being in the right place at the right time? Yeah. Was it a matter of who you know? Yeah. Am I embarrassed about that? No way.

"I got into this industry, Wizard included, because I was a fan, and because I wanted to be more involved in this. You don't go into comic book journalism for the money, you do it because you love comics. … You do this because there's a passion.

"If this is all I get, it's a dream come true."

"All" at this moment is four issues in the can, and Scalera is taking it one day at a time from there.

"How long they keep me on has to do with how long Jimmy stays with the book. I have no illusions that they're buying it because it's my name on the book."

Having finally made the jump from comic fan to comic professional, Scalera has learned one key thing about a job that many fans assume they know how to do, and could do easily.

"Oh my god, it's so much harder than I thought it would be. … I have so much more respect for the guys who have been doing this for years. Until you do this, you have no idea how much work goes into it. I have no idea how guys like [Mark] Waid do four issues a month. It's amazing. And they're all good!"

"It is the best hard work that I've ever done."

"Deadpool" #49, by Palmiotti, Scalera, Michael Lopez and Jon Holdredge, with a cover by Kevin Nolan, is scheduled for a December 27 release.

FRIENDS, FUN AND FORTEAN ACTIVITY
PREVIEW: 'PRIVATE BEACH' #1

[Private Beach #1]
Private Beach #1 Preview
Q: When is a comic about a woman and her mysterious paranormal gift not a mainstream comic book from one of the Big Two comic publishers?

A: When the comic is "Private Beach," returning to comic shelves this February in a new ongoing series.

"High concept: 'Friends' meets 'Millennium' (the Fox TV series)," creator David Hahn told the Comic Wire on Thursday. "It's about a young woman named Trudy Honeyvan who is told that she was born with a special 'gift.' The problem is... she doesn't really know what it is. And she doesn't care. All her life she's know that she lives a life that is just a few degrees off from everyone else's. However, she just wants to hang out with her friends, goof-off, and have a normal life. Though the series will deal with minor paranormal events, the secrets of the universe, and Chicken McNuggets, the emphasis is on the characters' inter-personal relationships.

"It will be on a quarterly schedule, starting in Feb 2001, published by Slave Labor Graphics in glorious black and white."

"Private Beach" has been compared to indie hit "Strangers in Paradise." The comparison makes sense on a surface level, Hahn says, but that's it.

"It's accurate in that the story revolves around two girls who are best friends, but it mostly ends there. 'Strangers in Paradise' is more melodramatic than my series (I have yet to see an issue of SIP that doesn't have at least one panel of Francine or Katchoo crying). I will have the slice of life elements, for sure, but I really want to drop the reader into the lives of the characters, not merely observe them. SIP is brash, for what is basically a soap opera, which is fine, but PB will be really low key. To think of 'Private Beach' as an odd-slice-of-life story is correct, but Trudy and her friends won't just be walked thru the story to move the plot. I'm trying really hard to write character-driven stories, which ain't easy when starting with what is essentially a first issue."

Of course, the comparisons to SiP occur because while "Private Beach" is starting fresh this spring, Hahn has published a "Private Beach" book before.

"'Private Beach: Fun and Perils in the Trudyverse' was originally a three issue mini-series published by Antarctic Press in 1995, and though the events in the new series don't conflict with the events in the old one, it doesn't really attach itself to it either. Look for those first series issues in the back issue bins of indy friendly comic stores, or order them from Cold Cut Distributors."

And while Hahn is playing his cards close to his chest at the moment, he does give readers old and new a peek into the upcoming events in the Trudyverse: "To help her understand her 'gift', Trudy is asked to join what appears to be the lamest, stupidest, most low-budget, yet incredibly alluring secret society in the world. Is that giving too much away?"

ACCLAIM: DEAD OR ALIVE?

[Acclaim]In superhero comics, you can never trust that someone's dead until you've seen the body. And sometimes, not even then.

What then to make of the apparent death of Acclaim Comics this past week? After all, the publishing line -- which primarily publishes former Valiant titles as an adjunct to Acclaim's videogame publishing ventures -- has died previously.

Word of the apparent second collapse of the line, roughly a year after it returned to life, came on November 29, when the company released its fiscal year 2000 report.

Tucked in amongst discussions of the videogame company shifting focus from 64-bit to 128-bit systems was this bombshell to fans of books like "Turok," "Shadowman," "Armorines" and the critical favorite "Quantum & Woody": "Also in fiscal 2000, the Company recorded a charge of $17.9 million to write-off the remaining goodwill associated with its comic book and strategy guide publishing business. This operation is not projected to generate sufficient operating cash flows to support recoverability of the goodwill. The Company will continue to publish strategy guides, but not comic book magazines."

For many, Acclaim's fate is most of interest in how it affects the second life of "Quantum & Woody," which was initially brought back with an issue that pretended the break in publishing had never occurred, with subsequent issues filling in the gaps … until the next publishing gap occurred earlier this year.

"Quantum & Woody" writer and creator Christopher Priest struck an optimistic tone on Friday in the rec.arts.comics.misc Usenet newsgroup:

"Quantum & Woody" artist and co-creator M.D. "Doc" Bright "and I have an equity agreement in place which we fully expect Acclaim to honor," Priest posted. "I guess the ultimate fate of Q&W would be something negotiated between Acclaim, Doc and myself. We have a good relationship with Acclaim, one we expect will continue, no matter what the circumstances of Acclaim's publishing program."

In a CBR feature interview with Acclaim Comics head Jim Perham in late October, the editor was optimistic but also struck a realistic tone that may well have been a harbinger of things to come: "Because of all the things that have happened, [the company wants] to see a return on investment. And that's understandable. They've been footing the bill for six years now."

At press time, there was no other indication of any termination of the comic line at Acclaim's Web site, although the comics section has lists December's publishing schedule as "it's a secret."

COMIC BRIEF: BIG EASY COMIC-CON 2001 CANCELLED

Comic fans planning on following up the Mid-Ohio Con, held over Thanksgiving weekend, with a visit to the comic convention's New Orleans spin-off, Big Easy Comic-Con, on Memorial Day weekend better hope their plane tickets are refundable: The convention's been cancelled.

Convention organizers RAP Productions announced the news late last week. For complete text of the press release, see CBR's Comic Brief.

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