What’s SHOOT THE MESSENGER?
Well, AICN COMICS: SHOOT THE MESSENGER is your weekly one stop shop for comic book news that’s dropped in the previous week. Thanks to Newsarama, CBR, Wizard, etc. for reporting it as it breaks. Click on the links for the original stories. This column cuts the crap to run down all the vital information for those of you who don’t follow it as it comes in, and serves it all up with that special ingredient of @$$y goodness. It’s also the place for interviews, previews, and special reports.
Slow news week this week, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have stuff for you!
XO-MANOWAR: BIRTH CONTEST
Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. I want to give everyone a chance to take part in our X-O MANOWAR Contest. To commemorate the release of Valiant’s new trade paperback of the recollected and remastered version of the popular series X-O MANOWAR, entitled BIRTH, which includes all new material and remastered panels. Afew lucky Valiant fans will walk away with the X-O MANOWAR: BIRTH Hardcover Trade Paperback.
15 lucky contestants will win the X-O MANOWAR: BIRTH Hardcover Trade Paperback.
How do you win, well it looks like HARBINGER is getting the big screen treatment soon, I thought it’d be fun to cast both a HARBINGER film and, just for shits and giggles, cast an X-O MANOWAR film as well (who knows, maybe we’ll inspire some Hollywood execs with our picks).
5 will win copies signed by the creators.
And 1 lucky winner will receive a signed copy of the book plus a sketch by the creators.
So send a short email here with your casting picks for an X-O MANOWAR and HARBINGER movie.
Deadline is Friday (5/9/08). Winners will be announced in next Monday’s AICN COMICS NEWS: SHOOT THE MESSENGER Column (5/12/08).
5 will win copies signed by the creators.
And 1 lucky winner will receive a signed copy of the book plus a sketch by the creators.
Ambush Bug back again with another Q & @. This time we’re chatting with Whitley Strieber writer of COMMUNION and creator of the new original graphic novel THE NYE INCIDENTS. This is a fascinating read from Devil’s Due Publishing mixing the alien abductions, cow mutilations, and serial killers. Let’s see what Mr. Strieber had to say about THE NYE INCIDENTS.
Whitley Strieber (WS): There may have been. I came across some very disturbing cases between 1996 and 2003 that really upset me. One case involved quite a few people who were taken off the streets, mutilated by having their genitals, lips, eyes and tongues cut out, then taken 70 miles from the town where they were picked up and drowned in the ocean, deep enough to damage their lungs.
@$$HOLES (@): I found the NYE INCIDENTS #1 to be a fascinating read. The first issue did a great job of introducing an intriguing mystery; sprinkling just enough clues to tease us like the video tape showing the UFO cult, the mutilated bodies, the ties to cow mutilations and even the dreams the main characters suffers from as she obsesses about solving the crime. The book sets the mystery in a context that is very well could happen. Is this based on any actual events? Have there ever been human mutilations similar to the cow mutilations before?
But was this a real case or not? They were street people, and they were taken from a town about a forty-five minute drive from the cabin in upstate New York where I had the close encounter experiences COMMUNION was based on.
I could prove nothing, so I decided: do your thing. Transform this terror into entertainment, and get free of it that way--as much as one can.
@: THE NYE INCIDENTS combines the UFO and serial killer genres. What type of research went into this story?WS: I don't know exactly what genres are. I'm not much into marketing. To me, it's all about whether or not I want to tell a given story.
I actually did a lot of research. I tried to track cases down, but whenever I did, I ran into reluctant, unwilling and even hostile law enforcement personnel. Our researcher tried to pin down a case in Pennsylvania, for example, and was told to either leave town or go to jail.
@: Did you take any special considerations since this is a comic book that you are working with instead of a novel?WS: My original treatment was transformed into the comic by Craig Spector. At the time, we were interested in making a movie. But then the comic possibility came along and I was real intrigued. So was Craig. He'd never written a graphic novel before, so it was a real adventure for him.
@: How closely did you work with the writer and artist of this comic?WS: Craig and I worked hand in hand. I have never met the artist.
@: After doing a bit of research on you, I found it interesting that you are not quick to say that your experiences with the paranormal were actual UFO experiences straight out of the X-FILES. You seem convinced that something happened to you, but call these characters that abducted you "visitors" instead of aliens. Could you elaborate on this experience a little and what you believe happened?WS: Basicially, I have had an entire life of a kind that supposedly does not and cannot exist. I have unknown intelligent beings in my life. It's as simple as that. After my close encounter in December of 1985, I proactively sought to engage their interest by going out into the woods at night.
This resulted in the richest, most astonishing and complex relationship I can imagine having, and it continued for 11 years until we lost our cabin due to financial difficulties brought on by the fact that I was made a laughingstock, and people quit buying my books.
We moved to Texas but, sadly, the visitors did not follow.
@: Why you? Out of all of the people in the world, why do you think you were the one chosen to have this abduction-like experience?WS: One of my uncles was involved in the attempt to catalog the debris from the disk that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. I think that his involvement led to the visitors' interest in our family, and to me.
@: No doubt, this experience was a life-changing experience since you've dedicated quite a few books on the subject and you continue to explore this theme in THE NYE INCIDENTS. Do you think something like this will ever happen again to you or is this probably a once in a lifetime happening?WS: Oh, it is a lifetime happening, not once in a lifetime. It is a way of living. After we left the cabin, the visitors did not follow, but since December 7 of 2007, they have been coming around again a little bit. You get to the point where you just live with the truth that you do not and cannot know what they are. Just that they are real.
@: There seem to be thousands of reports of unidentified flying objects, alien abductions, and other strange experiences. Just as one would assume that some of them have validity to them, one also has to guess that some of these people are full of shit or want to believe in this phenomenon so much that they make themselves do so. What is it about UFO's that capture so many people's imagination and makes them want to believe?WS: Not too many of the people who are really involved want it. I didn't want to get raped on the night I got stuck with the 'rectal probe' that has made me into such a joke. Then, in May of 1989, two people broke into our cabin and placed an object in the top part of my left ear. I was awake but immobilized when they did it. They were people, not aliens. Their work left no scar.
When I tried to have to object removed, the doctor was horrified to see that it was a white disk, and when he touched it with his scalpel, it moved on its own into the lobe of my ear, down from the top. He got a sliver of it, but closed the incision because he had never seen anything like this.
The pathologist who examined the sliver reported that it had cilia on it, which was probably why the thing could move. A few days later, it went back to the top of my ear, which is where it is now.
So, what I believe is that this thing is in my ear because I can reach my hand up and feel it right now. I don't know what to believe about who put it there or why, or even how, given the absence of a scar.
My beliefs extend as far as facts. The rest interests me as speculation--the whodunnit aspect.
@: There are skeptics and believers out there. No real in between. Believers believe whole-heartedly that we are not alone. While skeptics roll their eyes and claim that the believers are full of it. Why do you think people are so all-or-nothing with the topic of UFO's?WS: There certainly is an in-between. The media lives in its own world of skepitcs and believers. The folks who actually have this happen are mostly like me--wondering what the hell is going on, here.
@: I know no one knows the reasons why UFO abductions and cow mutilations occur. But if you had to guess, what do you think the reason is for all of this udder…I mean, utter carnage and mischief? *(sorry, bad pun)*WS: If it is real, then whoever is doing it must or they would not. God only knows why.
@: Why cows? I know steaks and burgers are damn tasty, but why not emus or elephants or monkeys or lawyers?WS: One thing is that bovines have DNA that is surprisingly close to ours. Or perhaps we get abducted and mutilated because our DNA is close to theirs.
@: Now that you've dipped your toe into the comic book pool, do you think you might want to work more in this medium?WS: I love this medium! I'm a fan, and my wife Anne, who is also a writer, has a dynamite idea for a graphic novel so, yes, I shall return...
@: Sounds great. Check out THE NYE INCIDENTS Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Mr. Strieber.
ROUND TWO / BRACKET THREE
Sixty-four of comic bookdom’s best fighters enter, only one will be crowned THE SECRET TOURNAMENT OF INFINITE @$$-KICKERY Champion. It’s comics’ version of March Madness, only it lasts a bit longer. Ambush Bug here yet again, on behalf of the @$$Holes at AICN Comics, welcoming you all back to a contest unlike any other: boiling fanboyism down to its basics...whether one guy can kick the other guy's @$$.
We’re halfway through Round Two this week. We’ve the zeroes have been felled by the heroes. But before we move on to this week’s fights, let’s see the winners of last week’s bouts.
“What, I only get to fight illegal immigrants?” USAgent said as he jumped into the ring, only wearing his costume this time, the flamboyancy of his last bout still ringing in his ears from where his showmanship nearly cost him his win.
“I will break you!” Bane said, clapping his hands together and reaching for the control to his Venom-injector. “Oh, wait…”
“Yeah, that’s right, no magic juice,” USAgent said, walking toward the towering Bane. “Even put the kibosh on my strength.” He stopped, smiling up at the misshapen monster. “What else you got?”
Bane reached for his neck, much as he had previously with Crossbones, only to find his hands batted away and USAgent’s face flying towards his own. His nose was pulverized by the forehead of the USAgent, and as he fell back he noticed the calmness that USAgent had spoken to him with had been a lie.
The American was still a raving lunatic from his fight with the KGBeast!
USAgent’s foot lashed out and crushed Bane’s crotch not once but four times before Bane fell over and the foot moved to his kneecaps, snapping them both as his hands clutched his balls. Doubling his fists, USAgent slammed them into Bane’s neck, crushing his windpipe and Adam’s apple. As blood splashed on the inside of his mask, Bane felt himself picked up and hurled from the ring and onto the judges table.
“Go home, Taquito!” USAgent said as he held his hands above his head, the crowd on their feet cheering U.S.A. again. “I ain’t some playboy millionaire with a bad back. I’m Captain America, bitch!”
“Uh, no you’re not,” the ref said, a second before he found himself flying out of the ring as well.
“Never correct me!” USAgent screamed.
A massive broad sword drives deep into the ground. Red Sonja steps away from it tentatively and approaches her unarmed opponent; a man in black wearing the face of a jungle cat.
Poised in a classic pugilistic stance, Wildcat readies himself as the tall woman approaches him—her muscles tense, a scowl forming on her face.
“Do you think we could settle this over coffee?” Wildcat quips.
Sonja snarls and leaps towards her opponent. Her massive arms outstretched. Wildcat stands firm, reaches back and lets loose a right hook, connecting with Sonja’s jaw.
The she-devil falls to the ground and rubs the side of her face. “No man has ever felled me. And no man will.”
Wildcat cracks his knuckles. “Well, I ain’t never been beaten by no girl neither.”
Wildcat lands a few more jabs, then shoots a haymaker which connects. Sonja’s red hair flaps as she staggers, yet she doesn’t fall.
“Gnnnnrrrrrrraaahhhh!” She clasps both hands and swings them like a mallet, connecting just under Wildcat’s chin. The man in black goes flying backward.
Wildcat rises and meets Sonja toe to toe. Both opponents throw punch after punch. Both weakening the other, yet neither falling.
The two stagger. Eyes bruised. Teeth loose. Bleeding out of new holes in their faces. Both cock their arms back. Both fists connect instantaneously. Both stumble and fall to the ground.
Wildcat shakes his head. His head is heavy and the sounds around him reverberate in his ears as if they are filled with cotton. Instincts more than anything bring him up to one knee. He looks up to see Red Sonja already on her feet.
A large leather boot ends the match. Staggering and weakened, Sonja looks down at the fallen boxer, “You fight well…for a man.”
WINNER: RED SONJA
“Good grief, these @@$holes sure have a thing about cat fights, don’t you think?” Catwoman says, looking across the ring at the Black Panther.
Black Panther, for his part, simply folds his arms across his chest. “I will not fight a woman,” he says defiantly.
“Works for me,” Catwoman grins as she rushes up to Black Panther and lands a solid kick to his chest.
“Woman, desist!” Black Panther cries, getting up.
“Sorry,” Catwoman says, “But I’m something of an equal opportunity gal.” Catwoman kicks at Black Panther’s knee, hoping to immobilize him.
This just makes Black Panther angrier. “I am telling you for the last time,” Black Panther says, “stop this, or I will be forced to hurt you very badly.”
“Give me your best shot,” Catwoman replies defiantly, throwing a punch at Black Panther’s face.
Finally getting into the fight, Black Panther grabs Catwoman’s wrist, and in one sweeping motion lifts her off her feet and throws her to the ground. Black Panther picks her up and starts pummeling Catwoman, until her costume is barely holding in her bleeding body. Black Panther is about to land the final blow, when he stops. “I cannot,” he says, and lowers his fist. “You are of the weaker sex. I am ashamed at the damage I caused you.”
Catwoman opens her swelled up eyes, looks at Black Panther turn his back to her and feels the rage build as he walks away. “You…” Catwoman leaps and throttles Black Panther’s neck. “I’ll show you who’s the weaker sex!”
Black Panther stands in the middle of the ring, with the choice of finishing off his opponent or letting her kill him right there. “Forgive me,” he whispers, as he reaches around and snaps Catwoman’s neck, dropping her to the floor. “Forgive me…”
WINNER: BLACK PANTHER
Karate Kid faced Shiva in the arena, insisting, "I know every martial art in the galaxy of the 30th century. Jim Shooter said so." He shifted into the 39th kata of the planet Bismoll, designed against biting opponents.
"How splendid," replied Lady Shiva, moving forward in a weaving snake-style kung fu maneuver. "But that gives you three weaknesses." She launched an almost-casual kick that Karate Kid just as casually parried.
"And what would those be?" Val Armorr asked, using a specially designed two-armed Venusian Aikido strike. Shiva ducked beneath it then tried for a leg sweep. Karate Kid leaped upward with a jump from the Zero-G Masters of Cygnus IV.
"One: you have a stupid 1960s style DC Silver Age name. "Kid" this and "Lad" that and "Boy" and so on."
"Embarrassing, but hardly fatal," Karate Kid conceded, launching a tiger-claw strike developed by Taghurrhu of the planet Kama.
"Second, you have learned the martial arts of every 30th century civilization, but are ignorant of the "antique" skills of the 21st." Shiva used a karate block against the claw attack, twisted his striking into a hold, and wrapped her other arm around his neck.
"True, but I still know more styles than you." Val countered, preparing to dislocate his arms with a technique learned from the Elastic People of Olsonius Prime.
"And third: with your girlfriend Projectra retconned so the two of you were never lovers, that leaves you celibate after decades dedicated to nothing but mastering the martial arts. While I have "mastered the softer arts as well." With that, Shiva gently blew in his ear, then nibbled on his lobe.
"That's... not... a fighting style," Karate Kid muttered as Shiva tightened her hold and rendered him unconscious.
"Why, that's the oldest fighting style of all."