Remember: it's called Open Your Mouth. And this week we've got a lot of mouths with a lot of things to say. First up, author Clifford Meth has some important updates for us about Dave Cockrum. Next, my buddy Mike Hawthorne talks about his latest project "Hysteria." And lastly, two of the whitest guys working in comics want to draw your attention to their books solicited in this month's Previews. So, without further ado, please enjoy reading this week's OYM Three-in-One column type thing…
Dave Cockrum Update
"There is a growing public outrage regarding Cockrum's lack of royalties."
As you may have read elsewhere, Dave Cockrum, beloved co-creator of the "All-New, All-Different" X-Men, has been very ill lately. He was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of the month and it doesn't appear as though he can be released for at least another month. Clifford Meth of Aardwolf Publishing has been keeping Mr. Cockrum's fans abreast of his status and he's also spearheading an effort to raise money to help the living legend out with some medical bills. I contacted Mr. Meth a couple of days ago to get an update on how Mr. Cockrum is doing as well as how the fund raising plans are shaping up…
OYM: First off, could you tell us how Mr. Cockrum is doing?
METH: Dave is still very sick. I spoke with him just a few hours ago, and he's suffering. He's been hospitalized for nearly a month with complications from diabetes, as well as a case of double-pneumonia, and infections in both his lungs and blood. He finally came off the respirator last week, but it could be another month before he leaves the V.A. Hospital. Thank Heaven he served his time for Uncle Sam; you don't think "Uncle Stan"- er, Marvel - is paying any of these hospital bills, do you?
OYM: How's the tribute book shaping up? I hear more people have signed on recently.
METH: Contributors now include Neal Adams, Murphy Anderson, Sergio Aragones, Terry Austin, Dick Ayers, Mark Bagley, Charles Barnett, David Boswell, Travis Charist, Chris Claremont, Gene Colan, Peter David, Alan Davis, Diane Duane, Harlan Ellison, Steve Englehart, Mark Evanier, Neil Gaiman, Ron Garney, Mike Grell, Tony Isabella, Bill Messner-Loebs, Steve Lieber, Stan Lee, Pablo Marcus, Bob McLeod, Jerry Ordway, Tom Palmer, Mike Pascale, George Perez, John Romita, Joe Rubinstein, Marie Severin, Dave Sim, Walt Simonson, Mark Texeira, Roy Thomas, Herb Trimpe, Lee Weeks, Len Wein, and Marv Wolfman… Let's just say, this is a book you don't want to miss.
OYM: What will be in this book, content-wise?
METH: The book is essentially an art portfolio featuring mostly characters that Cockrum created, as rendered by his friends. Dave personally designed Nightcrawler, Colossus, Storm, Mystique, Phoenix, Thunderbird, the Imperial Guard, the Brood, Starjammers, and the Futurians. There will also be tributes by the writers. After all, you can't really expect Stan Lee or Harlan Ellison to draw something.
OYM: Hey, that could be another selling point! But seriously, any E.T.A. on when the book will be solicited or be available for sale? And will people be able to do mail order?
METH: People can pre-order the book directly from Aardwolf Publishing. It will also be solicited in the April issue of Diamond Previews for June shipping.
OYM: What about the auction? What's the game plan for that?
METH: Sometime in late February, we'll announce the dates of the auction via CBG, Silver Bullet, Newsarama, and so forth. This will give everyone plenty of time to get ready, and allow for the widest possible audience of potential bidders. Then we'll stick the items on eBay and watch the fireworks. Most everything in the book will be up for grabs, and there are other items, too. This will be a truly huge event.
OYM: How can creators or publishers wishing to make a contribution help out?
METH: Creators who want to draw or write something should email me at email@example.com. Note that with few exceptions, we're limiting this to big name artists and writers. Publishers wishing to send signed books or such to the auction should address it to:
179-9 Rt. 46 West
Rockaway, NJ 07866
Lastly, Mr. Meth had one more thing to say: "There is a growing public outrage regarding Cockrum's lack of royalties. His creations have been hijacked by Marvel, and he gets neither money nor acknowledgement for any of the work he's done, nor the characters he created. Now that he's on his back, it's just a question of time before Marvel either ponies up or starts reading about it in every publication - from comics to business to entertainment - across America. We're not going to rest until this is settled properly. And that's a promise."
Hawthorne Hypes "Hysteria"
You know the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"? Okay, using comic creators, make the connection between the Oni series "Queen & Country" and the "Terminator 3" comic book adaptation. Let's see… Greg Rucka writes "Queen & Country" and he also works on "Gotham Central" with Michael Lark… who worked on "Terminal City" with Dean Motter who also contributed to "Grendel: Red, White & Black"… along with David Mack who did the covers for "Alias" written by Brian Michael Bendis… who does "Powers" with Michael Avon Oeming… who also worked on "Bastard Samurai" with Miles Gunter who worked on the "Terminator 3" comic! Hmm… that's more than six degrees, isn't it? I'm sure there's shorter route somewhere…
OYM: I've known you for several years now, but to a lot of folks outside our "small press circle" you're a relatively new name. Although, lately I'm hearing more and more people say stuff like "Where'd this dude come from?" and "He should be drawing Spider-Man." So, where did you come from and why aren't you drawing Spider-Man?
HAWTHORNE: I came from a small town called East Harlem, and moved to smaller towns in Pennsylvania. No seriously, I'm one of the many do-it-all guys working in the "indy" ranks. Guys that self-published, and learned every part of the comic book business that way. I did submit to comic companies for years, over ten actually. Got a few close calls, but never quite got a gig. So, after college I saved a little money and self-published my miniseries, "Hysteria" under my company Think Tank Comics. I loved it. I was on fire with the book at the time. I was going to do all the things that I wasn't seeing in comics, but wanted to see. People really took to the thing, and kept looking for it [after the four self-published issues]. I sold out thru Cold Cut, then made a few "Hysteria" shorts for Radio Comix and Slave Labor. Eventually "Hysteria" made its way to Moderntales.com, in their long form comics section Longplay.
OYM: What did you do after you tried your hand at self-publishing?
HAWTHORNE: I eventually went on to do commercial illustration and design for clients like the Philadelphia 76ers and Wendy's. The money was nice, but I really wanted to be doing comics. So, I kept making them, and sending them to people. Eventually, Matt Wagner gave me a shot at a Grendel short in the last "Red, White & Black" miniseries. After that, the rest started to fall into place.
OYM: You've got a fairly impressive comic book resume, tell us about some of the other stuff you've done.
HAWTHORNE: Well, I already mentioned Matt. I did a romantic comedy called "3 Days in Europe" with award winning writer Antony Johnston, best known for working with Alan Moore on a bunch of books for Avatar. If you don't know who he is, you will when his upcoming OGNs "Spooked" and "Julius" come out through Oni. I also did a great little comedy called "Whiskey Dickel" with Mr. "Nowheresville" himself, Mark Ricketts. And I did the pencils for the "Terminator 3" adaptation from Beckett with Miles Gunter ("B.P.R.D.", "Bastard Samurai") and Rick Remender ("Doll and Creature", "TMNT"). I hear Arnold loved it, which is cool. I'm now doing "Ruule" for Beckett, with Ivan Brandon ("NYC Mech", "T3") and Rick Remender.
OYM: Don't forget "Queen & Country," which is some the best work I've seen from you to date.
HAWTHORNE: Yes, I'm also finishing up my run on "Queen & Country" with the great Greg Rucka. "Queen & Country" is a special book for me, and I'm hoping it's showing in my work. I had to turn down a DC gig to do it, which was a hard decision, but the book is that good.
OYM: So, it's come full circle for you now with the new "Hysteria" collection coming out next month. Sell the book up, man...
HAWTHORNE: "Hysteria" is my baby. It's "G.I. Joe," manga, and action flicks all rolled into one. It's like "Archie" but with guns. The story follows the exploits of this little rag tag antiterrorism unit on a Caribbean island called Puerto Asteria. It really is a lot like Archie in that you have the same small group of characters held together by where they all live. Asteria is like Riverdale in that respect. But it's really all about action. Nothing too gritty, too dark. Just all fun, over-the-top, comedy and action. Fun for fun's sake.
OYM: Starting February 8th, you're doing some Sunday Comics for Oni's website before the book comes out, to give people a preview, whet their appetites. What will the three-week run consist of? New material? Bits from the book? Three self-contained strips? A three-part story?
HAWTHORNE: Well, my plan is to do three individual one-page comics. Gag comics basically. But they won't appear in the trade, I'm making them just for the Oni Sunday comics. So, enjoy!
OYM: I'm sure they will. So, what's next, Mike?
HAWTHORNE: Well, there are already plans for another volume of "Hysteria." I'd like to do one a year, if I can. I also have another book at Beckett I'm doing, but can't share details yet. I'm also going to finish up a book with a writer from Mirage Studios by the name of Steve Murphy. It's called "Umbra," and is an "X-Files" type thriller that takes place in Iceland. Oh, and eventually I'm supposed to do a book with some guy... uh… what's him name? J. Bone? Hmmm… No. J. something or other... just a minute, his name will come to me.
OYM: I don't know who you're taking about but I bet he's a handsome devil with a really cool female gladiator story to tell. But you never answered the Spider-Man question.
HAWTHORNE: After all that stuff, then maybe "Spider-Man."
The Amazing Adventures of Kirkman & Clay
And now, ladies and gents, the two whitest guys working in comics try to sell you something…
Robert Kirkman and B. Clay Moore (Wizard World Chicago 2003)
MOORE: So, Robert Kirkman, writer of "Walking Dead," "Brit," "Reaper" and "Invincible" (among other things), you've got something new in this month's "Previews," right?
KIRKMAN: Why, yes. It seems I've got a story appearing in "X-Men Unlimited" #2. It's all about Jubilee, the scrappy young lass from Jim Lee's days on the X-Men... I had a blast writing the thing.
MOORE: Jubilee blows things up or something, right?
KIRKMAN: Like there's no tomorrow. She's got a little lightshow thing she does. Talk about your "girl power."
MOORE: So, briefly, what's the story about? Does she blow something up?
KIRKMAN: It's a little ditty about Jubilee hanging out in a mall. It deals with mutant and teen issues... and all that fun stuff. Then she blows stuff up and there's a bunch of action. I do it for the kids. I likes to make them happy.
MOORE: Sounds, like, totally awesome.
KIRKMAN: It's drawn by Takeshi Miyazawa and I can't wait to see what he does with my script. And you know... working with Marvel is always a good thing.
MOORE: I know Takeshi. The first story he ever did was for a book called "Love in Tights," which I co-edited with J. Torres.
KIRKMAN: I don't care.
Not the cover to "X-Men Unlimited" #2
MOORE: Fine, then just ask me about my stuff.
KIRKMAN: What about you? What do you have on your plate for April? Anything big?
MOORE: Well, I'm glad you asked, Robert.
KIRKMAN: Just answer the damn question.
MOORE: I think we're supposed to pretend we're friends for this thing.
KIRKMAN: Torres isn't paying me enough to act like I enjoy your company.
MOORE: We're hundreds of miles apart, man. That's close enough for me, too.
KIRKMAN: Will you talk about Vampi so I can get back to masturbating. (Daniel Way eat your heart out.)
MOORE: Yep, the first issue of "Vampi Vicious Circle" debuts in April. A three-issue miniseries from Harris Comics.
KIRKMAN: Now, Vampi... that's the kick ass version of Vampirella that Kevin Lau created, right?
MOORE: Yes it is. Sort of a futuristic take on Vampirella, with manga overtones. In this book, Vampi discovers a society of former corporate employees living underground, and she works to figure out why they let monsters prey on them, and what the secret is behind their climb back up the corporate ladder.
Not the cover to "Vampi: Vicious Circle" #1
KIRKMAN: Are you saying vampires and go-go boots are no longer futuristic?
MOORE: Like anyone notices the go-go boots...
KIRKMAN: Sounds riveting! Who will be drawing it?
MOORE: Grafiksismik studios, along with Gabriel Rearte. It's an interesting concept...one artist handles the scenes above ground, and the other handles the scenes below ground.
KIRKMAN: That Grafiksismik is a swell bunch.
MOORE: You know them?
KIRKMAN: Pierre Andre-Dery inked my "Sleepwaker" book.
MOORE: So are we ever going to see "Sleepwalker?"
KIRKMAN: Why, yes. It should be in stores on February 18th, as part of that swell Epic Anthology. It'll be sandwiched in with "Young Ancient One" and "Strange Magic."
MOORE: So, to remind everyone why we're doing this: In the February "Previews"... "Vampi Vicious Circle" #1 from Harris Comics and "X-Men Unlimited" #2, from Marvel. Anything else you want to say, Robert?
KIRKMAN: Just that "Invincible" and "Walking Dead" will be a constant presence on the comic racks of America (and elsewhere) so if people haven't given them a shot... they should pick up a copy. I know I'll be glad they did. And they should pick up "Reaper" in March... it's swell. That'll be it for me... oh... except that you should change the title of "Hawaiian Dick"... I find it offensive.
MOORE: Fine. From now on I'll call it "Tahitian Dick."
Next week: From the two whitest guys working in comics to comic books and Black History Month.
Thank you for your attention.